The think-tank Demos has proposed a fundamental change in how schools are assessed, to take the views of teachers, parents and pupils into account.
The Sutton Trust’s recent review of support for highly able children found that England’s teenagers are more than four times less likely to reach the highest levels in international maths tests as students from Switzerland and Korea, and half as likely as those from Slovenia and the Slovak Republic. Read more…
England’s league tables have revealed that only one in six pupils in England is achieving the new English Baccalaureate which has been introduced by the government. The results show that only 216 schools across the country have not met the minimum overall target for GCSEs.
The target for this initiative is that at least 35% of pupils should be achieving five good passes (A* to C) at GCSE level including in Maths and English. The reasoning behind this new concept is so that it can be measured how many pupils in secondary school are achieving good GCSE grades in what the government considers to be the vital core subjects.
General feedback from head teachers around the country has been that the new English Baccalaureate measure is unreliable and it’s therefore unfair to rely on this system. If the results are to be depended on, this means that tens of thousands of children were being taught in under performing schools last year. As a result, these ‘under performing’ schools which are said to be below the required achievement level, may face being taken over or turned into academies.
Whilst some think of the new English Baccalaureate system as a positive measure which will encourage teachers to push their pupils, others are concerned that it may have a negative effect on morale and could create a new generation in failing schools.
Do you think that this new system will encourage schools to perform better or will it de-motivate teachers and pupils? Feel free to leave your comments below.
The recent decision to publish reports detailing how much money English Secondary Schools are spending compared to how their students are performing in exams, has caused much debate amongst those who support the decision and those who oppose it.
The government describes the move as a drive for transparency and feels that by identifying schools which are spending more than others, steps can then be made to reduce costs and make significant savings.
Those who are not in favour of this information being published argue that there may be genuine and unpreventable reasons for two neighbouring schools to be spending such varying amounts of money. For example, one school may have poorly insulated buildings so will have higher heating bills, have no leisure facilities so has to pay to use others or mostly have members of staff near the top of the incremental pay grades.
Ministers have argued that this move has not been conducted in order to point the finger, but rather to make people realise that throwing money at schools does not necessarily being them better results. They have concluded that those spending more don’t necessarily perform better and there is no proven correlation between spending and results.
Various studies into this matter have been conducted but no concrete evidence has ever been found. The only finding has been a link between good results and teachers’ salaries. It has been found that countries which invest a higher proportion of their wealth into teachers’ pay, do tend to get better results.
What do you think about this information being made readily available to the public? Do you think it will help to reduce costs in schools or should these details be kept private? Let us know your thoughts below.
With World Book day taking place on Thursday 3rd March this year, we spoke to some schools around the UK who did something special to raise awareness of the cause to their pupils.
World Book Day was chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to be a worldwide celebration of books and reading and is now celebrated in over 100 countries around the world.
As it has become more and more of a success every year, the day has now become a partnership between publishers, booksellers and other interested parties. All of these groups now work together to promote books and reading to encourage children to explore the pleasures of both.
There were lots of events taking place this year for World Book Day with many different people, schools and businesses getting involved. Some publishers who participated in the day’s events and offered their support include Oxford University Press, Pan Macmillan, Penguin and Scholastic.
We spoke to Priestlands School in Lymington which is a secondary school with approximately 1,200 pupils aged between 11 and 16. To celebrate World Book Day, they held a “Big Book Swap” in their school library. On the day, all pupils and teachers were asked to bring in a book that they no longer wanted and they could then swap that for a book somebody else had bought in. The school actively encouraged all their pupils to leave a little message inside the book they swapped to say what they thought of it.
As well as the Big Book Swap, the English department at the school ran a competition to see who could design the best bookmark to celebrate the day and even the teachers had their own book box of swaps.
Baines Endowed School in Lancashire also had plenty going on during the week of World Book Day. A range of authors including Tom Palmer and Michael Cox visited the pupils at the school, as well as poets John Row and John Siddique.
Other events taking place at the school included a play put on by year 5 pupils, the chance for students to dress up in their pyjamas and the winners of a speaking competition which was held at the school performed for the rest of the pupils and their parents and were then awarded their book prize.
Did you do anything for World Book Day or are you already planning something for next year? Let us know by leaving your comments below.