chapter  9
15 Pages

‘I Didn’t Know He Was Ill’: The Role and Value of the Critical Friend

WithJohn MacBeath

Schools need friends. Much has been written about the self-managing and selfimproving school but in reality there are few schools with the self-assurance and inner resources to reform themselves. Ineffective schools, which may be characterized as schools with learning difficulties, are likely to lack self-confidence, mistrust authority, and eschew risk. The more hostile and anti-educational the political environment, the greater the need for honest friends whose first impulse is to support and whose second impulse is to offer a constructively critical perspective.