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Janet Downs: The Annual Academies Report is published. Why no similar report praising non-academies?

The Annual Academies Report 2013/14, the yearly eulogy for academies, has now been published. Percentages drop like petals in a gale; case studies appear in big boxes; and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan provides a fulsome foreword. Unsurprisingly, there's no mention in the report about the two UTCs which will close, the four large academy chains – E-Act, AET, TKAT and ... read more and comment →

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trevor fisher: BBC reporting of Academies bill – help needed

There have been real concerns over BBC reporting of schools for many years, notably the BBC 4 Grammar school programme. However the Victoria Derbyshire programme on June 3rd raised very serious issues about the editorial approach including the use of headlines. The headline on screen was FAILING SCHOOLS which accepted the Tory view of the Bill. However, without a hard ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Guest: "I'm still posting under the title 'Guest' and thus run the risk of not being believed, not taken seriously or even scorned by some but the repeats of the series on, The Grammar School: A Secret History starts on BBC4 ......"

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Janet Downs: June and July are bustin’ out all over – with reports and research. And they’re not good news for the Government.

Only 15% of the twenty largest academy chains perform above the national average on ‘added value’ compared to 44% of 100 local authorities**. That’s the finding of NFER research published by the Local Government Association (LGA) today. The report also showed ‘on average, pupils attending maintained schools achieved the same high standard of GCSE results in 2014 as ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Barry - not all VA schools are RC. Most are in fact CoE. And some VA schools are grammars and can select. Your initial comparison was between 'community schools', academies and VA schools. But there are other types ......"

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Melissa Benn: The BBC’s Take on Education: Requires Improvement.

Warning! The BBC, for reasons best known to itself, is, from tomorrow night, re-showing a controversial 2012 two part documentary on The Grammar School: A Secret History. Nothing very secret about this particular piece of film making, I'm afraid. This is a one-sided love letter ( but then love letters are one sided) to selective education, complete with ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Michele Lowe: "Strangely, I think these high-profile seals of approval can have a detrimental effect on the successful. In some, it has the effect of stunting their thinking and inhibiting the thought: "I might be wrong here". I would exempt ......"

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Janet Downs: ‘We’ll shine a light on complacency’, says Morgan. Perhaps that light should focus on DfE propaganda.

The latest missive from the Department for Education is a masterpiece in spin. The Government will sweep our ‘One Nation’ (actually England) with a blazing torch to identify ‘coasting schools’. Coasting secondary schools are those where ‘expected progress’ is below the median and where fewer than 60% achieve 5 GCSEs A*-C including Maths and English in three ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "HeadGuruTeacher has censured Morgan for her inability to understand averages. He writes: 'I know that Tough Talk is all the rage down at the DfE, but you are the Secretary of State, not the editor of the Daily Mail. ......"

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Henry Stewart: Morgan targets schools with lower attaining entries

Nicky Morgan's new definition of "coasting" represents two key elements: a) a big expansion of the numbers of schools being targetted (see here for my estimate of almost 3,000 schools) b) a focus, because of the measures used, on schools with lower ability entries. When Morgan first started talking of coasting schools, I assumed a key target would be schools with strong entries ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Henry - there is one grammar which according to league tables isn't just 'coasting' but failing spectacularly. 0% of pupils at Bourne Grammar achieved the benchmark in 2013/14. That's because it used iGCSEs. However, according to league ......"

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Henry Stewart: Morgan targets almost 3,000 schools as “coasting”

Nicky Morgan has today revealed how "coasting" schools will be defined. Unexpectedly the definition does not include any element of value added. Instead both criteria (absolute KS2 or GCSE results, and levels of progress) are strongly correlated to ability at entry. Schools with a lower ability intake will therefore be much more likely to find themselves categorised as coasting. Calculations ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by agov: "no..."

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Janet Downs: Let’s move towards graduation at 18

Heads reacted wearily when shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt suggested we downplay exams at 16 and move towards graduation at 18. As I explained in Schools Week, schools are already punch drunk from constant changes and reforms without being faced with another upheaval. But graduation at 18 could be achieved without massive disruption by incorporating what is already in place. ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Barry and Michele - your'e right. When performance is measured by targets, then meeting the target is all that matters. It leads to superficiality and teaching-to-the-test. The OECD warned in 2011 there was too much emphasis on ......"

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Janet Downs: Oasis letter of concern sent in March. Why was publication delayed until yesterday?

After a number of focused inspections, Ofsted sent a letter to Oasis Community Learning Trust (OCL) expressing concern about performance in some of the chain’s academies (see here). Yesterday, Ofsted issued a press release saying it was publishing the letter sent to OCL outlining inspectors’ findings. But the letter was dated 11 March 2015, over three months ago. Accompanying the letter ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "UPDATE - Ofsted letters of concern sent to E-Act, AET and TKAT were not delayed. They were published almost immediately. The longest delay was to TKAT - just over two weeks. See Update above for more details...."

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Janet Downs: ‘Too many’ Oasis academies haven’t improved quickly enough, says Ofsted today, but in 2011/12 the Chief HMI praised their improvement.

Oasis Community Learning Trust (OCL) has a ‘variable record of improvement’ in its academies, Ofsted found in its recent targeted inspections. Inspectors concluded ‘too many’ academies in OCL, which has expanded rapidly particularly in the last three years, haven’t improved quickly enough. Inspectors recognised OCL’s record of improvement was stronger in some areas than in others. But nearly half ... read more and comment →

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