David Aaronovitch is a good journalist and there is much to admire in an article he wrote for the Times newspaper last week (‘Teachers must get out of their ideological rut’, January 26, 2017). I suspect however that he has never taught a class of children. The line he takes – following the well publicised view of the head of OECD educational policy Andeas Schleicher – is that class size doesn’t matter. David remembers the words of his grandmother: ’feel the quality not the width’.
With my colleague Tony Russell, I am working my way through the carefully collected views of hundreds of primary school teachers, headteachers, Teaching Assistants and pupils, along with careful classroom observations and case studies (part of a large scale study we conducted at UCL Institute of Education), and what stands out are the many ways that class size does indeed matter. We have found that having fewer children in the class tends to mean more individual attention, a more active role for pupils in class, better relationships between pupils, easier classroom management, more individualisation for Read more ›
In December, Education Secretary Justine Greening led a small delegation to the latest UK China Education Summit in Shanghai, part of the wider UK China ‘People to People Dialogue’.
When arriving in China you anticipate striking differences in our two education systems, given our very different histories and political cultures. This is no doubt the case in many areas of education policy and practice, but in technical and professional education, through the four summits I have taken part in, I’ve become increasingly struck by the extent of shared concerns and similarities of approach between China and the UK.
When the Summits began, in 2012, university and school education were the predominant themes, but on this occasion the greatest attention in the formal ministerial summit was given to technical and professional education. In both nations it seems that the critical role of this sector in increasing prosperity, productivity and social equity is being Read more ›
US President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Elisabeth (Betsy) DeVos, has come in for tough questioning this week during her Senate confirmation hearing. Trump has not given education much air time, but has said he wants to spend $20 billion in federal funds for block grants for states to support vouchers for children to attend private schools.
DeVos, a billionaire who has never worked in or attended public education, is a strong advocate of vouchers. But under questioning, said she would encourage – but not force – states to implement them.
Meanwhile, Education Week reports that elected officials in hundreds of U.S. cities and other local jurisdictions have said they will work to limit their cooperation with any plans to use data they possess towards Trump’s threat to deport undocumented immigrants. For Read more ›