Struggling schools do not need help from grammars, independents or universities, study finds

The TES reports that the NFER research was sparked by government proposals published last year.

England’s school system is capable of bringing about improvements without having to turn to universities, grammar or private schools, new research has concluded.

A report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), published today, examines the capacity for high-performing schools to collaborate with nearby schools in need. The research was prompted by last year’s government consultation on using selective schools, independent schools and universities to increase the number of good school places in England.

Co-author Karen Wespieser told Tes that collaborative approaches to school improvement work best when the partners share similarities, and the report shows the extra resource the government proposed in the consultation “is not necessary”.

She added: “I would like [the Department for Education] to focus on what’s working within a self-improving system and give it the time and space it really needs to really flourish. I think the other institutions can have an important role in that, but if we are to prioritise one, I would work with what we have got at the moment.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, described it as a “quite an optimistic document”. He told Tes: “It shows the capacity of schools to be able to help other schools. In fact, it shows that in quite a powerful way – it shows there are plenty more schools that can do that.”

The report says that capacity for collaboration depended on the school’s phase and region, with primaries having more high-performing schools nearby owing to their greater number, and London having the greatest capacity.

Read more Struggling schools do not need help from grammars, independents or universities, study finds

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