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Janet Downs: Did Ofsted censure a school because it was ‘too white’?

You can’t have missed the articles accusing Ofsted of censuring a tiny Lincolnshire school because it was ‘too white’. The Telegraph’s headline was typical: “School marked down by Ofsted for being 'too white'” “Parents angered after Lincolnshire primary school marked down by inspectors for not having enough black or Asian children” The Telegraph seized on this paragraph from the report to ‘prove’ ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "Thanks Andy, your link explains...."

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Janet Downs: Complex structures could increase perception of wrongdoing, warns Chief Auditor in Durand Academy report

Complex structures adopted by academy trusts led to arrangements which are ‘not always transparent’ and could ‘increase the perception of any wrongdoing’, warned the National Audit Office. The Chief Auditor investigated the Education Funding Agency’s oversight of related party transactions at Durand Academy Trust and found the way the Trust was set up resulted in a complex web linking the Trust ... read more and comment →

6 comments

Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Barry - or it could mean that the DfE is unduly influenced by political lobbying (see my comment and R Smith's comment above) and willing to commit public money to a scheme which was criticised by the NAO. The NAO has ......"

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Allan Beavis: Nicky Morgan: An arts education should not be the privilege of a few but a fundamental priority for all. Stop discouraging teenagers away from the arts

The Observer reported yesterday that an independent study by the LSE and the Institute for Social and Economic Research challenges the coalition’s claims that the burden of austerity (“We’re in all in it together”) has been equally shared out. Iain Duncan Smith’s sweeping and punitive changes to welfare benefits and Osborne’s to income tax has resulted in switching from the poorer ... read more and comment →

13 comments

Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "Janet - I regard myself as a feminist of the 'equity' variety. The distinction from gender feminism is well explained by Steven Pinker in 'The Blank Slate' (Penguin 2003), pp 341-343. Wikipedia also recognises both the distinction and its controversial ......"

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Sir Peter Newsam: Academy funding contracts could mean an insecure future for some schools

The defenestration of Michael Gove and the new academic year is a good time to take stock of the pre-election position of the academy programme. The merits of the seven different kinds of academy, of which ‘Free’ schools are just one, are not at issue. It is well established that many academies are excellent schools or are in well-led chains. ... read more and comment →

3 comments

Latest comment by agov: "So it is Roger. Unfortunately as Theresa May seems to be the best hope for a more sensible education policy I'm not expecting many changes any time soon. (2nd attempt at posting)..."

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Roger Titcombe: Are Trojan Horses only a problem in respect of Islam?

This essay in the Guardian Teacher Network of 8 November raises fundamental issues about the role of faith schools in the education system. It shows that allowing religious faith leaders of any complexion to run state funded schools is likely to lead to strife and injustice to the vast majority of parents who put educational issues ahead of faith issues. read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "Well at the very least that will make two of us happy. In closing I would point up that it was I but you who made the following comment: "Andy – You are of course entitled to your view. However, ......"

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Janet Downs: A thousand flowers will bloom, says Minister for School Reform, and it’s all because of ‘autonomy’

The Government has freed schools from local authority control, said Nick Gibb, now Minister for School Reform, and that will ‘let a thousand flowers bloom.’ But all is not light in Nick Gibbs’ flower-strewn meadow. The numbers taking EBacc subjects is up, he crowed. Now there’s a surprise. The Government introduces a performance-measure and, unsurprisingly, schools do ... read more and comment →

9 comments

Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Andy - it's illuminating that China only files the results of certain non-typical Chinese cities: booming Shanghai, the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macau, the untypical status of Chinese Taipei (which I haven't been able to work ......"

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Richard Harris & Caroline Crolla: No rhyme or reason in the allocation of teacher training places

Where is the rhyme and reason in allocations for teacher training places? The latest allocations for 2015/16 have come out and the main conclusions that can be drawn seem to show university based provision is increasingly the government’s least preferred route. The rationale seems fairly clear from the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, who has written an article where he asks: ... read more and comment →

6 comments

Latest comment by Janet Downs: "The important message of this article is that teaching training in England is likely to descend into chaos: unplanned and ad-hoc. If university departments close then it's unlikely they will reopen - expertise will be lost. And is ......"

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Janet Downs: Durham LA criticised for slow action in two of its schools – but DfE rules makes intervention difficult.

Labour MP Kevan Jones has criticised the Labour council in Durham for being slow to act after he raised concerns about two Durham community secondary schools in 2013. But the two schools had been judged Outstanding in 2011 and this restricted the action the Local Authority (LA) could take. Fyndoune Community College was judged Outstanding in 2011 on all counts (old criteria). ... read more and comment →

32 comments

Latest comment by agov: ""Captcha – it now works everytime" Unfortunately, not so. It worked fine for me on the 11th but would not do so on the13th...."

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Helen Saunders: Free schools are undemocratic and divert funds from existing schools.

I live in a town under the threat of a Steiner Free school. Stroud has a surplus of over 600 school places and yet a group of enthusiasts have recently submitted their second application for a free school. Policy has been to open free schools whether or not there is a shortage of places, so it is possible this application ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by David Barry: "The British Humanist Association produced a briefing on Steiner schools this year which is relevant. https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/BHA-BRIEFING-concerns-about-the-state-funding-of-Steiner-schools.pdf My favourite para from the report is this one: "In 2005 the Government commissioned the Woods Report in order to explore the Steiner sector in England. The ......"

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Janet Downs: ‘Bring Back Secondary Moderns for the 75%’ doesn’t quite have the same appeal as the call to reintroduce grammars.

UKIP wants a grammar school in every town. London Mayor Boris Johnson says scrapping grammars was a ‘real tragedy’. Prince Charles lobbied ministers to reintroduce selection at 11. Home Secretary Teresa May appears willing to consider support for a grammar school’s ‘satellite’ in comprehensive Maidenhead. The clamour to bring back grammar schools is getting louder. Much support ... read more and comment →

20 comments

Latest comment by Janet Downs: "The pass mark is likely to fall if there are insufficient pupils taking and passing the 11+. This has already happened in Northern Ireland where the grammars are fishing more deeply in the ability pool in order to fill ......"

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