Tom Stoppard has the right line: in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, his sideways look at Hamlet, one of the hapless courtiers urges the other to ‘look on every exit as an entrance somewhere else’. It’s now five years since I was appointed Director of the IOE – five years in which the landscape of education policy in England has been transformed in every direction. Five years ago, there was no pupil premium, and so no pupil premium toolkit, indeed, no Education Endowment Foundation. There were no teaching schools, there was no EBacc; there were just a few hundred academies, all sponsor-led. GCSEs were largely modular in form. There was no baseline assessment and no phonics screening check. University fees were capped at £3,000 and student numbers centrally controlled. In five years, all this has altered with the most radical of changes in curriculum, assessment, school structures and accountabilities.
It has been an exceptional privilege to lead the IOE through this period. The Institute is a hybrid: simultaneously researching Read more ›
Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, addressed the Education Reform Summit earlier this month on the purposes of education. He said there are three. “Education is the engine of our economy, it is the foundation of our culture, and it’s an essential preparation for adult life”.
The first is self-explanatory. The second is about “introducing (the next generation) to the best that has been thought and said, and instilling in them a love of knowledge and culture for their own sake”. The third has to do with “key character traits, including persistence, grit, optimism and curiosity”.
There’s not even a nod in these aims towards equipping young people as democratic citizens. Nothing on Read more ›
Brian Creese. NRDC (National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy)
‘When I learned to read at the age of 16 I suddenly got in touch with education, with the chance of becoming a different kind of boy. Not the one always in trouble with the police. But someone who could in the end make the most of myself. Get behind literacy and you get behind social justice and social opportunity’.
So starts the press release announcing the launch of a new campaign from Big Issue founder John Bird to highlight the importance of literacy and education for people in prison called ‘Right to Read (and write)’. The exciting bit for me was that Bird had noticed my continuing complaint about the lack of any real data about prisoners’ literacy and numeracy levels. John’s press release continues: Read more ›
Words matter. The way we use them to communicate with or about others can have a huge impact on people’s lives. This is especially the case when it comes to disability. Handicapped. Retarded. Mad. Activists have campaigned hard to eradicate such terms, which are offensive and perpetuate a negative view of disabled people – one as passive, unable to take control over their own lives. Read more ›
Paul Morris and Christine Han.
Shortly the Government will enact legislation to introduce the new category of ‘coasting school’ into the OFSTED Schools Inspection framework. Schools which are defined as ‘coasting’ will be required to provide a plan as to how they will cease to ‘coast’, and they can be required to convert to Academy status. It is unclear what will happen to ‘coasting’ Academies. Read more ›