VIEWS – Christians in Education


This is the final VIEWS update of the school year.  VIEWS will be back on Friday 4 September.

Following on from Geoff Barton’s heart-breaking blogs last month on the ‘disappeared’, a group of governors write about the past few months at Ely College, a large secondary school in East Anglia; an academy with the CfBT Schools Trust since 2010. They stood down in late March 2015 after an Ofsted inspection, which they believe was deeply flawed and punitive, placed the school in ‘special measures’. Read more

Textbooks should be scrapped in British schools within the next five years, according to a top education advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama. Richard Culatta, of the U.S. Department for Education, said the many digital resources available will soon make textbooks obsolete. He said that while textbooks are outdated as soon as they are printed, apps and websites can be constantly updated. Read more

‘Turbo-charge’ young teachers’ careers to get them to teach in tough schools, says social mobility tsar Alan Milburn, pointing to evidence that shows that high-calibre teaching can add up to 18 months of learning to a disadvantaged student. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission warned it could take three decades for the attainment gap between children from poor backgrounds and their richer counterparts to close. Read more

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, in an article for Guardian Education last month, explained why Labour failed to offer a ‘compelling enough’ vision for education in the last election. To judge by a straw poll of readers, his piece provoked frustration all round. Why didn’t Labour put up a more robust fight on education policy? Couldn’t some of these points have been made earlier? It is a bit late now. These were common responses. Read more from Fiona Millar on why Labour should be less timid on education.

Parents should send their kids to schools to study alongside Chinese and other immigrants to get them excited about learning, David Blunkett, the former education secretary has said. Mr. Blunkett, who has recently been appointed chair of the David Ross Education Trust, also said most migrant families recognise the value of education as ‘the lifeline to liberation of talent’. Read more

School leaders say teachers should not be required to step in and look after pupils’ dental health. Reports released this week reveal that almost a third of five-year-olds in England have some tooth decay, a situation that dentists have referred to as ‘frightening’ and a ‘crisis’. Almost 26,000 general anaesthetics are given to children between the ages of 5 and 9, so that they can have teeth removed. Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, is concerned that teachers often end up having to take responsibility for pupils’ dental hygiene. Read more

Exams do not measure the skills pupils require to function in society, a head teacher has said. Speaking to the Telegraph, Peter Hyman, head teacher at School 21 and former head of communications at Downing Street, said the current assessment system was ‘completely broken’. He said: ‘I think we’ve got into a spiral of panic about standards. The result is a system nobody thinks is conducive to a decent education or getting most out of children or staff.’ Read more

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has hit back at claims the Government has downgraded the teaching of arts in schools, insisting she considered it an essential element of learning and a ‘matter of social justice’. She dismissed concerns as nonsense and said making sure young people were aware of Britain’s cultural contribution from Shakespeare to One Direction was ‘ at the heart of our plans to prepare the next generation for life in the modern world’. Read more