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

5bn pupil premium is victory for Lib Dems, says Clegg

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Oct. 15th 2010, p. 1

Nick Clegg has announced a pupil premium for 1 million disadvantaged children which will be worth 2.5bn a year by the final year of the Parliament. The package will include three elements: 15 hours a week pre-school education for all disadvantaged two year olds, a pupil premium to help poorer pupils and a student premium designed to remove barriers for poorer students going to university.

500,000 free school grant given to Gove's former adviser, aged 25

R. Syal

The Guardian, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 12

Disclosure of documents under the FOI Act has revealed that Michael Gove's Education Department failed to invite bids for a 500,000 contract to assist parents setting up free schools before awarding it to his former adviser. The New Schools Network, run by Gove's former adviser Rachel Wolf, 25, was awarded the grant in June. No other organisation was asked to bid for the contract which was not publicly advertised.

100,000 pupils crammed into overcrowded state schools

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 26th 2010, p.6

Official figures show that 95,940 pupils have been placed in state schools deemed to be already full in 2010. One in five primary schools and more than a quarter of secondaries are either full or officially overcrowded as the system struggles to cope with rising demand due to immigration and to parents choosing a free state education instead of paying for private schooling.

A bridge across the education divide

T. de Castella

Children and Young People Now, Oct. 5th-11th 2010, p. 16-17

Bonner Primary School in Tower Hamlets is located in one of the most deprived and multiracial parts of the UK. However, in spite of the disadvantages faced by its pupils, it is highly successful. Its success is attributed to the maintenance of good order and discipline, targeting resources on improvement of pupils' basic skills in the first year, engaging parents, and providing a range of out-of-hours activities.

Cash allowance for poorer 16 year-olds staying in education may be axed in search for more cuts

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Oct. 19th 2010, p. 4

It is expected that the Government will scale back or scrap education maintenance support for Britain's poorest teenagers as part of the comprehensive spending review to be made public on the 20th of October. The move is thought to be popular with the Treasury because it would save an estimated 2bn.

Court victory for independent schools

R. Garner

The Independent, Oct. 8th 2010, p. 20

Independent schools were successful in obtaining a judicial review of the way the Charity Commission has been carrying out new 'public benefit' tests to determine whether their charitable status is justified.

Do some schools narrow the gap? Differential school effectiveness by ethnicity, gender, poverty, and prior achievement

S. Strand

School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 21, 2010, p. 289-314

This study analyses the educational progress of an entire national cohort of over 530,000 pupils in England between age 7 in 2000 and age 11 in 2004. The results show that Black Caribbean boys not entitled to free school meals, and particularly the more able pupils, made significantly less progress than their White British peers. There is no evidence that the attainment gap results from Black Caribbean pupils attending less effective schools. There is also no evidence of differential effectiveness in relation to ethnic group; schools that were strong in facilitating the progress of White British pupils were equally strong in facilitating the progress of Black Caribbean pupils. There was some evidence of differential school effectiveness by pupil prior achievement, gender, and poverty, but the absolute sizes of the effects were small. The results suggest the poor progress of Black Caribbean pupils reflects a systemic issue rather than the influence of a small number of 'low quality' schools.

Drop in top grades after A-levels get tougher

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Oct.22nd 2010, p. 8

In 2010 an overhaul of A-levels by the Labour government introduced tougher essay-style questions in examinations and allowed pupils to study fewer modules in more depth. In total 93.6% of candidates gained two or more grade A passes, down from 95.1% in 2009. Teenagers from private schools were three times more likely to achieve straight As at A-Level than pupils educated in the state system.

'Failings' in rebuilt schools

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 6th 2010, p. 1

A study by the National Foundation for Educational Research suggests that the Labour government's 55bn school rebuilding programme is producing few benefits. The research looked at the attendance and exam results of pupils at 60 schools after renovation compared with students elsewhere. It concluded that pupils at rebuilt or refurbished schools made, on average, less progress than would be expected.

Fewer than half free schools to open on time

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Oct. 8th 2010, p.8

Fewer than half the first wave of free schools are likely to open in time for the start of the new academic year, in September 2011. Michael Gove has so far approved plans for 16 schools which will be state funded, but not subject to Local Authority control.

Four out of five education authorities will shed staff

R. Garner

The Independent, Oct. 18th 2010, p. 5

Thousands of teaching jobs will be cut despite the government's attempts to protect the schools budget, with four out of five councils planning redundancies in their education services because of the squeeze on public spending. Councils including Birmingham, Bolton and Haringey in London have warned staff that jobs are at risk.

Inclusion of pupils perceived as experiencing social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD): affordances and constraints

J. G. Mowat

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 14, 2010, p. 631-648

This paper takes as its principal theme barriers to the inclusion of pupils perceived as experiencing social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD) and how these might be overcome. It draws upon an evaluative case study of an initiative, devised by the author, to support pupils - the Support Group Initiative (SGI) - which was conducted over a five-year period in a Scottish secondary school situated in an area of multiple deprivation. The central focus of the discussion is the range of variables that impacted upon pupil outcomes, illustrating the ways in which these variables acted as affordances or constraints in the pursuit of inclusive practice. The paper takes as its starting point the contested nature of inclusion and introduces, briefly, the Scottish policy context as it pertains to inclusion before exploring the nature of the problem - the barriers to the inclusion of and the difficulties presented by the inclusion of pupils perceived as having SEBD, as discussed in the literature. The findings of the study are discussed in relation to central themes - the ethos of the Support Group; the process of re-signification through which pupils are enabled to effect improvement; the classroom context; and wider variables relating to school policy, practice, ethos and the management of change. The paper concludes by exploring what inclusion has meant to the pupils involved with the intervention, summarising the affordances and constraints to its realisation, before reflecting upon the significance of the study.

Primary pupils falling behind in English and mathematics

R. Williams

The Guardian, Oct. 8th 2010, p.6

Statistics released from this year's Sats exams show that approximately 16% of school children did not go up the expected two levels of the assessment scale in English between the ages of 7 and 11. The figure was 17% for maths. The numbers of pupils reaching the expected levels rose from 53% to 74% during the period in which New Labour was in power. The schools minister, Nick Gibb, said that the Sats results this year were a 'real concern'.

A quarter of boys 'have special needs'

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 20th 2010, p. 10

According to the latest statistics, 25.4% of primary school boys have special educational needs, compared to 14.3% of girls. In secondary schools, the figures are 26.5% of boys and 16.7% of girls. Almost 1.7m school children were said to have special needs in 2009, compared with 1.53m in 2006. There are suspicions that schools are over-identifying pupils as having special needs to attract extra funding and boost their position in league tables.

Schools in better-off areas will lose cash to aid poor

R. Prince

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 25th 2010, p. 1 + 2

The pupil premium being introduced by the coalition government will give state schools up to 2,000 per year in extra funding to educate children from poor backgrounds. However, to pay for the 2.5bn scheme, schools in middle-class areas will have their funding cut. This contradicts an earlier promise by the Prime Minister that the pupil premium would be funded from outside the education budget. The education secretary has also informed schools spared the cull of building works when Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme was abolished that their construction budgets will be slashed by 40%.

(See also Times, Oct. 25th 2010, p. 8)

Social class, gender and exclusion from school

J. Kane

London: Routledge, 2010

Rising exclusion rates indicate the continuing marginalisation of many young people in education in the UK. Working-class boys, children living in poverty, and children with additional/special educational needs are among those experiencing a disproportionate rate of exclusion. This book traces the processes of exclusion and alienation from school and relates these to a changing social and economic context. The author argues that policy on schooling, including curricular reform, needs to be re-connected to the broad political pursuit of social justice, and presents compelling case studies of excluded pupils, showing the multi-faceted identities of pupils, with a particular focus on masculine and feminine identities.

The sociology of disability and education

M. Arnot and others

British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 31, 2010, p. 529-650

This special issue aims to record and assess Len Barton's scholarly contribution to the sociology of disability and education and the direction research is now taking.

Teachers call for end to migrant cap

R. Garner

The Independent, Oct 4th 2010, p. 15

A leading teachers' union, the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) is urging the government to scrap the cap on immigration because the union believes that teachers from overseas help schools to combat racism

Teachers given power to punish outside school

M. Savage

The Independent, Oct. 6th 2010, p. 9

Head teachers will be given greater powers to punish pupils for misconduct outside school in a fresh attempt by to tackle antisocial behaviour, the education secretary Michael Gove has announced. The new rules will make it clear that teachers can act on complaints received 'anytime, any place, anywhere'.

Tory and Lib Dem councils in open revolt against Gove's pet 'free school' plan

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Oct. 26th 2010, p. 8

Conservative and Lib Dem councillors are lining up to attack the introduction of free schools, one of the education secretary's most cherished projects, with Tory-led Bromley council saying a local free school proposal will waste money and harm other schools.

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