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

£100m TO IMPROVE SCHOOL TESTS

L. Lightfoot

The Daily Telegraph, November 18th 2003, p.2

A new Quango to oversee school tests and examinations was announced yesterday as part of a £100m modernisation programme. Examiners will be paid more money, receive better training and belong to a new professional institute of examiners, said Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary. Under the plan the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) will lose its powers over school tests to the new agency and concentrate on its regulatory role, checking standards are maintained.

ADMISSIONS IMPOSSIBLE

F. Millar

Guardian Education, November 11th 2003, p.2-3

The author, chair of governors at a North London primary school, looks at the underlying state of school admissions - and the many contradictions resulting from successive governments' seeking to reconcile parental "choice" with over-subscription and local schools for local people. The result of which, she believes, is neither coherent nor fair.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

R. Smithers

Guardian Education, November 25th 2003, p.2-3

Could the first school in the country for the entire 3-16 age range become a model for improving student performance in tough areas? The article looks at the Hinde House School in Sheffield, England's first school for the entire 3-16 age range, and asks if one size really can fit all?

BAC TO BASICS

C. Ryan

Public Finance, Nov. 14th-20th, 2003 p. 32-33

Government is considering replacing A-levels with a baccalaureate style examination. This would measure the ability of students from foundation (pre-GCSE) to advanced level, spanning the full range of ability of 14-19 year olds in secondary schools and colleges and requiring sixth formers to continue studying core subjects alongside specialist options.

DEAF PUPILS' VIEWS ON INCLUSION IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS

A. Iantaffi, J. Jarvis and I. Sinka

Deafness and Education International, Vol. 5, 2003, p.144-156

Research documents deaf pupils' experience of education in mainstream schools in England. Article concludes with recommendations, based on research findings, on:

  • the role of deaf peers and adults;
  • the role of teachers of the deaf;
  • mainstream teachers' classroom strategies;
  • management of equipment and noise in mainstream classrooms;
  • the value of peer support.

EARLY LEARNING, FORWARD THINKING: THE POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR ICT IN EARLY YEARS

2003 Learning and Teaching Scotland

Provides details on how information and communications technologies can enhance and support the development and learning of children aged 3 to 5 years, providing them with a secure foundation on which they can build. The framework will also inform the planning and delivery of training on the potential uses of ICT for those involved in the implementation of early years services.

web linkEXCLUSION FROM SCHOOLS IN SCOTLAND: GUIDANCE TO EDUCATION AUTHORITIES

Scottish Executive Education Department, Pupil Support and Inclusion Division

Edinburgh: 2003 (Circular: 8/03)

The guidance spells the end of national targets on school exclusions and places increased emphasis on protecting the rights of pupils and staff to learn and teach without the fear of disruption. It emphasises the need to support victims of anti-social or violent behaviour in school through, for example, restorative justice or mediation, to ensure disruptive pupils recognise the effects of their actions on others.

A FAREWELL TO HUNDREDS OF BOG-STANDARD STATE SCHOOLS

T. Halpin

The Times, November 14th 2003, p. 19

The "bog-standard" comprehensive will be virtually extinct within three years as more than 90 per cent of secondaries are turned into specialist schools. The Specialist Schools Trust predicted that 2,963 of the 3,200 secondary schools in England would have specialist status before September 2006, exceeding the government's target by 1,000.

FREE SCHOOL BUSES TO BE SCRAPPED

P. Webster and T. Halpin

The Times, November 27th 2003, p.1

In an unexpected move the Government has announced that it wants local education authorities to end free school transport and charge pupils according to their parents' income, regardless of how far they travel. Only the poorest families would be exempt.

LANGUAGE LEARNING IN STEEP DECLINE

L. Ward

The Guardian, November 17th 2003, p.2

Modern languages are in dramatic decline in English secondary schools and universities, with a survey suggesting that 60 per cent of comprehensive schools are scrapping compulsory language learning as the government moves to make them optional after 14.

PARENTAL VIEWS ABOUT THE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN ATTENDING SCHOOLS FOR THE EMOTIONALLY AND BEHAVIOURALLY DISTURBED (EBD): A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

T. Crawford and E. Simonoff

Child: Care, Health and Development, Vol. 29, Nov. 2003, p. 481-491

The article explores the provision of services for emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children from the perspective of their parents. Data was gathered through qualitative analysis of focus group discussions with parents from five schools (two primary EBD, two secondary EBD, and one mixed needs school) within three London boroughs. The results show that there are a number of factors contributing to the social exclusion of EBD children and their families. These included difficult experiences with professionals - empty promises, lack of training and authoritarian experts - leading to frustration with social services and mainstream schools. However, voluntary services and support from other parents proved valuable. The article concludes that although EBD schools are of great benefit to parents and their children, parents often lack emotional and practical support. Communication must improve between the different agencies in order to provide a comprehensive service.

REFORM MAY HERALD WIDER SHAKE-UP FOR SCHOOLS

R. Smithers

The Guardian, November 14th 2003, p. 6

Plans for a shake-up of failing schools in London's five worst performing boroughs were set out by the Prime Minister yesterday, with a series of radical proposals which could be models for the rest of the country. As well as building new schools to cater for the growth in the school- age population and refurbishing others, the government wants to see more formal collaboration or "federation" between existing schools, which could lead to youngsters attending lessons at different establishments. Schools would become "extended" institutions open round the clock for community use.

RESPONDING TO EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL IN ENGLAND

C. Hayden

Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 41, 2003, p626-639

Paper provides on account of responses to exclusion from school in England with the objective of highlighting some policy tensions in need of debate and resolution. At present school exclusion in England is rising and government has abandoned targets for reducing it. However, New Labour has introduced a plethora of time-limited, area-based and pilot projects aimed at preventing exclusion. These now need to be converted into a coherent national system of educational support services. There is also a need for better training for teachers in behaviour management.

SCHOOLS RATING TOO CRUDE, SAYS AUDIT OFFICE

R. Smithers

The Guardian, November 28th 2003, p. 15

A wider range of social factors such as poverty and ethnicity should be taken into account when grading school exam performance, Parliament's spending watchdog recommends. The National Audit Office says grammar schools, single sex and faith schools would still come out top if league table took into account these factors. But some of the toughest comprehensive schools would see their position improved if a wider range of measures was used.

SECONDARY EDUCATION: PUPIL ACHIEVEMENT

Education and Skills Committee

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons papers, session 2002/03; HC513)

Finds that the government's approach to raising standards in secondary education lacks clear focus. Expresses concern about:

  • failure to evaluate the impact of Education Action Zones;
  • use of centrally-set targets;
  • continuing underachievement of Afro-Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils;
  • difficulties faced by schools in deprived areas in recruiting staff.

STRATEGIC PLAN 2004 TO 2007

Ofsted

London: 2003 (HMI 1834)

The plan identifies three key work strands for Ofsted during 2004-2007:

  • evaluating in greater depth the impact of major government policies for raising standards in education;
  • improving dissemination of inspection findings;
  • monitoring the impact of the new framework for school inspections introduced in 2003.

It also details the work Ofsted will take forward to develop a framework for inspection of local authority children's services.

TEACHING BY NUMBERS

J. Kelly

Guardian Education, November 11th 2003, p. 8-9

After the announcement by Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, that KPMG, one of the "big four" City-based firms, is to help improve the financial management skills of headteachers, the article asks what can government-appointed accountants tell schools?

THIRTEENTH REPORT - SCHOOL TEACHERS' REVIEW BODY

London: TSO, 2003 (Cm 5987)

Recommends a pay rise of 2.5% from April 2004 and 3.25% from April 2005 to the end of August 2006.

WORKING MOTHERS 'BAD FOR CHILDREN'

J. Carvel

The Guardian, November 14th 2003, p.5

The children of mothers who return to work full time in the years before they start school have slower emotional development and score less well in reading and maths tests, according to a study published the Institute for Social and Economic Research. The study was presented as the first large-scale appraisal of international research on working mothers. However, the National Family and Parenting Institute said the ISER report ran counter to a recent study of women from Bristol University that showed the timing of a mother's return to work had no influence on their children's development.

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