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

All top state schools to be offered instant academy status

R. Garner

The Independent, May 24th 2010, p. 18

A 'short, sharp' Bill will allow all schools regarded as 'outstanding' by Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, the automatic right to academy status. In all, 600 secondary schools and, for the first time, up to 2,000 primary schools will be able to join the academies programmes from September. (See also The Guardian, May 25th 2010, p. 1 & 2)

An affordability crisis in schools?

R. Farthing

Public Policy Research, Dec.2009-Feb.2010, p. 240-245

There is clear research evidence that poverty is a barrier to educational success. Although historically state education in the UK has been offered 'free at the point of delivery', parents are now expected to pay for school meals, trips, uniforms and PE. Low-income families cannot meet these additional costs and children lose out in consequence. Tackling family poverty is thus crucial for reducing the attainment gap between middle class children and those from poor homes.

'Count us in' - achieving inclusion in Scottish schools: an analysis of policy

K. Wright

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 14, 2010, p. 153-164

In 2002, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education published Count us in, a review of good practice in the field of inclusion in Scottish schools. Count us in can be seen as a Scottish national policy response to global concerns regarding inclusive education. This paper presents a policy analysis of Count us in, looking at its context, the text of the document itself, and its consequences.

Education Bill to introduce new reading tests

R. Garner

The Independent, May 26th 2010, p. 6

The Government is planning to introduce new reading tests for all six-year-olds to be taken at the end of their first year of compulsory schooling. The move is aimed at identifying young people who are struggling to keep up in class and ensuring they receive any help they may need as soon as possible. The tests will be in addition to the national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds which were boycotted by members of several teachers' unions last month.

Education for social justice: achieving wellbeing for all

L. Chapman and J. West-Burnham

London: Continuum, 2010

This book argues for equity and inclusion in education based on a model of social justice which is grounded in relationships and learning rather than policies and structures. The authors suggest that securing equity is fundamental to government policy in England, is at the heart of Every Child Matters and underpins the Children's Strategy. The aim of this book is to find a paradigm that can be used to achieve greater social fairness, by finding individual/local solutions that are still in line with national policies and strategies.

Education policies converge, but details remain sketchy

L. Phillips

Public Finance, Apr. 23rd-29th 2010, p. 14-15

All three main political parties in the UK favour the creation of 'independent state schools' which are government funded but outside of local authority control and run by charities, teacher groups or even parents. However these plans are light on detail and experts say they may be more costly than the traditional model. There is no robust research evidence that 'independent state schools' abroad, such as US charter schools, actually improve results in the long term.

Effective teaching in gifted education: using a whole school approach

W. Robinson and J. Campbell

London: Routledge, 2010

The book presents an analysis of the practice of schools judged to be outstanding in their effective teaching of gifted and talented students. Eight case studies focus on school leaders, classroom teachers and students in order to illustrate and explore gifted and talented provision across a range of educational settings and circumstances.

Fear in education

C. Jackson

Educational Review, vol. 62, 2010, p. 39-52

This paper argues that fear is powerful and pervasive in English schools and central to many education discourses but has received very little focussed attention in the education literature. The author proposes that it would be beneficial for educational researchers to focus more attention on the diverse and often contradictory ways that fears operate in education, and on how they are constructed and sustained. He goes on to explore this by considering two aspects of secondary education - academic and social 'success' and 'failure' - and looks at the ways that fears operate in these spheres.

From Baker to Balls: the foundations of the education system

Children, Schools and Families Committee

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2009/10; HC 422)

The purpose of this Report is to draw attention to some of the themes which unify the Children, Schools and Families Committee's past reports on the National Curriculum, Testing and Assessment, School Accountability, and Training of Teachers and to provide a little historical context. It includes oral evidence taken from four former Secretaries of State and from the current Secretary of State, each speaking about the direction of education policy over the last twenty years and into the future. The past reports went into considerable detail about the strengths and failures of then current policy. However, the two threads running through each of them, achieving a suitable balance between local and central control, and the need for coherence of policy, have dogged education policy for decades. They are, however, real and urgent challenges, and the education policies of the Government in the next Parliament will be judged by their success in meeting them.

Head teachers lukewarm on Gove's invitation to join academy revolution

G.Hurst, and J. Sugden

The Times, May 27th 2010, p.14

Teachers' unions have attacked the move by Michael Gove to invite state schools to become academies. Under the offer, schools will have the chance to increase their budget by 10 per cent. Head teachers have expressed concern that the move will erode the state education system, create a two-tier education system and adversely affect teacher recruitment. (See also The Independent, May 27th 2010, p.6 and The Guardian, May 27th 2010, p.12-13)

Is there still a place for specialists in schools?

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Apr.20th-26th 2010, p. 8-9

An investigation has found significant variation in the numbers of education welfare officers and educational psychologists in local authority areas. Staff are increasingly being asked to carry out hybrid roles that water down professional expertise, and specialists are ever more likely to be accountable to professional managers who have no direct experience of their discipline.

Keep pupils in school for lunch

H. Wallop

Daily Telegraph, May 17th 2010, p. 7

The Schools Food Trust has called for a ban on pupils leaving school premises in the lunch hour to prevent them from buying unhealthy meals from fast-food outlets.

Leading under pressure: leadership for social inclusion

D. Muijs and others

School Leadership and Management, vol. 30, 2010, p.143-157

In this study the researchers examined leadership issues specifically in relation to social inclusion, through a series of six case studies in three districts showing high levels of disadvantage. Findings indicated that schools' views on social inclusion could be classified as having three main orientations: improving achievement and qualifications for all; overcoming barriers to learning existing within particular groups; and enhancing other capacities and skills of children from disadvantaged groups.

One in six pupils at primary school speaks English as a second language

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, May 14th 2010, p. 18

Official figures show that a record 900,000 pupils speak English as a second language. Almost one in six primary school pupils now speak another language at home, double the rate of a decade ago. In some parts of inner London, the figure now exceeds three quarters. This disclosure follows claims that a surge of pupils with relatively poor English skills is putting a strain on state schools

Outings, stories and a giant picnic laid on as thousands of primaries boycott tests

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, May 10th 2010, p. 12

Thousands of primary schools are due to boycott national Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) at tests for 10 and 11-year-olds and pupils will instead be treated to class trips and creative writing lessons. Teaching unions have predicted that half of England's 17,000 primaries will lock up their test papers in protest, thereby affecting tens of thousands of pupils. Unions argue that the tests disrupt children's learning and are 'misused' to compile league tables which they say humiliate and demean children and their schools.

Recession 'fuels rise in numbers of pupils receiving free meals'

A. Kershaw

The Independent, May 14th 2010, p. 11

According to the latest figures from the Department for Education, almost 1.2 million pupils were entitled to claim free lunches in 2009/10 - an increase of more than 83,000 in a year. The total has risen for two years in succession and analysts say this is likely to be a continuing effect of the economic downturn.

Restoring the possibility of change? A restorative approach with troubled and troublesome young people

G. McCluskey

International Journal on School Disaffection, vol. 7, no. 1, 2010, p. 19-25

This paper explores some key findings from a recent two-year evaluation of a national pilot to introduce Restorative Practices (RP) in Scottish schools. The particular focus is on the possibilities for change offered to young people who experience significant difficulties in school, that is who are underachieving, disruptive, disaffected or disconnected from the experience of school.

Separate classes may cut teenage pregnancies

A. Bloxham

Daily Telegraph, May 4th 2010, p. 2

In an experiment to reduce teenage pregnancies, pupils in Knowsley, Merseyside, will receive sex education in single sex groups. The move could enable a focus on responsibilities for young men.

Stick to the facts in class, teachers told

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, May 26th 2010, p. 4

An Education and Children Bill announced in the Queen's speech will:

  1. introduce an annual reading test for all six-year-olds to identify those who are struggling
  2. define core subject knowledge to be mastered by each child at each stage of their development
  3. cut back Ofsted to focus on core educational goals, raising achievement and closing the gap between rich and poor pupils. A separate Academies Bill will allow all schools rated outstanding by Ofsted to break free of local council control by becoming academies.

The strategic management of disaffected students in Wales

K. Reid

International Journal on School Disaffection, vol. 7, 2010, p. 33-40

This article examines recent initiatives aimed at improving the management of disaffected students in Wales. It describes endeavours by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to reduce non-attendance, high levels of fixed and permanent exclusions and numbers of pupils not in education, employment or training in Wales. In particular, the study focuses on thirteen related strategies which are planned to be fully implemented by 2010/11.

Taking it further

Anon.

Early Years Matters, issue 17, 2010, p. 14-15

This article looks at a new qualification - a postgraduate certificate in early years education - that is being piloted by the University of Aberdeen in partnership with four local authorities and the Scottish Government and which is designed to feature the Early Years Framework as the core of primary and pre-school education.

Transforming education outside the classroom

Children, Schools and Families Committee

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2009/10; HC 418)

This report calls on the Department for Children, Schools and Families (the Department) to increase substantially the resources devoted to learning outside the classroom, particularly the funding for the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and the Quality Badge scheme, so that they can achieve much greater impact. Learning outside the classroom needs to be made an entitlement within the National Curriculum, should be considered by Ofsted as part of school inspections and be reflected in the School Report Card. The Department must prioritise publication of revised health and safety guidance pertaining to learning outside the classroom. Schools should have an explicit policy on learning outside the classroom and should appoint a member of their staff to take responsibility for delivering that policy. Learning outside the classroom must have a clearer and more consistent presence across initial teacher training and early career and ongoing professional development provision for teachers.

Transitions: taking the next step

Anon.

Early Years Matters, issue 17, 2010, p. 18-20

This article revises transition approaches in line with Curriculum for Excellence in the light of pre-school into primary transitions being identified as a key government priority in Scotland. It also examines the role of and key messages put forward by the Transitions Advisory Group (TAG).

The views of primary pupils at Key Stage 2 on school behaviour in Wales

K. Reid and others

Educational Review, vol. 62, 2010, p. 97-113

This paper provides empirical evidence on primary pupils' views on school behaviour in Wales at Key Stage 2. The research was conducted as part of evidence commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) for the National Behaviour and Attendance Review (NBAR) in Wales. The findings indicate that nearly every child and young person that participated in the specially-convened focus groups, in practically every setting, had a good awareness of the benefits of exhibiting positive behaviour both within class and in and around their schools and understood the need for schools to have rules on behaviour. The pupils were, however, particularly concerned about the lack of control in classrooms exerted by some supply teachers and were also worried about the adverse consequences of bullying and inappropriate teaching styles.

'The world is out to get me, bruv': life after school exclusion

D. Briggs

Safer Communities, vol. 9, Apr. 2010, p. 9-19

Increasingly punitive policies are being used to deal with 'problem' pupils in poor-performing UK state schools. While some are permanently excluded and referred to local authority educational alternatives, others are unofficially excluded and referred to other forms of off-site educational centres, where pupils receive a significantly reduced timetable, undertake unchallenging work and are unlikely to return to mainstream school. This unofficial form of exclusion severely damages the young people's chance of an education and reduces their capacity to enter the labour market.

Young carers reveal school bullying ordeal

R. Williams

The Guardian, May 17th 2010, p. 6

According to research published by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and the Children's Society, children as young as six who look after their sick or disabled parents are routinely being bullied at school. The study found that more than two-thirds of young carers face taunts from fellow pupils who often mock their parents' appearance or disabilities. More than 13,000 children and young people in the UK spend more than 50 hours a week caring for a dependent family member or friend, many taking on adult roles without any outside support. Some 39% of the 700 six to 18-year-olds questioned said that there was not a single teacher at their school who knew they were a young carer. Of those whose teachers did know, more than half did not feel supported.

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