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Janet Downs: Oliver Kamm’s English usage guide poleaxes the pedants Gove admired

Two years ago, academics who signed a letter attacking the new national curriculum were awarded the inaugural Bad Grammar Award. With smug superiority, the self-appointed arbiters of English grammar judged the letter to be ‘simply illiterate’. One judge, Toby Young said: 'The 100 educators have inadvertently made an argument for precisely the sort of formal education the letter ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Ben Taylor: "Thank you Janet I appreciated the article I think one of the problems with the comprehensive system is not distinguishing register for pupils and teachers Know what I mean darling?..."

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Janet Downs: Morgan’s first press release spews out the usual free school propaganda

‘Free schools are the “modern engines of social justice” helping “break the cycle of disadvantage”, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says…’ Department for Education 22 May 2015 Nicky Morgan’s first press release regurgitates the free school propaganda debunked on this site before: 1 ‘…half of all free schools are in the most deprived areas’. (But that doesn’t mean they take disadvantaged* children. Some** ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Barry - as you'll see from my correction, the NAO factored in free schools planned for opening in September 2014 (and a few for September 2015). Morgan said 254 free schools were now open. Does your 400 include those planned ......"

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Janet Downs: Allowing unqualified teachers in schools breaches UNESCO recommendation on status of teachers

UNESCO is quite clear: governments should require entrants to the teaching profession to have the ‘required professional knowledge and skills’. It is the responsibility of governments, UNESCO says, to ensure there are ‘sufficient places in appropriate institutions’ so trainee teachers can complete ‘an approved course in an appropriate teacher-preparation institution’. The recommendation allows people who may lack the formal academic ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Confused about what a qualified teacher is? Some people are! « James's thinking space: "[…] As Janet Downs, reports on the Local Schools Network blog, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, as far back as 1966 “was quite clear: governments should require entrants to the teaching profession to have the ‘required professional knowledge ......"

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trevor fisher: 2015 Academy Bill coming

Forced Academy Bill Coming- Game changer needed The Tories have announced they will start the next five years with an Academy Bill, as they did five years ago. Will the outcome be different this time and the tide be turned against Academies? The myth that schools have choices is exposed by the plans announced last week, but without a game changer the ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "Nancy Bailey (USA) is well worth following. See her latest post on Charter Schools. http://nancyebailey.com/2015/05/27/the-charter-school-miracle-that-isnt-special-education-in-nola/ The parallel with the Academy (privatisation) agenda here is striking. The enduring lesson is that ideology is generally unaffected by evidence and this is especially true of ......"

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Michael Pyke: The UK needs a wholehearted commitment to comprehensive schooling

I have taught for most of my career in comprehensive schools and strongly believe in them, not only because of my personal experiences but because empirical evidence from all over the world shows that they are the most effective model for educating a whole population. However, in the UK their effectiveness is undermined by (a) the fact that we ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by John Bajina: ":-)..."

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Janet Downs: Baseline tests are flawed – their introduction should be scrapped

I’ve got a new T-Shirt. It’s printed with this slogan: ‘Primary Charter 4 Too Young to Test’. A bit of fun? Yes. But there’s a serious message. This Government could well be described as the snatcher of childhood. It plans to test all 4-year-olds on their maths, literacy and communication skills at the start of their school ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by agov: ":) All long gone I'm afraid, Janet. Have to have evidence of progress of particular groups such as SEN, Pupil Premium, More Able, girls, boys and I don't know what else vis-à-vis school data, national data, and probably LEA data. ......"

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Janet Downs: More shaky stats and ignored evidence from Morgan, and a promise to close ‘loopholes’ which allow people to fight academisation.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is right: education gives children the foundation to succeed. Writing in the Telegraph, she says the Conservatives are ‘foursquare behind’ working people. She waxes lyrical about the ‘one nation approach’ but her earlier remarks imply if you’re not working (even if illness, disability and lack of jobs prevent you) you’re not included. 102,000 more 6-year-olds are ‘on ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Thanks, Leah. Nancy Bailey's blog is one to watch...."

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Janet Downs: Situation Vacant – New Schools Network needs new director

The New Schools Network, the taxpayer-funded charity which promotes free schools, is looking for a new director. The present incumbent, Baroness Evans, is leaving to become a government whip. A ‘competitive’ salary is on offer to the right candidate. The Job Description explains what is required. It boils down to this: 1 Bang the drum for free schools ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "A Cooper - yes, that's another failure the new director will ignore. There is no excuse with the Camborne school - it was previously an independent school with few pupils and, more important, there was already a surplus of ......"

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Janet Downs: Chance to question Nicky Morgan in FREE webinar

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will join Schools Week editor Laura McInerney at a FREE webinar, sponsored by OCR, on Monday 18 May, 16.00-17.00. Laura will discuss the Conservative manifesto and other announcements, and consider how the election and ministerial appointments will affect the future of schools policy in England. Jonathan Simons from Policy Exchange will be on hand to provide extra analysis ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "John - I've also sent in a question. It's about England's exam system and the unnecessary stress put on our children and young people...."

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trevor fisher: Exam apartheid

EXAM APARTHEID THREATENED Over this summer, a new division between state and private schools threatens to open up. There are already too many, but exam reform at 16 plus may see the parting of the ways. For once it is not just the consequence of having more money in a time of cutbacks, but government policy aimed at creating a new ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "Michael - That is not the link that I make. The link is between low mean CATs scores and the relative affluence of particular local communities. This is an important distinction. I argue in Learning Matters that children at all ......"

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