Comprehensives do work. It's small classes that make the difference.

Catherine Leech's picture
 6
I am a former deputy head of a large comprehensive which achieved "outstanding" from Ofsted. I have also supported other schools to improve their student performance. For the past two years, I have been a part time education consultant and have supported 5 schools. My particular area of expertise has been post sixteen.

I am very concerned that the current government has a total disregard for state education and is driving standards down by fragmenting the education system.

As a grandparent, I am appalled at the way excellent after school clubs for primary age children have been dismantled without any regard for the impact it will have on the families' lives and , indeed, the eonomy.
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Ricky-Tarr's picture
Sat, 21/07/2012 - 09:20

Catherine

When I saw the headline on your post, my heart leaped. For years now we have had research purporting to prove that small classes had no effect (or, at least, no effect until < 20) and I was hoping to read something that challenged that consensus.

Instead, the body copy offers empty political sloganizing, some of which is frankly absurd.

I am very concerned that the current government has a total disregard for state education...

If you really think that, please explain why the government went to such lengths to preserve the schools budget from the deficit reduction cuts. Or why the government introduced the pupil premium. Or why the Academies Bill was pushed right to the front of the legislative queue straight after the election in 2010 and was made priority number one after the economic crisis?
Both Michael Gove and David Cameron (both of whom have children in State schools) care more about state education than any Tory politicians in living memory.

As a grandparent, I am appalled at the way excellent after school clubs for primary age children have been dismantled without any regard for the impact it will have on the families’ lives and , indeed, the economy.

They haven't closed in my area. It certainly isn't the government's policy to close them. Quite the contrary. You might care to reflect on the fact that when such clubs were originally introduced, they were opposed - even to the point of raucous picketing - by the teachers' unions.

Leonard James's picture
Sun, 22/07/2012 - 16:10

"They haven’t closed in my area. It certainly isn’t the government’s policy to close them. Quite the contrary. You might care to reflect on the fact that when such clubs were originally introduced, they were opposed – even to the point of raucous picketing – by the teachers’ unions."

Ricky I tried searching for evidence of this and found nothing - care to point me in the right direction?

agov's picture
Sun, 22/07/2012 - 08:07

"went to such lengths to preserve the schools budget from the deficit reduction cuts"

So they could rob community schools of large parts of it via the devastation of the Formula Capital budgets and give it away to their mates in private sector outfits via the hilariously named 'Free' schools and academy chains.

"why the government introduced the pupil premium"

The pupil premium is just another name for enlarging the Free School Meals allocation and was introduced solely so that the LibDems could try, wholly unsuccessfully, to pretend that they were doing something other than completely betraying their own voters entirely for the sake of getting their bums onto government seats.

"why the Academies Bill was pushed right to the front of the legislative queue"

To position their private sector predator friends to loot the education sector as quickly as possible.

"Both Michael Gove and David Cameron (both of whom have children in State schools) care more about state education than any Tory politicians in living memory."

Perhaps, if you have a really short living memory. Many principled and respected Tory politicians of the past have deeply cared about providing decent education for all children. So unlike Gove and Cotswolds Dave.

Andy's picture
Mon, 23/07/2012 - 11:23

Catherine, I was a little confused and perplexed by the top story. Initially it appeared to be about class size and the impact on pupil performance but then petered out into what seemed to me to be really a piece of self-advertising for your part-time consultancy. It then meandered off into primary school after school activities and made sweeping condemnatory comments but singularly failed to back it up with any evidence.

So if you could provide some evidence for both strands of the top story I (and I'm sure others) will be able to get to grips wth whatever it is you're driving at.

Catherine Leech's picture
Tue, 24/07/2012 - 09:09

Andy, you are totally incorrect. I was not self-advertising and don't want any more work. I was merely showing that I have had a lot of experience in many different schools. Small classes can and do make all the difference at all key stages. I notice The Guardian education journalist makes that point http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jul/23/why-send-child-to-privat....
It’s a shame that her local state schools are not funded as well as her child’s private school.
I thought this forum was to look at local education issues and not to attack one another. A big and urgent local issue for my grandchild and her friends is the withdrawal of excellent after school care because of government cuts.

Andy's picture
Tue, 24/07/2012 - 09:37

Catherine, I was not attacking you rather I was reflecting how I perceived your article. I am sorry if you felt aggrieved. I was not "attacking" you but did ask some questions in an attempt to better understand your top story.

Yes, the Guardian writer does comment on class sizes but that still doesn't represent an authoritative piece on the topic (e.g. some SE Asiatic nations teach larger classes than we do in the UK but they still get better results than we do).

Your top piece also gave the impression that the withdrawal of after school activities was nationwide but it turns out that it is a decision taken by your grandchild's school, which begs the question how are other schools getting by? Are they cutting their after school activities or is just a handful? As a fellow grandparent I too have a keen interest in the future and education stakes for my grandchildren, so I do understand but what seems to be localised issue is probably best dealt with directly with the school. With that in mind, and with your experience as a teacher and senior leader, you are perhaps much better placed than others to ascertain the rationale and details of the decision to make the cuts.

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