The Legacy of Michael Gove – the Fast Food Education System

After four turbulent years in charge, Michael Gove is no longer the Secretary of State for Education….In political terms, what Gove achieved in office was remarkable and makes him possibly the stand out minister of the coalition government. However, political success must not be confused with educational success. Thanks to his rush, instead of creating the multi-Michelin starred, world leading restaurant he so desired, what Gove built instead (with help from the previous Labour government) was a fast food joint…

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Why we must have joyful and imaginative learners

We all recognise a happy classroom. There is a buzz of conversation, the children are involved with their work and engage well with each other. There is a sense of purpose and meaningful activity. Happiness matters in all walks of life and it certainly matters in schools…

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Mother and baby

5th Annual Baby Room Conference

Since 2010, the Baby Room Conference has provided a unique space for people to come together annually to consider, discuss and debate the principles, policies and practice of babies’ care, learning, development and wellbeing. Each conference offers insights from keynote speakers and a chance to network in a friendly environment with like-minded colleagues from across the UK and beyond.

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parent and child

Time to get serious about research around parental engagement with schools

A strong argument has been emerging for some time that there is a concerning lack of rigour underpinning much of the research in this area. The proliferation of research and practical wisdom that declare how strong and effective relationships between schools and parents will improve achievement and make our children happier may actually be built on very unsafe foundations…

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two children reading a book about history

Has Michael Gove found a simple solution to improve children’s chronological understanding?

The publication of the new History curriculum in 2013 caused an outcry. One of the contested issues was the draft’s requirement for children to be taught History in sequential order. In this article, Laura Quinn examines whether there might be something in it.

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message in a bottle in sandy beach

The debate about Birmingham Schools shows us we need to rediscover the wider purpose of education

How can schools effectively challenge radical extremist discourses without teachers who have confidence in exploring issues of national identity and cultural diversity, shared values, human rights and democracy? To consider these soft or second order educational aims is to fail to recognise the role schools play as community institutions and it undermines community capital to challenge extremism.

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Child reading book

Caring for Two year olds: A Government Policy Adrift

Government plans to extend the school day give further priority to political agendas which are aimed at pleasing parents (voters) rather than addressing the needs of very young children. Forty five hours a week in school is excessive for two year olds and much longer than many parents spend in the workplace; unless you happen to be working in childcare of course!

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Free Access to Research Evidence in Education: An Open and Shut case?

Imagine a web where there are no pay walls to access research papers, where it is easy to access the latest research paper or journal. Would academic life be easier without the constraints of limited access to evidence that underpins academic work or would academics and students be too spoilt for choice?

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boardroom table and chairs

Governors: Stakeholders or Non-executive Directors?

As schools are given greater and greater powers over curriculum and teachers’ pay and performance, the business of governance and accountability comes under the spotlight. Statements by the Chief Inspector of Ofsted early this year spotlighted the role and perceived weaknesses of some governing bodies. What do we want from our school governors? What do […]

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How do you solve a problem like PISA?

Every three years the OECD produce a league table of what 15 year olds around the world can achieve in reading, maths and science. This time, they have added a fourth dimension: problem solving. In this piece, Graham Birrell suggests the new PISA tests themselves pose more problems than they solve. With a heavy feeling […]

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