The militarisation of education: ‘Troops to Teachers’ and the implications for Initial Teacher Education and race equality

Charlotte Chaddertonpost by CHARLOTTE CHADDERTON
University of East London

The Troops to Teachers (TtT) programme was introduced in England in autumn 2013. The programme fast-tracks ex-armed service members into teaching in schools and is supported both by the current Coalition government, and the previous Labour government.

The White Paper, The Importance of Teaching (Department for Education 2010), gives the main purposes for the introduction of TtT as twofold: firstly, poor standards of achievement in comparison with other industrialised nations, and secondly, a need for increased discipline in schools. Continue reading

The challenges of domestic or sexual violence for ‘frontline workers’: developing training materials and educational resources

Miriam Davidpost by MIRIAM E. DAVID
Emeritus Professor, Institute of Education

‘Women’s refuges forced to shut down by funding crisis’ is a central headline in The Guardian (August 4 2014 p. 1) illustrating how violence against women is now on public agendas in dramatic ways. The accompanying article documents the growing crisis in funding for the refuges that have been created to deal with problems of sexual or domestic violence over the last several decades. There are photos of 4 young women, two with their babies, to illustrate the problem of domestic violence – young women killed in their homes by violent men, almost certainly their partners. Continue reading

‘Lad cultures’ in the neoliberal university

Alison Phippspost by ALISON PHIPPS
University of Sussex

[I have] a friend who had some guy that put his hand down her pants on the dance floor. And she was a really quiet girl and she didn’t say anything. I’ve heard of a few friends who have had things like that happened [sic] that have gone past a joke. I think guys think it’s okay to do that.

This anecdote depicts an experience which has become so common amongst young people that it has acquired its own moniker: underhanding. Continue reading

Sex and Relationships Education – making the difference to difference

DEBBIE EPSTEINpost by DEBBIE EPSTEIN
University of Roehampton

Catherine MacKinnon has famously argued that feminist claims based on either the ‘difference’ between or the ‘sameness’ of the genders are flawed. Rather, she suggests, what is important is dominance (MacKinnon 1987) – in the case of gender, male dominance. Gender, she says, is a matter of dominance, not difference. Continue reading

Extending opportunities to participate in learning

Jenny Sprattpost by JENNIFER SPRATT
School of Education, University of Aberdeen

The legacy left by the IQ test is an assumption that human intelligence is an innate and immutable personal attribute, that is normally distributed throughout the population (on a bell-shaped curve). This can be seen to have far reaching effects on the organisation of education as children are categorised according to whether they are thought  to be ‘high ability’, ‘low ability’ or perhaps deemed to have ‘special educational needs’. The presumption that we can make judgements about future ‘potential’ on the evidence of current performance continues to legitimate practices of providing different educational experiences for children according to their perceived ability. Continue reading

Education and equality: A critique of the ‘poverty of aspiration’ agenda

Kim AllenJon Rainfordpost by JON RAINFORD & KIM ALLEN
University of Bedfordshire and Manchester Metropolitan University

A recent post on this blog by Penny-Jane Burke referred to the idea of ‘raising aspirations’ as a central motif of government higher education policy. This discourse of ‘raising aspiration’ endures within recent higher education policy as well as the government’s social mobility agenda and is far from new. It is not only a routine feature of national policy. It also permeates the institutional policies of the full spectrum of higher education institutions. From traditional, elite institutions such as Oxford to newer ones such as Plymouth or Bucks New University, many continue to use the term raising aspiration in promotional material. Continue reading

Respecting Young People’s Informal Learning

Jocey Quinnpost by JOCEY QUINN
Plymouth Institute of Education, Plymouth University

The framework for discussing education and social justice is often limited to the formal settings of nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. However, significant learning takes place beyond these confines: at home, in communities, at work and leisure, through activism and volunteering, in arts and popular culture, in nature and via digital media. Continue reading

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