Local Schools: Share Your Positive Stories

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Henry Stewart: Let’s celebrate all fast-improving primary schools

Last month the DfE issued a press release headed “primary academies on the rise”. It took an oddly partial look at the primary sector, giving specific examples of 8 schools, all academies, and quoting the Secretary of State as saying "Primary academies give children the best chance of starting secondary school with good literacy and numeracy". I am sure Michael Gove ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Henry - you're right to draw attention to ALL improving schools. Unfortunately, the DfE focuses only on academies and free schools. Worse, they downgrade community schools and describe them misleadingly as "council-controlled" (which they are not because LAs ......"

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Henry Stewart: School culture: is there another way?

In England we have become so used to a regime of endless grading of students, focus on the data, monitoring of teachers and always being ready for Ofsted that it feels normal. Going to the Oppi festival of education in Finland, and getting a different perspective, it felt as though we are all trapped in a giant hamster wheel. Finns certainly ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Phil Taylor: "It's great to read about a head and a school that are bravely going their own way. It requires a lot of confidence. The tragic thing is that there used to be more schools like this before education became such ......"

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Rhona Dodds: We chose the local inner-city state primary, a decision that’s just paid us back in spades!

I know eyebrows were raised and some concerns expressed amongst family and friends when we decided to send our kids to the local inner-city school with the bad reputation and where over 90% of kids have English as an additional language. Well that was eight years ago and my goodness what a turn-around! The Nether Edge Primary School did ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Rhona Dodds: "We wanted to use the local school and it seemed ok and less than 5 mins walk away. Ofsted good, staff seemed nice, lovely children. I knew our kids would be fine. We weren't aware of quite ......"

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Henry Stewart: Biggest SATs increases are in non-academies

It may not have been mentioned in the DfE press releases this week but its data indicates that the biggest improvements in the key KS2 benchmark (% pupils achieving level 4 or above in reading and maths test and writing) were in non-academies. This should call into question whether the best solution to an "under-performing" primary is to force it ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Becky: "Yes I can see that sifting through all of that for individual schools would be a bit of a nightmare (!!) and, digging a bit deeper, there does seem to be a fair bit of missing data too. Hope the ......"

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madeleine holt: Meet the Parents moves on up

Sometimes I have an education fantasy: that Posh and Becks or Kate and Wills decide to send their children NOT to Eton or Harrow but to the comprehensive school down the road. What more powerful message could there be that these schools are fine? It happens in Holland. But then I wake up and remember I am in England, where it's ... read more and comment →

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madeleine holt: Meet the Parents: why I set it up

If you go the local school you will become a postman. My son came home one day and told me this. He had heard it from his school friend, who had heard it from his mum, who'd heard it from a neighbour... And so it goes on: the endless rumour mill about the local comprehensives. In the playground at my ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Fiona McWilliam: "The problem is that too many parents think they would be subjecting their children to a potentially damaging social experiment without actually investigating what's really on offer at their local, non-selective comprehensive school. Also, they need to have more confidence ......"

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Melissa Benn: Selective judgements

Today, the Sutton Trust publishes a report on the issue of ‘selective comprehensives’ which is getting a lot of publicity, including a spirited, but somewhat partial, debate on the Today programme, which led to the usual suggestion of increased ballotting and random allocation in order to enable more poor children access to 'good schools.' The report looks at ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Fiona McWilliam: "Roger - thanks for your response, and the recommended text, which I will read. I'm encouraged to learn of positive interventions that can overcome socio-economic deprivation, but I'd still be interested to know whether any scheme has ever proved successful ......"

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Beverley Osborn: We NEED to keep villages like this ‘ALIVE’

I must stress the importance of keeping our local school open (Corby Glen). The children here are happy, content, and respectful in their manners, that you will not find in places that have been left to ruin, and that's exactly what we are heading for. We need to SUPPORT unique places like this NOW, and for our FUTURE. Villages like ours are few ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Brian - it was Ofsted which found the predecessor school to St Hugh's "outstanding" (more details in my thread on this subject below). The last news I heard was that West Grantham Academies Trust was trying to find another chain ......"

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Shane Rae: We Did It!

Outstanding! We have resisted the pressure coming at us from all areas (particularely from the LA) to convert to an Academy. The people of this community have worked extremely hard together to reach the very highest level. Along the journey, OFSTED raised the bar on us but we remained committed. Together, as a community, we have not converted (and will not) ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Denise: "Thanks Janet..."

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Henry Stewart: Educate and Celebrate: Schools LGBT at the Emirates Stadium

It is two years since I wrote about the LGBT celebration at Stoke Newington School. A lot has happened since then and that event seems a long time ago. Ofsted inspected the school's work on homophobia and LGBT equality, pronounced it Outstanding and now promotes the school's work in its best practice section of its web site. Elly Barnes, the ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Rev Peter Ratcliff: "Fascinating to watch the debate unfold between the supposedly inclusive liberal educationalists and the rising challenge of the anti-liberal Muslim view. This clash will only worsen because the liberals have rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is the Truth ......"

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