Should teachers run John Lewis-style schools for profit?

Should private companies be able to set up and run state schools? Would teachers like to take a stake in them, John Lewis partnership-style, with 50% of surpluses distributed as dividends to shareholders? That’s just one of several hot topics covered in our latest roundup of education news coverage.

Local focus for history lessons

Schools in England are to be encouraged to adopt a ‘home town’ approach to history and learning, discovering how their town fits into the country’s rich heritage, reports the Guardian.

English Heritage has been approached by education secretary Michael Gove, to draw up a list of local historical sites, the aim being to revamp the history curriculum by taking advantage of Britons’ passion for national and personal heritage. Dover, Carlisle, Manchester, Newcastle, Derby, Bristol and York are currently being considered for the programme, with Gove giving English Heritage £2.7m over the next three years to develop the initiative.

Contraception concerns

Parents have been outraged to learn that girls as young as 13 have been given contraceptive implants at school without their knowledge. MPs and campaigners say the scheme is morally wrong, reports the Daily Mail.

The scheme is being offered to girls in nine secondary schools and three sixth form colleges in Southampton under a scheme run by NHS Solent. Catch up on all the issues and extensive Eteach reader comments to date.

Teachers see increase in lack of toilet training

A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and charity Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (Eric) has revealed more children are starting at school without being properly toilet trained.

Their survey has found that 62 per cent of primary school staff and 71 per cent of those working in the early years sector working with three- to five-year-olds have seen an increase in children wetting or soiling themselves.

The ATL say this is putting extra pressure on teachers, says Children & Young People Now.

Private companies should set up schools

The conservative Policy Exchange think tank has suggested a move to a social enterprise model for schools, which would mean private companies are allowed to set up and run schools as profit-making enterprise, says the Guardian.

Under the proposals, teachers would be encouraged to take a stake in partnerships to run state schools, which would give them a share of ownership and the opportunity to re-invest a portion of any profit back into the school.

The report recommends the model as a way to tackle the challenges the education system faces in the coming years and suggests the government now sets up pilot schemes in deprived areas.

A ban on slang

Pupils at a school in Sheffield have been banned from using slang and ‘text talk’ in an attempt to improve their employability, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Rather than phrases such as “hiya” and “cheers” the children are encouraged to use “good morning”, “goodbye” and “thank you”.

To read our feature on slang in schools, and extensive reader comment, click here – we’d love to hear your views too…

And finally….

English lesson leaves pupils ‘scared stiff’

A kidnapping stunt designed to help primary school pupils with their writing has left one head teacher in hot water after some children were reportedly ‘scared stiff’ by the bizarre lesson, says the Daily Mail.

The headteacher of Wincheap Primary School in Canterbury dressed in a red clown wig and appeared to kidnap the school caretaker at gun point, before bundling him into his car and driving away. Pupils were not told about the stunt in advance, which was thought to be a good event for the children to witness and then write descriptively about. But some parents have voiced concerns and said there must be other ways to teach.

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Sneak preview of new teaching ads

The TDA is sharing a sneak preview of its new recruitment campaign for teachers on YouTube. What do you think? Why not share your views on our Facebook wall. (And perhaps another big question is, will comedians Armstrong and Miller do a send up like this one for a previous campaign?)

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One thought on “Should teachers run John Lewis-style schools for profit?

  1. Regarding the ‘schools for profit’ piece, it all comes down to what we feel the state should provide, and what we feel it’s OK to leave in the hands of businesses.

    I don’t want to ‘outsource’ education to private companies, regardless of any ‘partnership’ arrangement with teachers.

    Companies will want to make as much money as possible, probably by reducing service levels, and the pay and conditions of staff – one of the biggest ‘costs’.

    Like health and various other services, I want schools to be provided by the state, paid for by my taxes, and fully accountable to me at local level.

    And I want them to be able to get on with their job of teaching my kids – without being endlessly re-organised, and subject to the right’s privatisation agenda.

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