Academies minister Lord Nash in breach of governance tips

Academies minister ignoring tips

Is the chain run by the academies minister, Lord Nash, in breach of government guidelines stating how trusts should involve mothers and fathers in their governance? It would seem so.

The rules state that academy trusts should either have at least two mother or father members on the governing bodies of their person colleges, or two mother or father trustees on the overarching board working the trust as a whole.

That rule was explained by Peter Lauener, chief executive of the government’s Schooling Funding Company, in a letter to neighborhood government expert John Fowler, who was a governor of a school taken above by Nash’s chain last 12 months. Fowler wrote to Lauener and, as we reported in September, to Nash, asking about the governance of Nash’s Long term Academies Believe in.

Nash, who chairs Future Academies and with his wife, Caroline, is its lead sponsor, declined to reply any of Fowler’s thorough inquiries. However, Future’s newest published accounts contain only 3 trustees, such as Lord and Lady Nash, while Pimlico academy, Future’s flagship school, lists only one mother or father governor for this academic yr.

Fowler says: “You would feel that the minister accountable for overseeing the entire academies policy would make positive that his organisation follows Department for Education guidance.”

A Future Academies spokesman says the trust “complies entirely with its content articles [official rulebook] and funding agreements. Accordingly we have two mother or father governors at each and every of our schools, except at Pimlico academy which is only needed to have one, beneath its posts set by the DfE below the previous government.”

It is following the letter of the law, then, but not the DfE guidance, which presumably is very best practice. In September, Nash wrote to all governing entire body chairs urging them to “lead by example” on governance. Is he doing so himself?

Strain grows for literature GCSE rethink

What’s that you say, a determination by Michael Gove proving unpopular with many teachers? And moves afoot to try to get his successor, Nicky Morgan, to reverse it? Who’d have guessed?

More than 82,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Morgan to reverse Gove’s modifications to the GCSE English literature syllabus. These have witnessed well-liked American novels such as Of Mice and Guys and To Kill a Mockingbird disappearing from the syllabuses pupils will start off following in September.

Gove, who as training secretary oversaw changes to the guidelines which examination boards use to design and style their specs, insisted in May that he was not banning any books.

But Mary Stevens, an English instructor at Larkmead school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, who launched the petition on the campaigning website, mentioned that Gove’s stipulations that all pupils need to be taught the Romantic poets, a 19th-century novel, a Shakespeare play and a present day British text left small area for something else.

Stevens says the new fare unlikely to appeal to numerous reduced attaining youngsters and if the government needed to address the situation of raising expectations of students, it needed initial to create the foundations throughout pupils’ early years.

Stevens had a meeting at the Department for Education during half-phrase and is awaiting a response from Morgan.

NUT strikes in Haringey in support of official

Members of the Nationwide Union of Teachers in Haringey, north London, have been striking in a dispute centring on the position of their elected representative, Julie Davies.

Davies has been suspended given that July after Haringey council took problem with an email she sent, and some heads in the borough wrote to the regional authority, citing a “climate of mistrust” in school relations with the union.

The NUT action led to the partial closure of two secondary schools final Wednesday and is most likely to be followed by further walk-outs on Wednesday and Thursday. It focuses on a June letter from secondary heads to the regional authority saying the schools would refuse to spend into a joint fund that pays for her perform whilst Davies remains in publish.

Bob Stapley, the union’s London regional secretary, says the union will not enable college leaders to dictate who teachers decide on to represent them and warns that additional strike action in other colleges could follow.

Helen Anthony, head of a single of the two colleges affected, Fortismere in Muswell Hill, says: “This is not an try to veto something. We fully recognise that who the NUT elect is up to them.”

Satisfied days in north London.

TKAT schools suffer Ofsted downgrades

It sounded like a unhappy enough story the last time we wrote about Weyfield major school, in Guildford, Surrey, but items there seem to have taken a turn for the worse. The college, whose well-liked headteacher, Simon Wood, disappeared last Christmas, has been positioned in special measures in another unwelcome verdict for its sponsors, the TKAT academies chain.

Weyfield was celebrating a “good” verdict from Ofsted just at the point when it was forced by the DfE into the arms of TKAT 22 months ago. Ofsted has now rated it inadequate in all regions. Mother or father Maja Pawinska Sims, who has known as on ministers to get the school out of TKAT’s hands, says in her website that the verdict was worse than even she had anticipated.

Meanwhile, yet another TKAT college featured here just before, Thomas Bennett in Crawley, West Sussex, has obtained a “requires improvement” judgment from Ofsted. Prior to joining TKAT, one of England’s greatest academy chains, in 2012, the school was judged to be “good”.

TKAT says in a statement: “Whilst we are disappointed with the Ofsted reports for each of the colleges, action programs had been completely in place before the visits and this was recognised in each the resulting reviews. There is currently evidence that the measures that have been place in location to raise specifications are proving to be successful.”

Drop five-year-olds’ tests, urge maths teachers

Lastly, members of the two major teachers’ subject associations for maths have written to Morgan asking her to reverse an additional controversial program: the introduction of baseline assessments for four- and five-yr-olds.

The exams, to be fully launched in 2016 in a bid to hold schools to account, will be meaningless, say the associations, partly due to the fact the overall performance of children at this age varies from day to day and partly since schools can use diverse sorts of assessments.

Teachers would have a perverse incentive to give pupils lower scores in the assessment, in purchase to display progress later, says the letter, even though kids would be labelled as failing on 1st coming into school, “creating a self-fulfilling prophecy”.

The criticism of the exams follows a related critique by early many years specialists last week.

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