The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Issue 197 • December 11 2008 Price £1.00
SecEd’s new virtual
The shame of
edition launches on
January 15 at the
BETT Show. Come
and celebrate with
us! See page 4 a government
In June, 638 schools were “named and shamed” by the government under its National Challenge and
threatened with closure.
The only measure used in judging these schools so harshly was whether they were achieving 30 per
cent five A* to C GCSEs including English and maths.
However, the impact of this very public announcement has been devastating for many schools
– negative press coverage, low morale among staff and students, dramatically reduced year
7 intakes as pupils go elsewhere, and staff looking for jobs elsewhere. Some of the schools
have been plagued with rumours of closure within their local communities.
and discount offers
The scheme has been criticised heavily for completely failing to recognise that many of
There is still time to enter our
these schools are working in the toughest of circumstances and are, in fact, achieving great
exclusive competition to win
£5,000 worth of content for
things. Indeed, a good number of the schools are considered “outstanding” or “good” by
your school’s VLE. Also this
Ofsted, something also ignored by the list.
week, we offer your school
the chance to get discounted
Up until recently, many heads were contacting SecEd complaining that months down the
membership and free line from the announcement, they were still waiting to hear about the funding that government
webcams with international
promised to the National Challenge schools.
links charity Rafi.ki
Pages 10 and 18
In November, limited funding announcements were finally made for 50 National Challenge schools, but
Merry Christmas to
at the beginning of this month, many other heads were still in the dark.
Last week, we reported on comments from schools minister Jim Knight, who said that he hoped to
all our readers!
have details of funding for most local authorities by the end of the year.
This is the final issue of SecEd
However, the sad truth is that whenever the funding details arrive, for many schools it will not
for 2008. We want to take
this opportunity to thank all
reverse the damage that has been done to their image in their local communities.
our readers and writers for
In our final edition for 2008, we asked the head of one National Challenge school, which has just
their ongoing support for
the publication. We hope
been told of its funding arrangements, to sum up the impact it has had and the massive problems
we have played our part in and stress it has caused in the past six months. The school has been improving rapidly over the last
supporting you and your
few years, but this head maintains that it will take two years to reverse the “irreparable” damage
schools this year. We return
on January 8. Until then, we
done by the National Challenge.
hope you have a wonderful
What she had to say was nothing short of shocking and, unsurprisingly, she has asked to
Christmas and a very happy
(and relaxing) new year!
remain anonymous. Read her account on page 2.
Assistant Headteachers are eligible for full membership of NAHT
Join now for less than £15 per month with no increase until January 2010.
Established in 1897, NAHT is an independent trade union and professional association representing 28,000 members in
England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many members hold leadership positions in secondary schools and sixth form colleges
To request an application form call the Membership Recruitment Team
on 0800 026 2410 (quoting SecEd), email firstname.lastname@example.org
SecEd in the subject line or visit www.naht.org.uk/ms/joinus
naht.indd 1 14/4/08 16:00:46
Notes and jottings
At the chalkface
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