TES Big Ed Blog

1st January 2012 at 00:00
The new TES blog - brought to you by a crack team of TES journalists - will keep you up to date with the news and views from the world of teachers, teaching and education

Children "raised in captivity" no longer "know how to fall over" - January 18 2013

Today's children are no longer "free range", apparently, and are being "raised in captivity" by overly protective parents.

At least that is what leading child psychologist Tanya Byron believes. So bad is the situation that increasing numbers of children are admitted to accident and emergency for sprains and scrapes each year because "they no longer know how to fall over".

The professor, a former adviser to Gordon Brown's government, said there was a "paranoia" among parents. And in comments that are likely to make the Daily Mail combust, Byron said that health and safety was making parents and their children so risk averse that kids are instead taking all of their risks online.

"We have children who are being raised in captivity, children are not free range anymore," she said.

However, when it came to the internet Byron said children were "taking risks we are not preparing them for". "They are having a blast on this fantastic global space and I would argue they are more vulnerable there than if they were hanging out on the street," she added.

Richard Vaughan

- Don't be afraid to tell the blog's editor Ed Dorrell what you think

From increased scrutiny of academies to Babtists for gay marriage, it's all in today's TES - January 18 2013

Pressure on struggling schools to up their game is never far from the top of the political or news agendas, and so again it proves this week. The day after it emerged that Ofsted had launched coordinated inspections on schools in parts of the country thought to be under-performing (see earlier post), we report exclusively on the unprecedented scrutiny being put on academies.

Government ministers have long told anyone who will listen that the academies programme is the key to improving school standards. What they have been less clear on is how the performance of academies should be checked up on and by whom.

It has now emerged - as we reveal in our main news story this week - that around 100 academies that have been identified as causing concern are under instruction to submit highly detailed performance `scorecards' to the Department for Education every six weeks.

Not surprisingly, this has not won a whole heap of praise from the unions representing school heads, with claims that some academies are now under greater scrutiny than schools in special measures. It would obviously be a massive embarrassment to ministers if academies fail to perform, so for all the talk of freedom from government, those in charge of academies can expect more of the same if their results slip.

Elsewhere, we report on the heartening words of Steve Chalke, a Baptist minister and the founder of the Oasis Community Learning chain of academies. Rev Chalke tells TES of his concerns that the bitter debate over gay marriage risks increasing homophobia in schools and calls on teachers to make sure their classrooms are "safe havens". The gay marriage debate will, no doubt, become increasingly vociferous and schools can expect to be an important battleground.

We also report on the continued problems being faced by some independent schools to cope with a stagnant economy. More mergers are on the cards, according to the out going executive director of the Girls' Schools Association.

And in a potential U-turn - that favourite phrase of journalists everywhere - it appears that the government is considering introducing league table measures that reflect the socio-economic background of pupils. Having banned the controversial contextual value added (CVA) measure, education secretary Michael Gove has now spoken in favour of league tables reflecting the wealth of pupils.

These are just the highlights - there is plenty more on everything from Ofsted to the Ebac, the latest problems in Welsh schools and the ambitious plans of Bradford College to dominate its sector. Oh, and how Gangnam Style is something far more pernicious than a slightly annoying yet infectious pop song. As ever, let us know what you think.

David Marley

- Don't be afraid to tell the blog's editor Ed Dorrell what you think

Read our earlier stories here


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