Stephen Twigg: a policy of non policy?

If you wanted any more evidence that the Tories wanted to turn the clock back to about 1930, look no further than this week’s announcement of the Ebacc (the Gove level).

Just as my dad (who’s in his 80s) had to complete a school certificate – a bundle of different subjects – 21st century school leavers will have to pass exams in a selection of disciplines from English to pure maths, physics and chemistry in order to go on to further study at A Level.

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Book Review: Progress in Education from New Labour’s Action Man

A long-term campaign has been conducted against comprehensive education through the mass media. It’s themes are well known: “failing comprehensives”, “falling standards”, “left-wing teachers”, “teachers’ unions”, “local authority bureaucracy” and many other negative tropes. These are all found in abundance in Andrew Adonis’s book Education, Education, Education – Reforming England’s Schools. Continue reading

Making the grade

Today was a day when many, justifiably, were celebrating outstanding academic achievement. However, for different reasons, both the government and opposition failed to make the grade. Exam result days have become somewhat ritualistic, there are winners and losers but no matter what the outcome it has become typical for the political classes, usually accompanied by the media, to frown sternly and wag their finger. Little thought is given by either side to the far-reaching effect that the different outcomes have on so many lives. Continue reading

NEETs need jobs, not a “military ethos”

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has declared his support for a proposal for Academies sponsored by the armed forces. The original proposal came in a paper Military Academies: Tackling disadvantage, improving ethos and changing outcome by Phillip Blond and Patricia Kaszynska and published by ResPublica.

The paper starts by declaring that the problem to be solved is “the social and educational dysfunction that cripples our most depressed areas”. One of the causes of this dysfunction is “the loss from our most disadvantaged areas of the foundational moral institutions that can build resilience” (these institutions are not specified). Other causes are identified as extreme inequality in society and high unemployment in deprived areas. Continue reading

Guess what Stephen Twigg is up to on Academy Schools

The GMB has drawn our attention to what Stephen Twigg is up to on Education policy. And you won’t like it.  Remember Liam Byrne? Now that he’s got no job to go to in Birmingham, we’re stuck with him “running” the policy review until the next reshuffle. Buried on Liam’s Fresh Ideas website is an education policy consultation document – Devolving Power in Education — School Freedom and Accountability. The key thrust that we and the GMB object to is this:

Labour has no desire to turn back the clock and return powers from schools to Local Authorities. Nor do we want to see a reduction in the autonomies we gave schools through academies, trust schools and federations. In fact, although school autonomy is not the focus of this consultation, I want to see more schools get the freedoms that allow them to serve their pupils and communities most effectively.” Continue reading