Conservatives

Jo Johnson warns against cutting university tuition fees | Education

The prime minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, has warned against a proposal to cut university tuition fees. The younger, Remain-supporting Johnson – who was universities minister until September when he resigned from government citing an “unresolvable tension” between his family loyalty and the national interest – argued that lowering student fees would do “grave damage” to higher education finances. The former Tory MP, who stepped down at the election and is now chairman of the group that owns the Times Educational…

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Which party is tackling the injustice of grammar schools? None has the guts | Fiona Millar | Education

Whatever the outcome of the general election, one group of heads will have every reason to be content. The leaders of England’s 163 grammar schools have made it through another campaign with barely a word uttered about the bastions of privilege over which they preside. How different from 2017, when Theresa May’s retro idea to create new grammar schools ensured that the arguments for selection (slim) and against (substantial) were rehearsed frequently and loudly. In the end, the hung parliament…

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T-level courses may not be ready by 2020, warns education union | Education

An education union has called for a delay in the introduction of the Conservatives’ new vocational qualifications amid concerns about student recruitment and the tight timescale. T-levels, which are intended to provide a vocational alternative to A-levels, are due to be taught for the first time in September 2020, but a report says the programme faces serious challenges because of the large-scale changes involved and a lack of awareness among pupils and their parents. There is also concern about progression…

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New teachers caught in an ideological trap | Letter | Education

A mandatory “content framework” for all trainee teachers in England was rushed out by the Conservative government in the final hours before purdah. This framework represents the most profound shift in what the state expects prospective schoolteachers to be taught in over two decades. It is remarkable both for its heavy emphasis on memorisation and for its selective and reductive use of the evidence. World-leading education systems prepare their teachers thoroughly, giving them a solid grounding in theories of learning…

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Leaked documents reveal Tories’ dramatic plans for schools | Politics

A raft of dramatic and controversial education measures including billions of pounds in new funding, a crackdown on student behaviour and a further wave of free schools are to be announced by the government within days, according to a confidential briefing paper seen by the Guardian. The briefing document, dated 22 August and marked “Official-Sensitive”, details policy proposals for schools in England designed to be rolled out over the coming weeks in an attempt to seize the initiative on education…

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Teaching unions criticise Tory plan for snap Ofsted visits | Education

School leaders and teaching unions have reacted with dismay to the Conservative party’s plans for longer and more disruptive Ofsted inspections, with one warning the changes would “do more harm than good” if implemented. Boris Johnson denied that the changes – lengthening a standard secondary school inspection from two to three days and carried out at no notice – were “draconian”. But representatives of headteachers argued that the proposals were potentially damaging, forcing schools in England to divert energy into…

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Conservatives pledge to boost Ofsted’s power to inspect schools | Education

The Conservatives plan to increase Ofsted’s powers to inspect schools in England with longer, more detailed inspection visits and increased fundingin stark contrast with Labour and Liberal Democrat manifesto proposals to abolish the watchdog in its current form. Arguing that Ofsted is widely supported by parents and a key driver of rising standards, the Conservatives say they will increase the duration of the standard inspection, known as section 5, for secondary schools and large primaries from two to three days,…

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‘It hasn’t been easy being a Tory in education’: meet the teachers standing for election | Education

Mark Lehain, 41 Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for Newcastle-upon-Tyne North (Labour majority 10,349) “It’s not been easy being a Tory in education over the last few years,” says Lehain, a former maths teacher, with a sigh. A torchbearer for the Conservatives’ academy and free school policy, he founded and led one of the first free secondary schools – the Bedford free school – then left to head up PTE, the Parents and Teachers for Excellence group, which campaigns for…

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Even last week Labour was still asking for education policy ideas. Well, here are a few | Fiona Millar | Education

This could be my last general election writing about education policy. If any party gets a big enough majority to last five years, I suspect I might be doing something else by the time it is over. It is not because I don’t find the subject endlessly fascinating but, after more than 15 years writing about schools, over 40 years actively involved in local and national politics and three decades as a school governor, I know most general elections don’t…

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Young lives blighted by a lack of support | Letters | Education

Your editorial (A less confrontational and better funded system for vulnerable pupils is needed, 28 October) was admirably understated. Its arrival on our breakfast table coincided with our grocery delivery, brought in by a cheerful young man whose job as a teacher and specialist in behavioural problems at a school in Cardiff had just been cut – along with the jobs of five others in his field. The reason given was that there was no longer any need for teachers…

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Special needs children are being failed | Letters | Education

This is the most damning select committee report I’ve ever read (Children with special needs plunged into ‘nightmare of bureaucracy’, 23 October). Line after line, it shows that the education system for disabled children is completely broken. Parents are forced to become protesters, lawyers and bureaucrats to stand any sort of chance of getting the support their child is legally entitled to. The government now has a golden opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the system,…

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Special educational needs reforms ‘failing generation of children’ | Education

A cross-party committee of MPs has accused the government of failing a generation of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) in a damning new report which calls for radical change across the system. The report, by the education select committee, said ambitious government reforms, introduced in 2014 to improve the experiences of Send pupils and their families, had been poorly implemented with damaging consequences for many. Children had been left without the additional support they…

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Populism has no place in education – so stop bashing Germans and private schools | Laura McInerney | Education

We live in complicated times. Prorogations. Constitutional crises. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government wants to talk to the public about simple things that “make sense”. Unfortunately, the education policies of the two main(ish) political parties may be feeding the anxious political climate. Take the battle cry of the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, who has set a target that vocational education in Britain will “overtake Germany” in the next decade. It is not clear what he means, but…

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Just imagine if your school had seen a 5% annual funding rise since 2010, like the Labour years | Fiona Millar | Education

Sick of the slogan, Get Brexit Done? The new Conservative party mantra will almost certainly infuriate or seduce, depending on your view about the EU referendum. It may also be time-limited, depending of the outcome of the next few weeks. The strapline, however, Invest in our hospitals, schools and police, is designed to live on into a fantasy post-Brexit world, where the Conservatives are reborn as the party of public spending and commitment to public services. So, let’s get real.…

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Families lose high court challenge over special needs funding | Education

Families who launched a landmark legal challenge to the government’s funding of services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) have lost their high court case. Three families, representing thousands of others across England, brought the action claiming that government budget decisions had left local authorities unable to fulfil their legal obligation to provide education to children with Send. A two-day hearing in June heard from lawyers representing the families that there was a substantial national shortfall in…

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Sir Lionel Cust and Elizabeth I’s kirtle | Brief letters | Education

You report that Eleri Lynn recently discovered that the Bacton altar cloth was once a piece of clothing of Elizabeth I (Fine fabric is lost piece of Elizabeth I’s dress, say experts, 28 September). However, in 1918 Sir Lionel Cust, a former director of the National Portrait Gallery, published an article on the altar cloth in the Burlington Magazine saying “it is quite reasonable to suggest that the embroidery given by Mistress Parry to Bacton Church is a piece of…

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