Latest Educational News

Martin Stephen: We’ll need some new thinking if grammar schools are to succeed

by Evening Standard, September 14, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Alan Milburn says Theresa May’s grammar schools proposal risked an “us and them” divide. There already is one, between wealthy middle-class parents who can afford a house in the catchment area of a good school, and the disadvantaged parents who can’t.

Last night’s debate in Parliament on new grammar schools had passion and integrity but disappointed in three ways. Opponents of grammar schools produced convincing arguments against the grammars of the Fifties and Sixties, not the new type proposed by May. Some opponents spoke as if nothing needed changing or improving: Education Secretary Justine Greening pointed out that 1.25 million children are not in schools that are good or outstanding.

Grammar school plans are divisive and stupid, says Michael Morpurgo

by Guardian, September 14, 2016

War Horse author failed 11-plus as a boy and believes return of selection in education would add to the divisions in society
The children’s author Michael Morpurgo, whose best-selling stories have inspired a generation of young readers, has condemned government plans to extend grammar schools as divisive and “quite deeply stupid”.

Morpurgo, who has previously described the way in which his own failure to pass the 11-plus exam “shattered” his confidence as a child, warned that increased selection in education would only add to the divisions in society. “I know from being on that side of it, it is not the way to go,” he said.

The award-winning writer, whose novels include War Horse and Private Peaceful, both of which were turned into films, sat the 11-plus in 1953 at a primary school in Hampstead, north London. He struggled through the exam and a few weeks later was told he had failed, but two aunts stepped in to help pay for him to attend private school.

London mayor Sadiq Khan calls on Theresa May to drop her school reform plans

by City A.M, September 14, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the government to drop plans to open new grammar schools.

Speaking in City Hall today, Khan rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's claims that reintroducing the schools, along with the testing for students, would raise standards.

Instead, he warned the programme would inevitably lead to segregation.

Only four per cent of schools in London are classified as grammar schools, but the city was recorded as the best performing part of England in GCSE results for the seventh consecutive year.

“There is no evidence that grammar schools raise standards for the poorest students and we know that the best performing international education systems are not selective,” Khan said.

Most teachers against new wave of grammar schools, survey suggests

by Independent, September 14, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Theresa May pledged to make Britain ‘the great meritocracy of the world’ when she announced plans to lift the long-standing ban on new grammars

Teachers and school leaders overwhelmingly oppose Theresa May's plans for a new wave of grammar schools, a survey has found.

Some eight out of 10 teachers and heads are against the selection proposals and also do not believe the tests taken at age 11 can measure academic potential, according to the research.

Four in five teachers oppose new grammar schools - poll

by Politics Home, September 14, 2016

Four out of five teachers in England are opposed to lifting the ban on new grammar schools, a survey published this morning suggests.

The poll, conducted jointly by Teach First and two major teaching unions, also found that the vast majority of teachers and heads do not think testing at 11 is a reliable way of measuring academic potential.

The survey asked 2,500 headteachers and teachers to give their response to the plans, which were set out by Education Secretary Justine Greening in a Green Paper yesterday.

Teachers to gain more control over schools in overhaul

by STV, September 13, 2016

Classified as General.

Education secretary John Swinney has launched a three-month review of school governance.

Teachers will gain more control over schools in an overhaul of the education system in Scotland, according to John Swinney.

The education secretary launched a three-month review of school governance and funding on Tuesday.

He said the review would begin with the assumption that "decisions will be devolved to school level," with new educational regions put in place.

Divisions over grammar schools show splits in the Tory Party

by Socialist Worker, September 13, 2016

As the weeks go by, we are beginning to get a picture of what kind of prime minister Theresa May will be.

Take last week’s announcement of a return to grammar schools.

On the face of it this is bizarre. It faces strong opposition not simply from a wide spectrum of opinion in the education world, but also from within the Tory party.

David Cameron discovered what a divisive issue grammar schools are back in 2007. The Tory right reacted with fury after he ruled out a return to the eleven-plus.

Meanwhile the two last Tory education secretaries, Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan, are against reintroducing grammar schools.

A generation of children failed by the 11-plus

by Guardian, September 13, 2016

In 1959 I passed the 11-plus and went to a grammar school in Birmingham. By the nature of things most of my class failed, and on our way home from school on the day we had the results one of my mates was clearly upset and wouldn’t speak to me. I didn’t understand why, but one of our other friends (another “failure”) said to me “just because you passed doesn’t mean you’re any better than him”. The idea hadn’t occurred to me, but I’ve remembered that moment ever since and my first political cause was the introduction of genuine comprehensive education.

Single-sex schools offer no advantages and feed stereotypes, psychologists told

by The Guardian, September 13, 2016

Prof Diane Halpern tells Australian Psychological Society that separating boys and girls at school could foster sexism

There are no advantages to single-sex schools, which may foster gender stereotyping and sexism “in a world that’s far more diverse than ever before”, a US psychology professor has said.

Diane Halpern, a past president of the American Psychological Association, said the basis for single-sex education needed to be re-examined when there was no research to show that boys and girls learn differently.

‘Tutor-proof’ 11-plus professor admits grammar school test doesn’t work

by Guardian, September 12, 2016

As Theresa May calls for more selection to help disadvantaged pupils, evidence emerges showing the entrance exam is intrinsically unfair on them

Theresa May, clearly mindful of powerful opposition to her plan to bring back more grammar schools, has claimed the new wave should be “inclusive” and immune to colonisation by sharp-elbowed middle-class parents and admit far more children from poor backgrounds. But is that possible?

The outgoing chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, recently suggested that more grammars will inevitably benefit certain groups of children. At the heart of this debate lies the vexed question of whether ability, and thus academic potential, is fixed; whether it can be can be reliably tested at any single point in a child’s life; and whether it is affected by coaching, parental support and social class background.

The myth of grammar schools and social mobility

by The Guardian, September 12, 2016

Who wants more grammar schools? The Daily Telegraph, of course: “a selective education system would deliver better results for individual pupils and raise the overall standard of schooling”.

The Daily Mail is keen: “grammars can be great engines of social mobility, as millions of baby-boomers can attest.” The Daily Express thought it “good news”, as did the Sun: praising it as a step towards “the reshaping of Britain as a ‘meritocracy’”.

The Sunday Times appeared to support Theresa May’s proposals, urging that they “are worthy of a fair hearing”.

By contrast, the Guardian was totally unimpressed. It’s nuts, it said. The Observer felt the same way: “Selection is bad for children, bad for society”.

Jeremy Corbyn vows to defeat grammar schools plan

by The Guardian, September 12, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to say Theresa May’s flagship policy to create new grammar schools in England will be defeated by a concerted campaign by the Labour movement.

In a bullish speech to a private dinner at the TUC’s annual conference on Monday evening, he will say the plans show May is a deeply ideological prime minister and warn that her plans will play into the hands of her opponents.

He will say: “Just as we turned them back on forced academisation, together we will defeat their plans on grammar schools.”

The Labour leader will also say May has been hypocritical in claiming that she represents the many rather than the privileged few, given that she voted in favour of the bedroom tax and the trade union bill and now wants to segregate children at 11 years old.

Grammar schools plan divides education experts

by Guardian, September 11, 2016

Estelle Morris
Former education secretary and life peer

This is so flawed I’d be surprised if May can roll it out. In its day, the grammar school did the job asked of it: take the top 20% and get good results from them. But that’s not what we need now: we have to be more ambitious than just doing well for the top 20%. May knows society and the economy have changed, so is trying to create policy adjuncts around it – grammars will sponsor another school, or have a quota of places. What she’s actually saying is: we want them to be a force for social mobility all over the country. But there is no evidence they raise standards for low-attaining poor kids.

How to make computer coding child’s play

by Guardian, September 11, 2016

With programming lessons now part of the school day, can parents help their offspring get top marks? Fear not – toys, gadgets and apps are all available to make coding a fun part of growing up

Coding kids aren’t a new trend. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Usborne Publishing was releasing books to teach children computer programming, with a range of other books, computer clubs and software following in their wake.

Now there’s a renewed wave of interest in the topic, thanks partly to programming being part of England’s national curriculum for children as young as five. This being 2016, there are inevitably apps for that, but also some inventive hardware. For children wanting to get in some extracurricular practice, these gadgets, programs and books could be just the thing.

The Observer view on grammar schools

by Guardian, September 11, 2016

There was a deep irony at the heart of the prime minister’s speech on increasing selection in the school system. She accused her predecessors of putting dogma and ideology before the interests of ordinary people in their failure to expand grammar schools. Yet the only arguments for a selective school system are themselves based on emotion, dogma and ideology. There is a wealth of evidence selection works against the working-class families May claimed will be at the heart of her government’s agenda.

Former Eton head accuses Theresa May of attacking private schools like an 'Olympic sport' as he insists fee paying establishments are 'woven into our national story of education'

by Daily Mail, September 11, 2016

Classified as General.

Tony Little dismissed the Prime Minister's claim that private schools are 'divorced from normal life'
Mrs May lifted the ban on new grammar schools on Friday
It comes as Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne defected from the Lib Dems to the Tories
Labour MP Kate Hoey hits out at 'kneejerk' opposition to grammars

The Prime Minister is today criticised by a former Eton head who accuses her of turning attacks on private schools into ‘an Olympic sport’.
Tony Little responded to radical education reforms announced by Theresa May last week, dismissing her claim that private schools were ‘divorced from normal life’.
Mr Little made his remarks in an article for today’s Mail on Sunday, as shockwaves reverberated after Mrs May lifted the ban on new grammar schools on Friday.

Education reform: 'One in four schools must be grammars', say campaigners

by Express.co.uk, September 11, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

SIX hundred new grammar schools must be opened if Theresa May’s crusade for greater social mobility is to succeed, say campaigners.

The National Grammar Schools Association wants a quarter of all state secondary schools to become grammars.

The association’s treasurer Phillip Bosworth said polls showed parents are overwhelmingly in favour of grammar schools.

But he is to write to Mrs May warning that major expansion is needed.

Jeremy Corbyn To Reverse Theresa May’s Grammar School Plans If He’s PM

by Huffington Post, September 11, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Meanwhile, leadership rival Owen Smith warned the Tories were “running rampant”.
Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to make reversing Theresa May’s plans for new grammar schools his top priority if he becomes prime minister.

The Labour leader said the plans were “divisive” and Mrs May had “no mandate” to push through her plans for a new generation of selective schools in England.

Meanwhile, leadership rival Owen Smith warned the Tories were “running rampant” against Corbyn’s Labour as he set out plans to give a pay rise to six million workers.

Councils rush to open new grammars but Cabinet splits expose scale of Theresa May's challenge to lift ban on selective schools

by Daily Mail, September 11, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Plans to open new grammars in Kent, Essex, Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Central Bedfordshire
Thurrock council says it's 'not hanging about' after May announced plans
But Cabinet ministers warn grammar school policy could backfire

Five councils have already drawn up plans to open new grammar schools just days after Theresa May announced her intention to lift the 18-year ban on new selective schools.
Kent county council today revealed plans to open a boys' grammar school in Sevenoaks along with existing proposals to expand a girls' grammar school, which it already has permission for.

Jeremy Corbyn vows to scrap Theresa May's grammar schools plan

by Guardian, September 11, 2016

Labour leader says PM has no mandate for new generation of selective schools and reversing her policy will be top priority
Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to make reversing Theresa May’s plans for new grammar schools his top priority if he becomes prime minister.

The Labour leader said the plans were “divisive” and May had no mandate to push through her plans for a new generation of selective schools in England.

Meanwhile, Corbyn’s leadership rival, Owen Smith, warned the Tories were “running rampant” over Corbyn’s Labour as he set out plans to give a pay rise to 6 million workers.

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