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Janet Downs: Would a proposed e-academy offering full-time virtual education really ‘reshape education in England’?

A proposed free school, Wey ecademy has a vision to ‘reshape education in England’. It will demolish ‘barriers to a first class education’ and ‘give choice to every postcode’. How will it do this? It will provide full-time education to 10-19 year-olds via the internet. Education is, of course, more than following a syllabus – it’s about children ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "Good point Andy. Then there is the question of practical work. This is not just science, although that is very important. What about PE, technology, art, music, cookery, drama etc? See http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/11/why-practical-work-is-vital-and-not-just-in-science/ Then there is pastoral support and SEN. I watched Educating the ......"

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Janet Downs: Ministerial statement re secondary school results not impartial and didn’t meet professional standards, says UK Stats Watchdog

When the January 2014 school performance tables were published, they were directly linked to a press release containing a Ministerial statement by the then education secretary, Michael Gove, praising Government education policies. But the text containing the link didn’t make this clear thus giving an illusion of impartiality. This could ‘undermine confidence’ in the independence of school-level exam ... read more and comment →

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Henry Stewart: The Academy Head, the £4,500 desk and the £170k salary

Academies have provided new levels of autonomy to schools. But some have perhaps used this a bit too creatively. At one London academy trust, consisting of two primary schools, the Head is now paid £170,000, the ICT support contract has been given to the Chair of Governor's company and the furniture spend includes almost £4,500 on a desk and £5,000 ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "I suggest you refresh your memory regarding the most recent discussions between Janet and me. Investigatory powers do exist but, and put minimalistically, there are insufficient resources to implement them and enforce appropriate follow-up consequences. I also suggest you take the time ......"

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Janet Downs: Two B’ham schools taken over by ARK fail to impress Ofsted. Are there ‘no excuses’?

ARK academy chain has an impressive record with a string of favourable Ofsted judgements. Until 2013, all thirteen of its academies, six of which were new schools, were good or better. In 2011, ARK had claimed it was the ‘top performing multiple academy sponsor’. But so far this year, two of the three ARK academies inspected were less ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "A touchstone element of section 5 inspections is that progress be gauged from each pupils starting point on entry into a school. It follows then that if schools conduct a reliable benchmark assessment of all pupils joining them from ......"

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Sheila Madine: Voluntary Contributions undermine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to Free Education

As a parent and social researcher I believe the "Voluntary Contributions" asked of parents undermine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to Free Education. I am currently carrying out research on this hypothesis for my Master's in MRes Social Research Methods at Queen's University of Belfast. Of great concern to me as a parent is the ... read more and comment →

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Janet Downs: Tristram Hunt’s new research assistant funded by firm which supports public services being run by private sector, Private Eye reveals

Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow education secretary, is being helped by a research assistant funded by accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Private Eye revealed today*. The donation, described in Hunt’s register of interest** as a ‘donation in kind’ and valued at £74,655, runs from June to December 2014. Private Eye reminds its readers that PWC supports opening up public services to ‘a ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "An interesting thought - better watch this space. Bet he wont follow Blair. He set up his own religion and international movement...."

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Janet Downs: Minister praises LA with few academies but thinks 74% of pupils passing phonics tests means more than 86% will reach expected standard in reading at end of KS2

‘Under this Government’s reforms, we have seen the number of students in Brighton and Hove achieving five or more GCSEs or equivalent at A* to C, including English and mathematics, rise from 49.1% in 2010 to 62.6% in 2013.’ Schools minister, Nick Gibb, House of Commons, 14 October 2014* There are nine state secondary schools in Brighton and Hove: one is Voluntary ... read more and comment →

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Jeremy Rodell: Richmond Catholic schools: cynical conversion to Academy status

In 2011-2012, Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) fought a battle for fair admissions at a new 150 pupil/year Catholic secondary in Twickenham. The battle ended in the High Court, where RISC and the British Humanist Association obtained a Judicial Review of the local council’s decision to provide a valuable site for the Voluntary Aided (VA) Catholic schools, rather than seeking ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by jonty: "This is in this week's Richmond & Twickenham Times, with local Conservative councillor quoted as saying "The differences between Voluntary Aided and Academy is not that great". Well, that depends on how you look at it. Yes, they ......"

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Janet Downs: Save money by using standardized lesson plans, says schools minister. But is there a conflict of interest in his recommendation?

“We all know that teachers spend a lot of time preparing lesson plans rather than focusing on how well they deliver those lessons. This is a complete waste of time,” Schools minister, Lord Nash, to the Independent Academies Association, October 2014 The answer, Lord Nash says, is for schools to use standardized lesson plans so they can spend more time ‘delivering lessons’. Perhaps ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "Before this goes off at a tangent it is worth revisiting the earlier comments wherein I roundly declaimed the use of standardised lesson plans. The lesson plans that Janet's top thread covers are those that form part of a ......"

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emma kay: Islington’s excellent state maintained schools – a continuing story of success.

In 2012 I posted about Highbury Grove School, at which my daughter was a student in year 8. Since then increasing numbers of parents have been putting HG first on their school admission forms, recognizing that there is a school on their doorstep which is performing brilliantly for all its students. Now in year 10, these children are flourishing and ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Martin Richardson: "Hi Emma My son is at a different Islington secondary school. Very happy with it overall, manages to balance very good exam results with wide ranging education. On my calculations (KS2 average intake score to 'best 8 capped' points in KS4) Islington ......"

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