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John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.

"The Independent's must-read man" - Daniel Finkelstein

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More real goose in the Daily Mail

Posted by John Rentoul
  • Tuesday, 24 March 2009 at 06:51 pm
Propaganda, that is. In this case for selective schools.

Conor Ryan, the best blogger on education, deconstructs today's Daily Mail headline,

"Grammar school with a 96% GCSE pass rate branded a failure by Ofsted. Why? Its race policy is out of date."

That means that 4% do not pass a single GCSE. As Ryan comments, "in a selective grammar school, every pupil ought to achieve five good GCSEs including English and Maths". As for its equalities policy, it was mentioned briefly by Ofsted under the heading of governance. The real reasons why Ofsted put Stretford Grammar School in Trafford into special measures were:

* The overall effectiveness of the school has declined since the last inspection and is now inadequate.
* Girls and higher ability students make insufficient progress. Mathematics and science subjects are weak in Key Stage 4. Too many students fail to attain the very highest grades they are capable of in their GCSE examinations.
* Too much teaching remains lacklustre and is not good enough to ensure that all students achieve as well as they should. A decline in the standard of students' behaviour in lessons is a consequence of teaching that fails to challenge, extend and inspire.
* Leadership and management are inadequate.