Michaela Community School Doubles Your Chances of a School Place for September 2012

Ian Taylor's picture
On the website of the proposed Michaela Community School it states “By applying to MCS, you will not jeopardise the secondary school place you previously chose in October. Applying to MCS will simply ensure you have two school choices on National Offers' Day - 1st March.”

So why would a parent not apply to MCS? It is a free extra option.

Let us guess which parents will work this out. Will it be a cross section of society?

After the parents take up the MCS places, I guess the schools that had also offered places, and no longer receive the children, have a bit of a mess to resolve. These schools can be regarded as second best, which is exactly what the Free Schools movement is all about. If they are in any doubt about being second best, Mr Gove and Mr Gibb will almost certainly announce this on TV. In fact I am so sure about how Mr Gove will spin this, that I am willing to bet money on it.

Apart from the lack of ethical standards here, can it be legal to offer an additional school place to a subset of the population? Perhaps I do not understand the London educational scene.

Anyway, the children pictured on the website at MCS look very happy, and a credit to all the teachers there. It must be a good school. It does say the school mixes tradition with innovation and I guess this picture proves it.
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Rosemary Mann's picture
Mon, 16/01/2012 - 21:59

Its a mess but we all knew it would be. Good point about it being unethical; it sure is. It will cause a considerable mess for the LA to clear up as well as more likely than not upsetting the plans of many ordinary families who may have last minute decisions to make as a result of the ensuing chaos, as well of course of producing problems for many schools. But lets see, how many families will really decide to take a risk on an unknown entity with no track record. The idea of a brand new school, a fresh start, with no 'previous' is very appealing as much as a brand new house would be, but then you have the snagging problems, the defects, the teething problems, the realisation that much of the necessary social and physical infrastructure has to play catch up. Lets see.

Lynne Mendoza's picture
Tue, 17/01/2012 - 09:39

It will be interesting to see if they get any take up for places at all. Their preferred site is currently an office building in a town centre. There is very limited outdoor space (a small car park) and the building is currently home to over 60 businesses, all of whom have contracts for the lease of their offices. The tenants knew nothing about the plans to turn the building into a school until their attention was drawn to them by a post on Streetlife a few days ago.

One assumes that proper planning applications will need to be made for change of use and the usual consultation with neighbours. I would hope that there would be some kind of assessment of suitability for this building to be a school.

All of this will need to be completed in just under 8 months for the new intake to start school in September.

Regarding the admissions policy, the DfE website states this:
"It is recognised that not all Free School applications will move to the implementation stage in time to allow them to be included in co-ordination for the LA's initial admissions round. Consequently - as a transitional measure - the Secretary of State for Education has agreed that, only for the first year they open, Free Schools may be outside the co-ordinated process if it is necessary."

Fiona Millar's picture
Tue, 17/01/2012 - 13:06

The school isn't even open yet so there is no way of judging whether or not it is a good school. Presumably the pictures of the children were stunted for the purposes of the website?

JaneAwdry's picture
Thu, 02/02/2012 - 00:35

The photos will simply have come from a picture library. And all schools like to show pictures of happy, smiling children on their prospectuses. They're not going to show miserable ones are they, even if the kids are miserable?

Peter's picture
Tue, 17/01/2012 - 23:09

In a previous post Fiona Millar wrote:"there seems to be an assumption on this site and amongst the various comments in the media that Katharine Birbalsingh will be the head teacher. As she is also the founder of the school, will she be appointing herself?"

On the MCS site linked to above she is described as the "Proposed Headmistress".

Appointing a head to a state school is a serious matter. The salary could be around £100,000 and in response to a national advertisement there could be 50-100 applicants. Shortlisted candidates would normally have had several years' successful experience as deputy heads.

So what has happened here? Has there been a selection process that no one has heard about? Or is there a process still to occur, in which case the prior announcement of a "Proposed Headmistress" must surely severely prejudice the competitive process?

Or do free schools live in a parallel universe, in which the normal expectation that public appointments should be fair and open is somehow suspended?

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 09:21

In July 2011 the Institute of Education researched groups that were proposing free schools at that time. It found that almost a quarter of proposals were from teachers of middle-rank who aspire to become the head of the school. The researcher claimed that this would be a rapid promotion.


The National College lays down an acceptable procedure for recruiting heads. The advice covers attracting and selecting a candidate, shortlisting, taking up references and so on. In LA schools the recruitment of the head is the responsibility of the Governing Body. If the same is true of free schools and if the governing body comprises the proposers which include a teacher that wants to become the head, then the guidelines for recruitment can easily be circumvented. Any advertising for candidates, interviews and the like would just be a sham if the teacher on the governing body was given the job.


Fiona Millar's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 11:21

If she is to be the head, this is clearly in breach of the sort of equal opportunities recruitment process maintained schools must follow but we must remember that these are independent schools, only governed by what is in their funding agreements and this school may not even have signed that yet. In that regard, they can probably do what they want but it is worth checking.

Lynne Mendoza's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 09:54

This is from the Michaela Community School's recruitment ad for the Deputy Head Teacher post:

"We are now ready to appoint a Deputy Head to start from April 2012 and support the Headmistress, Katharine Birbalsingh, in the run up to the School’s opening in September 2012 and beyond."


Mr Chas's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 11:22

Here is a good example of a promoted Deputy Head from another free school.


Jane Eades's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 11:49

Wandsworth Save Our Schools has submitted a list of questions to the MCS group and are awaiting a reply. One of the questions was: Who is doing the selection and interviewing of staff. How was the head appointed, when was she first paid and where is the money coming from to pay her?

Guest's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 14:46


Why should anyone respond to a group calling themselves Wandsworth Save our Schools? this is an undemocratic group set up by the AAA in cahoots with the more left wing Unions. It does not represent any schools in Wandsworth.

Wandsworth is one of the fastest growing boroughs in UK and it's demographic has changed greatly over last 15 years with more and more young families starting and settling in the borough.

We need more schools and places both primary and secondary across the borough and yet your group of comrades opposes all free schools and academies. The only support you get is when you tell lies and spread misinformation eg last year members of your group claimed a Balham secondary school could close due to a new free school, it was absolute rubbish but it swelled your membership for a day or two.

If the community of Tooting do not want a new school they will attend the public consultations and let their feelings be known. We do not need a coach load of aggressive militants to stop this process.

Jane Eades's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 14:59

WSOS was not set up by the AAA. There is no need for more secondary places. Wandsworth has a surplus - those are Wandsworth Council's figures. Since we will all be paying for "free" schools, shouldn't we all be able to have a say - isn't that democracy, or does democracy only suit you when it supports you?

Jake's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 16:50

Yet more lies Jane motivated by your extreme left wing ideology? Wandsworth has a clear deficit on 'basic need' places as discussed previously on this site.


We are all welcome to our opinions but be prepared for criticism when you get caught out spinning or bending the truth. Or perhaps your ongoing paranoia means you think that 'guest' and myself are also the same person plus some other character all in reality rolled into one person - and all because we disagree with your loony left cant?

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:15

Jake - the projected school numbers in Wandsworth have indeed been discussed before. To save readers scrolling down the comments I will reproduce part of the argument here: page 5 of “Wandsworth Borough council Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny committee 2nd March 2011″ gives a table which shows that without the proposed free school (Bolingbroke) it would not be until 2019/20 that the projected roll [in Wandsworth] exceeds capacity, and then by only 2 forms.

It would appear from the Council's own figures that the projected roll will not exceed capacity until 2019/20. However, the free school (Bolingbroke) has been accepted so there is over-provision of up to 1,569 in 2015/16 and then falling to 423 in 2019/20. The Council says that it accepts over-capacity to allow for parental choice. Over-capacity, Jake, does not equal "clear deficit on basic need places".

If the council's figures are incorrect, are they guilty of promoting "loony left cant"?


Jake's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:32

It is indeed loony left cant Janet. And worse. When in a hole stopp digging. You are merely repeating the same mistake you made before. Perhaps you should re-read my post? Which is exactly why I re-posted it above. For starters the council statement is based on the wrong size cohort for the Bolingbroke free school (which is actually a 4FE and not a 5FE roll). One also needs to strip out the proposed new Catholic school. Both these factors skew the numbers. But Luddites (or should that be dinosaurs like the Best of Legover?) are like ostriches - you stick your heads in the sand in a state of denial.

Guest's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 15:03

I thought you were treasurer of the AAA and set up the group? Which schools have asked you to save them?

Jane Eades's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 15:25

So, your intellectual argument in favour of the Michaela "Community" School is that a single member of WSOS is also a member of the AAA? You are providing the biggest argument for why the Government should not provide tax payers money for "free" schools. Please respond to the points made by the other posters, or can't you?

Guest's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 15:43

Not at all. I will attend the consultation this week and ask some
Questions. I do not support it opening up in Tooting in September and have already made this comment on their website. They need to listen to the consultation responses and act appropriately.
I do not have a problem with the Headmistriss position as KB seems to be both adequately qualified and experienced, additionally it will be a very small school to start with and they can grow together.

I do have a problem with unelected militant groups which represent nobody but a couple of small minded individuals, but try to con the general public with made up titles and lies.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:02

Guest - as the present government is a coalition and the Conservatives didn't gain enough votes to govern outright, then does your description of "unelected militant groups which represent nobody but a couple of small minded individuals, but try to con the general public with made up titles and lies" refer to certain politicians in the government? I'm thinking in particular of those in the DfE who ignore thousands of community schools (they've been airbrushed from the DfE website) and appear to represent a few academy chains, free schools, studio schools, UTCs and the "providers" which seem to be popping up to run schools. And then, of course, there are the constant misleading statements which are best treated with a large dose of scepticism.

Guest's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:12


I have more respect for you than to take your last post seriously.
I am sure you are aware of the results of the last election and not in denial so I will ignore your last comment, unless of course you do not understand how our democracy works.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:25

Guest - democracy is based on politicians telling the truth. Mr Gove and his supporters have repeatedly misled the electorate about English education - about how UK students have plummeted down league tables in ten years; how widespread academy conversion is the only way to raise standards; how academy status releases schools from the dead hand of local authority bureaucracy (despite the fact the LAs have had no "control" over schools since Local Management of Schools was introduced); how only academies, particularly those in certain chains, are delivering a good education; how those who oppose Mr Gove's policies are portrayed as "for failure"; how Mr Gove ignores the advice of his own education select committee; how Mr Gove says his policies are underpinned by international evidence when they aren't; how Mr Gove says it's up to governing bodies whether to choose academy status but then threatens schools with enforced conversion...

Jake's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:38

I was blind but now I can see! Yours words are indeed the gospel truth Janet. Hallelujah!! There can be no doubt about anything you say. All hail the Luddites!!! And he even wanted to buy queeny a yacht. Silly man.

Guest's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 18:02


See below article which I know you have seen before.


Unfortunately OECD/ PISA agree with Gove and not you with regard to England falling down the International tables, but I think you knew that.

I have noted you repeat your same quotes over and over again from OECD to make points so perhaps from now on you will also quote Mr Schleicher.

Jane Eades's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:50

I smell Pingu and the Bolingbroke Academy in these posts. Perhaps that is why they hide behind pseudonyms. On the local blogsite, they have a similar propensity for personal attacks and hiding their own identities.

Lynne Mendoza's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 19:36

"The UK's performance in Pisa is not poor - but shows plenty of room for improvement, Schleicher says."

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 09:31

Guest - I do actually quote Mr Schleicher a lot as a trawl through the threads on this site will testify. The report on which the Guardian based its article has been discussed on this site before (see below for link).

Mr Schleicher has been quoted as saying that the UK's performance in PISA is NOT poor (see Lynne's post). However, he has said that the UK's performance is "stagnant" ie the score has not changed. I have never denied this. The league table position of the UK decreased between 2006 and 2009 but this is partly explained by more countries taking part in PISA 2009 many of which are high-performing jurisdictions, by other countries increasing their scores, and because English students took the exam later than students in other countries. That meant that English students were still in year 10 when other countries took the test and had, therefore, received several months less schooling. As far as the UK scores were concerned they hardly varied between 2006 and 2009, hence Mr Schleicher's use of the word "stagnant".

There is also one point which gets forgotten in discussion about PISA 2009: although the UK students score was at the OECD average for Reading and Maths, they scored above the average for Science. This is a little reported fact because it goes against the prevailing wisdom that UK (or rather English) state education is failing.

OECD have compared UK PISA results with the results from other international assessments: PIRLS and TIMSS. It concluded* "Average performance among 10-year-olds, as measured by PIRLS and TIMSS scores is however relatively strong in an OECD perspective."

Guest - it is not the first time you have seized upon a newspaper article and quoted a small part of it without either reading the whole article or looking at the report cited in the article. Perhaps it would be wise to do so in future.


*OECD Economic Surveys 2011, page 97. Not available freely on-line.

Jake's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 18:03

More left wing smear and innuendo based on zero evidence as usual. Its tiresome even for you.

Guest's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 10:34


Up to your cherry picking again!! I suggest you read the whole article.
Mr Schleicher is clear that the PISA results from 2000 onwards show England's International decline. Sorry if it's not what you choose to focus on but as you use OECD extensively then you should not accuse others of cherry picking when you are the champion.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sat, 21/01/2012 - 23:42

Pingu is a left wing smear? You can hardly say Pingu is innuendo as it's always direct and explicit.... My son is just like Pingu in character - especially when he interacts with Pinga. I'm going to tell him he's a left wing smear tomorrow and see what he makes of it.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 17:50

Jake - re your post above about Wandsworth's projected figures. We have indeed discussed them before and you tried to blame it on the Catholics. I think you said we should take it up with the Pope. Perhaps His Holiness could explain why Wandsworth Council got into such a muddle with their figures and why they think that even without the free school they would not meet a deficit in school places until 2019. However, I've posted the link to the Council's figures in my post above so readers can make up their own minds without the need for divine intervention.

I am unfamiliar with the phrase "Best of Legover". Is it a particularly steamy soap opera? Or highlights from Big Brother? Something to do with cricket, perhaps? Or over-the-knee socks?

Jake's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 18:01

Beast of Legover!

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 09:05

Jake - forgive my confusion. Your post above definitely referred to the "Best of Legover". Here is the quote: "But Luddites (or should that be dinosaurs like the Best of Legover?) are like ostriches –"

If it's not the "Best of Legover" but the "Beast of Legover", I'm afraid I'm still none the wiser. It sounds like a tabloid description of someone who is agressively promiscuous. If so, your mixed metaphors about the Best (sic) of Legover being like an ostrich with his head in the sand conjures up a rather amusing image.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sat, 21/01/2012 - 23:43

I'm fascinated! Who is the beast of legover? :-) (Rebecca loves posting after wine o'clock on a Saturday night).

Rosemary Mann's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 20:21

Oh dear. I must have landed on another planet.
Please can someone let me know how KB is suitable and experienced to be a headteacher of a new school? As far as I recall she was sacked by her previous employer after issuing pictures of pupils and having them broadcast on national TV. without due consent. She has I believe been a teacher for little over a decade and a senior manager for about 4 years. So please tell me how this makes her a suitable candidate? There are hundreds at least of competent teachers out there with a flair at least in waiting for the top job. I work in an area where I come into contact with them and witness some of the challenges they have to face. Please tell me how it is assumed that this person is more qualified than they are to do the job? However my view is now to let them get on with it and see how well they do. For the childrens sake, I do not wish them to fail, but I cannot see how they can succeed. A media presence alone does not maketh good results.

Fiona Millar's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 09:49

It is possible that free schools will become a safe refuge for those who are deemed not good enough to rise up the ranks in the maintained sector. It will be very interesting to see how their schools (once up and running ) perform in this tough new Ofsted framework.

Jane Eades's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 10:07

Just seeing the comment, Fiona, I thought at first you were referring to children!! I was thinking "surely that is the opposite of what will happen to children with, for example, special needs". Perhaps there may be hope after all: the best teachers will remain in the local authority community of schools teaching the students who need them most!

Jake's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 10:18

But according to your fellow crypto-commie on this site (aka Butthead), it appears the Bolingbroke Academy has taken a successful teacher from of all places Fiona's own school? So I wouldnt get your lefty hopes up just yet.

Peter Lago's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 11:08

Is Jake Jon de Maria? I expect he is hiding his real identity out of embarrassment. He has been banned on other sites so I do not understand why he is not banned here.   This is the behaviour of that worst example of mankind – the coward who hides behind anonymity in order to make disgusting and menacing attacks on other people. It is almost like being threatened by a masked intruder.   The sad thing is that dangerous people like him poison discussion and makes it impossible for other people to come onto excellent and very informative sites like Local Schools Network in order to get share and get information because of his revolting attitude . I have learnt much about schools here and have got information and access to other information that the government and people like Jon de Maria do not want us to know.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 11:37

Peter - thanks for your comments about the Local Schools Network. One of its greatest assets is that it gives ordinary people the chance to discuss education in an unthreatening atmosphere. This is sometimes challenged by posters whose idea of debate is to fling around insulting comments under the false assumption that abuse trumps rational argument. This is a pity because it can put off other posters from contributing.

However, sometimes these truculent posts can result in mirth. I'm still laughing at the suggestion that we take up the alleged shortfall of school places in Wandsworth with the Pope, or that somewhere there is a Beast of Legover who is bent over with his head stuck in the sand.

Jake's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 12:27

Brilliant. Yet more tiresome paranoid as hominem when the argument has been lost. Keep up the great work big man. Why not share your top secret access to covert intell with the rest of us if you are such a hot shot?

Sassy Puff's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 13:26

@ Peter Lago
Make up your own mind as to who Jake is;

Jake's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 20:04

SassyPuff (or whichever of your several other names you post under) - this site is for people who support their local school. The clue is in the name of the site and indeed in the strapline - 'supporting your local school'. Sadly as has been proven elsewhere on this site previously, you are a parent who chose not to support her local school at all (perhaps because it was in special measures?) but rather chose to send your child half way across the borough to a different school. So for you to come on this site, fling false accusations around and claim the moral high ground shows not only considerable brass neck on your part but confirms just what a hypocrite and busy body you are.

Guest's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 22:08

I wonder who might be masquerading as 'Peter Lago'? Someone with an over inflated opinion of themselves, quick to anger, a bully? But that can't be possible for as Peter Lago says himself, only a 'coward hides behind anonymity in order to make disgusting and menacing attacks'. My mistake as surely no one could be as weasley as to employ the same underhand tactics he is accsusing someone else of. I apologise for any such salacious innuendo based on no proof whatsoever.

Sassy Puff's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 23:49

@ Jon De Maria
Firstly, if like yourself, one is going to have more online personalities than Joanne Woodward in Sybil, then it helps somewhat if one is honest about it.
I indeed post under two pseudonyms on different forums, as do many people on this site.
Unlike yourself, I have never once denied it and why would I?
I stand by everything I have ever said, although maybe I should have said things more dispassionately on occasion. Unfortunately in the past I have been rather too honest, but rather that than a gutless coward, who adds absolutely nothing to any debate.

The only reason that you know about my secondary choices for my son is because I mentioned it them another forum.
Therefore, you know full well that my choice of secondary school for my son was based partly on health issues resulting from a stroke. I do not drive, my son had never been on public transport before on his own and the journey to his secondary school is far easier and quicker than the journey to Elliott.
Now, it isn't necessary for me to write this in order to explain anything to you, as of course you actually know all this already, and I couldn't care less what you think of me.
However, I do think it lends a certain insight into your character, mais non?

In addition, at the time of my choosing a secondary school for my son, Elliott was actually higher in the league tables than Chestnut Grove. So, it could be said that I choose the lesser performing school.
Which, given your in depth specialist knowledge of Wandsworth secondaries, you would have been well aware of.

Therefore, I have no idea why you have been attacking myself and the choices that I have made for my child in the most disgusting and personal ways imaginable for well over a year now. It bears repeating that my son attends a school in his local borough of Wandsworth, which is more than can be said for 73% of the secondary school aged children in your ward, whose parents support their local schools by sending their children to grammar and fee paying schools in Sutton, Southwark and beyond.

It would appear that you are trying to paint me as some kind of hypocritical Champagne Socialist, which is both tiresome and inaccurate. I am a single mother who wants the best possible for her child and other children. My son is lucky enough to attend a school where children are valued as individuals; he will be doing the EBacc, because that is where his strengths lie, whilst some of his peers will be able to specialize in the arts and do work experience at the NME, for example, as previous pupils have done.
I happen to think that this is a good thing, whereas I think that Gove's one size fits all, Retro 1950's straightjacket, is a load of Dandelion and Burdock.

I believe that a good education is the birthright of every child in this country and that it should not be reliant upon post code, prayer, nor pay cheque. I take issue with free schools because the evidence indicates that they are divisive and I don't think our current education system needs any assistance on that score.
It also appears that free schools in this country are becoming something of an ideological free for all, where the self serving make a name for themselves whilst our children are merely a side issue. The fact that a woman who has only five weeks experience as a deputy head has now promoted herself to the headship of an inner London secondary should be a source of concern to any parent. I simply cannot believe that this is the way forward and I fear that the advent of the free school is an ideological disaster waiting to happen.
Seriously. I would love to be proved wrong, but I feel sure that in ten years time, the children from the racial and social classes that are currently underachieving, will be continuing to do so.

So there you go. My reasons for being here and what I believe. If at any point in the past year or two, you had been capable of discourse like a grown man, as opposed to acting in a manner devoid of class, intellect or common courtesy, we may well have had some interesting debates. Such is life.
Again, I may well have been rather too honest and open, but that is who I am and who my son will grow up to be.

If it is all the same to you, I will post where I like about what I damn well please.
I will not be bullied into silence by someone who hides behind multiple pseudonyms and whose one and only contribution to this site is tedious almost daily trolling.
Just how many times can one man type SWP, loony left and Trotskyites in one week?

Finally, for the love of everything holy, please get Toby Young to teach you some new Latin.
You've worked the whole ad hominem thing to death, and if you actually realized what it meant, you would be far too embarrassed to use it.

PS I know as always, you will have to have to have the last word and I am sure that it will be as personal, hateful and inaccurate as ever.
However, as Peter Lago has so beautifully illustrated, your reputation precedes you.
I need say nothing more.

Peter Lago's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 23:51


Don't tempt me otherwise I will post the proof.

And this vicious and frightening attack on Sassypuff is degrading. You should be banned and your verbal abuse ought to be a matter for the police. Are you the same bully towards your wife?

Jake's picture
Fri, 20/01/2012 - 00:32

Saskia: Calm down dear! Being so passive agressive cannot be healthy for you. How about a nice cup of tea?

Peter Lago: Calm down dear! Are you smelling the fear yet? And if we are talking of banning people, then I must add that anyone over the age of 12 using emoticons should automatically be banned from this and any other website forthwith.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sat, 21/01/2012 - 23:45

Oy - you lot - stop trying to out people. You don't need to.

Rosemary Mann's picture
Wed, 18/01/2012 - 20:23

PS I think Beast of Legover is somehow intended to be linked to David Camerons reference today to Dennis Skinner( aka Beast of Bolsover) as a dinosaur.

David dear,Dennis will still be in the House when you are out on your ear.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 19/01/2012 - 11:18

Guest - you are correct about what Mr Schleicher says. Here is the complete quote given in the article:

'Schleicher, the thinktank's deputy director of education, said in an email to me [Guardian reporter]: "The UK's PISA data for 2000 and 2003 were not sufficiently robust to establish trend lines that meet OECD standards. However, it is hard to derive any interpretation of these data that wouldn't imply a decline in the relative standing of the UK internationally."

You say Mr Schleicher and Mr Gove agree that England had fallen down league tables. However, there is a difference in degree. According to Mr Gove, UK pupils have "plummeted down league tables in ten years". Mr Schleicher restated that the 2000 and 2003 PISA results for the UK were not robust enough to allow comparison but agreed that the data could "imply a decline in the relative standing".

I have never denied that there is a "decline in the relative standing" of UK pupils. I explain reasons for this in my post above.

I am sorry that in your zest to find "cherrypicking" you have missed the difference between Mr Gove's assertion that there has been a catastrophic fall in the league table position of UK pupils and Mr Schleicher's rather less judgemental "relative decline", especially as I have never denied the latter.

Peter's picture
Sun, 22/01/2012 - 08:04

Today's Observer carries an article headlined "Katharine Birbalsingh criticised over 'wasteful' free school project" at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/21/katharine-birbalsingh-fr... .

The last sentence is:"A spokesman for Communitas, the public relations company hired by Michaela school's project management firm, Place Group, refused to provide details about how much public money had been spent on the proposed school."


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