Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2001): Education - UK - Schools

BLUNKETT HAILS SUCCESS OF TARGETING

W. Woodward and R. Smithers

Guardian, Nov. 16th 2000, p.11

The school performance league tables for England show that results in specialist colleges and Excellence in Cities schools have improved faster than in other state secondary schools. It is argued that this demonstrates a link between higher achievement and the additional funding that schools in these programmes receive, and shows that all schools need more money.

DRAFT REVISED SEN CODE OF PRACTICE

Department for Education and Employment, 2000

Code lays down fundamental principles as follows:

  • children with SEN should have their needs met;
  • the views of the child should be sought and taken into account;
  • parents have a vital role to play in supporting their child's education;
  • children with SEN should be offered full access to a broad, balanced and relevant education, including the Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum.
Other changes include alteration to the school-based stages of provision and more detail on the role of the SEN Co-ordinator.

EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY: MAPPING RACE, CLASS AND GENDER: A SYNTHESIS OF RESEARCH EVIDENCE

D. Gillborn and H.S. Mirza

London: Ofsted, 2000

Analysis of examination results shows that inequalities of attainment in GCSE examinations place black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils in a disadvantaged position in the youth, education, labour and training markets, and increase the likelihood of social and economic exclusion in later life. Evidence shows that inequalities have increased in recent years in some cases and that black and Pakistani pupils, for example, have not shared equally in the rising levels of GCSE attainment.

EXPLUSIONS COUNT AGAINST SCHOOLS IN LEAGUE TABLES

J. O'Leary

Times, Nov. 10th 2000, p.6

In the secondary school performance tables for 1999/2000, pupils who were expelled up to two years previously still counted on the school role without contributing any passes to the GCSE score. More than 1500 of the 4500 schools in the tables had their scores reduced as a result. Schools were rewarded for taking on pupils expelled elsewhere by being credited with any GCSE passes achieved by such pupils without the score being brought down by adding the child to the school role.

(See also Independent, Nov. 10th 2000, p.13; Guardian, Nov. 10th 2000, p.10).

'FAILING' SCHOOL FORCES OFSTED TO QUASH REPORT

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 30th 2000, p.8

In an out-of-court settlement, Ofsted agreed to quash a critical report on Crown Woods School in Eltham, which it had judged to be failing. It can be argued that this setback casts serious doubts on the inspection process.

(See also Independent, Nov. 30th 2000, p.7; Guardian, Nov. 30th 2000, p.4).

FEE-PAYING AND STATE SCHOOL SECTORS AGREE TO WORK TOGETHER

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Dec. 5th 2000, p.7

Reports signature of an agreement between the Independent Schools Council and the state sector to work together to improve the standard of education.

FRESH START SCHOOL TO CLOSE

W. Woodward

Guardian, Dec. 1st 2000, p.2

Reports the closure of Telegraph Hill, a school in Lewisham relaunched in September 1999 under the Fresh Start scheme. The head teacher quit last term and only 3% of its GCSE candidates achieved five good passes.

HUNDRED SCHOOLS MISS GCSE TARGET

J. O'Leary

Times, Nov. 16th 2000, p.6

Reports that 101 comprehensive and secondary modern schools have failed to reach the minimum standard of 15% of pupils achieving five good GCSE passes set by the government. This leaves them in danger of closure if there is no improvement in the next three years. Most of these schools have passed inspections by Ofsted, and nine have been given superheads under the fresh start scheme.

(See also Independent, Nov. 16th 2000, p.1+16).

KEEPING BLUNKETT AT BAY

S. Cirell and J. Bennett

Public Finance, Nov. 3rd-9th 2000, p.34

The government has reserved extensive powers under the Education Acts to intervene in failing Local Education Authorities and force the outsourcing of education services.

A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: THE REFORM OF THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS

H. Brighouse

London: Fabian Society, 2000

Argues that private schools act as a "drag" on educational equality by creaming off bright pupils from the state sector. Suggests that the favourable tax status of private schools should be conditional on charitable functions like sharing their facilities with poor state schools. They should also be prevented from selecting their intake by ability in order to protect state schools from academic "cherry picking".

MONEY MATTERS: SCHOOL FUNDING AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Audit Commission

Audit Commission Publications, 2000

Report argues that government plans to give 40% of the £19bn schools budget direct to head teachers bypassing local authorities should be re-examined. The Commission's inquiry showed that up to 15% of schools had significant weaknesses in financial control, and that many head teachers lacked time and support to spend delegated funds effectively. The Commission suggests that more time should be spent on working out funding issues such as the split between primary and secondary schools than on pressing ahead with delegation. It also questions the wisdom of 10% of the schools' budget being given in short term grants from the government's Standards Fund. The report argues that local education authorities are best placed to help schools with financial issues and that local control is necessary to take account of local priorities.

NUMBER OF TRAINEE TEACHERS RISES

R. Smithers

Guardian, Nov. 20th 2000, p.7

A total of 28,000 people are training to be teachers, the highest number for eight years but still 1500 short of what is required. These improved figures appear to show the impact of the newly introduced training salaries and more opportunities for 'on the job' training. However, while the targets in the primary sector have been met, there is a 13% shortfall of trainees required to fill jobs in secondary schools.

(See also Times, Nov. 20th 2000, p.7; Daily Telegraph, Nov. 20th 2000, p.2).

OUTSTANDING PROGRESS IN SURPRISING PLACES

W. Woodward and R. Smithers

Guardian, Dec. 7th 2000, p.8

The government's performance tables for primary schools show that all schools have better results overall than the average in 1996. The Education Secretary has attributed the improvements to the government's literacy and numeracy strategies.

(See also Independent, Dec. 7th 2000, p.14-15).

PREPARATORY SCHOOLS CRY FOUL OVER THREAT OF LEAGUE TABLES

J. O'Leary

Times, Nov. 13th 2000, p.12

Government is considering including preparatory schools in national league tables for primary schools even though their pupils are not required to take the tests on which the rankings are based. Schools which did not use the tests would appear in the tables without scores.

PRIVATE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS FAILS

G. Owen

Times, Nov. 22nd 2000, p.4

Published accounts of the first Education Action Zones show that they have failed to attract funding from the private sector as planned. Private firms have contributed less than 9% of the budget for each zone, against an anticipated figure of 25%.

PUPIL-TEACHER RATIOS WORST FOR 25 YEARS

B. Russell

Independent, Nov. 22nd 2000, p.1

The Liberal Democrats have revealed that English secondary schools have an average of 17.1 pupils for each teacher, the worst figure since 1975. The Liberal Democrats argue that the government has reduced class sizes in primary schools at the expense of funding for secondary schools.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RESOURCE ALLOCATION AND PUPIL ATTAINMENT: A REVIEW

A. Vignoles et al

Nottingham: DfFE Publications, 2000

Review of research findings shows that pupils' results are more likely to be improved by employing well-paid, experienced teachers than by reducing class sizes or spending more on school facilities. Most of the research examined was American. A number of British studies were discounted because of methodological problems.

TALKING HEADS

R. Smithers

Guardian, Nov. 23rd 2000, p.21

Reports launch of the National College for School Leadership which will provide advice and training for head teachers and aspiring head teachers.

TOP MARKS FOR TORIES IN OFSTED CHIEF'S LAST REPORT

J. O'Leary

Times, Nov. 29th 2000, p.9

Chris Woodhead, the retiring chief inspector of schools, has said that the literacy hour and daily numeracy lesson introduced in English primary schools have transformed children's learning and raised standards. He warned, however, that more progress is required in writing.

(See also Independent, Nov. 29th 2000, p.11; Daily Telegraph, Nov. 29th 2000, p.7; Guardian, Nov. 29th 2000, p.6).

TORIES TO MATCH LABOUR SCHOOL SPENDING

R. Bennett

Financial Times, Dec. 4th 2000, p.3

The Conservative Party has pledged that it will not, if elected, reduce spending on health and education in order to fund tax cuts.

(See also Times, Dec. 4th 2000, p.12).

UNFAIR FUNDING

N. Seaton

London: Centre for Policy Studies, 2000

Accuses the government of presenting data on spending on schools in such a way as to disguise the sums withheld by local education authorities. Using different assumptions about spending categories to those adopted by the Department for Education, the report estimates that 27% of central funding intended for schools will remain with local authorities in 2000/01. Claims that only 12 out of 150 local education authorities will meet the government's target of delegating 80% of their education budget to schools. Calls for a severe curtailment of the role of local education authorities or the replacement of the current funding system with one in which money follows the pupil and goes straight to the school.

web linkUNIONS ATTACK TESTS FOR BRIGHTEST PUPILS

R. Smithers

Guardian, Nov. 13th 2000, p.11

Computer-based tests designed to stretch the country's most talented nine to 13-year-olds were launched on the Internet in November 2000 as part of a government drive to raise school standards and enable international comparison. Unions claim the tests will put unnecessary stress on bright youngsters. These tests are to be introduced formally at the start of the 2001 academic year.

(See also Independent, Nov. 13th 2000, p.4).