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Showing posts from May, 2021

Post Qualification Admissions and DfE Consultation… Consultation… Consultation!

It seems the Department for Education (DfE) is governing by a process of endless consultations as a smoke screen to hide underlying strategy. The latest on Post Qualification Admissions has already decided to cease teachers’ grade predictions as part of the university admission system and offers only two options in a Hobsons choice. Its purpose appears to be making the process fairer for less advantaged students but might make matters worse. Many well-informed observers are getting very concerned. The decision is predicated on two assumptions. Firstly, that teachers tend to under predict the grades for disadvantaged students who may go onto get higher grades and miss out on courses at university with higher entry requirements. Secondly, that the examination grades are an accurate reflection of a student’s ability and teachers are simply getting it wrong. Neither are strictly correct, and this post is a longer one as it examines some of the flaws in the decision making by the DfE, led b

Funding lifeline for disadvantaged students in schools under the spotlight

The image depicts the cover of a recent report by the Northern Ireland Audit Office that looks critically at the impact of ongoing additional school funding for disadvantaged students. Its hard-hitting conclusions must not be ignored. They show 15 years of failure and little impact despite nearly a billion spent across schools from 2005 to 2020. Similar schemes operate across the rest of the UK and the report raises serious questions about where the money is going. There is no doubt that disadvantages at home impact upon how students get on at school. But the danger is that some opponents will seize upon the findings to argue that the money should be withdrawn since it appears to do no good. Wiser heads will ask about where the money is going before reaching such a perverse conclusion. This is a time of considerable danger for those with few advantages. A wider social intervention will be needed to address the problems, and it is unreasonable to expect schools to impact things beyond