Tristram Hunt made four errors during an interview with Andrew Neil, claims Toby Young in the Telegraph
. But is he right?
Young gave four statements which he alleges prove Hunt wrong. Summaries of these statements are given below in bold with my commentary underneath.
The opening of two free schools by Perry Beeches School in Birmingham with a third planned for September is proof that new schools are necessary.
The fact that two free schools have opened in Birmingham and one is in the pipeline doesn’t prove new schools are needed everywhere. The National Audit Office
found 81% of secondary free schools had been set up in areas where there are already surplus places. When Perry Beeches II (PB2) was proposed there was a small surplus of secondary places in Birmingham although it was recognised extra places would be needed by 2017/18. The PB2 Impact Assessment
recognised the academy would have a “moderate impact” on three nearby secondary schools until 2017/18. The Impact Assessment for Perry Beeches III which opened in September 2013 doesn’t seem to be available.
The South Leeds Academy did not advertise for an unqualified teacher.
"We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic, reliable, and self-motivated Unqualified Teacher of Maths ... The ideal candidates will possess a minimum of 4 GCSE’s (Grades A*- C) including English and Mathematics or equivalent."
The South Leeds Academy subsequently said the advert was placed in "error" but there were rather too many "errors" for this to be credible (eg "Unqualified, "minimum of 4 GCSEs”, “UQT pay scale”). The academy issued this statement
"The advert should have made clear that this post was for the appointment of trainees to support the teaching of Mathematics with the potential opportunity to then progress as a trainee teacher."
But how does this square with the academy chain's funding agreement cited in Parliament
that the South Leeds Academy only employs teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)? The statement above clearly says the "trainee", who only needed 4 GCSEs, could have the opportunity to become a "trainee teacher". 4 GCSEs doesn't equal a degree.
Two thirds of Al-Madinah’s staff have QTS
The school’s website is under reconstruction
and there’s no information about the qualifications of staff. There is mention, however, of QIS staff in a letter
. It’s unclear what QIS stands for or whether it’s a typo. That said, Ofsted made it quite clear there was a large number of unqualified and inexperienced staff at the school when it was judged “dysfunctional
” and this had contributed to the school’s Inadequate rating.
Seven schools in Stoke are Inadequate and they’re all local authority (LA) schools
This is correct. However, the figure needs putting in context. Although the majority of secondary schools are academies, the majority of primary schools are non-academies. The number of LA schools, therefore, greatly outnumbers the number of academies.
Only six academies in Stoke have been inspected so far: one primary academy Requires Improvement, three secondary academies Require Improvement and two are Good. A small sample of six reduces the chances of being judged Inadequate. And it would be equally wrong to gloat about how not a single academy in Stoke is Outstanding.
One of the four secondary non-academies is Good and one is judged to Require Improvement. The remaining two non-academy secondary schools are Inadequate. One of the latter was previously Good and was in the process of converting to academy status - this was put on hold because of concerns about low attainment. A cynic might say academy conversion was halted to avoid yet another academy being judged Inadequate. Much better to have Inadequate judgements slapped on local authority schools.
So what about non-academy primary schools? Five are Inadequate, nine Require Improvement/Satisfactory, thirty are Good and four Outstanding. Roughly 70% of non-academy primary schools are Good or better – this matches national figures.
It appears that Toby Young’s discovery of Tristram Hunt’s mistakes wasn’t quite such a discovery after all.
Thanks to FJMurphy for highlighting the Telegraph article. FJMurphy had submitted an unfinished post about the story which I attempted to complete. This was posted temporarily but has now been removed because my ending might not have been what FJMurphy intended. However, it was a point worth pursuing.
4 March 09.55
The above has been amended to include one non-academy secondary school in Stoke which was judged Good. This had been missed from the analysis. To make it clear: there are four remaining non-academy secondary schools in Stoke: three Foundation schools and one Community School. There are four converter secondary academies which haven't been inspected yet. There are six sponsored academies: five have been inspected. There are also two Studio Schools (free schools) which have not yet been inspected.