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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2000): Education - UK - Schools

ABOVE INFLATION AWARD OF 3.3% FOR ALL TEACHERS

B. Russell

Independent, Feb. 2nd 2000, p.10

Teachers have been awarded an above-inflation pay rise of 3.3%, with the promise of £2,000 increases for staff passing performance assessments. Details of the assessments teachers must pass to gain extra pay rises are still being developed. Additional proposals include a "fast-track" promotion programme for high-flyers and a new management pay scale for senior teachers and department heads. Schools will also be able to pay one-off bonuses of up to £1,700 to staff in hard to fill jobs.

(See also Guardian, Feb. 2nd 2000, p.6; Daily Telegraph, Feb. 2nd 2000, p.15)

ANNUAL REPORT OF HER MAJESTY'S CHIEF INSPECTOR OF SCHOOL 1998-99

Ofsted

London: TSO, 2000 (House of Commons papers, Session 1999/2000; HC 157)

Identified the following particular weakness in the English education system:

  • poor school leadership;
  • failure of one third of pupils to make adequate progress in the first three years of secondary school;
  • lack of books and poor state of repair of secondary schools;
  • variability of funding depending on where the school was situated.

Report also attacked the poor performance of education authorities, adequate teacher training and universities that wasted time on research which complicated what ought to be simple. On the hand the report highlighted improvements in the primary sector and praised the positive effect of the literacy and numeracy strategies.

BLUNKETT'S MAGIC TRICKS AND THE £19 BN BOOST FOR EDUCATION THAT DOESN'T EXIST

N. Davies

Guardian, Mar. 7th 2000, p.10-11

The government claims to be investing £19 bn extra in education over the three years from 1999-2002. Author shows that this extra funding is a mirage produced by creative accounting and book-keeping tricks.

(For reply see Guardian Mar. 10th 2000, p.24)

CLASS ACTIVIST

B. Russell

Education and Training Review, vol.2, Winter 1999, p.40

Argues that the current obsession with examination results is detrimental to the health and fitness of young people.

CLASS SIZE ROW AS LECTURE-STYLE PLAN REPLACES LESSONS

B. Russell

Independent, Mar. 8th 2000, p.12

Groups of schools in education action zones are being invited to bid for funding to pilot lecture-style teaching of large groups in secondary schools. The large group teaching in some lessons would free teachers to offer intensive teaching to groups of 8 or 9 in others.

COMPREHENSIVES 'BEAT GRAMMARS' IN HELPING PUPILS

J. Judd

Independent, Mar. 10th 2000, p.4

Reports result findings of a study showing that pupils in areas with comprehensive schools make more progress than in those with grammar schools. Study used pupil's results in the national tests of 14 to predict their scores of GCSE and then compared them with the actual performance to show what difference schools had made. None of the 15 local authorities with large numbers of pupils in grammar schools was in the top ten for adding value to their pupils.

CONSULTANTS SENT IN TO THREE SCHOOL AUTHORITIES

J. Judd

Independent, 3rd Feb. 2000, p.11

Private consultants are to be sent in to advise Leeds, Sheffield and Rotherham local education authorities following highly critical Ofsted reports.

(See also Guardian, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.8; Financial Times, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.4; Times, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.10; Daily Telegraph, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.1 + 2)

HARMONY WITHOUT UNIONS

D. Martin

Education and Training Review, vol.2, Winter 1999, p.13-14

Introduces the newly launched General Teaching Council, an independent body that will represent the profession at the policy making level, deal with serious cases of misconduct and incompetence and compile a register of teachers.

LABOUR'S SCHOOLS POLICY IS JUST WINDOW-DRESSING

M. Marrin

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 11th 2000, p.30

Argues that the Labour government lacks the political will to take drastic action over failing local education authorities, in spite of its emphasis on education.

LOW MARKS FOR EDUCATION QUALITY

M. Prowse

Financial Times, Feb. 2nd 2000, p.19

Argues that the government should enhance equality of opportunity by devising a scheme to finance 'needs blind' admission for the less affluent to Britain's elite private schools.

MARKING CRISIS HITS A-LEVELS

J. Carvel

Guardian, Feb. 1st 2000, p.8

Reports that multiple choice questioning may have to be introduced at GCSE and A level as a solution to a growing shortage of experienced examiners able to mark traditional essay-type answers.

MINISTER ADMITS SCHOOL FUNDS SYSTEM INDEFENSIBLE

J. Carvel

Guardian, Mar. 9th 2000, p.4

Reports battle between the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions on how schools should be funded. The DFEE wants a basic cash entitlement for every pupil in England, adjusted for the child's age and the areas needs. DETR supports the traditional approach of allowing councils to switch spending between services.

SCHOOL TEACHERS' REVIEW BODY

Ninth report 2000

London: TSO, 2000 (Cm 4568)

Recommends an across the board increase in teachers pay of 3.3%, an immediate salary increase of £2000 for those successfully applying to cross a performance threshold, and a new leadership pay spine for deputy heads and other leadership group members.

SCHOOL UNIONS OPPOSE BONUS BASED ON TESTS

J. O'Leary

Times, Feb. 10th 2000, p.12

Draft standards for criteria to be applied in judging whether teachers can cross the pay "threshold" and qualify for a bonus have been attacked by unions. Proposals explicitly linking teachers' pay to pupils' test and exam results were condemned by unions, on the grounds that teachers have no control over various socio-economic factors influencing pupils' progress.

(See also Guardian, Feb. 10th 2000, p.7; Independent, Feb. 10th 2000, p.12; Daily Telegraph, Feb. 10th 2000, p.13)

SCHOOL TOLD 'PASS EXAMS OR CLOSE'

J. O'Leary and D. Charter

Times, Mar. 1st 2000, p.1 + 8

Report that government is to call on local authorities to close and relaunch schools which fail to meet examination targets for three successive years. Schools will be expected to get 25% of pupils through five high grade CSEs by 2006. A network of support will be put in place to raise standards, including the appointment of 'superheads' who will take responsibility for groups of schools with poor results. Schools at risk may also be twinned with partner schools with proven track records and monitored by the Standards and Effectiveness Unit at the DfEE.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Mar. 1st 2000, p.10; Daily Telegraph, Mar. 2nd 2000, p.6; Times, Mar. 2nd 2000, p.11; Guardian, Mar. 2nd 2000, p.11; Independent, Mar. 2nd 2000, p.4; Financial Times, Mar. 2nd 2000, p.7)

STATE OF DESPAIR AS PUBLIC SCHOOLS GET THE CREAM

N. Davies

Guardian, Mar. 8th 2000, p.12-13

Argues that private schools have damaged the state sector in Britain in two ways. Firstly, they have creamed off the brightest pupils. Secondly, they have provided a well-funded safe haven for children of upper and middle class parents. This has left the state sector with meagre political protection and has allowed successive governments to disinvest in it without public outcry.

TEACHERS' PAY BY PERFORMANCE

J. Carvel

Guardian, Feb. 4th 2000, p.6

The government intends to offer a £2000 salary increase to experienced staff whose pupils got satisfactory marks over the past two or three years. The performance pay proposals are part of the most radical reform of the teaching profession for more than 50 years. However, the teachers' unions are divided in their response to the reforms.

(See also Independent, Feb. 4th 2000, p.1)

TEACHING CRISIS: HALF PLAN TO QUIT

J. Carvel

Guardian, Feb. 29th 2000, p.1

Reports results of a survey showing that more than 200,000 teachers are planning to retire or seek alternative employment within 10 or 15 years. Workloads, stress and bureaucracy were the biggest factors in decisions to leave the profession.

WHAT WORKS IN SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT? LESSONS FROM THE FIELD AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS

A. Harris

Educational Research, vol.42, 2000, p.1-11

Paper outlines the range of school improvement interventions and programmes currently in operation that have proved to be effective and summarises the main components of various approaches. It highlights the limitations of contemporary school improvement programmes and concludes by suggesting that future school improvement work needs to be more carefully matched to the needs of different types of schools. It also suggests that future development in the field should be based on what works in practice rather than on what fits in with current political expediency.

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