£60m spent on free schools(37 Posts)
This just makes me SOOOOOOOOO cross
I want a revolution!
As level 4 was originally set up as the level which all NT pupils should reach by end KS2, allowing 35% to fail is a huge slackening of standards, and one which I think does a grave disservice to this generation of children compared to those who went just before them.
No, level 4 was originally set up as the MEAN level of a cohort of children at the end of year 6, not a MINIMUM level that they should all pass. According to the original definition, 50% of children should be distributed on either side of the 'mid level 4' mean.
Teaching standards have risen dramatically in the last 20 years across the world. What was an acceptable standard of education in the past is not acceptable today. There are simply not the jobs in a high tech economy for children who cannot read or do maths to a decent standard.
We need to compete harder with the rest of the world and ensure that 35% of children are not left behind.
If the Ofsted report ONLY said that children were at risk of leaving school unable to read, but that leadership was good, strategy was clear, SEN children were being properly identified and helped (rather than 'being on the SEN register incorrectly because all they needed was good teaching'), statutory paperwork was in place and the governors had a clear idea of what was going on, ad that the children weren't wandering around aimlessly in lessons or sitting passively for significant periods with their coats on way before the end of the school day, the report would make happier reading, and could indeed just be said to be 'indicative of the good implementation of a very different style of education'. The fact that it criticises ALL facets of the school goes way beyond 'Montessori just being Montessori', and does a disservice to Montessori as a teaching ideology.
So when a school has 80% of its children taking KS2 SATS having English as a second language, having arrived in England - and that school - since the age of 7 is it a failure of the school if fewer than 65% of the cohort reach Level 4??
Or if 60% are on FSM in the middle of a community with hugely high unemployment?
Or if many of the children arrived in Reception pre-verbal, not toilet trained and having no concept of interaction with an adult?
You MUST take account of starting point and progress. Education is about sprogress, not about a series of absolutel arkers.
For some schools, less than 100% Level 4+ is absolute failure and should be regarded as such. For others, 50% is miraculous, supurb progress, and involves children making such extraordinary strides over a short period that they will fly into the next stage of their education. There is no one size fits all.
It's never been a "mean" and Dof Ed publications have always referred to Level 4 as what the 'vast majority' and the typical student should attain. The proportion getting the expected level should be up in the 90%s.
Certain SEN, ESOL and new arrivals in UK are of course all excluded from the figures.
"So when a school has 80% of its children taking KS2 SATS having English as a second language, having arrived in England - and that school - since the age of 7 is it a failure of the school if fewer than 65% of the cohort reach Level 4??"
Schools are allowed to discount the results of children who arrived in year 5 and year 6. There are schools in London that get over such adversity though.
"Or if 60% are on FSM in the middle of a community with hugely high unemployment?"
There are schools like that that do get reasonable results. The theory is that pupil premium should over come such hurdles.
"Or if many of the children arrived in Reception pre-verbal, not toilet trained and having no concept of interaction with an adult?"
Special schools do not do SATs exams. Are there really many mainstream schools where many of the children are ", not toilet trained and having no concept of interaction with an adult"
In my daughter's nursery there are two children like that and both of them have substantial medical special needs and statements.
Ask mrz - she and I both have experience of significant numbers of children arriving in school with no SEN, but no spoken language...to learn to speak, you have to be spoken to.
I am exaggerating, a little, to make a point. Naice middle class schools in naice areas have no excuse not to get very, very close to 100% and should be slated if they don't - but aren't always, as not everyone digs below the 'top of the league table' scores to see the value added.
Schools in other areas have to work exceptionally hard to get much lower results, but actually achieve greater pupil progress than schools with much higher results. Which is the better school??
I'm 100% for consistent standards, good teaching and support for weaker or challenged schools/pupils. But the problem with so many government announcements is the macho aggression, and policy of forced academisation when there is no evidence that sponsored academies - or free schools - get better results or Ofted ratings.
The problem with the Montessori school in special measures (as I said on another thread) is that it was founded by a husband and wife team who are both managers and governors. Ofsted has found leadership and governance wanting but who will now step in and be accountable for these problems seeing as Mr and Mrs Snowdon think they own the school?
I don't think anyone has linked to the actual financial data per school. Start-up costs pre-opening and in first year include e.g. 'books and equipment', headteacher, etc.
Capital expenditure is here but incomplete.
Several free schools of a similar size received over £1 million. The DfE points to some sponsored academies of 500-600 pupils which received between £634,000 and £1,374,820 of start-up funding during their first year of opening.
Discovery New School spent £362,085 start-up costs for 114 places and (48 pupils on the roll), and is now in special measures but cost twice the amount per pupil in other established schools.
Saxmundham Free School received over £2 million. It has capacity for 540 places but 70% of its places were unfilled after the initial round of applications according to a local report. So in its first year it cost four times the amount that the average two-form entry primary would receive.
Sorry, meant 'amount per pupil' at Saxmundham. According to the census there are 110 pupils in three year groups.
So just putting those start-up costs against figures in the census, some of the costlier secondary schools in their first year (e.g. more than six times average spend per pupil in established schools) are:
Atherton Community School: £1,416,794 - 40 pupils
King's Leadership Academy: £1,414,614 - 45 pupils
Wapping High School: £1,253,757 - 35 pupils
None have yet been inspected by Ofsted but I notice the King's Leadership Academy made a false claim about being Outstanding.
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