A “perfect storm” of challenges could see over 3,000 primary schools (20%) falling below the government’s tough new minimum standards in 2016. Primary Focus says the most effective way to ensure teachers and schools have the capability and capacity to cope with these challenges is to convert all primary schools into Academies, and then ask each school to join an Academy ‘chain’ by 2020.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have recently called for more schools to run longer days – either to provide more opportunities for extra curricular activities, to help learning, or to provide a safe and secure place for childcare for working parents. Our report, and accompanying polling from YouGov, looks at what a longer day might look like in practice.
Watching the Watchmen calls for a fundamental change in the power relationship between schools and Ofsted. It calls for lesson observations to be ditched, for Ofsted to consider abolishing or radically reducing the number of inspectors contracted to private companies and for inspectors to have relevant and recent teaching experience. It also proposes a new two-stage inspection process that will allow more resources to be focused on struggling schools.
Reversing the 'Widget Effect' welcomes the government’s introduction of performance pay in schools. The report shows that performance-related pay has been implemented in other countries without adverse effects for teachers or students, and finds that overwhelmingly teachers want to be paid based on the quality of their teaching. The report stresses that the system implemented must be fair and transparent in order to succeed, and sets out what a well-designed system would look like.
Centres of Excellence? acknowledges that families from all backgrounds face rising childcare costs. However, it argues that in a time of stretched budgets, supporting high quality care for children from deprived backgrounds offers greater value for money than subsidies to the richest parents. It also argues that the government is right to allow childcare to be delivered in a range of settings, rather than just Children’s Centres.
Quality Childcare highlights how people living in the most deprived areas of the country are receiving poorer quality childcare, when it is children in these areas who will gain the most from accessing high quality care. This report calls for the government to put fresh impetus in improving the quality of early years teaching and makes recommendations for how to do so.
Technical Matters calls for a distinct technical and vocational route through the education system to help reduce dropout and disengagement. Employers should work more closely with technical and vocational education providers to ensure the curriculum is relevant to future jobs and incorporates high quality instruction to industrial-level standards.
Competition meets Collaboration presents evidence showing that not only do Academies work when it comes to raising standards, but that Academy chains can be even more effective at improving results than single Academies. The report makes recommendations for encouraging the growth of more and bigger academy chains.
This report says that the government should consider allowing private companies to set up and run schools under a social enterprise model. Allowing private providers to take over the running of publicly run schools will create new places at a time when there is a severe shortage in many parts of the country.
There are many challenges facing the government and all providers of higher education and higher skills. This report looks at three problems, and argues that Further Education Colleges can play a strong role in responding to all three.