Monday, July 26th Most journalists –I like to think, at least – try to probe beneath the surface a little bit in seeking to get some insight into what is going on. Sometimes, this process can be frustrating, especially when evidence comes in which does not fit a pre-conception, hypothesis…or strong news line. Late last week, I had some experience of this when doing some number-crunching on this year’s national test results. I wanted to find out if the thousands of schools boycotting this year’s tests – some 26 per cent of the total – would have any effect on the national data generated atRead More →

  Sunday, July 25th An article in today’s Observer, setting out a teacher’s observations about how schools have changed during his near 40-year career, includes as “lows” the advent of Ofsted, targets and league tables. The teacher, Alan Hemsworth, says: “I hate league tables – I think they are so destructive – and it has a spin-off in the classroom, because then everything becomes focused on results, results, results.” The highs included German exchanges, in my view an example of an educational experience which surely has value aside from the grades it may or may not have generated for each pupil at the end. Well worthRead More →

Wednesday, July 7th A report in today’s Telegraph quoted university admissions tutors saying they found it difficult to choose between A-level candidates partly because of “teaching to the test”: More →

Wednesday, July 7th What to make of yesterday’s announcement that just over one in four primary and junior schools took part in the boycott of this year’s key stage 2 tests? One head I spoke to on Monday, before the final figure was announced, said he thought that overall, take-up of the boycott had been disappointing. The head, who backed it strongly, said this had been the profession’s one chance to really stand up to government on the issue, and it had bottled it. I guess many of those sympathetic to the boycott might hold this view about the one-in-four figure, and clearly, I amRead More →

Sunday, July 4th  I bought today’s Sunday Times intrigued by one of the stories on its front page, under the headline: “Gove plans A-level exam revolution”. Michael Gove, the education secretary, it said, has announced plans to make the A-level more “rigorous”, by scrapping AS levels. Universities, it said, would be invited to design new A-levels, which would be “modelled on the new Cambridge Pre-U qualification, taken by a number of leading state and independent schools in preference to A-levels”. Gove said: “We will see fewer modules and more exams at the end of two years of sixth form and, as a result, a revivalRead More →