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

A LEVELS IN APRIL MAY END SCRAMBLE

D. Charter and T. Baldwin

Times, May 22nd 2000, p.1

The Local Government Association inquiry into the school year is considering proposals to reorganise it into four, five or six terms instead of three, shortening the Summer holiday and creating more even term lengths. A spin-off from an earlier start to the school year could be moving A level examinations forward to April so that students could apply to universities knowing their grades and so avoid the annual scramble for places in August.

COLLEGE FAILURE DEALS NEW BLOW TO FRESH START POLICY

W. Woodward and H. Mulholland

Guardian, June 7th 2000, p.12

In a new blow to the government's fresh start policy to revive failing schools, Brighton Arts and Media College has been put back onto "special measures" following a critical Ofsted report only eight months after its relaunch.

DAMNING SCHOOL REPORT PUTS LEAS ON TRIAL

J. O'Leary

Times, May 25th 2000, p.9

Ofsted has so far found evidence of serious failure in 29 of the 75 local education authorities inspected. The Department for Education and Employment has intervened in 15 cases, sending in consultants to determine if services should be privatised. In the light of these findings, the chief inspector of schools has called for a fundamental review and reform of LEAs.

(See also Independent, May 25th 2000, p.11; Guardian, May 25th, 2000, p.4)

DANGEROUS PUPILS FACE PERMANENT SCHOOL BAN

B. Russell

Independent, June 2nd 2000, p.13

Reports that the Secretary of State for Education has bowed to pressure from head teachers and promised to stop appeals panels from overturning explosions and sending pupils guilty of violent assaults back to their classes. New guidelines will be issued making it clear that those who commit violent assaults should be sent to other schools or specialist "sin bins"

(See also Guardian, June 2nd 2000, p.6)

EARLY YEARS LEARNING

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

London: 2000 (POST report; 140)

Comparative education studies and developmental psychology studies suggest that well-resourced pre-schools that encourage the development of emotional, cognitive and social skills through natural activities such as play result in lasting social and educational benefits, especially for children from deprived backgrounds. Research suggests that children under 5 may not have developed that cognitive skills that facilitate learning from formal instruction. Such research has led some to question the value of formal education at an early age.

THE GENERAL TEACHING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND

G. Kirk

School Leadership and Management, vol.20, 2000, p.235-246

Article describes the background to the establishment of a General Teaching Council for England. It summarises the legislation covering the aims, powers and composition of the GTC. It then compares provision in England with the established and more powerful GTC for Scotland. Finally attempts to assess the extent to which the GTC, as the single voice of the profession, will strengthen its impact on educational policy.

HAGUE'S RIVAL SIN-BIN PLAN FOR VIOLENT PUPILS

P. Webster

Times, June 6th 2000, p.1

Conservative plans for dealing with unruly pupils includes institution of "progress centres" to which children expelled from schools could be sent for permanent education. They would abolish local authority appeal panels and Labour's targets for cutting exclusions.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 6th 2000, p.1; Times, June 7th 2000, p.14; Daily Telegraph June 7th 2000, p.10)

HEADS ANGRY AT PRESSURE TO REDUCE EXCLUSIONS

W. Woodward

Guardian, May 31st 2000, p.11

Appeals panels are allowing children expelled for violent or disruptive behaviour back into schools in order to meet government targets to reduce the number of permanent exclusions by 3000 by 2002.

(See also Daily Telegraph, May 31st 2000, p.9; Independent, May 31st 2000, p.9)

LABOUR WILL NOW HAVE TO DEAL WITH PRIVATE SCHOOLS

D. MacIntyre

Independent. Review, June 6th 2000, p.3

Argues that the Labour government will need to tackle the scandalous discrepancy in the numbers of students with the same qualifications entering Britain's top universities from state and independent schools through measures such as talent scouts and summer schools for state pupils.

The will also need to face the issue of the imbalance between the academic success of those from independent schools and those in comprehensives.

LEEDS SCHOOLS REMOVED FROM COUNCIL CONTROL

R. Smithers and M. Wainwright

Guardian, June 14th 2000, p.7

Reports that education services in Leeds are to be removed from council control and handed over to a private contractor following a critical Ofsted report.

(See also Financial Times, June 15th 2000, p.6)

THE NATIONAL GRID FOR LEARNING: PANACEA OR PANOPTICON?

N. Selwyn

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.21, 2000, p.243-255

The National Grid for Learning (NGFL) initiative is being presented by government and industry as a mechanism for increasing the freedom and autonomy of teachers in their day-to-day work. Article analyses the potential of the NGFL to be used as a tool by government for instituting surveillance and exerting centralised control over teachers.

NEW LABOUR AND EDUCATION SPENDING

A. West, H. Pennell and R. West

New Economy, vol. 7, 2000, p.92-97

Advocates the adoption of a revolutionary new approach to funding education, whereby funds would be allocated to LEAs on the basis of child attainment levels prior to compulsory schooling and prior to secondary transfer. Funds to schools would be likewise allocated using a similar needs - based approach.

OFSTED TELLS SECOND 'FRESH START' SCHOOL IS A FAILURE

R. Smithers

Guardian, June 29th 2000, p.4

Ofsted has declared the Islington Arts and Media School, one of the schools relaunched in the government's "fresh start" initiative, to be failing and has ordered that it be taken back into emergency rescue measures.

PARENTS GET NET ACCESS TO PUPILS' CLASSWORK

J. Judd

Independent, June 14th 2000, p.12

Describes a pilot scheme at Holloway School in Islington which allows parents to log on to the Internet to access the information which the school holds in machine readable form on their child.

PAY FOR TRAINEES DOUBLES INTEREST IN TEACHING

D. Charter

Times, May 22nd 2000, p.16

Reports that inquiries from potential teachers have risen quickly since the government's decision to pay £6000 training salaries to student teachers.

PILOT STUDY SETS UP BROKERAGE FOR EDUCATION SUPPORT SERVICES

C. White

Municipal Journal, 2-8th June 2000, p.5

Schools will be able to buy information technology management and curriculum support, financial support for head teachers and premises repair services from the private sector via a 'brokerage agency'. The brokerage service would be separate from the LEA, and would provided value for money services allowing the schools to concentrate on raising standards. A pilot project is being set up in Rotherham MBC which will be used as a government blueprint for other problem authorities.

REFORMS TEMPT MOST PUPILS TO TAKE EXTRA A-LEVEL

J. Judd

Independent, June 26th 2000, p.7

A survey by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has found that 83% of pupils will sit four of the new Advanced Subsidiary (AS) exams at the end of their first year in the sixth form and 90% will go on to take at least three full A-levels.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 26th 2000, p.1)

SCHOOL FUNDRAISING IN ENGLAND

A Mountfield and N. Eastwood

London: Directory of Social Change, 2000

Report shows that schools in affluent areas are enjoying a growing advantage over others by raising the lion's share of £250m a year in private funding. Results of a survey of 1000 schools show that 5% of secondary schools and 20% of primaries raise less than £1000 a year from private sources. At the other extreme 3% of secondary schools supplement their budgets by more than £250,000. More than half of primary schools with 50% of children entitled to free school meals raised less than £1000, whereas only one in ten of those with less than 10% eligible for free school meals were in the same position. The divide was repeated in the secondary sector.

SCHOOLS PLUS: BUILDING LEARNING COMMUNITIES

Policy Action Team 11

London: DFEE, 2000

In order to begin to raise attainment of schools in poor areas report advocates:

  • extending the services offered by schools to their pupils
  • greater involvement of the community in the school and the school in the community.

Services offered by schools could be broadened by:

  • extending their opening hours;
  • development of individual programmes of study and support for disaffected pupils;
  • creating a network of One Stop Family Support Centres on school premises;
  • improving schools - business links.

Community involvement could be increased by

  • the introduction of paid Community Learning Champions;
  • the creation of a Community Education Fund;
  • creation of a Community College Network to spread good practice;
  • development of closer links with parents;
  • promotion of mentoring.

SCHOOLS WATCHDOG QUESTIONS LEAs' ROLE

W. Woodward

Guardian, June 28th 2000, p.7

Following its first tranche of 44 local authority inspections, Ofsted claims that 40% of local education authorities (LEAs) have more weaknesses than strengths. Argues that weaknesses in LEAs can be traced to failures in political leadership. Also found little evidence of any correlation between the quality of an LEA as an organisation and the standards achieved in its schools. The leadership of the headteacher was found to be far more crucial.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 28th 2000, p.14; Independent, June 28th 2000, p.6)

SECONDARY SCHOOLS MAY SPECIALISE IN ENGINEERING

J. Kelly

Financial Times, June 28th 2000, p.5

The government is seeking partners in industry to back state secondary schools electing o specialise in teaching engineering.

TACKLING DISAFFECTION AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION: EDUCATION PERSPECTIVES AND POLICIES

Edited by A. Hayton

London; Kogan Page; 1999

The problem of social exclusion is a critical issue for those involved in educational policy and research. With the New Labour Government and other policy makers viewing education as a major tool for dealing with social exclusion, the contributors to this book set out to establish a critical debate, exploring issues which are both complex and often not widely understood. The book presents the key issues responsible for 'manufacturing' social exclusion and then explores the possibilities for creative and collective solutions for educators and policy makers.

TEACHERS SIGN UP FOR PAY-BY-RESULTS PLAN

J. Judd

Independent, May 26th 2000, p.13

In spite of earlier opposition to performance related pay, it is now likely that the majority of eligible teachers will succumb to the lure of the pay rise and apply.

TEACHER TRAINING APPLICATIONS LEAP BY NEARLY A THIRD

B. Russell

Independent, June 7th 2000, p.13

Applications to teacher training courses have leapt by more than 30% since the government announced £6000 bursaries for trainees.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 7th 2000, p.5)

A TEST FOR MR BLUNKETT

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, May 31st 2000, p.23

Argues that standards in state schools cannot be raised without massive investment in primary education leading to much smaller classes and the recruitment of more effective teachers.

THOUSANDS OF TEACHERS SET TO WIN £2,000 RISE

W. Woodward

Guardian, June 23rd 2000, p.5

Nearly 200,000 classroom teachers have applied for or £2,000 performance - related pay rise and most can be expected to receive it. The release of figures showing that more than three - quarters of the 250,000 eligible, have put in for the award, coincided with a decision by the two largest teaching unions to take industrial action against extra administrative work.

(See also; Daily Telegraph, June 23rd 2000, p.11; Times, June 23rd 2000, p.8; Independent, June 23rd 2000, p.13)

A TIMETABLE FOR TROUBLE?

A. Thompson

Community Care, no. 1324, 2000, p.18-19

Education social workers are alarmed by proposals that they should be employed and managed directly by head teachers instead of local education authorities. They regard this reform as directly threatening their independence.

TORIES WILL SCRAP LEAs AND PLOUGH EXTRA £4BN INTO SCHOOLS

S. Schaefer

Independent, July 4th 2000, p.2.

Reports Tory proposals to abolish local education authorities and have schools funded directly by central government. Headteachers and governors would be free to decide admission policy, employ staff, run their own transport services, manage their own opening hours and term times, and enforce their own standards of discipline. However, if parents were dissatisfied with a school they could call for an Ofsted inspection. If Ofsted agreed with the parents, a new management would be installed at the school.

(See also Times, July 4th 2000, p.1 + 5; Financial Times, July 4th 2000, p.5; Guardian, July 4th 2000, p.5; Daily Telegraph, July 4th 2000, p.4 + 20; Guardian, July 5th 2000, p.7; Daily Telegraph, July 5th 2000, p.6: Financial Times, July 5th 2000, p.6; Times, July 5th 2000, p.18)

TOUR CHIEFS SAY SCHOOLS SHOULD VARY HOLIDAYS

D. Charter

Times, May 23rd 2000, p.12

In evidence to the Local Government Association's inquiry into changing the school year, the Association of British Travel Agents has said that shortening the summer holidays from six weeks to four would lead to travel chaos and higher package tour prices. They suggest that summer breaks should be staggered from region and that the Easter holiday should be divorced from the religious festival and held at the same time every year.

TOWN HALL FUNDS COULD GO TO SCHOOLS

M. White and W. Woodward

Guardian, June 1st 2000, p.9

Reports government plans to ring fence funds destined for frontline teaching, to prevent local education authorities (LEAs) siphoning them off for administration. LEAs would be confined to dealing with estates, transport and provision for children with disabilities.

(See also Independent, June 1st 2000, p.9: Times, June 1st 2000, p.1; Financial Times, June 1st 2000, p.2; Daily Telegraph, June 1st 2000, p. 12; Financial Times, June 2nd 2000, p.5; Daily Telegraph, June 2nd 2000, p.2)

VOCATIONAL GCSEs LAUNCHED TO FILL SKILLS GAP

J. Kelly

Financial Times, July 6th 2000, p.2

Announces the creation of vocational GCSEs in subjects such as retailing, information technology and engineering to replace foundation, intermediate and part 1 GNVQs. They will lead on to vocational A-levels and two-year foundation degrees.

(See also Guardian, July 7th 2000, p.10)

WHAT ARE SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS: AN ANALYSIS OF A NEW GROWTH INDUSTRY

J. Marks

London: Centre for Policy Studies, 2000

Almost twice as many pupils, as a decade ago are classified as having special educational needs, which range from physical handicaps to behavioural problems and learning difficulties. This rise may be caused by:

  • poor teaching, especially of reading;
  • increased classroom disruption;
  • perverse incentives which gives schools extra money for SEN pupils.

Author urges an end to placing pupils with serious learning difficulties in main stream schools, earlier teaching of reading, an increase in academic selection both within and between schools and the introduction of the continental practice of repeating a year when standards are not met.

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