Laura McInerney

  • Politicians, like pupils, need high expectations

    Schools are the most hopeful places in the world. Over the past week I hope you’ve had a chance to see at least one prize evening, or school play, or end-of-year assembly, or any of the other celebrations that reflect the joy of children making their way into the world, and the hard work of

    7.00 Jul. 20th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Can Damian Hinds do the maths on teacher pay?

    Over the past few weeks, the education secretary Damian Hinds has been trying to solve a complicated maths problem. He’s likely to come under public pressure from the independent School Teachers’ Review Body, which is expected to recommend a substantial pay rise of about 3 per cent. If he refuses, Hinds will face an autumn

    5.00 Jul. 13th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Ofsted requires improvement – but how do we get there?

    Ofsted’s name is mud this week. Amanda Spielman’s speech at last week’s Festival of Education went down like a lead balloon after she announced that grades for overall school effectiveness are “not effort grades”. Then she suggested that schools in white working class areas get lower grades partly because local families may not have the

    5.00 Jun. 29th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Graduate recruiters are clamouring for more talented women – and schools should be afraid

    Gender pay rules are making corporations jittery, and rightly so. As Schools Week recently revealed, academy trusts usually have way more low-paid women than high-paid ones, which causes an imbalance in average pay. Reputationally speaking, this is bad for academy trusts. But for banks, retailers and large consulting firms, the damage is even greater because

    14.30 Jun. 26th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Forget the 11-plus. Is a world without selection at 18 possible?

    In a warm marquee tent on Wednesday, I was one of four people debating a motion: “Academic selection is wrong at 11, and it is still wrong at 18.” Having spent the past two years debating the considerable evidence against grammar schools, my arguments on the first part of the debate were sound. But I’ve

    17.42 Jun. 15th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Teachers are the best careers advisors

    When did you first decide an academic school subject wasn’t for you? Perhaps it was the day everyone laughed at your French accent? Or when the English teacher made you read Catcher in the rye? (You have my sympathy – that boy needs to get over himself). Mine was in during a physics lesson on

    5.00 May. 11th, 2018 | Opinion

  • How can we improve outcomes for excluded pupils?

    Fifteen years ago I met a vicar in a bar in Oxford who had spent 20 years working in prisons with violent male offenders. He told me that the youngest ones only had two shots at turning their lives around. “Either they find Jesus, or their girlfriend gets pregnant and they suddenly get the preciousness

    5.00 May. 4th, 2018 | Opinion

  • How should schools manage out-of-hours emails?

    Four months ago, Teacher Tapp data revealed that half of teachers had answered emails during the Christmas holidays. This sounds innocuous enough, but the figures caused a bit of a battle on social media. Email answerers were at pains to explain it wasn’t necessary for other people to answer their emails out-of-hours or reply to

    5.00 Apr. 27th, 2018 | Opinion

  • The public services Jenga tower is on the brink of collapse

    Are schools going to get more money? That’s the question headteachers keep asking – not least at the ASCL conference last week – and it’s the one that’s guaranteed to cause everyone grief. And quite honestly, the answer appears to be no. Damian Hinds is a classic low-tax Conservative. In his time as a member

    5.00 Mar. 16th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Teachers: don't give up in March - you can make it over 'the wall'!

    In marathon races, mile 20 is known as “the wall”, the point when the energy in your muscles runs out and continuing on requires overcoming every psychological instinct to stop. For schools, March is “the wall”. It’s the month when teachers’ good intentions for their class are in tatters and when, if things are going

    5.00 Mar. 9th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Why flexible working won't solve the workload problem

    Back in the 2000s, “thinking hats” were a mega-cool concept in schools. Available in six different colours, each one signified a way of thinking about a problem. For example, yellow-hat thinking involved looking positively at a problem, while people wearing white hats were told to look purely at facts. The concept is less cool these

    10.03 Feb. 23rd, 2018 | Opinion