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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2003): Education - UK - Schools

£459m EXERCISE TO HALT DETERIORATION IN CHILDREN'S FITNESS

P Kelso

The Guardian, December 17th 2002, p.8.

Article asks whether the £459 programme for school sports ends decades of under investment, which had disastrous effects for the health and fitness of Britain's six million school children.

ATTITUDE PROBLE

D Birlatt

Guardian Education, December 10th 2002, p.2-3.

The authors finds that despite legislation many schools still discriminate against special needs pupils.

BLACK PUPILS 'FAILING UNDER PRESSURE FROM PEERS

R Garner

The Independent, December 9th 2002, p.7.

Black youngsters often fail at school because of a culture among their peers in which it is "uncool" to work hard, according to one of the country's best known black academics. Tony Sewell of the University of Leeds School of Education will tell a conference on the under-performance of black pupils that he believes "peer-pressure" is the biggest barrier to learning.

CASH FOR SCHOOLS TIED TO FURTHER REFORM

R Smithers

The Guardian, December 10th 2002, p.11.

New cash for schools will be dependent upon further reforms the Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, told MPs yesterday as he set out details of the government's £12.8bn spending plans over the next three years.

(See also The Times, December 10th 2002, p.1; Financial Times, December 10th 2002, p.4).

CHALLENGE OF GETTING SUMS RIGH

R Smithers

The Guardian, December 9th 2002, p.14.

Improving primary school standards is a key part of the government's public service pledges. As part of the Guardian's long term investigation into whether targets are being met, the newspaper returns to the classrooms of Enfield.

CHANGE IN CHARITIES LAW 'THREAT TO SCHOOLS

L Lightfoot

The Daily Telegraph, December 30th 2002, p.9.

Many small schools will have to close if the Government introduces legislation requiring them to justify their charitable status, the independent school bodies said today. The rest will no longer be able to help parents with fees through bursaries.

CLARKE TO DOUBLE POLICE PATROLS AROUND SCHOOL

T Halpin

Times, December 13th 2002, p.10.

In an attempt to crackdown on anti-social behaviour the number of police officers patrolling schools is to be doubled. The article goes on to discuss moves to strengthen head teachers' powers against violent and disruptive pupils.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF DISABILITY? THOUGHTS ON A CHANGING CULTUR

G Mackay

British Journal of Special Education; vol. 29, 2002, p.159-163.

Article offers an analysis of five ways in which the notion of disability, and the practical reality of our responses to it, are being unhelpfully removed from the educational arena. While all can strive to promote inclusion, no-one's interests are served if the implications of individuals' difficulties are simply ignored. This trend may reduce the capacity of people with marked disabilities to attract additional or appropriate

FIRST SCHOOL GRANTED 'POWER TO INNOVATE'

J Kelly

Financial Times, December 20th 2002, p.4.

The first school in the country to be given the power to side-step the law and rearrange the academic day has been named by Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary. Langley Junior, near Plymouth, will become the first school to use the so-called "power to innovate" clause in the new Education Act.

GETTING STAFF IS THE KEY PROBLE

R Smithers

The Guardian, December 6th 2002, p.14

The difficulty in recruiting and retaining top quality teaching staff is the biggest single obstacle to London schools meeting their education targets in the next few years. The article looks at the problem in the London Borough of Enfield.

HEADS PROTEST AT HAVING TO FINE TRUANTS PARENT

L Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, December 13th, 2002, p.7.

The government has announced that fixed penalty notices will be handed out to the parents of persistent truants in an attempt to improve attendance and discipline in schools in England and Wales. Many head teachers feel that such a move could undermine the establishment of a constructive relationship with parents, however reckless and irresponsible they may be.

(See also Independent, December 13th 2002, p.10; Guardian, December 13th 2002, p.10.)

HOME FRON

S Cook

Guardian Education, December 10th 2002, p.2-3

There is a boom in home education and the author asks, with parents opting out of school-run education in their tens of thousands, will the system decide to clamp down - or change?

INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS FOR PUPILS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS: REVIEW OF INSPECTIONS 1999-2002

Ofsted

2002. (HMI; 785)

Independent schools for special needs pupils offer satisfactory education, but management is often poor. Many heads are given insufficient freedom by proprietors to plan and manage effectively.

INQUIRY INTO A LEVEL STANDARDS: FINAL REPORT

M Tomlinson

Prolog: 2002

Acknowledges that there is no "secure foundation" for grading A-levels and no means of knowing whether standards are being maintained from year to year. In order to improve this position he recommends:

  • recruiting more examiners and improving their training;
  • changing the statutory code of practice to ensure that "a more appropriate balance" is struck between examiners' judgements of the quality of candidates' work and previous years' results;
  • reducing the number of times candidates can retake exam modules;
  • drawing up a "memorandum of understanding" by the Department for Education, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), and the exam boards to establish clear lines of accountability;
  • the QCA to set up an independent committee to advise it on standards;
  • allowing extra time for A-level marking.

Also recommends the decoupling of A2s and AS-levels to make the separate qualifications, and calls for changes to the school year to allow selection for university on the basis of actual rather than predicted results.

LABOUR SIGNALS END TO GRAMMAR SCHOOLS WITH REVIEW OF 11-PLUS

R Garner

Independent, December 12th 2002, p.1.

The Education Secretary has signalled an end to grammar schools by telling all education authorities that have kept selective schools that they should review their admissions procedures. Recent research from York University has shown that pupils make more progress overall in areas with comprehensive schools than in those that retain selective education. Education Authorities which retain grammar schools should now review their practice from the point of view of education standards.

(See also Guardian, December 12th 2002, p.5).

MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS AGENC

E Clarence

Public Administration, vol. 80, 2002, p.791-803.

The Scottish Qualifications Agency is responsible for overseeing school-based qualifications in Scotland. However in 2000 it failed to produced either timely or accurate exam results. Article uses the incident to explore the responsibility and accountability structures linking non-departmental public bodies to government ministers.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME? A RESPONSE TO THE AUDIT COMMISSIONS REPORT ON STATUTORY ASSESSMENT AND STATEMENTS OF SE

L Florian

British Journal of Special Educational Needs, vol. 29, 2002, p.184-168.

Article provides a response to some of the issues raised in a pre-publication summary of the Audit Commission report on statutory assessment and statements of special educational needs.

PARENTS REVEAL TORMENT OF SPECIAL NEEDS PUPIL

L Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, December 12th 2002, p.10.

Announces the formation of a pressure group to campaign against the closure of special schools. Parents claim that many children with learning difficulties are unable to cope in mainstream schools. However government policy favours inclusive education.

PUPILS' WORK HARMED BY RELIANCE ON SUPPLY STAF

S Cassidy

Independent. December 16th 2002, p.7.

A report published by the chief inspector of schools warns that teacher shortages are forcing schools to rely on "unsatisfactory" supply staff who are having an adverse effect on pupils' work and behaviour. This article goes on to discuss the report's findings in more detail.

(See also Daily Telegraph, December 16th 2002, p.9; Guardian, December 16th 2002, p.1).

ROLE MODELS LOST AS MEN GIVE TEACHING A MIS

T Halpin

The Times, December 20th 2002; p.9.

The proportion of male teacher trainees, always low in primary schools, is now falling rapidly in secondary schools. With half of male teachers over 45, men will be replaced mostly by women in the next 10-15 years.

SCHOOL CONSIGNS BC AND AD TO HISTOR

D Sapsted

Daily Telegraph, December 13th, 2002, p.7.

A secondary school has banned pupils from using the terms BC and AD because they are considered unsuitable in a multi-faith society.

SCHOOL MEALS POLICY: THE PROBLEM WITH GOVERNING CHILDRE

U Gustafsson

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 36, 2002, p.685-697.

Paper outlines the history of school meals policy in England and Wales in terms of its nutritional focus. Notes a shift from concerns over the sheer lack of food to concerns over excesses in children's diets. Then seeks to locate school meals policies within a broader social policy context. Traces a change in emphasis from the overt control of a population to forms of governance run on more participative lines. Finally seeks to elucidate the role and function of children in the policy process through a re-examination of the relationship between the state, families and children.

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS: A MAINSTREAM ISSU

Audit Commission

London: 2002.

Report looks at how well the education system is serving children with special educational needs (SEN). It considers identification of SEN, the presence of children with SEN in mainstream schools, the participation of children with SEN in the life of their schools, and whether or not they are able to reach their potential. Report also considers the role that special schools will continue to play in the spectrum of SEN provision.

TEACHERS OPPOSE UNQUALIFIED COVE

W Woodward

The Guardian, December 18th 2002, p.11.

Almost 80% of the members of the largest teaching union reject government proposals to allow classroom assistants to cover for absent teachers, according to a survey by the National Union of Teachers.

TWILGHT FOR THE ZONE

R Evans

Guardian Education, December 3rd 2002, p.4.

Article asks why the government has quietly abandoned its Education Action Zones after five years. EAZs were an attempt to improve on the substandard education that the government believed children in Britain's neediest communities were receiving. The author relates how EAZs were failed by vested interests and over ambitious expectations.

WEAK HEADTEACHERS TO BE GIVEN "LEADERSHIP LESSONS

R Garner

Independent, December 5th 2002, p.6.

Part of the blame for poor literacy and numeracy standards in primary schools lies with weak leadership by headteachers. The Standards and Effectiveness Unit at the Department of Education and Skills is responding by developing training programmes focussing on leadership and improving staff performance.

(See also Guardian, December 5th 2002, p.12).

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