Do sponsored academy chains support the attainment of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Merryn HutchingsBecky Francispost by BECKY FRANCIS & MERRYN HUTCHINGS
Kings College London & London Metropolitan University

All three leading political parties are rightly pledged to address the educational attainment gap for socio-economic background. A key plank in this policy agenda for both the previous New Labour and current Coalition Governments has been academy sponsorship of struggling state schools (typically located in areas of social deprivation). As the academies programme has developed, academy chains have been promoted, having been seen by policymakers as best fostering professionalism, value for money and school-to-school collaboration across previously struggling schools. Continue reading

Anti-violence work with young people

Faceposter has requested to remain ANONYMOUS

This morning I visited a school to deliver training. There was a young man, a young woman and a teacher outside. I heard the young man remark: ‘you’re not a woman, you’re a silly little girl.’ She laughed it off and the teacher said nothing.   The young man and woman had a play fight and he wrestled her to the ground. He stood over her and she asked if he’d help her up. He looked down, laughed and said ‘no’. The teacher did nothing.  Continue reading

The myth of inherited inequality

Danny Dorlingpost by DANNY DORLING
Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford

If most people in affluent nations believed that all human beings were alike – were of the same kind, the same species – then it would be much harder to justify the exclusion of so many people from so many social norms. It is only because the majority of people in many affluent societies have come to be taught that a few are especially able, and others particularly undeserving, that current inequalities can be maintained. Continue reading

Repeat performance: Special education, lower attainers, race and class

Sally Tomlinsonpost by SALLY TOMLINSON
Department of Education, University of Oxford

National governments believe that higher levels of education and skills are necessary for successful international economic competition and all young people are expected to invest in their own human capital, learn new skills and compete with each other in stratified education systems and uncertain job markets. As education systems have expanded so too have the ‘industries’ dealing with those who have difficulty in learning to required levels, fail to achieve to constantly raised qualification levels, or acquire one or more of the ever-changing labels bundled into the ‘special education needs/disability’ category. Continue reading

Building a Case for Relational Reform in Education: Towards a Relational Pedagogy

Rob Loepost by ROBERT LOE
Education Research Director, Relational Schools Project

Why Relational Education?

To establish an argument for the Relational reform of educational organisations there is a requirement to establish first the goal of such organisations. I would contend that the development of any society comes through the maturing process of its members to reflect the directions a society wishes to take, and thus to influence how resources like land, capital, and human resources (arguably, society’s greatest resource) are deployed in the future[1] (Schluter, 2006). Continue reading

Teaching Assistants: reconceptualising the role

Helen Saddlerpost by HELEN SADDLER
ESRC-funded doctoral student, University of York and consultant Senior Policy Advisor, Education and Youth Team, Greater London Authority

It is widely acknowledged that Teaching Assistants (TAs) have a prominent influence on the education of children in mainstream primary schools. However, the role of TAs is regarded by many educational professionals and researchers to be both highly complex and unclear. TAs undertake numerous pastoral and educational responsibilities within their role on a daily basis. Taking account of all of these in a role descriptor is very difficult. Continue reading

The ‘good sex’ project: political problems and practical solutions

Ester McGeeneypost by Ester McGeeney
Youth researcher and practitioner

For over three decades researchers, activists and practitioners have argued that pleasure should be included in the delivery of sex education and sexual health services. As 23 year old volunteer and peer educator Victoria Telford states: ‘My sex education at school was just about preventing STIs and preventing pregnancy and that was it. You are taught about puberty, the biological side of sex and the rest you are left to figure out on your own and I think you make bad choices because of that.’ Continue reading


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