It's not rocket science: a different route to social mobility....

Helen Flynn's picture
 54
So, the Coalition has come up with a new incentive for schools to reduce the gap between rich and poor in attainment and increase "social mobility".

How about this for an alternative? Take away charitable status from private schools so that some of the brightest "poor" kids cannot be lured into the private sector with free places and enticements of being "saved" from an education in maintained schools, with academic results for private schools consequently being inflated.

Hey presto, you have just created a virtuous circle. State schools get the local children of all abilities that they deserve with academic results going up accordingly. And the private schools--now with only the children of wealthy people--plummet in status for academic achievement. The Emperor's new clothes will be revealed for what they really are and we are well on our way to true social mobility. To coin the annoying meerkat's phrase: "Simples!"
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Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 07:53

At the recent conference at Brighton College, Gove commented about the "sheer scale, the breadth and the depth, of private school dominance of our society".
Only 7% of children are educated privately yet they are disproportionately represented in top universities, board rooms and Government. Private schools are regarded as elite educational establishments even though most private schools are not public schools but minor institutions which attract parents who think the education on offer is better than that offered in state schools. These small private schools flourish particularly in selective areas by taking 11+ failures.

There is no doubt that public schools have beautiful buildings and excellent facilities. Private schools do a good job with their particularly advantaged intake. However, UK state schools outperform private schools when socio-economic background is factored in.

And yet the perception exists that English private schools are better than state ones. By implication, privately-educated people in England are perceived as being “better” than state-educated ones. This is a gross insult to the 93% of children who are educated in the state system. So private schools are boosted by two things: intellectual snobbery and access to a network of like-minded people who dominate society not necessarily because of merit but because admission can be purchased.

andy's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 14:36

"There is no doubt that public schools have beautiful buildings and excellent facilities. Private schools do a good job with their particularly advantaged intake. However, UK state schools outperform private schools when socio-economic background is factored in."

Not sure I can subscribe to this Janet. For the state school system this is where FFT residuals and CVA came into their own. Too many state schools focused on the government benchmark targets, which took the school through the hoop of meeting the global target. However, what this didn't do was take proper account of the amount of under achievement that was masked by those pupils who exceeded their estimated/predicted targets. Within this scenario schools with pupils estimated/predicted under FFT to achieve B-A* grades were content for them to get the 'magical' grade C. This may get the school through the hoop but it didn't help the pupil. Whereas for several years know in the private sector schools have measured themselves against A*-A and A*-B because they recognised that A*-C was too broad and fee paying parents expected more than the standard benchmark. Thus they have pressed onwards with their goal of eradicating grade C from their vocabularly. The same is also true for AS/A2. That said, not all private schools are selective and therefore strive - as state schools should - to ensure that every pupil attain to or exceeds their estimated/predicted levels.

I would also float to you that this scenario is what was being recognised last week (or the week before) when it was being suggested that Grammar schools not be measured against A*-C but A*-B or A*-A to reflect their pupil intake.

I would suggest that if the figures were readily available an analysis would reflect a stronger private school showing that you indicate.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 15:22

andy - the data was from the last OECD PISA tests in 2009: Note that OECD describes state schools as public schools:

"On average across OECD countries, privately managed schools display a performance advantage of 30 score points on the PISA reading scale (in the United Kingdom even of 62 score points). However, once the socio-economic background of students and schools is accounted for, public schools come out with a slight advantage of 7 score points, on average across OECD countries (in the United Kingdom public schools outscore privately managed schools by 20 score points once the socio-economic background is accounted for)."

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/33/8/46624007.pdf (page 13, para 53)

andy's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 15:31

Based on the existing tools of measurement within the UK - GCSE and GCE respectively - the OECD report seems out of kilter with the reported results against the UK measurement tools:

GCSE:
You will see from this that the schools are ranked by A* and A*-A (not even B gets a mention)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/leaguetables/8774990/GCSE-results-2...

GCE
Again the tables only report A*/A passes

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/leaguetables/8775031/A-level-result...

Assuming A* is to maximum grade then I am confused as to how the OECD calculates and analyses its deductions.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 14:37

Andy


Good point.

How does the OECD "account for" differences in socio-economic background? It would be interesting to know. It seems to me that Janet et al are using this quotation in support of the assertion that the teaching in state schools is "better" than the teaching in independent schools. Since this flies in the face of the lived experience of almost everyone who has experience of both.... I'm a bit wary of whatever statistical sleight of hand OECD is employing here.

andy's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 16:31

Ricky, I fear that you may be on to something. Cherry picking often produces a sour taste ... :)

It also raises the question as to just how many posters on here are a skewed agenda e.g. are undisclosed members of the anti-independent school Education Review Group? Which would be a great shame because this stifles open and honest debate/discussion. :(

andy's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 19:31

Allan, with respect I would gently invite you to read this link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/12/independent-schools-...

which refers to undeclared members of the ERG. It is this that my comment was referring to.

For the record, I am not a Conservative or Libdem or Labour voter. All have lost my confidence and respect over the last 20 years. Neither am I a supporter of Independent Schools. After leaving the RN and prior to and post holding bursarial roles in 2 schools I taught in the state sector. Indeed, I am firm supporter of state school education but that does not stop me believing in and upholding the right of people to have the choice of utilising private education if they are able to afford it.

If you trawl this website you will see my regular and consistent criticism of both Gove and Wilshire.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 19:37

Well I for one am not cowering under any cloak. I'm just someone who is horrified at the ignorance of what's going on. I've joined the Lib Dems because it seems sensible to get involved in politics and they're the least worst going. I'm certainly not 'cowering behind them'. Don't be ridiculous.

By cloak I suppose you mean an idealist agenda. I gave them up years ago. For me idealist agendas are masks which stop people seeing clearly which they can't help but put on when they are young and can't see and should scrupulously dispose of as reality emerges.

I have no idea who Janet Downs is but she doesn't strike me as having any idealist agendas either.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 18:39

I wonder also how many undisclosed members there are here, cowering under the cloak of anonymity, from Tory central office, the Independent Schools Commission or Grammar schools Association.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 19:46

I'm sorry you took my comment so personally Andy. I wasn't talking or referring to you.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 22/05/2012 - 19:51

Rebecca

It's clear you are not cowering under any cloak and I was not referring to you. We know who you are and that you aren't hiding under an assumed name or sobriquet. I have no problem with that and I fully understand why many people are reluctant to give their real identity, either to protect themselves or their families or because it would be difficult for them, in a professional capacity. What is unpleasant and cowardly is when people hide under an assumed name or series of letters and numbers and feel that they can make personal attacks and snide comments about other posters who are much more brave and open about ther identity and where they are coming from.

eJD8owE1's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 08:58

" State schools get the local children of all abilities that they deserve with academic results going up accordingly."

Would you send your child to a school that didn't offer GCSE modern languages, didn't offer triple science and only entered children for Foundation level maths? No; you'd mortgage your house to avoid that. State schools need to be comprehensive, offering appropriate education to all. That schools exist in deprived areas which offer limited education in restricted subjects is an implicit statement that poor children don't deserve opportunity. We've ended up with a system where children in areas with high levels of deprivation are in secondary moderns without even the possibility of grammars, because bien-pensent education policy holds that poverty automatically renders all the children in the area incapable of academic work.

" So private schools are boosted by two things: intellectual snobbery and access to a network of like-minded people who dominate society not necessarily because of merit but because admission can be purchased."

That's as much about the networking of parents as about the school itself, though.

"However, UK state schools outperform private schools when socio-economic background is factored in."

It's interesting that the usual, and correct, argument against league tables --- that they may tell you about the average performance of the school, but they tell you nothing about how your child would do --- is suddenly resurrected when there's an opportunity to use it in the opposite direction. A school that does a fantastic job with EAL children from deprived backgrounds may, or may not, do an equally good job with a native speaker child from a supportive middle-class family. But the CVA doesn't help find out whether this is true.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 09:43

I understand your point eJD8owE1. But do we actually have secondary state schools which are only offering foundation maths at present? If so I'd like to know. I suspect it's more the case that there are schools which are not really teaching the top end of higher provision well and I understand this gives both able students and parents real and justified cause for concern.

Would it be fair to express your point as being that before even considering Helen's suggestion we need to ensure either that state schools all either have high quality top set cohorts in which the kind of teaching which is going on will stretch all students including the very able or that very able student can access alternative state provision nearby which will suit them?

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 10:07

eJD80wE1 - I agree that state secondary schools need to be comprehensive and offer appropriate education to all. However, it's untrue that children in areas with high levels of deprivation are in secondary moderns - this is only true where a schools has an ability range skewed towards the bottom end and these schools are more likely to be found in selective areas where the top 25% are creamed off to go to grammar schools. That said, these schools with a skewed ability range can still offer a good education even when they underperform. The Educational Endowment Fund found in 2011 that many underperforming schools were nevertheless doing a good job in difficult circumstances.

http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/uploads/pdf/EEF_target_school...

You mention the CVA measure - it no longer exists, the Government has scrapped it despite the OECD saying that it's a measure which goes some way to judging the performance of different schools. You are correct, of course, to say that the overall performance of a school doesn't indicate how a school would help one particular child with particular needs. That's why relying on league table position is unreliable and misleading.

eJD8owE1's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 10:56

We certainly have schools which do not offer GCSE MFL and do not offer triple science. As to foundation maths, it's more de facto than de jure: schools where very few pupils are entered, and all the teaching is focussed on Foundation Tier material, or where the "top" set contains people targeting Foundation.

Your second paragraph is bang-on. Schools which don't have viable top sets will not attract parents of children who need to be in top sets, and they will move heaven and earth to avoid these schools. Children in the sets adjacent to the top will likewise be discouraged, and so on down. Rather than hatching schemes to disadvantage schools people are willing to pay twice for, it would be better to hatch schemes to improve schools people will not attend at any price.

eJD8owE1's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 11:00

"However, it’s untrue that children in areas with high levels of deprivation are in secondary moderns. this is only true where a schools has an ability range skewed towards the bottom end and these schools are more likely to be found in selective areas where the top 25% are creamed off to go to grammar schools"

De facto, schools without top sets targeting the upper end of GCSEs are secondary moderns. It doesn't require the intake to be creamed for that to happen, and even in areas with either no grammars or only super-selectives (whose impact on each individual school is very small) there are plenty of schools which have absolutely shocking academic performance. The reasons are complex, aren't as simple as "poor teachers" or "poor parents" (for many senses of "poor"), but attempting to claim that schools with below the floor standards of GCSE attainment are like that because of grammar schools is simply false.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 11:31

eJD80wE1 - you seem to be agreeing with me without realising it. I made it clear that a school where an ability range is skewed toward the bottom range can be considered a secondary modern and these were more likely, but not exclusively, in selective areas. However, in selective areas there is a greater danger of non-selective schools failing to reach the benchmark - Lincolnshire County Council has recognised this and decided that the answer is to dump all responsibility for its schools and advise them all to become academies.

A "shocking academic performance" may not necessarily indicate that the education in the school is poor (see Education Endowment Fund above). Neither does a high academic performance necessarily indicate that a school is offering a good education. Ofsted failed a grammar school in 2009 - sometimes high results mask an inferior education. Again, this demonstrates the fallibility of league tables as a sole measure of achievement.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7959129.stm

eJD8owE1's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 16:02

"A “shocking academic performance” may not necessarily indicate that the education in the school is poor "

Good luck convincing those that currently send their children to a private school that a school which manages to get children arriving with 3 at KS2 through GCSE at grade C --- ie, an amazingly good performance in value-add terms --- will do an equally good job with their KS2 5 child. Not only will they not be convinced, they'd be right not to be. Look at an excellent school in value add terms like http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=10... --- why are the high achievers doing _half_ of their GCSE-stage qualifications as non-GCSE? Good luck convincing parents who understand the implications of that to send their children there.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 17:18

I would guess that that school cannot properly timetable appropriate provision at KS4 because it is so small.

If the school you selected had been of a normal size of a secondary school - with the same proportions of high, medium and low attainers, they would have had a 'top set cohort' of high achievers for whom an appropriate curriculum could have been timetabled.

I remain very concerned about this government's decision to open very small secondary schools.

eJD8owE1's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 21:46

The size issue is a good point, but for so long as sentimentality means schools are being kept going at non-viable sizes, parents who don't for whatever reason know how to avoid them will continue to end up at them.

It's not as though Birmingham has a shortage of small schools with poor results at the upper end: just in the south west, there are http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=13... and http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=10... for starters, and http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=10.... All are, from memory, 1950s secondary moderns, rebranded as comprehensives but always in the shadow of other schools close to them, in areas that (for different reasons) provide insufficient local children, mostly post-war social housing. One is an 11-16 comp with 326 pupils. Not 326 per year; 326 total. It doesn't need to become an academy (itself the source of much local debate), it needs to close or merge.

But it isn't just size. http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=10... has only 26% making expected progress in Maths, and has well over a thousand pupils.

These are all schools that no parent who actually has a choice would send their child to. I'd home educate, or sell my house and live in a shed, rather than send my children to any of them. Until people who support the state, comprehensive system face up to the fact that there are a lot of schools that you simply wouldn't send your own children to even if the alternative were destitution, the debate will not make progress. There are schools which are educationally hopeless, and can never attract any children whose parents are remotely interested in education. Accept that. Now, what do we do about it?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 13:37

Classic Rebecca!

Here's a school rated outstanding, scoring a 1 on every single Ofsted measure at its last inspection, but our Rebecca dismisses it nonetheless and reckons "it cannot timetable appropriate provision" and with a KS4 cohort of 114 is "too small".

Rebecca says they can’t have a proper top set. What does Ofsted say about that?

Teaching is outstanding overall. Students are fully engaged and learn very enthusiastically in all their subjects. Teachers are seeking to increase the proportion of A* and A grades in GCSE English, mathematics and science by increasing the challenge offered to the most able students.

Rebecca reckons size constrains curriculum and timetabling. What does Ofsted say?

The curriculum is outstanding. It makes a major contribution to the students’ academic success and to their excellent spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The curriculum helps students to develop into very thoughtful, independent and confident young people.

Rebecca is always trying to excuse the useless schools in West Cumbria on grounds of ‘challenging circumstances’. How about Park View’s circumstances?

Almost all students are from minority ethnic groups and speak English as an additional language. The number of students known to be eligible for free school meals is much higher than the national average. The proportion of students with special educational needs and/or disabilities is well above average as is the percentage with a statement of special educational needs.

There may be other reasons for the non-GCSEs.
(Hint: the school has a business specialism and serves a largely Asian catchment).

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 23:58

eJD8owE1 I do agree with the thrust of your point but I'm going to try to flesh out some of your points because I think wider perspectives are needed before we can begin to answer your question.

I taught in a school of the type you're describing and while I understand and accept that some parents held precisely your view point others did not. We did have some children from educated backgrounds or stable backgrounds with bright children who chose to stay at the school with the full support of their parents through the most difficult times. I would say those children did achieve lower grades than they would have achieved at higher attaining schools but having also worked in schools with 6th forms which absorb these children and seen how we support them in catching up I'm not convinced they are significantly disadvantaged by their experiences - although I accept that they could be - most obviously in situations where small schools are unable to appoint high quality specialist staff. The bright students who come through these schools and go on to be high achievers seem to me to have something special about them. They are typically very capable and mature.

By the way I'm the kind of parent who watches my children carefully and helps each makes decisions based on their own personalities. Some children have the kinds of personalities where they will thrive - even in situations like these - while others will not. If I thought my child was failing to thrive I would first try to rectify that situation within their local school but if I realised I could do that I would get them out too.


I have come across schools which have been educationally hopeless, but having spent the last 3 decades looking at this problem I have seen them turned round in many ways and I see such situations as being situations to be addressed and rectified. However I think the ending of local planning could cause the number of such situations to rapidly escalate to levels we cannot manage and this worries me greatly. So in answer to your questions 'What do we do about it?' - before anything else we need to urgently look at the infrastructure of state education and reinstate a coherent system for local planning and monitoring of schools.

"so long as sentimentality means schools are being kept going at non-viable sizes"
Having worked in a school of a non-viable size I'd like to explain a little about the issues associated with closing them.
Closing a community school is not an easy or instant process. There needs to be proper consultation so that the issues can be understood and the alternative provisions for the children involved properly examined. Phased closures are often needed (typically moving year 7 &10 the first year and the rest of the students the next year so that no students have a split key stage 4) and these are complicated to plan and correctly staff. Staffing issues need to be carefully considered or you will not have the staff you need to deliver the changes. There are significant costs associated with closure and these need to be planned for and funded from somewhere.

There are other benefits of having a school in a community which are not taken into account when these decisions are made - despite your claims of schools being kept open for sentimental reasons. For example in the community where my schools was the school provided a substantial adult ed. centre, the large school hall was a local 'venue' for bands and the school had other functions - for example on Wednesday nights three would be classes of dogs being trained in each corridor area... These things do have a value to a community which has virtually no other resources but no - they are not costed in in the decision making process so your claims of keep schools open for 'sentimental reasons' not clear cut. What seems to be happening is that schools are staying open because there needs to be coherent local planning to close them - and the infrastructures and bodies which would plan and take responsibilities for these closures are being shut down and dis-empowered. Michael Gove assumed that schools would just 'fail and close'. This was a ludicrous assumption. Forcing these schools to become academies will make the situation worse not better - although schools staying in LAs which are underfunded and undermined is not a good solution either. I agree with you that there needs to be substantial restructuring but don't see how that can happen without local area wide planning and resource unless you want things to get much worse and completely collapse.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 16:24

Which school are you talking about Ricky?

I was talking about the small schools with poor results I've been discussing with eJD8owE1. Why have you joined in and what are you on about?

andy's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 16:43

Oh, dear Ricky, how could you join a conversation without a formal invitation. Shame on you. On top of that you appear not to know what you're talking about ...

;)

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 17:17

Rebecca

Which school are you talking about Ricky?

I am talking about Park View.

That's the school cited by eJ (I hope he doesn't mind me calling him eJ) on 15/05/12 at 4:02.

I would have thought you'd know that Rebecca, since you delivered all sorts of opinions about this school and its....ahem......problems.

I was talking about the small schools with poor results I’ve been discussing with eJD8owE1.

POOR RESULTS!!?? You cannot be seriously saying that a 72% headline + 49% of low attainers getting 5 A*-C inc M&E is a poor result?

Or maybe you never even bothered to follow the original link and had no idea while you were pompously sounding off about the causes of this school's "poor results" and telling us how its small size was hampering its curriculum and so on, that's its results were, like its Ofsted grading, outstanding.


Why have you joined in and what are you on about?

Although I have contemplated joining the many others on this site and elsewhere who have publicly pledged never to engage with you on any subject ever again on account of your rudeness, the fact is that I just can't resist setting you straight when you start spouting ill-informed nonsense. (I'll have to learn though, 'cos this could easily become a full time job.)

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 23:14

I find it amusing that you two have decided to go for me rather than the poster who was criticising the schools for not getting enough As and A*s. Those Ofsted comments don't exactly indicate As and A*s are brilliant by the way. Are they?

If you want to pick my arguments apart I suggest you rigorously separate challenging my points from challenging me as a person. Just a hint.

Helen were you in meeting room 14 tonight? I didn't see you but judging by this post I'm guessing you were?

That was a classic when Sir M walked out.....

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 11:11

Those Ofsted comments don’t exactly indicate As and A*s are brilliant by the way. Are they?

I don't know the number of A*s and As, but the average point score per pupil for HAs is >414 and the average GCSE grade is B+, so I'd guess there must be a respectable number. Better certainly than Cockermouth, which you tell us is a good school and fortunate in its catchment.

andy's picture
Sun, 20/05/2012 - 13:00

Ricky, your overview of Park View is welcome and accurate. For those that want to address the quality of this outstanding school from the perspective of data I suggest they read the performance table publishsed by DFE and then correlate this to the Ofsted report: particularly the preamble describing the school and then move to Headteachers own analysis that she is already focusing on uplifting the numbers acheiving A*/A in the drive to enrich the Ofsted outstanding status:

http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=10...

It is notable that set against 13% SEN, 90.6% of pupils do not have English as their first language and 58.6% receive Free school Meals the school produces:

72% 5 A*-C (E&M)
90% 5 A*-C
99% 1 A*-G
100% Acheiving at least one qualification
80% Make expected progress in English
85% Make expected progress in Maths
Best 8 Value Added - 1055.4

I'm not Ofsted trained so I could just be wrong here but I reckon that's pretty darned good example of an Outstanding School. Not only that but the Headteacher already knows where her next foci are (e.g. uplifting A*/A and the 5 A*-C with E&M - current 72% undershoots compared to expected progress being 80/85% respectively for E&M).

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provi...

"The headteacher is supported very ably by the deputy headteacher and the leadership team. All staff are focused relentlessly on further improvement and work together outstandingly well. Plans are evaluated rigorously and followed through. Morale is very high. Promotion of equality of opportunity is at the heart of the school’s work, creating a very positive and harmonious atmosphere. Park View is a truly inclusive school in which there is no evidence of discrimination and students, sometimes with major disabilities, are welcomed as members of the school community. The headteacher and other leaders review teachers’ planning, monitor the quality of lessons, and scrutinise students’ work outstandingly well. Teachers have been able to develop their expertise through very well-targeted professional development courses and through opportunities to observe the best practice of their colleagues in the school.

The headteacher’s informative reports, together with other relevant information, enable the governing body to monitor progress towards targets within the school development plan. The governing body provides excellent strategic direction and challenge and is involved fully and systematically in evaluating the school. Financial management is exemplary and the school offers outstanding value for money.

"Outstanding leadership practice and an exemplary track record since its last inspection fully illustrate the school’s excellent capacity to improve further."

eJD8owE1's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 15:50

There's also the simple matter that plans to do down private schools fail financially.

Let's assume that you're going to remove charitable status from all private schools . Note, of course, that many small private schools don't _have_ charitable status, and are straightforward businesses, but let's put that to one side. The main advantage charities have is that they don't pay output VAT and may, under some circumstances, nonetheless be able to reclaim input VAT. So at best, this is a 16.7% discount off the price a commercial operation would have to charge; something that a charity can do for £100 would require a business that has to pay VAT to charge up to £120, depending on how much input VAT they can offset.

Imagine the result of removing charitable status from private schools were to be that a lot of children demanded the state places they're entitled to. You'd have to expand state education by 7.5%, and the only extra money you'd have to do it with would be the 20% VAT chargeable on the rump of children remaining in private schools. You'd have to find buildings to put them in, too.

You can play with the numbers all you like, but it's a death spiral: the more successful the scheme, the more financially catastrophic it is. At the limit in which all private education ceases tomorrow morning, you have 7% more people in the state education sector and not a penny more in revenue to pay for it. In fact, you'd have less than that, because even if you assume that everyone employed in the private sector gets jobs in the state sector (ie, that income tax revenues aren't affected), one likely home for the money that parents are currently paying in school fees is pension funds, which are income tax exempt.

Like the congestion charge, this is a scheme that only works if there are enough people willing to pay the extra charge. Had the congestion charge resulted in everyone getting the tube, there would have been insufficient farebox revenue to support all the extra users. Likewise, if you remove charitable status, you only have enough money from the VAT on the remaining fees to fund the extra places if and only a small number of pupils transfer. Assuming that the fees paid in private schools are twice the cost of providing the equivalent places in the state sector, then at a transfer rate of 20% (ie, 20% of pupils in private education leave, 80% remain) you have a 1.4% increase in places you need to provide with a 2.2% increase in budget, so it's all good. At a 40% transfer rate you have a 2.8% increase in the places you need with a 1.7% increase in budget, so you're in trouble, and at a 60% transfer rate you have a 4.2% increase in places with a 1.1% increase in budget, so you're screwed.

And this is before you consider that whacking the prices of private education up by 20% won't affect the rich one whit, as it's still only the price of a cheap ski holiday per year or the difference between changing your estate car every three and every four years. The people it would affect would be the ambitious middle classes, who would (accurately) see this as being the behaviour of a government that wanted to remove opportunity from the "squeezed middle". Few would believe that the outcome would be an improvement in state schools, and the politics (the art of the possible, remember?) would be impossible. In reality, all that would happen is that the rich wouldn't care, the middle-classes would reduce their pension contributions yet further and spend less money elsewhere in the economy, and children on assisted places would be cast loose into their local comp with no extra budget. Bad educational policy, suicidal politics.

Tim Bidie's picture
Tue, 15/05/2012 - 19:22

Great idea!

Make it entirely voluntary for children offered bursaries by private schools to accept or not.

Freedom of choice in its purest form.

Although I am surprised that local schools aren't getting children of all abilities.

As Janet would say...Supporting evidence, please!

eJD8owE1's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 07:09

But Rebecca, "The bright students who come through these schools and go on to be high achievers seem to me to have something special about them. They are typically very capable and mature" is post hoc bias at its most obvious. Clearly, the bright students who survive in bad environments will be the very best, and may find themselves in some way improved by it. But what about the bright students who would have done well in a decent school, but are ground down, or insufficiently supported by their parents, or not well enough taught, and fail? You don't know what they would have achieved, because you never see them: they're just more roadkill in a bad school.

"However I think the ending of local planning could cause the number of such situations to rapidly escalate to levels we cannot manage and this worries me greatly"

Let's take an example of local planning: Shenley Court School. Not small: it had been to 2000, and was at the time at 1500. It hadn't been failing: it had been sending children to Oxford and Cambridge in significant numbers each year up until the mid-1990s. Its catchment includes the aforementioned BVT, but parents there got wind of the problems and fled, leaving the intake biassed towards FSM (40%). Then the governors fell asleep and they appointed an inadequate head and the school was rapidly plunged into special measures. Now this was a fully LEA-controlled school, with all the "accountability" and "local control" you can want: the chair of governors' own children had gone there, and he lived within easy walking distance. So what did this LEA, local, accountable school end up like? This isn't ancient history: this is 2005. I care, because it's the school I went to in the 1970s. Tell me: would you send your children to this school? Do you think the brighter children ended up with a special maturity?

"The poor behaviour of a significant minority dominates because they wilfully flout authority on a regular basis and have no respect for school rules. They are not consistently held to account by staff."

"Pupils are not challenged to do their best in many lessons and teachers do not manage pupils effectively so learning suffers. The school relies on a number of supply and temporary teachers and learning often lacks continuity. Although lessons are often soundly planned they lack tasks that are pitched at suitable levels to extend learning for different groups. In many lessons, too little work is expected of pupils and homework is not used to reinforce the learning in class. Work is not marked on a regular basis and pupils are left unclear on how well they are doing or how they can improve."

"The curriculum is unsatisfactory. Not all statutory requirements are met and many subjects fail to provide a satisfactory education." "The school has a poor approach to the care and welfare of pupils, including their health and safety, and does too little to canvass their views and act upon them. Support, advice and guidance are unsatisfactory."

"Leadership and management are poor and the leadership of the headteacher is poor. The vision for the school is not being achieved. Monitoring, evaluation and support for improving behaviour, achievement, assessment and care are ineffective. The school has faced significant problems in recent years in replacing teaching staff, and existing staff resources are not always deployed to good effect."

"Governance is unsatisfactory and has not ensured that all statutory requirements are met. Most governors are remote from the daily life of the school so do not ask sufficiently probing questions. Financial management is poor."

"Parents are generally very dissatisfied with the school and the quality of education it provides. The majority feel strongly that the school is failing their children and that the partnership they have with the school is flawed in many areas. Parents, pupils and students share major concerns about behaviour and the quality of teaching in the school. They all feel that their views are not sufficiently canvassed or respected. "

• GCSE results have fallen since the last inspection and standards are well below average or very low when compared to the national picture
• Low expectations of pupils, changes of staff teaching courses and poor behaviour by some pupils, play a significant part in their underachievement

"The Internet was seen being used in an inappropriate manner by some pupils during the period of the inspection, when pornographic images were downloaded onto the school’s computers."

"Poor behaviour is not consistently managed and staff often ignore or tolerate behaviour that is far from acceptable. There are areas of the school where pupils try not to go and groups with whom they try not to mix because they feel unsafe. The exclusion rate is very high; sanctions are not working because the school rules are not respected or followed up consistently by all staff. For example, smoking is widespread around the school and takes place frequently at the front gate untroubled by any reprimand from staff. Incidents such as jostling and fighting on the staircases seen during the inspection were not dealt with firmly or followed up by staff. The message thereby conveyed to pupils is that poor behaviour is acceptable"

"Poor behaviour is not consistently managed and staff often ignore or tolerate behaviour that is far from acceptable. There are areas of the school where pupils try not to go and groups with whom they try not to mix because they feel unsafe. The exclusion rate is very high; sanctions are not working because the school rules are not respected or followed up consistently by all staff. For example, smoking is widespread around the school and takes place frequently at the front gate untroubled by any reprimand from staff. Incidents such as jostling and fighting on the staircases seen during the inspection were not dealt with firmly or followed up by staff. The message thereby conveyed to pupils is that poor behaviour is acceptable."

"Few staff carry out duties around the school before and after school, and during break and lunch periods. Senior staff are fully aware of the serious misbehaviour that takes place and have an inappropriately low profile during these times. As a result, pupils smoke on the school premises, some run down the roadway into the school at the end of the day in a very dangerous manner, serious fights take place where pupils are hurt, lavatories are considered unsafe by many of the pupils and bullying takes place in the corridors as pupils move around the school. Pupils avoid certain corridors if they can, where they believe the worst bullying will take place. Some pupils are intimidated by others."

"An agency has been employed to provide additional adult supervision during the school day, trying to reduce incidents of truancy, misconduct in the corridors and poor behaviour in lessons. The presence of these few adults has little effect in a school of over 1500 pupils, where many teaching and support staff lack the confidence to carry out their duties around the school. The inconsistency in practices between the two groups of staff is unhelpful and the division of responsibility between specialist agency staff and pastoral staff is not clear."

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 08:52

"You don’t know what they would have achieved, because you never see them: "

I saw them. I cared for them day in day out and always did my best for them. I worked my backside off to see that every child who was reasonably motivated achieved results which did them credit and I worked relentlessly to make sure we did our absolute best to engage every child who was not engaged or motivated for whatever reason. And to be honest the vast majority of teachers I've worked with in these situations were just as dedicated as I was. So it's not appropriate for you to say that we do not see the issues eJD8owE1. Yes we fail some children. Yes some of the children we teach do not achieve the results they would have achieved had they been mixed with high achieving cohorts in better resourced schools.

We can do one of two things eJD8owE1. We can either look at situations where there is substantial failure and denigrate everyone involved and demand a revolution - as Michael Gove has done, or we can look at this situations and examine what has gone wrong in two ways:
Firstly in order to hold those accountable to account and to ensure that such problems to not recur.
Secondary by looking at situations where similar situations have been turned round and working out how best to fix the problem.

eJD8owE1's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 09:40

" And to be honest the vast majority of teachers I’ve worked with in these situations were just as dedicated as I was"

To quote again:

“Few staff carry out duties around the school before and after school, and during break and lunch periods. Senior staff are fully aware of the serious misbehaviour that takes place and have an inappropriately low profile during these times. As a result, pupils smoke on the school premises, some run down the roadway into the school at the end of the day in a very dangerous manner, serious fights take place where pupils are hurt, lavatories are considered unsafe by many of the pupils and bullying takes place in the corridors as pupils move around the school. Pupils avoid certain corridors if they can, where they believe the worst bullying will take place. Some pupils are intimidated by others.”

The school was closed and re-opened as an Academy, at a little over a third the size, with a "super head" (who turned around the school mentioned in the other thread about forced academies) and is now improving, although it had to use massive numbers of exclusions. The governors ("remote from the daily life of the school so do not ask sufficiently probing questions") were all dismissed, even though the chair was a former Mayor of the city. That's Gove's revolution, although under Labour. What would you have done instead? Why, in 2005, did the LEA and governor system, which we're told provides accountability, fail so completely?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 10:03

"Why, in 2005, did the LEA and governor system, which we’re told provides accountability, fail so completely?"

I don't know, I wasn't there. I suspect we may actually need different systems of governance and planning in substantial urban areas to those which are needed in more rural areas and that one of the problems we have it that we keep trying to create one system and apply it everywhere but I haven't enough experience to comment in detail on this.

Shutting the failing schools in the most deprived areas and reopening them with a new management structure was a coherent approach to these situations. There are other approaches which could have been used but weren't and would, perhaps have been better. I went to a very seriously failing school myself as a child in the days before Ofsted and it was rapidly sorted out when the LA removed the head, put in place someone competent and assisted that person in addressing the issues the school faced. But that was in the days when LAs has some resources and power. In the later stages of the Labour government the academies policy was being revised and developed and substantial concerns about the way in which this policy had been 'rolled out' to situations beyond those for which it was intended were being explored. It was only a coherent policy for small numbers of failing schools in urban areas. One of the problems it had was that there was no plan for the rest of our schools and again, in the later stages of the labour government such plans did emerge - albeit that they were rushed and poorly managed.

I don't see any coherent link between what Labour were doing and this government is doing apart, perhaps, from the observation that this government seems to be doing more of the discredited bits and shutting down the good bits. If you take a small number of schools out of LA control to give them focused specialist attention of a particular type that's not the same as forcing all schools to leave the LA even if the same word is used.

I don't see there being some failure in some LAs or even substantial failure in some as being a good reason to shut down them all. It seems obvious to me that we should try to understand and fix the problems and consider the consequences of demolishing the entire system before deciding to do so.

andy's picture
Wed, 16/05/2012 - 09:32

Yes, t the answer lies in the operation and application of the Charities Commission laws relating to charitable status. The changes made by the last labour government caused much consternation amongst the private school fraternity. As a former Bursar and Clerk to the Governors at such an institution, I recall in 2000 the frentic activity within ISIS regarding capturing data of bursaries and exhorting members to fund more places. The DfES at the time authored a document on bridging the gap between private and public through joint ventures (chiefly focused on the private sector making their facilities and teaching expertise more readily available to local public schools). The private sector were very unsettled at the thought of losing their chairtable status. At my school I set about preparing a report to the Governors on a phased approach to relinquishing the status, and whether the school could survive it. We were not alone.

It was true then a remains so today that if charitable status were to be removed from private schools:

1. At a national level the public sector does not have the capacity to absorb the displaced students.
2. A significant number of private schools would continue even without the benefit of charitable status. This is amply evidenced by Chris Woodhead’s venture with the Cognita private school chain, which are not registered as charities and not only exist but have grown (including buying out ailing private schools).
3. The number of parents that currently afford and opt into private education would not significantly change – even with an increase if fees post removal of charitable status.
4. Several larger private school chains and individual schools e.g. UCST, Woodard Trust, Wellington, Dulwich, Eton, Harrow have successfully established themselves in the labour led acadamies explosion (e.g. ULT and Woodard Academies Trust). This almost certainly means that they would retain their charitable status because through the academies they are providing free education for all comers.

On top of that no government cannot simply pass a piece of legislation making non-publicly funded education illegal.

So, for me, the proposal is anything but "simples".

The proposition is also somewhat flawed because it is based on the assumption that an influx of students from the private sector would automatically raise the attainment levels in public schools and reduce attainment in the remaining private schools. This is a wholly unfounded assumption with no evidence to support it. It is just a likely that the former private students will end up mirroring the achievement of the school they enter and the private school results will continue undiminished.

Helen Flynn's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 06:59

Two points:
1. Most top performing countries have negligible private sectors
2. Janet may have the answer to this: has anyone taken out the bright "poor" kids there on bursaries from the results at private schools and see what we have left in terms of high attainment? I recently heard from an admissions tutor at Cambridge university that of the poorest students there in terms of socio-economic background over 50% come from private schools. Cambridge are on schedule to take 68% of their intake from state schools this year. Imagine if those bright kids went to their local schools rather than being poached by the private sector, how much higher that number would be?

andy's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 07:54

Helen:

1. But it is also accurate to say that those countries have never a large private sector and have therefore never faced the transition issues. What your observation does do, is reinforce the position that those parents that can afford alternative (private) education for their children do just that (irrespective of the quality of the state provision).

2. It will be very difficult to aascertain with any accuracy the percentage of pupils attending private schools under genuine bursary schemes. That is to say, those schools that cover 100% of the fes through internal bursary funds for students from 'poor' families. Indeed, I suspect that the best one might expect is a rough global figure across the piece from ISIS. From my personal experience as a bursar in two private schools - Middlesex all girls and Surrey co-ed Pre-preparatory to middle school and the regional bursar's meetings - bursaries covered approx 2.5-5% of all students across all age groups. From this I would suggest that the balance of probability is that:

1. Even if one made bursaries illegal - which is what is being implied in this discussion - it would not make a tangible difference to the state schools who gained the 'bright poor' students.

2. The loss of 2-5 - 4% of their student roll would barely register on the performance of private schools at GCSE or GCE.

It is then my opinion that the inference that stopping bursaries would somehow uplift state school performance is not tenable. Additionally, and as highlighted in my earlier comment, even if one had a magic wand to withdraw charitable status and cause the collapse of perhaps 2/3rds of the private sector there is absolutely no guarantee that the influx of 'bright' children would create a sustained uplift in state school performance. For me then this is another exercise in esaier said than done.

Those parents who can afford it will always find a way to educate their children outside the state sector. It is also probably that the private sector would find ways of pruning back the overheads to make their fee structure more palatable (e.g. a variation of a theme on the Cognita model). It is also true to say that a goodly majority of teachers in the private sector would probably prefer to take a pay cut to keep their schools afloat than move across to the state school structure.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 08:39

Imagine if those bright kids went to their local schools rather than being poached by the private sector, how much higher that number would be?

Only 7% of the population attend independent schools.

Not every one of those 7% is a high attainer.

Some of those who are high attainers are only so because they enjoy the advantages of private education (smaller classes, focus on attainment, positive peer-pressures etc.).

Distributing them equally across all state schools would not make a huge difference.

Helen, what puzzles me is your assumption that 'ability' determines outcomes. Isn't that tantamount to saying that teachers can (and do) make no difference?

Helen Flynn's picture
Wed, 23/05/2012 - 15:41

There is no way we can test the efficacy of private schools as they are not accountable in the same way as state schools.
What you are proposing here, if your assertion is true that teaching is better in the private system (and that is a massive "if") is an educational apartheid. You would support that and expect people to trample over others in an attempt to get "some of that" and would call that "aspiration" and think that is right and good. Might as well give up on social justice, true social mobility and any real level of civilisation, then? I know that we pretty much have already done that, but whilst there is some hope left of devising an equitable and excellent system, I know which side I will be on--and I am not a socialist by any stretch of the imagination. Just someone who cares about all young people being able to reach their potential and have equality of opportunity without the system being geared against them right from the get-go.

andy's picture
Thu, 24/05/2012 - 18:36

Helen: Private schools are accountable. They are accountable to their parents. In crude terms poor results equals reduced pupils numbers which in turn leads to going out of business. It could be argued that maintained schools whether accountable to their LA or directly to DFE have less rigorous accountablility in that if their results are poor they get taxpayers money thrown at them to try and remedy the situation.

Moving from the theoretical discourse to a personal opinion, I believe that the pejorative hyperbolic language of private education being characterised as educational aparthied is errant emotional nonsense. The other side of the 'apartheid' statement is that it has its roots in the politics a envy and totalitarianiam.

Even if it were possible (which it simply isn't in the UK) to scrap private education this would simply cause more problems than potential benefits. There is absolutely no evidence that all of the 7% in private schools are academically bright. I suggest those that believe they are filled 100% academically bright pupils should surf the net and trawl the schools and ISC. It will then become clear that a significant number of private schools are not selective and a sizeable number have specialist SEN support available to pupils that need it. There are many posters then that need to take their rose tinted (and some green framed) glasses off and get to grips with the reality of the privates school market place.

I went to an all boys secondary modern school but don't hold that against my friends who went to the local grammar. Neither do I believe that parents who can afford private education should be forcibly denied the opportunity to pay for their children to attend such schools. I also believe that teachers have the inalienable right to choose whether they want to work in the state or private sectors.

The Finnish success story has little to do with scrapping their private schools and owes far more to root and branch changes to the curriculum, school age, removal of high stakes public examinations, all mixed ability, removal of competitiveness etc. It is the latter elements that are at the heart of their education system of equality of opportunity.

Tim Bidie's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 15:16

'Take away charitable status from private schools so that some of the brightest “poor” kids cannot be lured into the private sector with free places'.

Here's a thought.

We live in a democratic country.

Let's ask the parents of 'some of the brightest “poor” kids' and the children themselves what they think about this idea.

Oh! We don't have to because they write about it constantly, themselves:

http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-education-news/2011/12/...

http://www.belmont.bz/commentary/2011/10/14/happy-birthday-lady-thatcher/

Tim Bidie's picture
Thu, 17/05/2012 - 18:41

'Take away charitable status from private schools so that some of the brightest “poor” kids cannot be lured into the private sector with free places'

We live in a democracy.

How would those children, and their parents, thus deprived, feel about it?

Oh! We know the answer to that already!

'Reliance was sought to be placed by some parents on indications given
before May 1997 by the then Opposition that assisted pupils already in
the system would continue to receive support when transferring to
secondary education within an ‘all through’ school. One child’s parents
fought the termination of support all the way to the Court of Appeal,
which held, inter alia, that ministers were not bound by pre-election
promises.'

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 12:53

The think is that if you take any school and you add to it a small number of exceptionally bright and hard working children it makes on heck of a difference to that school.

They set the standard and allow the children around them to slipstream into substantial achievement without them having to carry all the personal challenge and baggage that goes with being brightest.

Schools have always understood the benefits to their existing children of having such children in their midst.

It is the case that if the children who got the scholarships were gifted but unmotivated it would be them who benefited from the experience of being challenged by harder working students. But it's not those kids the private schools give the scholarships to - its it?

This 'civic duty' stuff it plausible but naive and/or deliberately misleading. The individual child may benefit but how does the community benefit? It's the children who achieve amazing things from their communities who go home and give back more than they were given. Not those who 'were lucky enough to escape from being part of their community'.

I mean look at Michael Gove for example - he got such a scholarship. He would have been much better off learning to understand and be part of his community. Then he would have known a little about life and would never have been capable of making such ludicrous decisions and believing they were vaguely sensible in any way.

There should be good provision for gifted children within the state system. Gifted children (both those who hare specifically able at one thing and those who were roundly academically gifted) used to be treated alongside SEN children and considered for moves between schools if their needs were not being properly met and those need include, of course, the need to be stretched in class.

I'm not against private schools before anyone jumps down my throat - I'm just engaging in this discussion to explore relevant points.

andy's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 17:19

Like the sharing Tim.

So it's now enshrined in case law that politicians can't be held accountable for their pre-election promises. Add to that the post election shinaneghans and it proves that politicians cannot be trusted or held account whether it is pre or post election!

But hey, the great news is a light sprinkling of private school pupils can lead the way to astonishing improvements in state schools! That's where Gove got it wrong. Instead of injecting DNA fro private schools via sponsoring academies, he needed to parachute a few pupils in ...

;D

Tim Bidie's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 18:54

Except for those pesky Norwegians!

'In general, private schools functioned as of 2003-04 in such a way within the larger
Norwegian system of basic education that any social segregation effect on the whole
education system was minimal or non-existent.

The internationally more general implication could be that private provisions of education which receive generous public finance but with strict eligibility criteria as to type of school for such financing, need not have socially divisive consequences.

There is no iron law of social life which says that private schools necessarily must perpetuate social class inequality in the education system. Rather, it is likely that socioeconomic bias in selection to private schools will depend on the societal and local context, on the financial provisions for support to such schools, and on the regulatory framework governing such support.'

ww.llakes.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/S.-Private-Schools-and-Social-Class-Segregation-in-Norway.pdf

andy's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 19:48

Thanks for the link Tim.

"There is no iron law of social life which says that private schools necessarily must perpetuate social class inequality in the education system. "

I would also argue that since the end of the second world war the issue of social segregation / class structure has diminished. Not vanished but is less rigid and acess to private schools has has likewise become more flexible e.g. affording the fees is of greater priority than the academic ability of the child. Thus the explosion of the nouveau rich has widened access to the middle classes. Yes, most children have to sit an entrance exam but access/acceptance is now more dependent on how badly a child fails to hit the ideal pass marks than simply sit-fail-rejected. From that perspective I would also moot that attendance at a private school does not automatically confer on a child the apptitude to be considered as "exceptionally bright and hardworking." Indeed, as I suggested in an earlier comment, if you dismantle the private sector and lumped all the kids (all 7% of the compulsory education aged pupils - by no means all of whom are "exceptionally bright and hardworking") into state schools, I personally suspect that a significant number of them would end up performing to the level of the pupils around them. There are several reasons for this, some of which are: the increased class sizes and longer ability tail in state school teaching groups (e.g. top set in the core usually means A*-C), overall behavioural conduct found in state schools and albeit with some exceptions teaching colleagues who are too stretched by the ability and behaviour management issues to devote the time to the 'academically gifted and talented' students. There simply is no instant 'slip stream' effect rather teachers have to create groups possessed of the right dynamic as opposed to a few students with academic ability leading the rest. Ergo, my position is that is no iron rule that says attendance at private school means all pupils are exceptionally bright and/or hardworking. Sorry, no external evidence other than personal experience in the state and private sectors.

Tim Bidie's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 21:49

Andy - Spot on, as usual.

There is a fair amount of strong feeling about on these posts and comments.

The best way to achieve an excellent education for all, regardless of background, must be to enhance state delivery of educational outcomes to a level where paying exorbitant fees to the private sector becomes a form of madness.

Those fees are rapidly approaching that level in any case.

Thus, the argument becomes simply one of how to achieve that improvement in state education.

If you believe, as secretary of state for education, that the department of education is staffed by many who oppose reform, then your reform program will simply be designed to circumvent them.

All the educational theory, case studies and overseas experts alike will not change that.

This forum exemplifies the approach of those who would obstruct reform.

The only practical proposals to be found here for reform are those recommending further restrictions, state interventions, to curtail parental freedoms and choice.

You sum up the inevitable results of such an approach

'if you dismantle the private sector and lumped all the kids (all 7% of the compulsory education aged pupils – by no means all of whom are “exceptionally bright and hardworking”) into state schools, I personally suspect that a significant number of them would end up performing to the level of the pupils around them.'

That way also lies madness:

'The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.'

At least the former offers some hope to the aspirational.

Fortunately they are the ones that tend to vote, but sometimes only with their feet!

andy's picture
Sun, 20/05/2012 - 07:34

My goodness, even the Guardian has a supporter of Private Schooling on the payroll:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/12/independent-schools-...

It makes a short but interesting reading. Particularly the reference to (undeclared) membership of the anti-independent school Education Review Group, which of course may not be news to other posters.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 19:04

"There is no iron law of social life which says that private schools necessarily must perpetuate social class inequality in the education system."

And these days neither is there any law to make state schools comprehensive or accountable to their communities should those communities....

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 18/05/2012 - 19:05

ooops!
should those communities wish to influence the ways in which their state schools are operating or the values they hold.

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