Expert Contributor

  • School leaders aren't to blame for 'gaming' the system

    By using the term ‘gaming’ to describe the practice of schools trying to improve their metrics, we are missing the real problem, which is the high-stakes accountability culture itself, says Brian Lightman To coin a phrase from ‘Yes Minister’, Amanda Spielman’s announcement of an Ofsted investigation into the curriculum is a ‘brave’ decision, which I welcome. 

    5.00 Mar. 16th, 2017 | Opinion

  • Independent special schools are cost effective

    It is in everyone’s interests to get SEND support right, says Claire Dorer. For many pupils that means a place in an independent special school It’s rare to see media coverage on special needs provision in non-maintained and independent special schools (NMISS) without cost being mentioned. Generally this is in relation to absolute costs and

    5.00 Mar. 12th, 2017 | Opinion

  • Why we're spending our school budget on Scouts

    As anyone who works in a challenging school will know, when children’s lives are consistently chaotic and their influences less than positive, they do not come to school ready to learn. They have neither the desire nor resilience to sit in a classroom and practise their times tables; they see no bearing on their life

    5.00 Mar. 11th, 2017 | Opinion

  • How to prepare year 6 for KS2 maths SATs

    Education blogger @thatboycanteach explains what we can learn from studying the 2016 Key Stage 2 SATs results After the release of RAISEonline’s QLA data, teachers, Maths coordinators, and SLT alike will have scrambled to analyse the initial report on 2016s maths SATs results. It’s a resource with huge potential, offering ways for us to reconsider the effectiveness

    12.00 Feb. 24th, 2017 | Opinion

  • Here’s why ‘low-cost’ private schools in England WON’T work

    State school campaigner Janet Downs explains why proposals for a new ‘no frills’ private school in England – charging parents just £52-a-week – will flop… Low fee paying (LFP) schools already exist in England. They are schools not affiliated to the Independent Schools Council and likely to charge lower fees. But even their low fees

    9.10 Feb. 23rd, 2017 | Opinion

  • Here’s why ‘low-cost’ private schools in England WILL work

    One of the architects behind proposals for a low-cost private school in England explains why he believes the ‘no frills’ education model can take off… My work over the past 17 years has focused on low-cost private schools mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In these regions, private education is everywhere, even for low

    5.00 Feb. 23rd, 2017 | Opinion

  • Confidence is at an all-time low in the exam marking system

    Exams manager Paula Wood says confidence is at an all-time low in the exam marking system, but will Ofqual’s recent moderation announcements change that? Some 67,900 exam grades were changed after they were challenged in summer 2016 – that is 18% of challenged grades, not dissimilar to 19% the previous year – despite changes to

    4.59 Feb. 23rd, 2017 | Opinion

  • Ofsted inspections are unreliable by design

    How can we know which schools are good if inspectors are inconsistent and biased and the data is wrong, asks Becky Allen. We want school inspection to be able to tell us where the quality of curriculum and instruction is good. If we could show the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and (the late) Amos Tversky how

    5.00 Feb. 10th, 2017 | Opinion

  • What happened to teacher-training colleges?

    What ever happened to the colleges of education, those specialist teacher-training institutions that were effectively abolished across England and Wales in the 1970s and 80s? In some ways, the demise of teacher-training colleges was unsurprising. Although some 160-strong by the early-1970s, many were small and isolated and some were rather parochial, inward-looking organisations. Many were

    5.00 Feb. 8th, 2017 | Opinion

  • Stop bashing Catholic schools and let us educate children

    As secular campaigners intensify their vocal opposition to faith schools, Andrew Cole charts the battle his Catholic voluntary aided school faced to open in west London. Ever since Theresa May announced plans to scrap the 50 per cent admissions cap for new faith free schools, secular campaigners have been unable to hide their disdain. Piece

    5.00 Feb. 5th, 2017 | Opinion

  • How to consult effectively when applying for school planning permission

    Consultation is never a silver bullet to securing planning permission, but it is necessary and de-risks the process, says Louise Page-Jennings. The government’s ambitious target to build 500 new schools by 2020 is leaving many communities stuck between the need to provide much-needed school places and finding the right location to do so. To find

    5.00 Feb. 1st, 2017 | Opinion