There is a hyperinflation of paperwork in education, says the director of a successful school in Most

Deník (Severočeský region) Most [INTERVIEW] - An educational institution will obtain seven million crowns from a foundation over the next five years. Most’s Eighth Primary School is the only one in the Ústí Region slated to obtain seven million crowns from The Kellner Family Foundation over the course of five years for the purposes of improving tuition. The Foundation is building a regional network of model public schools with a better background in the Czech Republic.

“We take our school being chosen as a challenge,” says Roman Ziegler, Director of the 8th Primary School in Most.

Why did you vie for the participation in Helping Schools Succeed?
We try to take every meaningful opportunity to improve the quality of our school’s work and also to obtain additional funds. The support as part of Helping Schools Succeed from The Kellner Family Foundation covers both – in the mid-term as well as the long-term perspective. The activities as part of the Kellner family’s involvement in the education sector guarantee the quality and relevance of the support. Finally, we wanted to see how good our work is now and if we can stand our ground compared with other schools.

Will it be difficult to satisfy the conditions for the support?
We are not worried. We want to improve and the project will help us to achieve that. It is not about making our work more difficult or creating obstacles – it’s the other way round. So I think we will manage everything. In addition, unlike many other grants, this one is much less paperwork-intensive, which is literally priceless in an era when there is a hyperinflation of paperwork in education.

What will the money be used for in particular?
The scope of the support is large in terms of both amount and reach. For the most part, the money is intended for improving the quality of work of teachers and the teaching process. The school will get its instructional coach who teachers can consult with confidence and two tandem teachers/assistants who will work with teachers during classes. A significant amount is earmarked for the training of teachers, sourcing of teaching aids and also for remuneration of school employees.

Where will you start?
We have to integrate new colleagues – the coach and the tandem teachers – so that their work will yield the greatest benefits it can. Then we have to carefully define the areas where we will primarily develop during the first phase of the support. Over the course of the academic year, we will also prepare the plan for the pedagogic development of the school and gradually prepare the teachers to create their own personal pedagogic development plans. Of course, we will start educating ourselves. The first major training undertaking will take place in August in the form of a meeting of the new project schools, followed by the Festival of Teaching Inspiration in November.

This involves a lot of money. What will you do once the flow runs dry five years later?
I have to admit that our school never had a problem obtaining finance, which is apparent when it comes to salaries and equipment – I daresay we are above the standard in both respects. So, I believe we will find other opportunities and sources. Still, I would like to live to see a day when the education sector has enough money from the government and does not have to rely so heavily on projects, grants and subsidies.

The Eighth Primary School in Most has 530 students and 50 teachers including assistants. The Kellner Family Foundation was formed in 2009 and it supports long-term educational projects and talented people growing up in underprivileged environments. Tens of schools in the Czech Republic vied for inclusion in the Helping Schools Succeed project this year. A network of selected cooperating model schools, intended to become the centres of teaching inspiration in all regions, should be completed by 2020.

Author | Martin Vokurka


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