England’s excellence gaps revisited

. This is a revised and updated version of How should England close its excellence gaps? (January 2018) . . This is a significant turning point in the evolution of national education policy. Former Secretary of State Greening published her social mobility plan Unlocking Talent: Fulfilling Potential (December 2017), immediately following the wholesale resignation of … Continue reading England’s excellence gaps revisited

How should England close its excellence gaps?

. First edition: January 2018  . This is an important turning point in the evolution of national education policy. Departing Secretary of State Greening has only just published her social mobility plan Unlocking Talent: Fulfilling Potential (December 2017) It was preceded by the wholesale resignation of the Social Mobility Commission’s Board, protesting at lack of political … Continue reading How should England close its excellence gaps?

Eight types of ambiguity

. This short post outlines problems with ‘most able education’ – and what needs to change to bring about national improvement. The broad premiss is that, following a period in which comparatively prescriptive, centralised, top-down programmes were de rigeur, the English education sector has become wedded to a market-driven philosophy and ‘school-led system-wide improvement’. But … Continue reading Eight types of ambiguity

Pupil premium grammar schools

. …Or ‘An exercise in policy design’. . This post considers proposals emerging for new selective schools that would select on the basis of ability or attainment and socio-economic disadvantage. It covers the following ground: The context provided by the selection green paper and the Opportunity Areas policy. Recent Advocacy for ‘pupil premium grammar schools’ … Continue reading Pupil premium grammar schools

Investigating grammar streams

.  This post investigates the practice of introducing selective grammar streams into comprehensive schools. It: Reviews recent advocacy for this practice. Distinguishes grammar streams from other, related approaches to within-school selection. Urges revision of the official distinction between ability and aptitude, based on the erroneous position taken by the School Adjudicator. Places grammar streams in … Continue reading Investigating grammar streams

Making sense of centres of excellence

. This post probes the ‘centres of excellence’ proposal in the selection green paper. ‘Schools that work for everyone’ (September 2016) includes within its chapter on selection three proposals for ‘existing selective schools to do more to support children at non-selective schools’ This context is critical for understanding much of the confusion over centres of … Continue reading Making sense of centres of excellence

Do grammar schools close attainment gaps?

.  This experimental post revisits the question whether all grammar schools are effective in closing attainment gaps between disadvantaged students and their peers. Ministers have asserted as much in recent speeches, but they are relying on a single piece of research, now more than a decade old. The Education Policy Institute has countered with qualified … Continue reading Do grammar schools close attainment gaps?

How best to educate ‘poor, bright kids’?

. I included in my last post, on the selection green paper, a set of seven draft principles to inform national policy on educating high-attaining learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. I wanted to lay out a framework that would challenge the thinking of proponents and opponents of selective education alike, to show how it might be possible … Continue reading How best to educate ‘poor, bright kids’?

Be careful what you wish for

. This extended post is about the selection green paper and the prime ministerial speech preceding it. I come at this issue from a different position to most. It is of course essential to ensure that the government’s proposals do not unduly disadvantage the majority of learners. But it is equally important to consider their … Continue reading Be careful what you wish for