The argument against academies…

Read and pass it on!

Hands Off Our Schools

The Conservatives probably think they have ‘won’ the argument, mainly by asserting that academies perform better and by including in their latest Education Bill a provision that so-called ‘coasting’ schools (along with those deemed to be ‘failing’ by OFSTED) should be turned forthwith into academies. We know, of course, that, intellectually at least, the argument is not won at all. To add weight to our argument, here is some written evidence, submitted to the parliamentary ‘Bill’ committee for that bill, which has just appeared on the official parliamentary website. Please read the highlighted text below:

“Education and Adoption Bill
Written evidence submitted by Stephen Gorard, Professor of Education and Public Policy, Durham University, UK (EAB 19)

The author

Professor Gorard is an expert on school compositions, school outcomes, and interventions to reduce the poverty gradient in attainment at school. He is the author of Overcoming disadvantage in education, London: Routledge…

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NUAST: something is happening!

The other blog I run, ‘Hands Off Our Schools’ has been hearing rumblings from NUAST for some time: how well is recruitment going, how many students and staff are jumping ship? Yesterday, a parents sent a comment to us which I’ve just published and now am reblogging here.

Hands Off Our Schools

The following anonymous comment was received by this website yesterday, 15 July:

“My son is currently a student at NUAST. I made the decision to move him there last year as we were extremely unhappy with his previous school (another academy) for various reasons and as he has an interest and aptitude for science and engineering I naively thought this would be a great opportunity for him. I am politically opposed to academy schools, however you try finding a school in Nottingham that isn’t one!

He started in September and was initially really excited and enthusiastic about his new school. He was looking forward to using the fantastic new equipment and taking part in some exciting extracurricular activities. The school was full of shiny promises. He was patient about the situation with the building not being ready because he was assured that once they moved everything would be wonderful.


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A Market in Children

Barely credible! Worth reminding ourselves of the damage done to the education system these last few years.

Disappointed Idealist

This will be a short blog (by my standards), and it’s a simple cry of rage. It was prompted by two conversations I had recently. The first was with a friend of mine who left state school teaching after twenty years for many of the same reasons which I write about, but was forced by economic necessity back into a private school catering for the children of wealthy foreigners – mostly eastern Europeans. The second was with an ex-colleague I once worked with at the DFE. Although unconnected, both hit on the same theme : how the introduction of “the market” in education has produced awful consequences for our children.

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Lack of a Uniform Belief

He’s right – again!

Disappointed Idealist

I’m a genuine agnostic on school uniform. I wore a uniform at school, and I have always taught in schools with a uniform. It’s pretty common in England. But I’m also aware of another world in which people get to choose their own clothes (amazing!); my children watch endless US teen shows in which students never wear uniforms, and I understand many places in Europe eschew uniforms. The sky doesn’t fall in when kids wear jeans in classrooms, but nor do children start emulating delegates at a North Korean communist party conference just because they’re all forced to wear nasty grey jumpers.

I see the reasonableness of the argument that uniforms might reduce (but never eliminate) the potential for income-based bullying, although I think the days when the boys who had Lacoste crocodiles on their jumpers were able to take the piss out of boys who didn’t, have long been replaced by…

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It’s a Myth-tery: 7 ways in which Ofsted are better than SLTs

Informative and readable.

kevenbartle's Blog

This is a summary of my presentation to Teaching and Learning Takeover (TLT14) this October. The organisers asked me to base my presentation on my most-read blogpost The Myth of Progress Within Lessons. This is what I came up with.

I began by reasserting my twin premises from the original blogpost:

There is no such thing as progress within lessons. There is only learning.


The main perpetuators of the myth of ‘progress within lessons’ are leadership teams within schools, not Ofsted.

If anything, with numerous and notable exceptions amongst school leaders, this has become even more true: not because school leaders have become even more faithful subscribers to the myth, but because Ofsted (at least at their leadership level) have done even more to distance themselves from the myth.

And as if to illustrate that point for me (not to mention steal my thunder, the buggers), Ofsted released their…

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Teacher Workload – You’ll Need More Than A Bonfire Of Red Tape

Everything I see by this person makes absolute sense. Read and share!

Disappointed Idealist

Politicians in Crocodile Tears Shock

Something rather strange has happened in the last two weeks. For four years we have been told by politicians that teachers have never had it so good, and that they don’t work hard enough without the encouragement of having their pay cut through spurious performance mechanisms. An accompaniment to this dismal tune has been faithfully played by HMCI Wilshaw, who did a passable solo impersonation of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen when telling us that modern teachers didn’t really know what stress was, while simultaneously condemning any teachers who committed the cardinal crime of working their contracted hours, or taking their marking home rather than hanging around school buildings.

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Tristram Hunt – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As ever, worth reading.

Disappointed Idealist

Today, Tristram Hunt’s latest attempt to secure half a million teacher votes already alienated by Gove came in the form of the linked Guardian article. On the face of it, an attempt to perhaps repair the damage of his ludicrous “Teacher Oath” idea which became the most roundly ridiculed concept the educational world had seen since Gove’s personal draft of the History national curriculum. However, as always, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

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Choosing a secondary school : a parent’s guide by a teacher (who is a parent)

An entertaining and intelligent read.

Disappointed Idealist

I wrote this article for the Guardian after they approached me to write something for them, and I said that I thought I wasn’t quite suicidal enough to write a “Secret Teacher” piece. I’m reproducing it here with their permission. The original link is at the bottom.

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So that’s alright then!

Just wrote and published this on the ‘Hands Off Our Schools’ website:

Hands Off Our Schools

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is the nice fluffy article that appeared in the Nottingham Post shortly after the start of the new school year, obviously based on a ‘Press Release’ and photo call by Nottingham Free School. The Post chose not to do any proper journalism: no awkward questions asked, no contrary views sought from opposition groups like HOOS.They even chose not to publish a letter sent by us.

So, here are some of the concerns we have. Obviously, we opposed the setting up of NFS in the first place. We argued that it couldn’t set up a proper school building in time and, even the article, seems to suggest this was the case. We know from a previous Post article, that they have only managed enough conversion of the old factory building they are using to enable them to get going (just) and…

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