Katherine wants to know about Steiner Schools. She is attracted to them for her young daughter but what is the evidence for their effectiveness? She has heard about some of their stranger practices but are they myths?
Jo Pearce has studied Steiner schools and specifically their approach to spirituality. She reviews the evidence and recommends an overview of these schools that gives a balanced picture of their contribution to education. She also explains the key tenets of the Steiner approach and reflects on the relationship between the schools and the government.
Rebecca, a primary school mum, asks about selective schools, such as grammars, and whether they make a difference to attainment levels of children. She wonders if a better sign of future success would be the level of achievement gained at the end of primary school.
Professor Alice Sullivan uses information from the British Cohort Studies to reveal that grammar schools had limited effect on social mobility in the 1970s when the system was most widespread. As the education system has changed, the data shows there is no advantage for children attending these schools in terms of their access to good quality higher education.
Clare, a mum with primary school aged children, asks about careers advice. She has noticed that the careers service has become more fragmented so are children and young people getting a good service?
Professor Ann Hodgson talks about how the changes in careers guidance has affected young people as they make important decisions about their future after GCSEs. She refers to a recent LGA report about the transition of guidance from local authorities to schools. She also discusses when careers advice could start and how it should change throughout a child’s school career.
Rebecca, a mum with primary school aged children, asks when is the best time to start formal learning at school. She also asks about testing and whether early success or failure affects a child’s future school career.
Professor Dominic Wyse talks about primary school tests and their impact on children. He gives advice to parents about how to help children cope with tests.
Hanna, a mother of primary school aged children, wondered if all educational systems are affected by the involvement of politicians to the extent they seem to be in the UK.
Professor Chris Husbands tells us why politicians involve themselves in education policy. He compares the UK with other countries and identifies some that are freer from political interference and explains why. Looking to the future, he thinks that national politicians may become less powerful in the classroom.