Crazy Maths Trick – Multiply up to 20 x 20 in your Head

Crazy Maths Trick – Multiply up to 20 x 20 in your Head

ASCL Says Opening Free Schools May Be Waste Of Money

ASCL says opening free schools may be waste of money

BBC |March 24, 2012

By Judith Burns Education reporter, BBC News
Opening free schools in areas where they are not needed is a “shameful” waste of taxpayers’ money, according to the leader of a head teachers’union.In a speech on Saturday, Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders, will also say free schools may damage existing schools.

“Such experimentation is deeply and unequivocally immoral,” he will say.

A government spokesman said free schools would give parents more choice of schooling for their children.

Free schools are funded from the public education budget, like other state schools, on a per-pupil basis.

However, they are run independently from local authority control by not-for-profit trusts, which can buy in private sector services.

In a speech to the union’s annual conference, Mr Lightman will say: “ASCL has no objection to new schools opening in areas where there is a shortage of school places but we cannot condone the creation of costly surplus places when other services are being cut.”

The union suggests that free schools planned for Suffolk, Essex, Bristol and Teesside are all in areas where there are already surplus places. It is also concerned that free schools may receive more generous funding than other schools and accuses the government of being opaque when it comes to free school budgets.

Mr Lightman will call upon the government to publish spending figures for the next three years for each new free school.

‘Downward spiral’He will say that he wants parents to be able to see how these figures compare to funding for other schools in their neighbourhoods.

His speech will suggest that other nearby schools could be thrown into a downward spiral because of falling pupil numbers and lack of investment.

“Children are not guinea pigs in some educational lab. Schools that have been consigned to the dustbin of our education service in this way cannot be expected to create the conditions which enable them to raise standards.

“No-one in government should be contemplating standing by and watching as some schools fail in order to use it as a lever of change,” he will say.

In a statement, the Department for Education (DfE) said: “We cannot continue with a system where thousands of parents are forced to send their child to a school that is either weak or simply isn’t right for them.

“Our school reforms will help put this right by creating a system that works for – not against – parents, many of whom live in the poorest parts of the country.”

The DfE said that free schools would cost a fraction of schools built under Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

Schools ‘Too Often Asked To Make Up For Wider Failings’

Schools ‘too often asked to make up for wider failings’

BBC |March 23, 2012

By Judith Burns BBC News in Birmingham
Schools are too often asked to make up for wider failings in families and communities, the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said.“Schools can step into the vacuum, setting good examples where few exist at home,” he said.

He told the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders that schools’ moral purpose had never been more important.

But, he said, all was not wonderful in the garden.

Sir Michael was speaking on the first day of the Birmingham conference.

‘Lonely job’The association’s leadership has already complained that its members are demoralised with around half considering leaving the profession.

In his speech he said: “So much is expected of school and college leaders. Believe me, I know from my own experience what a tough job it is; and how leadership can be lonely, daunting and occasionally gut wrenchingly difficult. “

He echoed sentiments expressed by the ASCL general secretary, Brian Lightman, when he said: “It is also one of the best and most satisfying jobs in the world.”

And said society should occasionally just stand back and reflect on whether it is giving enough support to our schools and their leaders.

Double standards“A culture which is sometimes self obsessed and puts such emphasis on celebrity and instant gratification, doesn’t necessarily foster in our young people the essential virtues of effort and diligence which are so fundamental to success at schools and colleges.

“Our youngsters are too often exposed to double standards, where bad behaviour and violence are publicly condemned but endlessly available as entertainment,” he added.

He said this was not a counsel of despair but that schools in the most difficult circumstances often had no option but to be“surrogate parents” so that children can achieve.

He said he wanted Ofsted under his leadership to continue to help school leaders achieve better standards in schools.

“It is important we remember what it was like in the 70s and 80s before Ofsted when whole generations of children and young people were failed”

He said that many schools got away with “blue murder” during that era.

He added that changes in the Ofsted framework would not be brought in without considering the views of head teachers and invited heads to contribute to the ongoing consultation.

However many of the audience of head teachers were sceptical.

Graham Bett, a head teacher from Leicestershire said the cumulative effect of the chief inspector’s comments in the media in previous weeks had amounted to a “corrosive negative rhetoric”.

And Carol Buchanan, of Cardinal Newman Catholic School, in Coventry accused Ofsted of engendering a climate of fear, being inconsistent on the ground and failing to appreciate any teaching methods that did not fit a recognised pattern.

Nursery Staff Skill Concerns Raised In Nutbrown Review

Nursery staff skill concerns raised in Nutbrown review

The Guardian World News |24 March 2012 06.02 GMT

Nursery schoolchildren

Despite the importance of early education in children’s development, Professor Nutbrown concluded that the work was seen as “low status, low paid, and low skilled”. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Nursery staff and childminders are allowed to work at pre-school groups without displaying basic literacy or numeracy skills,according to a Government-commissioned review.

Colleges demand more qualifications for students training to look after animals than for those who will care for babies, the report said.

Professor Cathy Nutbrown, an expert in early childhood education from Sheffield University, conducted the research and discovered that there was no requirement to demonstrate competence in English and mathematics.

These skills are important in supporting the development of babies and young children, as well as communicating with parents, she stated.

Professor Nutbrown found that although there are “examples of excellence”, there remained “substantial concerns” about the quality of training.

Despite the importance of early education in children’s development, she concluded that the work was seen as “low status, low paid, and low skilled”.

She wrote: “The hair or care stereotype still exists for many considering a course in the early years; yet many other sectors have raised their expectations in relation to enrolment.

“It must be a cause for concern that early years courses are often the easiest to enrol on and the courses that the students with the poorest academic records are sometimes steered towards.”

The Nutbrown Review quoted Dr Celia Greenway, from the University of Birmingham, who said: “For too long early years work has been perceived as an alternative to hairdressing and a suitable route for those who fail in school.”
The Unison union said: “By allowing non-qualified people to work in childcare settings we undermine the status of the qualified workforce. In nearly all professions, staff can only be employed if they are qualified.

“This should be the case in early education and childcare.”

Helen Perkins of Solihull College told the report that students must achieve a higher level of qualifications on their courses for animal care than child care.

“Nobody demands the same level of qualification before you can be left alone with a baby,” she said.

Meanwhile Professor Nutbrown expressed concern that some learning centres “push students through a course” even if they are not suited to a career in pre-school groups in a bid to achieve high completion rates.

She considered the introduction of a licence for nursery staff, but conceded it was unclear which organisation would manage such a scheme or how it could be funded.

Her interim report was published last week, and she will make her final recommendations in the summer.

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