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Under advisement

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Conor Ryan on the implications of today’s teacher polling. What are we to make of the idea that some four in ten teachers rarely or never advise bright students to apply to Oxford and Cambridge? This finding in an NFER poll for the Sutton Trust published today has remained stubbornly unchanged since 2007. And perhaps more… Read more »

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Lost in the grammars debate

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Conor Ryan reflects on the grammar schools debate It was just three months before Tony Blair’s historic victory in 1997. Ben Chapman was fighting as the Labour candidate in the Wirral South by-election. And David Blunkett, the shadow education secretary, was visiting the Wirral County Grammar School. While he had a cup of tea with… Read more »

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Bacc to the future

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Conor Ryan sees good news – and big challenges – in new research on the EBacc. Next month, hundreds of thousands of young people will learn their GCSE results. Their schools will be judged for the first time not on the proportion gaining five good GCSEs, but on the more complex Progress 8 measure (as… Read more »

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Brexit’s mobility challenge

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Conor Ryan reflects on how the referendum aftermath should impact on social mobility It is not as simple as saying – as many do – that we are heading out of the European Union thanks to the disaffected poor who felt their needs were overlooked by the distant metropolitan elite. As YouGov’s final polling showed,… Read more »

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Scotland’s access challenge

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Conor Ryan on the implications of today’s report on Scottish higher education access Nicola Sturgeon has placed education at the top of the government’s agenda. By making her deputy John Swinney responsible for education in her cabinet, she has given a clear signal of how highly she prioritises the issue. And in looking again at… Read more »

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Primary selection

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Conor Ryan on the implications of today’s report on primary admissions On Monday, hundreds of thousands of parents in England will learn whether or not they have secured a place for their children at their preferred primary school. For many, that will be their nearest primary; for others it may be faith-based schools. For some,… Read more »

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Back to school for governors

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Conor Ryan wrote about governance in the academies era for Public Finance Perspectives The transformation of school structures over the past decade has dramatically increased the importance of good governance in schools. Yet evidence from the school inspectorate, Ofsted, and others suggests that the rapid conversion of seven in 10 secondary schools and one in… Read more »

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Losing focus

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Conor Ryan warns that an over-complex accountability system could backfire All credit to Centreforum and Education Datalab for their detailed report this week showing the likely impact of the myriad changes to the exam accountability system planned over the next few years. They made a commendable effort to develop a new set of indicators that… Read more »

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Student architecture

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Conor Ryan asks whether the HE green paper plans really will empower disadvantaged students. Green and white papers are published for a variety of reasons, aside from the need to ‘consult’ prior to legislation. A new minister wants to make his or her mark. The government needs to save money. A department wants to show… Read more »

Higher earnings

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Philip Kirby and Conor Ryan on today’s report on apprenticeships. Since the 1980s, mass higher education has brought with it many benefits. But its growth also saw a fall-off in traditional apprenticeships that has only recently started to reverse. And with the rising debts facing students – even higher in the wake of the 2015… Read more »