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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2010): Education - UK - schools

Child protection rules will halt exchange trips, say teachers

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Dec. 11th 2009, p. 9

Teacher leaders representing almost 45,000 schools have written to the government to object to new child protection rules they say will stop language exchange programmes and deter parent-helpers. From November next year, under the Home Office's Vetting and Barring Scheme, schools will have to ensure that anyone who could come into contact with their pupils has been registered and vetted. In a letter to the children's secretary, Ed Balls, seven associations spanning state and private schools warn that the new requirements are 'disproportionate' and will not stop some paedophiles.

(See also The Times, Dec. 11th 2009, p. 14)

Children of five to be taught how to surf the internet safely

K. Devlin and U. Khan

Daily Telegraph, Dec.9th 2009, p. 12

Government has announced that all primary school children will be taught about the dangers of the Internet and how to surf safely online. Children will be taught to 'zip it, block it, flag it'. The message is intended to remind children not to disclose personal information online, to block approaches from unknown people and to report anything suspicious.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec. 8th 2009, p. 6)

Compassion, caring and justice: teachers' strategies to maintain moral integrity in the face of national hostility to the 'non-citizen'

M. Arnot, H. Pinson & M. Candappa

Educational Review, vol. 61, 2009, p. 249-264

Refugees commonly have just one remaining identity - that of being stateless and statusless. They represent the ultimate 'other in our midst'. The humanism of our teachers in helping the children of asylum-seekers and refugees is tested by the state, especially its immigration policy. This paper offers preliminary research findings on teachers' concepts of compassion and their responses to the needs of asylum-seeking and refugee children.

Core business

D. Bassett, A. Haldenby and L. Tryl

Reform, 2009

This report compared the English education system with that of 29 other developed countries. England was found to be unique in requiring pupils to sit public examinations in only two core subjects, English and mathematics, at the age of 16. In most countries, pupils were required to sit examinations in between four and six core subjects. The report also analysed the standards of English, mathematics and science GCSEs and compared them with similar qualifications in Canada, Germany, France, Japan and the United States. It found that English was of a similar standard but mathematics and science papers were much easier. The report calls for all examination syllabuses to be taken out of the government's hands and controlled by university departments. All teenagers should also be required to study core academic subjects including English, mathematics, the sciences, foreign languages, history and geography.

Ensuring every child matters: issues and implications for school leadership

A. Harris and T. Allen

School Leadership and Management, vol. 29, 2009, p. 337-352

This article considers the challenges and issues facing school leaders in the implementation of Every Child Matters. It outlines the factors that contribute to the effective delivery of Every Child Matters and some of the barriers that make the delivery of this agenda difficult. The article concludes that school leaders play a crucial role in ensuring that Every Child Matters is effectively implemented and that it is integral, rather than peripheral, to school development planning.

Exam room computers could end written tests

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Dec.17th 2009, p. 8

Ofqual, the body set up to regulate examination standards, has proposed in its annual report that traditional 'pen and paper' tests should be scrapped in favour of computer-based exams. This approach would make it more difficult for pupils to cheat, and the proposals have been welcomed by head teachers.

Extra billions fail to raise school standards

G. Hurst

The Times, Dec.2nd 2009, p. 3

Findings by the Office for National Statistics indicate that while spending on education has increased by more than 30 billion per year under the Labour government, the investment has not produced significant improvement in the service.

(See also Financial Times, Dec. 2nd 2009, p. 2)

Gifted and talented pupils in schools



Report found that bright children are being failed at school because lessons are not sufficiently challenging. Some top pupils also become frustrated by being used constantly as coaches for less intelligent youngsters. Head teachers also complained about a lack of support and guidance from government about how to develop gifted and talented pupils. Many teachers were unwilling to make differentiated provision for these pupils because they thought it would be at the expense of less intelligent children, or because they felt they had insufficient support to do it properly.

Identity articulations, mobilization, and autonomy in the movement for Muslim schools in Britain

N. Meer

Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol. 12, 2009, p. 379-399

Drawing upon two years of fieldwork, this article addresses the following questions: how Muslim mobilizations for Muslim schools are being undertaken; what is being sought; and why Muslim schools are deemed to be an important issue for different Muslim communities. The research was conducted through primary interviews with Muslim educators and stakeholders concerned with voluntary aided schooling, including teachers and Muslim educational associations, alongside other case study instruments including field notes, documentary and policy analysis.

League tables show another dip in scores for English and science

G. Hurst

The Times, Dec. 2nd 2009, p.3

The numbers of pupils leaving primary school with high test scores in English and Science have declined for the second year running. The primary school league tables, which were published yesterday, show that the number of children achieving a level 5 score in English has fallen from 34 per cent two years ago, to 29 per cent last year. As has been seen in previous years, boys lagged behind their female peers in English.

(See also The Guardian, Dec. 2nd 2009, p. 11)

Networks as power bases for school improvement

T.A. Moore and M.P. Kelly

School Leadership and Management, vol. 29, 2009, p. 391-404

Although there is limited research into the success of primary school networking initiatives in the UK, there is a drive at national government level for promoting school collaborative working arrangements as a catalyst for whole-school improvement. This paper discusses the findings from research into two primary school networking initiatives in the UK, namely Networked Learning Communities and Primary Strategy Learning Networks. The research focuses on reliance on school networks as power bases for promoting a national standards agenda and explores the impact of power, authority and influence on the sustainability of networks. An 'ideal' model for productive networking relationships among key stakeholders is put forward as a way of ensuring a higher degree of success in implementing national models of collaborative working practices for school improvement.

New teachers to get loans paid off under the Tories

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 4th 2009, p. 17

The Conservatives have pledged that the best maths and science graduates will have their student loans repaid by the government if they decide to teach. Those with a 2:1 degree or better will be entitled to claim repayments for as long as they stay in the classroom. The scheme is based on a US initiative announced by President Obama and will cover graduates in science, mathematics and engineering, so-called 'Stem' subjects considered vital to the future of the economy.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec. 4th 2009, p. 1)

Number of schools where all pupils master 3Rs falls

G. Paton and J. Swaine

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 2nd 2009, p. 1, 4, 30-31

The latest school league tables show that the number of primary schools where all pupils leave with a good grasp of English and mathematics has slumped by a fifth. Only 282 primary schools ensured that every 11-year-old reached the standard expected of their age in SATS examinations in the two subjects in 2009, down from 351 in 2008. SATS results for English deteriorated for the first time, with 80% reaching the expected standard compared with 81% in 2008. Maths (79%) and science (88%) results were unchanged.

Recruiting teachers online: marketing strategies and information dissemination practices of UK-based agencies

R. de Villiers & S. Books

Educational Review, vol. 61, 2009, p. 315-325

A review of the websites of 43 UK-based agencies that recruit teachers in South Africa and other countries finds that important information about what to expect is often missing. An analysis of the marketing strategies shows that agencies overall promise schools thorough vetting of candidates and low fees, while promising prospective teachers good pay and an exciting life outside the classroom, and assuring both that the agency can make the 'right' match. The article concludes with a list of recommendations for candidates and agencies.

School will run ten-hour day to give pupils from poor homes a better chance in life

G. Hurst

The Times, Dec. 21st 2009, p.19

The Sutton Trust aims to establish a school with a longer working-day in order to improve the educational chances of children from deprived backgrounds. The model is similar to that which has been used in a Chicago school which serves children from deprived urban neighbourhoods. Research commissioned by the trust found that children whose parents were graduates spent on average twice as much time on their homework as children with parents who were not educated beyond GCSE/O Level.

Schools gear up for statutory PSHE

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 19th-25th 2009, p. 10

The government has announced that personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) will be compulsory in all schools from 2011. This is likely to lead to increased demand for accredited qualifications in PSHE for teachers.

State schools 'gazump rivals to get best pupils'

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Dec. 9th 2009, p. 7

According to research carried out by the London School of Economics, a number of state secondary school are 'gazumping' each other to attract the best pupils, with some headteachers employing underhand tactics, such as courting parents of very bright children and manipulating waiting lists. The findings come as the chief schools adjudicator warned that the government's new code on school admissions provided a 'bonanza' for lawyers who are being hired by parents, schools and local authorities.

'We are determined to scrap Sats testing for 11-year-olds,' say unions

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 22nd 2009, p. 11

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has warned it is are determined to scrap national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds and league tables and has expressed 'disappointment' over a pledge made by the Conservative schools spokesman, Michael Gove, that both are here to stay in the event of their victory in the general election. The union is planning to conduct a formal ballot on a boycott of the tests in the New Year, along with the National Union of Teachers.

What place the politics of compassion in education surrounding non-citizen children?

J. Boyden

Educational Review, vol. 61, 2009, p. 265-276

In this response to the article by Arnot et al (same volume) the author explores three issues that are central to the current refugee and education regimes in Britain. She addresses the association between the British state and the children living within its dominion, the role of education in contemporary British statecraft and the core values of the education system in so far as it concerns asylum-seeking and refugee children. Building on Arnot et al's discussion of the role of compassion in education of non-citizens, the author problematises this concept and examines some of the political and popular perceptions that are brought to bear in relation to this topic. In particular, she highlights how the interests of the modern state are vested in children and how, in line with this, government attention to instilling public morality in school pupils has centred on a nationalist ideology which excludes forced migrants. She argues that in a context in which a persistent moral and instrumental case is made against asylum-seekers and refugees, teachers struggle against the odds to achieve the successful integration of these children within British schools.

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