By Sean Coughlan BBC News education and family correspondent 8 November 2018
An article in the Guardian today (see link, left) says:Grammar schools in England will be given tens of millions of pounds to expand, after the education secretary, Damian Hinds, unveiled a fund for selective schools that agree to improve applications from disadvantaged children.
The £50m fund will potentially allow the creation of new “satellite” campuses of grammar schools away from their existing sites, although the Department for Education said there would be a “very high bar” for such expansions.
“By creating new schools where they are needed most and helping all great schools to grow, we can give parents greater choice in looking at schools that are right for their family and give children of all backgrounds access to a world-class education,” Hinds said.
One of the things I teach about is social justice. and what concerns me here is access to education. We know that marginalised groups do not have access to the same educational opportunities as do other groups, for all kinds of intersecting reasons.
Some great tweets this morning say it all:
Angela Rayner: All schools need more funding, Tory answer? Pour more money into a few grammar schools. Buildings crumbling&class sizes increasing, Tory answer? Build more free schools(a programme that is failing). Tories continue to ignore parents, school leaders,teachers&evidence based policy.
and Professor Tim Bale, who teaches politics at Queen Mary:
Tim Bale: The main argument against grammar schools is not that they are 'elitist' & 'divisive' (even if they are), it's that all the research shows that they just don't do the job they are supposed to do, namely to promote social/educational mobility. And yes I did go to one: so shoot me.
Teachers I work with are in schools that quite literally are falling down round their ears; children are going hungry; teachers are spending money on school supplies 73 % – of teachers surveyed said that they regularly purchased stationery items, such as pens, pencils and board markers. Fifty-eight per cent had paid for books. And 43 per cent had paid for art materials. This is from a TES survey of more than 1,800 teachers, conducted jointly with the NEU teaching union and reported in Setember 2017; it reveals that 94 per cent of teachers are having to pay for school essentials such as books, stationery and storage equipment.
Teaching is and always has been the most important job in the world, for all kinds of reasons, one of the most salient of which is fighting inequality. Michael Apple, in his 2013 book 'Can education change society?', finished with the words (p174). 'There is educational work to be done'. Let's get to it!
Some ideas to think about, that the EEF suggest...
- Which explicit strategies can you teach your pupils to help them plan, monitor, and evaluate specific aspects of their learning?
- How can you give them opportunities to use these strategies with support, and then independently?
- How can you ensure you set an appropriate level of challenge to develop pupils’ self-regulation and metacognition in relation to specific learning tasks?
- In the classroom, how can you promote and develop metacognitive talk related to your lesson objectives?
- What professional development is needed to develop your knowledge and understanding of these approaches? Have you considered professional development interventions which have been shown to have an impact in other schools?
What was happening? Had the school and the staff been galvanised into action? Far from it...the staff were depressed and demoralised. They felt at risk, and that the academy broker vultures were circling. I asked what the figures were looking like, and my colleague said
'I have no idea, to be honest I have seen so many meaningless figures today that I have no idea why it's been decided we are not good enough.'
And then, and tellingly...
Kids are going home to no food/heat/clean clothes and are experiencing and seeing all manner of abuse and yet they don't give a s**t about that. Just data.
And my colleague has ben thinking about leaving the profession. No wonder.
Phenomenon-based structure in a curriculum also actively creates better opportunities for integrating different subjects and themes as well as the systematic use of pedagogically meaningful methods, such as inquiry learning, problem-based learning, project learning and portfolios. The phenomenon-based approach is also key in the versatile utilisation of different learning environments (e.g. in diversifying and enriching learning while using eLearning environments).
In the diagram below (taken from http://livetheorganicdream.com/finland-abolishing-school-subjects/) the process is explained.
Will this be the end of subjects, of 'knowledge' Govean style, and the start of an emphasis on process? And will it be the end of HE and traditional academia? And if so, does that matter? It'll be interesting to see how this will pan out in Finland over the years.
The latest figures suggest that about 133,00 18-year-old women from the UK have secured a university place in the UK, compared with approximately 104,800 men of this age. The BBC suggests that across the UK, 27.3% of all young men are expected to go to university this year compared with 37.1% of women.This is a huge gap (36%) - and larger than last year's gap; it's also 5% more than the 2012 gender gap.
UCAS has said that there is a 9% increase in UK 18-year-olds placed on nursing courses this year, so this will be a contributory factor; women significantly outnumber men for these degrees, with around 28 women recruited for every man.
According to the BBC, Dr Mark Corver, who is UCAS's director of analysis and research, said:
"More UK 18-year-olds will be starting university this autumn than ever before but large differences in who goes remain.
"Our research has shown that the difference between 18-year-old men and women entering university is now similar to that between the richest and poorest halves of the population.
"The statistics today show the difference between men and women slowly growing wider."
We should always be wary of gender gaps; they often have their roots in schools, and in and they tend to be subject related - as we can see from the nursing figures, above. It is great, I hope, that more young women are entering HE - but what of the young men? Rumour has it that schools are putting an increased premium on apprenticeships, and these may be more attractive to young men. So is this the continuation of the deskilling of the workforce and of our developing a cohort of technicians (e.g. in education and nursing), as opposed to sentient professionals?