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The future of education (if any)

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#801 Postby Alan H » June 21st, 2017, 3:32 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

But we, the taxpayers, pay religious organisations to inspect religious education in their own (tax-payer funded) religious schools: NSS calls for end to state funded ‘religiosity inspections’ in schools
In the last six school years, figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that almost £5 million in Section 48 grants has been handed out to "faith bodies". The vast majority of the £4,904,800 grant money went to the Church of England (over half a million pounds per year) and the Catholic Church (over a quarter million). The Association of Muslim Schools, the Board of Deputies and two Sikh organisations also received tens of thousands of pounds.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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animist
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#802 Postby animist » June 22nd, 2017, 10:14 am

Alan H wrote:But we, the taxpayers, pay religious organisations to inspect religious education in their own (tax-payer funded) religious schools: NSS calls for end to state funded ‘religiosity inspections’ in schools
In the last six school years, figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that almost £5 million in Section 48 grants has been handed out to "faith bodies". The vast majority of the £4,904,800 grant money went to the Church of England (over half a million pounds per year) and the Catholic Church (over a quarter million). The Association of Muslim Schools, the Board of Deputies and two Sikh organisations also received tens of thousands of pounds.
+1

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#803 Postby Alan H » June 22nd, 2017, 8:12 pm

More than 4,000 schools sign letter urging parents to lobby Government for more education funding
More than 4,000 schools are sending letters to millions of families warning of a funding crisis in education.

The letter, which urges parents to lobby their MPs for more money for schools, comes after an election campaign where education finances were a central issue.

The headteachers argue the Conservative manifesto commitment to £4bn extra funding for schools over five years amounts to a real-terms cut, citing a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The letter says: “It is crucial that the new government responds quickly and effectively to a growing crisis in our schools.

“The only way for our cash-starved schools to function effectively is for proper investment – capital/buildings and revenue – to be made into existing schools.

“The Government must also avoid giving schools additional money through a new formula and then taking it back again through 'hidden costs' and stealth taxes.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Tetenterre
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#804 Postby Tetenterre » June 23rd, 2017, 5:23 pm

Alan H wrote:But we, the taxpayers, pay religious organisations to inspect religious education in their own (tax-payer funded) religious schools
We also pay for the School Inspection Service which, as far as Steiner-Waldorf schools are concerned,is as near as dammit an in-house inspection regime has "professional inspectors are assisted on inspection by a trained lay inspector with detailed knowledge of Steiner education". It is instructive to compare the June 2016 SIS report with the Ofsted ones (Nov 2016, Dec 2016 and May 2017 that took place after a parent (or parents), who had read the SIS one, complained to the DfE.

See also:
What next for £9,750-a-year Hertfordshire school after highly critical Ofsted report?
Also stuff in the Watford Observer.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#805 Postby Alan H » July 18th, 2017, 12:08 am

Justine Greening raids free schools budget for £1.3bn education bailout
The education secretary pitched the £1.3bn as an increase above inflation in the core schools budget in 2018 and 2019. But it quickly emerged that the money was being diverted from other parts of the education budget, rather than new cash from the Treasury.

In a partial compromise, Greening also announced a delay in the full implementation of the controversial new national funding formula, which means some schools will get more money and some lose cash per pupil in real terms. Under the plans, the new formula would only be indicative for its first two years in 2018 and 2019, with local authorities getting discretion over how to distribute the money during that time.

Greening had argued in the cabinet for more money to pay for schools struggling with their budgets from Philip Hammond, the chancellor, amid stories about some headteachers begging parents for extra cash, cutting lunch breaks and dropping minority subjects.

But she ended up having to find the cash from the Department for Education’s own budget out of efficiency savings, leading to accusations from opposition MPs that she was robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The bulk of the cash will come from an unidentified £600m of new cuts to the central Department for Education budget. A further £200m will come from the free schools budget by building 30 out of a planned 140 as local authority schools instead. She will also take £420m from the capital budget for building and repairs, mostly from the “healthy pupils” funding for sports facilities and well-being.
Does that penultimate sentence imply that these 30 schools will be funded by local government (who are already over-stretched having has their funding from Westminster slashed by 40%)?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#806 Postby Alan H » July 27th, 2017, 9:33 pm

And so it continues: Government plans mass expansion of CofE faith schools across England
The Department for Education hopes to open at least another 140 Church of England schools in the next five years, according to the Church Times.

And the Church of England's chief education officer, Revd Nigel Genders, has confirmed that 40 new church schools will be opened within the government's next wave of free schools.

"We want to be proactive in opening as many new schools as we can because we know parents love our schools," he said last week.

"We have schools lined up to put into the next phase. We want to do more, and our conversations with the department continue to be encouraging."

Genders said the C of E would bid for "every school where appropriate".

Twelve faith schools were among the 131 new free schools approved in April. The faith-based Oasis Multi Academy Trust also gained the right to open three more.

Last year the government declared that it "values and is committed to" its formal partnerships with the National Society, which promotes and resources almost 5,000 church schools in England and Wales, and the Catholic Church. It added that the government "remains committed to securing the religious character and ethos" of religious schools.

The Church of England claims that its "Church schools are not 'faith schools' for Christians but Christian schools for all and, as such, are committed to serving the needs of the local community."

However, the Church's Education Office says it has a "deeply Christian" vision and "seeks to promote an education that allows children, young people and adults to live out Jesus's promise of 'life in all its fullness'.

In 2012 the church published a review laying out its plans for education. It said church provision "must include a wholehearted commitment to putting faith and spiritual development at the heart of the curriculum and ensuring that a Christian ethos permeates the whole educational experience."

It added that "high-quality religious education and collective worship should continue to make major contributions to the Church school's Christian ethos, to allow pupils to engage seriously with and develop an understanding of the person and teachings of Jesus Christ".

In 2013, the former chair of the Church of England's Board of Education said there was no need to attract children, young people and parents to church "if we embrace our church schools fully."

The National Secular Society is campaigning against the expansion of faith schools and argues that they should eventually be phased out.

Stephen Evans, NSS campaigns director, said: "Despite its somewhat disingenuous claims of being inclusive, it's clear that the Church of England regards schools an opportunity to proselytise and gain access to pupils and parents who wouldn't otherwise go anywhere near a church.

"The way in which such schools portray virtues such as tolerance, reciprocity, generosity and kindness as specifically 'Christian' values is also divisive, dishonest and gives pupils a skewed understanding of ethics.

"Exposing children and young people to this insidious form of evangelism usurps parental rights and stifles children's own ability to think clearly for themselves about religion."

The DfE did not respond to a request to clarify its plans.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#807 Postby Alan H » August 7th, 2017, 11:08 am

Department for Education research supports mixed schools over segregated schools
Pupils in ethnically mixed schools are more trusting and have more positive views of children from different backgrounds than do pupils in segregated schools, new Department for Education-commissioned research has revealed. Humanists UK has stated that the findings represent a further blow to Government plans to increase religious selection in the school admissions system.

The study, which examined the contact between young people from White-British and Asian-British pupils at secondary schools in Oldham, sought to assess the extent to which mixing in school can ‘improve both attitudes towards outgroups and intergroup relations.’ Researchers found that:

‘Attitudes were more positive and, as would be expected, mixing was more frequent in mixed than segregated schools’.
‘Mixed schools do result in more social mixing between ethnic groups over time, and mixing is reliably associated with more positive views of the outgroup.’
‘Attitudes of pupils who mix with other backgrounds were more positive compared to those who remain with their own ethnicities.’
In addition, the study examined the outcomes of a merger of two ethnically segregated schools into a single mixed school, finding that ‘over a four-year period, intergroup anxiety significant decreased, and liking and outgroup contact significantly increased for both Asian-British and White British pupils.’

Oldham was previously one of a number of northern towns in which racially motivated riots broke out in the summer of 2001, with many reports noting at the time that the ethnic divisions between schools were a key cause of the violence. The Cantle Report, the main report into the riots, which was commissioned by the Home Office, noted that riots were particularly prominent in areas where schools were ‘operating discriminatory policies where religious affiliations protect cultural and ethnic divisions.’

The findings represent yet another blow to the Government’s proposals to remove the current 50% cap on religious selection at free schools and once again allow new religious schools to become entirely segregated in their intake. Evidence previously published by Humanists UK using official Government data found that religious free schools subject to the cap were significantly more ethnically diverse than schools which selected all of their places on the basis of religion. For instance, at Christian free schools opened under the cap, 18% of pupils are from Asian backgrounds, while at Christian schools that are fully religiously selective, just 5% of pupils are from Asian backgrounds.

Responding to the findings of this latest report, a Government spokesperson said, ‘Schools have a vital role in encouraging integration and teaching pupils about tolerance and respect for all faiths and communities. We will consider the findings of this report and how we can use them to better support schools’.

Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Jay Harman commented, ‘This situation is now beyond a farce. The Government is proposing to usher in a significant expansion of religious and ethnic segregation in the education system, and yet has just published a report demonstrating that mixed schools overwhelmingly outperform segregated schools in driving mutual understanding and social cohesion. If the Education Secretary is as committed to evidence-based policy as we have been led to believe, this report must surely represent the last nail in the coffin for what was always an entirely counterproductive and incredibly dangerous proposal.’
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#808 Postby Alan H » October 22nd, 2017, 11:39 am

Collapsing academy trust ‘asset-stripped its schools of millions’
Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy, a mixed secondary school in Pontefract, had £220,000 of funds, raised by volunteers at Christmas markets and other school events, transferred to the trust’s accounts earlier this year. It also saw a further £216,000, which had been held back for capital investment, moved over. “It’s not the trust’s money. It’s our money,” said a former governor at the school, who did not want to be named. “It’s money for the people in the area, their children and their grandchildren. It wasn’t for them to take.”

Heath View primary school in Wakefield had £300,000 transferred to the trust in September 2016. Another school, Wakefield City Academy, had more than £800,000 transferred towards the end of 2015. In both cases the trust told the schools’ governors that the transfer was a loan. Wakefield City Academy even received a number of small repayments. However, since the trust’s collapse both schools have been told that it no longer acknowledges the transactions as loans.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#809 Postby Alan H » February 18th, 2018, 3:56 pm

Britain wants degree fees to reflect choice of subject
LONDON (Reuters) - Students at British universities could be charged variable tuition rates that reflect the economic value of their degrees, Minister for Education Damian Hinds said on Sunday, before the launch of a review of higher education funding.
As someone on Twitter said:
So the plan to solve the STEM skills shortage is... charge more for STEM to disincentivise students?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#810 Postby Alan H » February 19th, 2018, 4:35 pm

Humanists UK comment: Education Secretary reportedly confirms removal of 50% cap on religious selection
The Sunday Times reports this morning that Education Secretary Damian Hinds has confirmed that he will go ahead with proposals to drop the 50% cap on faith-based admissions at religious free schools.

If true, the decision means that all new and existing religious free schools can seek to admit children from only one religion, leading to entirely segregated intakes. Humanists UK, which leads the national campaign against religious discrimination and segregation in schools, has stated that such a decision would ignore the evidence that the cap has boosted integration in faith schools and instead show that the Government has bowed to the demands of the religious lobby instead of sticking up for the interests of children.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#811 Postby Alan H » February 19th, 2018, 4:38 pm

Accord slams Damian Hinds for faith schools u-turn comment
The Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education has accused the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, for failing in his duty to wider society following comments reported in yesterday’s Sunday Times that he intends to drop the 50% religious discrimination in admissions cap at new state funded faith schools.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, the Rev Stephen Terry, said ‘Introduced in 2010, the 50% cap has been the most serious attempt by Government in recent years to help boost mixing and integration in society. Though a small measure, it sends an important signal that schools should not seek to entrench religious division, but break down barriers and segregation.

‘Scrapping the cap would go against both public opinion and what academic evidence and history warn about creating religious silos in the school system. It would be a deeply irresponsible move that would place misguided and myopic special pleading by just a few religious authorities against the long term interests of wider society. This is not what voters expect or should expect from our political leaders.

‘Future generations will judge us very poorly should we leave a legacy of fragmentation or discrimination. We urge the Minister to reconsider his current approach and avoid making a disastrous policy decision that would be completely contrary to the needs of a Britain that is becoming increasingly religiously and ethnically diverse.’
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#812 Postby Alan H » February 21st, 2018, 10:55 am

Martin Lewis: Why cutting tuition fees bizarrely risks hurting not helping most students
The news again has been full of talk about cutting English tuition fees from £9,250 to, say, £6,000. While psychologically attractive – as it reduces the perceived ‘debt’ – the practical impact is to take money off universities, risking the quality of education, and handing it to very high-earning graduates.

I bashed out this explanation on my Facebook page yesterday and thought it worth repeating here, with key links added. Please feel free to share it with anyone impacted. It’s time we stopped making policy based on misunderstandings.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#813 Postby Alan H » February 23rd, 2018, 11:58 pm

Just what education, kids and society needs... why the fuck are they being allowed and enabled to do this? Catholic Church already preparing to open new fully segregated state schools
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#814 Postby Alan H » March 27th, 2018, 11:40 am

Grammar schools damage social cohesion and make no difference to exam grades — new research

Meanwhile, the Tories are enabling and encouraging new Grammar Schools and wringing their hands over social cohesion and mobility.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#815 Postby Nick » March 27th, 2018, 5:07 pm

Alan H wrote:Grammar schools damage social cohesion and make no difference to exam grades — new research

Meanwhile, the Tories are enabling and encouraging new Grammar Schools and wringing their hands over social cohesion and mobility.


I'll try a comment, in the vain hope that we might discuss education, rather than just kicking Tories....

From the article:
grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.
Hmmm... So if a kid is sent to the nearby school their performance would be less than if they had attended the grammar school?

Doesn't that contradict the findings? :shrug:

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#816 Postby Alan H » March 27th, 2018, 5:22 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:Grammar schools damage social cohesion and make no difference to exam grades — new research

Meanwhile, the Tories are enabling and encouraging new Grammar Schools and wringing their hands over social cohesion and mobility.


I'll try a comment, in the vain hope that we might discuss education, rather than just kicking Tories....
If the Tories deserve a kicking because of something the Tories have done, then the Tories are rightly kicked.

From the article:
grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.
Hmmm... So if a kid is sent to the nearby school their performance would be less than if they had attended the grammar school?

Doesn't that contradict the findings? :shrug:
That's a bizarre conclusion. I think you've misunderstood - care to show your working? Here's the complete paragraph:
Our research analysed over half a million pupil records and found that although grammar schools don’t tend to make much of a difference to children’s school performance compared to other schools, they can be very damaging to social cohesion. This is because grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#817 Postby Nick » March 28th, 2018, 11:57 am

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:Grammar schools damage social cohesion and make no difference to exam grades — new research

Meanwhile, the Tories are enabling and encouraging new Grammar Schools and wringing their hands over social cohesion and mobility.


I'll try a comment, in the vain hope that we might discuss education, rather than just kicking Tories....
If the Tories deserve a kicking because of something the Tories have done, then the Tories are rightly kicked.
:yawn: It does you no credit, Alan.

From the article:
grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.
Hmmm... So if a kid is sent to the nearby school their performance would be less than if they had attended the grammar school?

Doesn't that contradict the findings? :shrug:
That's a bizarre conclusion. I think you've misunderstood - care to show your working? Here's the complete paragraph:
Our research analysed over half a million pupil records and found that although grammar schools don’t tend to make much of a difference to children’s school performance compared to other schools, they can be very damaging to social cohesion. This is because grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.

:rolleyes: I did read the complete paragraph, Alan! It's not my conclusion which is bizarre, but the conclusion drawn by the article, for the reason I gave. Social cohesion is different to the school performance of any one pupil, isn't it? If grammar schools don't help a kid, then the alternatives don't disavantage another kid; it's the opposite side of the same coin. Yet that is what is being claimed.

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#818 Postby Alan H » March 28th, 2018, 12:25 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:
I'll try a comment, in the vain hope that we might discuss education, rather than just kicking Tories....
If the Tories deserve a kicking because of something the Tories have done, then the Tories are rightly kicked.
:yawn: It does you no credit, Alan.
Eh? Are you suggesting I shouldn't kick the Tories for things they should be kicked for? Should they be immune from criticism?

From the article: Hmmm... So if a kid is sent to the nearby school their performance would be less than if they had attended the grammar school?

Doesn't that contradict the findings? :shrug:
That's a bizarre conclusion. I think you've misunderstood - care to show your working? Here's the complete paragraph:
Our research analysed over half a million pupil records and found that although grammar schools don’t tend to make much of a difference to children’s school performance compared to other schools, they can be very damaging to social cohesion. This is because grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.

:rolleyes: I did read the complete paragraph, Alan! It's not my conclusion which is bizarre, but the conclusion drawn by the article, for the reason I gave. Social cohesion is different to the school performance of any one pupil, isn't it? If grammar schools don't help a kid, then the alternatives don't disavantage another kid; it's the opposite side of the same coin. Yet that is what is being claimed.
No, no it's not.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#819 Postby Nick » March 28th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Alan H wrote:No, no it's not.


Oh, I thought this was a discussion forum. My mistake. :rolleyes:

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Alan H
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Re: The future of education (if any)

#820 Postby Alan H » March 28th, 2018, 4:38 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:No, no it's not.


Oh, I thought this was a discussion forum. My mistake. :rolleyes:
Good grief.

Nick, you selected a partial sentence from the article, stripping it of its context:
grouping more able and privileged children in grammars then impacts on the remaining majority of children attending nearby schools.

Hmmm... So if a kid is sent to the nearby school their performance would be less than if they had attended the grammar school?
I reminded you of its context. The previous sentence said that the evidence showed that grammar schools "don’t tend to make much of a difference to children’s school performance compared to other schools" but that they were "very damaging to social cohesion." The next sentence you partially quoted talks about the impact on non-grammar schools. It would be entirely and blatantly perverse to construe - as you did - that "impact" was referring to educational achievement, when the whole thesis of the article and the evidence is that grammar schools make no difference! The 'impact' it is referring to is on social cohesion, not educational achievement. That, I would have thought, was entirely clear.

The article goes on to emphasise this:
But given that our new findings indicate grammar schools offer no benefit to pupil progress, it’s clear that a policy of increasing selection within the schools system is dangerous for equality in society.


And this is in the environment of Theresa May's 'promises' about social mobility - and remembering the mass resignation of her Social Mobility Commission just a few months ago. Just like religious schools, free schools and academies, she ignores the evidence and damage and pushes her ideology at the expense of society.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of education (if any)

#821 Postby Alan H » March 28th, 2018, 10:05 pm

Grammar schools don’t add any value. So let’s ditch them
Theresa May’s style, in her own words, circa two years ago: “I actually look at the evidence, take the advice, consider it properly and then come to a decision.”

Good stuff. Especially, you would have thought, for education reform, where – in comparison with other policy areas – there is a significant body of evidence, both in this country and overseas, on what is effective.

The UK has the national pupil database (NPD), which the Department for Education claims is “one of the richest education datasets in the world”. First produced a few decades ago, it now contains anonymised data on more than 20 million people, tracking their test results throughout their formal education alongside their key sociodemographic characteristics such as ethnicity, special educational needs, eligibility for free school meals, age within academic year, and much more.

This week, a team of academics from Durham University published research they had conducted using the NPD to demonstrate that the comparatively impressive GCSE results of grammar schools are a result of the pupils they admit, who have higher prior attainment and disproportionately come from more advantaged backgrounds.

Far from being bastions of social mobility, the average grammar school has fewer than 3% of their pupils on free school meals, compared to an average of 14% across the state sector. Once you factor in these differences in their intakes, grammar schools are no more effective than comprehensives. In other words, a typical grammar adds the same value to a child’s educational attainment than a typical comprehensive.

This research really ought to be the final nail in the coffin against grammar schools, championed so vigorously by the prime minister until she lost her majority last summer. Sentimental about their school history, advocates for the expansion of grammars are not really influenced by the evidence, but by their own personal experience and perceptions.

Grammar schools are, truthfully, outdated and unambitious for our children and our country
We already know that, in general, the poorest children in selective education areas do worse in their GCSE results than those in non-selective areas. We know now, thanks to this latest research, that those children who do go to a grammar school on average do no better than if they were at a comprehensive school.

So, not only do grammar schools harm social mobility in aggregate, they also do not boost the social mobility of participating children above and beyond what would have happened if they were attending a comprehensive school. This, then, is conclusive: grammar schools do not help the life chances of those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In fact, they are harmful to a majority of them.
If the prime minister is after education reforms that are effective, she should look to the countless studies conducted and evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation, a “what works centre” established by her predecessor in 2011. High-quality pre-school education and one-to-one tuition are, admittedly, expensive but boost the educational progress of children by several months, as do cheaper interventions such as phonics, peer tutoring, and social and emotional learning.

Current government policy is to enable existing grammar schools to expand. But, if she really examined the evidence, then the prime minister would be looking to phase them out altogether.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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