Secondary schools

Secret Teacher: I hated teaching – until I realised my school was the problem | Teacher Network

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher. Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school…

Read More

All pupils have a right to LGBT education | Letters | Education

Shraga Stern accuses the National Secular Society of “see[ing] fit to dismiss basic religious freedoms” (Letters, 7 February). Secularism seeks to defend the absolute freedom of belief, and protect the right to manifest religious belief insofar as it does not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Parents’ rights to secure an education consistent with their religious beliefs are not absolute and must be balanced against society’s duty to safeguard children’s independent interests. All pupils should have the right…

Read More

‘I will never return to teach in England’: the UK teachers finding refuge abroad | Education

The English education system is broken, says Freya Odell, a state secondary school teacher with 18 years’ experience. This month, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of other talented, fed-up teachers and moved abroad – in her case, to St George’s British International School in Rome. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. My job in England took over my life. Over the past year, I had stopped laughing and smiling. I had lost all sense of who I am.” Despite…

Read More

State school pupils can race ahead | Letters | Education

I agree largely with Suzanne Moore (Teaching all pupils to act more like Etonians won’t help solve inequality, theguardian.com, 7 February) except for one thing. As a graduate recruitment manager for some years, state school kids, especially those from tough backgrounds, have far more resilience. What they don’t have is a level playing field. Give them that, and many perform outstandingly well. An accidental experiment when a teacher I know took a party of less well-off pupils skiing alongside privately…

Read More

The NHS 10-year plan doesn’t do enough for children | Al Aynsley-Green | Education

The government’s NHS 10-year plan, which launched last month, has been broadly praised by children’s organisations. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, for one, celebrates that “it lays the foundations for an NHS with infants, children and young people at its core”. But does it? The plan, which aims to transform an overloaded health service, comes at an important time for children. The need is stark. We have some of the worst outcomes for children’s health, education, social…

Read More

Secret Teacher: the emphasis on British history is depriving students of balance | Teacher Network

The wedding of two people who ostensibly have nothing to do with most people in the country has been the hot topic in playgrounds and classrooms over recent weeks. Despite Prince Harry and Meghan being wholly unrepresentative of the schoolchildren in my area of the UK, pupils have been transfixed by the details. They want to talk about the dress Meghan wore, the car Prince Harry drove to the reception. They’re proud this glamorous, confident American is becoming part of…

Read More

No other European country tests children at 16: let’s scrap pointless GCSEs | Sandra Leaton Gray | Education

We all could and should be having a relaxed summer but instead, 16-year-olds are grimly anticipating their GCSE results this Thursday. It doesn’t have to be this way. The UK is the only European country to have high-stakes testing at 16, with others adopting a more enlightened approach. This I discovered while leading a research project in 2016 that involved watching polyglot pupils in the European schools mill around their airy buildings in jeans and T-shirts. The European schools are…

Read More

Should schools fill key roles with volunteers? | Education

News that an academy trust founded by the Conservative peer Lord James O’Shaughnessy is advertising for unpaid volunteers to fill key roles in its two primary schools was met with disbelief and dismay by teachers earlier this month. The Floreat Education Academies Trust is looking for full-time and part-time volunteers to fill the jobs of finance assistant, office administrator and personal assistant to the chief executive, Janet Hilary, who was paid £128,768 in 2018. Andrew Morrish chief executive, Victoria Academies…

Read More

‘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,…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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.…

Read More