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for Christians working in education

Leadership & Management
Items related to leadership and management in education.

Amanda Spielman Chief Inspector on the curriculum.

What do we understand to be the real substance of education?

That was the question I posed nearly a year ago, in a commentary on the initial findings of our research into the primary and secondary school curriculum. I argued that the vast, accumulated wealth of human knowledge, and what we choose to pass on to the next generation through teaching in our schools (the curriculum), must be at the heart of education.

The research underpinning that commentary showed that there was a dearth of understanding about the curriculum in some schools. Too many teachers and leaders have not been trained to think deeply about what they want their pupils to learn and how they are going to teach it. We saw curriculum narrowing, especially in upper key stage 2, with lessons disproportionately focused on English and mathematics. Sometimes, this manifested as intensive, even obsessive, test preparation for key stage 2 SATs that in some cases started at Christmas in Year 6. Some secondary schools were significantly shortening key stage 3 in order to start GCSEs. This approach results in the range of subjects that pupils study narrowing at an early stage and means that they might drop art, history or music, for instance, at age 12 or 13. At the same time, the assessment objectives from GCSE specifications were being tracked back to as early as Year 7, meaning many pupils spend their secondary education learning narrowed and shallow test content rather than broader and more in-depth content across a subject area.

Read the full findings.


Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson speech to conference.

Layla Moran's Speech

We must scrap Ofsted. Where a school is struggling, an inspection system should support that school to improve, not punish it. 

The Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education gave an impassioned speech on ending cuts to crucial youth services, pledging more money for special needs education and ending the toxic "exam culture" that damages both teachers and students.

Layla Moran called for a forward thinking education policy - declaring that "whatever their background, we demand better for every single child."

The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon also attacked Government plans to expand grammar schools, despite them failing to improve social mobility. "What a waste of money."

Listen to the speech.


Too much weight on tests and exam results in Ofsted Inspections.

School inspectors in England have put too much weight on tests and exam results when rating schools, Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman has admitted.

This has added pressure for schools to "deliver test scores above all else".

Ms Spielman regrets the watchdog has not put enough emphasis on the "wealth of human knowledge" being passed on.

However, she promises that a new inspection framework - being introduced from autumn 2019 - will put much more emphasis on the curriculum.

What did she say about teaching to the test?

In a published commentary, the chief inspector says those working in education need to ask themselves "how we have created a situation where second-guessing the test can trump the pursuit of real, deep knowledge and understanding".

Read more.


"Halt" to National tests for 5 year olds in Scotland called for.

MSPs have defeated the Scottish government in a vote calling on ministers to "halt" national assessments for five-year-old pupils.

The assessments were introduced across Scotland last year, but some teachers and parents have criticised them.

Ministers insist they are not high-stakes tests, but help schools assess where pupils need help at an early age.

Opposition parties say they are not in line with play-based early learning and could create league tables of schools.

Members voted by 63 to 61 to pass a Conservative motion calling for a "halt" to the tests, with all of the opposition parties uniting against the SNP.

Read more


More cuts to come for councils.

Council bosses in England say the "worst is yet to come" in cuts to services, as the government further reduces local authority funding.

The County Council Network predicts "unpalatable cutbacks" next year as the councils identify at least £1bn savings to plug a £1.5bn shortfall by 2020.

It also warns the risk of some councils stripping their services back to a minimum 'core offer' is growing.

The government said councils will get a real term funding increase in 2018-19.

It insists its approach strikes the right balance between relieving pressure on local government and ensuring taxpayers do not face excessive bills.

Read more.


 

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