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Janet Downs: Are UK school leavers ‘worst in Europe for essential skills’?

‘British school leavers are the worst in Europe for 'essential skills' needed to complete entry-level jobs in business, a new survey revealed’. Daily Telegraph, 29 June 2015 The Telegraph was partly churning a press release from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) with a headline even more damning: ‘75% of UK school leavers lack essential job skills according to finance bosses’ But the ... read more and comment →

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Janet Downs: DfE’s approach to ‘underperforming’ academies is inconsistent and muddled

Underperforming academies are sent pre-warning notices demanding ‘urgent action to improve’, Schools Minister Nick Gibb told Parliament on 15 June. This would be ‘ultimately’ followed by a warning notice that the academy should change sponsors. The Government, Gibb said, had already changed sponsors in 69 academies. This number has increased to 75, the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed. More ... read more and comment →

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Janet Downs: The firm Gove said he would let run schools causes chaos in Lincolnshire

When ex-Education Secretary Michael Gove was shadow secretary before the 2010 election, he told Policy Exchange he would allow groups like Serco to run schools. Since then Serco has been involved with some embarrassing scandals including out-of-hours doctor services in Cornwall and overcharging for offender tagging (Serco is still being paid for equipment being used by the firm which took over ... read more and comment →

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Stephen Evans: Christianity’s long involvement in state education mustn’t stand in the way of attempts to end to religious segregation in schools

No sooner had David Cameron finished delivering his landmark speech on extremism which stressed the need for British citizens to better integrate, the Catholic Education Service set to work on a press release arguing that the PM was wrong on integration and setting out why it should continue to be allowed to use public money to religiously segregate children. The part ... read more and comment →

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Henry Stewart: Are academy chains harming the progress of disadvantaged pupils?

Contact: Henry Stewart (07870 682442, henry@happy.co.uk) The Sutton Trust report Chains Effects 2015, published today, makes clear that there are serious problems with many of the academy chains: "far from providing a solution to disadvantage, a few chains may be exacerbating it". The government, and its supporters in the media, are likely to focus on the small number of high-performing chains that the ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Professor Becky Francis, co-author of the Sutton Trust analysis, discusses the findings here. I made two comments: 1 The improvement in those sponsored academies which did improve had nothing to do with structure. If that were the case ......"

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Fiona Millar: The Labour leadership and schools

The Labour leadership election seems to either be in full swing, or grinding on, depending on your taste in these matters. The latest opinion polls suggest the result may still be wide open. But will it make any difference to the party’s education policies? In theory the candidates all come at different points on a political spectrum of left to right. ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by John Bajina: "Tks. Do you a link please?..."

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Janet Downs: DfE used data not released as official statistics in Academies Annual Report, UK Stats Watchdog found

It’s just over a week since the UK Statistics Authority told Guardian journalist Warwick Mansell that it had written to the Department for Education expressing concern about its use of school test data. The watchdog said the DfE should in future make it clear comparisons of improvement in performance by school type ‘could not be used by ministers and ... read more and comment →

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Janet Downs: Style guru hopes Shanghai chic will replace ‘inefficient’ methods, but these still persist.

Schools minister Nick Gibb, style guru of education trends, said modes of teaching maths such as the grid method of multiplication were ‘inefficient’. He told the Education Bill Committee ‘good’ schools use Shanghai Maths. In England this trend is better known as Mastery Maths. Research found this helped Year 1 pupils make a ‘small amount more progress’ than their ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Guest: "These articles were published in Mar this year and highlight well the issues (and even lack of wisdom) involved in trying to lift and implement another nations methodology lock stock and barrel into ours. However, several of the readers ......"

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John Bolt: The Education and Adoption Bill is a naive and simplistic measure. Morgan is the real ideologue not her opponents.

Yesterday, the Education and Adoption Bill completed its committee stage in the House of Commons. It passed, not surprisingly, unaltered but there remains a lot of debate to be had especially in the Lords. Despite intense scrutiny, there remain huge unanswered questions about the bill and in many cases Nick Gibb’s response amounted to little more than an assertion that ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Rosie Fergusson: "GOve was intelligent but dogmatic and wouldn't listen...Morgan is worse because her policies appear to be gleaned from her mates within the more obnoxious cohorts of self-righteous narcissistic ex- career women within the Mumsnet er.." ......"

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Henry Stewart: The arrogance of government

"We won a majority and we expect to be listened to". That was the introduction from Lord Lucas, representing the Conservative government tonight at the launch of "Inspiring Growth", the CBI/Pearson 2015 education and skills survey. That may be how our politicians think, but it felt odd to hear one say it out loud. I asked if perhaps they should also be ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by LeahKStewart (@LearntSchool): "Thank you Janet & Ed. Janet - I'll add those recommendations to my to reading list! It's certainly empowering to be knowledgeable of the psychology of language that elicits action in others. I'm fortunate that I've spent some time in ......"

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