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

A-LEVEL PASS RATES BEST FOR 50 YEARS

J Clare

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 16th 2001, p.1.

The 2001 A-level results turned out to be the best in the 50 year history of the examination, with a record proportion of subjects being awarded both pass and top grades. However the Institute of Directors has attacked rising pass rates as being evidence of "endemic and rampant grade inflation" and of A-levels being dumbed down.

ALARM OVER BIG DROP IN ENGLISH ENTRANTS

R R Garner

Independent, Aug. 16th 2001, p.6.

A growing trend towards pupils taking computer and media studies and swinging away from traditional subjects such as English and maths emerged from the A-level examination results. The number of entrants for English fell by 9500 compared to 2000, and maths entries were down by 800. Overall there were 23,000 fewer entries in 2001 than 2000.

(See also Guardian, Aug. 16th 2001, p.10).

AN ANAYLSIS OF PRIMARY LITERACY POLICY IN ENGLAND USING BARTHES' NOTION OF "READERLY" AND "WRITERLY" TEXTS

K Hall

Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, vol.I, 2001, p.153-165.

Argues that state control over literacy policy in England increased considerably with the advent of the National Literacy Strategy and that this occurred at the cost of teacher power and teacher autonomy.

AS-LEVEL RESULTS "NEED HEALTH WARNING"

J O'Leary

Times, 9th Aug. 2001, p.2.

There are fears that this years AS results will produce a 'distorted picture of teenagers efforts'. Article discusses how at least 20 per cent of results will be missing from the overall total because candidates have chosen not to "cash in" their results. Head teachers fear that this partial collection of results may give a misleading picture of standards.

BOYS BEAT GIRLS - ONLY IN COMPREHENSIVES

J O'Leary

The Times, Aug. 6th 2001, p.2.

Article discusses how girls have overtaken boys at virtually every stage of education apart from A-level results where comprehensive boys retain a narrow lead.

BUSINESS BEHIND THE BLACKBOARD

C Ryan

Public Finance, Jul. 6th-12th 2001, p.20-22.

Article discusses the Department of Education and Skills white paper that is due out this month, which will introduce the idea of a greater business role in education. It looks at cases where private sector involvement is already seen in state schools such as Abbeylands School in Addlestone and the impact this is having.

"CIVILISING" ETHOS OF PRIVATE COMPANY OFFERS LESSON FOR FAILING SCHOOLS

F Lawrence

Guardian, July 24th 2001, p.8-9.

Reports on the success of a private company, 3 Es, in turning round a failing secondary school in Guildford, Surrey. The school has been refurbished and innovative teaching methods introduced, with money to implement them.

COMPREHENSIVE SECONDARY EDUCATION: BUILDING ON SUCCESS

C Chitty et al

London: Campaign for State Education, 2001.

Report argues that comprehensives schools should not be regarded as a "failed experiment", but as one that has not yet been tried in the many areas of the country that still operate a selective system. Warns that government plans to promote specialist schools will lead to a two-tier education system. Popular schools already interview applicants and parents so that they can select well motivated pupils while other schools are left with the "hard to teach". Introducing city academies and faith schools will only increase this social selection.

COUNCIL SETS UP TEACHER AGENCY AS SUPPLY COSTS SOAR

R Garner

Independent, Aug. 6th 2001, p.7.

Nelstar, the North East Lincolnshire Supply Teacher Agency Register, has been set up by a local authority in order to save schools money by avoiding the mark-up that is charged by private agencies. The cost of hiring a supply teacher from a private company has increased by 50 per cent in the last year. It is hoped that as well as cutting costs the scheme will also reduce the amount of time head teachers spend looking for staff.

THE DELEGATION DILEMMA

C Ryan

Public Finance, Aug. 3rd-9th 2001, p.26-27.

Article discusses how the government wants to take responsibilities and money away from local education authorities (LEA) and give them straight to schools. Although the role of LEAs is changing, there are signs that most head teachers want them to continue to support and challenge failing schools; co-ordinate support for excluded pupils and those with special needs; and organise school transport.

EDUCATION IN A POST-WELFARE SOCIETY

S Tomlinson

Buckingham: Open University Press, 2001.

Providing an overview of education policy in Britain as it has moved from creating a welfare state to promoting a post-welfare society, this book puts the huge amounts of legislation and government documentation that has reformed the education system into context. In addition it provides an analysis of past and present policies. The author also raises questions about the future of education in a more competitive, globalised and post-welfare society.

EVERYONE LEARNS FROM BEING TESTED - NO ONE LEARNS FROM CHEATING

C Woodhead

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 3rd 2001, p.28.

Argues that testing at seven, 11, 14 and 16 does not put an unreasonable burden on children and is essential for the public accountability of schools.

FROM A NATIONAL SYSTEM LOCALLY ADMINISTERED TO A NATIONAL SYSTEM NATIONALLY ADMINISTERED: THE NEW LEVIATHAN IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN ENGLAND

P Ainley

Journal of Social Policy, vol.30, 2001, p.457-476.

The new form of public administration illustrated in this article in relation to education and training reconstructs the state along the lines of a holding company. This produces an inherently unstable system, managing at arm's length a complex range of diverse organisations to which self-management has been devolved. Sub-contracting of service provision can be a way of reducing costs by squeezing the contract, but it typically involves loss of detailed control, although financial control is increased. Another effect is fragmentation, for it is difficult to maintain an enforce national standards or public goods without considerable interference in the activities of the subcontractor.

FUTURES THINKING: CONSIDERATION OF THE IMPACT OF EDUCATIONAL CHANGE ON BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC ACHIEVEMENT

C Vieler-Porter

Multicultural Teaching, vol.19, Summer 2001, p.12-14, 18.

Considers the impact on black and minority ethnic pupils of:

  • use of IT to deliver education;
  • the rise of faith and other specialist schools;
  • changes in the role and status of teachers;
  • more flexibility in the application of the national curriculum.

GIRLS LEAD 'AS' EXAM RESULTS

W Woodward

Guardian, Aug. 16th 2001, p.1+2.

In the first year of the new AS level examination, girls achieved 3.2% more Grade As and 4.2% more A-E grades than boys. This gap could be due to the use of modules and course work, which tend to favour girls.

(See also Independent, Aug. 16th 2001, p.1)

IMPACT OF STUDY SUPPORT

J MacBeth et al.

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2001 (Research report; 273).

Research evaluation of a variety of study support programmes has shown that they are most effective for ethnic minority and disadvantaged pupils. Results suggest that voluntary programmes such as homework clubs will help pupils gain an extra 3.5 grades across their five best subjects.

THE LESSON OF BRADFORD IS NOT TO CREATE APARTHEID IN OUR SCHOOLS

J Romain

Times, July 26th 2001, p.18.

A Rabbi argues against government proposals to encourage faith based schools, on the grounds that they may encourage social division and lead to educational apartheid.

LESSONS FOR LIFE

N Valios

Community Care, no.1381, 2001, p.18-19.

Discusses government initiatives to reduce school exclusions including learning mentors, learning support units within schools, and pupil referral units. Unfortunately school league tables undermine these initiatives by giving schools incentives to get rid of disruptive and disaffected pupils.

PERILS OF THE SCHOOL RUN

D MacLeod

Guardian, Aug. 3rd 2001, p.19.

Parents' rights to choose their children's secondary schools in leading to polarisation, with unpopular schools in poor areas sucked into a spiral of decline as brighter pupils go elsewhere. Choice is also causing frustration to parents who are unable to place their children in popular local schools.

PROMOTING THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN PUBLIC CARE

H Hibbert

Adoption and Fostering, vol.25, no.2, 2001, p.26-32.

Article provides a summary and analysis of the education of children in care in England and Wales, with reference to the Guidance on the Education of Children and Young People in Public Care published in 2000. Article summarises the most important features of the guidance and identifies key implications for practice. These include joint working between departments of education and social services, data collection and planning, the role of the Designated Teacher, target setting and achievement, and exclusion and raising expectations.

RAISING ETHNIC MINORITY ACHIEVEMENT IN A SMALL EDUCATION ACTION ZONE

C Threlfall

Multicultural Teaching, vol.19, Summer 2001, p.30-32, 50.

Focuses on projects in Manor Park, London to raise the achievement of minority ethnic and refugee children who arrive and depart from schools mid-phase.

A REVIEW OF SOME RECENT ISSUES IN THE EDUCATION OF THE MORE ABLE

T Kerry

Gifted Education International, vol.15, 2001, p.195-206.

Presents a survey of emerging issues in the field of gifted education in the UK, including debates about ability grouping, the relative performance of boys and girls, the value of examinations, and the organisational strategies for teaching and learning that schools adopt. Suggests that politicians are nudging the education system in specific directions that may not be supported by the research evidence.

SCHOOL AWARDS WILL RECOGNISE COMMUNITY ACTION

Anon

Young People Now, no.149, 2001, p.8.

A new achievement award designed to recognise a range of activities that fall beyond the realms of formal education has been proposed by Estelle Morris, Education and Skills Secretary. It is hoped that the new award, which would recognise a wide range of activities, including voluntary and community work, may help end the culture of leaving education at 16 and better reflect young people's achievements after the age of 14.

SCHOOL REFORM GOES ON DESPITE DELAYS

M McHale

Public Finance, Jul. 20th-26th 2001, p.8.

School reform plans are set to go ahead despite the stalling of the education white paper. However, concerns have been raised over the increased use of the private sector in schools and the contentious issue of single faith schools.

SCHOOLS CRISIS LOOMS AS STAFF SHORTAGES RISE

S Cassidy

Independent, July 30th 2001, p.6.

Survey has shown that 53% of head teachers had vacancies just before the end of the Summer term. Heads at 12% of the 121 schools surveyed were short of more than two teachers.

SCHOOL MINISTER "COMPLACENT" ON STAFF SHORTAGES

R Smithers

Guardian, Aug. 1st 2001, p.8.

The Schools Standards Minister has said that a survey of local education authorities in England shows that no schools expect to start the Autumn 2001 term on a four day week due to staff shortages. This contrasts with the gloomy predictions of the teaching unions.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Aug. 1st 2001, p.10).

TEACHER SHORTAGE SPIRALS TO 4,600

R Garner

Independent, Aug. 8th 2001, p.1 + 4.

4,600 teaching posts still remain empty with less than a month to go before the start of the new school year. It has been the worst year on record for filling posts despite a trawl abroad for overseas teachers which has included Russia, Bulgaria and the Caribbean alongside the long-established recruitment visits to Australia. Article goes on to discuss the severity of the situation and highlights those areas worst hit.

TEACHERS' BODY IN CRISIS AS JUST ONE IN EIGHT SIGNS UP

S Cassidy

Independent, July 23rd 2001, p.9.

The newly launched General Teaching Council is facing a financial crisis because fewer than one in eight staff have signed up to pay its £23.00 a year subscription fee. The Council says that as a last resort it will force teachers to pay by getting employers to deduct the money from their salaries.

TEACHERS "WORK NO HARDER THAN ANYONE ELSE"

G Owen

Times, Aug. 15th 2001, p.4.

A government review, commissioned in response to industrial action by teaching unions, has found that while teachers in England and Wales work intensively during term, their annual hours total, which takes school holidays into account, is not higher than in other comparable occupations. The report concludes that low morale in the profession may be caused by the stresses of the job rather than long hours. To ease pressures on staff, the report suggests that teachers should delegate more tasks; that computers should be used more effectively to manage workload; that teachers should be allowed more time for lesson preparation and training; and that the government should take account of the impact of its initiatives on teachers' workload.

(See also Guardian, Aug. 15th 2001, p.6; Daily Telegraph Aug. 15th 2001, p.8).

TIME TO BALE OUT FOR THE BACCALAUREATE

T Hames

Times, Aug. 17th 2001, p.12.

Candidates for A- and AS-levels are choosing trendy or "soft" subjects such media studies or sports studies rather than rigorous academic subjects such as maths. Argues for a switch to the international baccalaureate which offers breadth of study combined with academic rigour.

TODAY'S SPECIAL

R Smithers

Guardian, Jul. 19th 2001, p.21.

Article discusses Labour's move towards mass expansion of specialist or single-faith secondary schools and whether this is likely to result in a two-tier education system.