RoS is very concerned about Teresa May’s intention to remove the ban on establishing new grammar schools. Grammar schools are based on the assumption that separating out children with particular abilities will help them achieve better results regardless of their background. However there is a wealth of evidence that although children in grammar schools tend to do well, they are children who would do well in comprehensives anyway; grammar schools do not improve standards overall. Grammar schools were largely abolished in the last century because it was widely accepted children develop at differing rates, so assessing them at 11 was unfair and, overall, not in their best interests. And as Sir Michael Wilshaw has noted, grammar schools do not improve social mobility because children whose parents can afford private schooling or tutoring are more likely to pass the 11+ test.
Selection at age 11 can be highly stressful for children and parents. We believe that this is neither emotionally or socially beneficial for our children. Politicians focus only on the supposed benefits of grammar schools to those children who pass the 11+, but they need also to consider the impact of selection on the children and families who do not get a grammar school place.
Many grammar schools are good schools, but the selection system is socially divisive and undermines comprehensives in the surrounding area, depriving them of ambitious students who can inspire others. Our school system is already facing unprecedented challenges due to the government’s White Paper and the reduction in school budgets. RoS fears that re-igniting the debate about grammar schools will provide yet another distraction for parents and schools to deal with at a time when we most need the new prime minister and education secretary to be focused on the challenges already facing our schools.
Rescue Our Schools shares the concerns of the NUT about the way in which Nicky Morgan has presided over the Department for Education. Their sweeping policy changes fly in the face of expert advice and have caused teachers, families and pupils much distress. The department has failed to show financial accountability to the Treasury at a time when it is increasing demands for accountability throughout the education system, and the Secretary of State has failed to secure the confidence of the Education Committee over her choice for the new head of OFSTED. This year’s SATS tests for 11 year olds have been pushed through despite clear evidence they would disserve both children and schools. No civilised country writes off half its young children in this way through poorly conceived tests that may damage’s children’s confidence permanently. We remain committed to seeking a constructive dialogue with the Department for Education about the way forward. But if the Secretary of State for Education shows no desire to listen to the concerns of parents and professionals, we share the NUT’s view that it is time for a change at the top.
Nicky Morgan has failed our kids, she should resign. Sign the petition here
Rescue Our Schools supports the proposed strike by members of the National Union of Teachers on Tuesday July 5th. The union is striking against cuts in government spending in schools: as parents we are already feeling the effects of this. Staff are being cut and not replaced, meaning bigger class sizes and less individual attention for children.
The situation is likely to get worse in many areas under proposed funding changes in the government’s White Paper. Meanwhile, the government still intends all schools to become academies, diverting cash from classrooms to go on lawyers’ fees.
The union is also striking against plans to break up the national system of pay and conditions for teachers. Rescue Our Schools believes this will cause teacher shortages, as more staff leave because of unacceptable working conditions.
We wish teachers did not have to strike, but we believe that it is justified if it makes the government sit up and listen.
If you feel the same way, please join us at the demonstration in London next Tuesday from 12 noon. Love to meet some of you.
Here’s LKBK’s statement regarding the teacher strike. Press please use it to counteract any negativity! Love not hate please for teachers!
“Parents are supportive of the NUT Teachers’ Strike on 5th July. Parents supporting the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign know the external pressures that teachers face day in day out to meet Government targets re paperwork and assessment. Parents recognise the dangers associated with performance related pay and the unnecessary pressure this passes down to our children. Parents are very aware that trade union laws mean teachers can only strike over pay and conditions and are equally aware of how teachers feel in their hearts about issues affecting the mental health and general well being of the children they teach. Parents are delighted that teachers are taking action and are not standing by allowing this DfE to press ahead with plans so widely recognised as being damaging to the education system in this country”
Press Release 17 May 2016
Key parents’ campaign groups are uniting for the first time against education policies expected in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday May 18th. The campaigners – some galvanised since the Education White Paper – want local, publicly accountable, inclusive & collaborative schools with parent governors & qualified teachers for ALL children. The groups – both national and local – are encouraging pop-up Play Ball Nicky! picnics with ball games after school on Wednesday May 18th to coincide with the speech.
The statement from Rescue Our Schools, Hands off our Schools Brighton and Hove, Matlock and Derbyshire Anti-Academies, South Bank Academies Campaign and John Roan Resists reads:
“We want to send a strong message to the Department for Education to play ball and listen. We object to four key proposals:
Forced Academisation: the government is still set on forced academisation where schools or local authorities are considered inadequate or if there are not enough community schools left in a given area. It is disrespectful to ride roughshod over the views of local communities and there remains no evidence that academisation improves schools or ensures proper scrutiny.
Removing Elected Parent Governors: we object to plans to remove the requirement for schools to have parent governors elected by the school community, because it will fundamentally undermine schools’ accountability to parents. Requiring governors to pass a skills test will discourage people from all walks of life from making an invaluable contribution to their school.
The “Fair Funding Formula”: plans to change pupil funding mean that areas with challenging social conditions could face cuts of up to 14 per cent. This will result in no extra support for students who need it or enrichment activities for all, and undermine the success of projects such as the internationally recognised London Challenge. We agree that areas that have traditionally been underfunded should get more money, but this should be new money. As parents we are all in this together: it is not right to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Teacher Qualifications: we have deep reservations about changes to teacher qualifications which we fear will undermine confidence in the profession.
We think the government’s proposals will damage education. This is a fight we can only win together – so let’s have fun doing it. Please join us at a Play Ball Nicky picnic near you or set one up yourself.”
Press Release 9 May 2016
As thousands of ten and eleven year olds take SATS this week, parents are calling for their children’s mental health to be monitored alongside their academic progress. The independent, parent-led campaign group Rescue Our Schools is launching the petition – which is being backed by the Fast Show actor and state school supporter Arabella Weir.
Rescue Our Schools, which was formed last month, wants the government to work with parents and experts to monitor children year on year to assess the impact of the pressures they are under. It points to evidence that mental health issues are rising at the same time as successive governments request more data on children’s school progress, with ever more challenging tests and exams.
Arabella Weir said: “As a parent I have watched with dread the increasingly heavy pressure applied to testing children with exams and tests. It is often too much for them to cope with on top of starting school, learning new things and finding their way in a whole new world. We need to know just how big the problem is so that we can do something about it. It is vital that we stop judging education simply by academic results. We don’t need robots – we need rounded, creative individuals who can cope with all aspects of life and its challenges, so many of which can’t be judged in an exam.”
The last official survey of children’s mental health was in 2004. Another one is due next year, with others scheduled to follow every seven years. Rescue Our Schools says that’s not enough – and simple, existing screening questionnaires could be used to better inform policy.
Rescue Our Schools was set up to represent families and communities standing up for state education in the wake of the government’s Education White Paper. It welcomes support from anyone who believes in high quality state education which is accountable to the local community, especially parents.
Sign the Petition here
Press Release 9 May 2016.
Rescue Our Schools welcomes the governments apparent U-turn on plans to use legislation to force all schools to become Academies by 2022. It is testament to the power of a united and vocal opposition – comprised of parents, teachers, support staff, community members and politicians of all parties – that the government have been forced to change tack. However, whilst significant, it is one victory in a far larger campaign and the government has made it clear that it still wants all schools to convert to Academies.
The threat of legislation to force ALL schools may have been lifted, but there remain many ways in which schools can be forced to Academise: Regional Schools Commissioners have the legal power to compel ‘failing’ or ‘coasting’ schools to convert; legislation will still be brought forward to force conversions in Local Authority areas deemed to be ‘unsuccessful’ or where ‘too many’ other schools have already converted; enormous pressure is being placed on school leaderships & governing bodies to ‘choose’ conversion; huge reductions in the Education Services Grant are crippling Local Authority’s ability to provide services to schools; schools fear being ‘left behind’ if other schools in their area convert, even when they do not think conversion is their best option; some school leaderships are choosing to convert against the wishes of parents and the local community – forcing their choice to convert upon them.
Rescue Our Schools opposes forced Academisation in all circumstances and will continue to fight against it. Events this week have demonstrated that standing together we are stronger. Now is the time to stand up for the education system we want for our children. Join us!
Press Release 29 April 2016
Rescue Our Schools believes that the primary curriculum is becoming alarmingly skewed towards high stakes tests. It is depriving children of the creative experiences they so desperately need throughout their education and takes the wonder out of learning. Standardised testing can cause anxiety and stress in very young students, setting up patterns of failure that stay with them for life. We accept the need for accountability but would like to see more trust in assessment by teachers themselves.
Rescue Our Schools also opposes the new way of marking Year 6 SATS which amount to a pass or fail system – students will either meet the expected standard or not. We also oppose plans to require failing children to resit the SATS in Year 7. We believe both these measures will stigmatise children who fail and damage their confidence. We identify strongly with the frustration behind the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign but think it is an individual decision whether parents choose to participate in the Children’s Strike on May 3rd.
Press Release 16 April 2016
Parents and children marched together today to show solidarity against forced academisation of schools, ditching elected parent governors and funding cuts in deprived areas. Many of the families were from Yerbury school in North London, which is in the Tatler’s Best Schools Guide 2016. Parents from the school are leading the Rescue Our Schools campaign along with others across England.
One of the organisers, Madeleine, spoke in Trafalgar Square. She said: “After the recent announcements on education, enough is enough. Rescue Our Schools is not party political, it is parent political. It is time for parents to get organised in cities, towns and villages throughout England and speak out with one voice.”