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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2012): Education - UK - schools

1,000 schools to lose 'outstanding' label

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 10th 2012, p. 20

Many primary and secondary schools achieved outstanding Ofsted status on the basis of good pupil behaviour and leadership. However, the new chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, warned that they could lose their top rating if their teaching did not meet the highest standards. The move could lead to one in five 'outstanding' primary schools and half of top ranked secondary schools being downgraded. (See also Guardian, Feb. 10th 2012, p. 18)

Home from home: changing family lives leads to state boarding boom

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Feb. 1st 2012, p. 13

State boarding schools are witnessing a surge in popularity, with the number of places rising by a quarter over the past decade - an increase driven in part by family breakdown, which has in effect left some children homeless. Two academies have opened boarding facilities this term, and a third is due to open residential quarters in September, raising the number of children in state boarding to more than 5,000 from 3,800 at the start of the last decade. Five more academies plan to open boarding facilities, including one in south London, which hopes to send inner-city children to board in Sussex.

Local authorities knuckle down to raising the participation age

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Jan. 24th-Feb. 6th 2012, p. 12-13

From Summer 2013, young people will have to stay in education or training for the whole of the academic year in which they turn 17. From 2015, this will increase to 18. Councils will be charged with managing the local system and 35 local authorities have been taking part in Department for Education trials to get ready for the changes. In this article three of the pilot local authorities describe how they are taking on the challenge.

Men teachers and the 'feminised' primary school: a review of the literature

C. Skelton

Educational Review, vol. 64, 2012, p. 1-19

This review discusses and critiques the literature on men teachers and 'feminised' primary schools from a feminist poststructuralist position. It is aimed at an audience new to the topic. The focus on 'men primary teachers' as a field of research flourished as a consequence of concerns over boys' underachievement when an increase in the numbers of males in primary schools was seen as a solution to this particular 'gender problem'. There are distinct and contrasting theoretical positions evident in this literature and these are illustrated here by exploring the tensions between 'men teachers' and the 'feminised' primary school. It is shown that the prevailing perspective which is used to underpin teacher recruitment drives implicitly defines the 'feminised' primary school as deficient and defective.

Nobody tells you how to be a SENCo

S. M. Rosen-Webb

British Journal of Special Education, vol. 38, 2011, p. 159-168

The ways in which SENCos identify themselves and how they enact the SENCo role is the focus of this research by Sarah Rosen-Webb, an associate tutor and course coordinator at Middlesex University. Who becomes a SENCo and how different individuals develop their SENCo role is explored through the study of the career pathways of nine SENCos in nine secondary schools in England. Data from semi-structured interviews and completion of Diamond Nine activities were coded and analysed using grounded theory procedures. Recommendations arising from this research indicate that recruitment initiatives and development programmes need to be alert to the dynamics between management and teaching roles of SENCos, and to be careful in maintaining a balance between management training and specialist teacher training.

Primary Strategy Learning Networks: a local study of a national initiative

T. A. Moore and D. Rutherford

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 40, 2012, p. 69-83

The use of networks as a means of communicating knowledge and ideas and in promoting innovation among schools has emerged globally over the past decade. Currently, inter-school collaboration is not only to the fore nationally in England, but has also become integral to the school improvement agenda. However, networking theory is a disparate field and its application in education is very variable. Nevertheless, there seems to be consistent policy support at government level for school collaborative working arrangements as a key means for promoting the standards agenda. This article explores the effectiveness of one such initiative-Primary Strategy Learning Networks (PSLNs). This is a qualitative study of two PSLNs in England over the course of the first year of the initiative. The research not only seeks to understand the term 'network' and what it means methodologically, but also what the implications are of a centrally directed model of networking. The findings of this research offer (1) an alternative model for productive networking and (2) a different perspective on planning for success. These findings will add to the national and international debate on networks as power bases for school improvement.

Social enterprise schools: a potential profit-sharing model for the state-funded school system

A. Laird and J. Wilson

Policy Exchange, 2012

This report says that the government should consider allowing private companies to set up and run schools under a 'John Lewis' style social enterprise model. Teachers should be encouraged to take a stake in the school which would create strong incentives to drive up standards. The report says that allowing private providers to take over the running of state schools will create new places at a time when there is a severe shortage in many parts of the country. Much of the opposition to private provision ignores that fact that profit making already exists in large parts of the state education system, with private firms providing significant levels of SEN, nursery and school improvement programmes for state schools.


Supporting schools in identifying and safeguarding the needs of disabled children: the challenges for data collection

J. Porter and others

Educational Review, vol. 64, 2012, p. 77-98

Conceptualisations of disability that emphasise its contextual and cultural nature and the embodiment of these within a national system of data collection present a number of challenges especially where this process is devolved to schools. The requirement for measures based on contextual and subjective experiences gives rise to particular difficulties in achieving parity in the way data is analysed and reported. This paper presents an account of the testing of a tool intended for use by schools as they collect data from parents to identify children who meet the criteria of disability established in Disability Discrimination Acts (DDAs). Data were validated through interviews with parents and teachers and observations of children and highlighted the pivotal role of the criterion of impact. The findings are set in the context of schools meeting their legal duties to identify disabled children and their support needs in a way that captures the complexity of disabled children's school lives and provides useful and useable data.

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