Education and the LEA: reform or revolution?

Over on the the ‘Half our pupils are missing’ education thread, there’s a clear divide opening up.

It’s between those who would abolish the LEA immediately and hand more autonomy to schools locally and those who believe that there’s nothing wrong with the LEA system per se – they’re just enacting poor government policy. The argument here seems to be that with the right kind of liberals in charge, our local LEA would deliver better results. Hmmm.

However If LEA’s are just toothlessly delivering government policy how do these people explain away the disparities in results between different LEAs then?

If you compare Bristol to Buckinghamshire they spend similar amounts on LEA administration (Bucks 16% of their total education budget and Bristol 14%), yet Bucks GCSE results are vastly superior to Bristol’s. How so if it’s all the work of central government?

Bucks is of course the authority that’s trying to get the first grammar school in 50 years built in the UK. Which most of us probably disagree with. However what it does show is that an LEA does not have to slavishly follow what the government says.

Perhaps if Heather Tomlinson and the Pickups spent a little less time implementing every daft new citizenship missive from the government and a little more time focussing on, er the fundamental skills, like Bucks manages to do, things may improve?

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39 Responses to Education and the LEA: reform or revolution?

  1. Mr Two-sheep says:

    The LEA system can work, but it’s served Bristol poorly for many years. Why? because the calibre of the politicians ‘leading’ the city and, crucially, of the senior officers they have recruited to run the service has been – and continues to be – desperately lacking.

    Bristol LEA bosses relentlessly focus on small things that don’t matter in the overall scheme of things, but which distract everyone from the overall goal of giving all our kids a fair chance.

    The politicians attempt to micro-manage, and their senior officers actively get in the way of schools, hampering them, badgering them, and burdening them with ‘initiative’ after ‘initiative’. But by no means are all of these imposed from central government; many of them come from ‘bright ideas’ from well-paid consultants who bosses choose to draft in to make it look as if they’re doing something to change things. Too many senior LEA managers fall into the trap of thinking ‘we’re working in a city with a poor educational reputation, the media think we’re crap; I’ll make my mark by doing something different.’ The unhealthy obsession with trying to ‘spin’ media coverage of education in our city is another symptom of this collective LEA illness.

    So they introduce their ‘initiatives’ and ‘projects’ without giving a thought to the effect they are having on school staff morale and so, inevitably, on pupils themselves. Schools get fed up, staff get overburdened, disillusioned, … and leave. The ones who remain work themselves into the ground because there are too few excellent ones to carry the load for the whole service. Then they too leave, many because they’ve gone under. The downward spiral continues. So the LEA launches another ‘initiative’ or three to try to make it look as if they’re addressing the problem. And so it goes.

    The only Director who was able to show signs of shaking the Bristol malaise off was hounded out by micro-manager politicians and by an utterly hopeless Chief Executive who followed him from the south coast. Imagine escaping Gurney, coming to Bristol, making some progress, then finding Gurney follows you … whilst all the time ‘big fish’ politicians are poking their noses in, desperate for some political points and some positive coverage in the press.

    The LEA system should not be abolished per se. But Bristol LEA should be given clear notice that unless it learns (very, very, very quickly) from the examples of the few still-outstanding schools that we are lucky enough to have within the city boundaries, all the current Bristol LEA’s powers will be withdrawn. Most central LEA staff would have to be protected, but re-directed to work under the guidance of autonomous schools (or ‘clusters’ of them). But the Director and Deputy Directors would get booted out. The lot of them.

  2. Blogger – you’re sounding more and more like a bloody right wing Tory the more you say about education.

    I’m afraid both your analysis and your proposed ‘solutions’ are grossly simplistic.

    Anyone who denies central government dominance over what goes on in schools is not living in the real world.

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    Vowlsie, thanks for getting your knickers in a twist but do you think you could answer the question?

    How come Bucks’ results – here in the real world – are far superior to Bristol’s if it’s all down to central government policy and not LEA management?

  4. Bluebaldee says:

    I absolutely agree with Mr Two-sheep on this.

    There’s been far, far too many politically motivated initiatives that just get in the way of giving kids a decent education.

    If we really must retain the LEA in Bristol, the whole senior management team should be booted out.

    Accompanying them on the last train out of Bristol (boat for Heather) should be all the CONsultants who have gladly taken our coin over the last few years and achieved precisely nothing.

  5. Blogger – do you really think that its a fair test to compare Bristol with Bucks? Get serious please. But lets take accept your general point for the sake of argument.

    I’ve already accepted (in the other debate) that we should be doing somewhat better despite central govt. and that the LEA has to take some responsibility for the state of affairs.

    You however, are attributing far too many problems to the LEA alone. Getting rid of it is no guarantee that things will improve – especially since most of what currently goes on in schools will continue anyway because its determined by central government!

    I have considerable sympathy with what Bluebaldee has posted above, though large scale change of snr management is also no guarantee of big improvement for the same reasons that getting rid of the LEA wont. Money is certainly wasted on consultants though.

  6. Tinkerbell says:

    With his prevaricating ‘no guarantee’s and fence-sitting Vowlsie is sounding more like a Liberal every day, methinks. Our LEA is shockingly inept. But most other councils do okay. Does Vowlsie attribute Bristol LEA’s awful performance to the LEA workers at operational level, or even to the teachers? Or can he accept that senior management get bloody well paid to carry the can for failure, and so it’s they who should do the sword-falling when things go shit-shaped and Bristol LEA fashion.

  7. thebristolblogger says:

    According to Wikipedia:

    GDP Bristol – €35,124 or £25,321 per head

    GDP Bucks – €37 379. or £26,947 per head

    Perfectly comparable. What’s not fair about it? Bristol is a very wealthy – but also very divided and unequal – city. It just shows the measure of the political failure we have to cope with that we’re so wealthy and have an economy comparable with the powerhouses of the south east but we have an education system comparable with Stoke! (GDP about £18k per head)

  8. Overayard says:

    Vowlsie can you tell me of the mechanism by which “Central Government” controls the teachers in the classroom. After 25 years in education I’m still waiting for the thought police at my classroom door.

    Please don’t tell me its the village idiots OFSTED, because it just ain’t so. Just put together a reasonable set of lessons and they are fooled by anything with the layer of bullshit.

    We allow ourselves to be influenced by “new ideas”, fads, praise, money, threats and our desire to do the right thing.

    The problem with many of the Bristol teachers I meet is that they think they are doing a great job and can not accept that they are not. And there is no one who can give them the drive and kick up the arse they need to get it right. If I had to question one group who should know better I would question head teachers most on a very good wedge for about 42 weeks work, but they just seem to be unable to turn their schools around.

  9. Blogger – so you think one stat, GDP per head, is a fair way to compare Bristol with Bucks. I think you’ve made my point for me.

    Overayard – have you not heard about: the national curriculum and seen how it has shaped teacher training; detailing how teachers should teach children to read; the multitude of initiatives that government makes money available for?

    Look at how new academies come about – is the LEA in strong position with regard to these?? Or is it a stitch up between some private interest with money and central govt??

    As for Tinkerbell saying I’m fence sitting, that is ridiculous. I want radical change to the education system and so does my party
    http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/Education.html.

  10. Greengage says:

    Overayard, totally agree with you and Mr. Two-Sheep that Bristol LEA is far too focused on new initiatives and gimmicks. Also agree that it is child’s play for a head to pull the wool over Ofsted’s eyes – especially as many of them also work as Ofsted inspectors and know every trick in the book.

    Interesting that you say on the other thread that other LEAs are a lot more assertive. This is what I would like to see in Bristol – the ability for the LEA to go into schools and tell them that they are just not doing a good enough job.

    In defence of Vowlsie, I think a major way that central government controls education is through the focus on testing and targets – which means that there is too much of a focus on children on the threshhold of a pass, and not too much incentive to work with the kids who are miles off ever hitting the target.

    Blogger, I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that Bristol is “divided and unequal”. Surely this is a large part of the problem – along with the geography of the city’s schools?

  11. Overayard says:

    Vowlsie, no still can’t see how your actual mechanism works. Who goes into the school and tells them what to do? How is this monitored? What happens if they don’t do it? Its the LEA that has people on the ground going into school on a regular basis, to promote their ideas. Apart from OFSTED inspections who from outside the LEA has contact with the school to set their priorties and monitor them? No one.

    As for Academies when has the LEA said that they are wrong? They have no bottle to talk about the big stuff. They would rather sit on their hands and let things go.

    Also the NC is not that bad, it made teachers think about what they were teaching. I taught before and after its introduction at 11+ and it made a positive difference.

    Are you saying that that teachers should be free to teach anything they want? This is what was some schools were like when I first started teaching. These schools were in the main, shit. They tended to be schools were middle class wet liberals thought they were doing the working classes a favour by not educating their children to an appropriate standard to get the jobs, courses and education they should have been entitled to.

    How would that improve the standard of education in Bristol?

  12. thebristolblogger says:

    Blogger – so you think one stat, GDP per head, is a fair way to compare Bristol with Bucks. I think you’ve made my point for me.

    I’m making an economic comparison about wealth. Are you saying economics is irrelevant now? And that wealth is unimportant? All you need is love, eh?

    You’re also being a typical Bristolian politician and attempting to play down – presumably on behalf of the very wealthy power brokers here – the massive wealth that’s here in this city for the few. Why do you want to pretend this city is like some sort of struggling outpost of the developing world facing loads of challenges when it blatantly isn’t?

    Oh and what is your point? Why can’t Bristol be compared to Bucks? Apart from the fact it isn’t very flattering for the city?

  13. Gill says:

    Careful BB, Quoting Wikipedia IS RISKY – you never know which idiot at the Council as inflated those figures on the site to make themselves look good!

  14. Blogger, my point is that you are being very careful about the comparisons you make but then still go on to base your arguments on them. Surely you are not saying that it does not matter that like is compared with like?? Dont you think there is more to a population (including much that affects education) than levels of wealth??

    Anyhow, even if one stat was enough to make a fair and valid comparison, GDP/GNP is a seriously flawed indicator to choose, even in narrow economic terms. It’s extremely insensitive in terms of national accounting let alone as an indicator of the ‘similar ‘nature of two distinct populations.

    Dont take my word for it, just consider what a certain Robert F Kennedy had to say:
    http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/hottopics/0703gnp_petition.htm

    Looks like Overayard does not understand the power of controlling purse strings, subject content, tests and targets, inspections, league tables….

    NB: As I write BBC Points West is saying that Bristol’s education is now assessed as adequate (previously judged inadequate). I cant agree with this . I reckon the indicators they used were seriously flawed.

  15. Overayard says:

    Vowles, thanks for the lol moment on your last comment. Is this Green logic I ask you a question you can’t answer so I don’t understand. (I’m still smiling.)

    I am a science teacher in a school not in Bristol. I have taught in London, the West Country and in Wales for over twenty years. I have a Masters degree in Education.

    I’m very impressed by your veneer of knowledge about education. Can you now answer the question of how Central Government can in one hand, using your logic; oversee the greatest improvements in the attainments of children ever at GCSE and A level. And at the same time using their nefarious powers damn the kids of Bristol to sub standard education? Its not central government it’s the LEA.

    Also I am not surprised that the Bristol Children’s Services are now seen as adequate. If you look at the measures used then it would be hard to argue against that. They seem to favour what the LEA is trying to do as highly significant therefore they get an adequate rating, however this will not stay the case if there is no improvement. The link is here.

    http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/content/press-releases/2007/nov/APA07.en

    So its attempt to measure and describe their efforts and plans not the children’s current level of attainment, sorry if its a bit technical.

    That’s one of the flaws in the system you know more about than me. Its complex and you have to understand both the broader picture and the detail.

  16. thebristolblogger says:

    Vowlsie,
    What are you basing your comparison of Bucks and Bristol on to reach your view? So far all you’ve said is they’re not comparable because you say so. You need to do better than this.

  17. Dave Angel says:

    Adequate!!!

    Adequate is a synonym for mediocre, if my work was described by my peers as adequate, I would probably be looking at the sack.

    Why on earth are local and national politicians trumpeting this description of the education provision in Bristol as a triumph, do they have no shame??

  18. Overayard – I note that you resort to mockery and insult a fair bit in your last posting. I also take no comfort in the fact that a teacher like you resorts in a debate to telling people how qualified he/she is. These are argument tactics not genuine argument.

    Do you really believe that there has been ‘…the greatest improvements in the attainments of children ever at GCSE and A level…’ ? I think the massive improvement on paper is actually illusory and that many in both business and in universities are fully aware of the reality of the knowledge, understanding and skills that school-leavers have. They spend their time and effort trying to make up for what schools are not giving kids.

    It looks like the government have got to you after all Overayard, since they have you believing in a system that has set itself up to look better than it really is. Just as the system is set up so that even Bristol LEA is judged as adequate in the latest report. I think Blogger will agree with me on this – what do you think BB??

  19. Blogger – I note that you make no comment on what I’ve said about the serious deficiencies in GDP/GNP, which you used to say Bucks and Bristol were comparable.

    Personally I would not have started with Bucks because it would be shire county vs regional city. Instead I’d have would looked first at Bristol vs the other ‘core cities’ ( ie Bristol vs Birmingham , Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham). Bristol still would not come out that well I guess, which is why I’ve already said that I’ve always thought the LEA has to take some responsibility for the current situation.

    However, central government has to take substantial resonsibility too, as I’ve argued. They have set up the system so that it can make itself on paper look much, much better than the reality in all sorts of ways.

  20. Peter Goodwin says:

    There’ll be a few reasons why Bucks and Bristol perform differently – but one will be that they’re quite different sizes.

    For those parents nervous about sending their kids to the local comp, it’s far easier in Bristol to send them across the boundary into another local authority. There’s also more private education available here. So there’ll be a tendency for the Bristol secondaries to be left with a bigger proportion of kids from families with less educational aspiration and/or less money.

    How you break into that spiral of decline in the present ‘market’ for education I don’t know, and there haven’t been too many constructive suggestions here.

  21. thebristolblogger says:

    There’s been a number of constructive suggestions made here: http://thebristolblogger.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/half-our-pupils-are-missing/

  22. Peter, I do agree that too much of the discussion has been negative in tone and content, here and on other threads.

    I would like to see pupils, students and parents much more empowered than now. I’d also like to see power decentralised to communities within Bristol. I’d like to see education delivered in a much more individualised way and in smaller schools and smaller classes.

    Cant see these things happening without pretty serious political changes though.

  23. Overayard says:

    Vowlsie, its not mockery or insult, just scorn, now can you answer the original question? The reason I told you my qualifications was because you appear to consider that I was ignorant of the facts.

    “Looks like Overayard does not understand the power of controlling purse strings, subject content, tests and targets, inspections, league tables….” So first paragraph pointless.

    The second paragraph is straight from the Daily Mail. So you go to the fat cats of business to find out how well our schools are doing? Maybe the Elitist Ivory Towers have a more reasoned view on the education system? Please.

    My concern is about Bristol. There has been significant positive changes in almost all of England apart from a few areas. Bristol is one of these. You can not blame the government for that.

    Just re-read your last entry. Keep them coming another classic!

    “I would like to see pupils, students and parents much more empowered than now. ” In what way, how, why? To do what?

    “power decentralised to communities within Bristol. ” What would that look like?

    “education delivered in a much more individualised way.” Humm deep, I think this is a “David Cameron.”

    In the past some of our greatest thinkers have been mocked by many who could not see the beauty of their simple yet thought. Sadly so were alot of people talking in vacuous platitudes.

  24. Yet more scorn from Overayard in preference to genuine argument I see. Is this the approach to debate he/she encourages in pupils when teaching?? If in doubt, just rant….

    I note that he/she seems to completely dismiss the views of universities (where a high and rising proportion of pupils go for more education these days, so its wrong to simply dismiss their views without consideration) and of business, who need people with communication, numeracy and problem solving skills (one could argue its not the main reason for schools but getting qualifications to make you employable are still one reason surely!).

    As for Overayard’s questions about me wanting empowerment, decentralisation and individualisation he/she need only go to the link I provided earlier for loads of detail:
    http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/Education.html

  25. Gary Hopkins says:

    There are genuine reasons why Bristol LEA has had a hard task but the reason why over the last year or two that there has been the start of improvement (see OFSTED) ,however modest has been that for the first time ever there has been a dose of harsh reality introduced into the excuse rich culture by new brooms. I worry with the present lot in charge that things will slip back even if this is disguised by exam results statistical improvements caused partly by the absorbtion of cathedral and Colston schools.Even if the system is working perfectly now ,which it is not, then GCSE results will in reality take some years to reach good levels as children are a long time in the system.

  26. Mr Two-sheep says:

    Dear Gary
    I assume you’re the Gary Hopkins who’s a councillor and who formed part of the Liberal Democrat administration a year or two ago. If you’re not, then please forgive and ignore the following. But if you are, then please answer:

    What degree of ‘harsh reality’ would you attribute to the many, many expensive outside consultants employed by y/our LEA? What percentage of the immense cost of these so-called ‘new brooms’ is fully merited? Please give some examples of the ‘harsh realities’ introduced by councillors / officers so that readers of this blog can make an assessment of the validity of your posting.

  27. Gary Hopkins says:

    By far the most important reality is to admit there is a problem.Politicians in denial ,and we have had that for many years are a serious danger.

  28. Mr Two-sheep says:

    That’s astonishing, Mr Hopkins. Not only have you failed to answer my three direct questions about the LEA you appear to want to defend, but you’ve also failed to confirm your identity!

    I can only assume you’re …. a politician!

    But let me ask you again to reconsider your response and this time to actually respond. Thank you.

  29. Overayard says:

    Vowlsie, like it or not you are a politician, hence you must either learn that you have to either answer question honestly or you will be considered no better than the fools and rouges we currently have. Your failure to answer simple questions lends itself to scorn. You make cheap political points about “the government” at the expense of real debate.

    I just want to know how, in the case of Bristol, it’s the government’s fault that our children are failing in our schools but this is not the case in other authorities where fantastic progress has been made?

    By the way I love your retorical style talking as if to a third person, class. I doubt if we are that interesting.

    As for the link back to more vacuous platitudes. I would say C- so far with a comment of ANSWER THE QUESTION.

  30. Overayard says:

    Feel a bit guilty posting twice, but this might help with the comparison issue on this thread.

    http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/STA/t000712/SNModel_Version9_181007.xls

    A very good tool to compare demographically similar LEAs, for Bristol the story can not get worse.

  31. Gary Hopkins says:

    Well apparently I,putting clear political statements up in my own name and giving examples from our administration which finished six months ago,am being accused of hiding my identity by a “Mr Two Sheep” Touch of the Geoffrey Howes.!!
    As I said the most important change which led to the start of improvement in the education service ,and as statistics and government inspectors are confirming in recycling,social services and other areas, was recognising and getting officers to recognise that there are were problems and things needed to improve.
    I cannot give individual examples of failure or criticise individual officers because they are not allowed to speak publicly to defend themselves but the culture of excuse and failure was well established in Education as it was in other parts of the council.
    Lots of money has been spent over many years on consultants.Sometimes this is at central government insistence ,sometimes they are employed to tell people what they want to hear or give alibis,somtimes ,particlarly in Bristol they have given useful advice that has then been ignored.
    A fair amount of the “consultant” spending in education has been on experienced head and senior teachers brought in to do specific jobs within schools.There was a problem where when key permanent jobs were advertised nobody of quality applied. Two main reasons ,nobody of quality wants to have failure on their CV and the culture was so bad in some areas that they thought they could not make a difference. This problem was not unique to education. That problem is reducing and so over time therefore should the use of “consultants”
    A politicians job in taking over the leadership of a difficuilt or failing service is be honest about the problems without speading so much gloom that the service cannot recover either because the staff are depressed or as in LEA the public walk away. Although some services can respond fairly quickly some like education take longer for the real improvements to show in statistics like GCSEs because parents who have a choice will keep their bright and easily educated children away until they have solid proof and it takes a lot of years to educate a child.
    I cannot identify the individuals or individual schools for the previously given reason but the culture has improved and the number of failing schools are reducing . Still lots to do.
    Having got the council off its knees over the last 2 years it is sad to see the architechts of failure ,Bristol Labour, being put back in and propped up in power by Eddie’s Tories.

  32. Thought I’d made my view on Overayards question clear but he/she still asks: ‘I just want to know how, in the case of Bristol, it’s the government’s fault that our children are failing in our schools but this is not the case in other authorities where fantastic progress has been made?’

    I’ve already said several times that Bristol LEA and Central Govt share any blame for the state of education in the city. I’ve also clearly stated the view that this ‘fantastic progress’ he refers to is illusory, saying that business and universities see that basic skills are lacking.

  33. Just found the link to further evidence that we cant rely on school tests results when trying to decide whether the ‘fantastic progress’ Overayard refers to is in fact real.

    Does Overayard believe that attainment in English has improved for example? School test results say yes, apparently. But a ‘major review has found that, despite spending half a billion pounds on raising standards of English in primary schools, there has been virtually no effect on reading skills’. Furhter detail from here:
    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/education/qa+primary+school+literacy+review+/993652

    This major review says that ‘any rises in results exaggerate the changes in pupils’ attainment levels and are misleading’. School tests change each yr and do not represent a sufficiently standardised method to decide on whether there has been improvement or not.

  34. Overayard says:

    Vowlsie the question is:

    How Central Government can in one hand, using your logic; oversee the greatest improvements in the attainments of children ever at GCSE and A level. And at the same time using their nefarious powers damn the kids of Bristol to sub standard education?

    You are still to answer the question your reply of “I’ve already said several times that Bristol LEA and Central Govt share any blame for the state of education in the city. ”

    The problem is I did not ask you who should be blamed. The question is about how can this discrepancy occur?

    Also your latest post misses the point in two ways firstly the report is about primary children’s attainment, (they tend not to take GCSEs and A levels) and its a secondary source ie its comment. If you look at the facts, sorry if they upset you,

    GCSE A*-C 1998 46.3% in 2006 58.5%
    English level 4 at Key Stage 2 1998 65.0% 2007 79.0%
    Maths level 4 at Key Stage 2 1998 59.0% 2007 79.0%
    In 2007 nearly 1/2 million entrants into higher education.

    Looks quite good to me.

    D+ this is your second rewrite, your new “evidence” does not support your claims, and you have still not attempted to answer the question.

    If you can not get your head around this I give up with you.

  35. No Overayard. There has not been the ‘greatest improvements in the attainments of children ever ‘, therefore there is no discrepancy. If there has been an improvement we dont know what it is because the system has set itself up to look much better than it really is ie the figures you give aren’t reliable for tracking improvement.

    The primary school review I gave a link to a report on flatly contradicts the figures you give on Key Stage 2 English for instance, something which underpins future attainment – how do you account for the fact that this major study found what it did?? Does it not undemine the reliability of the test results themselves?

    The review findings chime with what business and universities have said about the literacy and numeracy of school-leavers.

    Furthermore the news today http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7117230.stm is that ‘ The reading performance of children in England has fallen from third to 19th in the world in a major assessment.’ Not a good performance relative to others this time apparently.

  36. Mr Two-sheep says:

    Dear Gary

    Thanks for your response. I can understand why you have focused on the important role of advisory Headteachers (who are ‘consultants’) because we all know the solution to the problems of Bristol education lies in the schools.
    So it makes sense to focus work on the ground. This is the essence of my argument – the LEA doesn’t focus on schools as much as it focuses on itself and its own agenda.

    You say that a ‘fair amount’ of the LEA consultant expenditure was on advisory Heads, but it accounts for less than 10 per cent, doesn’t it?

    The inexcusable LEA expenditure on consultants is of the type admirably described by Blogger – for example Peter Mooney, employed under your Lib Dem group’s administration for a small fortune every day, plus expenses, to oversee the LEA’s finances. To what end? A £5 million overspend on Redland Green. Good value, Cllr Hopkins? You’re a politican. Please ‘be honest’ in your response.

  37. Overayard says:

    Vowlesthegreen

    Two points here, firstly the question, are you saying that there is no significant discrepancy between Bristol’s attainment at GCSE and A level and the rest of England? Even the LEA acknowledges this. If you can not accept this then, I’m sorry it’s a straight F for you.

    My question was about GCSE and A levels in Bristol so you can draw in as much information about Key Stages 1 and 2 as you want but it’s not answering the question.

    However I can comment on the issues you raise. I’m sorry but I’m going to be a bit academic here, hope you don’t loose the train of thought.

    Firstly the Channel 4 report is comment on a report I would suggest that you try and understand, that to quote comment of report is intellectually lazy, I would expect better from a Green. You don’t give a link to the report itself so I can not comment on it.

    Your latest link is interesting and if you read the report there does seem to be some issues that need to be explored.

    NFER have kindly published the report on the web it makes interesting reading all 144 pages. I must admit I have not read them all but let me point you to Figure 2.1 page 6 and Section 1.4 page 2.

    They relate to the sample and its age. On first inspection, if you were to do a simple analysis of the correlation between the mean ages at which the children took the test and the score for the test I would suggest that there is a strong positive correlation, strange that ie the older you are the better you are at reading, (I typed this slowly for you.)

    Also if you look at the range of scores then the best English scores are within the range of the best scores in the World. So our good teaching is as good as the best in the world. However the tail is longer, this would suggest that we are failing the kids who find learning to read hard. This in a way partly supports my point, there is good teaching going on in England, sadly not that much in Bristol.

    It is a very interesting report and I am sure that it will provide worthwhile for those of us who can understand it. However taking the first impressions of a journalist over any analysis of the data is a sad way to run a discussion.

    Sadly I see no point in continuing this debate as you now seem to be intentionally distorting this discussion to suit you political view point, you are unable to get beyond a facile understanding of the issue and your inability to gasp the complexity of the issues makes further correspondence futile.

  38. Overayard, I’ve already stated myself that Bristol educational attainment is poor relatively, in part due to a poor LEA performance. We cant rely on govt test results to put figures to the differences though.

    You ought to know that using denigration and sarcasm eg ‘ I’m going to be a bit academic here, hope you don’t loose the train of thought’ or ‘I typed this slowly for you’
    is an unfair argument tactic not genuine argument, and so of no benefit in rational debate ( you are arguing to ‘win’ not to answer a question).

    If you genuinely want to examine this issue you cant simply dismiss major evidence that school test result increases are illusory the way you do ‘You don’t give a link to the report itself so I can not comment on it’. The evidence is strong, and was reported on accurately, I checked (I simply gave the link because that’s where I originally saw the material).

    http://www.primaryreview.org.uk/

  39. Overayard says:

    I said I was not going to post again on this, but you little minx made me! I was trying to ridicule but you could not get it. I was trying to use cogent arguments on detail but you prefer to just using pre-digested comment as fact.

    Thanks for the link, have you read all 32 interim reports?

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