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

Promoting Inclusion Through Authentic Pupil Voice

Mhairi Beatonpost by MHAIRI C BEATON
University of Aberdeen

At present, student voice is widely considered to be integral to much that occurs within educational systems across the world. Whilst pupils have been formally consulted within educational research for many years (Cortis and Grayson, 1978), there has been a recent upsurge in interest in involving children and young people as active participants. This is mirrored in proposals to promote their participation in decision making in a range of aspects of their school life including agency in relation to their learning (Flutter and Rudduck, 2004). Continue reading

Home/School Discontinuity is not Disability

Margaret Eganpost by MARGARET EGAN
Department of Special Education at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick

From an international perspective, the over-representation of students from minority groups in special education placement is well documented in the research literature (Artiles et al., 2011; Ahram, et al. 2011; Skiba, et al. 2006; Valencia, 2010; Zion and Blanchett, 2011).  My recent research in Ireland builds and expands on such research as it brings the intersectionality between social class and placement in special education centre-stage.  The research highlights empirically, the disproportionality of students from lower socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds in special education programmes. Moreover, empirical data illustrate that ‘students least likely to encounter widely available educational resources at home are also least likely to encounter them in school’ (Darling-Hammond, 2010, p. 22).  These observations of discomfort mirror the seminal work of Illich (1971) that school can be the problem not the solution to in/equity because it creates mechanisms to discriminate against some and to privilege others. Continue reading

Gender Inequality and Violence: The role of schools

Nancy Lombardpost by NANCY LOMBARD
Reader in Sociology and Social Policy, Glasgow Caledonian University

Men’s violence against women is an endemic social problem within all societies and cultures. Feminist research and activism has maintained that to challenge and prevent men’s violence against women, changing attitudes and behaviour are key. My current and ongoing research examines what young people think about men’s violence against women with a view to generating theoretical insights and informing prevention work in this area. Continue reading

Democratising the local school system

Richard Hatcherpost by RICHARD HATCHER
Birmingham City University

Under the Coalition government local authorities (LAs) have been disempowered and marginalised. This post argues for the re-empowerment and democratisation of the role of LAs under a Labour government on two interrelated grounds: educational effectiveness and civic democracy.

Various forms of school support partnerships have spread, but without centralised local coordination and direction support can be patchy due to competition and lack of capacity [1, 2, 3, 4]. The marginalisation of LAs, the spread of academies and the coercive pressure of the ‘standards’ agenda depoliticises LAs and minimises local democratic accountability. Continue reading

Resilience, the Black child and the coalition government

Jasmine Rhamiepost by JASMINE RHAMIE
University of Roehampton

In a climate of austerity and radical change in education, I am concerned about the challenges faced by Black parents to find ways to achieve the best educational outcomes for their children in an ever selective and competitive educational environment. The pace and direction of change is worrying and demonstrates the need for Black pupils to develop greater resilience in order to succeed in an education system set up to increase the purchasing power of the White middle classes to the disadvantage of Black pupils. Continue reading

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

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