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System Change

This category contains 44 posts

Grammar Schools: Schools that don’t work for everyone.

Having previously been the Head of KEGS, a super-selective grammar school in Chelmsford, for six years, I’ve been asked by lots of people to comment on the latest proposals to extend selection.  Here are my thoughts: Very simply, it’s a bad idea.  By definition, grammar schools do not work for everyone.  The Green Paper title … Continue reading

Exam grading is inherently flawed; but there’s no conspiracy.

    To put this post in context, previously I have written various other posts about the nature of exam grading, the way OfQual operates, the bell-curve of norm referencing and its role in setting standards, the degree of error that is inherent in any assessment and grading process.  Here is a selection: https://headguruteacher.com/2013/08/31/ofqual-insights-more-thoughts-on-exams/ https://headguruteacher.com/2014/05/27/the-assessment-uncertainty-principle/Continue reading

A Free School on our doorstep? I have some questions….

  Just before the end of the summer term, I was tipped off that an architect’s website was showing the development pictured above.  They suggested it was to include a 750 place secondary, a 250 place sixth form and residential units.  I contacted the Local Authority officers who knew nothing about it.  Subsequently, this development … Continue reading

More Grammars? Bad idea. But selection has many guises…

So, the end of a ban on new grammar schools is under serious consideration. Crucially, this is significantly different to thinking of a full scale ‘return of grammar schools’ or introducing any more county-wide selection systems.  Nevertheless, if the question is ‘should we have more grammar schools?’ the short answer has to be a firm NO – in … Continue reading

Dear Justine. Some thoughts…

Dear Justine Congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of State.  I’m quietly optimistic and looking forward to seeing how education policy develops under your leadership.  You’ve got a genuine opportunity to create a significant legacy; without question, there is plenty to do! I wrote to Nicky Morgan from this blog twice last year – you … Continue reading

Rethinking Success in the Post-Gaming Zero Sum Era

  My sense is that people across the education system have yet to fully appreciate the implications of the slow-creep bell-curve hold that’s been applied to school outcomes. Talking to folk from OfQual on a couple of occasions recently, they have reiterated the view that, even in systems regarded as successful, year on year improvement might … Continue reading

Schools should be more teacher-centred.

The idea that schools should be more teacher centred has been gathering momentum in my thinking.   In fact, the whole education system should be more teacher centred.  Ridiculously, to some folk, that will sound regressive  – because we’re supposed to say that everything we do is for the children.  Well, of course.  Schools are set … Continue reading

A Blueprint for Education Reform

With debate about the visionless White Paper underway, I thought I would contribute with this outline of a blueprint for reforming our system, pulling together ideas from various sources that make the most sense to me. Much of this echoes ideas shared in the Headteachers’ Roundtable manifesto from last year. Structures:  The Goal:   A coherent, … Continue reading

An up and down day at the PiXL Club.

“We love great teaching, we aspire to excellence in classrooms, we want the very best practice, but we also want the best outcomes and unfortunately it is not sufficient to say that one leads automatically to the other. For us it is not either great teaching or thorough preparation for examinations but both the one … Continue reading

10 Provocations. An interactive session with me and @PeterHyman21 at #ASCL2016

This week I had the fabulous privilege of delivering a session at the ASCL conference with Peter Hyman, Head of School 21 in Newham.   Peter and I had never met before but after being thrown together by the conference organisers, we had a chat on the phone and a meeting at Highbury Grove which … Continue reading

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