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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


The tensions between economic and educational choices for schools have never been sharper

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 3 July 2018

Toby Greany and Rob Higham.
The economic and regulatory incentives facing state schools in England are increasingly in tension with an inclusive, broad and balanced education for pupils.
Since 2010 the Government has used the language of a ‘self-improving school-led system’ to characterise its reforms, arguing that these are ‘moving control to the frontline’. Our research shows that this is a partial and idealised account: while some higher performing schools are benefitting, the system as a whole is becoming more fragmented and less equitable.
Schools have been strongly encouraged (and sometimes forced) to become academies, which are independent of local government, on the premise that they will be freed from red tape.
Yet schools and academies have faced greater regulation… read the full article on guardian.com.
See our new report here.

How to teach Chinese? Is England's autonomous school system limiting innovation?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 23 October 2015

Toby Greany.
During the early 1990s I lived in China for two years, where I taught English at JiangHan University in Wuhan. Not long before I left, a friend’s dad – a scary documentary film maker who had never given me the time of day before – gave me one piece of advice: ‘learn Chinese!’
In the event I was only partially successful in fulfilling his directive. Before going to China I had spent two years in Brazil, where I had become almost fluent in Portuguese. But Chinese didn’t come so easily; it required sustained and diligent study and I was surrounded by students who just wanted to practice their English. The truth is, it is a difficult language for English speakers to learn. The Foreign Service Institute in Washington estimates that a native English speaker takes approximately 2200 hours to become proficient in Chinese, compared to 600 hours in French.
So this presents an interesting challenge for teachers and schools in the UK that want to introduce Chinese to (more…)