How to teach … sex education

Teenagers kissing: there are lots of resources to help teach pupils about healthy relationships

While the biological basics of sex education remain unchanged, the landscape of teaching sex and relationship education is constantly evolving, particularly given the access young people have to pornography via smartphones and issues of exploitation.

The Guardian Teacher Network has some interesting teaching resources to help negotiate territory old and new in sex and relationships education (SRE) lessons and contextualise what young people may be viewing without making the subject shameful.

Teachers might be nervous about mentioning pornography in SRE, but with the easy access to explicitly sexual content on the internet, which many children come across while looking for answers to sex education questions, it’s vital that they can respond to the reality appropriately. The pornography issue is a guide to broaching this potentially difficult and controversial subject by the Sex Education Forum. Packed with helpful lesson ideas, the resource will help schools tackle potentially taboo subjects and offers practical advice drawn from consultation with those on the frontline of sex education. It is also well worth pointing older teenagers to The Site’s frank exploration of porno v reality (aimed at 16-plus).

To help primary students explore the body-image issues that affect so many young people, find this PowerPoint aimed at 10- to 11-year-olds, which highlights the techniques used in post-production of images. This should help children to think critically about the images they are seeing in magazines and online. There are also teachers’ notes and aworksheet.

Some parents and carers find it difficult to talk to their children about sex and relationships. Let’s work together from the Sex Education Forumlooks at the unique role of parents in SRE and the opportunities and challenges for educators working with them. Laying the foundations is a practical guide to teaching sex and relationships in primary schools that looks at what children want to learn and contains an explanation of SRE terminology. Primary school teachers can use the Let’s get it right toolkit to explore how to involve primary school children in reviewing their sex and relationships education, including an icebreaking activity. SeeEffective learning methods for guidance on approaches to teaching the subject within PSHE and citizenship lessons, including advice on working in mixed- and single-gender groups. This resource exploring issues of confidentiality is designed to help senior managers and practitioners understand how to improve pupils’ access to confidential sexual health services, and how to establish an appropriate level of confidentiality within SRE in classrooms and one-to-one situations.

From Theatre in Education to LGBT experts, external visitors can enhance a school’s SRE programme and the Sex Education Forum external visitors guide shows schools how to make it work while staying in control of their programme.

Many teachers have worries about possible sexual exploitation of their pupils. Find this resource on healthy relationships and sexual exploitationto help teachers at key stages 3 and 4 to plan and deliver effective education on sexual exploitation by enabling young people to explore what makes a safe and healthy relationship and to develop the awareness and skills to negotiate potential risks and stay safe.

Brook has created this innovative sexual behaviours traffic light tool in direct response to requests from teachers and practitioners who struggle to work out which sexual behaviours are a natural part of growing up and exploring sexuality and which may need intervention and support to protect young people from abuse. The resource provides a framework to identify, assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviour. There is a related interactive online resource. Also explore the Brook and Family Planning Association’s joint We Can’t Go Backwards campaign.

Enough abuse is an organisation set up by music teacher Marilyn Hawes, whose sons were sexually groomed and assaulted by their headteacher, who was also a close family friend. Hawes has shared this in-depth guide to recognising grooming and preventing child sex abuse and exploitation.

The Christopher Winter Project (CWP) SRE teaching resources come highly recommended by the PSHE association. CWP focuses on supporting schools with SRE via its programme Teaching SRE with Confidence, which includes in-class training. For key stage 1 pupils, find this lesson on the differences between boys and girls. For upper primary school students, this lesson on physical and emotional changes explores the concerns of children approaching puberty. This lesson on conception and pregnancy includes an activity that encourages pupils to think about what decisions and preparations need to be made before deciding to have a baby and how a baby is made.

For secondary school-aged pupils, this lesson aimed at year 10 looks atsexual health in the context of drug and alcohol use, and negotiation skills is a practical lesson using role-play. There is further exploration of the issues of sexual exploitation and sexual bullying in personal safety part one and part two, which consider positive and negative relationships and encourage young people to look at what would constitute inappropriate behaviour and to recognise when someone is vulnerable.

The Wellcome Trust‘s Big picture on sex and gender examines the biological basis of sex differences, links between sex and gender, the science of sex determination and attitudes to masculinity and femininity. Young people talk about their experiences of sex in this resource from the Youthhealthtalk, containing short video clips.

And finally, some interesting tips from headteacher Tom Sherrington on how he found a way to deliver sex education factually, sensitively and without embarrassment via a questions postbox, in straight answers without blushes.

Michael Gove unveils GCSE reforms

Michael Gove

Michael Gove unveiled a symphony of major and minor reforms to the way GCSE examinations are conducted in England, saying the new exam-only qualifications with an emphasis on Shakespeare and British history would equip the nation’s children to perform in the modern world.

At the heart of the most significant package of reforms since GCSEsreplaced O-levels 30 years ago is the end of marking by assessment to cure what Gove called the “structural problem” in the exam normally taken by 16-year-olds.

In its place comes a return to final examinations as the sole measure of a pupil’s success at the end of a two-year GCSE course – with the exception of science, which retains a small assessed practical element.

The Department for Education released a raft of subject consultation papers outlining the new content to be examined. English literature students will be required study at least one full Shakespeare play, as opposed to extracts. For those studying history there will be a “substantial and coherent element of British history and/or the history of England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland,” making up a minimum of 40% of the syllabus.

Despite the traditionalist emphasis, there were apparent concessions to come critics. The consultation papers carried multiple references to the study of climate change in both biology and geography. Climate change had been a controversial omission from consultation over reforms to the national curriculum, but Gove’s department left references to the issue unaffected at GCSE level.

The education secretary argued that the content of the revised examinations was pitched at a more sophisticated level than current GCSEs, especially in sciences and maths. “By making GCSEs more demanding, more fulfilling, and more stretching we can give our young people the broad, deep and balanced education which will equip them to win in the global race,” Gove told the House of Commons.

The old style of GCSEs and their reliance on coursework assessment had been open to abuse, Gove claimed. He said last year’s GCSE English marking debacle, which caused tens of thousands of pupils to resit their exams, “proved beyond any doubt that the current system requires reform”.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, which represents many secondary school headteachers, said Gove’s insistence on a single, untiered final examination to cover all pupils – from those with learning difficulties to potential Oxbridge candidates – presented an immense challenge.

“Simply making exams harder does not guarantee higher standards nor mean that students will be prepared for a job,” he said. “Harking back to a bygone era by replicating O-levels, which were designed for a very narrow cohort in a completely different economic context, is certainly not the way to a world-class education service”

The first cohort of 600,000 GCSE candidates will study under the new regime from 2015, with the first examinations in the core subjects of English, science, history, maths and geography coming in 2017. The reforms do not affect Wales and Northern Ireland, which are retaining the old GCSE system; Scottish students sit exams under a separate system.

Mary Bousted, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said she was concerned for pupils she called “Mr Gove’s guinea pigs” given the haste at which the reforms were being introduced. “End-of-course exams on a single-day test recall and memory rather than the range of skills that young people need in the 21st century,” she said.

The examination changes come at the behest of Ofqual, England’s qualifications regulator, which confirmed earlier reports of a new marking system for GCSEs running from eight as the highest to one as the lowest, replacing the current range of A* to G. “We want to see qualifications that are more stretching for the most able students, using assessments that really test knowledge, understanding and skills,” said Glenys Stacey, the head of Ofqual.

Gove’s announcement in parliament received words of support from different ends of the Labour party. Stephen Twigg, Gove’s opposite number, blasted the education secretary for having his fourth “resit” at GCSE reform, but David Blunkett and Diane Abbott spoke in favour of the plans.

Blunkett was grudging, saying the reforms were “not as bad as some feared” before questioning Gove over examination details, while Abbott was more effusive in agreeing for the need for “rigourous” qualifications.

“Mr Speaker, I’m in love. The honourable lady is absolutely right,” Gove replied.

Much of the debate following Gove’s statement revolved around the rift between education policymakers and regulators in England and their counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland, who have insisted on retaining elements such as modular courses that have been rejected in London.

Gove told the Commons that the new course content prescriptions would enforce consistency among the different examination boards that offered GCSEs. That should end the “suspicion and speculation that some exam boards were ‘harder’ than others”, he said.

He quietly announced via the DfE website that the government intended to “disapply” elements of the existing national curriculum from September 2013. That means that from the start of the new school year until the planned introduction of the new curriculum in September 2014, maintained schools will be operating without the structure of a national curriculum

A subject-by-subject guide to how the new exams will work

Exam hall


• Students will be expected to show their understanding of locational knowledge, with case studies set within the context of the region, country and wider world

• More emphasis on the human and physical geography of the UK. In physical geography, students will need to show they understand weathering, slope movement and erosion; coasts and rivers; and climate change. In human geography, students should demonstrate they understand the causes and effects of urbanisation; and should use two case studies from an economically advanced country, the other from a poorer or emerging economy.

• The interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts.

• Range of skills needed for use in fieldwork, in using maps and geographical information systems and in researching secondary evidence including digital sources

• Overall, exam questions will emphasise knowledge and understanding in relation to real world contexts.

English language

• The new specification aims to ensure that students read well and write effectively.

• Greater focus on good spelling, punctuation and grammar. Marks allocated for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar will increase from 12% to 20%.

• A greater range of writing skills will be required – students will be required to describe, narrate, explain, instruct and argue, and be able to write for impact, organising and emphasising ideas and key points.

• Formal speaking skills will be separately reported, removing the risk of over-marking by teachers.

• Students will have read texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in preparation for an ‘unseen texts’ exam component.

• Critical reading: recognising and drawing inferences; reflecting critically on text.

• Evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, form, grammatical and structural features.

• Comparing texts: comparing two or more texts critically.

English literature

• Students will be expected to study a greater range of high-quality, challenging texts from key periods in the history of English literature.

• Digital texts – blogs, email and web texts – will not be included.

• Students’ reading should include whole texts.

• Detailed study of a range of intellectually challenging and substantial whole texts must include:

– at least one play by Shakespeare

– a selection of representative Romantic poetry

– at least one 19th-century novel

– poetry from 1850 to 1980

– British fiction, poetry or drama since the first world war

• Students will be examined on their ability to evaluate ‘seen’ and ‘unseen’ texts.

• No more than two texts should be selected from each of prose, poetry and drama.

• Writing: clear, coherent text; accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.


• Controlled assessment to be reduced but still remaining to provide effective assessment of practical skills.

• Increased emphasis on recall of essential knowledge such as formulae in physics.

• In biology students will need to demonstrate they can understand cell biology as well as electron microscopy, stem cells; enzymes; the human circulatory system; the development of medicine; climate change and its effects; photosynthesis; eco-systems; and human reproduction.

• In chemistry students will need to demonstrate understanding of concepts including: atomic structure and the Periodic Table; the properties of metals; bulk and surface properties of matter including nanoparticles; chemical equations; acid, alkalis and the pH scale; recycling; greenhouse gases and changes to climate over time; and agricultural productivity.

• In physics students will need to demonstrate they can understand energy; speed, velocity and acceleration; forces and friction, levers and gears; wavelengths and frequency; light as rays and as waves, refraction, and electromagnetic waves and magnets; electricity; and lens action.


• Greater focus on the history of Britain (from 25% to 40% of content) and students will be expected to show an understanding of chronology. But students should also show an understanding of the history of the wider world.

• Students will no longer be able to follow GCSE courses that are narrowly focused on one period of history or have a narrow focus on one historical theme.

• A greater weighting on the selection, recall and application of historical knowledge and understanding.

• In particular students should study a substantial and coherent element of British history and/or the history of England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland (minimum 40%). This must include at least one in-depth study chosen from the Medieval (500-1500), Early Modern (1450-1750) or Modern (1700-present day) periods.

• A substantial and coherent element of the study of the history of the wider world (minimum 25%), from the same periods as above.

Ancient language

• The new exams will ensure students develop and use vocabulary, syntax and grammar of their chosen language to read, understand and interpret the ancient languages (Latin and Greek), and develop and understand classical literature.

• Students will also be expected to identify and explain the derivation of English words from the ancient language.

• New specifications will mean there will be new assessment objectives of linguistic competence (50%) and cultural competence (50%).

• Greater emphasis on the ability to use the language.


• GCSE specifications in maths should enable students to develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts.

• Students should acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems, reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context.

• Students will need to apply the four calculation operations to integers, decimal fractions, simple proper and improper fractions, and mixed numbers. They will also use powers, roots and reciprocals.

• There will be questions on algebra, including the laws of indices, co-ordinates, perpendicular lines, exponential and trigonometric relationships, as well as ratio, geometry and measures, and probability.

• Exams will be more challenging – students will have to apply their knowledge and reasoning to provide clear mathematical arguments.

• There will be fewer single-step questions and more non-routine problems.

Modern languages

• The new specifications will ensure modern languages students can communicate well with native speakers, both speaking and writing. They should also develop awareness of the culture and identity of the countries where the language is spoken and broaden their horizons.

• Equal weighting of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each will now be 25%.

• Introduction of abridged or adapted literary texts Literary texts can include poems, letters, short stories, extracts and excerpts from abridged and adapted essays, novels, or plays from contemporary and historical sources.

• Requirement to translate sentences and short texts from English into the assessed language.

• Oral exams will be key parts of the new GCSEs.

• The new GCSEs will provide the basis for study at A-level, as preparation before a university degree course.

Planning for your first term: an essential guide for new teachers

School display

So you’ve made it. You’ve got through the year and you’ve managed to get by in one piece: well done. The teaching course is one of those things that no one can ever prepare you for, it doesn’t matter how good the prospectus is. The late nights, the early mornings, the tears, the tantrums, the weird school politics you have to get used to for each placement. So much to remember but you’ve managed it and here you are, staring out into one of the longest holidays of your life. Enjoy it. I mean, really, enjoy it because you are about to get thrown in at the deep end and I’ve no doubt that by Christmas you won’t know your rear end from your elbow.

Hopefully by now you have a job, or at least some interviews lined up. You’re going to need to think about getting into your new school, if you haven’t already, to get prepared for next year. For those of you that thinks you can wing it when you get there, trust me, it doesn’t work. The more you know now, the better. So, things to think about when visiting your school:

• Email beforehand and be flexible about when you come in, it’ll make things much easier and your head of department is more likely to have the time booked in to help you out.

• Take a massive hard drive with you, to download as much info about the schemes of work as possible. You could also try grabbing some textbooks and copies of the syllabus too.

• Make a point to go and say a quiet hello to all the staff in your department. This is quite tricky, as you don’t want to stroll in there all cocky, but it is nice to get to know people before you start.

• Make sure you befriend the following people; reception and reprographics staff, technicians, dinner ladies, estates people and the teaching assistants/learning support assistants. They are all integral to the school and can be amazing help in your first year. They also know all the gossip.

• Have a look at your classroom, if you’re lucky enough to have one, and perhaps ask if you can go in, during the holidays to sort it out. You’re not likely to have time to do this once you get there in September, so you may as well get it done now.

• Try and have a wander around so you don’t look like such a newbie when the kids get back. Teachers that wander around asking kids the way are more than likely targets for practical jokes. At our school they send everyone to the PE department as it’s miles away.

• Get a copy of all the relevant policies like behaviour and so on and that you understand them.

So, that’s all sorted, now you can enjoy the holidays. Well, almost. It’s still worth asking yourself several questions before you start.

• Have you planned a getting to know you lesson for each class? What is the behaviour policy and how will I deal with mobile phones, outdoor wear being worn in the classroom and so on?

• Have you made a medium-term plan for the classes you are teaching?

• How are you going to know what the students have learnt from you? This means giving thought to assessment for learning techniques and thinking about the crucial feedback mechanisms you will put in place.

That sounds like an awful lot to think about but even if you just go through the process of what you are doing in your head, it can help to prepare you for your first term in advance.

Remember, you are going to have your own classes and this means you can finally put your own stamp on your classroom and teaching practice. You have already made it through a really tough course of study and so you are perfectly capable of the challenges in front of you. The only thing left to consider is this: what sort of teacher do you want to be?

My tutor, who is an absolute legend, always said there are seven types of teacher: funny, matey, keen, lame, sad, horrible and safe. I tried to aim for safe. This is because I’m not at school to make friends with students; I am there to be firm but fair. I always want them to know where they stand and that standing still and passive learning is not an option.

So it just leaves for me to give you, like good old Jerry Springer, the final thought for the day. Just be yourself. Stay true to what your educational values are and make sure you befriend your fellow newly qualified teachers (NQTs.) They are the rocks that will keep you anchored when all hell breaks loose and they’ll celebrate your successes wholeheartedly.

I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today without my NQT crew, my head of department and my other colleagues. The friendships you make there will see you through and I have no doubt last a lifetime. Have fun and always come back to this thought; that everything we do is about the kids. If you always come back to that, then you’ll always be heading in the right direction.

So good luck, have a great time and remember to enjoy yourself as you embark on the journey of a lifetime.

Ofsted chief: state schools’ failure of brightest ‘an issue of national concern’

School pupils

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, has said that the failure by state schools to nurture their brightest pupils is “an issue of national concern”, after an investigation found two-thirds of the most advanced pupils entering secondary education do not achieve top GCSE results.

Ofsted proposes that maintained schools and academies devote more energy cultivating their brightest pupils, and that all pupils be given a new form of report card that tells parents how their children are performing in comparison with their peers nationally.

“Across the country we know that too many of our most able children are underperforming in state comprehensive schools. The national picture tells a discouraging story,” Wilshaw said at the launch of the report on Wednesday.

“Almost two-thirds of pupils who achieved a level five or above in both English and maths at the end of primary school did not get an A or A* grade in these subjects at GCSE in non-selective schools last year. That translates into more than 65,000 students in 2012. This is an important statistic because the top GCSE grades are a key predictor of success at A-level and progress to the most prestigious universities.”

The research came after a series of visits by Ofsted to 41 non-selective state schools throughout England, and the results of more than 2,000 lesson observations by its inspectors to see how the brightest pupils were dealt with in classrooms.

“Shockingly, some of the schools we visited had not even identified who their most able pupils were. This is completely unacceptable,” Wilshaw said. “Many students simply became used to performing at a lower level than they were capable of and this was too readily accepted by teachers.”

By way of comparison, 59% of selective state school – grammar school – students who attained level five in both English and maths at the end of their primary school education went on to achieve an A or A* in those subjects at GCSE level in 2012. The figure for students from non-selective schools was 35%. Comparisons with independent schools are not available.

On Thursday, Wilshaw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the statistics were “pretty poor”, adding that children at selective state schools were far more likely to win places at top universities than those who went to non-selective ones.

“We’ve got to make sure that the great majority of youngsters do well and go to the top universities,” he said.

He said school leadership was crucial in improving pupils’ performances, as was creating a culture of scholarship and ensuring that students remained focused on their studies after Key Stage 3.

If some pupils were not sufficiently challenged and motivated after Key Stage 3, said Wilshaw, “they tread water, they mark time”.

Asked about the role parents play in supporting their children, he said: “Family is extremely important and I’m not going to say, as chief inspector, that families aren’t important.”

But he insisted that many schools were doing a good job of compensating for “poor backgrounds and unsupportive parents”.

Reflecting on his much-lauded time as headteacher of the Mossbourne Academy in east London, he said the key to success had been having high expectations of all the children – and intervening the moment any of them showed signs of falling behind.

“It wasn’t about money,” he said. “It was all about expectation and culture.”

The Ofsted findings were endorsed by the Department for Education. “Sir Michael is right. Secondary schools must ensure all their pupils – including their brightest – fulfil their potential. That’s why we are introducing a more demanding and rigorous curriculum, toughening upGCSEs and getting universities involved in A-levels,” a DfE spokesman said.

The findings matched earlier research by the Sutton Trust charity that many state schools in England were failing to advance their pupils towards the most selective universities. Its chairman, Sir Peter Lampl, called the Ofsted report “a wake-up call to ministers”.

“Schools must improve their provision, as Ofsted recommends. But the government should play its part too by providing funding to trial the most effective ways to enable our brightest young people to fulfil their potential.,” Lampl said.

Part of the problem, according to Wilshaw, is that state school pupils were not imbuded with “the confidence and sense of entitlement that their counterparts in the independent sector can so often have”.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, welcomed the report but said that “the government’s league table culture deserves a measure of the blame”.

More than 200 schools miss new GCSE target


More than 200 schools in England have failed to meet a new target for GCSE results and face coming under the control of more successful headteachers who will be able to overhaul their curriculum and staffing, according to data published today. In a white paper published last year, the coalition raised the basic target for schools to a threshold of 35% of pupils achieving five GCSEs at grade A*-C, including English and maths. Schools that fail to meet this target, and whose pupils are failing to achieve above-average levels of progress in English and maths will be considered underperforming.

A total of 216 schools out of nearly 3,000 state schools in England failed to meet this threshold in last summer’s exam results, according to this year’s secondary school league tables. Education secretary Michael Gove said yesterday that underperforming schools will receive extra resources but could also be taken over by more successful schools under “tough, rigorous” plans for improvement.

Gove said: “Those plans will involve weaker schools being taken under the wing of high-performing schools, entering academy chains, changing the way they work, implementing reforms to the curriculum and staffing and putting in place new, tougher approaches to discipline and behaviour.”

This will be led by the government’s new schools commissioner, Elizabeth Sidwell, a former headteacher and chief executive of three London academies.

Painful admissions


Crackdowns on school uniform often run into ingenious workarounds by pupils. Ban trainers, and Doc Martens might suddenly creep into style; insist every child must wear a tie, and they will – but worn ludicrously short. Attempts to enforce fair admissions policies give rise to similar defiance on the part of parents. As the letters go out this week, one in five are being told that their child cannot attend their preferred school. The middle classes, in particular, risk being disappointed this year. Admissions are being policed by a new code that aims to stamp out the range of ruses that have long helped more privileged children to win the best places.

Under the new rules schools are banned from choosing pupils on such criteria as whether their parents are married or in particular jobs. Forced on a reluctant Tony Blair by egalitarian Labour backbenchers, the code is the latest in a long line of attempts, stretching back over several generations, to promote equality of educational opportunity. Back in the 1940s it was hoped that grammar schools would deliver that, although academic selection at 11 turned out to be skewed in favour of well-to-do families; most of the rest saw their children consigned to the educational dustbins that were known as secondary moderns. In the 60s and 70s there were brave hopes that comprehensives would eliminate the bias. But, especially in London, the borders of catchment areas were soon affecting house prices, so instead of paying school fees affluent parents could choose to fork out for the right postcode. The new code also encourages councils to be more proactive in promoting mixed intakes, for example by allocating places in random ballots, or by picking pupils from across a wide geographical area to reflect the full range of abilities. Brighton is the first city to have embraced random ballots to determine who gets into its most popular schools. We report today – predictably, if depressingly – that more affluent parents are responding by going private, rather than by taking their chance with the rest.

Complicating the debate about admissions is the vexed question of choice. Parents have been encouraged to believe that they have it, but for many – and in those councils the Guardian has investigated an increasing number – it is proving to be an illusion. This year the rules have been changed so schools no longer know whether they were ranked as first or second choice. The change means parents no longer jeopardise the chance of a good alternative place by plumping for the best schools of all. But as more of them do that, the limited number of places ensures that more of them will end up frustrated. The Conservatives, together with Labour’s Blairite wing, argue that the solution is encouraging good schools to expand. That argument has logic, although it hardly fits with David Cameron’s proclaimed support for small schools. Spending money on extra places – money that other schools will then miss out on – is harder to justify at a time when the school rolls are declining. Besides, while international experience, such as in Sweden, suggests that choice might raise average standards, it can also entrench segregation. Choice may have a role but, for as long as educated parents continue to shop around more, it remains a dubious route to equality. For all the practical and political difficulties, experiments such as that in Brighton hold out more promise, and deserve support – at least until it has been seen whether they can be made to work.

Politicians of all stripes have taken to talking about social mobility, but the reality is that British society is sclerotic. The research suggests generations X and Y are more tightly shackled to the station in life that they started out from than the baby boomers ever were. And recent analysis by the Sutton Trust reveals that a third of all Oxbridge entrants come from just 100 top schools. Levelling the educational playing field is not easy, but it remains the only way of starting to level out children’s chances in life.