Half of England’s secondaries becoming academies
Hannah, R. BBC News
(5 April 2012)
Academy schools are state funded but privately managed primary and secondary schools. The first academy schools were established in 2003, and now less than a decade later, 50% of English secondary schools have either converted or are seeking to convert to the governance model. Opponents to the proliferation of academy schools “argue academies are unaccountable and undemocratic as they have no link with locally-elected education authorities…” (See one school’s protest against being turned into an academy here.) Proponents believe the academy schools’ greater freedoms allow the opportunity for schools to “meet the needs of local parents and pupils.” (See Education Minister Michael Gove on detractors of academy schools here.)
Teaching technology: we need a digital revolution in the classroom
(31 March 2012)
Recently, the government has “thrown out the old syllabus” to institute a new system of education in England. This editorial challenges the government to change the ways that computer technology is taught in schools, ensuring that students know more than typing in a word processor and downloading an app for the iPhone. The editors want students to understand that computers are tools that can be programmed and critiqued. They also want students to learn programming skills in schools. But, the editors remind governmental leaders that effective change is more than rhetoric: “Ultimately, as anyone who has worked in education knows, fine intentions count for little without the human resources to back them. In this sense, bringing technological innovation and best practice to the classroom is much like the art of building a successful syllabus: the result should set good teachers free to teach, and enable the best possible use to be made of their time and attention.” Furthermore, the editors remind readers that digital technology has been important for economic growth and political movements (e.g., the Arab Spring), thus providing compelling reasons to continue to teach about computer technology in schools.