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Janet Downs: Trojan Horse – Kershaw finds no evidence of take-over plot but says concerns about behaviour of some men promoting “certain Islamic principles” need immediate attention

SUMMARY The issues raised by the Trojan Horse letter do not “significantly affect” the majority of the 437 Birmingham state schools, Ian Kershaw found. It was important to keep this context in mind, Kershaw cautioned. There were elements of the “Five Steps” listed in the Trojan Horse letter* in a large number** of the sixteen schools investigated. Patterns of ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "No parent should be allowed to insist or apply any sort of pressure to ensure that the school that their child attends provides only teachers of the same religion or to insist that a head, other senior staff or governors ......"

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Janet Downs: Selection, administrative blunders, feeder schools and faith – just some of the ways in which schools flout the Admission Code

How do schools dodge the Admission Code? A look at School Adjudicator rulings since 26 June reveals gives the answer. SELECTION Selection of pupils is allowed in grammar schools and on grounds of aptitude (up to 10%) in specialist schools. But sometimes schools go too far. Camden School for Girls, a Voluntary-Aided (VA) school, was censured for auditioning pupils ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Roger - heads in academies are on the governing bodies so would be complicit in drawing up dodgy criteria. I'm not suggesting all violations are deliberate although the complexity of some suggests an intentional desire to discriminate for or ......"

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Roger Titcombe: Why are hundreds of schools failing to enter students for A Level maths and science?

This is the question asked by a Guardian article of 17 July. "Hundreds of schools and colleges in England are failing to enter any pupils for science and maths A-levels, official figures show. "The data has been published by the Department for Education (DfE) for the first time as part of a government bid to encourage young people to take science and ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "Martin - I am certainly not criticising all of the schools in Henry's list or regarding them all as being in a style of behaviourist learning (in maths) category based on their level of improvement. The problem for your son with ......"

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Francis Gilbert: It’s the Blob Wot Won It

Did the Blob get Michael Gove the sack? The mainstream media seems to think so. The Sun’s editorial said: “The Left-wing hate campaign against Michael Gove was hysterical, absurd and undeserved. Sadly, it worked. The teachers’ unions established the Tory Education Secretary as a wicked pantomime villain hell-bent on the destruction of a system which they reckoned was ticking along ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Paul Hopkins: "Thanks Francis for the article. I only take dispute I think with the phrase "Mainstream media" - like many I have lost any sense of identity with the 'politicos' at this time living as you say in that bubble. The ......"

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Henry Stewart: The Gove Legacy: what verdict on academies?

The biggest impact of Michael Gove was in the expansion of academies. While he was Secretary of State, the DfE stated that this was the main vehicle for school improvement. Gove made many claims about how much greater was the improvement in academies than other schools, but normally made a point of comparing academies to all schools (including those where results ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Martin Richardson: "I did wonder that while reading Henry's article. But to be honest any analysis on Academy Converters (on the whole schools which were performing well in the maintained sector before 2010/11) does not really allow enough time for any ACC ......"

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Henry Stewart: GCSE Overperformance: The Top 20 Schools (by WOLF measure)

The release of the school-by-school data for GCSE results using the new Wolf measure makes it possible to produce a table of the top 20 secondary schools in England. This is based on how far they overperform what would be expected of their students (based on those students' age 11 KS2 results): School Type Wolf 5ACEM Outperform 1 St Thomas More Catholic School Main 83% 40% 2 Tauheedul Islam Girls High ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by trevor fisher: "your point is entirely valid Janet. On the specific issue here, either they are ignorant or they know the council has no power, and they are deliberately lying. I am afraid I don't know how a Murdoch paper works, but ......"

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Janet Downs: Nick Gibb returns as schools minister – time to refresh memories about the evidence he uses to support synthetic phonics

Nick Gibb’s return to the Department for Education (DfE) has been warmly welcomed by John Bald, writing on Conservative Home. However, when I commented that Nick Gibb’s evidence about synthetic phonics didn’t entirely endorse the method as the best way of teaching children to read, John remarked that I was talking “absolute bunkum”. So perhaps it’s time to revisit the ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by John Mountford: "It was a hope of mine that once the curtain came down on the 'Noddy Gove' Show, the tendency to see more accurate, balanced and reasoned views on LSN would increase. We are however off to a slow start. Patrick is ......"

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Janet Downs: How will I remember Mr Gove?

I will remember him as the most disliked education secretary whose combative manner polarized opinion between those who entered his charmed circle - the "outstanding" ones who happened to agree with him and publicly supported his views - and the rest - the "enemies of promise", "the Blob". He was a man of contradictions. He said his policies ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "FJM - Gove deserves credit for pulling the plug on the vocational scam. This was introduced by Tony Blair and no Labour spokesperson ever criticised it to my knowledge. I also think he was right to try to insist that ......"

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Natasha Steel: Strike – ballot – elections – a big day for Hove Park School

Tomorrow (Weds 16th July) is a big day for anti-academy campaigners at Hove Park School. In a victory for democratic process, three major aspects of the campaign coalesce: NUT strike action closes the school for a day; the result of the council's ballot of parents becomes known and the three missing parent governors are replaced as the election process concludes. Combining ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "Natasha, Forgive for regurgitating old comments but I wondered whether the campaign group researched the Co-operative Trust model as an alternative way ahead? I mooted the idea in a previous thread: "That said there is a potential alternative and that ......"

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Henry Stewart: Memories of Mr Sloppy, farewell to Michael Gove and his imaginary worlds

The Daily Telegraph memorably headlined an article with a reference to Michael Gove as Mr Sloppy after he had to correct the facts in one of his own speeches. The term, which came from Labour's Kevin Brennan, looked increasingly apt as the errors mounted up. My colleague Janet Downs once managed to spot nine errors in a single speech. As ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "As Nick Gibb is now back at the DfE, perhaps it's timely to remind readers of a few Gibbisms. Gibb wants academies to be inspected by Independent Schools Inspectorate not Ofsted. Used out-of-date figures in Commons speech. Cited evidence supporting synthetic phonics which ......"

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