FORUM
ISSN 0963-8253


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Volume 55 Number 3 2013

Archive

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

 

The Need for a Counter Offensive

Clyde Chitty. Editorial http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.351 VIEW FULL TEXT OPEN ACCESS

Clyde Chitty. Secondary School Examinations: a historical perspective

Martin Allen. ‘Raising Standards’ or Reducing Aspirations and Opportunities Still Further? Michael Gove and Examination Reforms

Tony Cooper. You May Start Writing Now

Patrick Yarker. Gove’s War

Bernard Barker. The Enigmatic Mr Gove

Derek Gillard. Turning in Their Graves? A Tale of Two Coalitions – and What Happened in Between

David Kitchener. What Price Free Schools? The Continued Insidious Privatisation of UK State Education.

Howard Stevenson. Teachers on Strike: a struggle for the future of teaching?

Jess Edwards. Fighting Gove’s Nightmare Vision for Primary Education

A Charter for Primary Education

John Wadsworth. Like an ‘Uncontrolled Toddler’ Elizabeth Truss Risks Causing Chaos in England’s Nursery Education and Child Care Sector

Clare Kelly & Maggie Pitfield. School Direct: a hastily constructed model or a systematically designed campaign?

Michael Fielding. Still ‘Learning to Be Human’: the radical educational legacy of John MacMurray

Gary McCulloch. The Cause of Nowadays and the End of History? School History and the Centenary of the First World War

Philip Huckin. Memories of The Cherwell School

Tom Buzzard. I Do Not Believe in ‘Intelligence’ or ‘Ability’ or ‘Aptitude’- and Neither Should You

Fiona Carnie. Developing Relationships between Parents and Schools

John Black. ‘Varmits and Turnips’: personal experiences of a secondary modern education, 1958‑1962

BOOK REVIEWS
An Aims-based Curriculum: the significance of human flourishing for schools (Michael J. Reiss & John White), reviewed by Mary Jane Drummond
New Labour and Secondary Education, 1994‑2010 (Clyde Chitty), reviewed by Derek Gillard
New Labour and Secondary Education, 1994‑2010 (Clyde Chitty), reviewed by Roy Lowe
Modernity Britain: opening the box, 1957‑1959 (David Kynaston), reviewed by Clyde Chitty http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.517 VIEW FULL TEXT


 

Secondary School Examinations: a historical perspective

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.355

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Michael Gove has made examination reform a marked feature of his period as Education Secretary in the coalition government, although he has not always found it easy to bring about the changes he feels so strongly about, in the face of widespread opposition from teachers and educationists. This article seeks to analyse the Education Secretary’s recent proposals and set them in a historical context.

 

‘Raising Standards’ or Reducing Aspirations and Opportunities Still Further? Michael Gove and Examination Reforms

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.367

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Well before the examinations grade crisis of 2012, Michael Gove had set out clear intentions for reforming public examinations. Though he claimed to be improving examinations and assessment by replicating practices that took place in high-performing countries and thus improving the ability of the UK economy to ‘compete’, this contribution argues that Gove’s agenda aims to reduce student success rates and reflects declining employment opportunities for young people. It calls for radical alternatives.

 

You May Start Writing Now

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.377

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This article, an extract from the author’s book Head on the Block, describes how the purpose of the school examination system has changed such that now it is to evaluate the performance of teachers rather than the performance of their students. It highlights some of the negative effects of school league tables – in particular, how the pressure on schools to improve results year on year and the tactics employed by some schools to achieve this have led to a distortion of the curriculum and a move away from real education. Can schools which claim 100% A* to C success at GCSE for all their students be genuinely comprehensive?

 

Gove’s War

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.383

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Policy pursued by Education Secretary Michael Gove promises to bring about the first national teachers’ strike for a generation. This article reviews the nature and effect of Gove’s intensification of academisation, and outlines ways in which edu-business is involved.

 

The Enigmatic Mr Gove

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.391

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Michael Gove’s personal tastes and priorities dominate the education landscape as he drives through reforms designed to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn ‘the best that has been thought and said’ as a foundation for upward social mobility. This article examines the coherence and progress of the government’s reform programme, explores the personal history and contribution of Mr Gove himself, and considers the prospects for success. It argues that the Education Secretary is a ‘riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’ and that his flawed understanding of society and education have fatally compromised his plans. His vision involves returning the nation’s teachers and children to the lost world of private education in Scotland during the 1980s, and his visceral contempt for state schools and teachers has led him to alienate the professionals on whom true success depends. The article concludes that Mr Gove is the victim of his own limited education.

 

Turning in Their Graves? A Tale of Two Coalitions – and What Happened in Between

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.403

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Amid the horrors of the Second World War, a group of Board of Education officials met to plan a new public education system which would be fair to and free for all. In the seventy years since then, successive governments have not only failed to live up to their vision but have increasingly sought to interfere with the teaching and learning process and to dismantle the democratic edifice they created.

 

What Price Free Schools? The Continued Insidious Privatisation of UK State Education

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.407

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A review of American charter schools and Swedish free-school research is outlined, providing strong evidence that both free-market models are flawed in their claims of enhancing young people’s educational experience. A substantial body of work is included that strongly indicates charter and free schools increase social segregation and lower educational attainment. It is also agued that the rationale for and commitment to competition undermines cooperation between schools and reinforces class differentiation, suggesting the view that the model facilitates choice is erroneous. It is also argued its inception in the UK is, like the academies model, driven by a narrow ideological stance and should be replaced by a non-selective, state-funded, comprehensive school model accessible to all.

 

Teachers on Strike: a struggle for the future of teaching?

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.415

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Teachers in England and Wales are involved in the largest campaign of industrial action since the mid-1980s. At the heart of their grievances are government plans to abolish a national framework for teachers’ pay and the removal of important safeguards relating to working conditions. Wider questions of workload and pensions are also involved. This article argues that the changes to teachers’ pay and working conditions cannot be divorced from the wider objective of establishing a largely privatised system of state-subsidised schooling. Such a goal is based on a much-changed vision of teaching, which in turns assumes a low-cost, flexible and fragmented workforce. The article seeks to link the changes proposed to teachers’ pay and conditions to wider changes in the nature of teaching as work and the future of teaching as a profession. It argues that the teachers’ pay dispute opens up important possibilities to interrupt the trajectory of current policy and to create spaces to present alternative visions of the future of teaching and what a democratic and public education system might look like.

 

Fighting Gove’s Nightmare Vision for Primary Education

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.429

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This article examines the new National Curriculum for primary schools that has been recently announced by the Secretary of State for Education. The article discusses some of the implications of that curriculum for children and teachers and ends with ideas for how we can effectively campaign against it.

 

A Charter for Primary Education

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.435

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This is the text of A Charter for Primary Education, which is jointly backed by a number of groups and individuals, including the Socialist Teachers’ Alliance (STA), the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), John Coe of the National Association of Primary Education (NAPE) and children’s author Michael Rosen. It was launched at a very successful STA conference held in London on 15 June 2013.

 

Like an ‘Uncontrolled Toddler’ Elizabeth Truss Risks Causing Chaos in England’s Nursery Education and Child Care Sector

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.439

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This article looks at the impact of the Education and Childcare Minister on the provision of early childhood education and care in England. Policies being developed and promoted by Elizabeth Truss predate her appointment as a minister and are consistent with the radical neo-liberal agenda pursued by Secretary of State Michael Gove. The author draws on news articles and policy announcements and calls into question the misuse and abuse of international comparisons to justify changes to early years policy in England.

 

School Direct: a hastily constructed model or a systematically designed campaign?

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.447

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This article examines School Direct, a model of initial teacher education (ITE) in England, recently introduced by the coalition government and based on a paradigm of teaching as a craft to be learned as an apprenticeship, significantly reducing and in some cases removing the influence of higher education. The history of the move away from university-based ITE to a school-led model is examined and situated within a wider neoliberal agenda. It is argued that School Direct as one manifestation of an ideologically-based strategy for education has serious abiding consequences for the future of the teaching profession and the stability of the educational infrastructure.

 

Still ‘Learning to Be Human’: the radical educational legacy of John Macmurray

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.461

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This article explores some of the key themes of John Macmurray’s recently published lecture, ‘Learning to be Human’. It focuses initially on three elements of his argument: relationships in education; education and the economy; and our corrosive obsession with technique. It then utilises Macmurray’s views to develop a typology of schooling intended to help us understand why so much of what we do now is counter-productive and how we might go about doing things differently in ways expressive of a more generous view of human flourishing.

 

The Cause of Nowadays and the End of History? School History and the Centenary of the First World War

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.473

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The review of the National Curriculum and the centenary of the First World War have emphasised an orthodox patriotic and nostalgic historical ideal. The British coalition Conservative‑Liberal government has aligned itself with the centenary commemorations of the First World War, while the war as social and political history may be in danger of being overshadowed by celebration and its profound and enduring implications therefore not fully understood.

 

Memories of The Cherwell School

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.485

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On 13 July 2013, the Cherwell School in Oxford celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Among the speakers was Philip Huckin, a pupil at the opening of the school in 1963 who went on to work in education for more than 33 years, mostly in comprehensive schools and often in socially challenging areas. This is the text of his speech.

 

I Do Not Believe in ‘Intelligence’ or ‘Ability’ or ‘Aptitude’ – and Neither Should You

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.491

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Anybody who has studied education over the past forty years is aware that secondary education in England is the subject of continuous and continuing debate. Everyone has been to school and therefore everyone lays claim to some expertise – the lot of teachers is never easy. But it is a contention of this article that teachers are at least partly responsible for what is arguably the most damaging characteristic of English education: the persistent and pervasive belief in the notion of ‘intelligence’.

 

Developing Relationships between Parents and Schools

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.501

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It is well documented that parental involvement in their children’s education is a key factor in improving outcomes for young people, and yet many schools struggle to engage parents. This article discusses the rationale for working in partnership with parents and makes the case for building parental participation in school life so that parents are able to contribute to the dialogue about the purposes of education and can be involved in school decision making. Examples from both primary and secondary sectors show how developing such a partnership can transform home‑school relationships and create a shared sense of purpose.

 

‘Varmits and Turnips’: personal experiences of a secondary modern education, 1958‑1962

http://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2013.55.3.507

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This article is not intended to be an autobiography. It relates to the experiences of the author as a pupil in a secondary modern school in Wiltshire during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He suffered the experience of being an 11-plus failure and a secondary modern graduate at the age of 15 years. Later in life he had a much more rewarding career as a teacher in a comprehensive school. He supports the comprehensive school ethos because he had previously experienced the alternative. This article relates what his perceptions were of being a pupil in a secondary modern school, with a mixture of the ‘old guard teachers’ brought up on the Hadow ideology of a modern school, and the more dynamic young teachers who entered the school and had a profound influence on the author in shaping his future life and career.

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