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

£4,000 OFFER FAILS TO STEM MATHS TEACHER CRISIS

R. Garner

The Independent, August 6th 2003, p.10

The introduction of a £4,000 "golden hello" three years ago has failed to stop the crisis in maths teaching in secondary schools. There are 20 per cent, or 320, fewer trainees than 6 years ago when academics first began keeping recruitment statistics

ACHIEVEMENT AT KEY STAGE FOUR OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN PUBLIC CARE

F. Fletcher-Campbell and T. Archer

London: Department for Education and Skills, 2003 (Research report; 434)

Report is based on a study of 377 children in care in 2001 from twelve local authorities, a third of whom had a special educational needs statement. Highlights the gulf between looked after children's academic performance and that of the mainstream school population, and identifies factors that can affect their academic attainment.

EXAM CHIEF APPEALS TO REFROMERS NOT TO WRITE OFF A-LEVELS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, August 6th 2003, p.3

The country's top exam regulator has appealed to reformers not to scrap the A-level in a rush to introduce a Continental style system of secondary school tests. Ken Boston, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, has mounted a defence of the 'gold standard' of English education.

GRADUATES TO BE PAID £150 A WEEK TO TRAIN AS TEACHERS AS SHORTAGES BITE

R. Garner

The Independent, August 8th 2003, p.9

Graduates will be paid £150 a week to train as teachers in subjects such as maths and science under The Teacher Training Agency Project, to be launched by the government in the new year.

LEARNING WITH CARE: THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER AWAY FROM HOME BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN SCOTLAND

K. Maclean and M. Gunion

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 27, no.2, 2003, p.20-31

Article outlines the findings of a recent inspection of the educational experiences of looked after children in Scotland. It considers:

  • assessment; care planning and review;
  • attendance arrangements;
  • progress, attainment and support for learning;
  • personal and social development; carers' support for learning;
  • working in partnership;
  • policies, management and quality assurance.

MATHS A-LEVEL COURSE TO BE MADE EASIER

J. Kelly

Financial Times, August 6th 2003, p.1

The maths A-level is to be made easier amid falling candidate numbers and fears that the subject could disappear. Exam regulators will announce a new design for the course, with more time for pure maths and fewer options in applied maths.

ONE IN FOUR PRIMARY PUPILS FAILS TESTS FOR READING AND MATHS

R. Garner

The Independent, August 20th 2003, p.6

A Government campaign to drive up school standards has failed, with a quarter of primary pupils still missing targets for reading and arithmetic. Results in English tests for 11-year-olds published yesterday showed that standards had stagnated for three years while in maths they had remained the same for the past two.

(See also The Guardian, August 20th 2003, p. 10; Financial Times, August 20th 2003, p. 5; The Times, August 20th 2003, p.8)

PASS RATE SOARS AS PUPILS CHASE 'EASY' A LEVELS

T. Halpin and G. Owen

The Times, August 14th 2003, p.1

Students are shunning traditional academic subjects in favour of less demanding A levels to help them with places at university, a head teacher said on the day the pass rate reached a record 95.4 per cent. In what he termed "a hidden scandal", headteacher John Durnford, said that a boom in entries for psychology and media studies was caused by students seeking easier courses.

(See also The Financial Times, August 14th 2003, p.3; The Independent, August 14th 2003, p.1; The Guardian, August 14th 2003, p.1 and The Daily Telegraph, August 14th 2003, p.1)

PRIMARIES DEFY RELENTLESS RISE IN SCHOOL STANDARDS

J. McHugh

Public Finance, Aug.22nd-Sept.4th 2003, p.13

Numbers of 11-year-olds meeting the government's required standards for English and mathematics have failed to rise in 2003, destroying ministers' hopes of getting these figures up to the 85% target by 2004.

PUPILS WILL FACE BIGGER CLASSES IN CASH CRISIS

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, Aug.29th 2003, p.9

Survey shows that due to the funding crisis in schools, more than 700 secondary teachers have been made redundant and 2,700 posts have been left unfilled. A further 1,152 support workers have not been replaced and 301 have been made redundant. There has been widespread use of fundraising and requests for parental donations to make up budget shortfalls.

(See also Times, Aug.29th 2003, p.2; Independent, Aug. 29th 2003, p.8)

PUT TO THE TEST

P. Curtis

Guardian Education, August 12th 2003, p.1-2

Article asks if has public confidence been restored after last year's exam debacle? A whole new management structure has been put in place and new guidelines have been issued for markers. Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, says the rigour of this year's marking will be reflected in a drop in appeals; he predicts "very few" appeals against marks.

RETREAT OVER THREAT TO CLOSE SCHOOLS

W. Woodward

The Guardian, August 18th 2003, p.1

The government has stepped back from a central element in its drive to turn around under-performing schools - the threat to close all schools in England which fail to meet the minimum target for GCSE passes for the third consecutive year. Whitehall sources now admit that poor results in 2003's GCSEs will no longer trigger automatic shutdown. Instead a combination of more resources and better management will try to improve performance.

SCHOOLS FREE TO DROP 'TOO EASY' GCSEs

T. Halpin

The Times, August 11th 2003, p.1

Schools are free to abandon GCSEs completely if they wish to, according to the head of the Government's examination watchdog. Ken Boston said he was happy to let head teachers decide whether teenagers should take GCSEs.

SCHOOLS OF HOPE: A NEW AGENDA FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

T. Wrigley

Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2003

The drive to improve schools is high on government agendas, but:

  • what do we really want from our children?
  • Is education mainly about meeting higher targets, or is it about developing socially responsible, creative and enthusiastic learners?

This book is a stringent critique of the school effectiveness and improvement movement. Drawing on research about curriculum, learning, intelligence, community, equality and inclusion, it offers a new vision of school development, illustrated with examples from across the world.

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS: TEACHING AND LEARNING IN THE EARLY YEARS

R. A. Wilson

London: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003

This book is a practical guide to teaching children with special educational needs. This revised edition takes into account current changes in educational policy. It addresses issues such as the nature and causes of particular disabilities, intervention and assessment, working with families, planning individualised objectives, and instructional strategies. Case study examples and practical suggestions are also included.

SUPPORTING IN 21ST CENTURY BRITAIN, 2ND EDITION

J. Rutter

Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2003

Since the first edition was published in 2001 two important Acts have altered the prospects of refugee children. The first is the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000), which came into force April 2002, the second the new Asylum Act. This book has been revised and updated to take into account changes in the law and developments in educational practice. As well as the legal framework, part 1 identifies good practice in educational provision for pupils from refugee communities. Part 2 provides detailed accounts of the background of 35 of the major refugee groups in Britain, including Albanians, Eastern European Roma, Iraqi Kurds and people from the former Soviet Union.

TEACHING BONUS SCHEME SCRAPPED

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 29th, 2003, p.9

The Schools Minister has announced the abolition of the School Achievement Awards scheme that provided staff in schools which improved pupil performance with financial rewards.

(See also Guardian, Aug.29th 2003, p.15)

UNDERACHIEVEMENT IN SCHOOLS

A. West and H. Pennell

London: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003

Under achievement among particular groups of pupils has been a persistent problem for many years. This book explores the many facets of underachievement and the reasons why it may occur. The authors highlight ways in which schools and policy makers might increase achievement through changes in policy and practice. Some of the topics considered are:

  • What is underachievement?
  • Social background and achievement
  • School structures and achievement
  • Raising attainment - case studies of successful schools
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