Earlier, my attention was drawn to the TES and nominations for the category of lifetime achievement award. The TES explain the criteria:
“This award will reward someone who has made a significant contribution to education. It could be a well-known figure or a local hero.”
Entry requires one nomination and three independent testimonials. As someone who lives in Australia, I am probably not the right person to nominate or testify for a U.K. award and so I thought I would highlight Andrew’s case in this post so that others may choose to take it on.
Firstly, Andrew’s work has had an huge material impact on teachers in England. Andrew was prominent in the campaign that forced Ofsted – the English schools inspectorate – to abandon its prescribed teaching style, giving freedom and flexibility back to teachers and schools. This campaign also changed the terms of debate and when a new issue arose where inspectors appeared to be imposing a particular form of marking, Ofsted soon made it clear that this was not acceptable.
But Andrew has not just used his own voice. He has worked tirelessly to promote education blogging through setting-up @TheEchoChamber2 and @EchoChamberUncu. He organises curry nights where U.K. bloggers can meet and he genuinely reads all education-related blog posts; a surely thankless task.
I remember an early blog of my own about text books which Andrew publicised, bringing it to the attention of a far wider audience. This was the launch of my own blogging journey. I am personally grateful to Andrew for this and I know many other bloggers feel the same way. If you are one of those then please share your story in the comments.
Partly due to Andrew’s efforts and encouragement, blogging has had a major impact on the education landscape in England. When I left the country, the debate was largely handled by traditional newspapers and trade publications written by well-meaning career journalists. These often focused on education structures or teaching gimmicks rather than the issues facing real teachers. If you have forgotten what that was like, or if you are too young to remember it, then come visit Australia.
Finally, I would commend Andrew on his personal qualities. He has limitless patience. He will make his case meticulously without resorting to personal attacks. Recently, SchoolsWeek ran an interview with Alison Peacock where she described meeting with Andrew and having an amicable chat to try and thrash out some of their differences. Andrew had previously expressed some scepticism about Peacock’s College of Teaching project.
In short, Andrew is a promoter of teacher professionalism; a profession of grown-ups; a profession with a voice that debates the issues clearly and articulately. I can think of nobody more deserving of this award.