Daily Archives: December 15, 2010

Podcasting – is your school in on it?

More than 8m Britons have downloaded podcasts

by John Plunkett

“Rajar research also finds 6.6 million have listened to radio on smartphones, with many downloading dedicated apps.

The research suggested 16.3m have listened to the radio via the internet and 12.7m used a listen-again service such as the BBC’s iPlayer.  The latest research commissioned by radio audience measurement body Rajar reveals that 8.1 million people in the UK – 16% of the adult population – have downloaded a podcast, with nearly half of them (44%) listening to such a service at least once a week.The popularity of smartphones is also changing the way we listen to the radio: 6.6 million adults (13% of the population) have listened on their mobile phone at least once, and 2.2 million downloaded a radio app, a 57% increase in less than six months.  The last survey, in May, put the download figure at 1.4 million.”

Our View:

So how are we harnessing this interest in schools? Assembly podcasts and revision notes for students to download appear to be at the top of the list for those colleagues I have spoken to. But what else? Parental Engagement? Community Engagement? How can podcasting be used to engage parents in their child’s education?

If you have been using podcasting in your schools or have set up a school radio then please comment on this post and share your ideas using the ‘comments box’ below.

Primary schools could be closed for not reaching key standards

Primary school league tables could see over 900 closed or taken over

by  Jessica Shepherd

Government says primaries where pupils failed basic standard in maths and English face becoming academies or closing.  Almost 1,000 primary schools in England could be closed or taken over for failing to reach new government standards in maths and English and not making enough progress in either subject, primary school league tables published today show.

The tables, compiled from government statistics, reveal that in 962 primaries, fewer than 60% of pupils can write a proper sentence using commas or tackle basic arithmetic in their heads by the time they leave – the standard expected of their age group.

Our View:

It remains to be seen how skewed the results actually are, as approximately a quarter of primary schools opted to boycotted the SATs, in protest at the way in which the league tables are used to ‘punish’ schools. As it is already difficult to recruit quality staff to challenging schools, how will this impact on future recruitment? Will enthusiastic leaders be given the chance (and more importantly the time!) to make a difference in schools?

Surely the purpose of data such as the SATs results is for schools to identify areas for development themselves – does the information really have to be shared? Recent articles have highlighted educational systems where other countries are out-performing England – most have a similar theme running through them, where league tables are not used and the data is kept within the school for developmental action. So why make all the changes proposed in the White Paper, then keep the outdated league tables??