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 Do sponsored academy chains support the attainment of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds?
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 Anti-violence work with young people
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 The myth of inherited inequality
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 Repeat performance: Special education, lower attainers, race and class
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 (Schluter, 2006). Continue reading Building a Case for Relational Reform in Education: Towards a Relational Pedagogy
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 Teaching Assistants: reconceptualising the role
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 The ‘good sex’ project: political problems and practical solutions
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 Improving the Practice of Teaching Assistants