Wednesday 14 November 2007

Is small beautiful?

Today's report from Teach First, arguing that large comprehensives should be broken into smaller schools with separate groups of teachers, under a unifying head, builds not only on the English house system, now increasingly popular in state secondaries, but also on experiments in the United States, most famously that in East Harlem. The idea has traction with all three political parties here, and is being tested in the Ark academies model. It is certainly worth testing, though other models such as the separate Year 7, being used by Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, look equally promising. The big issue is how to transfer personalisation from an academic concept to a model for school management and structures, whilst ensuring that students have the chance to get good results with a good choice of subjects, specialist teachers (at least post-14) and a strong extra-curricular programme. Teach First have done well to kick-start this debate this morning.

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