A School Sucess Story from England?

The school that proves Michael Gove is right

By Politics  August 21st, 2014

 

Michael Gove at the King Solomon Academy

Michael Gove at the King Solomon Academy

Success has many fathers, and on Twitter the fight to claim credit for the results at King Solomon Academy has already begun. KSA is an all-through school in Paddington, London, sponsored by ARK, and its results are breathtaking.

First, the context. Twelve per cent of the children at the school have special educational needs, 51.1 per cent are on free school meals and 65.2 per cent don’t speak English as their first language. So a challenging cohort, the sort of pupils that critics of Michael Gove’s education reforms claim simply cannot manage to get five GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths and English, let alone do well in the EBacc subjects. Expecting children from such deprived backgrounds to study the same curriculum and sit the same exams as children at Eton or Westminster is “elitist”. They’re bound to do badly and that, in turn, will damage their “self esteem”. Much better to teach working class children useful “life skills”, such as how to walk (an actual recommendation made by the deputy general secretary of the ATL). Forcing them to do traditional subjects like History and Geography is “totalitarian”.

Okay, so how did they do, these lumpen proles written off as too thick to tackle academically rigorous GCSEs by the teaching unions? Well, to begin with 93 per cent got five A*-C, including maths and English. Not only that, but 95 per cent got A*-B in English Literature and a whopping 75 per cent of the entire GCSE cohort achieved the EBacc benchmark. To give you an idea of what an achievement this is, the percentage of pupils achieving the EBacc benchmark at Rugby last year was 64 per cent.

So how did KSA manage to get such extraordinary results? Well, obviously, the children deserve a lot of the credit, as do their teachers. But would they have done as well if KSA was a local authority school? I visited KSA in January of 2010 when the pupils who’ve just sat their GCSEs were in Year 7. The school had opened the previous September and one of the remarkable things about it was that the headteacher, Max Haimendorf, was only 28. He was a graduate of the Teach First programme and was taking full advantage of the freedoms KSA enjoyed in virtue of its academy status, particularly the freedom to depart from the national curriculum.

Some people will point out that KSA was set up under the previous government and therefore Labour deserves the credit, not the Coalition. It’s certainly true that Labour politicians who championed the academies policy, like Tony Blair and Andrew Adonis, deserve some of the credit for the success of KSA and other, similar schools, such as Mossbourne. But Labour’s education spokesmen in this Parliament have been very half-hearted in their support for academies, primarily because they don’t want to upset the teaching unions and the Left of the party, who’ve always been opposed to them. . . .

 

. . . the essential point is that KSA has been doing exactly what Michael Gove would like all schools to be doing, namely, teaching every child a knowledge-based, subject-specific curriculum and expecting each of them to achieve the same standard as a child at a top independent school, regardless of background. This was the original vision behind comprehensives, which Harold Wilson described as “grammar schools for all”, and it’s a vision that Gove has kept faith with while Labour and the teaching unions have moved further and further away.

The success of the pupils at KSA proves that teaching all children the best that’s been thought and said isn’t elitist or discriminatory, it doesn’t penalise children from deprived backgrounds or ethnic minorities and it won’t damage the “self esteem” of working-class children. It proves something Gove has always known, but the Left appears to have forgotten – that all children are capable of mastering advanced algebra and understanding Shakespeare, not just middle-class children.

[Read the whole article on the website of The Telegraph.]

Richard Dawkins: ‘immoral’ to allow Down’s syndrome babies to be born

Atheist champion Richard Dawkins prompts fury with claim that it is ‘immoral’ not to abort babies with Down’s syndrome

Richard Dawkins wearing a Penguin tie at Hay 2014

Richard Dawkins wearing a Penguin tie at Hay 2014 Photo: Jay Williams

By , Religious Affairs Editor, The Telegraph, Aug. 20, 2014

 

Richard Dawkins, the atheist writer, has claimed it is “immoral” to allow unborn babies with Down’s syndrome to live. Continue reading

Parents get to choose what’s best for their child with charter schools [opinion piece]

by Darlene Chambers, Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools

[Public charter schools are not at present found in British Columbia.  Perhaps they should be.]
[An opposing viewpoint is found in the article "Charter schools fail the test of justice." at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/08/charter_schools_fail_the_test.html
By Guest Columnist/cleveland.com The Plain Dealer
onAugust 03, 2014

Darlene_Chambers-1-1.jpgDarlene Chambers, president and CEO of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Guest columnist Darlene Chambers is president and CEO of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the enhancement and sustainability of quality charter schools.  She writes in favor of charter schools. Continue reading

The march of transgender rights

[Whatever your opinion of this writer, some of what she writes in this article deserves your consideration.]

Margaret Wente

The Globe and Mail    

As a child, Lindsay Leigh Bentley desperately wanted to be a boy. She refused to wear dresses and adored going hunting with her dad. She loved sticks, guns, motorcycles and monsters. She chopped the hair off her Barbies. Her parents had to cut her own hair short because she refused to let them brush it. Her best friends were boys. In childhood pictures, she looks fierce, and tough as nails. Continue reading

Is Society’s Sexual Chaos Now in Your Child’s Classroom?

Is Society’s Sexual Chaos Now in Your Child’s Classroom?

[The title of this Focus on the Family article asks a very important question which ought to be considered as parents sent their children back to school this September.   BC Parents and Teachers for Life, though not affiliated with any religious organization, has its basis in traditional values.  We pass on this message from the organization Focus on the Family Canada for the information of our readers.]

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
PARENTS—YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Equip your children to handle the cultural challenges they’ll face during the new school year. Download your FREE “Empowering Parents” Guide before the new school year begins!
Irreplaceable, in select cinemas May 6

New backpack? Check.

Colorful pencils and notebooks? Check.

Tips for responding to messages from the school—teaching students they can choose to change their gender—or for responding to students experiencing gender confusion in a Christ-like manner? (Silence)

With the new school year just weeks away, most parents are busy securing all the supplies their children will need to start the season off right.

But will children be prepared to respond in a redemptive way when a fellow student, who went to school as a boy the previous year, returns this year as a girl? How do parents respond when a teacher reads aloud a book to elementary-age school kids about a boy who likes to wear dresses? These scenarios have already happened.

The reality is evident: The sexual chaos promoted in media, pop culture and society at-large is rapidly finding its way into public education—even in elementary schools.

But there’s hope! Parents are not alone in addressing the challenges of this culture. Continue reading

Edmonton schools ax pro-abstinence program after human rights complaint

Pete Baklinski 

The Edmonton Public School Board has axed a local pregnancy center’s abstinence-based sex-ed presentations after a mother and her 18-year-old daughter filed a human rights complaint.

The school board says the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre’s presentations met its  “standards and expectations on every level,” but chose to cancel them because they were “becoming very divisive.” Continue reading

Law Society of New Brunswick approves TWU School of Law

[We are happy to pass on this news from Trinity Western University of British Columbia.]

article photograph

In a vote of 14 to 5, the Law Society of New Brunswick (LSNB) voted today to approve the Trinity Western University School of Law. TWU President, Bob Kuhn presented and answered questions at the council meeting in the morning, and other individuals and organizations were given the opportunity to present in the afternoon. The final decision came late afternoon by a show of hands. Continue reading

Kelly McParland: Vancouver school board gender policy allows “xe” or “xem” in place of “he” or “her”

 | June 17, 2014, National Post

. . . In addition to new pronouns, the Vancouver board also goes to considerable length to protect “privacy”,  including, it would seem, keeping the student’s chosen new gender a secret from his/her or xyr parents. A provision in the policy notes that while the student’s chosen gender identity will “whenever possible” be included in class lists and timetables, “communications between school and home shall use a student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s gender assigned at birth” unless otherwise requested. It’s the student’s right to decide “when, with whom, and how much information to share”. They will also have the right “to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression,” even if that is “not consistent with societal expectations of masculinity/femininity.”

Students will be enabled to choose their preferred washroom, or “a reasonable alternative washroom” if they desire “increased privacy.” In such cases the alternative arrangement “will be provided in a way that protects the students’ ability to keep their trans status confidential.” It is not spelled out how other kids will be kept from reaching the obvious conclusion when students are seen using the “alternative washroom,” but that is one of the many difficulties that arises when school boards try to make hard and fast rules related to anything as amorphous as a young person’s self-image, particularly at a stage in development when identity issues are notoriously fraught and individuals are not at a level of maturity ideal for making such critical judgments. . . . .

[The whole National Post article]

Justina Pelletier is Reunited with her Family After 16 Months

[We pass on this news received from Liberty Counsel.]

Justina Pelletier is Reunited with her Family After 16 Months

LC.org

Thompson, CT—This morning, after 16 months of being held prisoner by the bureaucracy of the State of Massachusetts at the behest of Boston Children’s Hospital, Justina Pelletier walked out of the Susan Wayne Center for Excellence to return to her home with her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier, and her three older sisters. Continue reading