Education Feb 5 2011

Cameron’s schools policy will damage, not encourage, integration

So David Cameron is taking a firm stand on multi-culturalism and doesn’t want “different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream”. Yet when it comes to schools his ministers are encouraging quite the opposite. The requirement on schools to promote community cohesion is going and the free schools/academies policy will […]

Education Jan 11 2011

Academy ‘spin’ not quite as it seems

So the Tory government’s academy movement has apparently reached a ‘’tipping point’. Well not quite. Unlike many  friends and colleagues, I thought last week’s announcement about the apparently extraordinary number of academies opened since the General Election smacked more of mild desperation rather that triumph. Isn’t it only six months since there were going to […]

Education Jan 8 2011

Comprehensives can do much more than just get bright pupils in to good universities

First posted on the Local Schools Network I think I am going to enjoy Simon Hughes period as the university access Tsar.  He so desperately wants to brand himself as a progressive firebrand that he can’t help shooting from the hip, then he invariably rows back and doesn’t quite deliver ( ie fulminating, then abstaining […]

Education Dec 18 2010

Reforming admissions – now that would be radical

Link to original article in Education Guardian Change, versus more of the same, is possibly the hardest worked political slogan of recent years.  So talk of more radical school reform grinds on, following last week’s  PISA report, when what is on offer is a just dull continuation of the past. Is there anything in the […]

Education Dec 7 2010

Lessons from PISA

The new PISA data is out, based on tests taken by half a million 15 year olds in 70 countries. Its key findings are here. What does it tell us? NOT that the performance of English pupils got worse but that we were outperformed by more nations than last time this data was collected in […]

Education Dec 3 2010

A great local community school

Also posted on the Local Schools Network I am getting a bit fed up of reading about the wonder of the academies so I thought I would post something about my daughter’s school. Here is how the latest Ofsted inspection report, published last week, describes it. “Parliament Hill School is a large comprehensive community school […]

Education Nov 21 2010

Why it is strong heads and teachers, supportive parents, good governance and accountability that matter

Last week I stood down as a governor of my local primary school. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I became a parent at the school in 1991. Our eldest son was offered his nursery place in the week Margaret Thatcher resigned. I became an elected parent governor when he joined the reception class […]

Education Nov 18 2010

A national funding formula would make academy status irrelevent for many schools

Originally posted on the Local Schools Network Michael Gove must be getting desperate. His latest letter to chairs of governors practically begs schools, whether good bad or indifferent, to consider academy status. Presumably this is because so few of the initial 1900 potential converts finally came good. But why would we now?  If every school […]

Education Nov 9 2010

The truth about celebrity speakers, ‘dregs sifting’ and charter schools

Link to original article in Guardian Education I have been in two minds over whether to write about Katharine Birbalsingh, the South London deputy head whose scathing attacks on state schools was lapped up at the Tory Party Conference. Over my several decades as a journalist I have seen several Katharine Birbalsinghs come and go. […]

Education Nov 7 2010

Some questions for the West London Free school

Fancy being the public face of the ‘most talked about educational project in the country’? Then here is the job for you, as the head teacher of the West London Free School. There are a number of interesting things about this school, one of the original 16 free schools approved by Michael Gove, which you […]