Archive | May, 2016

The Cost to Schools of Political Purdah

30 May


In an exclusive story Schools Week revealed that a “key report from the body which recommends teachers’ pay will not be published until after the EU referendum, despite having been sent to government almost a month ago.”  What a great excuse for a bit of speculation; has the one percent ceiling for teacher pay been breached or is the report damning about teacher supply?  Fat chance of the first; it’s the latter for me.

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The Lion’s Den; Angst and Anger About Academisation

23 May

Wednesday gave me some empathy with how Daniel must have felt when he was thrown into the Lion’s Den.  The Diocese only has one Academy Trust, us, and everyone else is pretty happy with their local…

Source: The Lion’s Den; Angst and Anger About Academisation

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Schools. Or “Of Course It’s Bloody Privatisation”

22 May

Disappointed Idealist

This week, Nicky “I’m not Michael Gove, Honest” Morgan and her chum George “I’m not Satan, Honest” Osborne, announced that every school in England would be forced to become an academy by 2022. This has proved, to put it mildly, a little controversial. Opponents of academization, both forced and unforced, have generated a petition of more than 100,000 signatures already, while unions, teachers, politicians and Mumsnet(!) have united in fairly vitriolic opposition. Even Tristram Hunt and David Blunkett came out against this, which tells a remarkable story in itself. However, the “Glob“, as Francis Gilbert termed the very vocal and influential minority who actively support Gove’s privatisation agenda, has been predictably active too. More chaff has been thrown out by supporters of this policy in the last week than the RAF chucked out of its bombers over Germany in 1944, and all with the same intent: to obscure…

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Weak arguments and conspiracy theories.

22 May


crop-circles Image: Crop Circle Symbology

In general I think we’re in a good place regarding educational debates.  There are lots of areas where people hold different points of view and I feel that, compared to the pre-twitter , pre-Gove era, there’s a much livelier climate of discussion and debate about what education is for and what constitutes effective or desirable practice.  Prior to 2010 (roughly) my sense is that we are herded sheep-like towards one position or another by the too-few voices of authority.  It was difficult to get a sense of a national debate on any technical issues – only those related to conditions of service.   The Gove vs The Blob period was painful for many but, ultimately, it has, in my view, unleashed a new wave of debate that we’re still riding.  Gove stirred (attacked?) the hive and we’re still buzzing.

In amongst all of this, there are…

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Science and languages ‘marginalised in primary schools’ | BBC News

22 May

The Learning Renaissance

Pupils are leaving primary school unprepared for the rigours of science and foreign languages at secondary level, Ofsted’s chief inspector says.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said the focus on the ‘three Rs’ had pushed other compulsory subjects “to the margins of the curriculum” in primary schools.

Science and languages had become the “poor relations” of the primary curriculum as a result, he said.

The government said more pupils were taking science and languages at GCSE.

Read the full story on the BBC website: Science and languages ‘marginalised in primary schools’ | BBC News<

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Teacher turnover. Part of life.

9 May

It’s a busy time of year for recruitment. We’ve been recruiting in most subject areas and, so far, despite the well publicised pressures schools are facing. I’m pleased to have be…

Source: Teacher turnover. Part of life.


Hattie, Hymer, Tomsett, Cameron and All that Jazz

9 May


It’s great to be able to blog about how I’ve shared the stage with John Hattie, John Tomsett, Barry Hymer and the real David Cameron; more rhetoric than reality.  Speaking at the same conference isn’t quite the same as sharing the stage but since I spoke in the same room I thought a bit of exaggeration for effect might be allowed.

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Poverty, its impact on learners, and what is to be done about it…

9 May

The Learning Renaissance

William Parrett and Kathleen Budge share some insights on poverty among learners in this Edutopia article…

Leading underachieving students in poverty to success involves asking the right questions, finding the leverage points, deploying resources effectively, optimizing time, and sharing data effectively.

Read the full blog post here: Is Your School Asking the Right Questions About Poverty? | Edutopia

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When is a U-Turn not a U-Turn?

7 May

Disappointed Idealist

Much celebrating, and not a little gloating, has broken out on Edutwitter and in the media over the Tory “U-Turn” over forcing all schools to become academies.

Think again.

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If the White Paper Didn’t Exist What Would You Do? Do It Anyway

3 May


This title is taken from a Tom Sherrington tweet; just replace “the White Paper” with “Ofsted” to get the original.  The White Paper has caused disquiet in quite a few places and a great deal of consternation in others.  It lays out the path which ministers, though by no means all of their back benchers, would like to travel in educational terms during this Parliament.

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