Educational elites?

I’ve only just picked up on a couple of news stories on educational matters

First, this from the Independent on the real cost of grammar schools.  It indicates that when the Government recently named and shamed what it described as “failing schools”, local education authorities that have stuck with selection have contributed disproportionately to the list.

And, interestingly enough, New Labour’s flagship academies also do very badly indeed.

Now, there are lessons here.  Of course if you cream off the top achieving pupils, the remainder will do less well statistically; and of course some of the flagship academies have been set up in succession to deeply troubled schools.  But there are lessons here about underlying social problems; you can’t wish away social problems and social divisions.  And it is interesting to note that, in this report, academies are failing on the value-added scores which are supposed to offset the effect of social deprivation.

All in all the much-derided bog-standard comprehensive seems to come out of this rather well.

Holed below the waterline

Meanwhile, in another altogether more privileged part of the forest, Rear-Admiral Chris Parry, whose allegations about feral behaviour in state schools I mentioned in an earlier post, has resigned as head of the Independent Schools’ Council after a mere six weeks in the job.  The Independent report suggests that his tenure was disastrous for reasons other than his comments about state schools; both here, though, and in the Guardian, the clear implication is that this employers’ concern was more about the tone than the accuracy of his comments at a time when the charitable status of private schools is coming under scrutiny.

It all looks like a classic establishment “man overboard” job to me.


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