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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2002): Education - UK - Schools

ACCESS TO NUMERACY: A CASE STUDY

R. Germain

British Journal of Special Education, vol.28, 2001, p.182-186

Study looks at how Paul, a pupil with Down's syndrome, is supported during the "dedicated numeracy time" required by the National Numeracy Strategy. The relationships between whole - class, group and individual teaching are examined, together with the nature of the support Paul receives and his educational and behavioural responses.

A BAD WAY TO PRODUCE GOOD HEADS

C. Woodhead

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 9th 2002, p.25

Argues that the new National College for School Leadership is likely to be strangled by bureaucracy and impenetrable management theory and jargon.

BRIGHT STUDENTS DETERRED FROM TEACHING CAREER

L. Ward

Guardian, Jan. 1st 2002, p.3

Interim research results from the Institute for Public Policy Research indicate a marked trended of fewer graduates of Oxbridge and other heading institutions entering teaching than those of other universities. There are hints that careers officers may be steering bright students away from teaching.

BULLIES WILL BE EXPELLED FOR GOOD

G. McSmith

Daily Telegraph, Jan 16th 2002, p.1

Reports a change in government policy on school exclusions. Pupils taking weapons to school will now be expelled for a first offense. Bullies will also be expelled, with no right of appeal. This approach contrasts with the policy pursued by the previous Education Secretary David Blunkett. He thought that too many pupils were being expelled and urged the use of this punishment only as a last resort.

(See also Guardian, Jan. 16th 2002, p.1; Times, Jan. 16th 2002, p.1; and DFES draft guidance)

THE COMPOSITION OF SPECIALIST SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND: TRACK RECORD AND FUTURE PROSPECT

S. Gorard and C. Taylor

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.365-381

The specialist schools programme is currently seen by government as a way of raising standards in comprehensive schools and of meeting the local needs of parents for diversity and excellence. Article shows that if these advantages occur, they may do so at a cost in terms of inclusion. The existing specialist schools have shown a tendency to take proportionately fewer children from poor families over time, especially where these schools control their own admissions. If this trend continues it will exacerbate pre-existing social and economic segregation in the education system.

COUNCIL LEADER TO BE CHIEF INSPECTOR OF SCHOOLS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Jan. 7th 2002, p.6

Announces the appointment of David Bell, chief executive of Bedfordshire County Council, as the new head of Ofsted. He is an enthusiastic Labour Party supporter.

(See also Times, Jan. 7th 2002, p.2; Daily Telegraph, Jan. 7th 2002, p.2; Guardian, Jan. 7th 2002, p.2)

CRACKDOWN FAILS TO LOWER TRUANCY RATE

S. Cassidy

Independent, Dec 21st 2001, p.8

Article discusses the amount of learning time lost by children who play truant. About fifty thousand children a day are skipping school in England despite a £174m crackdown. Article goes on to discuss how much time is lost each year and what David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, has proposed in order to reduce truancy by a third.

THE DELIVERY OF CAREERS EDUCATION AND GUIDANCE IN SCHOOLS

M. Morris, M. Rickinson and D. Davies

Nottingham: Department for Education and Skills, 2001 (Research report; 296)

Concludes that careers advice has been focused on low achievers at the expense of students of average ability and the most able. This has led to an increase in drop-outs from post-16 academic courses, due to insufficient support for bright and average - ability students, with consequent poor decision-making. A great deal of careers advisers' time is currently spent tracking down young people who are hard to help, with levels of success that are generally not commensurate with the effort involved. Report also found careers advice to be good in less than one in three schools, with more than two thirds showing major deficits in their ability to offer advice.

DOES THE CODE OF PRACTICE HELP SECONDARY SENCOS TO IMPROVE LEARNING?

T. Lingard

British Journal of Special Education, vol.28. 2001, p.187-190

Argues that while the 2001 version of the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational needs is clear and logical in theory, in practice it creates a massive and unwieldy bureaucracy. In many instances the Code hinders rather than promotes learning, as completing the paperwork becomes an end in itself.

EDUCATION BILL 2001

London: TSO, 2001 (HL Bill 51)

Among the key measures proposed are:

  • giving ministers powers to suspend curricular and other legal requirements to offer schools more scope for innovation;
  • freeing schools deemed successful from all such constraints;
  • allowing schools to form companies offering educational or other community services such as post offices;
  • twinning of a failing school with a more successful neighbour in order to raise its performance;
  • allowing private companies and voluntary organisations to bid against local authorities to set up new schools;
  • giving ministers powers to remove failing schools from local authority control and bring in private management; and
  • requiring faith schools to link with neighbours for joint teaching

ENGLISH 'BAC' TO OFFER BROADER CURRICULUM

G. Owen

The Times, Jan. 11th 2002, p.11

Plans for an "English baccalaureate" are being drawn up by the government as part of an overhaul of the school curriculum. In an attempt to respond to criticism of a narrow curriculum, a new certificate based loosely on the French model, is proposed. This would reward excellence at a variety of subjects of subjects and operate alongside GCSEs and A levels. The proposal will form part of a Green paper to be published at the end of the month.

FOUNDATION SCHOOLS AND ADMISSIONS: THE LOCAL DIMEN

A. Wise, L. Anderson and T. Bush

School Leadership and Management, vol.21, 2001, p.383 -385

In 1998 the Labour government passed the School Standards and Framework Act which abolished Grant Maintained schools and introduced three new categories of school: community, voluntary and foundation. The last two were to enjoy much of the autonomy of GM schools, particularly with respect to admissions. Article reports the findings of a study which gathered the perceptions of heads, governors and senior staff about admissions issues in 11 foundation schools after their first full term in their new status.

IS BOARDING THE ONLY OPTION?

L. Ward, D. Abbott and J. Morris

Community Care, Dec. 13th - Jan. 9th 2002, p.38-39

Reports views of local authorities, parents and children on the advantages and disadvantages of placement of disabled pupils in specialist boarding schools.

IS THE NATIONAL PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATION FOR HEADSHIP MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

T. Male

School Leadership and Management, vol.21. 2001, p.463-477

Reports results of a national survey of head-teachers of maintained schools in England in 1999 which tested the hypothesis that respondents who had taken the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) would feel better prepared than their predecessors for the post of head-teacher. Results suggest that the first model of the NPQH enhanced the development of four key skills in those newly appointed to headship in comparison with colleagues who had travelled alternative routes.

THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR OF EDUCATION

E. M. Batey

Education and the Law, vol. 13. 2001, p.199-214

The Labour government is keen to promote partnership between independent schools and the state sector in order to raise standards in the latter. However partnership can be used as a cover for increased statutory intervention in the independent sector and its absorption into the state "system". Article concludes with a detailed analysis of the Labour government's position regarding grammar schools.

MATHS TEACHERS HALVED SINCE 1983

G. Owen

Times, Dec. 26th 2001, p.1

A growing number of better paid jobs in the private sector are just one factor that has led to a dramatic fall in the number of maths teachers being recruited into the profession. The scale of the problem emerged in a government response to a parliamentary question. Article goes on to discuss factors such as falls in applications to maths courses and an increase in failure rates for the new maths AS level which exacerbate the situation and looks at possible solutions.

MORRIS SAYS TEACHER TARGETS MAY BE MISSED

R. Garner

Independent, Jan.17th 2002, p.9

Reports that the Education Secretary has admitted that the government cannot guarantee meeting its targets for recruiting teachers. Combined with the fact that the workforce is ageing and up to 45% will be retiring over the next 15 years , this means that schools could be facing teacher shortages indefinitely. The solution may be to recruit an army of classroom assistants, bursars, and technicians.

MORRIS TO EASE TEACHERS' WORKLOAD

W. Woodward

Guardian, Jan. 2nd 2002, p.1&6

The Education Secretary is proposing to give teachers guaranteed hours away from the classroom during the school week to allow them to prepare individually tailored lessons for every pupil. More work would have to be carried out by classroom assistants and administrative staff to make this possible. The move would require a change in teachers' contracts in England and Wales and identification of tasks they should not be expected to carry out.

(See also Times, Jan. 2nd 2002, p.2)

NEW TOP GRADE FOR A-LEVEL'S BRIGHTEST STUDENTS

G. Owen

Times, Jan.17th 2002, p.1+4

The Prime Minister's aides are pressing for the introduction of a higher A level grade (A*) which would be awarded to the top 5% of candidates in each subject. The move is said to be being resisted by education ministers who are already introducing new tests for high achieving sixth formers this year.

NOT A PROBLEM? GIRLS AND SCHOOL EXCLUSION

A. Osler

London: National Children's Bureau, 2002-03-05

Study found that the problem of misbehaviour at school among girls of every ethnic group was being neglected, leading to a disaffected generation. The problem was ignored because of low visibility; while boys tended to challenge teachers in a direct, physical way, girls were likely to play up more subtlely such as by feigning illness or psychological bullying. Results showed that while 21% of the sample of girls with behavioural problems had been permanently expelled, a further 46% were excluded either by informal suspension or by truancy. Being bullied was found to be a main reason for girls being expelled or excluding themselves through persistent truancy. Particular attention needed to be given to Afro-Caribbean girls who were four times more likely to be expelled than white young women.

NURSERY SCHOOLS "NO EXTRA LEARNING BENEFIT"

G. Owen

Times, Jan.10th 2002, p.7

Study presented to the British Psychological Society conference had followed three groups of three-year-olds from a wide variety of backgrounds. One group was introduced to basic literacy and numeracy by parents and one in a nursery school. The third group received no instruction. The children in the first group were found to have done just as well as those in the second group. The children in the third group made least progress.

PIONEERING TEACHERS TO GET LAPTOPS AND SUPPORT STAFF

R. Garner

Independent, Jan. 4th 2002, p.4

Reports that 30 "launch pad" schools are to pioneer reforms in which all teachers will be given a laptop to aid lesson preparation. Schools will also be given extra support staff who could tackle a range of tasks including standing in for teachers and helping to prepare school budgets. The innovations will be judged by where & whether or not they raise standards, not by whether they reduce teachers' workloads.

(See also Guardian, Jan. 4th 2002, p.7; Financial Times, Jan. 4th 2002, p.5; Times, Jan 4th 2002, p.6)

PROPER TALES ARE BEST FOR READING

G. Owen

The Times, Jan 11th 2002, p.11

Children who learn to read with proper books make faster progress than those reared on the Janet and John System, researchers have found. Research from the University of Warwick concludes that by the age of seven, pupils introduced to "real books" are more than six months ahead of those on schemes.

THE POTENTIAL OF PEDAGOGY/EDUCATION FOR WORK IN THE CHILDREN'S SECTOR IN THE UK

P. Petrie

Social Work in Europe, vol.8, no.3, 2001, p.23-25

Argues that work with young people needs to have the same basic aims in all settings regardless of departmental and sectional differences. Suggests that introduction of the concept of "social education" in the UK could have the potential of bringing greater coherence to policy development, practice and training.

PROVIDING FOR GIFTED AND TALENTED PUPILS: AN EVALUATION OF EXCELLENCE IN CITIES AND OTHER GRANT-FUNDED PROGRAMMES

web linkOfsted

London: 2001 (HMI: 334)

Finds that under government pressure, most comprehensive schools use rudimentary methods to pick out the top 10 % of pupils in each year group as gifted. Others identified 30-40% of pupils as gifted, an approach which risked diluting the concept of giftedness excessively. Some schools saw identification of able children as divisive and likely to lead to confrontations with parents.

THE RHYTHMS OF SCHOOLING

Independent Commission on the Organisation of the School Year

London: Local Government Association, 2001

Proposes a model under which schools in England would have six terms a year. The academic year would start in August, terms would all be roughly the same length, and pupils would sit examinations in April and May. There would be a two-week holiday in October, at least two weeks at Christmas and more than five weeks in the summer.

SCHOOL WILL TEACH IN PUPILS' OWN LANGUAGES

R. Garner

Independent, Dec. 31st 2001, p.5

White Hart Lane School in North London has pupils speaking 65 different languages between them. Under a new scheme, the school is to offer as many as possible the chance to take lessons in subjects such as maths and science in their own language instead of English.

SCHOOLS GET £44M TO EASE TEACHER SHORTAGES

R. Smithers

Guardian, Dec. 17th 2001, p.9

Reports that the government is planning to give schools in South-East England which are struggling to fill vacancies up to £44,000 each to allow them to offer potential recruits incentives such as housing subsidies and help with childcare costs.

SHIRE PUPILS LOSE OUT IN FUNDING MAZE

W. Woodward

The Guardian, Dec 28th 2001, p.5

A study by the National Association of Head Teachers reveals pupils in shire counties will have up to £1,500 less spent on each of them this year than those in some city boroughs. The big spenders are almost all London boroughs but the survey shows discrepancies even within council areas of similar types. A new funding system is due to be introduced in April 2003.

(See also Times, Dec. 28th 2001, p.11)

TESTING TIMES FOR EXAMS BOARD AS AUDITOR SENT IN

R. Smithers

Guardian, Jan.23rd 2002, p.3

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is to arrange an immediate quality audit of Edexcel. This examination board is in disgrace following a series of blunders including setting a faulty maths question and omitting a page from a communications paper.

(See also Independent, Jan.23rd 2002, p.3; Daily Telegraph, Jan.23rd 2002, p.6: Financial Times, Jan.23rd 2002, p.3)

THOSE WHO CAN, TEACH BUT ONLY IF YOU MAKE IT WORTH THEIR WHILE

P. Collins

Times, Jan.3rd 2002, p.16

Argues that appealing to public duty will not attract well qualified graduates to teaching as a career. Instead, pay and working conditions need to be improved.

TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE LEARN: A VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF ICT IN SCHOOLS

Department for Education and Skills

2002

Presents a vision of the school of the future where children will be able to learn at their own speed using online lessons while remaining in classes with pupils their own age. New schools will be built with larger, flexible learning areas that can be used by all ages around the clock, broadband access and online links between home and classroom.

UNCONSCIOUS LEARNING

S. McNichol

Young People Now, no.153, 2002, p.24-25

Research shows that young people can develop a wide range of social, academic and practical skills through hobbies and leisure activities. Teachers need to be aware of, and to exploit, opportunities available to pupils for informal learning in their local areas.

UNIONS REJECT "INDUSTRY TEACHER" SCHEME

M. Kite

Times, Dec. 28th 2001, p.11

Government plans to use volunteers from business to teach modules of the new vocational GCSEs have been strongly criticised by teaching unions.

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