Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Education Sat 18 Dec

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 Tue 7 Dec

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 Fri 3 Dec

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 Sun 21 Nov

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 Thu 18 Nov

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 Tue 9 Nov

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 Sun 7 Nov

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 […]

Education Tue 26 Oct

Is the New Schools Network fit to set up state schools?

Link to original post on the Local Schools Network Listening to Rachel Wolf, CEO of the New Schools Network, on Radio Four’s Today programme this morning, it was impossible to avoid the conclusion that this organisation is not really fit to set up new schools. Questioned about whether children should be taught by unqualified teachers, […]

Education Wed 20 Oct

Schools should have less freedom on admissions, not more

One area in which the Coalition government has been suspiciously quiet is school admissions. There has been talk of a ‘simplified’ Code of Practice but earlier plans to allow ‘first come first served’ waiting lists, or to give priority access to parents who start free schools have either been deemed unworkable, or are being carefully […]

Education Mon 18 Oct

When it comes to school funding, read the small print not the spin

Five months ago I wrote this column for Guardian Education and was chided by various friends and colleagues for being cynical about the overblown promise of a pupil premium and the effect it might have on schools in a risky, fluid school funding environment. Having followed the various, often conflicting versions of where school budgets […]