Friday, 31 January 2014

Weekly update 1/2/2014

Another week dominated by Ofsted controversy. Last Sunday saw an extraordinary Sir Michael Wilshaw interview in which he complained about briefing against him emanating from the DfE. This was strongly denied by Michael Gove. The blow-up was neatly summarised by Tom Bennett and an unimpressed Geoff Barton. Last weekend also saw the circulation of a letter from Sir Michael sent to all inspectors expressing his irritation that some continue to ignore instructions not to inspect on teaching style. Then on Friday night we discovered that Baroness Sally Morgan was not to have her contract renewed as Ofsted chair for reasons that are as yet unclear.

One positive to emerge from all this was a superb blog by Sir David Carter on how he would reform Ofsted.

In other news Demos produced an interesting analysis of last week's GCSE results, noting the widening attainment gap between rich and poor and querying the effectiveness of the pupil premium. The pupil premium would have more of an impact if all school leaders read David Weston's presentation on how to use it.

On Thursday the Sun decided to splash on a blog post by Paul Kirby, a former No 10 adviser and ex-colleague of mine. Paul's blog argued for schools to be open far longer than they are now both to ensure pupils get more schooling and to boost the economy. David Didau was unconvinced. But Loic Menzies thought non-mandatory extended schooling could have positive effects for disadvantaged pupils and Becky Allen made a strong case for school buildings to stay open later to support working parents.

Other Highlights:

Tim Dracup's forensic analysis of high attainers' performance in the GCSE tables.

Laura McInerney on why some kids are scared of their own potential (the Jonah Complex).

Useful advice from Michael Tidd on implementing the new primary curriculum.

The Economist contrasts the success of Tower Hamlets' schools with the struggles of those on the Isle of Wight.

Andy Day asks if feedback is all it's cracked up to be.

David Thomas wonders if homework might actually make it harder for students to memorise.

Very helpful timeline of the ongoing SEN reforms from the Special Needs Jungle.

Annie Murphy Paul on a new study showing taking notes on paper is better than on laptops.

Dan Willingham on what works in early years education.

Amy Chua (Tiger Mom) looks at the complex issue of why some ethnic/religious groups seem to succeed more than others.

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