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

ACADEMIES PLANNED FOR GIFTED CHILDREN

J. Kelly

Financial Times, May 18th 2001, p.6

Reports government plans to link 150,000 of the brightest comprehensive school pupils to university-based academies for the talented. The top 5% of state school children, selected by standardised IQ tests, would take part. Services would include special Saturday classes and Summer Schools.

ANOTHER WASTED SUMMER OF SWOTTING

L. Purves

Times, May 29th 2001, p.12

Presents a critique of the new AS level public examinations for 17-year-olds. Argues that these are under-funded, administratively chaotic; and encourage shallow and skimped treatment of subjects instead of in-depth exploration.

(See also Daily Telegraph, May 30th 2001, p.23).

ANTI-GRAMMAR SCHOOL DATA WRONG

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, May 21st 2001, p.9

Prof. David Jesson has retracted his claim that comprehensives produce better results than grammar schools on the grounds that the statistical data on which his conclusions were based was flawed.

AS-LEVEL SKILLS TESTS MAY BE CUT

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, June 14th 2001, p.2

Reports that key skills tests for sixth formers in literacy, numeracy and computing introduced this year may be dropped as a result of the inquiry into the AS-level exams.

AS-LEVELS ARE A MISTAKE, ADMITS ADVISER

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, June 11th 2001, p.9

Nick Tate, who was in charge of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority when the new AS-level exams were introduced, has admitted that they have made British pupils over-examined and that preparation for them is squeezing out extra-curricular activities and putting youngsters under too much pressure.

(See also Independent, June 11th 2001, p.6).

BLACK COMMUNITY "NEEDS OWN SCHOOLS"

W. Woodward

Guardian, June 20th 2001, p.6

The London Mayor's race adviser has called for the setting up of specialist schools for black pupils so that Afro-Caribbean children can be taught away from the alleged institutional racism of the existing system.

(See also Times, June 2nd 2001, p.2).

BLAIR SCHOOL JOINS REVOLT AGAINST THE AS LEVELS

G. Owen

Times, June 4th 2001, p.6

The London Oratory school, attended by the Prime Minister's sons, is not entering any of its lower sixth pupils for the new AS examinations this Summer. It has decided that sixth formers should instead take the traditional number of A levels, plus one AS level at the end of the second year.

(See also Independent, June 4th 2001, p.5; Daily Telegraph, June 4th 2001, p.11; Guardian, June 4th 2001, p.6).

BLAIR TO PROMISE PRIVATE TAKEOVERS OF FAILING SCHOOLS

R. Garner

Independent, May 23rd 2001, p.9

The Labour Party is committed to encouraging private companies or voluntary organisations to take over and run failing state schools, and to expanding the specialist schools programme to allow the creation of business and enterprise schools and science colleges.

(See also Financial Times, May 23rd 2001, p.3).

CRISIS IN THE CLASSROOM: THE EXAM DEBACLE AND THE WAY AHEAD FOR SCOTTISH EDUCATION

L. Patterson

Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2001

This book examines the circumstances surrounding the collapse of supposedly revolutionary new exam system in Scotland in the Summer of 2000. It looks at why the system was reformed, the political context, the parliamentary inquiries and other lessons that can be learned.

END OF TERM

W. Woodward

Guardian, Education, May 22nd 2001, p.2

Reports interview with Education Secretary David Blunkett, in which he reflects on Labour's education reforms. He regards the literacy and numeracy hours, Sure Start and Excellence in Cities as being his most successful initiatives. He regrets his confrontations with teachers, and admits that steps need to be taken to reduce their workload.

ICT IN SCHOOLS: IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES: INTERIM REPORT

web linkOfsted

London: 2001

Concludes that increased investment in IT equipment in schools has failed to raise education standards. Information technology remains one of the worse taught subjects although it is improving. Little evidence was found that computers were improving teaching in other subjects, largely because staff were not sufficiently trained. Computer suites in large primary schools had led to an improvement in teaching and pupils' mastery of the equipment. In secondary schools, however, computers were mainly used for IT courses and were not being made available to teachers of other subjects.

IN THE NAME OF INCLUSION: "WE ALL, AT THE END OF THE DAY, HAVE THE NEEDS OF THE CHILDREN AT HEART"

J. Swain and T. Cook

Critical Social Policy, vol.21, 2001, p.185-207

Presents a case study of a Local Education Authority which is adopting a policy of inclusion in providing education for young disabled people alongside non-disabled peers. Ostensibly this is a process of radical change towards institutions which are explicitly designed to cater for all, rather than the integration of disabled individuals into existing mainstream provision. Authors argue that a change of name is not necessarily a change of policy, and a move towards a more inclusive policy and provision has the rights of disabled people at heart, rather than "the needs of children".

INTRODUCING CONSISTENT FINANCIAL REPORTING

Audit Commission, Ofsted and Department for Education and Employment

Nottingham: DfEE Publications, 2001

Presents plans to introduce a consistent financial reporting framework in schools from 2002/03 with the aim of enabling them to benchmark their expenditure in a meaningful way with other comparable schools.

LABOUR CREATING SECONDARY MAZE

A. Smithers

Guardian, May 24th 2001, p.20 + 13

Discusses Labour policy of raising standards by encouraging comprehensives to become specialist schools. Argues that the policy will create a "two tier system" with well-funded specialist schools having an in-built advantage over poorly funded standard comprehensives. If, however, all schools become specialist, serious questions about selection and access arise. In principle, there should be a specialist school for all disciplines in reach of all pupils. This may be impossible in rural areas.

LABOUR DASHED OUR EDUCATION HOPES, SAYS HEAD

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, May 22nd 2001, p.

The headmistress of the most improved comprehensive school in England has attacked the Labour government for overburdening schools with bureaucracy, introducing too many new initiatives and creating a teacher supply crisis.

THE MAINTAINED NURSERY SCHOOL: A TRADITION FOR THE FUTURE

J. Einsing

Early Education, no.34, 2001, p.2-5

The new Forum for Maintained Nursery Schools and Project for developing and extending nursery schools are intended to promote the work of state schools, which are under threat from private sector competition.

"MODERNIZING" THE TEACHER

P. Mahoney and I. Hextall

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.5, 2001, p.133-149

Paper discusses the introduction by the UK government of a performance management policy as a basis on which to organize the management and remuneration of teachers in England. The performance management model is firmly embedded within managerialist ideology and sets the context for restructured levels of the teaching force and redesigned levels of progression. "Professional standards" form an essential element of the technology of performance management in specifying skills defined as valuable and supposedly amenable to measurement.

MORRIS MAKES IT EASIER FOR STAFF TO QUALIFY

J. O'Leary

Times, June 15th 2001, p.9

Until now, trainee teachers have been allowed four attempts to pass literacy and numeracy tests without which they cannot achieve Qualified Teacher Status. Some 12.4% of candidates have been failing the maths test. In order to prevent their being lost to the profession, the rules have been relaxed and people will be able to take the tests as many times as they need to pass.

(See also Independent, June 15th 2001, p.4; Daily Telegraph, June 15th 2001, p.8).

MOST SIXTH-FORMS TO DROP NEW KEY SKILLS TEST

R. Garner

Independent, May 31st 2001, p.2

The newly introduced key skills qualification covering numeracy, communication and computer skills is voluntary and equivalent to an A-level standard, but can be taken in the upper or lower sixth. Head teachers are concerned that the test is putting too much pressure on pupils and schools, and that universities are refusing to recognise it as a qualification.

(See also Daily Telegraph, May 31st 2001, p.6; Times, May 31st 2001, p.9; Guardian, May 31st 2001, p.8).

PARTNERSHIP AND INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING: BENEFITS ALL ROUND

N. Simco

Early Education, no.34, 2001, p.5-6

One of the central features of the reforms in initial teacher training in the 1990s was the development of partnerships between higher education institutions (HEI) and schools. In partnerships school personnel now take the lead in monitoring, supervising, assessing and reporting on trainee teachers' progress, leaving HEI colleagues to moderate, develop mentor training courses and focus on the HEI element of initial teacher training.

PAY BOOST LURES TEACHERS TO SCOTLAND

G. Harris

Times, June 15th 2001, p.9

The number of applications from teachers in England to work in Scotland has risen by 67% following an £800m deal to improve pay and conditions there. These figures will increase pressure on the government to improve working conditions for teachers in England and Wales.

(See also Financial Times, June 15th 2001, p.3).

PRIVATE SCHOOLS LOOK TO DROP GCSE EXAMS

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, June 5th 2001, p.1

Reports that independent schools are considering withdrawing from the GCSE exams at 16 to make more time for pupils to study for the new AS levels taken at 17.

RESIDENTS VOTE FOR SCHOOL WITH CHRISTIAN ETHOS

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, June 13th 2001, p.9

In a ballot organised by Islington Council, a majority of the 22% of residents who voted chose a church school in preference to a City Academy or a specialist comprehensive.

SCHOOLS GET FREE GIFT WITH EVERY SUPPLY TEACHER

G. Owen

Times, June 18th 2001, p.7

Teacher supply agencies are offering free gifts to schools that use them as competition intensifies in the midst of growing recruitment problems in the classroom.

SCHOOLS NEED INDEPENDENCE, NOT JUST MORE MONEY

C. Woodhead

Daily Telegraph, May 21st 2001, p.22

Argues that, in order to improve standards, schools need greater autonomy and freedom from centralised bureaucratic control linked to accountability through a tough inspection regime.

STANDARDS AND QUALITY IN EDUCATION: THE ANNUAL REPORT OF HER MAJESTY'S CHIEF INSPECTOR OF SCHOOLS FOR 1999-2000: REPORT, TOGETHER WITH THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE, MINUTES OF EVIDENCE TAKEN BEFORE THE EDUCATION SUB-COMMITTEE AND APPENDICES TO THE MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

Education and Employment Committee

London: TSO, 2001 (House of Commons Papers Session 2000/01; HC 362)

Committee shares Ofsted's concerns that much progress in raising standards in schools will be put at risk if problems of teacher recruitment and retention are not tackled. Goes on to welcome Ofsted's recognition of the part it can play in reducing bureaucratic demands on teachers. Expresses serious concern about lack of achievement in writing, particularly among boys. Calls for select committee enquiries into skills deficiencies in ICT at all levels of the education system, and into the contribution of specialist schools to raising standards in secondary education.

STATE SCHOOL OPERATOR SEEKS TO EMPLOY TEACHERS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, May 31st 2001, p.3

Nord Anglia, Britain's first for-profit operator of a state school, wishes to employ teachers directly so that it can introduce bonuses as incentives to help achieve performance targets.

STATE TEACHERS "SHOULD SHARE IN SCHOOL PROFITS"

J. Kelly

Financial Times, May 29th 2001, p.3

The National Association of Head Teachers is arguing that teachers at state schools run under contract by private companies should share in any profits earned.

THIS JUST DOESN'T ADD UP

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, June 6th 2001, p.19

Draws attention to the fact that scores of fully trained graduate teachers are being denied Qualified Teacher Status because they have failed a government imposed numeracy skills test which is irrelevant to their ability to teach.

TEACHERS TO GET OVERTIME PAYMENTS

R. Garner

Independent, June 14th 2001, p.1

Teachers will be offered overtime payments for attending evening and weekend training sessions. The extra training will be in how to teach the maths and literacy strategies successfully pioneered in primary schools and now adapted for pupils aged 11 to 14 in secondary schools.

(See also Times, June 13th 2001, p.4).

TOWN HALLS TO HAVE LESS SAY IN RUNNING OF GOOD SCHOOLS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, June 18th 2001, p.4

Under legislation planned for this session of Parliament, successful schools would be able to outsource services to the private sector without reference to local education authorities.

URGENT RETHINK ORDRED ON AS-LEVELS

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, June 13th 2001, p.1

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills has ordered an urgent inquiry into the impact of the new AS-level exams on teachers and pupils. She acknowledged that lower-sixth pupils taking the new exams had been unreasonably burdened but tried to shift the blame onto schools.

(See also Independent, June 13th 2001, p.2).

US BANK DONATES £1M TO SPECIALIST EDUCATION

J. Kelly

Financial Times, June 1st 2001, p.8

The US investment bank Goldman Sachs is to back 15 new specialist schools in England with a 1.16m grant to boost the teaching of business enterprise. The schools will also run special programmes for gifted children in conjunction with the London School of Economics.

THE WAY AHEAD: CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOLS IN THE MILLENNIUM

Church of England

London: Church House Publishing, 2001

Recommends that the Church of England should raise £25m to set up or take over more than 100 comprehensive schools over the next seven to eight years. Such schools should have a distinctively Christian ethos with a core of Christian pupils but should be open to all young people. At present most church schools are over-subscribed and achieve better results than council schools.

WE WERE PROMISED A CRUSADE IN SCHOOLS, SO HAS LABOUR PASSED?

R. Garner

Independent, May 24th 2001, p.10

Labour's introduction of the compulsory literacy and numeracy hours has raised standards in primary schools, but teaching in the early years of secondary school remains poor in many cases. Some progress has been made through programmes such as education action zones which have injected funding, but schools are plagued by teacher shortages. Very little has been done to improve higher education standards. Funding has remained level this year instead of being cut, student maintenance grants have been abolished and fees introduced. However, higher education is still chronically underfunded.

"WE'RE TIRED, MISERABLE AND DISILLUSIONED"

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, June 20th 2001, p.17

Reports widespread dissatisfaction amongst teachers and pupils with the new AS level examination. This succeeds in being both undemanding and burdensome, so that participation in sport, music and part-time work is being abandoned. Teachers had assumed that the new examination would require in-depth study and so over-taught their pupils, when all that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority had envisaged was an extension of GCSE. Proposes that schools should switch to the International Baccalaureate, which requires the study of six subjects over two years and which also demands participation in extra-curriculum activities.