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
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
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.
The social and political context of Scotland is of note as it is the only country in the UK to recognize and facilitate a gender – based definition of domestic abuse (see National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 2000 and Preventing Violence Against Women: Action Across the Scottish Executive, 2001) thereby acknowledging the ‘broader gender inequalities which women face’ (National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 2000). Continue reading
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
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 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
‘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