News this month has been dominated by the recent government white paper outlining plans for the academisation of British schools, with increased press scrutiny on both the management and the nature of academies and academy trusts.
In its latest budget the government has announced its plans to transform all schools into academies, aiming to bring all schools to academy status by 2022. There are currently 5,000 academies in England out of a total of 24,000 schools, with the majority of non-academy schools being primaries. While the government has always been clear on its plans to step up the academisation of schools, many are still surprised by the scale of the proposal and the sudden way in which academy status is to be imposed.
Nicky Morgan is facing mounting criticism over recent changes to Keystage 1 and 2 assessments, with the NUT considering strike action as teachers are beset by last-minute alterations, withheld information, unfeasible performance standards, and a hugely increased bureaucratic burden. The scheme includes new assessment criteria, new standards, increased testing and a host of other changes, yet teachers have found the guidelines vague and unhelpful.
Educational news in the past month has been dominated by the controversy over education secretary Nicky Morgan's introduction of new primary school testing and assessment guidelines, while the ongoing plans for grammar school expansion in Kent have seen pundits analysing the performance of state and grammar schools in the university admissions tables.
The past months have seen a rise in grammar-school related news, with the debate over new grammar schools breaking out again due to Weald of Kent Grammar School’s planned expansion, and the recent GCSE League Tables prompting numerous comments on the current state of education.
The Telegraph summarises some of the controversy over the recent Weald of Kent expansion, after campaign groups recently abandoned plans to challenge the new school annex.
The release of secondary school league tables last week has once again prompted a flurry of protest and controversy among parents and head teachers, with many rushing to criticise flaws and perceived unfairness in the ranking system. Recent overhauls in the ranking system have seen an overall drop in schools’ results, as results for certain qualifications deemed too “easy” have been discounted and pass marks for certain subjects appear to have been raised.
The Local Governing Body for Wallington High School and Nonsuch High School recently held a consultation on the subject of merging their separate 2nd stage examinations into a single test. The two schools are part of the same multi-academy trust, and holding a joint examination would result in considerable cost savings on both sides.
Plans to challenge the construction of a new grammar school in Kent have been dropped recently, and it seems increasingly probable that the Weald of Kent Grammar School’s Sevenoaks expansion will open as planned in September of 2017. While there is still a prohibition on creating completely new grammar schools, existing grammar schools like Weald of Kent are permitted to develop “annex” schools under the free schools Programme. If development goes through it will be the first new grammar school opened in 50 years.