Religion and schools

How to think beyond and survive the exam season Matthew Wed, 05/03/2017 - 08:29

A report on 2 May from the Health and Education Committee of MPs found that government cuts are pushing many schools to scrap or limit mental health help in schools. Daisy Thomas explains why that help is important.

Industrial news in brief Matthew Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:36

On Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 April, National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) members at Forest Hill school in Lewisham struck for the fifth time in their on-going dispute against a management proposed restructuring to deal with a £1.3 million deficit. The management’s proposal sheds 15 teaching jobs, significantly increases teachers’ workload, radically reduces the depth of the creative aspects of the curriculum, ends any specialist English as an Additional Language (EAL) support, and massively diminishes the support for students with Special Educational Needs.

UK school system bad for children AWL Fri, 12/09/2016 - 10:11

The Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) rankings were published on 6 December. These put UK schools in the 20s among the 72 countries surveyed.

Socialists don′t put great store by the PISA ratings, which measure different nations academic achievements by testing 15 and 16 year olds in maths, science and reading. However, the UK’s poor results do demonstrate that, even by their own standards, the Tories model for education is failing.

Ofsted prefers middle-class schools Matthew Wed, 11/30/2016 - 11:35

Research on Ofsted points to endemic problems in the schools system and inspection regime. Last week, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) released important findings about the fairness of Ofsted reports in England. They found a “systematic negative correlation” between schools with children from poorer backgrounds or lower prior attainment and positive Ofsted judgments.

A vicious circle in schools Matthew Thu, 11/10/2016 - 11:22

Between half-term of summer 2016 and Xmas 2016, over half the maths teachers in the London secondary school where I teach will have quit.

The maths department is more stable than most. Our science department, for example, went through almost a Year Zero in 2015, with almost a complete turnover of staff. And our school is probably more stable than most in low-income areas of London.

Don’t bring back the 11-plus! AWL Wed, 09/14/2016 - 11:32

Any expansion of grammar schools in England will be a mechanism for intensifying social divisions.

The arrival of any new secondary school alters the local educational ecology. The arrival of an entirely selective school has a particularly damaging effect. It drastically recasts the intake of all other schools in an area, and at a stroke turns them, however they are named, into secondary moderns.

GCSEs: a pointless misery Matthew Wed, 08/31/2016 - 11:28

Every year, the media report on GCSE and A-level results and how they compare to previous years. Then they forget about until the next August. For students and school workers, however, GCSEs are a constant source of bewildering misery.

Education, not exam factories! Matthew Wed, 05/18/2016 - 11:21

Between 16 May and 29 June, students in Britain’s schools will write around 16 million exam papers. A scurry of marking will then, in August, produce a stream of gradings, which will be used to exert market-type discipline on students, teachers, and schools.

Notionally exams are a way to test knowledge and skills. Exams which really do that, and certify people as competent to be surgeons or surveyors, make sense. But the school exams are only the basis for a vast sorting exercise.

A failed attempt to silence Matthew Wed, 05/11/2016 - 12:48

On Wednesday 4 May the government sacked Natasha Devon from her unpaid post as mental health champion for schools. Evidently it concluded that the parents protest the day before against excessive testing, when thousands kept Year 2 children off school, showed that Devon was having too much effect.

Parents protest at imposed testing Matthew Wed, 05/04/2016 - 11:10

On Tuesday 3 May, thousands of parents, organised by the Let Kids be Kids campaign, kept their seven year old children from school to protest at the government-imposed SATS tests.