Question: What links GCSE Design and Technology* with my 4 year old's class size? Answer: Money. And the choices we've made about how to spend it. We've made the strangest resourcing choices in England, although it is so ingrained in our societal norms that is hard for us to recognise it. Children start at age 4 …
David Laws, the Liberal Democrat Minister for Schools, has been making a series of speeches over the past month about “closing the gap” in the attainment between pupils from deprived and more affluent backgrounds. Yesterday, he warned that schools should not be judged as outstanding by Ofsted if they failed to close the gap, a goal that sounds fair and even laudable in principle, but I believe is rather unfair in practice.
The “gap” is the difference in GCSE achievement between the average for pupils who are eligible for free school meals and the average for those who are not. Pupils eligible for free school meals have similar characteristics across schools since they all come from families claiming some sort of benefit. The problem is that the background of pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM) will vary considerably across schools, since the group includes…
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Thousands of primary and secondary schools have chosen to convert to academy status (the chart below covers secondary education). A survey by the think-tank Reform showed that financial considerations were the most widely cited reason for conversion, as predicted by many, including The Guardian.
The financial gains arise because academies can directly claim their share of the Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent Grant (LACSEG) (pdf) in recognition of the fact that as independent schools they no longer receive a number of services from local authorities (LAs), and must make appropriate provision for themselves or do without these services. LACSEG money is spent by local authorities on:
- Educational disadvantage: pupils with special needs but without statements, behaviour support services, educational welfare services, 14-16 practical programmes, assessing free school meals eligibility
- Educational enrichment: music services, visual and performing arts, outdoor education, museum and library services
- Risk sharing across schools
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