Schools that don't play fair
A number of academies have been found to be engaged in serious financial impropriety. What can we do about it?
Last month the government found the Perry Beeches academy in Birmingham guilty of serious financial impropriety having used a company to undertake a health and safety audit which was run by the wife of a member of the committee that awarded the business contract.
According to the Guardian, “This is not a unique case. Across the country, academies have been plagued by allegations of financial impropriety, conflicts of interest and even corruption.”
Academies, being outside Local Authority control, take care of their own financial management and their own accountability. Yet it seems this independence has resulted in things going rather awry in some cases.
The one mistake most advertisers make
What is the one mistake that most companies advertising to schools make, and which is easy to rectify?
One of the most effective ways to make email advertising to schools work is to extol the benefits of the product or service on the email, and then provide a link to the features of what you offer on your web page.
With such a system one can easily undertake an analysis of how many people opened the email, how many clicked through to the web page, and how many then either phoned or went straight on to buy the product or service via the website.
When such analyses are done what one finds is that the most common problem arises at the web page. Lots of teachers look at the email, and a fair number then click through to the web page, but the number placing an order is very modest.
Government plans on literacy and numeracy
The latest fad can help sell products, but long term usage comes from getting the teachers to share your belief.
Last year the UK went down a place in international maths rankings. This followed the Daily Telegraph’s campaign the year before to “tackle Britain's growing problem with numeracy skills, where” (the paper claimed) “seven million adults cannot grasp basic mathematics”.
Last year the OECD report rated English teenagers aged 16 to 19 the worst of 23 developed nations in literacy and only slightly better in numeracy.
Many people have had a go at solving what is perceived as the British maths crisis, the British literacy crisis, the British IT crisis, the British science crisis… in fact when it comes down to it we seem to have a crisis in most subjects, except the creative arts (achievement in which the government tends not to notice).
Why it is rarely a good idea to single out free schools or academies when advertising to teachers.
When Free Schools were introduced into England, the model that was used was that of Sweden, with Michael Gove proudly pronouncing that “We have seen the future in Sweden and it works.” Later he added, “They’ve done something amazing. They challenged the conventional wisdom and decided that it was parents, not bureaucrats, who should be in charge.”
The Secretary of State also made much of the fact that the Swedish government that set up the programme had a government that was “far to the left of Britain”.
Teacher recruitment crisis deepens
The enormous crisis schools are facing and how companies are starting to turn this to their advantage
The four governments that control education in the UK have a huge problem - they don’t have enough teachers.
Although until now the recruitment of primary school teachers has just about kept pace with the growth in the number of children in schools, the number of children is still growing and is starting to outpace the number of teachers.
In secondary schools, however, the problem has already hit. Only 82% of secondary training places were filled last year just as the expansion of secondary pupil numbers (which of course follows six years behind primary schools) has just started. In 2015/16 15 out of 18 secondary subjects had unfilled places compared with 2011/12, when no subjects had unfilled places. This situation is going to get much, much worse.