Imagine, if you will, a weird race which takes place once each year. The participants in this race have one hour to run as far as they can. Each year, different participants take part and the distance they travel is recorded. Of course, some participants run many miles, while other struggle to keep running the … Continue reading Knee-jerk, ill-informed ‘catch up’ plans
If you are outside of the education system it is difficult to appreciate quite how uncomfortable those inside it are feeling right now. There are many reasons for this, not least of all the responsibility we feel for the children about to come back to our schools, and for their families who are trusting us … Continue reading School’s out for summer
In plotting a way out of our current confinement our ultimate ambition is normality. There are some who call for a 'new normal', or urge us to grasp the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our institutions, but most of us would be happy with how it was, at least as a first step. For schools, … Continue reading Is memory preferable to vision?
How many plans have been laid this week, only to be relaid? Last Sunday, the Prime Minister announced that primary schools may welcome back Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils from as early as the 1st June. He also stated his 'ambition' that Year 10 and 12 students would get 'some time with their … Continue reading Best laid plans
This weekend, we are reminded that the past is a stern but benevolent tutor. On a bright, calm Friday in May, we remembered the tragedy of conflict and paused to show our gratitude for 75 years of peace between old enemies, now friends. Remembering, we hope, will help us avoid the mistakes of the past. … Continue reading The Dark Art of Policy Assimilation
School (as we know it) is the best way we have come up with so far for the mass education of the nation's youth, given the level of resource we choose to allocate to it. However, it is far from perfect. There are significant constraints that arise from the logistics of having children all in … Continue reading You had to be there
Setting work for children to complete at home during a period of lock-down is not easy. You might think it is, until you try it and see the consequences. You may make the mistake of thinking that it is just like setting lots of homework. It isn't. Homework is an add-on to lessons. It is … Continue reading What have we learnt from 18 days of ‘suck it and see’ schooling?
Since the introduction of school league tables in 1992, the exam results 'achieved' by a school has grown in significance tremendously. It is now one of the main, perhaps the main, preoccupation of most secondary schools. The objective of 'improving results' is embedded in the psyche of school leaders, politicians and parents: it is the … Continue reading Stop trying to improve your school’s exam results
There appears to be a lot of home baking going on at the moment - a useful distraction from the less enjoyable task of home schooling, I imagine. As with baking, the recipe schools are asking parents to follow will to a large extent determine the quality of the end product. You can add your … Continue reading The recipe for misery
In the scramble to 'design' a process for awarding grades this summer there is a risk that we impose a one-size-fits-all approach which fails to recognise disciplinary distinctiveness. Indeed, I would suggest that the quality of the system we design may have an inverse relationship with the uniformity of approach. Consistency of outcomes may require … Continue reading Disciplinary distinctiveness and the awarding of grades