5th October 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Head teachers have urged universities to maintain the “integrity” of their A-level offers as too many students get on to their degree course despite dropping four or even five grades.
Chris Ramsey, head of the Whitgift School in Croydon, south London, said it was so common to get places at Russell Group universities without getting the grades that sixth formers no longer knew what they were really aiming for.
A system of “offer high, take lower” had developed in the past two or three years as universities expanded, he said, but demographic changes meant there were fewer school leavers seeking places. “We are talking about good Russell Group universities across the full range of subjects,” Mr Ramsey told the annual Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents 280 independent schools. “In anything when you are told, ‘that is the standard that you need to reach’, and that is demonstrably not really the standard you need to meet, that’s a worry.
“Of course there are occasions when an offer should not be absolute, for example if someone has had a bereavement. But if it were to become widespread that the offer did not have the integrity of being an absolute, then it would be a worry.”
The head of an academy chain has urged private school headteachers to become governors at state schools to help improve their education.
Dame Rachel de Souza has urged members of the Headmasters and Headmistresses’ conference to share their time and experience.
The chief executive of Inspiration Trust spoke to heads at the HMC conference today about transforming schools.
She revealed that having school governors from top independent sector backgrounds had helped to support her in one of her first headships.
“My governors were Etonians, they were Harrovians and they brought to bear all of the things they knew.
“We learnt from your sector. That school made good improvements in the numbers but we also got further. We started to work on the things that mattered mainly because of my governors. They were asking: ‘What are we teaching these children? What about their character.’
“They were asking the right questions. That is where I would say to you: You can play an incredibly powerful body on a state school body or board – asking the hard questions about education that you can ask.”
Ms de Souza also urged heads to work closely with state schools.
She said she wanted bright young teachers to experience how independent schools operated.
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