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

ANYTHING TO DECLARE? THE STRUGGLE FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AND CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

J. Kenworthy and J. Whittaker

Disability and Society, vol. 15, 2000, p. 219-231

Argues in favour of the education of all disabled children in mainstream rather than special schools. Suggests that compulsory segregation of children with special needs will continue until the law underwrites their right to an equal choice of education. Highlights the case of David McKibben and his family who have taken on the East Belfast Education Board to fight for David's right to attend his local mainstream high school. David experienced further rejection by independent special needs tribunals. Paper asserts that these tribunals and current UK education legislation are fundamentally at odds with the human rights of disabled and non-disabled children.

CHILDREN FROM HELL

P. Toynbee

Guardian, 14th Apr. 2000, p. 21

Argues that extremely disruptive children need to be excluded from schools for the sake of the majority. Investment needs to be made in special units supported by re-education welfare and educational psychology staff in which difficult children can undergo intensive treatment and rehabilitation.

CHILDREN OF FOUR TO GET LITERACY TRAINING

J. Judd

Independent, May 12th 2000, p. 7

Reports on how new government guidelines on the education of under fives will help children reach national standards in speaking, listening, working in a group, concentrating and persisting in a task by the age of six.

COMPARING STANDARDS: THE REPORT OF THE POLITEIA EDUCATION COMMISSION

S. Lawlor (editor)

London: Politeia, 2000

Report shows that children in England and Wales lag behind pupils in other similar countries in basic literacy and numeracy. Proposals to improve standards include provision of better textbooks, more use of whole-class teaching, introduction of subject specialist teachers in primary schools and measures to make classes more homogeneous in terms of pupils' ability.

EDUCATION: WHOSE PRIORITY ARE LOOKED-AFTER CHILDREN?

R. Holmstrom

Foster Care, no. 101, 2000, p. 8-9

Looks at draft guidance recently produced by the DfEE on the education of children looked-after by local authorities. The guidance emphasises carers' education responsibilities, recommends Personal Education Plans (PEPs) for all looked-after children, and proposes a designated teacher with responsibility for looked-after children in each school.

EDUCATION IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Education and Lifelong Learning Working Group

London: Local Government Association, 2000

Highlights problems of isolation, recruitment difficulties and poor accommodation experienced by rural schools. Urges such schools to work more closely together to share facilities and to consider broader use by the community.

EXCELLENCE FOR ALL CHILDREN - FALSE PROMISES!: THE FAILURE OF CURRENT POLICY FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOLING IN THE 21ST CENTURY

C. Lloyd

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 4, 2000, p. 133-151

Education policy in the UK for children with special educational needs has been based on the assumption that the means to ensuring equality of educational opportunity is the mainstream school. Paper argues that this is false and demonstrates that as long as the present organisation of schooling, the curriculum and assessment and testing procedures remain unchallenged, equal educational opportunity will remain a myth. Shows that current reforms in education seem to be directed towards preserving the status quo and making schools more efficient, thus reinforcing inequality and discrimination. Finally attempts to set a new agenda for the 21st century in which education would be based on problem-solving, collaboration, team-working and the celebration of diversity.

FRESH START SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED FOR GOOD

J. Judd

Independent, May 9th 2000, p. 9

Firfield Community School, the first comprehensive to enter the Fresh Start programme will be closed by Newcastle City Council if parents agree. It has a budget crisis and empty places.

(See also Guardian, May 9th 2000, p. 5; Daily Telegraph, May 9th 2000, p. 10)

HEADS FEAR NEW A-LEVELS MAY BE TOO DEMANDING

J. Judd

Independent, Apr. 25th 2000, p. 8

From 2002 A-levels will become modular and most students will take four subjects instead of the present three. After one year's study they can take a new AS examination, (half an A-level) before deciding whether to proceed to the full A-level. Because the AS examination will count for half the marks and will be easier than existing A-levels, the exam at the end of the second year will have more challenging questions than any of those in the present A-levels.

LOCAL HEADS DEAL SCHOOLS BLOW TO BLAIR

M. Wainwright

Guardian, May 18th 2000, p. 12

All 36 comprehensive school heads in County Durham have written an open letter to Tony Blair saying that a backlog of £82m worth of basic repairs to school buildings was threatening local children's education.

(See also Independent, May 18th 2000, p. 6)

MARKED FALL IN JUNIOR CLASS SIZES IS BEST FOR DECADE

J. Judd

Independent, Apr. 13th 2000, p. 12

The number of infants in classes of more than 30 halved in 1999. Average class sizes for juniors have also fallen from 28.4 to 28.3 while average secondary school class sizes have risen marginally from 21.9 to 22.

(See also Guardian, Apr. 13th 2000, p. 7)

PIMLICO: A CASE OF PFI AT ALL COSTS?

M. Ball

Public Finance, Apr. 21st - 27th 2000, p. 25

Calls on the Treasury and Westminster Council to stop trying to force the Private Finance Initiative on Pimlico School.

PRIMARY TESTS REDUCE PUPILS TO WEEPING

A. O'Connell

Times, Apr. 13th 2000, p. 8

The school tests for seven-year-olds may be changed if it is found to be causing children undue stress.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Apr. 13th 2000, p. 6; Guardian, Apr. 13th 2000, p. 7)

SCHOOL FUNDING GROWTH SLOWS UNDER LABOUR STUDY SAYS

J. Judd

Independent, Apr. 13th 2000, p. 2

An independent analysis has shown that education spending in the first three years of the new Labour government grew by 1.25% per year, compared to 2.25% per year under the Major government.

SCHOOLS 'OPERATE SELECTION BY STEALTH'

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Apr. 25th 2000, p. 5

Martin Johnson, present of NASUWT, has accused the government of dismantling the comprehensive school system and replacing it with selection by stealth. He attached specialist schools which benefit from extra funding and can select 10% of their pupils by aptitude. He also criticised the system of parental choice which allows affluent parents to move into the catchment areas of successful schools.

(See also Guardian, Apr. 25th 2000, p. 1; Independent, Apr. 25th 2000, p. 8)

SIN-BINS FOR 1000 SCHOOLS TO TACKLE VIOLENCE

D. Charter

Times, Apr. 27th 2000, p. 1

Reports that the government is to invest in on-site learning support units' within mainstream schools to which unruly and disruptive pupils can be sent.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Apr. 27th 2000, p. 13; Independent, Apr. 27th 2000, p. 10; Guardian, Apr. 27th 2000, p. 11)

TEACHERS PLAN TO SUE OVER DISRUPTIVE PUPILS

J. Carvel

Guardian, Apr. 20th 2000, p. 7

Teachers are planning to sue their Local Education Authorities for allegedly failing to protect staff from the dangers of returning disruptive pupils to the classrooms. Violent pupils are no longer expelled from schools because of the government's social inclusion policy. Teachers claim that children with learning difficulties and behavioural problems are often better served in special schools where places have been cut on grounds of cost.

(See also Independent, Apr. 20th 2000, p. 10)

TEACHERS TO BE BALLOTED ON ONE-DAY STRIKE PLAN

J. Judd

Independent, Apr. 26th 2000, p. 8

The National Union of Teachers has voted in favour of balloting members on a one-day strike against performance related pay. However, the Union's general secretary has said he will not implement the decision.

(See also Times, Apr. 26th 2000, p.6; Daily Telegraph, Apr. 26th 2000, p. 1 + 2; Financial Times, Apr. 26th 2000, p. 6; Guardian Apr. 26th 2000, p. 2)

TEACHERS WARN OF TEST STRESS DANGER TO PUPILS

J. Carvel

Guardian, Apr. 19th 2000, p. 7

Association of Teachers and lecturers warns that the government drive to raise standards is placing pupils under stress, leading to anxiety, irritability and short tempers.

(See also Times, Apr. 19th 2000, p. 15; Daily Telegraph, Apr. 19th 2000, p. 6; Independent, Apr. 19th 2000, p. 11)

THE THREE Rs: RATINGS, REGULATION AND RIGIDITY

S. Jenkins

Times, Apr. 26th 2000, p. 20

Attacks the Labour governments policy of imposing rigid central control on schools through the national curriculum, a harsh testing and inspection regime, and performance-related pay for teachers.

TOWN HALLS FACE REVOLUTION OVER EDUCATION SERVICES

J. Kelly

Financial Times, May 16th 2000, p. 10

Government is encouraging private companies to compete with local authorities for contracts to provide schools with services such as building maintenance, cleaning and IT. Private operators may also take over the role of inspecting and advising schools in matters ranging from the appointment of head teachers to fundraising.

TRUE BELIEVERS

R. Smithers

Guardian, Apr. 17th 2000, p. 15

The academic success of church-run schools has made them extremely popular. The Anglican church is planning to increase the number of secondary schools it runs, and may consider taking over failing local authority-run schools.

THE WEAK LINK

D. Gilliver

Housing, Apr. 2000, p. 38-39

Living conditions can have a profound effect on a child's education. Article calls for better co-ordination between local authority housing and education departments.

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