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Published on July 5, 2012,

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


Thousands to miss out on preferred school on first National Offer Day

Published on April 16, 2014,

Sky News is reporting that thousands of children will miss out on their preferred primary school place in the first National Offer Day…

Emails and letters will be sent to parents across England but increasing pressure on schools mean many will be left disappointed. (more…)


Children’s Commissioner: Compulsory school age in danger of becoming two because of places scramble

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Guardian is reporting a warning from the children’s commissioner that the effective age to begin compulsory education is in danger of becoming two rather than four as parents try to gain advantage in winning places in coveted primary schools by putting their infants in the school’s nursery provision…

In a separate poll of parents, also timed to coincide with the day the families of more than 600,000 four-year-olds in England will be told where they have been accepted on the first national offer day for primary schools, almost half said they had used nurseries strategically to improve chances of getting a place at a particular school. (more…)


Teachers warn over ‘corporate greed’ in schools

Published on April 16, 2014,

The BBC is reporting claims from the ATL that England’s education system is being “destroyed through corporate greed”  and a “culture of cronyism” with private companies increasingly taking control of schools…

The union accuses these companies of “thriving on the spoils” of consultancy fees for free schools and academies. (more…)


July 7 anti-terror chief to oversee Muslim schools infiltration claims

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Telegraph is reporting that one of Britain’s most senior policemen has accused Michael Gove of fuelling speculation about an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools by appointing the anti-terrorism chief who oversaw the July 7 bombings investigation to oversee inquiries…

Chris Sims, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police said the decision to call in Peter Clarke, former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, to investigate claims about schools in Birmingham as “desperately unfortunate”. (more…)


Children are ‘addicted to tablets’ and ‘unable to play with building blocks’, teachers warn

Published on April 16, 2014,

The BBC is reporting warnings from the ATL conference that young children can swipe a computer screen but do not have the fine motor skills to play with building blocks…

A teachers’ conference heard how some pupils arrive in class tired and unable to concentrate after staying up late playing computer games. (more…)


10% of teens bullied at school have tried to commit suicide (and those bullied do less well in exams)

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Independent is reporting research that claims one in 10 teenagers bullied at school have attempted to commit suicide and a further 30 per cent go on to self-harm…

The study, by the anti-bullying pressure group, Ditch The Label, shows that 45 per cent of 13- to 18-year-olds have experienced bullying by the age of 18, with the majority saying the primary reason was their physical appearance. Researchers canvassed 3,600 young people. (more…)


One-in-five new primary places ‘created in poor schools’

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Telegraph is reporting that figures published by the DfE show that at least a fifth of new primary school places are in schools given a low rating by Ofsted, with numbers rising above half in some areas…

More than a fifth of new school places for under-11s have been created by expanding poor-quality state primaries, official figures show. (more…)


Tristram Hunt: Parents ‘baffled by Inset days’

Published on April 16, 2014,

Parents are often baffled as to why schools in England close for in-service training days , or ‘Inset’ days, according to Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt. This is from the BBC

Speaking at a teachers’ conference, Mr Hunt said schools had a duty to explain to parents how these days improved children’s education. (more…)


Teachers left to pick up pieces from cuts to youth mental health services

Published on April 16, 2014,

Writing in the Guardian, Mary O’Hara says that schools are struggling to cope with pupils’ problems as council spending on therapy and counselling dries up. This is an extract…

As the headteacher of large primary school in the west of England, Joan Cunningham is accustomed to the demanding aspects of managing an intake from a mainly disadvantaged area. However, for the past couple of years, she says, one issue has escalated so dramatically that it is nearly at crisis point. “There is so much more pressure on schools and teachers to deal with children’s mental health and behavioural problems,” she says. “We provide as much support as we can but, with fewer resources available and a massive increase in need … the pressure has been incredible.” (more…)


Michael Gove ‘plans more free schools’ before election’, claims Tristram Hunt

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Independent is reporting claims from Tristram Hunt that Michael Gove plans to rush through new applications for free schools in the run-up to the general election next year…

Labour’s shadow Education Secretary was speaking at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) conference in Manchester… (more…)


What if your academy brand loses its shine?

Published on April 16, 2014,

Writing in the Guardian, Laura McInerney argues that by signing up to become an academy, a school becomes part of a ‘brand’, but its reputation and pupils’ prospects will be tainted if other academies in the same brand fail…

…brands have a downside. Back in 1993, Jack in the Box was one of America’s most popular fast-food chains. But when an E coli outbreak in one restaurant killed four children and permanently injured 187 others, even the safest branches found people reluctant to eat there. (more…)


Oldfield School head’s “Dear Michael” letters to Education Secretary Gove revealed

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Bath Chronicle is reporting that Oldfield School head teacher Kim Sparling wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove – starting ‘Dear Michael’ – to ask him to intervene after a damning Ofsted inspection…

Letters released following a Freedom of Information (FoI) Act request by the Chronicle show that Mrs Sparling complained to Mr Gove about the agency and appealed to him to look at the inspection outcomes and discuss the situation with her. (more…)


Children missing school to interpret English for parents

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Telegraph is reporting claims that children in West Yorkshire have been taking time out of school to interpret for their parents who are unable to speak English…

The report to a council watchdog in Leeds, West Yorkshire, has raised concerns over the practice – including the pressure on the child, the potential for family conflicts, and the fact that they are missing lessons. (more…)


Children as young as eight were abused at school linked to paedophile MP Cyril Smith

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Mirror is reporting claims from whistleblower Martin Digan, ex-head of care at the residential school at the centre of the revelations, that it was a “sweet shop” for abusers…

…Secret files have been found that detail appalling depravity at the Knowl View unit for disturbed youngsters in Rochdale, where Smith was a governor. Police have identified 11 other suspects. (more…)


US teacher fired ‘after she ordered six students to attack boy who spoke back to her’ in videotaped beating

Published on April 16, 2014,

The Mail is reporting that a Florida teacher was fired from her job last week after she allegedly encouraged six students to attack a classmate that spoke back to her…



Today’s poll: Is a coordinated National Offer Day for primary places a good idea?

Published on April 16, 2014,

Today is National Offer Day and marks the first time councils across England will co-ordinate offers for primary school places. Is this a good idea to minimise confusion and anxiety for parents or an unnecessary complication to the process for schools that offers little in the way of meaningful benefits?

Is a coordinated Nation Offer Day for primary places a good idea?


Poll shows public opposition to education reforms

Published on April 15, 2014,

The Guardian is reporting the results of a Guardian/ICM poll suggesting strong public opposition to planks of Michael Gove’s education reforms which, it suggests, will embolden teaching unions assembling for their annual Easter conferences…

The biggest single structural change to English education since the coalition came to power has been the rapid conversion of secondary schools into semi-independent academies. There has been relatively little opposition at Westminster, not least because New Labour first invented the schools – which are autonomous from local authorities while being funded through private contracts. (more…)

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