“It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not able to read simple words,” said Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds in his first keynote speech today. Policy to improve this situation should look to some of the great teaching practice that’s happening already rather than being based on assumptions made about the home environment, say Dr Naomi Flynn and Dr Holly Joseph.
Damian Hinds’ comments in his talk to The Resolution Foundation today on the ‘scandalous’ lack of speaking and reading skills in young children mixes up several agenda that need unpicking if he is to get to the root of the issues he wants to tackle.
Reports (from the BBC and The Independent), have also cherry-picked some of things he said and conflated poor language and literacy skills, and commented on screen time, in ways that the minister did not necessarily intend.
The exam grades gap between rich and poor remains stubbornly constant. If we are ever to achieve parity of life chances for all, we must shift the focus away from exam results towards skills such as confidence, resilience, and personal measures of achievement, say Dr Carol Fuller and Gaston Bacquet.
Despite numerous initiatives to tackle educational inequalities and encourage social mobility, little has changed in the past 50 years. Here, Dr Carol Fuller, Associate Professor at Reading’s Institute of Education invites you to join her at a symposium in Westminster on 27 February which she hopes will help change the way policy-makers think about education.
Turning education policy on its head
Our research shows that activities that build confidence, resilience and self-efficacy outside the classroom can make a real difference in the classroom. But despite a wealth of evidence and research, activities like these are not part of the formal curriculum. And education policy-makers remain transfixed with attainment figures and grades.
On the 27 February, I will be joined by education experts and practitioners at a symposium in Westminster to figure out why the educational attainment gap between “the haves” and “the have nots” shows no change.
In recent years, a number of specialist fonts have been developed which claim to help people with dyslexia to read more easily and fluently. The main idea is that by increasing space between letters and designing letters that are distinctive in terms of their height and shape, letters will be less confusable (for example letters such as b and d which are identical when reversed) and therefore reading can progress more easily. Sounds plausible, doesn’t it?
Activities outside the classroom which build confidence and resilience are not part of the formal curriculum despite strong evidence that they help children to be the best they can be and grow into centred, productive adults. Government should drop its obsession with grades and embrace a new approach to dealing with educational inequality, says Professor Carol Fuller in a new piece for The Conversation.
By Dr Yota Dimitriadi, Institute of Education, University of Reading
The pain and fear of death is a topic that unites us all.
Generous funding by the ESRC is allowing us to put together a community event during the upcoming Festival of Social Science to discuss the unspoken ‘D’ word.
Speaker: Dr Jason Arday
Dr Jason Arday is a Senior Lecturer in Education at Roehampton University, School of Education, a Visiting Research Fellow at The Ohio State University in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust and Co-Chair of the Runnymede Academic Forum. Jason’s research focuses on Race, Education and Social Justice. He has written and edited a number of reports and books on Race in Higher Education and will draw on these during this seminar.
Book a place (not essential) through Employee Self Service if you’re a member of staff, or by emailing Ann Morgan (email@example.com).
Dr Sam Rawlings
Dr Sam Rawlings (SPEIR) has been investigating the impact of parental education on child health, exploiting a compulsory schooling law reform implemented in China in 1986 to identify effects. The key findings are that maternal education affects child health, but only for boys. Maternal education has sizable and significant effects on boys height-for-age (a measure of long-run health status), but effects are smaller and not statistically significant for girls. This is an important finding in China, where son preference exists and reflects the traditional patriarchal Confucian system in which girls and women are marginalised in society.
Professor Rhona Stainthorp will be giving a public lecture about multilingual literacy development. The event, hosted by the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities multilingual children face when they learn how to read and write in more than one language.
Successful reading and writing involves coordinating word reading and spelling processes with language comprehension processes including vocabulary knowledge. Multilingual literacy involves coordinating these processes in at least two languages and two writing systems. We need to understand how the writing systems work to appreciate the challenges and opportunities faced by young literacy learners.
The public lecture will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Q&A with Professor Rhona Stainthorp, Professor Ludovica Serratrice, Dr Naomi Flynn, and education practitioners. Before the public lecture, guests can attend our art exhibition titled ‘Point of Entry’ by Duncan Swann.
Admission is free, but booking is required.
This one day colloquium will bring together academic and heritage sector practitioners to discuss how digital visualisation is used to present historical architecture and landscapes to the public. Topics to be discussed include:
- Heritage practice and historical authenticity, including case studies on historical buildings, landscapes and interiors
- Education and digital reconstruction, including visualisations for MOOCS and the science and theories of visualisation
- The audience experience: including expectations and preferences, practical challenges and futures.
- Lunchtime “showcase” featuring technical demonstrations of immersive VR and practitioner portfolios.
See the flyer for more information
Venue: Meadow Suite, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading, May 16th.
Doors and registration: from 9am.
First paper: 10am.
Lunch and Refreshments will be provided.
There is no attendance fee but please contact Matthew Nicholls (Reading) and Andrew Roberts (English Heritage) to reserve a place: