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Showing posts from August, 2020

Levelling up? No, the educational equality decline has just started

UPDATE
1st September 2020






Levelling up? 
No, the educational equality decline has just started

There is no longer much  point commenting on the educational inequalities that the COVID-19 crisis has uncovered. They are well established, and a better future will be demanded. The full impact of government inaction for a decade has risen into view as the catch-up race in schools begins in England and Wales today. The slogan of ‘levelling up’ was always a hollow one with little of substance in policy. The attitude of the government in its dealings with Ofqual further stretched their credibility to breaking point. To emphasise the need for action, two reports on educational disadvantage last week have been joined today by another from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Nuffield Foundation. Unlike the others last week, this survey is bang up to date and magnifies the inequalities already rooted in our society. The actions of the government on filling a widening chas…

The perfect storm for Universities PART TWO: The COVID-19 ‘time bomb blind-spot’

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PART ONE set out the context of the mounting predicament universities are finding themselves in around the rise in student numbers coming down the line. PART TWO looks at the immediate burden of more students finding themselves in financial difficulty. Loss of income sources for many students will be compounded by families at home losing their incomes as the recession bites before Christmas. It will impact 'middle-class' families unused to the idea of poverty and add to the growing numbers of students seeking help. The government and universities may be stumbling into another storm by failing to see the extent of the problem because of a ‘blind spot’ in their understanding. TEFS has received reassurances directly from each of the UK Universities ministers, but they are putting too much faith in university administered hardship funds as their only fallback position. This brings many problems with it as the ministers reject a TEFS call for a UK wide task force on student…

The perfect storm for Universities PART ONE: The demographic reality

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This is the first of a two-part posting that looks ahead to the challenges facing students, their  families, universities, and the UK governments as the examination debacle recedes. PART ONE considers the situation in the context of the demographic environment with a rising student population. This will continue for the next decade as universities adjust to the unplanned sudden spike in numbers this autumn. The current policy of capping numbers and diverting students into Further Education may be explained by the oncoming rise in the population of eighteen year old students. With number caps now temporarily lifted, the rise in the university intake is generally  distributed  evenly across the ‘disadvantage’ spectrum as more than expected are accepted onto courses. The gap between the most and least advantaged remains broadly the same. With the brakes failing on using grades to limit student numbers, the pressure on university facilities, their support services and accommodati…

Exams 2020 and the demise of Ofqual, who pays the ferryman? NEW UPDATE

NEXT UPDATE 20th August 2020
Today brought a further twist in the intrigue surrounding the decision by the government to press on with the flawed Ofqual algorithm for calculating the public examination results this summer. Doubts have been raised about what the Secretary of State and Schools Minister knew well in advance of deciding to revert to teacher Centre Assessed Grades or CAGs. Doubts are creeping in about the underlying motivation behind maintaining the existing inequalities in the system.


The Guardian has revealed two things that cast considerable doubt on the assertions that the ministers involved, Gavin Williamson and Nick Gibb, were not aware of the Ofqual algorithm 'problem' until the weekend. Yesterday, the Guardian revealed that 'Ofqual ignored exams warning a month ago amid ministers' pressure'. It seems that whistle blowers are  heading down the well worn path of breaking ranks in the face of what appears to be disingenuous claims by minsiters. Unna…