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Henry Stewart: Education ministers tell fibs to Tory conference

Okay, that isn't exactly news. As we've noted before, the previous Secretary of State had a very loose relationship with facts and even the Telegraph described him as Mr Sloppy. But it is a bit sad to find Nicky Morgan, and one of her junior ministers, continuing his track record: Nicky Morgan today stated "13 years of Labour… and 1 in every ... read more and comment →

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Roger Titcombe: The pleasure of finding things out

This is the title of the collection of short works by Richard Feynman (1999), undoubtedly one of the twentieth century's most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers. (He died in 1988). This is a great general interest read as Feynman had many talents including a great disregard for pomposity in all its forms. He enjoyed the friendship of people from ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Tatiana: "And here is the BBC program itself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p018dvyg/horizon-19811982-9-the-pleasure-of-finding-things-out#group=p01qvnmd It's a real pleasure to listen to Feynman...."

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Janet Downs: Gibb claims rise in number passing screening test is down to ‘relentless emphasis on phonics’. But DfE commissioned research contradicts this.

‘… 100,000 more 6-year olds now on track to become proficient readers as a result of our relentless emphasis on phonics. Had we not done so, those pupils would still be struggling today.’ School minister, Nick Gibb, Department for Education (DfE) press release. But DfE commissioned research into the 2014 screening test contradicts this. It said: ‘Teachers were positive about phonics as ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Maggie D - the research cited by Gibb supports the systematic teaching of ANY phonics method not just synthetic as I point out here. It appears that Gibb doesn't differentiate between 'systematic' and 'synthetic'. The mandatory ......"

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Janet Downs: Ofsted report highlights concerns about low-level disruption. So why aren’t inspectors picking this up? And inaccurate, pre-publication reporting distorts the findings.

Chief HMI Sir Michael Wilshaw is right that low-level poor behaviour – chatting, silly remarks, not having equipment etc – disrupts the education of all pupils. His latest report, Below the radar: low-level disruption in the country’s classrooms, reveals that such low-level disruption is problematic. It’s odd, then, that Ofsted inspectors aren’t picking up this disruption: 85% of the ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Andy: "PS Not forgetting an FoI to NASUWT for their independent survey..."

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Richard Cooke: Save our schools.

For the past 8 years my son has been attending Norwich Road School in Thetford which we had always found to be excellent. When a vacancy came up on the LGB I was happy to stand and was duly elected as a parent governor. I was presented with a vote on whether to become an academy in my very first meeting ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "The Academy Transformation Trust which runs the Norwich Road Academy has been 'halted' by the DfE from taking on more academies. In 2013, ATT awarded the ICT contract for its academies to Gaia Technologies, a firm whose director, ......"

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Janet Downs: How long is an academy ‘start-up’ period? One year? Two? More? FoI response shows academies receiving start-up grants for several years.

How long is a ‘start-up’ period? One year? Two years? Longer? This matters because additional funds are available for academies ‘to support temporary costs for a period after the academy opens’, the Academies Handbook says. The Handbook describes two start up grants which are supposed to finance temporary costs for a period after the academy opens. ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Bess - headteachers were paid according to the Leadership Group Pay Spine (although some academy heads seem to be able to pay themselves more than this). Schools are funded according to a formula on a per-capita bases - schools with more ......"

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Roger Titcombe: The ‘gap’ can’t be closed

Two important articles appeared in the Independent of 23 September. The first, here, is entitled, 'Even excellent schools ‘don’t help poor kids to catch rich’ "The gap in performance between poor and better-off pupils is just as high in schools ranked 'outstanding' as those labelled 'inadequate', researchers have found. “Even if we improved all ‘inadequate’ schools to the level of those judged ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Roger Titcombe: "D Moore - You are right that banded admissions systems can be exploited by Academies to the disadvantage of neighbouring schools. However Mossbourne Academy is in Hackney and in Hackney there is a uniform system of banding administered by the ......"

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Janet Downs: Free school is not closing, said DfE in August, but DfE school performance tables and Ofsted say it has

‘The Department for Education has rejected the characterisation of changes at a north London school as a second closure for its flagship free schools programme’ EverythingFreeSchools, 13 August 2014 The denial was in response to my claim that Hartsbrook E-Act Free School, judged Inadequate on all four counts in January 2014, was to be closed and re-opened with a new sponsor, new ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "Patrick - strictly speaking, free schools are academies but they're sub-categorised as free schools. Not all free schools were completely new - some were previously independent schools. Other oddities with the free school designation. The JCB Academy ......"

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Janet Downs: How losing Inadequate free schools lowers the proportion of those deemed failing.

The Government and the taxpayer-funded charity which promotes free schools, the New Schools Network, like to boast how many more free schools are outstanding than local authority maintained schools. This is despite the number of inspected free schools being too small to come to any conclusion. However, if the Government and NSN want to use small samples to ‘prove’ the ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Janet Downs: "UPDATE Thanks to intervention by FullFact, which asked the UK Statistics Authority to look at DfE claims that free schools were twice as likely to be judged Outstanding than other schools judged under the same framework, DfE statisticians have ......"

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Janet Downs: Average is no longer ‘average’– how figures can be spun to increase parental discontent with state schools

‘The level of parental dissatisfaction with the education system has been laid bare in new figures that show more than a third of mothers and fathers are not happy with standards at local schools.’ Daily Telegraph, 14 September 2014 But the alleged ‘dissatisfaction’ revealed in a Populus poll commissioned by the New Schools Network, the taxpayer-funded charity which promotes the setting up ... read more and comment →

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Latest comment by Robert Waring: "By refering to 'state' is telegraph including freeschools and academies, they are state funded aren't they? and the report seems to mention "local" schools, I assuming that freeschools and academies are local schools ! "...25 per cent – would ......"

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