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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2004): Education - UK - Schools

CLASS SIZES FOR INFANT PUPILS RISE DESPITE MANIFESTO PROMISE

S. Cassidy

The Independent, April 30th 2004, p.5

Thousands more five-, six- and seven-year-year-olds are being taught in classes of more than 30 pupils despite a promise by the Government to cut class sizes, official figures show. Labour's 1997 manifesto pledged that no infant should be taught in a class of more than 30 by 2002. Although this target was met, the number of children taught in large groups has since risen.

DEVELOPING THE STRATEGICALLY FOCUSED SCHOOL

B. Davies

School Leadership and Management, Vol. 24, 2004, p.11-28

The article examines how schools can be sustained and developed through effective planning strategies, moving away from short-term targets towards strategic approaches. It sets out a model for creating a strategically focused school, exploring the different processes and approaches, before considering its main characteristics.

'EARN AS YOU LEARN' SCHEME GETS GREEN LIGHT

R. Smithers

The Guardian, April 20th 2004. p.9

Teenagers from poor households in England are being offered cash payments of up to £30 a week to stay on at school or at college as part of a new national drive to "smash" the UK's high drop-out rate. The "earn as you learn" education maintenance allowances are being extended nationwide at the annual cost of £500m, representing 10% of the annual further education budget. The national rollout follows a two-year pilot of the scheme.

(See also The Independent, April 20th 2004, p.10; The Times, April 20th 2004, p.2; The Daily Telegraph, April 20th 2004, p.9)

THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN IN CARE

K. May

Family Law, Vol. 34, April 2004, p.259-263

Although children placed in care can have their lives transformed through education, in many cases the educational needs of such children are neglected. The article examines the law surrounding the education of children placed in care, as well as exploring issues raised in the Green Paper "Every Child Matters" and the Social Exclusion Unit's report "A Better Education for Children in Care".

EDUCATION POLICY IN BRITAIN

C. Chitty

London: Palgrave, 2004

While its primary focus is on education policy today, this book aims to provide an account of the evolution of the major government policies that have affected the education system in Britain over the past 50 years and an understanding of how such policies came to be formulated. Most education policy has tended to focus on full-time schooling, and this is reflected in the book's structure, with aspects of pre- and post-compulsory education being largely covered in relation to this. In all the chapters, emphasis is laid upon the importance of the historical approach. The argument propounded is that policy-making is always influenced by what has happened in past decades and that the historical account must always be presented within a coherent explanatory framework stressing the key themes underpinning political and social change.

ENGLISH AND MATHS GOALS MISS 'BY A MILE'

N. Timmins and M. Green

Financial Times, April 27th 2004, p.2

Ministers will 'miss by a mile' their target of ensuring 85 per cent of 11-year-olds hit the achievement level for their age in English and maths, says the Department for Education's permanent secretary. David Normington said it would be hard to achieve the target by 2006-07, the date to which it has been moved back.

FUNNY OLD GAME

C. Ryan

Public Finance, Apr. 9th-15th 2004, p.20-23

The article looks at the impact of the 2004 budget on education in England. Poorer toddlers and their parents will gain from the creation of 1700 children's centres in deprived areas. These will combine nursery education, childcare and health services. There will also be a significant increase in capital spending on secondary schools. Universities will not receive the extra funding they have asked for, while spending on further education will focus on meeting existing targets to reduce the number of adults without NVQ level 2 through a programme rebranded the New Deal for Skills.

INTEGRATION, INTEGRITY AND EFFECTIVENESS

G. Sewell

Disability and Society, Vol. 19, 2004, p.171-178

The report details an Internet-based research project which followed the 20 secondary schools in England where more than 10% of the pupils have special educational needs. Several of these schools are now being threatened with closure. This is either because they are failing to meet the government target of 20% of pupils achieving at least 5 GCSEs at grades A-C by 2004, or because they are failing to attract sufficient numbers of mainstream pupils.

THE INTELLIGENT SCHOOL

B. MacGilchrist, K. Myers and J. Reed

London: Sage Publications, 2004

This book offers a practical resource to schools to enable them to maximize their improvement efforts. It aims to help schools to be intelligent organizations; in other words, the type of school that can synthesize different kinds of knowledge in order to be confident about current achievements and have the ability to decide what to do next. The book deals with the following concerns:

  • the need to recognize that there is no blueprint for improving schools, rather schools can be enabled
  • the need to focus school improvement efforts on the classroom
  • the need to make research findings more accessible and usable for teachers
  • the need to support practitioners in making better shared sense of what they are implicitly doing
  • the need to disseminate some of the good practice already going on in schools

LABOUR WILL FAIL SCHOOLS TEST AT ELECTION, WARNS TEACHERS' LEADER

M. Green

Financial Times, April 14th 2004, p.3

Parents would punish New Labour at the ballot box for tying to turn schools into businesses, the outgoing leader of the National Union of Teachers said yesterday. Doug McAvoy reserved his fiercest attacks for ministers, whom he accused of commercialising schools. He said the government was "hell bent on dismantling the public education service" through increasing involvement of the private sector. More than half of England's secondary schools are now business-backed centres of specialist teaching and the government wants to expand a programme to build city academies with the help of large companies.

STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP FOR LARGE-SCALE REFORM: THE CASE OF ENGLAND'S NATIONAL LITERACY AND NUMERACY STRATEGY

K. Leithwood and others

School Leadership and Management, Vol. 24, 2004, p.57-79

The article examines strategic leadership in schools through a 4-year evaluation of England's National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. It considers the varying sources of leadership, the allocation of leaders across different roles, and how careful distribution can provide the strategic co-ordination that is needed to implement reform.

THATCHER'S CHILDREN ARE TODAY'S PARENTS - AND WE'RE PAYING THE PRICE, SAY TEACHERS

L. Ward and W. Woodward

The Guardian, April 13th 2004, p.7

The selfish values of Thatcherism have filtered through to the present generation of schoolchildren and bred a rise in bullying and aggression in schools, a teachers' leader has warned. Pat Lerew, president of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said today's parents were "Thatcher's children" whose "devil take the hindmost" attitudes had led to a lack of respect for teachers among themselves and their children.

TORY PLANS TO SCRAP CATCHMENT AREAS FOR SCHOOL PLACES

W. Woodward

The Guardian, April 12th 2004, p.1

A Conservative government would stop middle class parents exploiting the property market to get into popular state schools, by banning admissions policies which favour children from the local area. Tim Yeo, the shadow Education Secretary, said he would scrap the proximity rule which allows over-subscribed schools to favour local children in their selection criteria. If carried out, the change could end "selection by postcode". It would also leave schools struggling to find other ways to distinguish between pupils.

(See also The Independent, April 12th 2004, p.6; The Daily Telegraph, April 12th 2004, p.1)

UNION CALL FOR ACTION ON SCHOOL VIOLENCE

L. Ward

The Guardian, April 16th 2004, p.6

Parents of unruly children should be made to attend compulsory behaviour management classes to help them control their youngsters, teachers said yesterday as they demanded a crackdown on rising classroom violence. The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, whose survey suggests a British classroom suffers verbal or physical abuse every seven minutes, said parenting lessons should even be available antenatally.

VALUE ADDED LEARNING

P. Revell

Public Finance, Apr. 23rd-29th 2004, p.24-25

Government plans to place "extended schools" at the heart of the community, delivering education, health and social services to children and their families.

'WORRYING' INCREASE IN UNQUALIFIED TEACHERS

M. Green

Financial Times, April 30th 2004, p.6

The teaching workforce in state schools has grown by 4,200 to 427,800 this year despite funding problems, but less than half the increase has come in the shape of fully qualified staff, official figures revealed. John Dunford, of the Secondary Heads Association, said the figures "reflect the difficulty of recruiting staff in some secondary subjects in many parts of the country".

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