Wednesday 30 December 2015

More awkward facts for the academy enthusiasts to answer

"There can now be no doubt that, on average, conversion to become a sponsored academy slows the improvement of a struggling school"

Data released by the NUT this morning confirms, yet again, that academisation fails to provide 'school improvement'.

As the NUT press release explains, the Education and Adoption Bill, close to becoming damaging new legislation under this Government, "is based on the assumption that the only way to improve schools was to convert to become a sponsored academy and join a Multi Academy Trust. This data casts serious doubt on that assumption." 

The data is from Ofsted's own figures, secured through a question from Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. The figures show that, while a very few academy chains may do well, overall a school is six times as likely to remain inadequate if it becomes a sponsored academy than if it remains as a maintained school!

The figures released by Ofsted in answer to Lord Hunt this month

As you can see from the table, according to Ofsted, whose findings the DfE of course set much store by, of those schools that became sponsored academies,
  • 12% remained “Inadequate” at their next inspection, compared to 2% of maintained schools
  • 53% of these sponsored academies remained either “Inadequate” or “Requires Improvement”, compared to 38% of maintained schools.
  • Of schools that stayed in the local authority maintained sector, 62% become “Good” or “Outstanding” compared to 47% for sponsored academies.

This data only confirms other comparative figures that have consistently shown similar weaknesses in the overall performance of sponsored academies. In particular, Henry Stewart from the Local Schools Network has provided a whole series of figures, looking at both primary and secondary phases, attempting to show the Government "how destructive its forced academisation could be".  

As Henry Stewart states in the NUT Press Release, “The data is clear, at primary and secondary level. There can now be no doubt that, on average, conversion to become a sponsored academy slows the improvement of a struggling school.”

Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, concludes the NUT that:The Government’s whole schools strategy is based on the dogmatic belief that conversion to academy status by definition improves standards. These latest findings show this to be nonsense. It is in fact the proven structural support of maintained schools which is more likely to achieve results. But the Government’s educational vandalism is systematically undermining the role of local authorities in education, to the detriment of our children.”

Unfortunately, their dogmatic and ideological support for school privatisation and the destruction of democratically accountable local authorities means that the Tories will, once again, ignore the incontestable evidence. It will again fall to parents, students and teacher trade unionists to take action to defeat their damaging plans.

Monday 7 December 2015

NUT calls for immediate pay rise of at least £2,000 for all teachers

The NUT issued a press release today, to coincide with its submission to the School Teachers Review Body, calling for urgent action on teachers' pay. It states:

"The NUT is calling on the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) to recommend urgent action on teachers’ pay in order to address the growing teacher supply crisis

Almost 1 in 5 teacher training places remain unfilled. This is the third consecutive year that the secondary recruitment target has been missed. Teacher numbers are also declining through the 50,000 leaving the profession. This is the highest number of resignations for a decade.

Teachers’ pay has now fallen by around 15% in 5 years on the back of Government pay policy and inflation. This leaves teacher salaries trailing behind other graduate professions.

The NUT is calling for all teachers to receive an immediate increase of not less than £2,000 from September 2016. This should be followed by a process of restoring pay to the levels before the Coalition Government took office and then to appropriate levels to attract the teachers we need.

The NUT is also calling for an end to performance related pay and the restoration of national pay scales across England and Wales. The current unpredictability and pay discretion can lead to discriminatory decisions. The lack of a clear career path is of course deterring many from entering teaching.

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

‘Teacher recruitment and retention are both at dangerously low levels. Many schools are unable to fill vacant posts. Pay and workload need to be addressed to resolve this situation.

‘The STRB has previously acknowledged the growing problems of recruitment, retention and morale. This has not, however, been translated into recommendations to resolve the situation. The STRB needs to demonstrate its independence from Government and make recommendations that will help restore the status of teaching as a secure and reasonably paid career.

‘Teaching is an incredibly rewarding job but it is vital that it is rewarding both professionally and in terms of pay. Workload too needs to be addressed and reduced. Failure to achieve this will see a further decline in the number of entrants to the profession and an increasing number of schools unable to find qualified teachers to teach our children and young people”.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

How many classroom #teachersmake 65K? DfE confirm 0.1%!

Well, well, well ... the DfE today decided to release statistics showing "the number of school teachers earning £65,000 or more in state funded schools in England". 

£65k? That's a strange figure to focus on - unless of course, you're coming under pressure over the misleading claim that '#teachersmake' "up to £65k as a great teacher" !

Do the DfE hope that these belated statistics will let them off the hook? Far from it! They only confirm what teachers complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority had stated in the first place - that only a tiny proportion of classroom teachers are paid over £65,000!

In fact, the DfE have simply provided the confirmation I was seeking at the end of October when I posted on this blog:
 "Now you would have thought by now that the DfE might realise that teachers can apply the skills we teach to our students about analysing sources and data. A quick look at Table 5 of the School Workforce Census suggests that there are 412,000 qualified classroom teachers in English schools. I'm open to correction but, if even as many as four ‘hundreds’ of them are earning £65k, isn't that just 0.1% of the total?"

The figures released by the DfE today
So, it turns out that my estimate was an accurate one. The  DfE are simply confirming that just 485 classroom teachers are earning over £65,000! So, yes that IS just 0.1% of classroom teachers.  

Perhaps it would be better for the DfE if they stop digging and withdraw their misleading claim ...