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Oxford University rejects Theresa May's proposal to run schools

(48 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 24-Sep-16 14:07:25

The contentious Green Paper which proposes increasing the number of selective schools also had a number of other proposals. This included the proposal that top universities who want to increase their tuition fees would not be allowed to do so unless they set up a free school.

Oxford university has pointed out that they have no experience in running schools and that it was insulting to teachers and headteachers to suggest that universities would be more successful at this than they are.

MrsHulk Sat 24-Sep-16 14:15:40

Yes, think they've made a good point there. It's just bizarre to suggest that a university would automatically know how to run a school.

A lot of the universities already have close links with local schools eg they provide access to facilities/lectures or run outreach days on specific topics. I'd like that to be encouraged, but actually being told to run schools is weird.

3amEternal Sat 24-Sep-16 14:33:37

May does seem to go about things arse about face. Instead of first doing her homework and having the humility to perhaps consult some actual experts, she puts forward these unworkable and risible demands. It is then very difficult for her to climb down from the position and so all this nonsense gets forced. You think she might have learnt from the referendum and the NHS 7 day cockup, but no.

horsemadmom Sat 24-Sep-16 15:38:46

UCL sponsored a school and it was a disaster.

SingaSong12 Sat 24-Sep-16 15:44:04

I think Oxford are being very sensible. Yes to going into schools (student, admission tutors, lecturers) and pupils visiting schools, but primary and secondary education is not what they specialise in. In any case wouldn't they just have to get people who know how to run schools for day to day management so how much involvement would the university have.

SingaSong12 Sat 24-Sep-16 15:44:54

Should say pupils visiting universities

Lweji Sat 24-Sep-16 15:46:33

Has she gone mad?

MrsBernardBlack Sat 24-Sep-16 16:21:08

It is a totally ludicrous idea from Teresa May, and indicates a profound misunderstanding of how education works IMO.

She should appoint a dedicated, well-informed minister (if such a thing exists) and let them get on with it, instead of trying to micro-manage and interfere in something she clearly doesn't understand.

...and breathe.

Clavinova Sat 24-Sep-16 19:05:21

Has she gone mad

I don't believe she has - Cambridge University are opening their own primary school next year, aptly named the University of Cambridge Primary School;

Birmingham University have already opened their own secondary school;

Birmingham appointed Michael Roden as the Principal - he was previously the Head of King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys. Why wouldn't the universities concerned appoint a suitably qualified Head Teacher?

Several high profile universities are Trustees of St Paul's Way Trust School, an Ofsted outstanding all-through school in East London;
It actually refers to itself as 'The University School in the Heart of East London.'

King's College London and Exeter University have opened specialist maths schools for sixth form and GCSE enrichment:

yeOldeTrout Sat 24-Sep-16 19:19:27

I luffs the Oxford Univ response.
Does KCL preferentially take kids from its own 6th form? Or otherwise give them admissions advantages?

Stillnoidea Sat 24-Sep-16 19:22:35

But the Cambridge University primary school is part of a whole housing development (north west cambridge), mainly undertaken to provide some key worker housing for university employees. Not a stand alone school done for the sake of it.

Clavinova Sat 24-Sep-16 20:06:45

The Vice-chancellor of Oxford appears to have said on Radio 4;
"But the idea of setting up a local feeder school - we are a global institution" sounds a bit snobby to me.

The Cambridge University Primary school will be a training school.
Priority admission will be given to pp children ahead of catchment and the school have set out a clear vision for SEND for which there is a high profile link on the website;

The King's College Maths School has a high profile link to Financial Support on its website;

The Birmingham University Secondary School has a vision of 'Transforming Lives'.

The Ofsted Outstanding St Paul's Way Trust School had 85 disadvantaged pupils taking GCSEs last year and 27 non-disadvantaged.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Sep-16 21:30:24

Notice you don't mention the Ofsted Outstanding St Paul's Way Trust School's results...for a school with that many universities on the board of trustees, not many of its pupils will be going to uni. 59% A*-C, with 0% of its low attainers making the grade.

MrsHulk Sat 24-Sep-16 21:41:16

It's not "snobby" for Oxford uni to say they are a global institution, it's a simple fact. It would be ludicrous to select local children at eleven then give them preferential access to one of the best universities in the world just because they're in a "feeder" school, and very unfair to children from other areas.

WaitingInTheSky Sat 24-Sep-16 21:47:06

Attending KCL Maths School doesn't give the pupils any preference or admission advantage at KCL itself. It is not a feeder school for KCL. DS says that most of his contemporaries do not want to stay in London (as it is home) so are applying for university elsewhere in the country or abroad.

The day-to-day running of the school is led by teachers and governors as usual. There are links with the Maths department at KCL (postgrads do some mentoring), the language department (all the pupils take a language course) and some use of facilities eg computer suites, the library, and the gym.

PickAChew Sat 24-Sep-16 21:50:55

Good on them.

People were only excited about May becoming PM because of the alternatives.

She's as clueless a muppet as the rest, just with (usually) better dress sense and marginally more of a handle on how not to completely piss half the population off in one breath.

QuackDuckQuack Sat 24-Sep-16 22:06:16

Cambridge also has the University Technical College, though the link is indirect, through Cambridge University Health Partners, and the University hasn't gone it alone on it. Surely that is the type of link to education that should be encouraged - making useful links to specialist provision - not just running a comp.

I'd assume that most University supported schools would be appointing experienced heads and teachers to actually run their school. In the same way that existing governing bodies aren't experts in the day-to-day running of schools and employ staff who are. That said, you do get the 'I went to school, so I've got experience, how hard can it be?' brigade.

I also wonder what the Department of Education at Oxford make of this. I'm not sure whether the focus of the department is entirely on teaching and learning and associated research or if there is expertise on school management too.

Clavinova Sat 24-Sep-16 23:28:10

*Notice you don't mention the Ofsted Outstanding St Paul's Way Trust School's results..... not many of its pupils will be going to uni. 59% A-C

Actually I didn't even think to look at the GCSE results, just the number of disadvantaged pupils.The front page of the school's website links to a letter from Nick Gibb in Feb this year congratulating the school on being one of the top 100 non-selective state schools for value added from KS2-4. If that means nothing then it makes a mockery of the research conducted by the Education Policy Institute published a couple of days ago as they are comparing results at grammar schools with the top 25% of 'high quality non-selective schools based on value-added progress measures.'

It would be ludicrous to select local children at eleven then give them preferential access to one of the best universities in the world

I don't think anyone is suggesting that Oxford University selects local children at age 11 and the 'feeder school' reference may have been the Vice-Chancellor's own term. World renowned London Universities are happy to co-sponsor local schools.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Sep-16 23:48:41

Value added isn't meaningless, but it is fairly meaningless to call a school "The University School" if most of the kids are getting results which rule out university.

HPFA Sun 25-Sep-16 06:34:20

An incredible 93% of our students are moving onto University pathways across the UK with 50% of these students gaining places at Russell Group or other top universities.

This is from St Paul's Way Trust - their prospectus also mentions a specialized pathway for Medicine which sounds like a good idea.

Are they kicking out a lot of their own students at the end of GCSE? Couldn't find out much about their entry requirements -are these being set very high?
Assuming this is not the case then they appear to be doing a good job!

I'm not at all sure why TM has stuck this whole issue in the paper about selection though? This seems to be a case of a very good comprehensive school so what's the benefit of turning it into a grammar or a secondary modern?

Believeitornot Sun 25-Sep-16 06:37:54

This is yet another distraction from Teresa may.

The issues in education which need sorting are teacher recruitment and teacher retention.

That's our problem and that's what needs fixing.


noblegiraffe Sun 25-Sep-16 10:02:14

HPFA the entry requirements are on page 10 - you need 5A*-C and Bs in English and Maths, which means the majority of the secondary students won't be going to the sixth form.
A-level results are at about the national average - average grade is a C+

I'm sure it's a great school to have in Tower Hamlets, but to call the whole thing 'the University school' is misleading.

user1474361571 Sun 25-Sep-16 10:42:14

Forcing universities to sponsor free schools, and punishing them if these schools don't do well, insures that universities will have to use their own resources and budgets for these schools. In other words, the government gets sponsors for another 100 odd free schools and these sponsors are blackmailed into subsidising these schools.

BTW the policy paper makes it clear that the universities should be sponsoring low achieving schools, not the new grammars, so indeed the schools won't be "University schools".

NotDavidTennant Sun 25-Sep-16 10:54:36

If you're a sharp-elbowed parent in Oxford who can't afford to go private, having an Oxford University-endorsed free school to send your kids to would be a boon. Even better if it was a free grammar so you could tutor the kids into a place at the school. Social mobility (from mid-middle to upper middle class) achieved!

user1474361571 Sun 25-Sep-16 10:56:32

But, again, the policy paper sys that universities should sponsor schools in deprived areas - they will not be asked to sponsor new grammars, but schools for children who don't get into grammars.

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