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

£130,000 TO TRAIN EACH GRADUATE ON A HIGH-FLYER COURSE

G. Owen

The Times, January 2nd 2003, p.8

A scheme to attract the brightest graduates into teaching has cost £130,000 for every recruit to the classroom. The £14 million fast track programme, launched three years ago has so far only 110 new teachers. The investment amounts to ten times the normal cost produced training.

A-LEVEL DISTINCTION PLAN DROPPED AFTER PROTESTS

L. Lightfoot

The Daily Telegraph, January 7th 2003, p.1

The Government has dropped its plan to introduce a new distinction award at A-level because of fears that it would devalue other grades. Ministers had planned to discriminate among the rising number of pupils gaining A grades.

ANOTHER STRATEGIC MISSILE

W. Berliner

Guardian Education, January 14th 2003, p. 3-4

The article looks at how primary teachers, already suffering from 'initiative overload', welcome the latest numeracy and literacy policy.

BEHAVIOURAL EXPERTS TO BE SENT INTO SCHOOLS

S. Cassidy

The Independent, January 7th 2003, p.1

Behavioural consultants are to be sent into secondary schools as part of a drive to eliminate disruptive pupils. From September a national network of behaviour experts will show teachers how to control anti-social students. Schools will also be urged to re-examine the timing of the school day to minimise the opportunities for disruptive behaviour.

BOARDING SCHOOLS: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS [AND] INSPECTION REGULATIONS

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2002

These standards are to be used by the National Care Standards Commission in the welfare inspection of boarding schools. They cover:

  • organisation and management;
  • welfare policies and procedures;
  • staffing;
  • premises.

CHIEF SCHOOLS INSPECTOR CRITICISES 'SELECTIVE' KENT

W. Woodward

The Guardian, January 17th 2003, p.9

Charles Clark, the Education Secretary, yesterday put further pressure on grammar schools by issuing a critical report pointing to academic underachievement in Kent, the most selective county for education in England.

See also (Financial Times, January 17th 2003, p. 4; The Times, January 17th 2003, p. 13)

DRIVE TO PERSUADE PUPILS TO STAY ON AFTER 16

W. Woodward

The Guardian, January 22nd 2003, p. 8

Far-reaching reforms of the post-14 curriculum including more work based learning and the end of compulsory modern languages, could ultimately lead to the scrapping of A-levels and GCSEs under proposals unveiled yesterday by the government. Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, said the package would be designed to persuade students not to leave after GCSEs but stay on for further education.

(See also The Times, January 22nd 2003, p. 2; Financial Times, January 22nd 2003, p.4)

EXAM CHIEF WARNS OF NEW A-LEVEL CRISIS THIS SUMMER

R. Garner

The Independent, January 31st 2003, p. 1

The Head of the Government of exams watchdog said yesterday he could not guarantee the safe running of this summer's AS-level, A-level and GCSE exams. Ken Boston, Chief Executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said that the country's exam system was "Dickensian" and "not sustainable".

FRESH PUSH TO RAISE PRIMARY STANDARDS

R. Smithers and W. Woodward

Guardian, Jan. 9th 2003, p. 7

Reports government plans to merge the national literacy and numeracy strategies to give fresh impetus to the drive to raise standards in primary schools. The literacy strategy has failed to deliver improvements in reading and writing scores in national tests for the past three years. At the same time, heads and their deputies are to be given extra training to help them improve their schools performance. There will also be an emphasis on training teachers in phonics to help improve pupils' reading.

GAP BETWEEN BEST AND WORST SECONDARY SCHOOLS 'IS GROWING'

R. Garner

The Independent, January 7th 2003, p. 2

The gap between the best performing secondary schools and the worst performing is growing, according to Mike Tomlinson, a former Chief Schools Inspector. Rising GCSE and A-level pass rates had masked the 30,000 children who failed exams every year, about one in 20. A further 10,000 aged 14 to 16 quite school every year.

GCSE FAILURES WARNING

A. Akwagyiram

The Guardian, January 13th 2003, p. 8

Most pupils do not achieve good GCSE grades in English, mathematics or science. Over 300,000 teenagers were unable to gain at least a grade C in those three "core subjects" last summer - and just 39% of 16 years olds passed all three subjects with good grades. The findings raise doubts over the government success in improving education standards.

(See also The Times, January 13th 2003, p. 1)

'GIVE STAFF PERKS' IN TOUGH SCHOOLS

W. Woodward

The Guardian, January 8th 2003, p. 6

Loyalty bonuses, sabbaticals and extra administrative support should be given to teachers in the toughest schools to persuade them that working in such places is "the pinnacle of a professional career", the head of the teaching watchdog, the General Teaching Council for England, said yesterday.Carol Adams urged the move after a Mori survey revealed teachers most bothered by poor pupil behaviour were the most likely to leave the profession.

GOVERNMENT STICKS WITH 1BN SCHOOLS REFORM PLAN

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Jan 9th 2003, p. 4

The National Union of Teachers is refusing to sign up to a package of school reforms that would include the introduction of 50,000 teaching assistants into classrooms by 2006. The deal would release £350m in government funding to support the reforms in 2003/04 alone.

(See also The Times, January 9th 2003, p. 4; Daily Telegraph, January 9th 2003, p. 8)

GRAMMAR SCHOOLS 'GET THE BEST OUT OF THEIR PUPILS'

J. Kelly

Financial Times, January 3rd 2003, p. 5

Grammar schools, under attack from opponents of selection, score a surprise success in the first national league tables to rank schools by their ability to get the best out of pupils. Value-added tables suggest selection is a help during 'early years'.

IS EDUCATION READY FOR THE INCLUSION OF PUPILS WITH EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL DIFFICULTIES: A RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE?

J. Visser and S. Stokes

Educational Review, vol. 5, 2003, p. 65-75

Paper examines the legal framework in England and Wales with respect to the inclusion of pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) in mainstream schools. Drawing upon illustrations from case law, authors suggest that conflicting rights and legal preferences result in segregative provision being more prevalent for pupils with EBD. There are inadequate legal provisions to assist in the inclusion of pupils with EBD in mainstream schools.

MANAGING URBAN SCHOOLS: LEADING FROM THE FRONT

J. Donnelly

London: Kogan Page, 2003

Examining how urban and city schools need to operate and how they need to be led, the author outlines the key issues of concern to all urban school leaders. It covers issues such as : the state of urban schools today; the personal qualities required of urban school leaders; building confidence within the school and reinforcing success; forming a meaningful school development plan; creating a leadership culture throughout the school; managing and marketing success; the role of the community and the importance of environment; ICT in school management; the role of government; and the future of urban school

MODERNISING GOVERNANCE: THE IMPACT ON POLICY AND RESEARCH COMMUNITIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

S. Harris

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 12, 2002, p. 319-333

Article explores the impact of the UK government's modernising agenda on professionals working in the policy and research arenas, focusing on "joining up policy" as a case study. Concludes that research is being redefined and effectively reduced to providing "evidence" of "what works". Policy is driven by consumer and economic interests and implemented through a target setting managerialism.

MOVING FORWARD: ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR LEARNING

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: TSO, 2003

Sets out strategy for meeting the needs of children who require additional support for learning. It locates the relevant policies within the national priorities for education and the wider commitment to integrated services.

NUT REJECTS £IBN CLASSROOM REFORMS

T Halpin

The Times, January 10th 2003, p. 4

The National Union of Teachers rejected the Government's attempt to reform working practices yesterday when its ruling executive voted unanimously not to agree to allow classroom assistants to take lessons in place of teachers.

OFSTED AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: TEACHERS' PERCEPTIONS OF THE INSPECTION PROCESSES IN SCHOOLS FACING CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES

C. Chapman

School Leadership and Management, vol. 22, 2002, p. 257-272

Article reports preliminary findings from an ongoing study investigating teachers' views of Ofsted as a mechanism for improving secondary schools in challenging contexts. Findings suggest that the main aim of leaders of schools facing challenging circumstances is to avoid being placed on Special Measures or identified as having Serious Weaknesses. This leads to the adoption of short-term quick fixes rather than to long-term attempts to build capacity. At the classroom level, there is significant resistance among teachers to changing their work practices in response to Ofsted recommendations.

POOR TEACHERS SHOULD BE EASED OUT

J. Clare

The Daily Telegraph, January 28th 2003, p. 1

Bad teachers should be helped to "leave their post with dignity", David Millband, the Schools Minister said yesterday. He also said there were too many poor teachers and too many incompetent heads.

"POP SCIENCE" FOR ALL PUPILS IN RADICAL PLAN FOR SCHOOL SYLLABUS

S. Cassidy

Independent, Jan 9th 2003, p. 1 + 13

Reports that government is planning to replace the traditional science curriculum in schools with a new "core curriculum" focusing on topical issues such as cloning and genetically modified foods. The changes come in response to criticisms from the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee that traditional school science is boring. Supplementary courses on traditional science subjects will be available for pupils who want to study along orthodox academic lines.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS REVISE EXAMS TO LURE STATE PUPILS

G. Owen

The Times, January 20th 2003, p. 4

Independent Schools are introducing changes to their entrance tests, in response to pressure to take pupils from a wider range of social backgrounds. Questions in the Common Entrance paper are being remodelled to be more accessible to children who did not attend preparatory schools.

A QUARTER OF MATHS TEACHERS ARE UNQUALIFIED

G. Owen

The Times, January 10th 2003, p. 4

A survey by the Open University has found that nearly one in four maths teachers in secondary schools have no relevant qualifications for the job. The findings highlight the growing shortage of staff in the subject. During the past 20 years the number of maths teachers has dropped from more than 40,000 to slightly more than 20,000.

RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL SCHOOLS: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS [AND] INSPECTION REGULATIONS

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2002

These standards are to be used by the National Care Standards Commission in the welfare inspection of residential special schools. The standards cover:

  • children's rights;
  • child protection;
  • quality and planning of care;
  • staffing;
  • organisation and management.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT FOR SCHOOLS FACING CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES: A REVIEW OF RESEARCH AND PRACTICE

D. Potter, D. Reynolds and C. Chapman

School Leadership and Management, vol. 22, 2002, p. 243-256

Paper reviews the literature on "what works" in school improvement. The review is located within the paradigm of "third wave" principles and practices which are outlined as a commitment to capacity building in schools, to instructional effectiveness and to contextual specificity. It proceeds to outline the practices that appear to be necessary, in terms of organisation, culture, leadership and ethics to improve the effectiveness of schools facing challenging circumstances.

SCHOOLS FACE ULTIMATUM: DO BETTER OR CLOSE

R. Smithers

The Guardian, January 23rd 2003, p. 10

Secondary schools in England which consistently produce the worst GCSE results are to be issued with an ultimatum to improve or be closed next year. However teachers and opposition MPs branded the annual secondary school performance tables, on whose figures closures will be based, as "crude and confusing" for parents.

See also (The Independent, January 23rd 2003, p. 8)

SCHOOLS 'NEED OMBUDSMAN' TO RESTORE FAITH IN EDUCATION

R. Garner

The Independent, January 2nd 2003, p. 1

Parents need an independent ombudsman if their faith in exams and the schools system is to be restored, according to Mike Tomlinson the man who led the official enquiry into the Summer 2002 A-Level fiasco.

STATE SCHOOLS 'SHORT CHANGED' ON STAFF

T. Halpin

The Times, January 10th 2003, p. 4

Children at independent schools are seven times more likely to be taught by teachers with degrees from Oxford or Cambridge than are pupils in State Schools. Fifty-four per cent of Oxford graduates who are teachers work in fee-paying schools, even though the independent sector employs only 13 per cent of teachers overall.

TEACHERS FROM FRANCE TO TAKE PRIMARY CLASSES

R. Garner

The Independent, January 24th 2003, p. 4

Teachers from France are to travel to Britain to improve language teaching in primary schools. This will increase the number of French teaching assistants and full-time teachers working in British schools as part of the government's plans to give every seven-year-old the right to learn a language by the end of the decade.

See also The Guardian, January 24th 2003, p. 11)

TEACHING AND TARGETS: SELF-EVALUATION AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

J. Blanchard

London: Routledge Falmer, 2002.

By exploring target setting from both the teachers' and pupils' point of view, this book investigates the role of assessment in successful teaching and learning. It looks at ethos, teaching and targets; formative assessment and targets; whole-school targets and improvement; and using targets in special schools.

TEACHING REFORMS PAVE WAY FOR CLASSES OF 60

T. Halpin

The Times, January 16th 2003, p. 8

Children could be taught in classes of up to 60 pupils under a "historic" agreement to modernise the teaching profession. The £1 billion reform deal includes powers for schools to place a single teacher, supported by classroom assistants, in charge "of a double-sized group of pupils" so that other teachers can mark work and prepare for lessons. The National Union of Teachers accused ministers returning schools to the Victorian era.

See also (The Independent, January 16th 2003, p. 1; The Guardian, January 16th 2003, p. 7)

A THIRD OF TEACHERS 'WILL LEAVE BY 2008'

R Garner

The Independent, January 7th 2003, p. 4

More than one third of teachers say they will have quit the profession within five years, a Mori Poll published today reveals. They cite increasing workload and pupil behaviour for wanting to leave their jobs. The findings would mean 140,000 teachers walking out by 2008, threatening the Government's drive to raise standards.

See also (Financial Times, January 7th 2003, p. 1; The Guardian, January 7th 2003, p. 1)

WE DON'T WANT NO EDUCATION

R. Winchester

Community Care, Jan. 23rd-29th 2003, p. 26-27

Argues that government initiatives to reduce truancy are set to fail because they do not address the underlying reasons why children skip school. Truancy may be related to the present regime of constant testing and evaluation in schools. Children who are not academically gifted or who are lagging behind end up demoralised and stigmatised. They respond by skipping lessons.

WHAT LIES UNDERNEATH? AN INTER-ORGANISATIONAL ANALYSIS OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN EDUCATION AND SOCIAL WORK

N. Farmakopoulou

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 32, 2002, p. 1051-1066

Paper draws upon a qualitative study that examined inter-professional and inter-agency collaboration in special educational needs assessments. It is shown that collaborative activities in this field continue to be limited in extent and poor in quality. Paper explores the reasons for this by adopting an integrated theoretical approach (social exchange model, power/resource dependency model and political economy model.)

WHITE WASH

P. Revell

Guardian Education, January 14th 2003, p. 4-5

It's three years since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry identified institutional racism as a major problem in British society, and two year since Ofsted said that schools were failing to combat the problem of ethnic minority underachievement. But the government still has no idea how many black and Asian teachers work in Britain's schools.

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