,Ofsted: (Front page)
Ofsted's new regime, to be introduced in January, will mean harder measures for schools in deprived areas unless they can prove that pupils are "improving steadily", regardless of pupil background."Headteacher Jason Brook is responding by reluctantly introducing BTECs to push up scores. "...We were delivering the curriculum that we knew was right. But I can't afford to do that any longer. I have got to join the game". Union opinion is that "we don't need more perverse incentives to play the league tables. Inspections should be looking at the overall quality of education". Also to be noted is that the English Baccalaureate will not count in Ofsted Inspections.
Governors: (Editorial p.2)
Are governors more representative than effective? As govenor accountability has risen the lines of repsonsibility have blurred. Can govenors (a body of lay people) cope with being the final arbitrators of budgets, exclusions, curriculum strategies, staff, appointing the head, behavioural and other policies? Potential solution: professionalise the role of chair and pay them.
Pensions: (News p.4)
Heads offering ultimatum. No pensions, no cooperation with the Coalition's educational reforms.
Training places for Business Studies, Art, Music and RE falling due to Government cuts, whilst places for the sciences and Foreign languages are rising. Courses closing for the former in a range of universities.
Children's laureate Julia Donaldson (of "The Gruffalo" fame) thinks that phonics tests for six-year-olds is too young. Pupils may not be able to read at six and therefore will early on feel a failure.
Creative Curriculum: (P.15)
Independent schools are signing up in droves to the creative curriculum, the very thing that Mr Gove has rejected for the national curriculum, as he has chosen instead to emphasise "essential" subject content.
Building Schools for the Future (BSF): (p.18-19)
Tim Byles stepping down from Partnerships for Schools (PfS), the agency responsible for delivering the BSF programme. Defends himself against critics who believed the money was misplaced (deprived area school knocked down to rebuild when not that bad, whilst better areas had leaking roofs etc... but were in a better area so didn't qualify). Per Tim Byles the deal was "come and sort out BSF and these are our priorities", not, "come and change our priorities". Also whilst the budget swelled from £45 billion to £55 billion, some suggested this was mis management and overspend. Tim Byles said it was due to the additional responsiblities of taking on the delivery of the academies programme and special educational needs schools.
Suggestions by Harry Judge (former Oxford University admissions tutor and head of both a grammar and a comprehensive school) to simplify the secondary schools / higher education link by offering no places until August results were known. Student applicants would make more informed applications. Universities could make more informed choices. Universities could start in January to ease administration time, also allowing students to settle into their futures or contribute constructively to the Big Society.
Plus the usual weekly "page 3" equivalent sensationalist round up of scandals involving teacher misconduct, identifying those who have been struck off the register. A strangely compelling, yet uncomfortable read.
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