By attacking Grammars isnt the network deflecting attention from the performance of their schools?
The Schools Network wants grammar school pupils to have to achieve five A* or A grades at GCSE to be considered as having achieved a satisfactory level of education. All other state schools would continue to be judged on students passing five GCSEs at A*-C grades. The Schools Network , formerly The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust , helped roll out the Academy and Specialist schools programmes under the last Labour government. Academies, of course, are central to this governments education reforms, although Labour claim that the new Academies are not the same as their Academies ,which were almost exclusively located in deprived areas. Just about any school ,even outstanding ones, can now convert to Academy status .
Specialist schools were criticised by some, including Professor Alan Smithers, for not being Specialist in any meaningful sense. Although claiming to be ‘ Specialist’ if you looked a bit closer at, for example, the number of specialist teachers they employed or, crucially the number of pupils taking hard (as opposed to soft)qualifications in their specialism then you might be dissappointed to find, though perhaps not surprised, that they were not much different from their neighbouring school, which claimed no specialism.(and therefore had access to fewer funds)
Professor David Jesson, an associate of the Schools Network, had created a means for measuring value added for SSAT supported schools, taking into account contextual data. Some critics suggested that this was conceived because their schools were not performing well enough under the standard government performance benchmark of five good GCSEs, including maths and English. Perish the thought. Mind you, if a pupil leaving school at 16 were to go to a job interview and argue the case that he hadnt got five good GCSEs but that his school had added great value, one might have grounds for wondering whether this was an approach that maximised the chances of a positive outcome.
Jesson is the author of a new report for The Schools Network which suggests that because grammar schools produce such excellent results, their performance should be judged differently. Indeed the clear implication was that many Grammar schools ,which are selective, are coasting.(so are quite a few comprehensive schools in leafy suburbs-which the SSAT was given funds by the last government to address- err..whatever happened to that programme?)
Robert McCartney, chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, said: “It would be grossly unfair and nonsensical to suggest comparing schools using different criteria according to their type. To do this would be totally misleading and grammar school pupils usually take ‘harder’ GCSEs, such as chemistry, physics, foreign languages, geography or history.” He continued “Pupils in comprehensive schools often take English and maths along with ‘softer’ subjects such as media studies, psychology or information technology which may count for up to four GCSEs.”
There is certainly evidence that quite a few state schools including academies have ‘gamed’ ie entered pupils for soft options ’ to secure good league table positions, something that the introduction of the Ebacc is designed to address.
Jessons suggestion does seem slightly self-serving. If Jesson’s measurement were applied to some of the schools in the Schools Network then I think we know the level of carnage that would result, and some might then begin to ask some questions about the performance of the Schools Network itself. Food for thought.
The Network has just this week been forced into administration, as public sector cuts ensured government business and its subsidies were slashed. There has been a management buyout which ensures that the ‘SSAT’ continues to trade. Other non-subsidised education providers have long complained that the SSAT/Schools Network only survived because they were heavily subsidised and guranteed business from the government, with quite a lot of this business not put out to open tender.Some of these criticisms now seem vindicated.
Do they make a difference? Maybe ,but not on attainment
Over the last 15 years, teaching assistants (TAs) have become a central part of policy and practice in meeting the needs of lower-attaining pupils and those with SEN. Over this period, TAs have grown to comprise an astonishing quarter of the UK mainstream school workforce. Some claim that that using TAs to provide one-to-one and small group support to struggling pupils works well. Others fear that they they dont have the necessary skills and training to cope with these specialist tasks.One serving teacher told me that the reality for many TAs today, is that ” they sit beside the most appallingly behaved children, lesson after lesson, and try to limit the damage they do by reprimanding them, encouraging them or distracting them.’
It does seem likely that schools will seek to extend this support work through the Pupil Premium. However, research suggests that schools should be cautious about the use (or misuse) of TAs assistants. Results first published in the 2009 book Reassessing the Impact of Teaching Assistants: How Research Changes Practice and Policy, by Peter Blatchford, Anthony Russell and Rob Webster, on a five-year study of 8,200 pupils, found that pupils who received the most support from TAs consistently made less progress than similar pupils who received less TA support. In Reassessing the Impact of Teaching Assistants the authors recommend:
- TAs should not routinely support lower attaining pupils and those with SEN
- Teachers should deploy TAs in ways that allow them to ‘add value’ to their own teaching
- Initial teacher training should include how to work with and manage TAs
- Schools have a formal induction process for TAs
- More joint planning and feedback time for teachers and TAs.
The five-year study, the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) project (the largest study of TAs worldwide) measured the effect of the amount of TA support on the academic progress of 8,200 pupils, while controlling for factors like prior attainment and level of SEN. Worryingly, the analyses, across seven year groups, found that those who received the most support from TAs consistently made less progress than similar pupils who received less TA support. So given the resources invested in Teaching Assistants and their apparent lack of impact on pupil attainment, and the possible role they may have in support of the Pupil Premium , some searching questions surely need to be asked. But perhaps its unfair to blame TAs. Fully qualified teachers often value the support afforded by TAs. And the results from the DISS project seem to show that it is the decisions made about – not by – TAs, in terms of their deployment and preparation, which are at fault. http://www.schoolsupportstaff.net/
Ofsted to look at how Premium being used in schools
More funds for literacy support for those dropping behind
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said in his speech on the Pupil Premium on 14 May, that the Liberal Democrats are ‘not going to miss our chance to make Britain a better, fairer place too. For me, nothing illustrates that better than our Pupil Premium: Extra money for the most disadvantaged children in our schools.’
The Pupil Premium is ‘to equip every school to support pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.’
And it is ‘To help us build a more socially mobile Britain: Where ability trumps privilege;Where effort trumps connections; Where sharp elbows don’t automatically get you to the front. He said ‘for me, the Pupil Premium remains the most important lever we have – and it’s in your hands.’
Last year the Pupil Premium was worth an extra £488 for pupils on Free School Meals and looked after children. This year it’s increased to £600… And been extended to children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any time in the last six years. Despite an unprecedented squeeze on public spending… This year the Pupil Premium will be worth £1.25bn in total… Doubling to £2.5bn by the end of the Parliament.’ We’ll prove that teachers do best when Whitehall steps out of the way.’
Clegg makes a direct appeal to teachers in his speech ‘ I want to strike a deal between the Coalition government and our schools and teachers: We’ll give you the cash; we’ll give you the freedom; we’ll reward and celebrate your success. But in return, we want you to redouble your efforts to close the gap between your poorer pupils and everyone else. We won’t be telling you what to do, but we will be watching what you achieve.’
Parental involvement to be encouraged
Clegg said ‘All the evidence shows that, when parents play a part in their children’s learning…Those children do better. When mothers and fathers understand how to support what happens in the classroom. When they can pass their insights onto the professionals too. Many of the best schools already create this kind of partnership.t, where it doesn’t ,happen, the Pupil Premium creates a new way to bring parents in… To start a meaningful conversation that can last for that child’s entire school life.’
Extra Funds for Reading and Literacy
Clegg confirms that the Education Endowment Foundation will shortly be inviting groups of local schools most affected by poor literacy and reading ‘To bid for extra funds for struggling Year 7s, from deprived homes… To help them get their reading and writing up to scratch: Extra “catch up cash”, if you like. The support will be for pupil premium pupils who leave primary school without Level 4 literacy – the expected level.
And we envisage that schools will want to use it for small catch up classes, or one-to-one tuition, or vouchers for literacy tuition that parents can spend.’
Ofsted will look at how Pupil Premium is being spent
In a key passage of the speech Clegg says that schools will be held accountable for the way they use the pupil Premium . He said ‘But schools need to know that, in assessing their performance… OFSTED will be looking forensically at how well their Pupil Premium pupils do. Inspectors are already being instructed to look closely at how schools are spending the money… And to what effect… With plans to publish a survey early next year. And, because OFSTED understands the priority I attach to this issue…
It will be providing me with regular reports… Detailing the progress schools are making in closing the attainment gap.’
Prizes for narrowing attainment gap
The government will also In partnership with the Times Educational Supplement… from next year, ‘ be introducing awards for the top-50 schools… Who have done the most to boost the performance of their poorest pupils… And to narrow the gap with their better off peers. That success will be up in lights in the performance tables. They’ll win publicity, acclaim and cash too – cash prizes of up to £10,000 for the best of the best.’
Clegg’s comments come just weeks after a survey of 2,000 schools leaders, conducted for the Press Association by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), found that more than four-fifths say the premium has either equalled or not made up for financial losses elsewhere.
NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “NAHT has always supported the idea of a pupil premium and is perfectly comfortable with being judged on the performance of the most vulnerable pupils – this is, in any case, already happening. The Government needs to be frank, however, that the pupil premium is not extra funding – it merely substitutes for cuts elsewhere. It is a redistribution of funds within the system, not additional funding.”
For 2011-12, the Pupil Premium funding is: £488 per pupil in respect of pupils known to be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), and for children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months; and £200 per pupil for those whose parents are serving in the armed forces. In 2012-13, the Pupil Premium rises to £600 per pupil in respect of pupils known to have been eligible for FSM at any point within the last six years, and for children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months. The Pupil Premium for children whose parents are in the armed services will rise to £250 per pupil.
RICHARD HOUSE- ON EARLY YEARS EDUCATION AND THE CURRICULUM-DONT WE START FORMAL EDUCATION TOO EARLY?
RICHARD HOUSE- ON EARLY YEARS EDUCATION AND THE CURRICULUM
We start formal education too young, he and other experts claim
Dr Richard House of Roehampton University says that the UK has, according to UNICEF, the lowest levels of childhood well-being in the developed world, and some of the highest levels of teenage disaffection and distress. So it’s not surprising there’s fierce debate in the UK about what constitutes good early years practice and care. A book edited by him and published in 2011 ‘Too Much too Young’ provides a collection of essays by childhood experts from around the world who believe that our tendency to over-focus on cognitive development (at the expense of social, emotional and physical development) is the main reason things have gone wrong in the past. At the moment, most English children start school in nursery or reception classes at the age of three or four and are taught using the Early Years Foundation Stage – a compulsory “nappy curriculum”. They then move into formal lessons at the age of five. How young is too young to start your child’s formal education? In France, Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden Finland) and Russia, children don’t start formal education until they are 7. Finnish pupils start formal education at seven, and when they start school they spend less time in the classroom than most and then enjoy 11-week summer holidays – and they end up with the highest educational standards in Europe. Apart from the Netherlands and Malta, the only other education systems beginning at five are Scotland and Wales (with Northern Ireland even earlier at four). Our education system does not compare well with many of those countries who start educating their children much later than we do. There is no evidence that I can find that suggests that the earlier you start formal education , the better the educational outcomes for the child. (Nor does there appear to be a clear link between more time spent in the classroom equals better outcomes)
Dr House believes that when it comes to our youngest children there is too much too soon, with too little genuine play and too much assessment, and that this eroded childhood. The overwhelming conclusion of the book is that the ‘schoolification’ of early years in England has not improved most children’s chances of success in the educational system, and may be doing long-term damage. What Dr House and some other experts want including such heavyweights as Professor Susan Greenfield, Penelope Leach , and Camilla Batmanghelidjh (Kids company) is the establishment of a genuinely play-based curriculum in nurseries and primary schools up to the age of six, free from the downward pressure of formal learning, tests and targets. They share a concern too that our children are subjected to increasing commercial pressures, and that they begin formal education far earlier than the European norm ,spending ever-more time indoors with screen-based technology, rather than in active outdoor activity and play.
Much of the discussion in the book centres on the role of children’s play in early learning – and how far adults should intervene and direct that play. Although there is now widespread agreement that young children’s self-directed play springs from their essential human learning drive, and is vital for every aspect of development and well-being, House claims that adults without a background in early years tend to see it as mere ‘messing about’ and to look for ways of making it more ‘educational’. The constant refrain of contributors to Too Much Too Soon is that such attempts to accelerate or force development inevitably backfire. Dr House, has presented his most recent findings this week at a major conference in central London .He quoted, according to the Telegraph, a major US study – carried out over eight decades – that showed children’s “run-away intellect” actually benefited from being slowed down in the early years, allowing them to develop naturally. Many bright children can grow up in an “intellectually unbalanced way”, suffering lifelong negative health effects and even premature death, after being pushed into formal schooling too quickly, he said. when he called on the Government to launch an independent inquiry into England’s school starting age. He said: “The conventional wisdom is that naturally intelligent children should have their intellect fed and stimulated at a young age, so they are not held back.“Yet these new empirical findings strongly suggest that exactly the opposite may well be the case, and that young children’s run-away intellect actually needs to be slowed down in the early years if they are not to risk growing up in an intellectually unbalanced way, with possible life-long negative health effects.”
Earlier this year, a coalition of 50 leading academics, authors and childcare organisations launched a campaign group – Early Childhood Action – to push for an alternative curriculum focused almost entirely on a play-based approach.
Note: Dr Richard House lectures in psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton. He was a founder of the Open EYE campaign, challenging the statutory nature of EYFS.
Is a middle tier needed to ensure better accountability in the schools system?
The RSA was discussing last week the idea of a middle tier in education. There is concern that as schools are given greater autonomy from local authority influence, and made directly accountable to the Secretary of State, through their funding agreements, they will, in practice, be less accountable than they were before the changes. There are over 1700 schools now with academy status and the numbers continue to rise. Who is keeping a close local eye on their performance, providing ,for example, early warning of a school that is badly under performing ? Local authorities are/were supposed to do this ( with varying degrees of success, it has to be said)
Rick Muir of the IPPR has argued that school improvement cannot be driven successfully from Whitehall. The Department for Education cannot run 20,000 schools. Every successful school system, he points out, has a middle tier of governance between schools and the centre. Ofsted is currently proposing to re-inspect schools requiring improvement after 12-18 months. But, he argues, it is not close enough to schools to monitor performance on a month-by-month basis, spot problems early on and to intervene before the problems escalate. There are a number of functions this (middle) tier will need to perform, he says. In successful systems intermediary bodies help to drive school improvement by monitoring the performance of the schools under their jurisdiction and supporting weaker school leaders to improve. They are crucial in managing the relationship between schools and central government, such as by explaining national policy developments and ensuring that critical national programmes are implemented. He adds that ‘An effective middle tier also fosters collaboration between schools, for instance by moving teachers around to fill gaps or by supporting their professional development through specialist training and peer support. It ensures that the needs of all local children are met by regulating fair access, providing sufficient school places and managing services for children with special educational needs. The middle tier can also carry out administrative roles, such as in finance and procurement, that can distract schools from their main purpose.’
Muir concludes that the government seems content to see local authorities wither away, while hoping that academy chains such as Harris, ARK and Oasis will take on these roles. While Academy chains are well placed to carry out some of these tasks it has become clear that chains will only cover a minority of schools: so far, only a quarter of ‘converter academies’ have joined these wider chains. Moreover, some of the chains are rather loose arrangements, without clear leadership and effective coordination’
So, Muir recommends the creation of local schools commissioners, who would commission (but not run or manage) all of the schools in their area, including free schools and academies, and have a singular focus on school improvement. Schools would retain the freedoms they enjoy today and these would be guaranteed in statute. But if schools coast or underperform the schools commissioner would have the power that currently rests with the secretary of state to intervene, ultimately by appointing a new head and governing body.
Christine Gilbert the former Head of Ofsted ,for her part, believes town halls should no longer be at the heart of school improvement and monitoring. Nor is she keen on the idea of local commissioners or any other kind of new “middle tier” idea. Ms Gilbert thinks the job should be left to schools themselves. “It would be the profession supporting the profession,” she explains. “They (local authorities) have a role, particularly in making sure that vulnerable children are well served,” she concedes. “But I see the energy in the system coming from schools. I would really like to see the schools themselves in prime position, to be leading and driving this. “You can do it with other private, public or voluntary sector partners. But I would like to see (groups of schools) given contracts to do that for four or five years. Notions of commissioners and other sorts of middle tier are not the right way for us to be going at the moment.” She added, talking to the TES ,that there would need to be a proper framework with contracts that could be terminated if schools were not meeting their performance indicators or contractual duties.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, says that there could be a system of nationally-funded local area commissioners. He suggested that the local commissioners would report directly to the secretary of state, monitoring the performance of schools and chains in their area and bringing in other agencies where necessary and appropriate.
John Dunford points out that McKinsey research has shown that all the highly successful school systems in the world have a middle tier between central government and the individual school and most of the jurisdictions in the McKinsey study are much smaller than England. So, he suggests a network of about 40 District HMIs charged with monitoring performance of schools in their area, getting to know head teachers and keeping an ear to the ground for good and bad practice in local schools. He says that with a truly independent Ofsted, this could provide valuable intelligence to the system, helping to spread good practice and advising Ofsted and the government on where intervention is needed at an earlier stage than tends to happen now. Their remit would cover all types of school and issues between local authorities and academies would be entirely avoided by this nationally-led system. In short, the reinvention, in an up-to-date form, of district HMIs would be beneficial, not least because it would force Ofsted to play a stronger role in school improvement, as well as in (intelligent) accountability.
The RSA looks at the middle tier from a curriculum perspective. RSA is concerned about who determines the curriculum offer provided by schools, and on what basis. The Government will need to monitor the different emergent curriculum offers provided, in relation to effectiveness, it says. The RSA advocates that such consideration include the curriculum’s role ‘in promoting engagement and local cohesion and agency.’
The RSA recommend, as part of another tier, that the respective roles of teachers, communities, parents and school leaders are considered in developing curriculum offers, and in their evaluation. However, the RSA has doubts about teachers capacity on their own to develop curriculum and to engage with communities and supports the idea that local commissioning or regulatory bodies may be necessary to form an intermediate layer between individual institutions and the centre. What these intermediate bodies look like is the subject of on-going debate. The RSA advocates that such bodies be comprised of teachers, parents and community representatives as a means of ensuring local accountability and engagement.
Schools, yes ,even Academies fail. Spotting schools that are on the cusp of failure and which need urgent support is important and saves much bother and expense further down the line. As Dunford says ‘With autonomy in any public service comes greater accountability for the efficient and effective spending of public money. The issue is not whether there should be this accountability, but whether it is intelligent accountability and by whom it is exercised.’ Whether his model is the best to deliver this is a moot point. But this debate is certainly useful and important as evidenced by the Regulators intervention.
They are not the only ones
The Public Accounts Select Committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge MP, in its latest report ‘Department for Education: accountability and oversight of education and children’s services’ expresses its concern ‘ about the Department’s (DFE) ability to pick up warning signs of improper spending or poor value for money for the taxpayer.’
The report said that it is not clear whether existing monitoring and accountability mechanisms do enough to flag up concerns that should be investigated. For example, some academies have paid very high salaries to their senior staff and incurred expenditure of questionable value. Where reports emerge of individual failings, the Department must consider whether they indicate wider problems with financial management and governance, and deal with the underlying system-wide causes.’
The Committees adds that ‘The Department must set out how it will ensure local monitoring mechanisms promptly pick up any concerns about the regularity, propriety and value for money of spending within all schools. At present too much reliance is placed on whistle-blowers. The Department and its agencies must ensure that they have arrangements in place to address concerns identified by whistle-blowers, but it is also crucial that systems are sufficiently robust to enable those responsible to identify problems early.’
The Committee also said that ‘The Department has only a limited understanding of why some local authority maintained schools are persistently in deficit or surplus. The Department needs to undertake work to better understand the causes and consequences of persistent deficits and excessive surpluses. It should analyse the extent of deficits and surpluses among those schools under local authority control, and work with the Department for Communities and Local Government to get local authorities that have failed to resolve long-standing financial problems in their schools to address these.’
The Committee is also worried about who is responsible for securing value for money within the schools system. The report states ‘Responsibility for value for money is shared by the Department with the Department for Communities and Local Government, individual schools, academy trusts, local authorities and the YPLA. However, the specific responsibilities of each for achieving value for money, and how they interact to drive value for money, are not clear.’ Recent scandals involving the mismanagement of school funds, most recently in Lincolnshire, cast a spotlight on schools financial accountability. Critics of the academies scheme say that the increased autonomy these schools enjoy will increase the instances of financial mismanagement.
However, most of the cases of financial mismanagement discovered, so far, involve maintained schools, under local authority control. Three heads ,for example, have been suspended recently by Brent Council over separate allegations of financial mismanagement. So it would be unwise, surely, to use this as a stick with which to beat academies.
Local authorities have not been publishing, for a while now ,systematic data to demonstrate how they are monitoring schools’ financial management and intervening where necessary when they have concerns. It is true that many in education believe that a much brighter light should be shone on how schools manage their finances. Weak financial management and weak academic performance often go hand in hand. And, there is a lot of taxpayers money tied up in schools. Being cavalier with taxpayers money is now frowned on, or at least in principle . The trend, if anything, is for much less scrutiny and a reduction in the bureaucratic burden placed on schools. An example , from January this year , Ofsted’s new inspection regime no longer includes a value-for-money assessment. So, it will be interesting to see how the government reacts to this report. There are, on the face of it, conflicting forces at work. The drive to give schools more autonomy, with less red tape and a lighter regulatory regime is on one side of the equation-with the desire for greater transparency, accountability, the pursuit of best value and cutting waste, on the other. Can a compromise be found?
THE ACADEMIES COMMISSION
Launch of new Academies Commission
Sponsored by the Cooperative and CfBT Education Trust, the Academies Commission launch on 8 May follows a rapid increase in the number of schools converting to academy status. As of 1 April, there were 1776 academies, a huge increase from the 270 or so that had been open or planned at the time of the last election. The commission is chaired by former Chief-Inspector of Schools Christine Gilbert who is joined by two other commissioners – Brett Wigdortz (CEO of Teach First) and Professor Chris Husbands (Director of the Institute of Education). The Academies Commission remit is:
The commission will examine the model and incipient outcomes of academisation from a school improvement perspective, focusing on issues of accountability, governance, due diligence, and outcomes for pupils.
It will highlight emerging trends, risks, and related questions, concentrating on public interest.
It will also draw on international examples of similar systems and cases, to inform and compare analyses.
It will not rehearse debates about the decision to develop the academies programme, but will focus on the consequences of this programme in terms of outcomes for children and young people and for the education system as a whole.
Particular attention will be given to the key issues of
a) accountability including processes via which schools are held accountable; the role of the sponsor; commissioning of services; governance; operation of local markets; due diligence (e.g. what happens when performance worsens or fails to improve under a particular sponsor or chain?)
b) educational outcomes and how to lever school improvement in an academised system, given school autonomy. With the speed of academisation exceeding all expectations, much of the debate has been retrospective with operational policy being created ‘on the hoof’. What has been notably absent, in government policy and media, think tank and academic comment, is analysis of the implications of mass academisation. What are the unique features of an entirely academised system and what impact these will have on young people’s educational outcomes? The Commission ‘will develop a practical but compelling vision for the future of UK Academisation.’ The Commission claims to ‘bring together a breadth of perspectives and a wealth of experience with Commissioners drawn from across the political spectrum, academia, private and third sectors.’ The inquiry will run for several months reporting towards the end of 2012.’
Christine Gilbert said at the launch on 8 May: “So the commission’s work will review the landscape, but with a view to looking firmly at the future rather than revisiting the past. We do not intend to rehearse debates about the decision to develop the academies programme. We are far more interested in ensuring that it delivers on its promise of a better education for every child.’
Speeches at the opening found here:
The Queens Speech has been described as insubstantial and dull by critics. There is, though , quite a lot to be said for a dull Queens speech. Too much legislation, often poorly conceived and drafted , is a commonplace and busy governments may like to be seen to be doing a lot but, rather too often, much of what they do is not actually very good and almost always wasteful. But this speech, we were warned in advance, would revitalise , and relaunch the Coalition after a difficult two months. But it is unlikely to do that. Rather optimistically some commentators were saying that the UK requires urgent action to re-start economic growth and this should have been included in the speech as if a bit more legislation is the answer. Somehow I doubt it. Critics turn decidedly vague and non-committal when you challenge them on what is missing from the statute book that will kick start economic growth (or reduce the so-called economic headwinds which push us off- course ie euro crisis etc). Governments are not very good at making big economic decisions designed to breathe life into a stagnant economy, mainly because they have insufficient information and legislation wont do much to help. Besides, there are far too many variables that are clearly outside their control (elections in Europe etc) which add to the risks.
Given that this was not a launch pad to restore confidence in the Coalition it will be interesting to see what Cameron does over the next few weeks. There must be scope for a re-shuffle. As the FT pointed out in an Editorial advising Cameron to ‘get a grip’- ‘ an administration that saddles the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, with responsibility not only for the economy but also for the government’s political strategy and keeping Scotland in the union, is one that is too narrowly based.’
Mixed results but KIPP schools spend substantially more per pupil than district schools in the same city and serving similar populations
Policymakers have long pursued more cost effective, scalable alternatives for delivering elementary and secondary education. The elusive goal is identifying how to reform educational systems so that children will consistently achieve more academically—at a lesser cost. According to a new report ‘ A frequently heard reform claim of this sort is that charter schools deliver higher performance at a lower cost. While the test score side of this question has been addressed by a great number of studies (with generally mixed findings), the cost side of the question has received far less attention.’
The description of the Research by Bruce D. Baker, Ken Libby, and Kathryn Wiley is as follows:
‘This study evaluates the cost claim by comparing the per-pupil spending of charter schools operated by major charter management organizations (CMOs) in New York City, Texas and Ohio with district schools. In each context, we assemble three-year panel data sets including information on school level spending per pupil, school size, grade ranges and student populations served for both charter schools and district schools. For charter schools we use both government (and authorizer) reports of spending, and spending as reported on IRS non-profit financial filings (IRS 990). We compare the spending of charters to that of district schools of similar size, serving the same grade levels and similar student populations. Overall, charter spending variation is large as is the spending of traditional public schools. Comparative spending between the two sectors is mixed, with many high profile charter network schools outspending similar district schools in New York City and Texas, but other charter network schools spending less than similar district schools, particularly in Ohio. We find that in New York City, KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools charter schools spend substantially more ($2,000 to $4,300 per pupil) than similar district schools. Given that the average spending per pupil was around $12,000 to $14,000 citywide, a nearly $4,000 difference in spending amounts to an increase of some 30%. In Ohio, charters across the board spend less than district schools in the same city. And in Texas, some charter chains such as KIPP spend substantially more per pupil than district schools in the same city and serving similar populations, around 30 to 50% more in some cities (and at the middle school level) based on state reported current expenditures, and 50 to 100% more based on IRS filings. Even in New York where we have the highest degree of confidence in the match between our IRS data and Annual Financial Report Data, we remain unconvinced that we are accounting fully for all charter school expenditures.’
Spending by the major Charter Organisations- Comparing Charter School and Local Public District Financial Resources New York, Ohio and Texas- Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University Ken Libby and Kathryn Wiley University of Colorado; May 2012; National Education Policy Center
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- PROFESSOR TONY WATTS RESIGNS FROM THE NATIONAL CAREERS COUNCIL
- EDISON LEARNING AND THE NAHT UNION LAUNCH A SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE WITH DFE BACKING
- THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF ACADEMIES-WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE ARE CONCERNS?
- PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE REPORT ON ACADEMIES-SOME CONCERNS OVER FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
- CAIRNS OF BRIGHTON COLLEGE BACKS ACADEMIES
- IS CAREERS ADVICE IN SCHOOLS EFFECTIVE OR IS IT TOO EARLY TO SAY?
- LEMOVS TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION -TOP TECHNIQUES USED BY THE BEST TEACHERS
- THE PUPIL PREMIUM AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS
- EDUCATION EXPORTS-NEW GOVERNMENT STRATEGY IN THE WINGS?
- INSPECTING ACADEMY CHAINS-ON THE AGENDA
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