Graham Birrell

Author Archive | Graham Birrell

clock and coins on a seesaw

Performance Related Pay and the Rise of Authoritarianism in Schools

During the final term of last year I heard numerous stories from highly stressed teachers, all worried about not receiving an incremental pay rise owing to anxiety over whether their pupils’ test scores were going to hit designated targets. To put it mildly, these teachers didn’t seem fans of the new performance related pay system…

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climbing silhouette

What happens to schools who host lots of student teachers?

For a number of reasons it’s getting harder to find schools to say yes (to student placements), with two factors above all cited – the fear of the progress data of a particular class getting damaged by teaching from a very inexperienced student and, similarly, ‘our data isn’t good enough and we’re expecting an Ofsted […]

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Michael Gove in classroom

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 […]

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maze

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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Ford car assembly line

The Dehumanisation of Teachers

My point..is the highly detrimental effect the high accountability and data-driven regime is having on schools and on education…I’d like to look at a process that I think is particularly damaging. The process comes from the constant need for schools to show ‘progress’ and for pupils to take a childhood-ignoring upward path to ever greater […]

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