Headlines: November 23rd, 2009

Teachers are warning today that England’s poorest children still underperform in relation to their more affluent peers. They are urging policy makers to apply the principles the best of them use to be effective in the classroom to every level of the education system.

Teach First Ambassadors are launching their second bi-annual policy report which has been written and researched by more than 500 Teach First teachers. They are calling for personalised, collaborative, explorative learning for teachers in an environment where everyone can succeed.

‘Lessons from the Front 2009’, draws on quantitative and qualitative research of their experiences in some of the country’s most challenging schools and in a selection of the leading businesses, to make a series of policy recommendations designed to improve the way the country deals with educational disadvantage.

Key recommendations include locally-agreed admissions policies to help schools achieve a balanced intake; a Teachers’ Guarantee reiterating that all teachers should receive a minimum of 30 hours for continuing professional development a third of which should be spent on ‘personal continuing professional development’; more innovative ways for teachers and other professionals to work together and a new system of school accountability, removing what they see as the perverse incentives of the current GCSE A*-C rankings.

The report includes responses to the policy suggestions from Government, opposition and business advisers, Deloitte. Julie Mercer, an associate partner at the firm, said: “The recommendations in this publication are based on evidence of practical solutions that have made a positive difference to educational outcomes for some of our poorest young people in some of our most challenging schools.”