Freeman's Thinking

As the old saying has it, we value what we can measure, and we don’t always measure what we value. We all know that quantitative measures can be deeply flawed and therefore misleading, but we are all seduced by the simplicity of a ranking or a score – or even worse a pretty graphic – and often assign...

As part of his “first 100 days” celebrations, David Cameron has set out areas where he wants his Conservative government to be “bolder still”. This blog covers just one area, academies, and seeks to point out the confidence trick, the flaws and the fallacies in what he says. David Cameron wants all...

Let’s ignore the fact that’s that China is now in severe recession and that the whole world economy is shuddering as a consequence. And let’s also ignore the uncomfortable fact that the Pisa comparisons involve only countries with the single exception of Shanghai. It is worth asking, though, about the...

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Saint or sinner?

13 August 2015

Over the last week or so I had decided not to add to the often ill-informed comment about Kids Company. Too many articles have had this sort of reductive headline and most of them were about Camila Batmanghelidjh and her management and leadership of the charity. There have been lots of articles and blogs...

More than a year ago, Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, told the select committee that unless the government was “strong” with food and drink manufacturers, it was unlikely they would take action to reduce sugar in their products.

The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, has given an extended interview to the Sunday Telegraph setting out her plans for an Education Bill. The bill is expected to feature in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, 27 May.

Over the weekend I was reminded of one of the most egregious of Michael Gove's early actions as Secretary of State – the scrapping of the educational maintenance allowance (EMA). This provided invaluable support to the young people at college who needed it most, for everything from food to equipment....

I've written before about the huge pressures on teachers, school leaders and governors, and local authorities and academy chains, caused directly by high-stakes testing – where the results of tests and examinations are used directly and immediately to make public judgments on schools. We have now...

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Inspection

07 April 2015

The joint paper by the Local government Association, Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and Solace on multi-agency inspection represents a major step forward in describing a system that embeds local improvement to meet the needs of local communities. In that context, the proposed...

We spend a huge amount of time and effort, and therefore money, in reinventing many, many professional wheels in the name of diversity and autonomy. That’s partly, but only partly, understandable for two reasons – “not invented here” can be seen as a brake on local innovation, and there is also some...