Do you suffer from a fear of facts?

Filling the pail

One of the strengths of the English system is that religious education has morphed into a subject where the various beliefs and practices of the world’s great religions are explained to students. The separation of church and state prevents this from happening in many countries but my view is that this type of curriculum fosters intercultural understanding.

Imagine a religious education teacher in an English school explaining the concept of the holy trinity to students. Is it a fact that many Christians believe in the holy trinity? Yes. Is it a fact that the trinity consists of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit? Yes. Is the holy trinity a fact? That’s a matter of opinion. Can students appreciate the difference between these things? Of course.

An interesting aspect of the ‘student-centred’ or ‘progressive’ philosophy of education is that many teachers don’t even recognise that it is a philosophy…

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“Grammar Schools for All!”

teaching personally

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle.

I’ve taken some flak over the past weeks for my defence of selective education – though to balance the record, there has been quite a lot of support too. Politically speaking the matter seems to have gone quiet again – I suspect May has other matters on her mind, but just possibly she is beginning to realise the scale of the opposition she faces.

If the latter is true, she will have regrettably squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a grownup debate about the fundamentals of the education system in this country. Still, I suppose that is just par for the course when one considers the level of discussion on other pressing matters in recent times. Once again, however, the casualty will have been the state of the nation in a country…

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PISA comprehensively proves itself wrong

Filling the pail

We saw yesterday that PISA defines good teaching to have a “student-orientated classroom climate”. In 2012, PISA asked students completing its tests four questions to see how student-orientated their teaching actually was.

The questions were:

How often do these things happen in your mathematics lessons?

• The teacher gives different work to classmates who have difficulties learning and/or to those who can advance faster.
• The teacher assigns projects that require at least one week to complete.
• The teacher has us work in small groups to come up with joint solutions to a problem or task.
• The teacher asks us to help plan classroom activities or topics.

I am not entirely convinced about this construct or the process of comparing different education systems in this way. However, PISA do this themselves and draw quite bold conclusions from the process. So, following their lead, I decided to compare…

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Discipline is life-changing

Pragmatic Education

Discipline is vital in schools. I have seen it change the life chances of children denied it for years before they arrive at our school. Talk to those who joined the army, and they will also tell you that military discipline changes lives. Ask J.D. Vance, for instance. Vance grew up in a part of America rife with poverty, unpredictability, divorce, violence, abuse, drug addiction and obesity, surrounded by a blame and excuses culture. From 9 months old he was given Pepsi to drink. Aged a (self-described) ‘pudgy’ 18 he joined the US marines. ‘They’ll teach you discipline,’ he was told. It was ‘a life-defining challenge’: ‘Life had taught me I had no control: psychologists call it learned helplessness,’ he writes. ‘Every time I learned to do something I thought impossible, I came a little closer to believing in myself. Every interaction was…

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It’s your time you’re wasting; why schools should stop drowning teachers in marking

One does not simply walk into Mordor, and one does not simply pop into IKEA for a packet of napkins and an Ottoman. The Scandinavian elves play a voodoo on your flimsy aspirations of frugality, and by the time you’re supping on a hot dog in the car park of Valhalla you’re dragging a caravan of Billy bookcases, tea candles, picture frames and a rug that doubles as a shoe tidy. And you forgot the Ottoman.

Source: It’s your time you’re wasting; why schools should stop drowning teachers in marking

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Diagnosis, therapy, testing


Right folks. I’m sure we’re all agreed that the sooner we spot student weaknesses, the better it is. So we’ve decided to move everything forward this year. Data entry, reports, the lot!


Yes that’s right! Remember how everyone always used to complain about the summer term being full of reports? You’ll be pleased to know that we haven’t got anything in the summer term any more! Reports, exams and data entry for all year groups will be carried out as early as possible in the school year!

So where is everything going?

That’s the beauty of it! Take the mock GCSEs for example. We’ve decided to put these at the start of the GCSE course, at the beginning of year 10.

But we won’t have taught them anything!

Precisely! Obviously they’ll struggle, but there will be some questions where they do worse than others. You’ll be able to tailor intervention sessions…

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Will more training in moderation of teacher assessment help? – Education Datalab blog

Will more training in moderation for Key Stage 2 writing, announced by Justine Greening yesterday, help reduce the inequities that were highlighted in a recent blogpost on Key Stage 2 writing? Sadly,…

Continued here:

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