Archive | August, 2017

Maths teachers hit out at ‘extraordinary’ funding decision | BBC News

27 Aug

The Learning Renaissance

Teachers have hit out at an “extraordinary decision” to cease funding a key A-level maths project.

Underground Mathematics had won the backing of a government commissioned review into post-16 maths in England.

It helps students “deepen understanding of central concepts”, said Prof Adrian Smith in a report to ministers in July.

The government says funding for the five-year project was always due to run out in September, but teachers want to know why it was not renewed.

In a letter to Education Secretary Justine Greening, the Association of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association say the decision makes no sense.

Read the full story on the BBC website: Maths teachers hit out at ‘extraordinary’ funding decision | BBC News

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Don’t you just hate “Target Grades”

23 Aug


Well perhaps not “hate” but they do concern me for a number of reasons.

It won’t be long before the UK starts school again but I would bet even now there will be computers crunching Key Stage or end of year test results running them through algorithms to predict future performance in order to set target grades.

This worries me, does it you?

I am no expert in statistics but I assume that with enough data and analysis you could begin to predict what could happen in the future based on what has gone before. But – this is only a prediction, a percentage chance that something could or could not happen. Life or car insurance must be much the same with certain categories resulting in much higher premiums as they are more likely to have an accident than others. The difference being as, far as insurance goes, if the…

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Time to Seriously Question Ofsted?

21 Aug


Speaking at the Headteachers’ Roundtable Summit in February 2017, I mooted the idea that someone would challenge Ofsted in the courts and that Durand Academy may well be the first.  They were already set on that course; now it has happened.  This post was written for the TES and was published on the 15th August 2017.

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Injunction lifted on critical Ofsted report | BBC News

17 Aug

The Learning Renaissance

The future of one of the UK’s largest adult-training providers is in question after it failed to block publication of a critical report by Ofsted inspectors.

Learndirect had obtained an injunction against publication but this was lifted by the High Court on Monday.

The report, which will be published on Thursday, is likely to highlight “ineffetive” managers and high non-completion rates among students.

The company said it was “extremely disappointed” with the verdict.

It is understood the Sheffield-based company, which offers apprenticeships and adult training to thousands of trainees in sites across England, was awarded the lowest possible grade – grade four – by inspectors.An investigation by the trade magazine FE week has revealed the company had been issued with warning notices by the Skills Funding Agency.

Read the full story on the BBC website: Injunction lifted on critical Ofsted report | BBC News

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Helping Students Develop Their Values… and Your School Ethos

16 Aug

The Learning Renaissance

Being proactive and asking students to record their own values is a useful exercise in developing a philosophical understanding of what motivates and impassions people. building an ethos based on positive values is what characterises a great school.

Maurice J Elias shows you how in this Edutopia feature: Helping Your Students Identify Their Values | Edutopia

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Why making thinking visible depends on who you are as a learner

15 Aug

Time Space Education

Using strategies to make thinking visible can be incredibly powerful. Their power, however, hinges almost entirely on how willing teachers are to learn about their students.

Far too often, I see visible thinking strategies used as an “activity” or as a way of decorating the walls. In some cases, I think teachers believe that just by doing a visible thinking strategy they are automatically finding out what their students think and that by displaying the results their thinking has been made visible.

However, in order to make the most of the opportunities that visible thinking strategies provide us to delve deep into the minds of our students, we need to be willing to scrutinize their responses. We need to be incredibly curious about the way they are thinking. We need to probe further when we’re not sure a student has responded fully. We need to try different strategies to see…

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Dumbing Down the Profession… Headteachers in their Twenties!

14 Aug

The Learning Renaissance

One element of the transfer of accountability from local educational authorities to the Multi Academy Trusts has been the appointment of younger and younger heads. There is certainly a recruitment issue as large numbers of headteachers are coming to their retirement age, or are taking early retirement on the grounds of exhaustion or ill health.

On a wider concern, it appears that managerial approaches to running schools mean that the restricted view of what is required of the Head, gather the data and make interventions based on it, means that people are ready to lead in this mode much earlier than standard measures of extended professional competence might require!

The Telegraph reports that there are now over 100 schools in the UK with headteachers in their twenties.

I’m all for appointing talent, but there is no way that a head in their twenties has the life experience, team management expertise…

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School Improvement and Effectiveness

6 Aug

To what extent can a school Governor support and enhance pupil progress, staff development and school improvement and effectiveness?

Set to Fail – The Reluctant Learners

1 Aug

The Learning Renaissance

We’ve all been there as teachers… the Year 9 student who oozes negativity, seems determined to disrupt the learning of others and drives you to distraction with every comment.

My nemesis was a lad in an inner city comprehensive who seemed to know all the buttons to press with me. I considered myself a calm and fair teacher who showed students respect and did not get into conflicts in the classroom, but this student was prepared to push the limits to the point that I was forced to react.

I taught him later in Y10 for History. He was a different lad. Witty and articulate and with a profound sense of fairness and justice, we managed to find the best in each other and we were both really proud of the final History grade he achieved.

He contacted me many years later to say he had a well paid job in telecommunications…

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