• Do careers talks in schools improve pupils' life chances?

    What have you been working on? The impact of school-based careers talks, with people from outside school, on earnings at age 26. We analysed data from the British cohort study of 1970 – which covers 17,000 people – to work out whether they had an impact, and, if so, what type of interventions and at

    5.00 May. 30th, 2016 | Opinion

  • How can we get young people eating healthy food at lunchtime?

    What’s your research about? The factors that underpin young people’s food and drink purchases in and around schools. The study, which was funded by Food Standards Scotland, looked at seven state secondary schools in Scotland, where pupils were allowed to leave the grounds at lunchtime. The schools were in five local education authority areas with

    6.00 May. 15th, 2016 | Opinion

  • Be functional, not faddish, and keep it simple

    New school buildings are a difficult brief: they must be flexible, functional, welcoming and poised for change. Educators can meet that challenge if they start with a checklist of do’s and don’ts, says Craig Smailes Schools are, by their nature, subject to changing needs. Populations change, educational methods evolve and technology continues to alter the

    5.00 May. 15th, 2016 | Opinion

  • Break a habit and tap the potential of key stage 3

    In a week when primary tests are dominating the headlines, Ed Cadwallader asks what happens to the “wasted years” of key stage 3 National curriculum levels have been scrapped following the recognition that the thinking behind them was flawed. The argument is that we should not consider progress to be a series of ordered steps

    8.00 May. 8th, 2016 | Opinion

  • Randomly allocating places in over-subscribed schools is the fairest option

    As parents find out if their child will go to their preferred secondary school, Alastair Thomson considers what governors can do to stop lengthy appeals. Each year schools get a hard lesson about how they are perceived when parents express preferences for where their daughter or son should be educated. Eight years ago I was

    17.09 Feb. 29th, 2016 | Opinion

  • ‘My child was supposed to go to grammar school – we shop at Waitrose!’

    When Joanne Bartley’s daughter failed her 11-plus, her opportunities contracted drastically. She has done well, but now faces a move to a third Kent secondary before she goes on to university. Selection, says her mother, is a self-perpetuating system that has little to do with social mobility When my daughter failed her 11-plus I was

    6.00 Jan. 9th, 2016 | Opinion

  • Our longer school day engages our students

    Setting up a new school is, in equal measure, the hardest, most frustrating, most time consuming and most enjoyable thing I have ever done in my 17 years in education. In 2013, our new secondary school emerged into an education system with growing challenges, not least squeezing a stimulating and varied programme of study and

    6.00 Dec. 22nd, 2015 | Opinion

  • Secondary moderns must have a voice, too

    Grammar schools are back in the news with Nicky Morgan’s approval of a Kent school’s expansion. But they’ve never been away, with one in five students in England attending a school affected by academic selection The National Association for Secondary Moderns (NASM) sees the expansion of a Kent grammar school as a chance to raise

    7.30 Nov. 15th, 2015 | Opinion

  • Ofsted's Michael Wilshaw praised primaries - but missed some important points

    Ofsted’s Chief Inspector had positive words for primary schools in his first monthly address – but was it as genuine as it seemed? It’s difficult to judge whether Sir Michael Wilshaw’s first written monthly commentary is in praise of primary schools, as he claims, or really an attack on secondary schools. Those of us in

    22.41 Oct. 27th, 2015 | Opinion

  • "Dare we hope the new post-16 maths course will change pupils' minds about the subject?"

    The Channel 4 series Educating Cardiff is a brilliant portrait of school life and, along with its predecessors set in Essex and Yorkshire, it is doing much to shine a light on secondary education in modern Britain. In one particularly telling moment in the current series, a pupil sums up the mood of generations of

    17.47 Sep. 3rd, 2015 | Opinion

  • Why I moved from secondary to primary and love it

    Six years in a challenging secondary school were fulfilling, but this Teach First ambassador wanted to make the greatest possible impact on children’s lives. And so she switched to the primary sector My road to Damascus was a graffiti-clad street in Berlin, which is where I escaped to after almost six years of slogging it

    7.00 Jul. 11th, 2015 | Opinion