Nick Clegg’s Twitter Q & A on education

nick clegg live tweet town hall 1st may 2014After this morning’s Call Clegg, Nick Clegg took to Twitter to answer questions on education. He digressed a little, into decarbonisation, housing and and Luis Suarez. It’s been a very engaging 24 hours for Nick Clegg because last night he took part in a conference call with key party campaigners from around the country to discuss the party’s Summer campaign. He has been told in no uncertain terms in a variety of formats that it was very important that he was more visible about reaching out to members and it’s good to see him doing so.  To be clear, he’s always done a lot of behind the scenes contact with members and elected representatives. Some get called, some surprised by hand-written notes at important times in their lives. I suspect last night’s call will be the first of many such initiatives from him. You have to give him credit, though, for being far more involved with his activists than either Cameron or Miliband. When was the last time they actually a) had meaningful interaction with any of their members or b) actually listened to their advice? Sometimes we feel far removed from the Westminster Bubble, but ours is a lot more penetrable than theirs. It needs to be, though, because Nick needs his activists much more than the others do.

During his Q & A, he mentioned this article in yesterday’s Independent about how the Pupil Premium is increasing attainment amongst black kids. The number attaining the benchmark 5 GCSEs at A*-C has grown by 8.8% in the last four years which the report attributes to two things, the introduction of the English Baccalaureate and:

In addition, schools have been able to earmark “pupil premium” funding, given to them for every disadvantaged pupil they take, to ensure poorer pupils catch up – and are then able to access the more academic subjects.

The success story also holds for the results of national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds in maths, reading and writing – where 73 per cent of black pupils reached the expected benchmark last year – only two percentage points behind the national average compared with a five percentage point difference in 2010.

I’ve compiled the whole thing into another Storify thingy, so here it is as it happened.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • ::Grin:: Thank you Caron for putting your coverage together so professionally. It was good to hear the questions and of course Nick’s replies which remained focused, pithy and accessible.

  • Julian Critchley 26th Jun '14 - 5:45pm

    The problem with the article in the Independent is that it’s completely unevidenced. The claims that the pupil premium and the Ebacc are behind increased exam results are simple assertions which fly in the face of evidence. This is even more daft when you consider that earlier this week, a genuine piece of research into achievement of different groups was published (as opposed to someone making evidence-free assertions in a newspaper article). This research (link below), makes it clear that the majority of the increases in GCSE performance can be accounted for by looking at increases in prior attainment in primary schools. In other words, secondary schools haven’t added more or less value to any group than they always did. They’ve just received students at a higher level of attainment from primary schools, and that has been reflected in a higher level of attainment at GCSE. The key quote is this :

    “What caused the improvement in Key Stage 2 test scores that led to the ‘London effect’ at Key Stage 4 is not clear. However, the explanation will be related to changes in London’s primary schools in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This means that programmes and initiatives such as the London Challenge, the Academies Programme, Teach First or differences in resources are unlikely to be the major explanation (as these changes either happened too late, were focused on secondary schools or were longstanding, and therefore are unlikely to account for the rapid improvements we see).”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/321969/London_Schools_-_FINAL.pdf

    This is a fine example of how ridiculous the education “debate” is in this country. Evidence comes out with a very clear message, and politicians and the media continue to make completely unevidenced claims on which to base policy. Not just Clegg and the LibDems, by the way. All parties are equally culpable of talking utter rot on education policy.

  • Peter Watson 26th Jun '14 - 8:22pm

    “Need to have qualified teachers in all classrooms – or at least teachers getting qualifs. Don’t get Cons ideological oppo to this.”
    Why did Lib Dem MPs vote against Labour’s opposition day motions calling for teachers to be qualified?
    (https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-we-need-unqualified-teachers-to-become-qualified-41022.html)

  • Richard Harris 26th Jun '14 - 9:28pm

    I’m a fan of twitter, but it really is not the place to have important question and answer sessions. The answers might be “to the point” but are utterly lacking in depth with no opportunity to take ideas further.

  • Geoff Hinchliffe 27th Jun '14 - 10:11am

    What the heck IS “storify” ? All I get is a large empty space. As for Twitter, it is useless for fossils like me, living in the depths of reception-plagued rural Norfolk.

  • Extraordinary propaganda.

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