Free Schools

‘Rich, thick kids’ achieve much more than poor clever ones, says Gove | Academies

Inequality in Britain is so entrenched that “rich, thick kids” achieve more than their “poor, clever” peers even before they start school, the education secretary said today. Michael Gove told MPs on the cross-party Commons education committee that a “yawning gap” had formed between the attainment of poor children and their richer peers. Gove has come under criticism for using parliamentary procedures usually reserved for national emergencies to rush through his academies bill. The bill, which became law today, will…

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School uniform costs ‘break the bank’ for poorer families | Education

The rising cost of school uniforms risks “breaking the bank” for poorer families as more state schools demand costly branded items and local authorities cut clothing grants, a new report warns. With millions of children preparing to return to school, a study from charity Family Action, which supports disadvantaged families, says many poorer parents will have paid out 40% of their monthly income in August on “back-to-school costs” alone. It calculates that the bill for equipping a child for the…

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‘It’s scandalous’: when free schools shut for want of a permanent home | Education

Louise Grace’s two children, aged 13 and 11, spent more than a week off school last term suffering from anxiety. Their school, the International Academy of Greenwich (IAG), is earmarked for closure and the worry of watching it happen – friends taking up places elsewhere, teachers leaving – is affecting both children badly, their mother says. “My daughter is so upset by it all: she is losing her friends and she is worried about going to a new school, with…

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Controversial Michaela free school delights in GCSE success | Education

Amid the myriad joyful images on social media, showing ecstatic pupils and their teachers celebrating GCSE results, one particular success story stood out. Michaela community school, a controversial free school known for its strict behaviour policy, picked up its first set of GCSE results on Thursday, five years after opening its doors to its first pupils. “Michaela pupils SMASH it,” tweeted the headteacher, Katharine Birbalsingh. Her colleagues were similarly delighted. “I’m so proud to be a Michaela teacher today,” tweeted…

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Steiner state school in Bristol launches legal action against Ofsted | Education

A Steiner school in Bristol is launching legal action against its latest Ofsted report, which rated the school as “inadequate” and resulted in it being placed in special measures. The governing body of Steiner Academy Bristol said the schools watchdog’s inspection and judgment process showed bias against Steiner schools. The legal challenge will argue the Ofsted inspection was flawed and inspectors lacked proper evidential basis for their conclusions. A series of Ofsted inspections, published in the past few weeks, found…

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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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Pupils with behavioural issues failing to meet exam benchmark | Education

Only one out of every 25 pupils in schools for those with behavioural difficulties or exclusions managed to gain passes in English and maths GCSEs this year, according to national data which also shows little headway being made in improving overall exam results. Just 4% of those in England attending pupil referral units or similar alternative provision achieved grade 4s or higher in maths and English, while just 1.5% managed at least 5s in both subjects, the government’s favoured “strong…

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Dear Gavin Williamson, outsourcing excluded pupils to new free schools won’t help | Michael Rosen | Education

I see you will be “pushing for something that isn’t often the focus of dinner party debate”: alternative provision, especially for children who have been or are at risk of being expelled from mainstream schools. Your solution for this is a “new wave” of free schools. As I write, I’m aware you’re not in a position to “push” for anything because parliament isn’t sitting and you are part of a minority government. I’m also not sure what dinner parties have…

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Ofsted inspections find three Steiner schools to be inadequate | Education

The future of state-funded Steiner education has been thrown into doubt after a series of snap Ofsted inspections found that three of the four such schools set up under the Conservatives’ free schools programme were inadequate. The four have been inspected in recent weeks – alongside private Steiner schools, a number of which have also been found to be inadequate – following an intervention by the education secretary, Damian Hinds, over concerns about safeguarding. Ofsted reports for the Frome and…

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Visits to English Schools by Amanda Spielman – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes Which schools has Amanda Spielman visited since her appointment as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector? On 11th December 2018, I made a Freedom of Information request to Ofsted. I wanted to know which schools Amanda Spielman had visited since her appointment, including what conferences and teacher-training events she has attended on a Saturday. Image credit: The Guardian. Freedom of Information “Dear Ofsted, Please could you advise of the number of visits to early years, primary, secondary state…

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