A Week in Education

2nd February 2007 at 00:00
AS THE driving force behind academies, trust schools and university tuition fees, Lord Adonis has become used to treading on his party's sacred educational turf. The schools minister continued in the same vein this week, when he trampled all over the main Labour education policy of the 1960s and 70s - closing grammar schools.

The comprehensive school revolution had destroyed many excellent schools without improving others, he said. It was a move "carried out in the name of equality but which served to reinforce class divisions".

Given the chance to revisit the policy, Lord Adonis said that he would do a very different job. The architect of Labour's recent education agenda also added that the party had not been bold enough in changing schools, although there were no plans to go back to selection at 11, he said.

Meanwhile, one parent showed her level of commitment to the private sector when she bought her son's school to save it from financial difficulties.

Annabel Goodman sent her 13-year-old son Jacob to the New Elizabethan school in Hartlebury, Worcestershire, to help him cope with severe dyslexia. Just months later, it hit financial trouble and Mrs Goodman stepped in. She now splits her time between being a school principal and her career as a barrister.

All primary pupils would have cheered the findings of academics who claimed this week that setting homework for young children was a bad idea.

Apparently it turns them off education and causes family rows.

Parents need quality leisure time with their young children in the evenings, not to act as homework monitors, their report said.

But homework may be the only answer after a study by the Institute of Education found that a pound;50 million scheme to replace chalk blackboards with interactive whiteboards had failed to improve results.

And technology was at the centre of another row, at a primary school in Doncaster, when parents of a five-year-old boy claimed that he was left with an eye infection after his teacher photocopied his face during a lesson. The bright idea left the boy requiring hospital treatment, his parents said.

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