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Janet Downs: Minister claims education policies are ‘Evidence-based’ – not so.

The Government’s education refoms are ‘evidence-based’, repeated School Reform Minister Nick Gibb. But this isn’t true. Three claims have been made recently by Gibb, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Prime Minister David Cameron. None is underpinned by evidence. CLAIM (Gibb): removing levels from assessment at the end of primary school is backed up by evidence from ‘fast-improving countries’ like ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Thanks to Schools Week ('A Week in Westminster' in the print version) for debunking another myth - politicians' frequent claim that the Wolf Report was 'implemented in full'. Schools Week said this was 'a bit of a porky'. ......"

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Leah K Stewart: Mark Rylance (Cromwell, in Wolf Hall) weighs in… Yes!

Mark Rylance - Actor "Everything I hear on the streets, and from teachers and parents and students, is that teachers are not trusted and allowed to teach by this government and are leaving the profession in worrying numbers. Being a child of two teachers, I'm more than aware of the incredible amount of work and creative energy required to be a ... read more and comment →

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Janet Downs: School Reform Minister admits ‘levels’ are ‘undependable data’. Why, then, do ministers use levels to attack schools?

‘Levels have been a distracting, over-generalised label, giving misleading signals about the genuine attainment of pupils,’ said School Reform Minister Nick Gibb in a speech to the Reform think tank. They are ‘undependable data’. If levels are undependable, why are primary schools which don’t reach a target based on levels labelled ‘underperforming’ and forced to become academies? Why do ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Ah, yes - Cameron's 'good level of attainment'. If he means the proposed national standards, these were criticised by the majority of respondents to the consultation as imprecise, ambiguous and vague. So 'a good level of attainment' can ......"

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Roger Titcombe: More on Cameron’s campaigning speech at Kingsmead School on 2 February

This speech was so deeply shocking in its politicking tone, absence of evidence and abuse of the facts that I have been puzzling for a while on how best to respond. I will make a start by repeating John Mountford's comments on Janet's thread. "I note your concern about the youngsters listening to the PM, Janet – “Let’s hope his young listeners ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Michele - in April last year the OECD said the pace of education reform in Wales was moving too fast and risked 'reform fatigue'. I haven't read Donaldson, but Wales OnLine has a useful summary. It sounds much better than ......"

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Janet Downs: Where are Gove’s ’crusaders for social justice’ now?

In September 2011, the first 24 free schools had opened. Michael Gove, then Education Secretary, was determined to show these were led by pioneering ‘crusaders for social justice’. He wrote an article in the Evening Standard naming three of them. But one crusader has been dismissed and another leads a troubled academy chain. Just one, Tania ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "And another Free School bites the dust. See BBC News report here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-31632509..."

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Janet Downs: Keeping falsehoods alive – ex-minister repeats sham statistic on QT

Everyone knows the figures, boomed Lord Heseltine on Question Time* last Thursday, 20% of pupils leaving primary schools are ‘by normal modern standards illiterate and innumerate’. Lord Heseltine is speaking falsely. He’s followed the example of Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and claimed pupils who don’t reach Level 4 in Key Stage 2 Sats can’t read and write. Morgan’s been ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "John - the statement was tongue-in-cheek. You're absolutely right there's been a coordinated and prolonged attempt to spread falsehoods by ministers, their minions and a complicit media. This goes right back to the 'plummeting' down league table myth ......"

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Leah K Stewart: To the Government: Trust our Teachers!

I couldn't imagine a system designed to distrust teachers more! And it's so sad because I could see my teachers had so much more in them that whoever is dictating to them can even imagine! This system means that students learn being employed means being exhausted. We learn that it means doing things you know aren't right for the people you ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "John - the same situation is in Lincolnshire. Non-selective schools lose high-attaining pupils to grammars and then are pilloried for having low results. No concession is made for the fact that the ability level in these non-selective schools ......"

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Janet Downs: Cameron’s campaigning education speech full of holes

The Prime Minister’s speech at Kingsmead School was widely reported. But the transcript was difficult to find. It wasn’t in Department for Education press releases; it wasn’t on the Government’s GovUK website. Regular contributor agov found Cameron's speech – it was a press release on Conservatives.com (thanks, agov). It appears, then, this wasn’t a regular puff speech of the sort ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by John Mountford: "Janet, earlier I read what agov had unearthed of the PM's speech, and after viewing 'Question Time' (QT) last evening, two quick points occur: 1 There is no doubt whatsoever, this was a campaigning speech at Kingsmead School, raw in ......"

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Janet Downs: Praise for LA with few academies; but criticism of one where most secondaries are

‘Barking and Dagenham is making good progress in supporting school improvement but there is still more to be done, inspectors have found. Ofsted Press Release 19 February 2015 Inspectors said the local authority (LA) provided ‘strong leadership’ and ‘clear direction’ which was much appreciated. School-to-school support was effective and existing networks worked well. Barking and Dagenham was in ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by trevor fisher: "alas janet I have to keep on the same theme - the wheels are not coming off the government flagship. Unless we can get to the audience that swallowed Cameron's carefully designed speech on Feb 2nd, and the Marr programme ......"

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John Mountford: Democracy, Education and the BIG threat!

In the LSN campaign to highlight the threat to the educational opportunities of ordinary young people, one of the greatest challenge faced is making sure that our views are fairly represented in an impartial media. Many commentators here are highlighting this repeatedly. But the message doesn't seem to be getting through. This contact today, from 38Degrees is confirmation, were it really ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by John Mountford: "I have tried in the past to engage with 38D over education but, didn't get a reply. That isn't to say, Andy, it shouldn't be something to pursue. Maybe others here will agree and get behind this. I have just finished ......"

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