Friday, February 25th Just a quick blog now on two interesting stories in this morning’s TES. First, Helen Ward wrote a piece about the Government abandoning plans billed as “league tables for five-year-olds”. This proposal, spotted by Helen in the small print of the Department for Education’s draft Business Plan last autumn, said data would have been published on the “achievements of children at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, by school”. Today’s story reveals that the move is being abandoned, following serious opposition including a petition which garnered nearly 1,000 signatures. Those quoted in the piece were all opposed to theRead More →

Friday, February 16th I found last Wednesday’s Second Reading debate on the new  Education Bill so hard to watch, I had to switch off in the end. The politicised, partial and sometimes dismissive nature of leadership being given to our education system, by the individual who now seems to be accruing huge powers to shape its future, really struck me as astonishing. This is especially the case when one is aware of a fuller picture with regard to evidence than was presented at the dispatch box. I just about got to the end of Michael Gove’s speech, but not beyond, having grown increasingly annoyed aboutRead More →

Wednesday, 16th February Two papers published this week by respected science education organisations make radical suggestions for fundamental changes to England’s exams system. Both make comments of relevance to the arguments in Education by Numbers. First, buried in a letter to Michael Gove by the Campaign for Science and Engineering – which asks some seriously probing questions about the education white paper, suggesting problems with it – is a very interesting recommendation for dealing with a regularly-made criticism of the English education system. This is the allegation that competition between exam boards can force down standards. The criticism is well-known, and runs as follows: AwardingRead More →

Tuesday, February 8th Right, I am interested in the impact of the Government’s new “English Baccalaureate” performance measure in schools, which was introduced in last month’s GCSE league tables. I wrote a piece in the Guardian  on this last month, amid widespread predictions that there would be a big effect on the curriculum offerings of at least some schools. The TES also covered the story that week, but there was some speculation (see TES analysis here ), that the true impact might be limited, with schools continuing to focus much of their energy on the established (mouthful of an) indicator measuring the proportion of children achievingRead More →