…he’d say something about academies’ English Baccalaureate results  Monday, March 28th, 2011 Last autumn, Michael Gove appeared on the BBC’s Question Time and launched a passionate attack on what he claimed was a glaring injustice within English education. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, he suggested, were being let down by a system which assumed they could not succeed in traditional academic subjects. He said: “If you look at what happens in France, or in Holland, or in Canada, or in Singapore, or in Hong Kong, or in any of the countries which have got education systems many of which are much better than our own, they expectRead More →

Friday, March 25th, 2011 Warwick Mansell I have been interested in two debates in English education for several years now. One starts along the lines: “Standards are not high enough. We need to hold our schools to account properly so that they improve exam results for all young people, who so desperately need better grades. We also need to use results data to target our efforts to help pupils do better.” The other says: “Schooling driven by performance indicators is creating a whole host of negative consequences, which go to the heart of pupils’ educational experiences.” I often feel like these debates take place almostRead More →

Wednesday, March 15th, 2011. England’s secondary maths curriculum is likely to become “more challenging” for pupils from 2013, one of the government’s leading civil servants said today. Jon Coles, who has a key role in the national curriculum review which was launched in January, suggested that while the primary maths curriculum in this country was quite similar to that of “top-performing” countries internationally, this was not the case from the age of 11 onwards. He set out the thinking behind the review and – perhaps boldly, given that the review is only just over six weeks old – offered a taste of what some conclusionsRead More →

  Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 Ok, I’ve decided to do something slightly different, here, in the form of a blog largely not written by me, but based on two emails I’ve received in recent months on the vexed and often technical issue of data analysis systems and target-setting. This may be overly technical for some non-teacher readers of this blog, but I thought I’d put it up here as I get occasional inquiries about the Fischer Family Trust system in particular, and am interested in the implications of how these systems work in the classroom. What follows are the more-or-less verbatim contents of two emailsRead More →

  Wednesday, March 2nd I had an interesting chat yesterday with the Ofsted press office. A press officer called me after I wrote an article for the Financial Times*, which was published on Saturday, on the effects of results pressures in schools. This included the following paragraph: “Ofsted inspections have, in recent years, focused heavily on statistical indicators of school quality that are largely based on exam performance.” Ofsted’s argument was that inspections aren’t now as dependent on test/exam data as is commonly perceived. Particularly since the introduction of the latest version of the Ofsted framework, in September 2009, more emphasis is being placed onRead More →