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Never mind grammar schools, what on earth is this about forcing universities to set up schools?

(11 Posts)
TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 09-Sep-16 17:17:31

Scroll down to the bullet points at the end here.

How on earth is this a good idea? People in universities are good at many things but they don't generally have much expertise in running schools, and AFAIK the towns with universities are not usually the ones where there is a dearth of good educational provision.

Does anyone understand what on earth the point of this is?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 09-Sep-16 17:18:38

Apologies for overuse of 'what on earth' in my op...

Middleoftheroad Fri 09-Sep-16 17:25:54

The Uni of Bham has set up a school with an innovative approach to catchments too to give disadvantaged pupils a chance regardless of postcode. I believe the school is much sought after. Sounds like a good move from what I have seen for Brum where there is certainly a high shortage of school places.

haybott Fri 09-Sep-16 19:35:49

It is pointless.

The government say that, in order to be allowed to raise fees, universities need to do this. Yet the fees have been frozen since 2012, so in fact have decreased in real terms (corresponding to decreases in salaries for those who work in universities). Forcing universities to spend the fee increase on setting up schools instead of on maintaining the pay for academics is utterly unreasonable imo. Our universities are already poorly funded compared to much of the rest of the world. Combined with Brexit fallout, this policy is likely to cause even more brain drain from the universities.

alwayssurprised Fri 09-Sep-16 22:06:55

The university doesn't need to set up schools with their own fee income surely. They might have to divert some resources and expertise to co-sponsor new schools though.

haybott Sat 10-Sep-16 10:08:43

They might have to divert some resources and expertise to co-sponsor new schools though.

Exactly. So they have to take money from their budgets to pay for this, which in practice means lower salaries for academics, or just force academics to work more hours than they already do for no extra salary. (Academics already work long hours throughout the year and are increasingly asked to do lots of admin, management on top of research and teaching for no extra salary.)

EllyMayClampett Sat 10-Sep-16 16:29:28

I'm not particularly in favour of this, but wouldn't any schools sponsored by universities get funding per pupil like any other state school? If private providers of academies can make a profit, then universities should be able to do so too.

haybott Sat 10-Sep-16 17:28:52

Academy chains are not meant to make a profit.

I interpret the suggestions mostly as "academics go into schools and teach sixth form classes for nothing, in addition to their usual jobs".

titchy Sat 10-Sep-16 18:37:21

I suspect that the reality of this will be an extension of the widening access work universities already do with local schools - giving talks, hosting visits etc. Maybe donating some old lab equipment. It'll be pretty useless and ineffective particularly given that there are only around 120 universities in England compared to the thousands of secondary schools Les Ebdon will be happy with whatever goes in the Access agreement

Any hard cash that has to be used will unfortunately come from existing bursaries budgets, so all that work with disadvantaged schools will be wasted once those financially poor students arrive and run into financial difficulties and have to drop out. That'll be another Government's problem though.

SellFridges Sat 10-Sep-16 18:40:42

Aston University also has a school already in Birmingham. I believe, unusually for the City, it only takes from 14 and is focussed on engineering.

We're close to the University of Birmingham school but not in catchment thanks to the system they have introduced. I'll tell you how I feel about that in 5 years when we are applying for secondary wink

mathsmum314 Sat 10-Sep-16 20:24:59

Its worth a try, universities have a lot of expertise. Maybe we will find something that helps schools that we didn't know before!

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