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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2011): Education - UK - schools

Beginning of the end of lollipop men and women

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 27th 2010, p. 11

One in four local authority is planning to scale back, or even abolish, school crossing patrols, a move head teachers and road safety campaigners argue will put children's safety at risk.

Business plan 2011-2015

Department for Education


The Department's five year business plan reveals how and when it intends to bring about reforms to education and children's services. The six commitments framing the department's work range from increasing the number of high-quality schools to improving support for children and families, focusing on the most disadvantaged. Accompanying these priorities are eight impact indicators, against which the public can judge whether the policies and reforms are having the desired effect. The indicators will be open for consultation, and a refreshed plan will be produced in the light of comments by April 2011.

Cameron finds extra cash for U-turn on school sport

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 2nd 2010, p. 12

David Cameron signalled at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons on Dec. 1st 2010 that he is prepared to find money to invest in competitive school sports. This reverses an earlier decision to abolish the 162m School Sports Fund. The government is looking at replacing this fund with a smaller sum - believed to be up to 100m - to be used to support competitive sports, with head teachers being given more control over how the money is spent.

(See also Guardian, Dec. 2nd 2010, p. 22; Independent, Dec. 2nd 2010, p. 21)

Challenges to promoting racial equality in education for Gipsy and Traveller young groups

S. Cemlyn and M. Greefields

Race Equality Teaching, vol. 29, no. 1, 2010, p. 24-30

This article draws on policy and research concerning the educational experience of Gipsy and Traveller young groups, which was reviewed in a report commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Cemlyn et al, 2009). This evidence is placed in the context of more recent policy developments to assess the current prospects for racial equality in education for these minority groups.

Elective home education in the UK

S. Webb

Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2010

Thousands of children in the UK and millions in the USA are educated at home by their parents. The book presents an overview of the phenomenon of elective home education in the United Kingdom contrasting it with the situation in the USA. It examines the history of the practice and discusses why more and more parents are choosing not to send their children to school. Exploring the background of the home education debate, Simon Webb considers why many education professionals are often uneasy about its growing popularity and why so many home educating parents are hostile to the idea of local authority registration and monitoring. From the safeguarding concerns which prompted the Badman Report on elective home education in 2009, to the desire of autonomously educating parents to be left completely alone, the book provides a comprehensive account of this increasingly controversial matter. With the law on home education about to change so that local authorities will for the first time be legally obliged to register and supervise home educating families, this objective survey of the current state of play is much needed. The author identifies key areas of conflict between home educators and local authorities and suggests ways for these to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

The enemies of promise: Labour's long war against education

E. Pearce

Political Quarterly, vol. 81, 2010, p. 627-633

The author calls for less ministerial intrusion into education and analyses the negative impacts of the school inspection system, of centrally imposed targets and guidance, of high stakes testing, and of the abolition of grammar schools. He also argues for a return to rigorous teaching of traditional academic subjects and languages and the abandonment of the utilitarian approach that regards its contribution to the country's economic performance as the only justification for education.

Ethnic minority inclusion - reducing fixed term exclusions

R. Richards

Race Equality Teaching, vol. 29, no.1, 2010, p. 19-23

Over the last 24 years the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) has been working with secondary schools in Sheffield to support ethnic minority young people at risk of exclusion. This article aims to enter the discourse on racial exclusion and to share EMTAS experience of what works when tackling disproportionate fixed-term exclusions.

Gove forced to soften school sports cuts

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 21st 2010, p. 12

The education secretary has announced that, in the face of strong opposition to the abolition of the 162m School Sports Partnership, 65m has been found to salvage the scheme up to 2013/14. David Cameron intervened to halt the cuts.

(See also Guardian, Dec. 21st 2010, p. 7)

Gove's plan to liberate schools

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 30th-Dec. 6th 2010, p. 8-9

This article presents an overview of the coalition government's education policy as set out in the 2010 schools white paper.

Government 'misleading' public over school sport funding

D. Campbell and O. Gibson

The Guardian, Dec. 15th 2010, p. 12

Labour has accused David Cameron and senior ministers of misleading MPs and the public over the controversial decision to end 162m a year School Sports Partnership. Andy Burnham, the shadow education secretary has asked the statistics watchdog to investigate a misleading statement made by David Cameron, the education secretary Michael Gove and the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. It came after the Department for Education (DfE) admitted that the funding is disappearing and not being subsumed into the general school budget as previously claimed. Burnham also took issue with the claim made by Cameron that 'we haven't seen an increase in the number of people playing competitive sport' which is disproved by the findings of the school sport survey earlier this year that revealed that 27% more boys and 60% more girls now take part in inter-school competitive sport.

Half pupils on free school meals can't read

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 10th 2010, p. 21

Nearly half of all 11-year olds on free school meals cannot read or add up properly by the time they leave primary school, figures released yesterday have revealed.

The impact of teaching assistants on improving pupils' academic achievement in mainstream schools: a review of the literature

P. Farrell and others

Educational Review, vol. 62, 2010, p. 435-448

This paper discusses key findings from one aspect of a systematic review of the literature carried out by the Inclusion Review Group at Manchester University, on behalf of the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information (EPPI) Centre. The specific focus of this element of the review was on the impact of teaching assistants (TAs) (or their equivalent) on improving pupils' academic achievement that had been measured in some way before and after a period of intervention/support from a TA. The synthesis of findings from the review indicates that the academic achievements of primary aged pupils with identified difficulties in learning, typically in literacy, improve significantly following a period of targeted intervention from TAs. However findings from studies, where support is of a more general nature and not directed at pupils with identified difficulties, are more equivocal suggesting that the presence of TAs in mainstream classes may not have a positive impact on the achievements of all pupils. These findings have major implications for the ongoing training, management, support and deployment of TAs in mainstream schools.

Including and excluding: exploring gendered and racialised constructions of risk and vulnerability in the classroom

V. Gillies and Y. Robinson

Race Equality Teaching, vol. 29, no. 1, 2010, p. 9-13

Public and political pressures to improve discipline standards in the classroom have, until recently, sat uneasily alongside broad commitments to improve inclusion in schools. This article examines new approaches to behaviour management that claim to prioritise inclusion over exclusion. It draws significantly on an ethnographic study of on-site school units designed to address issues of conduct. It shows how a particular understanding of inclusion is promoted that diverts attention away from the enduring gendered, racialised and classed dynamics that structure institutional working.

Leadership, collaboration and learning outcomes

T. Bush (editor)

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 36, 2010, p. 650-776

There is an emerging literature on the relationship between school leadership and student outcomes (Leithwood et al., 2006; Robinson 2007). These sources conclude that leadership has a significant impact and that schools with a clear improvement trajectory invariably have highly effective principals. In parallel with such studies, there has been an increasing focus on shared, or distributed, leadership (Gronn, 2010; Harris, 2010). Leithwood et al.'s (2006) study makes seven 'strong claims' about successful school leadership. Two of these are especially pertinent:

  • School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning
  • School leadership has a greater influence on schools and pupils when it is widely distributed
The first article, by Philip Hallinger and Ronald Heck, provides important new evidence relevant to the impact of what they describe as collaborative leadership. The next article, by Andrew Morris, assesses the related issue of the relationship between leadership, management and pupils' academic attainment in the context of English Catholic schools. Pam Christie, in the third article, examines the 'landscapes of leadership' in South African schools.

More than 500 pupils excluded for assault or abuse every day

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Dec. 24th 2010, p. 4

On an average school day, 511 pupils in primary, secondary and special needs schools across England are excluded for assaulting or abusing an adult, according to statistics from 2008-09.

Olympic athletes help cuts protest gather speed

D. Campbell and J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Dec. 8th 2010, p. 19

Olympic athletes Denise Lewis and Darren Campbell yesterday joined hundreds of pupils and parents protesting outside Parliament over the coalition's decision to cut funding for school sport. Young people delivered a petition to Downing Street with more than half a million signatures urging ministers to say no to school sport cuts.

One in ten primaries fails to reach three Rs target

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 15th 2010, p. 19

The primary school league table released in December 2010 reveal that nearly 1,000 schools failed to reach the minimum standards in the three Rs demanded by the government. In a white paper published in November 2010 schools were warned that they could face closure or take over by a successful neighbouring school if they failed to get 60% of their pupils to be proficient in reading, writing and arithmetic.

Pupil premium 'robs Peter to pay Paul' critics say

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 13th 2010, p. 6

The government plans to give schools an extra 430 per year for every pupil they take on from a disadvantaged background. The scheme, however, has been criticised by shadow education secretary Andy Burnham who described it as 'con' which instead of providing additional money for the most deprived will simply recycle money from one school to another.

(See also The Guardian, Dec. 13th 2010, p. 1)

Pupils 'may quit private schools as parents save for tuition fees'

J. Sugden

The Times, Dec. 27th 2010, p. 7

Independent schools are bracing themselves for the impact of increased tuition fees which they say will force middle-income parents to think twice about private education in order to save for university.

Reasons to be cheerful: being a 12 year old boy who eats dinner with his family

T. Benton

National Foundation for Educational Research, 2010

As part of the Tellus4 Survey, over 32, 000 school children, in years 6, 8 and 10, were asked to rate how they felt about the statement 'I feel happy about life at the moment'. Having analysed their responses to this question, the NFER's Centre for Statistics considered how these relate to other findings in the survey and looked at the conclusions that can be drawn as to how various aspects of children's lives affect their happiness.


Recognising and including black children in primary schools and the curriculum

U. Maylor

Race Equality Teaching, vol. 29, no.1, 2010, p. 14-18

Studies have demonstrated that entrenched views of black children as underachievers have implications for how their attainment is fostered in schools. Research has also revealed that if black children's cultures, heritage and individual identities are valued they can achieve. The Black Children Achievement Programme (BCAP) was an attempt to enable teachers to move away from the entrenched views of black children as underachievers and assist them in raising their standards. This article explores how the case study schools met BCAP's goals, aimed to foster a positive culture and school ethos and delivered a curriculum that recognised and included black children.

Reforms and redundancies kill off music in schools

R. Garner

The Independent, Dec. 27th 2010, p. 11

The future of music in schools is in peril, with councils across the country laying off music teachers ahead of swingeing cuts to their budgets. The Incorporated Society of Musicians has revealed that as many as 64 councils, one in four, have already issued redundancy notices to staff. In addition, funding of 82.5m specifically aimed at providing music education will cease in March 2011. A third threat to music education comes from the government's decision to wipe out all state funding for teaching arts and humanities in English universities, meaning disciplines such as music will be entirely reliant on students' fees. Furthermore, music students have been declared ineligible for the new baccalaureate certificate proposed by Michael Gove for students who get five A* to C grade passes in English, maths, science, a modern or ancient foreign language and a humanities subject.

School performance tables to include science and languages

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Dec. 31st 2010, p. 5

From January 2011, parents will be able to see what proportion of a school's pupils achieve good GCSEs in languages, science, history and geography. Until now, performance tables have measured the proportion who gain grade C and above in English, maths and three other unspecified subjects, but ministers are worried that schools try to boost their league table positions by putting a high proportion of pupils into 'soft' subjects.

Schools lose promised budget rise

N. Collins

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 14th 2010, p. 2

Revised estimates for school budgets issued by the Office for Budget Responsibility state that there will be no increase above inflation until 2015 at the earliest. At the same time the education secretary has admitted that some schools with falling pupil numbers will see their budgets cut by up to 1.5% in 2011/12, as there will be no rise in per pupil funding from councils. The amount available under the Early Intervention Grant, paid to councils to help vulnerable children at a young age, will be just 2.2bn, an 11% cut compared to previous programmes. On the other hand, schools will receive 430.00 extra per year for every child they enrol eligible for free school meals.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec. 13th 2010, p. 8)

Two thirds of primaries with best results are faith schools

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 15th 2010, p. 18

Official rankings published in December 2010 by the Department for Education showed that almost two-thirds of primaries with top Sats results were Anglican, Catholic or Jewish schools. They maintained their hold over the annual performance tables despite making up just a third of schools nationally. The disclosure prompted claims from campaign groups that faith schools gained the best results by creaming off pupils from affluent backgrounds.

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