Professor reveals attainment gap study results

Val Letheren

Val Letheren

First published in News

WHITE British boys entitled to free school meals in Bucks are most at risk of low achievement during secondary school, a professor revealed this week.

Professor Steve Strand, an education specialist, talked on Tuesday to a Buckinghamshire County Council committee about the pupils most at risk as a result of deprivation within the county.

The University of Oxford academic presented his findings to the Education, Skills and Children’s Services select committee on the attainment gap between socially and economically deprived pupils and their peers in Bucks.

He said a group particularly at risk of low achievement during secondary school was white British boys entitled to free school meals.

The study and the evidence given by Professor Strand form part of the committee’s ongoing review into academic achievement across the county.

Val Letheren, committee chairman, said: "Raising children’s attainment levels across the board is a continuing priority for both the select committee and the council. Professor Strand’s analysis will focus the county's future work in helping to ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability."

Following detailed questions from the committee to Professor Strand, the committee also received evidence from Chauhdry Shafique MBE and Rashida Kazi from the Muslim Parents Association, Mike Appleyard - cabinet member for Education and Skills, Chris Munday, service director at BCC and Amanda Hopkins - director of education at the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust.

The next meeting on July 1 will consider the annual in-depth report on educational attainment in Bucks across the board.

Comments (3)

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10:37am Fri 30 May 14

mistamina says...

Why in Bucks? Why have we been selected for this dubious honour?
Why in Bucks? Why have we been selected for this dubious honour? mistamina
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Fri 30 May 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

the committee also received evidence from … Mike Appleyard - cabinet member for Education and Skills,

I wonder what 'evidence' he (and the other Conservative ideologues) gave - probably some cheerful, vague and evasive, general statement, with dodgy statistics I would imagine.

As this 'evidence' was given to a BCC Committee we can be sure it was not questioned too harshly, if at all, and Mike's listeners were a sympathetic audience.

When asked to comment publicly Mike and others refuse - I have come to the conclusion this is because all the real evidence as opposed to dodgy anecdotes, and strained interpretations of statistics, are against the system they support in Bucks.

Only recently he said the new report presented by Val Letheren: '... focuses our attention on areas where we can make the transition from 'very good' to 'better'.'

Why was Professor Strand's report delayed in the first place? Is it true that it, and its author, are generally opposed to 'selection' and Appleyard and the others were worried Professor Strand would say something they did not want to hear?
[italic] the committee also received evidence from … Mike Appleyard - cabinet member for Education and Skills, [/italic] I wonder what 'evidence' he (and the other Conservative ideologues) gave - probably some cheerful, vague and evasive, general statement, with dodgy statistics I would imagine. As this 'evidence' was given to a BCC Committee we can be sure it was not questioned too harshly, if at all, and Mike's listeners were a sympathetic audience. When asked to comment publicly Mike and others refuse - I have come to the conclusion this is because all the real evidence as opposed to dodgy anecdotes, and strained interpretations of statistics, are against the system they support in Bucks. Only recently he said the new report presented by Val Letheren: '... focuses our attention on areas where we can make the transition from 'very good' to 'better'.' Why was Professor Strand's report delayed in the first place? Is it true that it, and its author, are generally opposed to 'selection' and Appleyard and the others were worried Professor Strand would say something they did not want to hear? Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 1

2:59pm Fri 30 May 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

Val Letheren, committee chairman, said: "Raising children’s attainment levels across the board is a continuing priority for both the select committee and the council.

That’s interesting - why wasn’t it a priority in the past - we have always been told that the system was just about perfect here and that it was an avenue of social mobility for talented working-class children - in fact it was actually envied in areas where they had comprehensive schools.

(Why the envious areas didn’t reintroduce ‘selection’ wasn’t explained but anyway.)

This whole thing with Letheren, Appleyard and these other dim-witted ‘excellence’ worshippers endeavouring to remove the penalties placed on 11+ failures and close ‘the gap’, is pure going through the motions and taurine dung -

In a dire report earlier this year the BFP said:

The cabinet embraced seven of the committee’s 12 recommendations to help narrow the gap and raise attainment levels, and it is considering further work on the other five.

These include work on harnessing the approach by Learning Development Centres to offer learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged families; looking at further improving literacy; reviewing support for parents in supporting their vulnerable children; and strengthening the commitment to ensure economically disadvantaged pupils perform well in all school settings.


So they are ‘harnessing an approach’, ’looking at further improving’ something, ’reviewing support’ (for parents who, in turn are ‘supporting' - 'their vulnerable children’. They are ’strengthening the commitment to ensure economically disadvantaged pupils perform well in all school settings’. The last phrase ‘all school settings’ suggests they are going to do something in secondary modern schools, but generally speaking what do BS phrases like ‘harnessing an approach’ mean and what about the seven recommendations of the committee rejected by the laughably-named ‘cabinet’ consist of?

http://www.bucksfree
press.co.uk/educatio
n/news/11108724.Prop
osals_to_close_educa
tional_gap_between_r
ich_and_poor

What role do grammar schools have in the proposed changes to the Bucks education system? Oh of course they are doing so well they can be dismissed as part of the problem and left respectfully alone. What proposals do Val and Mike have for improving grammar schools - or are they going to concentrate their talents on the failing part of their system until we lose interest?

What Letheren says above about: ‘… helping to ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability ’ and what Appleyard has said in the past are compatible with some half-baked scheme to better fit young people at secondary modern schools to do semi-skilled and unskilled work in industry and offices when they leave school - the original intention of the secondary moderns. (This assumes Letheren and Appleyard don’t just carry on heroically and sincerely trying to unsuccessfully ‘improve’ things until we all die.)

Even if the ‘gap’ were to be partly and temporarily closed in the BCC education system then it would still be unsatisfactory for bright children in this county to be denied the opportunities to stretch themselves intellectually, that are extended to their contemporaries from adjoining counties, at our expense, and to a minority of children from this county, on the basis of an exam taken before they have even reached puberty.
[italic] Val Letheren, committee chairman, said: "Raising children’s attainment levels across the board is a continuing priority for both the select committee and the council. [/italic] That’s interesting - why wasn’t it a priority in the past - we have always been told that the system was just about perfect here and that it was an avenue of social mobility for talented working-class children - in fact it was actually [italic] envied[/italic] in areas where they had comprehensive schools. (Why the envious areas didn’t reintroduce ‘selection’ wasn’t explained but anyway.) This whole thing with Letheren, Appleyard and these other dim-witted ‘excellence’ worshippers endeavouring to remove the penalties placed on 11+ failures and close ‘the gap’, is pure going through the motions and taurine dung - In a dire report earlier this year the BFP said: [italic] The cabinet embraced seven of the committee’s 12 recommendations to help narrow the gap and raise attainment levels, and it is considering further work on the other five. These include work on harnessing the approach by Learning Development Centres to offer learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged families; looking at further improving literacy; reviewing support for parents in supporting their vulnerable children; and strengthening the commitment to ensure economically disadvantaged pupils perform well in all school settings. [/italic] So they are ‘harnessing an approach’, ’looking at further improving’ something, ’reviewing support’ (for parents who, in turn are ‘supporting' - 'their vulnerable children’. They are ’strengthening the commitment to ensure economically disadvantaged pupils perform well in all school settings’. The last phrase ‘all school settings’ suggests they are going to do something in secondary modern schools, but generally speaking what do BS phrases like ‘harnessing an approach’ mean and what about the seven recommendations of the committee rejected by the laughably-named ‘cabinet’ consist of? http://www.bucksfree press.co.uk/educatio n/news/11108724.Prop osals_to_close_educa tional_gap_between_r ich_and_poor What role do grammar schools have in the proposed changes to the Bucks education system? Oh of course they are doing so well they can be dismissed as part of the problem and left respectfully alone. What proposals [italic]do [/italic]Val and Mike have for improving grammar schools - or are they going to concentrate their talents on the failing part of their system until we lose interest? What Letheren says above about: ‘… helping to ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve [italic] to the best of their ability [/italic]’ and what Appleyard has said in the past are compatible with some half-baked scheme to better fit young people at secondary modern schools to do semi-skilled and unskilled work in industry and offices when they leave school - the original intention of the secondary moderns. (This assumes Letheren and Appleyard don’t just carry on heroically and sincerely trying to unsuccessfully ‘improve’ things until we all die.) Even if the ‘gap’ [italic] were [/italic] to be partly and temporarily closed in the BCC education system then it would [italic] still [/italic] be unsatisfactory for bright children in this county to be denied the opportunities to stretch themselves intellectually, that are extended to their contemporaries from adjoining counties, at our expense, and to a minority of children from this county, on the basis of an exam taken before they have even reached puberty. Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 4

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