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
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 Democratising the local school system
The history of English education is very much a history of social class and the 1944 Education Act, the wartime government’s response to the great evil of ignorance, did little to interrupt that history, rather it brought about a very modest loosening of the relationship between social class and educational opportunity. This was partly in relation to the raising of the school leaving age and partly by allowing some working class students access to grammar schooling via the 11+ examination system. Continue reading Education, justice and democracy: the struggle over ignorance and opportunity
A critical interrogation of policy texts suggest that the way in which education policymakers understand young people’s lives is often problematic – tending to value them largely for their future contribution to society, and stressing the importance of duty rather than more questioning, critical and creative contributions that young people may make. In this short article, I suggest that, in the run-up to the 2015 election, politicians need to be pushed to articulate their understanding of ‘youth’ more clearly and encouraged to place more value on the diversity of contributions young people can make – in the here and now – to wider society. Continue reading Education policymakers’ understanding of young people