Off the Fence: Mark Hoban

Mark Hoban
Mark Hoban
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It’s only a few weeks now until children finish school for the summer.

They and their teachers will have earned a good holiday. When I visit Fareham schools I’m struck by how much we ask of pupils and staff.

For example, the curriculum is much more demanding than when I was at school. Some of the maths taught in our junior schools at Key Stage 2 was the preserve of secondary school teaching 20 or 30 years ago.

Children in primary schools today learn grammatical terms that I was never taught when I was at school.

But it is vital that we ask more of our children and teachers, because a good education underpins the future of our children and that of the economy.

In an increasingly competitive global economy, we will only secure our long-term economic future if our education system is up to scratch.

Much of the responsibility for improving our children’s life chances rests with our head teachers.

Their leadership is vital in raising standards and ensuring that every child realises their full potential.

Good head teachers are first to acknowledge that to do this they need the help and support of staff, pupils and parents. But head teachers set the tone and provide the focus for a school.

I have seen really good examples in Fareham where a new head teacher has transformed a school.

But one head told me that whilst improving the performance of a school was tough, it was even harder to keep it performing at the highest level.

Since I was elected in 2001, I have talked regularly to Fareham head teachers about the challenges they face.

Each head has their own approach. Each school has its own challenges.

But each has the same goal: doing their best for their school, pupils and teachers.