When you are next in the bath (a recognized venue for deep thought) , have a go at thinking about all of the educational initiatives that have hit schools in the last decade or two. I’ll bet the water gets cold before you run out. Presumably each of those costly initiatives was based on researched evidence that made it clear that their introduction would absolutely lead to improvements in achievement?
I can’t find any effect size data on the initiatives that the fine gentleman on my right is referring to, but unless each comes armed with evidence- based improvements to the teaching and learning approaches then they may, dare I suggest, simply be attempts at misguided fixes.
Academy Schools have been identified as leading to widespread increases in achievement, with the Government stating that the GCSE results for 2010 demonstrated that Academy Schools, “improved at three times the historic rate for school improvement”. There is some alternative evidence that this is based on switches from GCSE subjects to softer equivalents. Clearly, schools that really have been ‘failing’ (and how that is measured is crucial) do need interventions, each year a school fails the life chances of a cohort of young people are being reduced. These interventions however must focus on teaching and learning as the key priority- not the distractions of a nice new name, a nice new uniform and an investment in a consultant’s brand of Snake Oil. Hattie (2009) gives us two effect sizes that are of interest. He provides an effect size of d=0.20 for Charter Schools- publicly funded schools that are freed from many of the regulations that other state schools are constrained by. They are typically set up in competition with their neighbours. Hattie also comments on the influence of comprehensive teaching reforms, all of which were claimed to be designed to, ‘close the achievement gap’. His conclusion is illustrated in the achievement gauge below:
Educational reforms- do the £££s add up?     
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