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Welfare Reform on the Web - January 2001: Education - UK - Schools

CLASSROOM WARRIOR WHO STOOD IN THE CORNER OF TRADITION

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 3rd 2000, p.6

Article assesses the impact of Chris Woodhead as Chief Inspector of Schools on education in the UK. He introduced a policy of naming and shaming failing schools and consistently attacked progressive teaching methods. He also dismissed education research as irrelevant and attacked teacher training institutions. His abrasive approach alienated the entire education establishment.

(See also Guardian, Nov. 3rd 2000, p.5 + 22)

DESPAIR IN THE CLASSROOM

N. Davies

Guardian, Nov. 2nd 2000, p.21

Argues that current Labour government initiatives to "turn round" failing schools are doomed because they do not take into account the corrosive effects of child poverty or reverse the Conservative education reforms of the 1980s.

EDUCATION POLICY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCHOOL ORGANISATION COMMITTEE

B. Garnett and J. Demaine

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 10, 2000, p.177-190

Article investigates some of the administrative processes involved in setting up the School Organisation Committee (SOC) in one shire county in England. The primary purpose of the SOC is to consider details of the local education authority's School Organisation Plan, which sets out how the LEA will secure sufficient school places for its pupil population.

EXTRA '3Rs' TESTS FOR FAILING 12-YEAR-OLDS

P. Waugh and J. Judd

Independent, Oct. 16th 2000, p.4

Remedial tests for 12-year-olds who failed to reach the target grade for their age in English, maths and science before leaving primary school will form part of an £80m package to raise standards in the early years of secondary education. The package will also include extra funding for the Excellence in Cities Programme for inner city schools.

(See also Times, Oct. 16th 2000, p. 7; Financial Times, Oct. 17th 2000, p.7)

FOUR-DAY WEEK OF FRESH START SCHOOL

W. Woodward

Guardian, Oct. 6th 2000, p.9

Pupils at Corby Community College, a "fresh start" school, are to go on to a four-day week because of teacher shortages. This constitutes another blow to David Blunkett's flagship scheme for turning round failing schools.

(See also Independent, Oct. 10th 2000, p.7)

FREEDOM FOR SCHOOLS: A RADICAL AGENDA FOR THE NEXT GOVERNMENT

S. Williams

London: Centre for Policy Studies, 2000.

Schools should work within a framework of nine basic freedoms. They should be independent, running their own land and buildings, and self-governing, with the ability to appoint their own governors. They should be funded directly on a national formula and should be able to contract out services. They should have control over admissions, over the pay, recruitment and training of staff and over the curriculum. They should be able to define their own hours and terms, and be able to bid for challenge funding for expansion.

IN DEFENCE OF IDEAS, OR WHY "WHAT WORKS" IS NOT ENOUGH

E. Atkinson

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 21, 2000, p. 317-330

Discusses four government funded publications, which assume that a published report arising from a research project is the end product of the research. Argues that the published report should in fact be the beginning of a process of debate, in which further questions are raised and the views and conclusions of the researcher are challenged. The view that research into practice is the best or only way of informing and improving teaching ignores the role that theory plays in determining teachers' day to day thoughts and actions. The present narrow focus on "what works" closes the door that leads to new possibilities, new strategies and new ways of reframing the educational enterprise. "What works" looks back to what has sometimes worked for some people in the past.

IS THE NATIONAL LITERACY STRATEGY RAISING THE ACHIEVEMENT OF LOWER ATTAINERS

T. Lingard

British Journal of Special Education, vol. 27, 2000, p.117-123

Article questions whether the National Literacy Strategy is raising the achievement of lower attainers. Author suggests adaptations based on his own literacy acceleration programme which he argues could make the strategy far more effective.

LABOUR CLOSE TO MEETING PROMISE ON CLASS SIZES

R. Smithers

Guardian, Nov. 2nd 2000, p.14

Reports a radical reduction of the number of pupils in infant school classes of more than 30. Figures show that in September 2000 only 30,000 five to seven-year-olds were in classes of more than 30 pupils compared to 171,000 in 1999.

MINISTER IN OUTSOURCING DEMO

C. White

Municipal Journal, Oct. 20th - 26th 2000, p.8

Following a negative Ofsted report, Waltham Forest LBC is planning to outsource most of its education support services. It is proposing that services should be run by a joint management board and a partnership board, both containing representatives from the local education authority, other stakeholders and the approved provider.

PROFESSIONAL AUTONOMY VERSUS MANAGERIAL CONTROL: THE EXPERIENCE OF TEACHERS IN AN ENGLISH PRIMARY SCHOOL

G. Forrester

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 10, 2000, p. 133-151

Article considers how the education policies of successive Conservative and New Labour governments have tightened central control over education, undermining teacher discretion. Data gathered from a group of teachers in an English primary school show that they have large consented to the policy changes and have adapted their ways of working to conform to the requirements of a managerialist system. Accommodating the changes has however led to an intensification of their workload and high levels of anxiety and demoralisation among staff.

PUPILS AGED 5 TO TAKE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT TEST

J. O'Leary

Times, Oct. 18th 2000, p.8

Reports government plans to introduce a standardised national test to be taken by all pupils at the end of their reception year at infant school. The assessment would coincide with the end of the foundation stage of the national curriculum.

(See also Independent, Oct. 18th 2000, p. 12; Daily Telegraph, Oct. 18th 2000, p.8).

RECRUITMENT DRIVE FAILS TO EASE TEACHER SHORTAGE

J.Judd

Independent, Oct. 11th 2000, p.8

Reports that recruits to teacher training have risen by only 3.8% in spite of government inducements such as training salaries. In some of the main shortage subjects such as maths and the sciences, the number of entrants has fallen. Many of those coming forward to train are unsuitable or do not have the right qualifications.

REDISCOVERING THE IMPACT OF MARKETISATION: DIMENSIONS OF SOCIAL SEGREGATION IN ENGLAND'S SECONDARY SCHOOLS, 1994-99

P. Noden

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 21, 2000, p. 371-390

Two methods for assessing the distribution of disadvantaged children in secondary schools are used to present data relating to social segregation in English schools from 1994 to 1999. Eligibility for free school meals is used as the indicator of disadvantage, and the LEA as the spatial scale for analysis. Results from both methods show that there has been a slight increase in social segregation in the period under review.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCHOOL CULTURE AND IEPS

S. Pearson

British Journal of Special Education, vol. 27, 2000, p. 145-149

IEPs (Individual Education Plans) for children with special educational needs are now established practice in most schools, although they have remained problematic in some, particularly secondary, schools. Author suggests that the influence of the existing school culture has received insufficient attention and that the changes in a school may be a demonstration of compliance with external pressures rather than the development of good practice. Describes the way in which the staff of one secondary school capitalised on existing strengths through collaborative working and highlights the implications for both individual students and the school itself.

SHORING UP THE PILLARS OF MODERNITY: TEACHER EDUCATION AND THE QUEST FOR CERTAINTY

A. Hartley

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 10, 2000, p.113-129

In England, the government's reaffirmation of a highly bureaucratic modernist structure for teacher education can be questioned on economic grounds. The emerging knowledge-based high value 'new' economy is ill-served by Taylorist management regimes that impose conformity and rigid standardisation. Nor will a back-to-basics pedagogy produce the creative thinking and problem-solving skills needed for the UK to remain competitive in the global economy.

SPECIAL REVIEW OF THE THRESHOLD STANDARDS FOR CLASSROOM TEACHERS AND RELATED MATTERS

School Teachers Pay Review Body

London: TSO, 2000 (Cm 4898)

Recommendations are aimed at enabling the first year of threshold assessment to be completed as soon as possible so that teachers can receive their promised performance related pay rise.

TEACHER HIRING DRIVE BIGGEST YET

R. Smithers

Guardian, Oct. 30th 2000, p.9

Reports launch by government of a £7m advertising campaign to attract more people into teaching. Unions argue that the drive will not succeed unless the government addresses issues of low pay and poor working conditions.

(See also Times, Oct. 31st 2000, p.6; Independent, Oct. 31st 2000, p.10)

TEACHERS' JOY AS SCHOOLS CHIEF QUITS

J. O'Leary and T. Baldwin

Times, Nov. 3rd 2000, p. 1+4

Reports that the resignation of Chris Woodhead as Chief Inspector of Schools has delighted teachers and brought relief to the government. There had been growing disquiet in Whitehall about his attacks on government policy and his attacks on professional standards had long angered teachers.

(See also Independent, Nov. 3rd 2000, p. 1 & 3; Daily Telegraph, Nov. 3rd 2000, p.1 & 2: Financial Times, Nov. 3rd 2000, p.1 & 7; Guardian, Nov 3rd 2000, p.1).

TORIES PLEDGE SCHOOLS 'FREE' FROM LEAs.

M. Burton

Municipal Journal, 6th-12th Oct. 2000, p.3

The Conservatives have confirmed that a future Tory government would bypass local education authorities and channel funds direct to schools through a national funding formula. Schools would keep their sixth forms, set admission policies and have the final say on expulsions while the LEAs would focus on welfare and special needs.

THE UNIVERSITY OF BARCHESTER, COKETOWN UNIVERSITY, IPSWICH CATHEDRAL CHOIR SCHOOL, GAS STREET COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL AND THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: A LINK?

D. Palfreyman

Education and the Law, vol. 12, 2000, p. 93-104

Considers the implications of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Right to a Fair and Public Hearing) for the way in which schools and higher education institutions deal with pupil/student complaints/grievances. Focuses on the potential conflict with the exclusive jurisdiction of the Visitor in English chartered universities.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE

D. Blunkett

Guardian, Nov. 3rd 2000, p.22

Defends the Labour government's record on public investment in education, raising standards, and supporting failing schools.

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