Back to school this week. It's the term of public exams, sports days, school trips, expeditions and tours, art exhibitions, tennis and cricket, summer concerts and plays, charity events, end of year reports and - we hope - sunlit fun.
The press will, doubtless, cover teacher shortages, the academisation controversy, the testing controversy, the inevitable paedophile teacher, the facts that PISA says we continue to sink academically, that our leavers don't get jobs and that grade inflation has strangely become deflation.
Our schools are under immense pressure. But the true fact is that, for the most part, they do an extraordinary job. Teachers and their leaders work tirelessly, with dedication and patience - often under circumstances that are far more challenging than in earlier decades. The young adults they produce are, in general, a great credit to them and to us all. They deserve a productive and fulfilling future.
So - a challenge to our press. Let's celebrate our schools this term. This is not to say we shouldn't report the usual scandals, failures and the destructive meddling of politicians. But these are not the fault of the schools. Let's give them - and their young achievers - the credit they deserve.
Bernadette John, our Director of Special Educational Needs, despairs at yet another pointless idea from The Department of Education
The school admissions system is, apparently, now taking the blame for the lack of social mobility which is blighting opportunities and depriving the nation of much-needed talent.
The Good Schools Guide Blog
One criticism of grammar schools is that they take a disproportionate number of children from privileged backgrounds. A far smaller number of grammar school pupils receive the pupil premium than pupils in comprehensive schools.
Whatever the reasons for this, we now learn that grammar schools are expecting to ask parents for "donations" to enable them to maintain the breadth of the curriculum they offer.
Many grammar school parents - especially those in the prosperous Home Counties eg Bucks, Surrey, Kent which boast a number of such schools - already…
Buttle UK is a charity which supports disadvantaged children. One of its more imaginative and bolder initiatives has been to fund places at boarding schools for children who are thought likely to benefit from the opportunities this would provide. The project has been sensitively designed so as not to create divisions between children and their own families and social milieu.
The initial furore over National Offer Day is over - although, of course, the next one - Primary School Offer Day - is only six weeks away and we'll have to go through the whole miserable experience again. We, at The Good Schools Guide, along with everyone else, get worked up on behalf of children who are not allocated their first choice school or, far more worrying, children who get offered none of their six choices. It isn't good enough and shouldn't be happening.
Viewers tuning in for the Downton slot on Sunday night will have got something of a jolt – instead of cosy escapism, they were confronted by a brutal tale of death row executions and family betrayals (Undercover, BBC1).
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