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

Improving the Practice of Teaching Assistants

Julie Radfordpost by JULIE RADFORD

Institute of Education, University of London.

Teaching assistants (TAs) are supporting our most disadvantaged children in almost every classroom in the UK. Despite our inclusive education system, these young people can be segregated because they spend more time talking with a TA than with the teacher. Of major concern is that, unlike the teacher, TAs often have limited training or preparation to do this very important job. Continue reading

Will statutory PSHE make schools more LGBTQ-friendly?

Mark Jennettpost by MARK JENNETT
An Independent Trainer, Consultant and Writer

“Here’s the thing: Being gay is not an issue, it is an identity. It is not something that you can agree or disagree with. It is a fact, and must be defended and represented as a fact.”David Levithan.

I love this quote. It encompasses what I have been saying to teachers and students for over a decade. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & queer/questioning) young people and families pop up everywhere and, whether we think that’s OK or whether we think they’re going straight to Hell, they have the same rights as everyone else to an education that addresses their needs and endorses their identity. Continue reading


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