Academies

Flawed thinking behind school isolation booths | Letters | Education

There would be an argument in favour of the use of isolation rooms or cubicles for troublesome young people in school if there was any evidence that they worked (Alarm as more schools use ‘degrading’ isolation booths, 18 January). In fact there appears to be no such evidence. The evidence that we do have is that teachers who use praised-based strategies to improve pupils’ behaviour in class experience far fewer disruptive incidents and hence less need to be punitive. Yes,…

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Schools should brace for five years of upheaval from a triumphant party with Gove at its heart | Melissa Benn | Education

The election campaign is now in a bygone decade but we are still not much clearer about what the Tories have in store for education over the next five years. The relevant section of the Conservative manifesto was, at just 646 words, deliberately vague, and seemed oriented towards perceived Labour policy weaknesses – on Ofsted and discipline – rather than on any real plans for education. Not a word on the future use of the pupil premium, nor the burden…

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When school is an isolation cubicle with three toilet breaks a day | Education

Six days a week Brendan, 17, leaves at six in the morning for his job on a building site and doesn’t get home until tea time. It’s his first job and he is loving it. “I am very, very proud of him,” says his mother. But it could have turned out very differently. Brendan left his academy trust school in Normanton, West Yorkshire, without any GCSEs, having spent much of his time in an isolation cubicle, banned from talking to…

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Everyone welcome: inside the schools that haven’t expelled a child since 2013 | Education

Jason Thurley, headteacher at Beacon academy, near Grimsby, leans across the table explaining why yet another of his pupils was excluded before joining the school. “He’d brought in a £1 potato gun. It was at the bottom of his bag and so he goes up to his form tutor and says, ‘I don’t want to get into trouble with this, sir, can you take it?’ And he gets permanently excluded. The school said ‘we have a zero-tolerance policy on firearms’.”…

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Ofsted report says 200,000 pupils stuck in low achieving schools | Education

More than 200,000 pupils in England are being educated in schools that have performed poorly for at least 13 years, despite being inundated with improvement initiatives from central and local government, a report shows. The schools’ regulator Ofsted has identified 415 “stuck” schools, in all phases of education, that have received persistently poor inspection ratings and have been locked in a cycle of low performance for so long they have potentially failed two whole cohorts of children. Ofsted defines stuck…

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Mother sues over daughter’s suicide attempt in school isolation booth | Education

A woman whose daughter tried to kill herself while in an isolation booth at an academy school is to take legal action against the government. The child, who cannot be named, has autistic spectrum disorder and mental health problems, but was put in an isolation booth by her school in Kent for more than a month. Prior to the intervention of lawyers in mid-March, she had spent every day since mid-January in isolation, meaning she had to remain silent throughout…

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Academies and free schools underperform in Sats, figures show | Education

Maintained schools in England outperform academies and free schools in national exams taken at the end of year 6, and pupils in multi-academy trusts do worse on average, figures show. The data released by the Department for Education (DfE) at the end of the election purdah will be a mild embarrassment for the government, which sees conversion from council-maintained status to academy or multi-academy trust governance as its key method of school improvement. The DfE report said 64% of pupils…

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‘Working-class children get less of everything in education – including respect’ | Education

When Diane Reay, Cambridge University professor of education, started researching her book about working class children’s experiences of education, she had no idea just how much inequality she would uncover in state schools today. “The most important thing I found out was that we are still educating different social classes for different functions in society.” She expected to find the English state system was providing roughly the same education for all. “But it doesn’t. Even within a comprehensive school, when…

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Yorkshire schools will not get back millions lost in trust’s collapse | Education

Schools in Yorkshire that transferred millions of pounds to a multi-academy trust before it went bust will not get the money back, the area’s schools commissioner has confirmed. Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), which ran 21 schools, was accused of asset-stripping after it moved its schools’ reserves to centralised accounts before admitting new sponsors would need to be found for them days into the new term in September 2017. The schools commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Vicky Beer, has…

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Teaching union calls zero-tolerance school policies ‘inhumane’ | Education

A teaching union has described increasingly draconian behaviour policies in schools in England as “inhumane” and “damaging to pupil mental health”. The National Education Union (NEU), which is holding its annual conference in Liverpool this week, said zero-tolerance approaches to discipline were resulting in schoolchildren spending inappropriate and harmful amounts of time in isolation. Anna Wolmuth, a teacher from Islington, north London, told the conference: “While classrooms may be calm, the referral rooms are full of Send [special educational needs…

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Parents: not happy about something at school? Here’s how to complain | Education

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was from a friend in the restaurant business. If I were planning to complain about any part of my meal or service, he said, I should wait until I had eaten all I was going to eat that night. He illustrated this warning with examples of what can happen to food prepared for awkward customers, and so I’ve followed this advice ever since. It’s a good principle: don’t complain…

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Parents lose battle to stop academy takeover of Essex school | Education

A primary school in Essex, which has been at the centre of an 18-month battle by parents against academisation plans, has finally been taken out of local authority control and transferred to an academy trust. Waltham Holy Cross primary school in Waltham Abbey was handed over to NET Academies trust at midnight on Thursday, despite opposition to the choice of sponsor and a last-minute intervention by the local Conservative MP. The school was ordered to become an academy after it…

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‘It’s got out of hand’: parents split after protest over Carlisle school’s strict rules | Education

A secondary school in Carlisle where police were called to a protest by parents and students outside the school gates after missiles were thrown has insisted staff are working “tirelessly” to improve children’s lives. A peaceful demonstration by parents over behaviour policies at Richard Rose Central Academy (RRCA) on Wednesday afternoon quickly became heated and plastic bottles and stones were thrown, leading to pupils and teachers being kept inside school buildings. Dozens of parents and students joined the protest outside…

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It Won’t Work…Or Will It? – Education Article

When we look at various aspects of society, there is always an innate desire to improve through innovation. However, there seems always to be impediments to this process. Perhaps it is the little voice in your head that says any new idea or strategy is a waste of time, as it has no chance to succeed. Maybe it is the collective voices of colleagues pushing you to abide by the status quo and not rock the boat. Throw in fear,…

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Fewer teachers but more pupils: the reality for secondary schools | Education

Secondary school pupils in England are experiencing more crowded classrooms and fewer teachers, according to Department for Education data which revealed teachers continuing to leave the profession in droves last year. The department’s own school workforce census, taken at the start of the academic year, showed a fall in the number of teachers in secondary schools alongside an increase in numbers of pupils. While the overall proportion of teachers leaving the profession – 42,000, or 9.8% – was lower than…

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Kate Curtis obituary | Education

My friend Kate Curtis, who has died aged 59 after a short illness, was a courageous, outspoken and committed head of Wheatley Park, a large Oxfordshire comprehensive. Kate steered the school out of special measures, setting ambitious standards in the process. Of the inspection report judging the school to have pulled through, she said: “This report is going to be a milestone for us, not just a stopping point.” In 2016 Kate spoke out against Theresa May’s plan to scrap…

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