Discussions about our education system all too often focus on the largest, most visible components of that system: the attainment of young people in mainstream schools. While debates about educational equity are at the forefront of current policy discourse, with the Pupil Premium explicitly targeting the gap between the attainment of young people receiving Free School Meals (FSM) and their peers, these discussions, too, are framed in terms of the relative performance of young people in mainstream schools. However, more than 20,000 pupils each year receive their education outside the mainstream system, through some form of ‘alternative provision’. Seldom do we turn our attention to these young people who, in Pat Thomson’s words, are “eased out, pushed out and kicked out of school.” Continue reading Renewing the focus on ‘pushed out’ learners
Children, their World, their Education. The basic premise of the Cambridge Primary Review (CPR) was as clear in the title of its final report as in its choice of investigative themes and questions: education is meaningful only when educators understand and coherently respond to the nature and needs of children and the society and world in which they are growing up. Mastering the practical skills of teaching is a necessary but not sufficient condition, and as an educational rationale mantras like ‘effective teaching’ take us to the nearest 3Rs test but no further. Continue reading New evidence on childrens’ voices and rights. But does DfE get it?
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