FORUM
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Volume 53 Number 2 2011

Archive

CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

SPECIAL ISSUE
In Defence of State Education

Clyde Chitty. Editorial. Campaigning for State Education, page 175 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.175 VIEW FULL TEXT

Howard Stevenson. Coalition Education Policy: Thatcherism’s long shadow, pages 179‑194

Neal Lawson & Ken Spours. Education for the Good Society, pages 195‑205

Melian Mansfield. The Role of Parents and Governors, pages 207‑211

Richard Hatcher. The Struggle for Democracy in the Local School System, pages 213‑224

Patrick Yarker. Knowing Your Mind: teachers, students and the language of ability, pages 225‑234

Clyde Chitty. Differing Views of Human Intelligence, pages 235‑246

Richard Harris. Incompetence or Deliberate Manipulation?, pages 247‑252

Barry Dufour. Social and Political Education in British Schools: 50 years of curriculum development, pages 253‑260

John Morgan. Enquiring Minds: a radical curriculum project?, pages 261‑272

David Price. Learning Futures: rebuilding curriculum and pedagogy around student engagement, pages 273‑284

Sara Candy. RSA Opening Minds: a curriculum for the 21st century, pages 285‑291

Louise Thomas. Decentralisation for Schools, but Not for Knowledge: the RSA Area Based Curriculum and the limits of localism in Coalition education policy, pages 293‑303

Kate Stevenson. Music Education under Threat, pages 305‑310

Ian Creswell. Year 7 Accelerated Learning Curriculum 2006‑2010: from a concept to an outstanding curriculum, pages 311‑316

Trevor Fisher. Death of Meritocracy Reconsidered, pages 317‑322

Colin Richards. ‘Gove Moves in Mysterious Ways His Blunders to Perform’: an epistolary critique (with apologies to William Cowper), pages 323‑332

 


 

Coalition Education Policy: Thatcherism’s long shadow

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.179

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Coalition education policy threatens to transform the school system in England. A combination of public spending cuts, and the drive to making all schools Academies, represents a key moment in the restructuring of the education service along neo-liberal lines. This article argues that there is nothing distinctively ‘new’ about Coalition schools policy, but rather it represents a realisation of the ‘1988 project’ to break up and privatise state education in England. What took a major step forward in the form of the 1988 Education Reform Act is now reaching its logical conclusion in Coalition policy. This article identifies how such policy threatens to finally secure the dismantling of a democratic system by replacing it with a state-subsidised free market. The article also sets out the possibilities for a ‘coalition of resistance’ to emerge, capable of interrupting this latest and decisive stage in neo-liberal reform.

 

Education for the Good Society

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.195

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The Left is facing a crisis of its approach to education highlighted by the ‘education revolution’ of the Coalition Government. The authors argue that it is important to step back and present a positive vision of education based on the key pillars of the Good Society – fairness, democracy, sustainability and well-being. This values-led agenda, whilst offering an opportunity to take the moral and philosophical high ground, will also present a number of difficult strategic questions.

 

The Role of Parents and Governors

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.207

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The Struggle for Democracy in the Local School System

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.213

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The Coalition Government, building on the foundations laid by its Labour predecessor, aims to dismantle the local authority system and with it what remains of the accountability of schools to local elected government. In this article, a response to Stewart Ranson’s in a recent issue of FORUM, the author examines his claims for the emergence of new forms of participative governance and suggests an alternative approach to taking forward the democratisation of governance in local school systems at neighbourhood and local authority levels in the context of conflicting class interests.

 

Knowing Your Mind: teachers, students and the language of ability

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.225

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This article considers how pervasive remains the idea of fixed innate ability in relation to state education, and criticises on ethical and other grounds the language of ability as currently heard.

 

Differing Views of Human Intelligence

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.235

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This article is based on a talk that was given by the author at the Institute of Historical Research on 3 February 2011, on the Victorian polymath Francis Galton and the malign legacy of his eugenic theories. It pays tribute to the pioneering work of the late Brian Simon in challenging the whole idea of ‘fixed innate intelligence’ and in furthermore insisting that a belief in ‘human educability’ should be at the heart of the campaign for comprehensive education.

 

Incompetence or Deliberate Manipulation?

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.247

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The author gives a personal account of campaigning on fair admissions and the importance of Admission Forums and some of the responses it has generated along with the ConDem Coalition response – or lack of it.

 

Social and Political Education in British Schools: 50 years of curriculum development

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.253

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The main developments in this broad curriculum area are traced decade by decade with key signpost successes highlighted, along with examples of retrenchment and opposition to the march of progress. The drivers for change and regression were often central government initiatives but, all along, the activity of progressive educationists/academics and teachers in comprehensive schools and their lobbying through professional subject organisations occupied a key role. The possible turning back of the clock under the Coalition’s Review of the National Curriculum signals yet another downturn in the fortunes of social and political education.

 

Enquiring Minds: a radical curriculum project?

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.261

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This article focuses on Enquiring Minds, a three-year curriculum development project funded by Microsoft as part of its Partners in Learning programme and run by Futurelab. The article suggests that the project is best understood as an example of a new type of ‘curriculum entrepreneurialism’ that is impatient with the traditional structures of curriculum and pedagogy and which seeks to pave the way for ‘radical’ transformation of education systems. The article locates this curriculum innovation in three broad contexts of educational cultures in Britain. These concern the question of the relationship between formal and informal cultures of learning, the relationship between knowledge, social class and curriculum, and the emergence of ideas about the economic value of schooling and the role of technology in young people’s lives. These ‘cultures of schooling’ invariably affect any attempt to introduce radical change. Finally, the article poses the question of what is ‘radical’ about projects such as Enquiring Minds, and suggests that they might best be interpreted as moves to realign the practices of schooling with the requirements of a mobile and global capitalism.

 

Learning Futures: rebuilding curriculum and pedagogy around student engagement

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.273

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The author discusses the Learning Futures programme, a partnership set up between the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Innovation Unit. The two organisations had previously worked together on the Musical Futures project that had involved radical new approaches to teaching and learning in secondary school music.

 

RSA Opening Minds: a curriculum for the 21st century

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.285

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This article discusses the RSA Opening Minds competence framework, an innovative curriculum to meet the needs of young people as future employees, lifelong learners and as citizens of the twenty-first century.

 

Decentralisation for Schools, but Not for Knowledge: the RSA Area Based Curriculum and the limits of localism in Coalition education policy

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.293

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Use of local environments and stakeholders to illuminate the school curriculum, and increase ownership of it, has been demonstrated by international research as an effective means by which to make the curriculum more relevant and engaging to students. Localism is a key tenet of the Government’s policy platform, and in education policy the extension of structural freedoms for schools has been a key priority. However, a parallel process of democratisation of knowledge is unlikely to follow. The inadequacy of government thinking about the nature of knowledge, and weaknesses in the system that will not be addressed by current policy, mean that schools are unlikely to be in a position to take full advantage of their new freedoms with regard to curriculum. The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce’s (RSA’s) Area Based Curriculum is contributing to the debate and practice about how localism might apply to knowledge. The author argues that in a world where local, national and global knowledges are increasingly in conflict, localism must extend to knowledge as well as to the structures of schooling. Curriculum developed in partnership between students, local communities and teachers would better equip students to navigate ideas of what is important and what it is important to know.

 

Music Education under Threat

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.305

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Leicester-Shire Arts in Education has long had both a national and international reputation for providing high-quality music education to young people. Last year, its future seemed in jeopardy as a result of County Council spending cuts. This article provides a historical background to the service, and describes how a campaign developed to defend the provision. The campaign has achieved some success, but the service has been reduced and its longer term future remains uncertain. Continued public spending cuts, and a perception that arts education is a luxury, not a necessity, do not bode well for the future.

 

Year 7 Accelerated Learning Curriculum 2006‑2010: from a concept to an outstanding curriculum

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.311

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The author, Head of Year 7 at Cantell Maths and Computing College in Southampton, describes the development of an innovative approach to Year 7, which is based on the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency programme ‘Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills’. He shows how the new approach evolved and continues to develop including the impact it has had on improvements across both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

 

Death of Meritocracy Reconsidered

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.317

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Poor social mobility has become controversial, with the stranglehold of the independent schools over elite universities intensifying during the New Labour period. The author identifies the failure of New Labour’s Mark 2 A level reforms to deal with the situation, particularly the introduction of the A star at A level, which has given the independent schools a massive and apparently objective superiority over all other schools, including grammar schools, in the university entrance race. Together with increased tuition fees and the prospect of above quota admissions for rich students with high grades, elite universities are in danger of becoming finishing schools for the rich. The author proposes reintroducing the Advanced Extension Award, also known as the Special Paper, as an immediate means of addressing inequality in the 18 plus exam system and university entrance as a step towards a more fundamental meritocratic reform of the exam and university entrance system.

 

‘Gove Moves in Mysterious Ways His Blunders to Perform’: an epistolary critique (with apologies to William Cowper)

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.2.323

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The Coalition Government’s education policies are ripe for criticism and equally ripe for controlled but principled derision. In the letters pages of the Times Educational Supplement and, to a lesser extent, Education Guardian, Colin Richards has subjected them to a barrage of criticism, some couched as sardonic humour. Here are reproduced a self-edited selection of his published and unpublished letters.

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