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Janet Downs: Rules governing conflicts of interest in academy trusts are too lax, says report to Select Committee

‘Conflicts of interest are common in academy trusts’ Report to Education Select Committee by Institute of Education (IoE), University of London That’s not really surprising, the IoE said, given that academies were designed to be ‘independent organisations spending public money’. However, there have been a small number of cases where these conflicts have been mismanaged. Conflicts of interest can occur when: 1 Academy trustees ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by David Barry: "Allowing sponsors of Academies and Free Schools to provide services "at cost" is a very significant loophole. At its simplist providing services at "cost" begs the question as to how the costs of providing the service are being incurred. More subtly ......"

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Janet Downs: Hard Times 2014 – in which Bitzer slashes a poem to bits

Thomas Gradgrind – a man of realities. A man replete with facts and analysis. Thomas Gradgrind – trustee and CEO of the Gradgrind Academies Trust. In these terms, Thomas Gradgrind introduced himself to the rows of GCSE pupils waiting to be filled with facts and dissected by analysis. The subject of the lesson was Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce Et ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Barry - subjunctive use is waning, as Fowler said 90 years ago. Subjunctive use lingers in such clauses as 'If I were a rich man, Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum...' and 'If I were a carpenter...' ......"

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Alan Penn: Militarism in Schools is on the increase world-wide.

In 1997 the Conservative government introduced cadet units in state schools. An Inquiry into the National Recognition of the Armed Forces in 2008 called for an increase in Combined Cadet Forces in comprehensive schools. ResPublica 2012 published 'Tackling disadvantage, improving ethos and changing outcome'. It called for new schools run by the military to address poor discipline and educational failure ... read more and comment →

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Janet Downs: Titan classes claimed by Telegraph were whole-school assemblies led by one teacher, the DfE reveals

Hundreds of pupils were already being taught in classes of over 70 pupils, claimed the Daily Telegraph on 18 August 2014 (reproduced on Schools Improvement Net): ‘According to official data, both the Crescent Academy in Stoke-on-Trent and Southey Green primary school in Sheffield have the biggest classes, with 78 pupils to one teacher at each of the schools. They are followed ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by jennyquestions: "The next question is: what school did Steven go to and what grades did he get?..."

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Janet Downs: Hunt says he will not tear up the new curriculum. But as it doesn’t apply to academies, he should propose dumping it for all schools.

“Labour will not tear up the new curriculum”, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt told TES in June. Schools had had enough of change, stability was needed. He’s right that the education system in England has been severely battered by Gove’s GERM-inspired*policies. But there are things Hunt can do without turning everything upside down. First: dump the prescribed national curriculum. ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "It is as I adduced then. What you typed was not what you actually intended. In which case you and are as one on this. I must own up to an error in my post in that ......"

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Will Green: Political Football: will education in England ever be overseen by teachers and guided by educational research?

There comes a point when something begins to feel a bit different, a tipping point I suppose. I’ve recently been in touch with the Slow Education website and in the emailed response W.E.Deming was mentioned, the same W.E.Deming that Maurice Holt quotes in his recent article about the sorry state of US/UK education: to try to improve process by studying ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by jennyquestions: "Indeed. The whole debate then is revolving around an institution that needs to be seriously re-considered, not just tinkered with. Thanks goodness children and adults find so many excellent ways to educate themselves...."

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Francis Gilbert: #ResearchED 2014: therapy for a nervous wishy-washy teacher

Last weekend, I cycled from my home in Bethnal Green to the 2014 ResearchED conference at Raine’s Foundation School and was amazed to see so many teachers paying out of their own pockets to attend a conference about educational research on a Saturday. The impressive attendance, possibly over 600 delegates, was a real testament to the power of social media: ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Roger - thanks for the link the the Save the Children report. I'd missed it. From your account it already appears out-of-date: the latest PIRLS shows reading ability of 10 year-olds in England improved since 2007. ..."

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Henry Stewart: AET: Questions the DfE needs to answer

Earlier this week Ofsted released a highly critical report of the AET chain. As the TES commented, of the twelve academies inspected, half were not providing a "good" education. Progress of students was "below the national level" and especially so for disadvantaged students. Ofsted’s chief operating officer Matthew Coffey said “teaching that was not good enough to enable all groups of ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Arthur Harada: "Indeed a big question that demands SofS Morgan to respond. Fortunately for her, I am reliably informed by the DfE Ministerial and Public Communication Division of the DfE that the DfE has appointed "eight excellent Policy Fellows into the department. ......"

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Janet Downs: Free schools and academies take more swift action to address literacy failure than LA schools, says minister, but DfE supporting ‘evidence’ is PR spin

‘The Government are committed to eliminating illiteracy…we are determined to raise reading standards, but free schools and academies are taking action more swiftly than local authority schools to tackle failure in those schools.’ Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, House of Commons, 21 July 2014 I asked the Department for Education (DfE) to describe the action being taken to raise reading standards and for ... read more and comment →

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Rebecca Hanson: Assessment Reform – where are we now?

With reforms to assessment at ages 4/5, 6/7, 10/11, 15/16 and 17/18 pending, it's hard to know what's going on. So with the help of many kind people I've spent the summer compiling a short report which summarises what's happening, what the key concerns are and what the key calls for modifications are likely to be in the hope of ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Rebecca Hanson: "Web technology and computer adaptive testing are making it possible for schools to gather really detailed information about progress. But it's necessary to build the system of measurement from what it meaningful and possible rather than to come up ......"

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