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

BRING BACK THE BURSARS

G. Owen

Times, July 4th 2001, p.6

The National Association of Head Teachers is calling for the recruitment of an additional 17,000 bursars to free heads from administrative work.

(See also Guardian, July 4th 2001, p.7).

BUYING POWER: THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN EDUCATION ACTION ZONES

J. Hallgarten and R. Watling

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.143-157

Through detailed analysis of zone applications, action plans and audited accounts, together with telephone interviews with 34 of the 73 project directors, article investigates two intersecting aspects of EAZs. It first explores the financial and managerial contribution that the private sector is making within zones. It also considers what impact, if any, the involvement of the private sector in EAZs may be having on new thinking about the governance of education. Evidence suggests that the policy making and implementation processes have already dampened the innovatory potential of EAZs. The average zone appears to have become a combination of a traditional school improvement service and an education business partnership.

EDUCATION ACTION ZONES AND DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

M. Dickson et al

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.169-181

Education Action Forums bring together teachers, parents and representatives of local businesses and of the community generally in a partnership focused on improving education in deprived areas. This article, which is based on a textual examination of the first 25 applications for zone status, interviews with forum members and observation within two EAZs, explores the extent to which the early evidence suggests that EAZ action forums are offering a new way to democratise education.

EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL: WHAT CAN HELP PREVENT IT?

S. Hallam and F. Castle

Educational Review, vol.53, 2001, p.169-179

Paper reports an evaluation undertaken in 1998-1999 of pilot projects designed to reduce exclusion from school. The three types of project were: multi-disciplinary Behaviour Support Teams (MDBSTS); secondment of mainstream teachers to Pupil Referral Units; and In-School Centres (ISCs) for pupils at risk of exclusion. Evidence suggested that both MDBSTS and ISCs could be effective in reducing exclusions from school provided that they were implemented with the full commitment of school management; involved the whole school; included parents; and placed responsibility on pupils for managing their own behaviour.

EXTRA LEARNING: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE OUT OF SCHOOL HOURS

Kay Andrews

London: Kogan Page, 2001

Book illustrates what 'out of school hours learning' (OSHL) can really offer to schools, pupils and students, families and communities. It demonstrates how partnerships between schools, parents, voluntary partners, local and central government have enabled OSHL to become a learning revolution. It looks at OSHL as a "built in" part of schooling, breaking down the traditional structure of time, space and curriculum. It focuses on opportunities and experience in schools which have OSHL schemes; the social inclusion aspects of such schemes and on initiatives such as breakfast clubs, sports, games, hobbies and homework clubs, arts and other community activities.

FIRMS COULD TAKE OVER SCHOOL GOVERNORS

W. Woodward

Guardian, July 5th 2001, p.8

Government is proposing to give private firms who take over management of schools a controlling stake on boards of governors. This would give companies power over promotion of, and discretionary pay awards for, teachers. Local government leaders predict it could lead to corruption.

(See also Financial Times, July 5th 2001, p.5).

GLOBALISATION AND THE UK COMPETITION STATE: NO ROOM FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION

M. Battery

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.199-218

Article examines the effects of globalisation pressures and the UK government's response to these on the role and culture of head and classroom teachers. In an attempt to produce a highly skilled, technologically proficient workforce, the UK government has moved towards centralised control of the education system. With schools now located in a market place, headteachers require entreprenneurial and financial management skills. In addition, headteachers must see themselves as strategists for implementing external directives and as monitors, evaluators and managers of government imposed teacher and pupil standards. There is also evidence that classroom teachers are responding to the changes by adopting business-orientated values.

GOVERNMENT SETS SCHOOL TARGETS FOR 14-YEAR-OLDS

J Kelly

Financial Times, July 3rd 2001, p.6

Reports that government has announced the first national targets for 14-year-olds. There are three groups of targets:

  • by 2004, 75% of 14-year-olds should achieve level 5 in English, maths and ICT, and 70% in science;
  • by 2007, 85% should achieve level 5 in English, maths and ICT, and 80% in science;
  • by 2004, no local education authority should achieve less than 65% at level 5 in English and 60% in science.

(See also Times, July 3rd 2001, p.8; Daily Telegraph, July 3rd 2001, p.11; Independent, July 3rd 2001, p.8; Guardian, July 3rd 2001, p.7).

HOMEWORK: A REVIEW OF RECENT RESEARCH

C. Sharp, W. Keys and P. Benefield

Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research, 2001

Research showed that spending time on homework was associated with higher academic achievement at secondary school level. However at primary level there was no conclusive evidence that homework boosted achievement. At secondary level pupils who did the most and least amounts of homework did less well than those doing moderate amounts of between one and three hours a day. Parents generally supported setting homework, and had an important role in encouraging children to work at home. Despite this there was no clear relationship between the amount of help older children received from their parents and their results.

IMPROVING SCHOOLS IN DISADVANTAGED AREAS: CAN STANDARDS IMPROVE WITHOUT CHANGES IN STRUCTURE?

R. Lupton

Local Economy, vol.16, 2001, p.80-86

Argues that three aspects of New Labour's education policy prevent schools in disadvantaged areas from improving. These are:

  • the government's managerialist approach;
  • retention of the quasi-market in education;
  • funding mechanisms which work against schools in deprived areas.

'KEY SKILLS' TESTS AXED IN EXAM U-TURN

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, Jul. 12th 2001, p.1

Reports on the government effectively abandoning most of its A level reforms and its apology to nearly 300,000 pupils who have taken the new AS exams this year for the stress they have suffered. Estelle Morris, the Education Secretary has said that many modular tests introduced this year would be replaced with a single three hour exam and most pupils would not have to take other key skills test.

(See also Guardian, Jul. 12th 2001, p.6, Times Jul. 12th 2001, p.4; Independent, Jul.12th 2001, p.10, Guardian, Jul.11th 2001, p.6).

LABOUR DRIVE FOR SPECIALIST SCHOOLS INFURIATES UNIONS

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, June 22nd 2001, p.14

Labour has announced the creation of a new wave of specialist schools, leading to accusations from teaching unions that it was creating a two-tier system of secondary education. Specialist schools receive £100,000 a year extra government funding, plus a bonus of £123 per pupil.

(See also Independent, June 22nd 2001, p.8; Financial Times, June 22nd 2001, p.6).

MANAGING THE CURRICULUM

D. Middlewood and N. Burton (eds)

London: Paul Chapman Publishing, 2001

This book focuses on the curriculum from a learning and teaching perspective but it explores the practical issues this brings for managers at institutional levels. Various managerial roles are examined. It looks at theories and models of the curriculum and how these are applied through planning, monitoring and evaluating. It also examines the environment, support staff and finance resources that are available and whether they are being used effectively. It analyses current trends in the curriculum and proposes various new models which are likely to develop.

MILLIONS WASTED CHECKING MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS

G. Owen

Times, Jul. 14th 2001, p.12

A study has found that millions of pounds have been wasted on the implementation of performance bonuses for teachers. The study found that the private company involved, which was paid 12 million by the government, changed only 0.4 per cent of the decisions made by head teachers. The bonuses resulted in "mountains of paperwork, relatively little concentration on the teaching process and virtually everyone goes through".

(See also Daily Telegraph, Jul. 14th 2001, p.10; Guardian, Jul.14th 2001, p.10; Independent, Jul.14th 2001, p.7).

 

MORRIS OFFERS BROADER SCHOOL QUALIFICATIONS

R. Smithers

Guardian, June 27th 2001, p.8

The Education Secretary has announced a raft of measures to encourage young people to continue in education or training after the age of 16. There is a proposal for the introduction of an over-arching award that would be presented to all students upon completion of a combination of existing academic and vocational study routes. This could take the form of a leaving certificate presented at US-style graduation ceremonies. Other proposed measures include introduction of vocational GCSEs and A-levels, making the national curriculum more flexible for pupils over 14, more work placements for 14- to 16-year-olds, and an expansion of the modern apprenticeship scheme.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 27th 2001, p.2; Financial Times, June 27th 2001, p.2; Independent, June 27th 2001, p.8).

THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM AND ITS EFFECTS

C. Cullingford and P. Oliver

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001

Looking at the historical and development aspects of the National Curriculum, this book examines the impact it has had on pupils in schools, their teachers and academic and social standards.

PARENTS' PERSPECTIVES ON THE CLOSURE OF A SPECIAL SCHOOL: TOWARDS INCLUSION IN PARTNERSHIP

T. Cook and J. Swain

Educational Review, vol.53, 2001, p.191-198

Study reports parents' reflections on their experiences during the reorganisation following an English local education authority's adoption of a policy of inclusion for young disabled people. It shows the parents' changing notions of partnership with the LEA and their attempts to make sense of what policymaker's are telling them in the light of their own knowledge of their children's educational needs.

THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN EAZ DIRECTOR

T. Powley

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.159-167

Through an examination of the role and functions of a zone director, the author argues that notwithstanding the Government's single-minded concentration on the need to drive up educational standards, it remains possible for EAZs to pursue a more broadly based, innovative and longer term strategy in order to deliver the required improvements.

SCHOOL EFFECTIVENESS AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES

A. Harris and N. Bennett (eds)

London: Continuum, 2001

The issues of school effectiveness and school improvement are putting pressure on UK schools to raise achievement. This book focuses on the contemporary perspectives on school effectiveness and school improvement . It includes a structural critique of school effectiveness and school improvement and also covers the micro-politics of change; improvement and effectiveness in schools; power structure and culture; school improvement and the teaching profession; the idea of fitting school round the needs of students; and the future challenges and possibilities faced by schools.

SCHOOLS MINISTER CALLS FOR CHILDREN TO HAVE AN EXTRA YEAR AT NURSERY

S. Cassidy

Independent, June 28th 2001, p.13

The School Standards minister has suggested that schools should be allowed to delay the start of formal learning until children are rising six instead of rising five as at present. Local education authorities should decide the age at which children in their area start formal schooling.

SHORTAGE OF SCHOOL PLACES HITS THOUSANDS

J. O'Leary

Times, June 25th 2001, p.6

Reports that the new "market" in secondary school places, which ignores council boundaries and allows many schools to control admissions, can leave children without an offer of a place until late summer.

SIXTH FORMERS TO STUDY FOR OU DEGREES

J. Kelly

Financial Times, July 3rd 2001, p.2

Gifted children at 100 specialist schools are to be given the opportunity to study Open University degree courses. Students will join local OU groups, studying alongside adults, and receive learning materials. Schools will offer formal support groups.

 

SPECIAL REVIEW OF THE WELCOME BACK BONUS FOR RETURNERS TO TEACHING IN ENGLAND

School Teachers' Review Body

London: TSO, 2001 (Cm 5174)

Recommends that the government's proposal to offer a welcome back bonus to all qualified teachers who return to the mainstream sector in England between April and December 2001 should go ahead.

SPECIAL SCHOOLS AND INCLUSION

J. Allan and S. Brown

Educational Review, vol.53, 2001, p.199-207

Special schools, within debates on inclusion, have been ignored or denigrated. Paper seeks to redress the balance by examining the culture and practice of special schools from the perspective of head teachers and pupils. The head teachers' accounts reveal how their schools have undergone reform, partly in response to policy initiatives such as the national curriculum and devolved school management, and partly in an effort to secure their own future. The pupils describe their experiences of curriculum and teaching approaches and their ambitions for the future. Paper seeks to encourage greater understanding of the current role of special schools and to argue that the debates on inclusion must take into account the contributions special schools claim to be making.

SUCCESS AGAINST THE ODDS - FIVE YEARS ON: REVISITING EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS IN DISADVANTAGED AREAS

M. Maden (ed)

London: Routledge, 2001

This book follows up the findings of the National Commission on Education's 1995 study of effective schools in disadvantaged areas, the results of which were published in 'Success Against the Odds', (Routledge 1996). Success Against the Odds - Five Years on, revisits the eleven schools in the original study and analyses how they are proceeding in today's educational and political climate. It provides an insight into how 'Success can be sustained in the long term'.

SURREY SCHOOLS FACE CLOSURES

Anon

Times, July 6th 2001, p.11

A serious shortage of teachers in Surrey may force schools to cut the range of subjects taught or switch to a four-day week in the academic year beginning September 2001.

(See also Daily Telegraph, July 6th 2001, p.5).

TEACHERS' LIEU DAYS DEAL WILL HIT PUPILS

S. Cassidy

Independent, June 22nd 2001, p.9

Under a new agreement between teaching unions and employers, teachers who cover for absent colleagues for more than three days will qualify for time off in lieu. This agreement will mean that schools may have to close while teachers take their time off. Overtime payments for teachers who take extra lessons for absent colleagues are also being considered.

TEACHERS TALKING: TEACHER INVOLVEMENT IN EDUCATION ACTION ZONES

J. Theakstone, K.D. Robinson and J. Bangs

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.183-197

Results of two surveys initiated by the National Union of Teachers show that while increased high quality professional development opportunities have been a major achievement of the EAZ policy, a significant proportion of teachers working in EAZ schools feel that they do not "own" the initiative. A common complaint was that classroom teachers did not know what was happening in their zone and that there were limited opportunities to become involved in its development.

TESTING TIMES FOR SCHOOLS

C. Woodhead

Daily Telegraph, July 4th 2001, p.17

Teaching unions are keen to scale down external examinations and independent inspections. The government must resist these pressures if educational standards are to rise.

WHAT LEARNING NEEDS: THE CHALLENGE FOR A CREATIVE NATION

R. Jupp, C. Fairly and T. Bentley

London: Design Council, 2001

Argues that developing creativity should be the first priority of the education system. Parents should become "educational entrepreneurs", able to set up schools and should be given the opportunity to go into part-time teaching. Teaching should also be open to part-timers who might be pursuing another career. The compulsory curriculum should be reduced to allow all pupils to spend half their lessons learning through practical projects, with older pupils spending time outside school in the workplace or doing community service. Exams should measure thinking and interpersonal skills instead of testing recall of facts. Pupils should help set their own goals and be tested on how they have boosted their classmates learning as well as their own.