Tag Archives: England

What’s at stake in the new post-16 Area-based Reviews?

Large and cost-effective v. small and inefficient? In Reviewing post-16 Education and Training Institutions published 3 days ago the government suggests that we need ‘fewer, often larger, more resilient and efficient providers’. The implication is that larger colleges are better … Continue reading

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Listening to our post-16 conscience.

Frank Coffield is the conscience of the post-16 sector. When faddishness or instrumentalism threaten, he is there to remind us of our values and our purpose. A decade ago, Coffield was one of the first to question ‘learning styles’ and … Continue reading

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Welcome back, minister

Dear secretary of state, Congratulations on your reappointment. You have the advantage of being more familiar with your ministerial in-tray than most. This is only a very short addition to it. Among the urgent issues for your consideration are some … Continue reading

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The Big Hairy Bacc

Those political metaphors are great aren’t they? When he was an opposition spokesperson on education, Boris Johnson used to speak about the importance of ‘crunchy’ subjects, by which he meant Science and Maths, presumably in contrast to the soggy gruel … Continue reading

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The case for sixth form colleges

From ‘What’s next for education?’ (New Visions Group, 2015) By any objective standard, England’s 93 sixth form colleges are among this country’s great educational success stories. They offer more opportunities, higher standards and a broader experience for students aged 16-19 … Continue reading

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Time for a new Great Education Reform Act

27 years ago, Kenneth Baker’s 1988 Education Reform Act changed the direction of travel of English education. It introduced an element of school choice and Local Management of Schools, established more autonomous City Technology Colleges and Grant Maintained Schools as … Continue reading

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Education 2020: market or system?

What will education in England be like in 2020? As the 2015 general election approaches, what are the possible futures for education in England? An election is a democratic moment where we are offered a choice of futures and we … Continue reading

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Investing in 16-19 education

Labour’s promise to maintain education spending from nursery to 19 year olds and increase it at least by inflation is very welcome. No such protection is on offer from the Conservatives who are promising ‘flat cash’ for pre-16’s and apparently … Continue reading

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NewVIc: highest number of disadvantaged students going to university

Which sixth forms help the most disadvantaged students progress to university? The latest university progression data has just been published. This relates to sixth form students who completed their advanced qualifications in 2012. The figures include the numbers of students … Continue reading

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Building the Bacc from below

I was delighted to attend the National Baccalaureate summit on 28th November held at Highbury Grove School and hosted by Tom Sherrington, the headteacher. This was an opportunity for a range of people to take stock of the various baccalaureate-like … Continue reading

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A sixth form college manifesto for 2015

The Sixth Form College Association has published its manifesto for the 2015 general election. It will join the manifestos of many other organisations in politicians’ in-trays, no doubt prompting many warm words but few cast-iron promises. This was evident in … Continue reading

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London loses out in Headteacher Board elections

There was a national election before the summer to “improve the education of pupils across England” and “shape the future of the education system”. Missed it? You might be forgiven for this because only academy headteachers had a vote. Also, … Continue reading

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The Oxbridge challenge

Having successfully increased the number and proportion of our students progressing to the most selective universities, why is it that we have not seen a similar increase in the numbers progressing to Oxford and Cambridge? In a recent post I … Continue reading

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A pale shadow of democracy

The government’s new local arrangements for overseeing schools are a pale shadow of what we need. A new regional architecture is being created to oversee England’s schools and we are beginning to see its outlines. Mostly, it’s made up of … Continue reading

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Headteacher Board elections: excitement mounts

Elections? This month? About education? With policies, candidates, proper voting and everything? Overseen by the electoral reform services? Cool! Yes, indeed, there are national elections taking place right now across England which will shape the education system in every part … Continue reading

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