FORUM
ISSN 0963-8253


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Volume 58 Number 2 2016

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

 

The Time Is Now: reconstructing high quality, democratic, public education

Howard Stevenson. Editorial. The Time Is Now: reconstructing high quality, democratic, public education, pages 129-134 OPEN ACCESS VIEW FULL TEXT http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.129

FORUM Editorial Board. Education Excellence Everywhere: FORUM's response to the White Paper, pages 135-154 OPEN ACCESS

Robin Alexander. What's the Point? Select Committee Ponders the Meaning of Education, pages 155-165

Daniel Murphy, Linda Croxford & Cathy Howieson. The Values of Scottish Comprehensive Schooling, pages 167-176

Nigel Gann. Capturing the Castle: an exploration of changes in the democratic accountability of schools, pages 177-194

Alasdair Macdonald, Jemima Reilly & Laura Worsley. There Is Another Way: building a new vision for schools from the bottom up, pages 195-204

Colin Richards. A Tale of Two Interpretations: Ofsted's expectations re-examined, pages 205-215

Richard Hatcher. Skilled and Ready: what Combined Authorities want from schools, pages 217-231

Martin Allen. As the EBacc Education Beds Down, Pressures Grow for Vocational Alternatives, pages 233-236

Terry Wrigley. Not So Simple: the problem with 'evidence-based practice' and the EEF toolkit, pages 237-252

Jane Manzone. Factory-farmed Teachers Will Fail Our Children, pages 253-255

Jon Berry. Reasons to Be Cheerful? Why Teachers' Beliefs Could Yet Bring about Change in Schools, pages 257-266

Richard Rieser. The Teachers' Action, 1984-1986: learning lessons from history, pages 267-273

Nadia Edmond & Aidan Pettitt. From a Whisper to a Scream: the Campaign for Education in Brighton & Hove, pages 275-282

Richard Harris & Gawain Little. Building a Social Movement for Education in England: responses to Richard Hatcher, pages 283-290

OBITUARIES

Michael Armstrong, pages 291-292 OPEN ACCESS http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.291 VIEW FULL TEXT

Nanette Whitbread, page 293 OPEN ACCESS http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.293 VIEW FULL TEXT

BOOK REVIEW

The Revolutionary Baby: an adventure in two-year-olds' story-making (Laura Magnavacchi & Deborah Wilenski), reviewed by Pat Yarker, pages 295-299 http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.295 VIEW FULL TEXT


 

Education Excellence Everywhere: FORUM's response to the White Paper

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.135

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This article represents the response of the FORUM Editorial Board to the Government's White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere. The response is as drafted, and has not been amended to take account of policy changes already announced, and included in the Queen's Speech. As the editorial makes clear in this issue of FORUM, these concessions are significant – but they are intended to give the appearance of change, rather than representing any meaningful revision. The arguments outlined in the Editorial Board's response remain fundamentally the same, and so they are included here in their original form.

 

What's the Point? Select Committee Ponders the Meaning of Education

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.155

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In November 2015 the House of Commons Education Committee launched an enquiry into the purpose and quality of education in England. Among the written submissions was one from this author on behalf of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust. At the request of FORUM an edited version appears in the journal. The submission's centrepiece was the statement of educational aims from the final report of the Cambridge Primary Review, a statement on which the author and Michael Armstrong worked together and which Michael frequently quoted.

 

The Values of Scottish Comprehensive Schooling

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.167

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It is just over 50 years since the government circulars in Scotland, England and Wales which signalled an intention to abolish selection and reform secondary schooling along comprehensive lines. Each country's policy trajectories since then have been quite different. In this article the authors reflect on more than 50 years of comprehensive education in Scotland and assess its achievements and challenges.

 

Capturing the Castle: an exploration of changes in the democratic accountability of schools

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.177

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The history of the forced conversion to sponsored academy status of Castle Primary School in south Somerset is a tale of broken promises, lies and a blatant breach of statutory procedures. Yet the Department for Education, the local Member of Parliament (and schools minister) and the local authority stood by – sometimes participated – while a small academy trust rode roughshod over the wishes of governors, staff and parents. This article is an extract from a yet to be published study of the whole process, reflecting on the way that the law, and good practice, in the accountability of schools has shifted over recent years. It highlights many of the dangers that will be amplified by the proposals set out in the White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere.

 

There is Another Way: building a new vision for schools from the bottom up

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.195

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The last twenty years have seen continual change in the education system, much of which has been poorly planned, ideologically driven, lacking in coherence and without an evidence base. The key aspects of accountability, school governance and structure, curriculum and assessment and teacher training and development are critiqued (reviewed) from the perspective of the leaders of a school in East London, and an alternative strategy is articulated addressing these issues but based on a much greater degree of trust, and rooted in research and evidence.

 

A Tale of Two Interpretations: Ofsted's expectations re-examined

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.205

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Since September 2015 the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has introduced major changes to its inspection procedures and expectations. These are embodied in its handbook for school inspection. Ofsted claims more than it can deliver; in particular it makes impossible demands on its inspectors – in terms of applying both evaluation criteria and grade descriptors. It also raises unrealistic expectations of and demands on schools.

 

Skilled and Ready: what combined authorities want from schools

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.217

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The purpose of combined authorities, driven by government, is economic growth and public sector reform. Economic growth requires improved productivity. The main obstacle, it is claimed, is a 'skills deficit', which schools need to address. In this article the evidence for this claim is examined. The real problem, it is argued, is a structurally low-skill, low-investment economy. What employers want from 'non-academic' school leavers is basic skills, 'soft skills' and positive attitudes to work. The contradiction with the Government's EBacc-dominated curriculum creates a space for 'employability' programmes in schools which may be promoted by combined authorities.

 

As the EBacc Education Beds Down, Pressures Grow for Vocational Alternatives

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.233

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Though upper secondary education is increasingly dominated by the EBacc, there are growing calls for vocational alternatives and for schools to be more than 'exam factories'. This short contribution examines whether vocational education provides an alternative way forward.

 

Not So Simple: the problem with 'evidence-based practice' and the EEF toolkit

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.237

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There are increasing calls for policy and practice to be 'evidence informed'. At surface value, there may appear much to commend such an approach. However, it is important to understand that 'evidence' and 'knowledge' are being mobilised in very particular ways. The danger is that rather than promote a rich and lively debate about what counts as evidence, and how it can help educators, the reality is the development of a narrow 'what works' agenda which in turn imposes a 'one best way' approach to pedagogical practice.

 

Factory-farmed Teachers Will Fail Our Children

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.253

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The White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere signals a further attack on the role of universities in educating future teachers. The author challenges the type of preparation that new teachers experience, and highlights the impact it will have for both school students and the future of the teaching profession.

 

Reasons to Be Cheerful? Why Teachers' Beliefs Could Yet Bring about Change in Schools

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.257

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This article revisits Douglas Barnes's book-length exploration of the implications for teachers of a constructivist epistemology, notably in relation to the importance of small-group talk in classrooms. Empirically based consideration of small-group exploratory pupil–pupil talk enabled Barnes to reveal the learning strategies such a context elicits, and to argue for its educational significance. Barnes also considers how a curriculum can be seen as a form of communication. He identifies the importance of pupil engagement if learning is to be effective, and explores some of the patterns of communication which enhance such engagement. Barnes's attention to pupils' production of knowledge through exploratory talk retains its power to correct the view that teaching is essentially about the delivery of predetermined lesson-content.

 

The Teachers' Action, 1984-1986: learning lessons from history

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.267

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Thirty years ago teachers in the NUT and NASUWT were involved in a protracted industrial dispute. The outcome of the dispute had huge implications for education policy in the years that followed (most obviously the introduction of the 1987 Education Bill), and has important lessons for teacher unionism today. The author offers a personal reflection on his involvement in that historic dispute, and connects the struggles of 1986 with those happening in 2016.

 

From a Whisper to a Scream: the Campaign for Education in Brighton & Hove

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.275

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This article gives a brief history of the creation and first two years of the Campaign for Education in Brighton and Hove. It makes a case for grass-roots responses to the various neo-liberal policy initiatives undermining all phases of public education. This article was written prior to publication of the White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere. Since then the campaign has acted as the centre of a broad mobilisation against the White Paper.

 

Building a Social Movement for Education in England: responses to Richard Hatcher

http://dx.doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.2.283

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In FORUM 57(3), 2015, Richard Hatcher outlined how it was necessary to build a social movement against government education policy and in support of an alternative reform agenda. We, the editors, believe this is an important, and complex, debate. As a contribution to developing further discussion around Richard's ideas we present two responses from those involved in education activism. Both contributions are submitted in a personal capacity. If you wish to further add to this debate, please email the editors (FORUM@wwwords.co.uk).

 

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