Education Jan 13 2012

Ed Miliband ought to re-start the debate about charitable status for private schools

Which school sector has most reason to feel quietly satisfied as we start 2012? Free schools benefitting from a high profile and capital investment at a time of cuts? Early converter academies with their artificially pumped up budgets? The good fortune of both must surely be trumped by that of the private sector. No mainstream […]

Education Jan 13 2012

Why we should support the parents at Downhills Primary School

Earlier this week I went to speak at a public meeting at Downhills Primary School in Tottenham. The school is being faced with ‘forced academisation’ by the government even though according to several external indicators (HMI visit and league tables) it is starting to improve. Between 2009 and 2011 the schools KS2 SATs results increasing […]

Education Dec 13 2011

Sneaky changes to the Admissions Code herald a return to the bad old days

First published in the Guardian Some months ago the Government began a consultation on the new School Admissions Code. It  came after months of nods and winks about the need to streamline the overly bureaucratic regulatory framework of the Labour years. Since its introduction in the late 1990s, the Admissions Code has undergone several incarnations. […]

Education Nov 27 2011

How Labour could respond to the Coalition’s education reforms

Some months ago I was asked to deliver a lecture to Labour Party members, and others, in David Cameron’s constituency of West Oxfordshire about how Labour should respond to the Coalition’s education reforms. The lecture was part of a series and in memory of  local activist, campaigner and educationalist Brian Hodgson. It was chaired by […]

Education Nov 8 2011

There is no plan B for schools

Last month I wrote in the Guardian about Michael Gove’s speech to the Tory Party conference. He opened his remarks by saying he wanted to tell his audience “what was changing”.  I was on a train at the time and as I struggled to make a satisfactory internet connection to hear the rest of the […]

Education Sep 15 2011

What parents really want from schools

For the past few months I have taken some time out from the daily blogging and journalism and spent time travelling around the country for a project looking into school accountability and what parents really want from schools. It has been a fascinating experience. My first encounter with “school accountability” came in the early 1990s. […]

Education Jun 18 2011

Beware of attempts to undermine Feinstein’s graph

Agreement over education policy may be rare, but the need to address persistent gaps in attainment, and vastly differing life chances, between children from different backgrounds has attracted significant all party attention. The remedies may be disputed but no one would now seriously question the need to eradicate what is undeniably a scar on British […]

Education May 11 2011

Private schools should do more than just exist to earn their charitable status

First published in Guardian Education Recent rows about social mobility, interns and Nick Clegg’s work experience have been heated and flushed out some important, if intractable, issues. Odd therefore that an imminent court case about the meaning of charitable status for private schools, an equally significant issue for future social mobility, has attracted so little […]

Education Apr 28 2011

Review into school building suggests buildings not ‘transformational’. So why do they care so much about them at Eton?

It has been fascinating to see, in the comments following the publication of the James Review into school capital funding, how many people believe that school buildings can’t have a transformational effect on children or impact on educational attainment. I wonder why it is then that the parents at schools like Eton, alma mater of […]

Education Apr 12 2011

Why we need a ‘Better Bacc’

Link to original Guardian article When I was 18, I went to America for a gap year.  It was the dark ages in terms of modern technology and I spent ten months without speaking to my parents, corresponding intermittently by post.  True, I had left school, but this followed teenage years punctuated by equally rare […]