ISSN : 0963-8253
Published by: Lawrence and Wishart (10.3898)
Total articles ≅ 956
Latest articles in this journal
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 56-73; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.06
As it grew safer for schools to reopen fully in spring 2021, FORUM convened a roundtable discussion to hear more about the experience of teaching and learning through the pandemic, and how that experience might help us rethink the education system. Melissa Benn chaired this wide-ranging and insightful conversation between Eliane Glaser, a parent and writer, Jim Hudson, a secondary teacher of citizenship and history, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, and Patrick Yarker, the editor of this journal.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 169-173; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.15
Since its inception in 1993, Ofsted has been charged with maintaining standards in schools in England. But how has this worked out? A former inspector gives his account of the journey from the inside. His point of view can be summarised from a conversation he had with a senior Ofsted inspector on his first Inspection: 'You're still on their side. The side of the teachers.' 'No. I'm not and I'm not on your side either. (Pointing to the pupils.) I'm on their side'.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 161-168; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.14
A detailed analysis of Hansard transcripts was undertaken to explore the dialogue used in parliamentary debates and committee meetings where reference was made to grammar schools between October 2015 to March 2019. During this period, the first new grammar school for fifty years had been approved, along with the establishment of the £50 million selective school expansion fund. Detailed qualitative analysis highlighted the widely disproportionate use of the term 'good' in relation to grammar schools. It is argued that 'good' instead of 'outstanding' or 'excellent' is chosen in relation to grammar schools as 'good' has moral overtones that go beyond reported educational standards. Proportionately, the number of comprehensive schools rated good or outstanding would need to be referred to in conjunction with 'good' 6698 times, not the forty-nine times this actually happened. Campaigners for comprehensive education need to reclaim the discourse of 'goodness' for all schools.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 174-181; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.16
The government's policy of helping pupils and students 'catch up' with 'lost learning' misconceives learning, and endorses pedagogical approaches based on this misconception. Whether or not to learn lies with the learner, so teaching is more properly understood as an act of faith in people rather than of delivery to them. Such a view has implications for the restoration of formal education after the pandemic.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 141-147; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.12
This year sees the release of London Recruits, a film chronicling the anti-apartheid activism of young men and women volunteers who, from 1967, travelled from the UK to South Africa. The recruits were invaluable to the campaigning work of the African National Congress and the wider international anti-apartheid movement because as white tourists, which is all the South African authorities saw them as, they were free to travel unmonitored in ways impossible for black citizens. To coincide with the release of the film, an education pack, comprising the testimonies of the recruits as well as other source material, has been compiled for use in schools. The pack was funded by the National Education Union and coordinated by Steve Marsling, a former recruit, who writes the opening section of this article. Chris Smith, who writes the rest of the article, was a serving history and politics teacher at the time of writing this article. He helped provide learning activities and exemplar lesson plans so teachers can straightforwardly make use of the pack in their classrooms. Work to create these educational resources started just before the upsurge of Black Lives Matter campaigning in the UK sparked calls for 'decolonising the curriculum'. It is hoped this pack shares and complements that goal. As the story of the recruits makes clear, there have always been those who have needed to resort to direct action to have their voices fairly heard. Institutional racism is an undeniable feature of life in all nations whose pasts are closely entwined with imperialism. It is hoped this pack will form part of the continuing work in our schools to teach a more diverse curriculum, not only in subjects such as history, but also in citizenship, creative arts and even during pastoral time. Teachers are struggling with unprecedented and seemingly endless demands: may this pack help them tell a story that until now had been largely untold.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 20-31; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.03
In England we are currently in the grip of a damaging hegemonic discourse in the field of education. Unquestionable goods include standards, aspiration, effectiveness, measurable performance and – the subject of this contribution- progress. We discuss how progress is currently understood and deployed within the educational landscape in England and draw connections between this and the framing of 'catch-up', of 'being left behind' and of 'lost learning' in the government's response to education and the pandemic. We then argue for other ways of understanding education and suggest that two key aspects of understanding education as non-linear and non-teleological are love for the world and hope-in-the-present.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 191-191; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.18
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 98-108; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.09
The Covid-19 crisis calls for a transformation of education and schools, with the crisis having shown the many roles and purposes they do and can serve. But, the article argues, in the process of transformation there is another valuable experience to draw on: the 'Every Child Matters' policy agenda of the Labour government, including the concept of the extended school. Drawing on research into this ambitious programme, the article considers the potential of this image of the school, a rich image that has been wilfully neglected by governments since 2010.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 182-190; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.17
The contribution of 'consumerism' to environmental degradation has been widely acknowledged. An anti-consumerist perspective appeals because it draws attention to the ideological underpinnings of people's attitudes and day-to-day behaviour, but the tone of the debate often leads to polarisation rather than a productive engagement in dialogue. To persuade people to re-examine their values and beliefs requires a more nuanced approach, where the various bêtes noires identified by anti-consumerist rhetoric are subject to greater scrutiny. In this article I critically examine some of the key concepts of the anti-consumerist position and suggest a better starting point for discussion in a school context would be one which emphasised the significance of pleasure-seeking in the social life of students, and the part played in this by 'consumption'. Some implications for schools are discussed, in particular the space allowed for 'free' association of students as an important aspect of the flourishing life in school in the here and now. I note the dangers of adopting a disapproving approach to informal and popular culture, and the possible link between this and resistance to the environmental message by disadvantaged groups.
FORUM, Volume 63, pp 148-160; https://doi.org/10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.13
In this article we develop the notion of 'organising around ideas'. We highlight the ways in which education debate in England has narrowed as traditional spaces for discussion and debate have been closed down. The state now has extraordinary power to shape discourses and frame narratives about the purposes of schooling. Here we argue that we must find new ways to engage in the battle of ideas, not simply as an exercise in rational argument, but as an essential element of organising and movement building. The article provides three short case studies of 'organising around ideas' in action to illustrate what this work can look like. The cases are not templates, but illustrate the flexible, grassroots-based activity that is central to building a movement from the bottom up.