Click here to skip to content

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

£ 4,000 BONUS FOR TEACHERS TO STAY AT INNER-CITY SCHOOLS

J. Judd

Independent, Jan. 5th 2001, p.8

Reports that 550 poorly performing secondary schools in inner-cities will receive funding to enable them to offer bonuses to encourage their best teachers to stay.

(See also Financial Times, Jan. 5th 2001, p.4; Daily Telegraph, Jan. 5th 2001, p.6; Guardian, Jan. 5th 2001, p.11)

THE BETRAYED GENERATION: STANDARDS IN BRITISH SCHOOLS 1950-2000

J. Marks

London: Centre for Policy Studies, 2001

Paints a bleak picture of fluctuating standards and patchy state provision in education. Even though, in real terms, more money is being spent on state education, 40% of children entering secondary school are unable to read well enough to cope with the national curriculum. The average reading age of seven-year-olds can vary by as much as 2.5 years within a single school and by the age of 14 that has increased to five years. At GCSE level, comprehensive school pupils make up 85% of the age group but obtain only 75% of good passes; at A level, they make up 65% of the age group but account for only 50% of A grades.

BLUNKETT TO UNVEIL £4 BN REPAIR DRIVE FOR SCHOOLS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Jan. 15th 2001, p.6

Reports that repairs to 7,000 schools and a complete overhead of 650 more are to be carried out under a £4 bn capital investment programme from 2001/04.

EARLY YEARS

Education and Employment Committee

London: TSO, 2000 (House of Commons papers. Session 2000/01; HC 33)

Recommends encouragement of the involvement of parents in early years education. The age of compulsory school entry should remain five and children below school age should be taught informally. Ofsted should change its manner of inspection so that the climate both before and during an inspection is one of support not of extreme stress as now. Finally calls for improved training for early years practitioners.

EXAMINER CRISIS THREATENS A-LEVEL "MELTDOWN"

G. Owen

Times, Jan. 11th 2001, p.1& 4

Changes to the A-level system mean that examining boards need to find 20% more markers this year. However, head teachers predict that teacher shortages and poor pay will adversely affect the quality and quantity of examiners, leaving the system liable to collapse.

ESSEX SCHOOLS FACE FOUR-DAY WEEK

G. Owen

Times, Jan. 3rd 2001, p.11

Essex Local Education Authority has warned that some of its schools face a four-day week because of a growing shortage of teachers.

(See also Independent, Jan. 4th 2001, p.10; Guardian, Jan. 4th 2001, p.1)

EXTRA £400M FOR NEW COMPUTERS IN CLASSROOMS

M. Woolf

Independent, Jan. 10th 2001, p.9

Research has shown that primary school children who use computers in the classroom have better results than those with poor IT facilities. Government is therefore to give an extra £400m to schools to invest in IT facilities.

THE FIRST YEAR OF BEACON SCHOOL STATUS: MAINTAINING EXCELLENCE AND SHARING SUCCESS

N. Burton and M. Brundrett

School Leadership and Management, vol. 20, 2000, p.489-498.

During the Summer of 1998, 74 primary, secondary, nursery and special schools were identified by the Department of Education and Employment as "beacons of excellence" for other schools to emulate. Based on a survey of the 74 schools, paper addresses the management implications of balancing the existing core function of educating pupils with that of developing support and training facilities for other education professionals. Findings indicate that effective communication, both internally and externally, coupled with a clear sense of purpose and vision, have enabled Beacon Schools to fulfill both roles.

A FREE SCHOOLS FUTURE

W. Hague

Politeia, 2000

Proposes that schools should be removed from local authority control and funded directly by central government. All schools would be in charge of their own admissions policy, able to select on the basis of ability and able to choose to specialise in aspects of the curriculum. Rich benefactors, charities and businesses would be encouraged to set up schools and sell places to the State.

(For comment see Times, Dec. 18th 2000, p.4)

HEADS FEAR OVERSEAS STAFF WILL HIT RESULTS

B. Russell

Independent, Jan. 15th 2001, p.5

Reports that the number of foreign teachers securing work permits to teach in British classrooms has more than doubled in the past year as schools have recruited staff from overseas to fill vacancies. There is concern that standards could be harmed if children are taught by a succession of staff unfamiliar with the national curriculum.

HEADS WANT SPECIALIST SCHOOL BUDGET HALVED

B. Russell

Independent, Jan. 2nd 2001, p.4

The Secondary Heads Association has proposed that special grants worth about £100,000 a year to the 535 technology, language and sports colleges should be halved to pay for the expansion of the programme. Has also suggested that specialist schools should be stripped of their power to select 10% of their pupils by aptitude and has called for the creation of two new categories of specialist school. One would be for humanities and the second for community colleges in rural areas.

(See also Times, Jan. 2nd 2001, p.6)

THE NATIONAL GRID FOR LEARNING INITIATIVE: CONNECTING THE LEARNING SOCIETY?

N. Selwyn

School Leadership and Management, vol. 20, 2000, p. 407-414.

The £1.6 billion National Grid for Learning aims to integrate the use of information and communication technology (ICT) into all areas of schooling via the increased resourcing of schools, training of teachers and stimulation of an "ICT culture" throughout the education system. Article provides on overview of the National Grid for Learning drive, its implications for schools and subsequent challenges for school leaders and managers.

NORTHERN IRELAND ABANDONS LEAGUE TABLES FOR SCHOOLS

B. Russell

Independent, Jan 11th 2001, p.13

Reports that the Northern Ireland government is to abandon school league tables. Instead, secondary schools will provide their own information to parents.

(See also Guardian, Jan. 11th 2001, p.6: Financial Times, Jan 11th 2001, p. 5; Times, Jan. 11th 2001, p.4.)

PLEASE SHOW YOU’RE WORKING: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF OFSTED INPSECTION ON PRIMARY TEACHERS

P. Case, S. Case and S. Catling

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 21, 2000, p. 605-621

Results of a small scale empirical study of primary teacher response to the inspection process show that it can disrupt a school for up to three years and exhausts, demotivates and demoralizes teachers. There is also evidence that the inspection process had no effect at all on the teachers’ professional practice after the event.

SCHOOL CRISIS "AN ELECTION RISK"

J. O’Leary

Times, Jan. 4th 2001, p.2

The National Association of Head Teachers has said that teacher recruitment is in crisis, leading to part-time schooling as schools fail to fill vacancies. Calls for a substantial pay increase for all teachers to encourage people to enter the profession.

SCHOOLS ACCUSED OF HOARDING EXPENDITURE ALLOCATIONS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Dec. 21st 2000, p.4

Schools stand accused of failing to spend funds allocated to them. Many schools run a surplus so that they can be sure of paying teachers, can meet emergency repair bills and build up large sums for capital projects. There is also a shortage of teachers, so unpaid salaries could be adding to the surpluses.

SCHOOLS BRING IN UNQUALIFIED STAFF TO FILL GAPS

G. Owen

Times, Dec. 28th 2000, p.6

Reports results of a survey by the Secondary Heads Association which shows that schools are making widespread use of unqualified staff. Out of 67 secondary schools surveyed in Essex, the union found 67 unqualified teachers working alongside 50 non-specialists, 130 teachers on short term contracts and 42 from abroad. A separate survey by the National Union of Teachers found that 7% of newly qualified teachers dropped out of the profession in 2000.

(See also Independent, Dec. 28th 2000, p.6; Guardian, Dec. 28th 2000, p.9)

SCHOOLS STRIVE TO MEET SPECIAL NEEDS

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 2nd 2001, p.12

Local authorities have announced a series of proposed closures of special schools in advance of the implementation of the Special Needs and Disability Bill at present before Parliament. The Bill strengthens the rights of children with special needs to be educated in mainstream schools. There is concern that the government is not providing sufficient money to support the programme of integration.

TEACHER SHORTAGES THREATEN BLAIR’S PLEDGE ON CLASS SIZES

J. Judd

Independent, Dec. 19th 2000, p.6

The National Union of Teachers has warned that teacher shortages are threatening the government’s pledge to reduce infant class sizes. The warning follows a decision by Bracknell Forest to use increases in class sizes to avoid sending children home in the event of teacher shortage.

TEACHERS’ THREAT OVER SCHOOLS STAFF CRISIS

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 16th 2001, p.8

Reports that leaders of the National Association of School Masters/Union of Women Teachers have agreed to hold local authority-wide ballots over the withdrawal of cover for absent staff in areas worst hit by recruitment problems.