We list below links to a variety of sources that foster a critique of the current relationship between Ofsted and the Academy Trusts.
The links and narrative samples are not ours, they are courtesy of the Reclaiming Education movement. They are telling and offer a comprehensive landscape view of a system in the throes of developmental crisis.
The first reference begins with a letter from Chris Dunne to theFinancial Times. ‘We may regret not having defended our education system…’
We commend the suite in entirety to our readers. Please share this article with colleagues.
Chris Dunne’s letter, “We will come to regret not having defended our education system”, in the Financial Times can be seen here
Henry Stewart’s piece looking at the progress of academies against maintained schools can be read here.
Ofsted condemns Academy Trusts: The Government has announced that it plans to force all schools to become academies. The major problem is going to be who will run these schools, given that Ofsted has some major criticisms of at least 8 of the large academy trusts.
Ofsted Inspections of Academy TrustsOfsted has carried out focused inspections of academies within 9 multi academy trusts. Significantly, only one, the last and smallest one, is positive. The full reports can be found on the Government website here. A map of where the academies are can be found here.
CfBT: 11 primary/8 Secondary“CfBT took on too many academies too quickly. The trust did not have a clear rationale for the selection of schools, a strategy for creating geographical clusters or a plan to meet academies’ different needs. As a result, standards are too low. The trust relied heavily on external consultants but did not ensure their accountability in securing rapid and secure improvement. Headteachers were unable to provide each other with the much needed mutual support or share available expertise. Current CST leaders openly acknowledge these errors.” Full report
Academies Enterprise Trust: 32 primary/30 secondary/5 special”After operating for nearly eight years, the Trust is failing too many pupils. Almost 40% of the pupils attend AET primary academies that do not provide a good standard of education. It is even worse in secondary, where 47% of pupils attend academies that are less than good……
“Children from poor backgrounds do particularly badly in this Trust. The attainment and progress of disadvantaged pupils, in both the primary and secondary academies, still lags behind that of other pupils, and gaps in performance are not narrowing quickly enough……
“The outcomes of the focused inspections failed to demonstrate that the Trust is consistently improving its academies. Full report
Collaborative Academies Trust: 9 schools“Collaborative Academies Trust was set up in 2012 by EdisonLearning ……
………Too many academies have not improved since joining the trust. Of the five academies that have had a full inspection since joining the trust, only one has improved its inspection grade compared with its predecessor school. Two have remained the same and two have declined. This means that, at the time of the focused inspection, there were not yet any good or outstanding academies in the trust. “ Full report
E-Act (formerly Edutrust): 23 academies (was more)“…Nevertheless, the quality of provision for too many pupils in E-ACT academies is not good enough.
……Standards in the secondary academies are too low. Previous interventions by the Trust to raise attainment and accelerate progress have not had enough impact and any improvements have been slow.
….Pupils from poor backgrounds do not do well enough. These pupils make less progress than other pupils nationally. This is an area of serious concern. “ Full report
Kemnal Academies Trust: 15 secondary/26 primary“Less than half of your academies were good or better and there are no longer any outstanding academies in your chain. ………
.. an overwhelming proportion of pupils attending one of the academies inspected are not receiving a good education. “ Full report
Oasis Community Learning Trust: 50? Schools – DfE list and Oasis website appear to disagree.The academy trust has grown rapidly, taking on 30 new academies in the last three years …
Across the trust, some groups of pupils do not achieve well. Disadvantaged pupils, particularly boys, make significantly less progress than their peers nationally………. there is no evidence of an overall strategy or plan that focuses on these particular issues. Full report
School Partnership Trust: 41 schools“The impact of the Trust’s work in bringing about improvement where it is most needed has been too slow. Where standards have been intractably low for some time, the Trust is not driving significant, sustained improvement. …
……The standard of education provided by the Trust is not good enough in around 40% of its academies inspected so far. “ Full report
The Education Fellowship: 12 schools“There is no clear record of improvement in the trust’s academies and standards across the trust are unacceptably variable. In around three quarters of the academies, standards are poor.
Standards declined in five of the eight primary academies in 2014. In the majority of the trust’s 12 academies, the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their better off peers, both within the academies and compared with pupils nationally, remains unacceptably wide.” Full Report
Wakefield City Academies Trust – the only positive one!“Two years into its development, WCAT is making a positive difference to the quality of provision and outcomes for pupils within its academies. “ Full report
Flotsam is our occasional series of ideas on education from other places. We discovered Savvy yesterday.
This is a platform for teachers to find students, around the world, for one to one sessions. Booking and sessions are easily accessible once signed in and the Savvy system takes care of all payments and cancellation protocols.
This short film shows how the service works…
Teachers can set up their own unique web page on the service, affording them the opportunity to layout their specialist offer, as well as setting their fees for teaching.
Learners can search for teachers by theme, across a variety of subjects. These range from the usual academic subjects, to business coaching and support and life skills.
We liked the simplicity of the process with Savvy and can see how a busy education consultant might extend their range and client base with the Savvy system.
We had a small intake of breath when we read the headline for a web article, just published, about a state funded school in Orange County, Florida. They are intent on holding a STEM event only for boys.
No wonder some of the technically qualified, female parents began a petition to resist such a move. Which they did. In the U.S. Title IX states that…
‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance’.
(Title IX is a portion of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, Public Law No. 92‑318, 86 Stat. 235 (June 23, 1972), codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–1688, co-authored and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh; it was renamed the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002…Ed.)
The school have since issued statements stressing that the event was planned as a son and mother event, which still renders some parents speechless, the subject hanging, as it does, on a core branch of the curriculum tree. Stunning thinking in the twenty first century? See the original story on the pages of Jezebel.com here.
The issue of women and science education is part of an on-going debate in England too.
Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 November 2015 at the University of Nottingham – Book on-line here.
‘What is Missing in Action about? A collaboration between the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Digital Women UK, this ‘thought space’ will allow female digital entrepreneurs, academics, creative practitioners and those interested in this field, to discuss professional challenges and concerns, share insights and learn from each other’s experiences and studies of digital entrepreneurship.
Why the title? Missing in Action reflects the fact that although female digital entrepreneurs are aspiring to start up status, or are working widely in the UK, very little is known about who they are, which communities they come from, the obstacles they face and which entrepreneurial activities they are engaged or interested in’. (Narrative source – Digital Women UK – November 2015)
Although this is a female digital entrepreneurship event, the undertow of educational neglect of women in science education is, we would argue, a clear current for discussion.
The Great Room at The RSA was full. Like a Calima, drawn towards the depression that is education in England, conversation and debate swept across the room.
We had assembled to hear Profesor Danny Dorling and Professor Diane Reay give their assessments of English education today, and to provide us with both data and questions of challenge in our collective pilgrimage for reform.
The short films below give you a flavour of our event and the messages delivered by our speakers…
Professor Dorling challenged his audience to imagine an education system without so much testing. His exposition included illustrations of how we value memory above problem solving and experimentation. He was delighted to see in the audience, after general questioning, that so many of us had achieved ‘A’ grades. A triumph of conformity, alas, in the Dorling assessment. The whole treatise bringing into doubt the formula that a more expensive education is a more privileged education.
Professor Reay used her allotted time to deliver a statistical analysis of the inequalities in education in our country. Highlighting the fact that in the private sector, for example, spend per pupil is 2.5 times higher than in the state sector. She also highlighted the deficiencies in access to the broad and balanced curriculum which children and young people need, along with a strong section in her presentation, on happiness and wellbeing. Often disregarded, she argued, in any assessment of educational utlilty or achievement.
Whether for learners or teaching staff, levels of distress and dissatisfaction have never been higher, Professor Reay argued. Much was also made of the increasingly low level of professional autonomy afforded teachers in England now.
This was a well attended IETT event, with very high quality engagement and telling analysis from our speakers. This prompted some very lively discussion across the room, as well as new networking and professional acquaintance for many visitors to our conference. Ed.
‘This fully rewritten and updated edition revisits Dorling’s claim that Beveridge’s five social evils are being replaced by five new tenets of injustice: elitism is efficient; exclusion is necessary; prejudice is natural; greed is good and despair is inevitable. By showing these beliefs are unfounded, Dorling offers hope of a more equal society’.
He helped create the website www.worldmapper.org which shows who has most and least in the world, working with Mark Newman, Anna Barford, Ben Wheeler, John Pritchard, Graham Allsopp and Benjamin Hennig.
Professor Dorling was a speaker at our recent RSA conference, The Future of Education in England. Watch this space for an event review and films of our speakers and their contribution to a lively debate and thoughtful deliberation on educational reform.
Remember to visit our Monographia page to see interesting papers and reports which are attuned to our movements aims. Join the debate.
‘From our inception, we realised this will be a many-to-many effort—involving many talented experts at the core of the Institute collaborating with many talented participants in the movement itself…from deep understanding about the science of learning to design thinking skills, from fueling the movement to building compelling digital tools that spark imagination’.
What the XQ Super School project can do is offer some simple and effective road maps and sound structural examples for delivery of projects like IETT.
We are just beginning our journey of levelling inequality in education in the UK, but the steps needed to make challenge and change effective can, arguably, be drawn from models in other educational locations and cultures.
Thus, with XQ, there are four key steps to their development agenda/competition…
Team Up – ‘Assemble your team and head off into the unknown’. With an open mind and focus on the proposed project outcomes, then a wide variety of voices can be heard and included in the work.
Discover – ‘Start by understanding young people’. A wonderful, people first, philosophy. Deploying knowledge, research and experience that so often gets buried in the political agenda or mainstream educational currency.
Design ‘…take what you’ve learned and use it to come up with audacious, unconventional, unconstrained ideas…’. Made us feel positively dizzy in the IETT office today!
Develop – ‘Map out a formidable plan for turning your…idea into reality’. From human capital, to governance, to implementation capacity – a good plan is sound thinking for any project or agenda.
As we travel the country taking our campaign forward we often see a great book, one quarter read, abandoned on the coffee table. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Trans. Arthur Goldhammer).
A master work of economic analysis, which retuns Marxian thought to the high table of discourse, we would argue, but which the average reader might fail to pursue to the end, due to its length and complexity.
Piketty’s framing propositions were developed, it can be argued, in an an earlier paper authored with Emmanuel Saez, in 1995. The Economics of Inequality is a much shorter work than his later magnum opus. (National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 8467. U.S., September 2001)
Recently published as a ‘new’ book by Harvard University Press,The Economics of Inequality (Amazon.co.uk) at 160 pages or so, is a much more digestible read than Capital. It has some newly updated content and tables, although the data used to deliver argument in this new work stops in the mid-nineties of course. (Harvard University Press; July 2015)
In a recent New York Times book review, Inequality as it was viewed in the 90’s, the review article argues that Piketty has achieved something of a volte-face on the 1%, and their limiting effect on the economic distribution of wealth and resources.
…the most important contribution of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was precisely its suggestion that since then a rising share of after-tax profits in national income has indeed set us on the path back to a rentier society, in which the rich live off inherited wealth’.
The article expounds further that Piketty’s Capital‘…made a disturbing case that we are well on the way to re-establishing “patrimonial capitalism,” a society dominated by oligarchs who inherit their wealth’.
The weakness in this earlier paper, The Economics of Inequality, the reviewer argues, is that Piketty declares, in his original research with Saez, that ”…progressive taxation seems to have prevented a return to 19th-century rentier society”. We disagree. This shorter paper is still a key piece of analysis on an emerging understanding of inequality even with an anti-rentier argument, with all its concomitant impact on economics, education, property and law.
A better critique, we would argue, is that Piketty has spent another two decades researching and thinking about his core propositions and has tempered his analytical ‘oratory’ accordingly with the publication of Capital.
Do open or download Piketty’s original paper from this page and see if you agree. The paper has some interesting historical analysis on the rise of I.T. professions and their effect on wages. (Even though contemporary analysis would now hold that this view is a ‘paperless office’ proposition, which technology also failed to achieve -Ed ).
As might be expected from a resource that is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the focus of the publication is Americo-centric, but the debate, ideas promulgated and practice argued for in the pages of thisMedium published, independent journal are sound regardless of geography.
Below is a current story from Bright, which we hope will stimulate a conversation, recharge a jaded educational battery or fire a new project. ( All of which could be the basis of a new Turning the Tide group perhaps? – Ed. )
Audrey Watters, who describes herself as an ‘…education writer, recovering academic and serial droput‘, writes in her article about the potential of giving every learner their own domain on the internet.
In The Web We Need to Give Students Audrey argues for the creation of a digital domain for life, for every student. A web presence for the individual, initially fostered and managed by the student’s school, which eventually becomes the individual’s ‘digital domain’ in adulthood.
‘Education technology — and more broadly, the culture of education — does a terrible job with this sort of portability and interoperability’.
In her article Watters recognises that much of current educational provision of a digital life is destroyed when a learner moves through their transitions. Local Authorities and schools are not in the digital archive business, one might argue. There is a fracture in a student’s e-life whenever their portfolios, web creations or learning records are deleted as they begin another part of their life journey.
Watters also has some interesting things to say about privacy and data ownership, despite an ever growing retention of learner data by big private, corporate players in education. The debate with the student is, she argues, often about appropriateness and fear of the web, not necessarily about their enduring creativity, or indeed what the student thinks of their own burgeoning intellectual property.
Provocative and timely, we commend the Watters article to our readers.