Ex Ofsted chief says there’s too much variety in teaching in Camden

The former head of Ofsted has warned there is “too much variety” in the teaching of Camden’s pupils and that students over the age of 16 with special educational needs particularly lose out.

To overcome these disparities, former Ofsted chief Sir Mike Tomlinson unveiled plans for a Camden Framework – a common set of principles that would guide the teaching, advice and extra curricula activities schools offer their students.

Explaining the proposals at the launch of a major interim report which looks into the future of state education in the borough, Mr Tomlinson said: “This would mean that it wouldn’t matter what school you go to in Camden, there would be a core of things you did as a young person that is consistent everywhere you go.

“That is not necessarily about subjects, but about opportunities outside the classroom to participate in the richness of the organisations that exist here.

“A curriculum that is not just what you can measure, but what you experience.”

The absence of such a framework fostered discrepancies between schools, he said.

This resulted in students over the age of 16 with special educational needs particularly missing out, because they have “insufficient opportunities”, he warned.

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The research will be completed this November and was launched in response to changes in government policy which weaken the link between local authorities and schools – such as the introduction of free schools and academies which are state funded and free from council control.

Mr Tomlinson said that due to this serious shift in responsibility, Camden Council should refocus its efforts on becoming a “schools champion”.

The council should foster better links between institutions through the introduction of the framework, he said.

The wealth of knowledge of surrounding employers, higher education institutions, and arts groups, should also be woven into this framework.

This, Mr Tomlinson said, would provide Camden’s pupils with training and employment opportunities unique to the cosmopolitan borough.

By drawing up this new educational vision, Camden Council can foster better cooperation between the “Camden family of schools” and carve itself out a new and highly influential role within state education, Mr Sir Tomlinson said.