Mr Laws’s speech praised his predicessor Ms. Teather for her work in bringing in the pupil premium which could be a great way of bringing up the poorest pupils, but that would work if it gets spent on the pupils it is aimed at. From reports earlier in the week running up to the conference stated the schools receiving it are not paying for the poorest to improve but being spent on all the pupils from the poorest to the richest.
His announcement on summer schools came as a surprise to me, but i have not really been keeping up on education. The help giving to pupils moving from Primary to Secondary Schools is good as, as he said, the backward steps pupils have over the long summer holidays could be a problem. I only hope the pupils with learning issues are giving the help they need to give them a similar chance as those with out, without this help then the pupils with learning disabilities are automatically at a disadvantage.
One thing i have noticed that both Mr. Laws speech and the Early Years motion again i hear the word disadvantaged, i am only guessing but i think they are talking about the poor. What the hell has happened to pupils with Learning Disabilities as they can come from any section of society. I again am not sure on numbers at this time but it would be nice to hear about support for them, as i am one as i am Dyslexic and that was not picked up until i went to Uni and I went and got tested. I just hope the discovery of those pupils with learning disabilities are getting discovered.
The debate post Mr. Laws speech covered a lot of different but important areas of Early Years and general schooling for the compulsory school years.
Here are some of the points raised during the two debates. A very valid point brought up centred around the cost of child care and the fact a lot of women have had to think about the costs over actually working. One speaker brought up the point that one woman, working full time, only had £300 a month to live on after taking into account the cost of child care. Another speaker, a business woman, brought up the fact child care costs can not be written off against the company tax bill as without child care it is likely she also would not be working due to the costs. Some speakers brought up the fact child care costs here are very high to the point both Finland and Sweden had higher and other countries had a different child to carer ratios. I personally agree with the point of looking for best practice on child care, but I also think one very important aspect that needs looking at is cost as figures quoted on the motion papers stated child care costs between £5000 and £15,000 a year for one child. I will leave you to do the maths on if a family have two or more. Why is it so high here.
The next motion covered the compulsory schooling. One very important point to come out of the speakers covered accountability of Academies and Free Schools and the fact sponsors have secret funding agreements, even unknown to the governors of the school. Another point brought up was the fact 40% of the Academies are now under special measures because of falling standards. The Conservatives have trumpeted this scheme from the roof tops to the point they want more academies and tech colleges, they could be a good idea as long as they are accountable to the Governors, teachers, parents and children. I now have to admit something but with the evidence brought of how Welsh schools were doing in comparison to English Schools since Wales dumped the publication of league tables has changed me on that point.The idea i can see now would be an excellent way of improving schools but not under the current system of lots of exam boards all competing for the same pupils to take their exams. One board would mean at least the people can see which schools were the best. Something else with the introduction of the EBac and the fact it is solely aimed at academic work not practical work. Some pupils will excel at the Academic and some will not. Schools need to be inclusive and help all not just the academic.