Education policy

Back in the limelight: Free schools debate

The motion was presented by Greg Hands, the Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham. It was great to see the successes of the free school policy highlighted early on, with the MP stating “only 68% of state-funded schools were good or outstanding in 2010, that jumped to 89% at the end of August 2017.” He pointed out that high performing schools in Kensington and Chelsea demonstrated the benefits that free schools and academies bring to the system, but also acknowledged where the policy has faced difficulty, such as problems around finding a suitable site.

Free schools: Back on the radar

Firstly, there was the Labour Party Conference, where the Shadow Secretary of State said that she would ‘turn her back’ on Michael Gove’s reforms. She followed up on this by promising to bring an end to the free school programme in the event of gaining power. While obviously alarming to advocates of the programme, this is consistent with the Labour Party’s previous attitude towards the policy and isn’t a new development.

A landscape transformed

The summer of 1988 - what a time to be alive! A booming economy. “Die Hard” at the cinema. The second “Summer of Love” and acid house. The Seoul Olympics.

And, of course, Kenneth Baker’s Education Reform Act.

As well as introducing a National Curriculum, it kick-started the move towards much greater frontline autonomy across the country.

Character education at Floreat schools

‘Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.’ This quote is taken from Martin Luther King Jnr.’s 1947 article, ‘The Purpose of Education’, in which he states that merely imparting knowledge is an insufficient function of education.  He says that as well as developing intellect, education should teach children the necessary values for living together in society. This moral element, King argues, means that learners are knowledgeable, but crucially, they also deploy their knowledge and skills in the service of others.

St Marylebone C/E Bridge School pupils: more than just numbers…

Today many schools seem to be solely judged on the academic attainment of their pupils. On one level this makes complete sense, as the end result of education is to prepare pupils for successful lives. Unsurprisingly then, many colleges, universities and employers use academic attainment as the principal measure for determining whether an applicant has the required background necessary to succeed. However it is worth highlighting that in recent years, employers have started to bemoan a lack of essential non-academic skills in their new employees.