The titans advance: wave of ‘super-size’ schools planned

The TES is reporting that local authorities across the country are planning for a wave of “super-size” schools with between 12 and 16 forms of entry and up to 3,000 pupils.

Figures supplied under the Freedom of Information Act show that at least 17 local authorities – including shire counties and big cities – will have secondaries with 12 forms of entry or more once pupil numbers hit a peak over the next few years.

Eight of the “titan” schools will have between 13 and 16 forms of entry, and almost all of these schools will have more than 2,000 students. Two of the secondaries will cater for around 3,000 pupils each, the figures reveal.

Asked if he was concerned about such growth, schools minister Nick Gibb told TES: “If you look at Shanghai, their schools are very large and they produce some very high standards of education.” One of Shanghai’s top state schools, Shanghai High, has more than 3,000 pupils.

But Mr Gibb added: “The danger of creating schools too large is they may struggle to attract parents.” Expansion must be balanced with “whether they can be confident they can maintain good behaviour and good academic standards”, he said…

Exmouth Community College in Devon is set to be one of the largest schools, with 2,860 students and 15 forms of entry on one school campus by 2018. At present it has 2,400 students. Headteacher Tony Alexander told TES the school had 163 full-time equivalent teachers, two staffrooms and four restaurant areas. “Although there are some disadvantages to being such a large school, the advantages outweigh them,” he said.

“We are able to provide a broad curriculum that other schools could not afford. And we have a wide range of children with different qualities and different attributes, which can only be good…The main disadvantage is that, as a head, I can’t know all the children individually.”

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said school expansion did not tend to affect standards…

See more in the latest edition of TES

More at: The titans advance: wave of ‘super-size’ schools planned

 

We need more places and sites for new schools are going to be extremely hard to find – unless we start busing children to out-of-town schools on brown field sites (and even then local authorities can’t build new schools) – so do these ‘titan’ schools make most sense?

If you work in one, how would you describe the advantages and disadvantages? And is Nick Gibb right to suggest the biggest barrier may be parental perceptions?

Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

 

Super-sized 'titan' schools - a sensible solution to the school places crisis?

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Having worked in a large school I found them totally impersonal & found I met new staff and students every week.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Having worked in a large school I found them totally impersonal & found I met new staff and students every week.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Having worked in a large school I found them totally impersonal & found I met new staff and students every week.

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove I find NickGibbMP’s justification for them being “Shanghai has them” simply laughable. The guy is clueless

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove HT makes fair point regarding offering more subjects with more numbers, but with narrowing of curr, is it still a benefit?

  6. Advantages: can offer more subject options BUT focus will still be on EBacc subjects so more likely there will be more classes in these subjects rather than broadening curriculum.
    Disadvantages: impersonal, impossible for staff to know all pupils (and for pupils to know all staff).
    Traffic problems at start and end of school day.  Schools, especially in rural areas, become like Victoria coach station.  
    Could work if pupils split into mini-schools or houses but if mini-schools structured on ability groupings there’s danger of stereotyping (eg the ‘top’ group school; the ‘thicko’ group).

  7. andylutwyche

    stephanootis SchoolsImprove What Gibb knows about education can be detailed on a postage stamp, with room to spare for your shopping list

  8. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove NickGibbMP Everything appears to be justified by sticking ‘Shanghai’ or ‘Chinese’ in front of them.  Shanghai maths, Chinese teaching methods  and now Shanghai titan schools.  But how about Shanghai’s record of excluding 25% of the cohort from PISA tests – are those children actually in education?  Or Chinese attitudes to human rights?  Seems Osborne is happy to ditch commitment to human rights in dash for Chinese dollars demonstrating ancient British tradition: hypocrisy.

  9. dukkhaboy

    andylutwyche stephanootis SchoolsImprove Shanghai schools are very large-they produce very high standards of education.” #NickGibbLogic

  10. TW

    Janet2 andylutwyche SchoolsImprove NickGibbMP

    ‘British’?  English, I think – let’s not credit the Celts with qualities they do not possess.

  11. TW

    Or out-of-town sites on green field sites, which is what is already occurring.  After all, who wants any of those field thingies when we could just have more people.

  12. Nairb1

    Schools minister Nick Gibb told the TES: “If you look at Shanghai, their schools are very large and they produce some very high standards of education.” Mr. Gibb went on to say ‘Sheng Jian is a popular snack among Shanghai students and so from next Monday I will be requiring all English schools to include this at every meal. I am a great believer that correlation and causation are the same thing.’

  13. Oh dear!  Titan or Titanic schools?  Impersonal factories for processing young people.  
    Schools should help build communities which means they need to be local and therefore small not huge.  Staff and students should know each other.  
    Educationists should plan schools not accountants.  
    I guess the fault lies not with local government but with national government starving therm of funds.

  14. entdiamondsch

    SchoolsImprove We’ll stick with ours – class sizes up to 12, offering total wraparound care to children and their families, into employment

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