Enough With The Green Pens! The last two schools I worked at were not in any way related. They were in different local authorities. One was independent; one a state school in a MAT. Yet both of them had a policy that students should be marking (i.e. self-assessment or peer assessment) in green pen. Today, a teacher from London told me their school had the same policy. I asked about it on Twitter and got responses from schools in Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Tower Hamlets, Brent, Hampshire and many others saying it was school policy, and this included state schools and the independent sector.
All had encountered the same phenomena. Now, to be honest, I have only one problem with this policy and it won’t be a problem in all of these schools. And do they? However, if teachers are having to make an effort to get green pens in and out – if it is a source of work – then some teachers liking it is not enough. So that leaves two questions: Why are schools still investing in these over-prescriptive marking policies? Our schools should be less like Singapore and more like Silicon Valley | Zoe Williams. We are on the brink of a crisis in teacher numbers. Apparently it’s harder to recruit when the country comes out of recession, since the profession loses its risk-takers.
It doesn’t help one bit when the population insists on continuing to produce more children. Yet those explanations are flimsy: the recession line is rather speculative, and relies on a conception of teaching as a cosy, stable, low-risk job for losers. This is a relatively recent caricature of the job, which was once more accurately understood as something people did if they cared about the future, other people’s children and the life of the mind. The baby boom is real, yet doesn’t explain why recruitment continues to fall – according to new figures, numbers starting training courses are 14% down on 2010 – and turnover continues to rise.
It feels passe to listen to teachers’ unions these days: the Department for Education wrote them off as dinosaurs, “the blob”. AELP questions sense of GCSE maths and English resits after fall in pass rate for 17-year-olds. The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has questioned the sense of forcing resits on learners who fail maths and English GCSE after the pass rate fell for 17-year-olds. The 2014/15 academic year was the first in which learners who previously had not achieved a grade C in either subjects, but had continued onto post-16 study, were required to either resit their GCSEs or equivalent level functional skills exams. It is a key reason why the number of 17-year-old learners across FE and schools who sat maths GCSEs increased 30.2 per cent from 100,587 last year to 130,979 this year, while the number sitting English rose by 22.9 per cent from 79,045 to 97,163. Meanwhile, the A* to C pass rate for that age group fell from 38.9 per cent last year to 35.8 per cent for maths, and from 37.9 per cent in 2014 to 35.1 per cent this year for English.
Learners who get below a D can take functional skills exams instead. Martin Doel. The school where children expect the unexpected. Within minutes of arriving at West Rise Junior School, it’s clear this is no ordinary place: the headteacher is powering across dried-out marshland on a quad bike, sweeping past water buffalo and sending birds scattering. The quad bike isn’t just for fun. When you’ve got 120 acres of land with a replica Bronze Age roundhouse, and dozens of pupils taking part in activities ranging from clay-pigeon shooting to paddle-boarding on the lake, you need to get around fast. It was this spirit of adventure that helped the East Sussex school to be crowned primary of the year at the 2015 TES Schools Awards last month. With an intake of about 250 children, mostly from an Eastbourne council estate, West Rise provides an experience like no other, inspired by the discovery of a Bronze Age settlement nearby. “Three thousand years ago, people would be living in roundhouses like the one we recently built.
“Some of the artefacts that have been found on this site are so rare they’re in the British Museum. Peer tutoring is ineffective and can be detrimental, research finds. Two new studies on peer tutoring conclude that the technique – which involves students helping each other to learn – makes no impact on reading or maths scores. The results from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) contrast with previous research identifying peer tutoring as one of the most effective ways to improve learning. The EEF evaluations of Paired Reading and the Durham Shared Maths Project, published today, say that neither project has any impact on children’s attainment.
Previous EEF advice, based on nine studies, estimated that peer tutoring could help students to make an extra six months progress over a year. Robbie Coleman, research manager at the EEF, said: “Today’s findings are surprising because international and British evidence collected to date on peer tutoring has been very positive.
It would be a big mistake to ignore the new findings or attempt to brush them under the carpet. Read the TES feature on the launch of the EEF's previous evaluation here. After diktats on phonics, are teachers really free to choose how to teach? Every teacher has those lessons that don't just go well, they go stupendously well. The difficulty is in replicating it. Another day, another class, a different teacher and that explanation of photosynthesis, complete with a Year 2 child dressed as a leaf, falls flat instead of bringing enlightenment. Academics know this.
They take into account that sometimes things will just go well: for example, in education they test whether a particular programme or intervention has helped children to make progress or whether they would have done so anyway. Recently, John Jerrim, reader in educational and social statistics at the UCL Institute of Education, found that a particular mathematics programme may have helped children to make one month’s progress over a year. It wasn't a large amount of progress and the analysis had to combine two smaller studies for the effect to show up, meaning that a larger study would be wise, Dr Jerrim added.
Say that again? Carol Dweck: 'The whole idea of growth mindset is to say yes they can' Carol Dweck is education’s guru of the moment. The US academic’s “growth mindset” theory has taken schools on both sides of the Atlantic by storm. When TES met the Stanford University psychology professor at the Festival of Education at Wellington College last week, the mere mention of her name was sending teachers into shivers of excitement. But the woman herself is refreshingly modest about the success of her philosophy. “You never know how influential your idea is going to be,” she says, smiling. “It’s really gratifying that people have resonated to it.” Like all good ideas, Professor Dweck’s is essentially a simple one – it says that an individual’s learning is shaped by whether they believe their intelligence is fixed or can be changed (see panel, below right).
And it seems to have flicked a switch in thousands of teachers’ heads. A means of marginalisation? Inevitably, the backlash has begun. She is visibly saddened to hear that her work has been interpreted in this way. Why the ‘false growth mindset’ explains so much. Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise. – Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida In the same way that I learned nothing from listening to the polished performance of Ken Robinson at yesterday’s Education Festival at Wellington College, I found myself surprised at just how challenging Carol Dweck’s slightly awkward delivery and clunky slides turned out to be.
And to think I nearly didn’t bother staying. After reading Self Theories and Mindset I thought I knew as much about Dweck’s theories as anyone could ever reasonably want to know, but it turned out I was dead wrong. (A recurrent theme in my life!) She began her presentation with a rehash of the same old same old: you tell students about the growth mindset and hey presto! It’s unnatural, is what it is. Alexander has looked in vain for evidence of falsification of research findings and publication bias and has come up if not empty handed then at least with very little in the way of pocket change, despite having looked really hard. 'Encouraging a growth mindset is not just about boosting academic achievement' One of the hot topics among teachers right now appears to be “growth mindset”. My twitter feed is full of it, and apparently the secretary of state said this week that the growth mindset is essential for success.
Mike Gershon’s Growth Mindset Pocketbook is walking off the shelves in the Amazon warehouse. And it has a key place in the effort to teach character, grit, and aspiration. I remember listening to John Hattie last year at a conference in Birmingham tell us that the most important factor in student success was student expectation of their own performance. He then pointed out that this then conflicts with constantly testing them and telling them they are a B grade student. Perhaps this is one reason why not everyone is a fan. But with this debate raging the Education Endowment Foundation report last week into teaching the growth mindset was very interesting.
At first glance I found this confusing. Two other related things also caught my attention this week. CBI head calls for GCSEs to be scrapped - BBC News. Ofsted purges 40% of inspectors. Ofsted is ditching 40 per cent of its contracted inspectors after assessing them as not good enough to judge schools reliably, TES can reveal. The watchdog’s purge of 1,200 inspectors comes as part of its plan to improve quality and consistency, which will also mean the remaining inspectors being graded after every school visit.
Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s director of quality and training, told TES: “Our absolute aim is to have the highest-quality inspectors we can. I am committed to making sure that my colleagues in headship can be assured they have a good inspector walking up the path. I’m determined that will happen.” He said the inspectorate had reduced its headcount through a robust assessment process. It meant that approximately 2,800 additional inspectors who had expressed an interest in becoming in-house staff had been whittled down to just 1,600. Headteachers have given the news a guarded welcome.
From September, all Ofsted inspectors will be employed directly by the watchdog. Further education provides a lifeline. But try telling the government that | John Harris. Conservatives must currently be thrilled with the state of the English education debate. The fact that tuition fees were such a prominent part of the Labour platform back in May seems to have quietened that issue, and with it, grave concerns about the huge cultural and professional changes sweeping through higher education. For all the opposition to academies and free schools, the election result has re-energised the Tories’ great crusade on that front, and, it seems, wrong-footed Labour anew.
When it comes to cuts, meanwhile, the mainstream media reaches for its collective notepad, hears the usual reassurances that the schools budget is protected, and then backs off. Meanwhile, two huge stories bubble away. One is the crisis in state sixth-form education, which falls outside the department for education’s five-to-15 “ringfence” – and which, contrary to all that chatter about the glories of academic achievement, is really struggling.
Nicky Morgan discusses the future of education in England - Speeches. Good morning, and thank you Sir Anthony [Seldon, Master of Wellington College] for that very kind introduction. It’s a pleasure to speak here at Wellington College - a school that’s gone from strength to strength over the last decade under your careful stewardship. I’m sure staff and pupils, past and present, will look back on your time here with great fondness. Certainly the ministerial team at the Department for Education have benefited from your wise and thoughtful advice, and long may that continue. Today, of course, is the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, marking the defeat of Napoleon and his army by the seventh coalition, with British troops being led by Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, in whose honour this school is named.
A defining chapter in our history and a moment that helped make our nation great. Education is at the heart of our governing philosophy A good education is the key to the good life. Our plan A rigorous academic curriculum must be central to that. Seven in 10 schools prepared to rebel against government Ebac policy.
More than 70 per cent of school leaders and teachers said they would refuse to make the English baccalaureate (Ebac) compulsory for all students, even if it meant missing out on being judged as outstanding by Ofsted, research shows. A survey of more than 1,200 headteachers and teachers also found that 45 per cent of schools that currently hold the top rating from the inspectorate would be willing to lose the status in a stand against the new policy. Education secretary Nicky Morgan confirmed yesterday that every secondary pupil would be expected to take GCSEs in English, maths, science, a humanity and a modern foreign language.
But according to a poll conducted by the SSAT schools network, the vast majority of headteachers and their staff would not insist the Ebac was made compulsory in order to gain the "outstanding" badge. Bill Watkin, director of the SSAT, said: “We and our members support the government’s attempts to close the gap and increase social mobility. Academic subjects alone won't 'set every child up for life' | Higher Education Network. It’s no surprise that Nicky Morgan is in favour of the English baccalaureate (EBacc). But what is genuinely puzzling is her assertion that “evidence shows” that sticking to “these core academic subjects…” – [a GCSE in maths, English, a science, a language and one of history or geography] – “… sets every child up for life”. Even if what she really meant was that it sets every child up for a job, there’s not much “evidence” to sustain the proposition.
In fact, it all points the other way. OK – a good fistful of the EBacc five should set you up for A-levels, and a good fistful of A-levels might set you up for a good university, and a good degree might – just might – set you up for a job that uses a tiny bit of what you’ve spent 10 years learning (if it’s not mostly redundant by then). But what successful employers, big and small, hi-tech and no-tech, are crying out for are recruits who are innovative and creative, who can think laterally, communicate clearly and work as part of a team. Launch of new high-quality post-16 maths qualifications. New high-quality maths qualifications, which teach pupils how to use and apply maths in real situations, are designed to encourage thousands more pupils to continue studying maths beyond age 16, School Reform Minister Nick Gibb announced today (5 December 2014). As part of the government’s commitment to raising standards in the subject, 6 new core maths qualifications will be included in school and college performance tables from 2017 and as part of the TechBacc (Technical Baccalaureate) measure from 2016.
The government has outlined the ambition that, by 2020, the great majority of young people will continue to study maths to age 18. Core maths offers a way for students who achieve at least a C in GCSE maths to continue to study the subject, allowing them to maintain and develop their mathematics even if they do not wish to pursue a full A level. School Reform Minister Nick Gibb said: Notes to editors.
TES columnist Tom Bennett to lead government's behaviour task force. 'Teaching teachers about growth mindset has little impact on students' progress' 20 psychological principles for teachers #12 Goal setting. Ofsted: too many schools give 'scrappy worksheets' out to use for homework. Schools face pressure under plans to target academic GCSEs. Academies and performance pay are 'distractions' that won't improve learning, John Hattie warns.