Access Arrangments: Levelling the Playing Field?

Recently, the exam regulator, Ofqual, reported one in five pupils at independent schools benefit from access arrangements for GCSE and ‘A’ levels, which is significantly higher than those who received the special measure in state schools where the figure is fewer than one in eight. For me this raises concerns in 3 areas:

  • An equality issue
  • What is the differences between an access arrangement and a reasonable adjustment?
  • Do access arrangements help to ‘level the exam playing field’?

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Teaching values in the Age of Trump

We are living in a frightening world. Donald Trump offers the world a role model that bullies, trivialises and boasts about the abuse of women. He sees groups of people as stereotypes- ‘as other’, not as individuals. He stops their freedom of movement. Then insults, belittles and seeks to discredit those who oppose him. His conduct could be seen as legitimising threatening and alienating behaviour. This presents a challenge for teachers; how do we promote tolerant, caring and respectful behaviour when the President of the United States models something so different? Continue reading

Are you Ready for Safer Internet Day?


It is that time of year again! Safer Internet Day is coming up on February 7th, so it seemed a good time to review some of the resources available for online safety. The theme for this year is

Be the change: unite for a better internet’.

I feel that this is very reflective of wider concerns, particularly in a world where the new US president demonstrates publicly that he thinks trolling online and tweeting without thinking is just fine! This role modelling or lack of it and similar behaviour it makes allowable, mean it even more important that we are supporting children to develop the skills to keep themselves and others safe online. Continue reading

Thoughts on ‘Growing Up Digital’

On January 4th, Anne Longfield, The Children’s Commissioner issued a report ‘Growing up Digital‘  looking at the impact of the internet and its use on children. She reminds us,

‘The internet is an extraordinary force for good but it is not designed with children in mind. Yet, one third of internet users are under the age of 18’ (page 3)

The amount of time children are spending online is growing rapidly with 3-4 year olds spending over 8 hours a week online, while 12-15 year olds are spending over 20 hours a week. Continue reading