UK report singles out schools with “high levels of disadvantage” for attack
21 December 2017
In presenting her annual report, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman chose to target for attack schools, “which persistently fail to make progress due to high levels of disadvantage.” Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) is the regulatory government body that scrutinises the performance of all schools.
Spielman claimed that schools in poorer areas were caught in a culture of “disadvantage one-upmanship,” and that these focused “too much on their pupils’ deprivation.” Disregarding the problems schools face in highly deprived areas, after nearly a decade of austerity, she claimed schools were competing over how many pupils were on free school meals, or how many did not speak English as a first language.
She insisted that disadvantage was not an excuse for low achievement and that schools having no money and scant resources wasn’t really a big deal, asserting, “I am not someone who believes that extra funding for schools is the solution to all of our problems. Indeed, a greater focus on efficiency can sometimes help to sharpen minds about what really matters.”
Dismissing with contempt virtually every study that has been produced on the persistent and endemic causal link between poverty and educational attainment, these statements are aimed at justifying an escalation of the slashing of school budgets and teacher bashing, as well as an acceleration of the privatisation of state education through the academisation programme.
The actual numbers of schools which “persistently fail to improve” are relatively low in numbers. Over 90 percent of primary and over 80 percent of secondary schools are rated…