The reluctance of Labour leaders to face up to the question of selection at eleven has now gone on long enough to be a “tradition”. Even now, during a leadership contest, when you might think that Labour MPs might regard themselves as off the hook in terms of constraining their remarks within the bounds of Front Bench policy, some still say things like
We are opposed to selection at eleven, but the mechanism for removing selection at eleven in local areas is through a local parental ballot. It is very difficult in some parts of the country where we have parliamentary candidates, where we need to win seats, where a lot of local parents are signed up to this idea, wrongly in my view, that a grammar school system and a secondary modern school system somehow is better for children, but it is a fact that that exists there on the ground I’m afraid and something that we need to find a way to move that debate on and that is the way I was hoping that we would do so had we been elected.
The London Review of Books has published an interesting piece on the gradual privatisation of English Schools. It is by Jenny Turner who does not appear to start out from a strong position for or against academies and free schools and is prepared to praise when she sees that as merited. However, He considers the problems at some length and points clearly to many deep seated problems. It’s worth a read. You read the piece on the LRB website or download a pdf version.
Education Secretary of State
Nicky Morgan has wasted no time in threatening hundreds if not thousands of schools deemed to be ‘coasting’. According to a close source, ‘The first thing we will be doing is introducing an education bill, which will feature in the Queen’s Speech, in order to tackle coasting schools as per our manifesto pledge. That is definite.’ Continue reading
The Geordie Symphony School
Anyone with doubts about the tranformative power of music could not have have come across the work of the Venezuelan Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra or the South African Soweto Youth Orchestra. It is enough to listen and watch a little of the music made by young people, many of whom come from deprived backgrounds to see that this could not happen without serious personal engagement on the part of the young musicians. Continue reading
It is widely agreed that the coalition government has done huge damage to this country’s educational provision. But too often we see the lazy view presented that “they’re all the same” and that nothing new is being offered. SEA believes that there is a real and important difference between the parties and this briefing is designed to provide some key data that illustrates that.
It concentrates on the mainstream school system – there is of course much more that could be said about early years, inclusion and further and higher education. It contains examples of statements illustrating where the government is going wrong, what informed educational experts think should be our priorities and some key examples of Labour’s important and positive commitments. Continue reading
Tim Brighouse chaired the meeting
Sheila Doré reports from the New Visions Conference at the Institute of Education
(There are audio files of the main speeches at the end of this report)
This conference was well attended by the great and the good in Education.
The event was chaired by Tim Brighouse who was also the first speaker. He gave a brief history of Education 1944- 2015. He suggested that we are now in an optimistic phase in which the marketisation of education has been seen to fail and in which a new and exciting evaluation and reorganisation of education can now be conducted.
The key features of this new phase would include the reform of OFSTED, exams replaced by teacher assessment, fair admissions, the creation of a College of Teaching and a government education policy based on the advice of those with relevant expertise and the relevant research.
He suggested that, “Optimism was being rekindled”. Continue reading
Brian Lightman, Head of ASCL, told his recent conference of school leaders that education needed an independent, non-political body which could review the curriculum for England’s schools every five years, with the aim of creating more stability and less reliance on the fluctuating interventions of individual education secretaries. Continue reading