Selection at 11 – a very English debate

Chris Husbands

Originally posted on SecEd

It is a persistent undercurrent in English educational debate, but it is peculiarly English: should academic selection at the age of 11 be restored?

Boris Johnson, perhaps in response to perceived UKIP pressure, has declared himself in favour of more grammar schools, and Teresa May, more cautiously, has welcomed plans for a satellite grammar school in her constituency of Maidenhead. In Kent, the Weald of Kent grammar school is preparing a new proposal to establish what is either (depending on your view) a new grammar school in Sevenoaks or a satellite site in Sevenoaks.

The arguments for restoring grammar schools are couched in terms of opportunity and social mobility: Boris Johnson called them mobilisers of opportunity. But the evidence to support this is almost non-existent. Read more ›

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Posted in Chris Husbands, Education policy, eleven-plus

Parents’ fortunes matter for cognitive development of 11-year-olds

Lucinda Platt, Visiting Professor at UCL Institute of Education and Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science

Originally posted on The Conversation

As they reach the end of primary school, the UK’s children face persistent inequalities in their cognitive development. New findings from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a survey of children born between 2000 and 2002 across the UK, show that the level of parents’ education and family income both remain clearly associated with children’s verbal skills at the age of 11 – even when taking into account other differences in family background.

The MCS, based at the UCL Institute of Education, London, has followed around 19,000 children since they were nine months old, visiting them and their families again at ages three, five and seven and then most recently at the age of 11.

On each occasion from age three onwards, tests of cognitive skills have been carried out by specially trained interviewers Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Education policy, learning, Social sciences and social policy

Teacher supply: why deregulation is not working

Chris Husbands

Some weeks ago, I was working for the IOE in Chile. Chile is an object lesson in education reform: in the 1980s and 1990s, it de-regulated its education system on a grand scale. For-profit schools entered the public sector. Quasi-voucher schemes were introduced. Teaching was de-regulated. In the last five years, the Chilean government has begun to re-regulate. Michele Bachelet’s new education law will remove for-profit provision from public schooling and reduce selection. I met Christian Cox, Dean of Education at the Pontifical University of Chile at Santiago, a thoughtful, wise observer of education policy, who shook his head as he told me: “it was sheer chaos in Chile. It was a state of nature”.

The teaching profession in England is being de-regulated at speed. Academy schools are no longer required to appoint individuals who have qualified teacher status (QTS). Schools themselves, singly or in groups, are being encouraged to establish Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Teachers

Why IOE and UCL have decided to merge

why IOE and UCL are merging

Chris Husbands and Michael Arthur

Higher education is changing – and at a dizzying speed. Universities now operate on a global canvas, and reputations are made (and lost) on a worldwide scale. Around the world, measures of quality – however imperfect, flawed and downright misleading they may be – drive student preferences, funders’ decision-making and government strategies. At the same time, local impact remains equally important: all universities exist in communities, but as those communities become more diverse and demanding, the pressures on universities intensify. It’s easy to despair at the pace and scale of these challenges, but adapting to change can be bracing too. New challenges bring new possibilities and new horizons. It’s against this background that after a good deal of thought and careful planning we have decided to merge the IOE and UCL, creating academic opportunities for both partners. The merger will take effect from 2 December.

About the IOE

The IOE was established at the beginning of the 20th century. Initially set up to train teachers for the rapidly developing schools of London, it was from the very beginning international in outlook. Over the next hundred years it expanded its role and remit enormously, so that at the beginning of Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education

Upbeat about Sistema-inspired music programmes: how they are raising the bar for children in deprived areas

Picture credit: Kimberly Warner/BRAVO Youth Orchestras

Andrea Creech

El Sistema, the Venezuelan music education programme that claims to transform lives through intensive participation in orchestra and choir, has again been in the news. In a preview to his forthcoming book based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Venezuela, Geoff Baker questions whether the social change claims can really be supported with evidence and critiques the pedagogy that underpins El Sistema. Baker’s book promises to add a critical perspective to a growing body of research, evaluation and theoretical critiques reviewed and summarised in our recent international review of evidence relating to El Sistema and Sistema-inspired programmes. Read more ›

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Posted in curriculum & assessment, Education policy, learning, Teaching
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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