The Telegraph is reporting claims that a study has found failing academies are paying other schools to take on disruptive pupils in a bid to boost standards quickly.
Professor Alex Hill, of the Centre for High Performance in Oxford, revealed headteachers are also excluding poor behaving students to rapidly improve a failing academy.
Speaking at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, Prof Hill presented the findings of a three-year study looking at how to turn around a failing academy, based on information from 160 academies that had all been put into special measures…
Prof Hill said: “The first thing you shouldn’t do is improve teaching first. This is a common mistake. Lots of schools thought that the answer was just to put in great teachers.
“We found that actually, was not a good use of resources. It didn’t make sense to put good teachers into a school that had poor governance, poor leadership, operated across a lot of different sites and had poorly behaving students. Because they couldn’t have the impact they should have.”
Schools should also not reduce class sizes, as this has a minimal impact, the academic said, adding that it is more important to improve student behaviour and motivation…
“We found the fastest way to do that, which a lot of the academies do, is to significantly reduce the number of students you teach by excluding poor behaving students, in some instances we found they actually pay other schools to teach those students for them.
“Or, which is quite common practice, you build a new school that’s a lot smaller than the existing school so that you have the opportunity to change the student profile.
“So those are the practices we saw, very common, and that was the fastest way to change your student profile. I think we would all argue, it’s not the right solution for society in the long term.
“A better long-term practice that we saw was to create multiple pathways within the school and to take the poor behaving students and move them into another pathway so that they could be managed differently and then re-integrated when their behaviour improves.”
Prof Hill, who said he has sent his research to the Department for Education, said that part of the challenge for schools is that they are under-pressure to show improvement quickly…
There are obviously some very controversial soundbites in Professor Hill’s comments here but it will be fascinating to see his research in full, assuming it is made available in due course.
Your feedback and reactions on what he has said so far (and there is more on behaviour in the full article)?
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