In our opening week Dave Berry, from Capital Radio’s Breakfast Show, visited the Free School I co-founded.
A post-Leveson, ‘role of the media’ speech I helped write for Lord Puttnam. 800,000+ views on TED.
Here’s what I’ve been working on in 2014: A new chain of low cost private schools in Metro Manila.
Schools in England are getting bigger. Department for Education data shows that between 1997 and 2005 the number of schools in England with 1,000 to 1,500 students rose by 35%. Secondary schools with between 1,500 and 2,000 students rose by 124%. In contrast, the number of small secondary schools in England, with fewer than 500 students, fell by 43%.
The conventional arguments used to defend this increase in scale are misleading.
We don’t just need more and better teachers; we need more and better school models.
It’s in vogue at the moment to say that the way to improve schools is to have better teachers. I don’t mean to be too dismissive by saying ‘in vogue’; it is more than just the latest, passing education trend. There is solid evidence to support the assertion that effective classroom teaching is the best tool for addressing the intractable problems of educational disadvantage and underachievement.
The danger, however, of such a focus on teachers and classroom practice is that we ignore the importance of school structure – we ignore those things that create the conditions in which classroom teaching occurs: the size of a school, its assessment practices and data tracking, the number and types of staff and their responsibilities, the methods for informing and engaging parents.