Archive | March, 2017

MATs: The known unknowns that should be known

22 Mar

Robert Hill's blog

For some time now I have been banging the drum for the DfE (though it could equally well be Ofsted, the Education Endowment Foundation, a philanthropist or MATs themselves) to commission research into what is known about how school improvement is working in MATs. After all improving outcomes for pupils is the raison d’être of MATs and so it should not be asking too much to have a deeper understanding about what effective practice looks like.

As a way of taking the debate forward here are are 10 areas where it would make sense for the MAT sector – both established and fledgling MATs – to have greater knowledge about what is happening and, more importantly, what practices and behaviour are having the greatest impact.

  1. Teaching and learning vision – to what extent have MATs thought through and adopted across the academies in their trust a shared vision of what…

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MATs: The known unknowns that should be known

22 Mar

Source: MATs: The known unknowns that should be known

GCSE resits cause ‘significant problems’, says Ofsted boss | BBC News

20 Mar

The Learning Renaissance

Forcing resits on teenagers who do not get good GCSEs in English and maths is causing “significant problems”, the new head of Ofsted has argued.

Amanda Spielman said the policy, introduced in 2013, was “well intentioned” but questioned whether it was “the right way forward”.She pointed out that only a third of students managed to improve their GCSE grades in resits last year.

Ministers say they aim to develop “credible” alternatives to resits.

Read the full story on the BBC website: GCSE resits cause ‘significant problems’, says Ofsted boss | BBC News

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Music ‘could face extinction’ in secondary schools | BBC News

14 Mar

The Learning Renaissance

Music “could face extinction” as a subject in secondary schools in England, researchers have warned.

They say music is being squeezed because of pressure on pupils to take subjects included in the EBacc school league table measure.

Almost two thirds of 650 state school teachers, surveyed by Sussex University researchers, said the EBacc meant fewer students were taking GCSE music.

Ministers say the EBacc helps ensure children receive a rigorous education.

Read the full story on the BBC website: Music ‘could face extinction’ in secondary schools | BBC News

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13 Mar

Are parents and examination boards so naïve that they believe their coursework examinations are completed within the allocated and allowed time? When schools regularly ‘offer’ (usually touted as compulsory) ‘catch-up’ lessons; intervention (read that as ‘additional’) lessons, afterschool sessions, most of which are curricular oriented not extracurricular, although they are promoted as ‘extra’ but it isn’t extra (above and beyond, it’s just more of the same). Exam boards and parents should hold schools to account for the amount of time afforded to the taught curriculum and stop the nonsense of more of the same. Schools should be made to publish all the extra classes that they require pupils to attend, morning, midday and afterschool, weekend and during the school break, in particular, Easter, when there’s a flurry of ‘catching up’ before the exams and these aren’t necessarily revision sessions either!

Extracurricular has long since stopped being beyond or outside the school’s taught curriculum but and has become ‘more of the same’ only to satisfy the school’s goal (not the pupil’s ability) of percentage A* – C (now attainment and progress 8).

Extracurricular is no longer anything to do with pupil’s self-fulfillment unfortunately and achievement it is now to do with league tables.
The true extracurricular sessions that are run are often during curriculum time in the guise of ‘intervention’, in which case pupils then do miss out on their allocated time and then need to catch-up in their own time, a pointless attempt at gaining ‘extra’ time in the year, there are only a specific number of hours in an academic year.