Two state Steiner schools face possible closure or takeover | Education

Two Steiner state schools in the west of England face possible closure or takeover after the Department for Education said it intended to cut off their funding later this year. The trusts running the free schools in Bristol and Frome have been issued termination warning notices by the DfE after the schools were rated as inadequate and placed in special measures by Ofsted. The inspections published in January reported a long list of serious safeguarding and teaching problems at the…

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The Tail Wagging The Dog – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes What silly reasons drive good people out of the teaching profession? Until someone in the Department for Education (or Ofsted) has the gusto to pull the plug on all of this nonsense, we can expect our education system to continue in a mindless and self-fulfilling loop for another generation. Imagine two schools … Imagine you are a teacher working in a school (A). You may find yourself lucky enough to be working in a culture in…

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‘It’s not about my school’: teacher’s TV drama depicts stress in class | Education

“ONOMATO PO E.I.A. BOOM!, ONOMATO PO E.I.A. BOOM!” bellows a teacher to a classroom of unimpressed teenagers. His enthusiasm for the written word is struggling to get much buy-in from the disengaged mass in front of him. This is the story of Shaun, a downtrodden English teacher who is eventually beaten by the system, as depicted in the TV drama Beaten, shown last week on BBC One (and now screening on BBC iPlayer) as part of a series compiled by…

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How Do Ofsted Select A School For Inspection? – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes What metrics are used to determine which school Ofsted will visit next? On 22nd January 2019, I made a Freedom of Information request to Ofsted. I wanted to know what sources of data Ofsted uses to calculate/predict which schools to inspect next?”. Freedom of Information “Dear Ofsted, For a number of years, Ofsted has used statistical models to ensure proportionate inspection. Your new methodology has not changed and you believe will improve your capacity to identify…

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5 Things Which Confuse Me About Ofsted – Education Article

Reading Time: 5 minutes What key points confuse you about Ofsted’s proposed framework? The consultation for school inspection was published on the Department for Education’s website on 16 January 2019  and is open until 5 April 2019. There is a good period of opportunity for everyone to engage in how our education settings are evaluated across England. I consider myself to have a decent understanding of school improvement, but there are five things which baffle me about Ofsted’s proposals and how it proposes to inspect…

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What’s wrong with Ofsted’s definition of learning? – David Didau – Education Article

As everyone already knows, Ofsted have published a draft of the new Inspection Framework which is currently undergoing a process of consultation. Amazingly, one of the most contentious aspects of the document is definition given to learning: Learning can be defined as an alteration in long-term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned. However, transfer to long-term memory depends on the rich processes described above.[1] In order to develop understanding, pupils connect new knowledge with…

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Ofsted asks government to look closely at Steiner schools in England | Education

Ofsted has asked the government to look closely at Steiner schools in England, after multiple inspections of schools operating under the Steiner banner revealed worries over pupil safety. The letter from the head of Ofsted throws into doubt the future of Steiner schools receiving state funding, after several opened as part of the free schools programme launched by Michael Gove in 2011. Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, said in a letter to the education secretary, Damian…

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How to retain teachers in the current climate? | Letters | Education

Damian Hinds’ recognition of the need for a new teacher retention and recruitment strategy is to be welcomed (Fewer emails, more job shares: a new strategy to retain teachers, 26 January), but his proposals don’t get to the heart of the matter. As numerous studies have shown, it is not workload but what teachers perceive as the increase in unnecessary and unproductive tasks that is the main problem. The most burdensome of these tasks is recording, inputting, monitoring and analysing…

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Curriculum Misgivings For Young People – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes Do we anticipate all pupils to meet an English Baccalaureate curriculum? Last week, the Department for Education published a “list of mainstream state-funded schools and their 2018 English Baccalaureate (EBacc) language entry.” We have a national curriculum to specify, not only consistency across our schools but to ensure an education for every pupil regardless of background. What still confuses me, is the apparent freedom to veer away from the national curriculum by becoming an academy or free school,…

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‘It’s a dictatorship.’ Angry parents fight back against school takeovers | Education

It’s like living in a dictatorship,” fumes Peter Hawkins, reflecting on the situation facing the school that he and generations of his family have attended. “There’s no way of knowing what’s going on, or of communicating with the people making the decision. We have no say in the future of our children’s school. It’s disgusting.” On Friday the school in question, the Barclay school, Stevenage, is set to join Future Academies, the chain founded and chaired by the Tory peer,…

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Steiner state school in Bristol launches legal action against Ofsted | Education

A Steiner school in Bristol is launching legal action against its latest Ofsted report, which rated the school as “inadequate” and resulted in it being placed in special measures. The governing body of Steiner Academy Bristol said the schools watchdog’s inspection and judgment process showed bias against Steiner schools. The legal challenge will argue the Ofsted inspection was flawed and inspectors lacked proper evidential basis for their conclusions. A series of Ofsted inspections, published in the past few weeks, found…

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Steiner schools aren’t cranky – we develop heart, head and soul | Letters | Education

Zoe Williams (These Steiner ‘failures’ are really a failure of the free school agenda, theguardian.com, 18 January) is wrong to imply that Steiner schools endorse the sometimes odious views of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner himself argued against this. This misconception is as ridiculous as saying that Britain’s most esteemed schools still promote the views of founders who may have traded slaves or opposed votes for women. Steiner schools attract a diverse group of parents who are highly committed to their children’s…

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Ofsted’s grade fixation fails pupils and teachers | Letters | Education

The chief inspector has launched a consultation on the new framework for the inspection of schools and colleges (Ofsted plans overhaul of inspections to look beyond exam results, 16 January). While we welcome most of Ofsted’s new inspection framework, it is doomed to fail unless Ofsted drops its flawed four-point grading system. Schools and colleges will remain fixated on fear-inspiring grades. Institutions labelled “outstanding” will obsess with keeping it, stifling innovation. Schools “requiring improvement” or dubbed “inadequate” will lose pupils,…

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Ofsted plans overhaul of inspections to look beyond exam results | Education

The way nurseries, schools and colleges in England are inspected is to undergo its biggest overhaul in a decade, with proposals by Ofsted aiming to address concerns that education has been too narrowly focused on exam results. The new guidelines will be launched by Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, in a speech on Wednesday, with a consultation on revised inspection frameworks for state and independent schools as well as early years settings and further education colleges.…

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What Does Ofsted’s New Framework Say? – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes What does Ofsted’s draft consultation say in the proposed inspection framework? On social media, you would be forgiven for thinking that I was against the work that Ofsted hope to achieve in the year ahead. What I would like to highlight in this post, is the work that Sean Harford has achieved on social media (though, still many myths to bust on the ground) and my hopes for Amanda Spielman. I wish to offer comments in…

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System Leadership and School Improvement – Education Article

Reading Time: 1 minute How do we find the next generation of teachers to step up to leadership? In a high-stakes accountability system, how do we nurture the next generation of school leaders and reduce a football-manager-syndrome culture. This is a question I have been asking England’s inspection watchdog for a number of years … Macro accountability … Headteachers (at least that’s what they called themselves a decade ago) used to settle their disputes with the local authority, or with…

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Ofsted inspections find three Steiner schools to be inadequate | Education

The future of state-funded Steiner education has been thrown into doubt after a series of snap Ofsted inspections found that three of the four such schools set up under the Conservatives’ free schools programme were inadequate. The four have been inspected in recent weeks – alongside private Steiner schools, a number of which have also been found to be inadequate – following an intervention by the education secretary, Damian Hinds, over concerns about safeguarding. Ofsted reports for the Frome and…

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Visits to English Schools by Amanda Spielman – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes Which schools has Amanda Spielman visited since her appointment as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector? On 11th December 2018, I made a Freedom of Information request to Ofsted. I wanted to know which schools Amanda Spielman had visited since her appointment, including what conferences and teacher-training events she has attended on a Saturday. Image credit: The Guardian. Freedom of Information “Dear Ofsted, Please could you advise of the number of visits to early years, primary, secondary state…

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Scandalous increase in school exclusions | Letters | Education – Education Article

Last year I gave a paper based on my book Immoral Education: The Assault on Teachers’ Identities, Autonomy and Efficacy to academics in the Netherlands. When I told them that part of my argument was the rate at which young people were being excluded from schools and gave them the figures, the response was that “if that were happening here there would be national outrage”. The UK figures are now even worse (School exclusion rates in London double the national…

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The Good, The Bad and The Outstanding – The Girl On The Piccadilly Line – Education Article

Before Amanda Spielman took up the post of Chief Inspector, there were rumours she had plans to shake things up a bit. One example was her views about the “Oustanding” judgement. She told the Commons Education Select Committee, “I’m quite uncomfortable about some of the effects you see it [the grade] having in the system, I have to say.” However, since taking up post in January 2017 little more has been said about the matter of Ofsted grades – until now.…

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