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Published on July 5, 2012, by

Schools Improvement Net – schools news and views for school leaders and everyone interested in schools and school improvement – sign up for our daily news briefing here

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Ofsted faces calls for superhead probe after new email revelations

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Observer is reporting that Ofsted is facing calls for an independent investigation into allegations that a superhead praised by the government for producing schools that “outperform the rest” of the state sector had advance notice of Ofsted inspection dates…

…Today the Observer publishes evidence, including a string of emails, that contradict the claims in Ofsted’s inquiry that the schools, while highly prepared at the time of inspections, had merely benefited from good guesswork.

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Head teachers call on schools to put poor pupils first in queue for places – including those in the independent sector

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Mail is reporting that the NAHT is to say pupils from poor families should jump to the front of the queue for places at any school – including those in the independent sector…

They say an overhaul of the admissions process is needed to tackle educational disadvantage.

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Schools ‘given more powers to recruit two-year-olds’

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Telegraph is reporting that schools will be given extra freedom to enrol children aged just two under new legislation designed to drive up standards of early education…

A law passing through Parliament scraps bureaucratic hurdles that prevent schools automatically opening their doors to the youngest pupils.

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Taxpayers footed £1m bill for free schools that never opened

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Independent is reporting that more than £1m of taxpayers’ money has been spent on proposals for free schools that never opened….

…The report, compiled by the Labour Party, also shows that £50m has been spent on free schools either declared inadequate by the education standards watchdog, Ofsted, or requiring improvement.

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Christian school ‘downgraded for failing to invite an imam to lead assembly’

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Telegraph is reporting claims that a successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies…

The small independent school in the Home Counties was told it is in breach of new rules intended to promote “British values” such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, involving infiltration by hard-line Muslim groups in Birmingham.

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£170,000-a-year ‘superhead’ blew £4,500 on a new desk and £1,700 on a fridge

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Mail is reporting that a primary school ‘superhead’ being paid £170,000 a year refitted her office with £26,000 worth of furniture…

A probe by finance watchdogs found the Silver Birch Academy Trust, led by Patricia Davies, spent £4,500 on a desk and £1,700 on a fridge.

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Universities told: summer A-level results ‘may be wrong’

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Telegraph is reporting that examiners are warning that universities should effectively stop using A-level grades issued in the summer to finalise course places because of possible marking errors…

One of Britain’s biggest exam boards suggested that results should “not be viewed as finalised” until the end of October when all re-marks are made – a month after most degree courses start.

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‘School exclusions can condemn kids to life of crime’

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Scotsman is reporting that a study of offending has concluded that exclusion from school risks “propelling” young people into a life of crime…

Analysis carried out by the Scottish Government found good parenting and schooling in early life, along with policies to tackle drug and alcohol abuse in society as a whole, are among the most effective ways of reducing offending.

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Independent schools could drop A-levels in protest against reforms

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The TES is reporting that a growing number of independent schools are considering ditching A-levels in response to the turmoil over reforms to the qualification…

Dissatisfaction over elements of the changes – particularly the government’s decision to “decouple” AS- and A-levels – has led some schools to consider alternatives, including the international A-level.

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Revealed, the private academy set up by teachers barred over Trojan Horse plot

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Telegraph is reporting that teachers sacked, suspended or banned for their roles in the Trojan Horse plot have set up a private academy and are continuing to teach children…

It can also be disclosed that Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, has written to one of the five school at the heart of the plot, expressing regret at the publication last week of highly critical Ofsted reinspection reports saying the schools had done little to fix their problems…

Monzoor “Mozz” Hussain, the former head of Park View, the school at the centre of the scandal, was handed an interim order in August banning him from the profession for his role in the plot.

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Snap inspections target private Islamic schools

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Sunday Times is reporting that emergency inspections have been conducted at more schools in Tower Hamlets, east London, this month at the request of the DfE…

Most are understood to be private Islamic schools, but they include a flagship Church of England state school.

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Teacher views sought on plans for Royal College of Teaching

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The TES is reporting that teachers have been invited to have their say on proposals to establish a mass-membership College of Teaching – and whether it should be “royal” or not…

The proposed professional body, supported by the Prince’s Teaching Institute and being developed by a specially appointed commission, would give teachers a greater say over education policy, professional standards, curriculum and assessment, as well as offering support in skills development…

Now a “Claim Your College” project has been launched to encourage more input from classroom teachers, and a dedicated blog on the TES website is hosting the debate.

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Don’t leave yourself open to abuse on social media, teachers told

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Times is reporting warnings from a head that teachers should keep their distance from parents as much as pupils on social media sites for fear of being “trolled” in revenge for classroom punishments…

Mark Steed, principal of Berkhamsted School and chairman of the information and communications technology (ICT) strategy committee for the Independent Schools Council (ISC), told The Times that parents could “troll” teachers following punishments or oversights involving their children.

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Video: Sir Ian McKellen’s epic exam advice to Chew Valley students

Published on October 20, 2014, by

The Telegraph is reporting that Sir Ian McKellen had some stirring words about the importance of revision for students at Chew Valley School in Bristol…

In the video, uploaded to YouTube by the school, McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, addressed the star-struck students through a classroom window:

“In your preparation for your examinations – if you don’t do your revision properly, do you know what will happen?”

“What?

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Today’s poll: Should pupil premium children get priority in school admissions?

Published on October 20, 2014, by

We have a report today suggesting the NAHT is going to call for children eligible for pupil premium to be given the same priority for places that children in care currently gain in state schools, in order to help boost social mobility.

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Ofsted releases myth-busting document and confirms schools ‘not expected’ to grade lesson observations

Published on October 18, 2014, by

The TES is reporting that Ofsted has released a myth-busting document, produced in response to discussions between the teaching unions and Nicky Morgan, which aims to dispel misconceptions about inspections…

It also clarifies that Ofsted does not have specific requirements for “how planning should be set out, the length of time it should take or the amount of detail it should contain”, and does not “require self-evaluation to be provided in a specific format”.

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Schools expect drop in GCSE scores in wake of Gove changes

Published on October 18, 2014, by

The Times is reporting that fewer pupils are expected to achieve five good GCSE passes, including English and maths, when official figures are published next week…

It would be the first significant drop in performance since the measure was introduced as the government’s minimum floor standard.

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Best schools would still be able to convert to academies under Labour, says Tristram Hunt

Published on October 18, 2014, by

The Independent is reporting that Tristram Hunt has declared Labour would continue to allow good and outstanding schools to convert to academy status…

“In terms of schools wishing to convert, that should be up to them,” Mr Hunt said in an interview with the Academies Week newspaper published on Friday.

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