Teacher abuse

Hard-pressed schools should be helped to detect ill-treatment of children, not punished for failing to report it

It’s easy to understand why politicians wanted action in the wake of Lauren Wright’s death. The six year old was, in effect, tortured by her stepmother and finally killed without her suffering being recognised.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/jul/02/schools.uk4

Hogwarts, the haven

Today’s dysfunctional families and fractured communities make boarding school an attractive option again

Just when all progressive people could congratulate themselves that the boarding school ideal had died a natural death, along comes the nostalgic fantasy in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Any child would find Hogwarts boarding school much more wonderful than Potter’s suburban “foster” home. But is JK Rowling really indulging in nostalgia for the past or sensing the future? Is it possible that, far from fading away, the boarding school is about to re-emerge as a viable solution to contemporary family difficulties?

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/nov/20/schools.uk5

Exam fever

Results can be an unhealthy obsession, says Ros Coward – and not just for the kids

A few days ago an old acquaintance unexpectedly made contact. We had plenty to catch up on but within a couple of minutes, I found myself dragged into a conversation about children’s exam grades. Such exchanges are common among middle-class parents, but, with A level and GCSE results imminent, they are reaching hysteria pitch. Even so, I was aghast at the blatant way our dialogue was wrenched round to her daughters’ exam triumphs. Number one, an academic slow starter, was now expected to get straight As for her A levels. Daughter number two, by contrast always a workaholic, will not be satisfied with anything less than 10 As in her GCSEs.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/aug/15/schools.alevels2001

Gradgrind with a twist

The current teacher shortage is not so much entirely predictable as entirely predicted. The so-called education “reforms” initiated by the Tories and continued by David Blunkett were carried out in the context of a concerted attack on teachers’ competence and values. Why would anyone want to belong to a profession that is undervalued, over-scrutinised and simultaneously blamed for so many social problems?

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/jan/16/teachershortage.schools

Sex for the teenagers

Can we trust this government with the sex education of our children? I ask because they have swung between libertarian pressure groups and pro-family moralists without a single thought about what contemporary teenagers themselves might need or want.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2000/feb/16/schools.comment

Creaming them off

Specialist schools, Tony Blair declared at the weekend, are meant to sort out the comprehensive system. It sounds great but, as with so much of this government’s policy, closer inspection suggests presentation may be more important than policy coherence. Specialist schools inevitably imply selection, yet the government says it is committed to eliminating selection.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2000/jan/18/schools.comment