Whatever it is you're doing, could you please do less of it?!
This, apparently, is the plaintive cry Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary for England and Wales, hears from teachers. He said this as part of his answer to a question about whether he is going to do new things or tidy up the work of his predecessors.
I don't think we can avoid innovation, especially in a field like education technology or computing. Indeed, I think we should embrace it. However, there can be little doubt that from a school point of view, innovation 'from the top' is relentless. A few years ago I was invited to address a group of trainee teachers on the topic of the government initiatives currently in place in what was then ICT (Information and Communications Technology). I stopped when I reached 40.
I had a thought, many years ago, a fantasy really, of life inside the Department for Education. I imagined someone thumping the table in a meeting, declaring "We introduced that policy two weeks ago, and nothing has happened yet. We need to do something else!"
While working at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, a joint meeting of various agencies -- the QCA, DfE, and a few others -- saw someone from the DfE almost thumping the table.
"We need to come down hard on schools that aren't implementing this policy.", he ranted.
"But who's going to do it?", asked his older colleague. "There's only you and me in the office!"
The best thing a government can do, or any leaders in school, can do I think is to create a culture of innovation. We need innovation, but it doesn't have to be relentless, and it doesn't have to always come from on high. In fact, in my experience, the best ideas frequently come from the people who have to implement them.
I've written extensively about how to create a culture of innovation, and you can browse through them below. A good starting point is the one about 5 minute innovation.