8th September 2017
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...
Councils pressured to place children in boarding schools instead of care
The government will lean on “reluctant” councils to place vulnerable children in boarding schools instead of costly residential care, an education minister has said.
Officials will promote boarding as an alternative to care, against what Lord Nash described as a backdrop of historic “prejudice”, as part of a drive to place more vulnerable children in state and independent boarding schools.
Boarding School Partnerships, an organisation that links care charities and councils with boarding places for children, was launched earlier this year with ministerial support and funding from the Department for Education and Education Endowment Foundation.
Around 100 children under the care of councils already attend boarding schools in England, saving local authorities tens of thousands of pounds.
Lord Nash denied the scheme was a cost-saving initiative, and told the House of Lords that the government was “very keen” to encourage more local authorities to consider boarding for vulnerable children.
The boarding system, with its 24/7 level of pastoral care, can be “particularly suitable” and could have “great benefits” for some vulnerable children, he pointed out.
This is why private schools in Wales chose to put pupils through England's GCSEs
Independent school heads in Wales have warned that parents lack confidence in Wales’ reformed GCSEs.
Many private schools in Wales opted for England’s new number-graded GCSEs with the most-able pupils achieving the top 9 grade which some heads is equivalent to an A** – something pupils in maintained schools are unable to get under the current letter system.
One head said that private schools were not protesting against Wales’ GCSE reforms but were responding to a lack of confidence among parents.
Simon Antwis, head teacher at St Clare’s School, Porthcawl, said pupils took England’s new English language, English literature and maths GCSE, because “it was very clear that the groundswell of opinion was for England’s GCSEs”.
He backed Wales’ GCSE reforms, but said parents wanted their children to take England’s qualification.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council said a cautious approach should be taken to the significance of grade 9:
"Universities should not consider the distinction between and 8 and a 9 worth making until they have evidence that it does not indicate something...after all, 95% might get you a grade 8, 96% to 100% a grade 9. Does the grade 9 student have greater intellectual ability and academic potential or are they simply better at writing fast, or better at checking for silly errors?. Only time, and analysis of results, will tell."
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