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

ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE

J. Crace

Education Guardian, Sept. 7th 2004, p.9

Two years after citizenship became a part of the curriculum, a study finds the subject has a remarkable impact on students.

ARE PUPILS REALLY BETTER BEHAVED?

T. de Castella

Young People Now, June 9th-15th 2004, p. 8

Government figures show that permanent exclusions from school are falling. The article discusses whether behaviour is actually improving due to the impact of new support initiatives or government is manipulating the figures to conceal what is really happening in schools.

ASSESSMENT TO REPLACE TESTS FOR SEVEN-YEAR-OLD PUPILS

S. Cassidy

The Independent, Sept. 16th 2004, p.12

Formal end-of-year tests for seven-year-olds are to be abandoned. Pupils will still take tests for English and maths, but not under strict examination conditions. Scores will feed into teachers' assessments of their work for the year.

(See also The Times, Sept. 16th 2004, p.13)

"BEACON" SCHOOL TAKES ON OFSTED

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 15th 2004, p.1 and 2

The article reports that the Business Academy in Bexley, one of the government's new breed of semi-independent schools in deprived areas, is threatening to challenge Ofsted in the courts over a finding of "significant weaknesses" in its teaching.

BUILDING DAMS IN JORDAN, ASSESSING TEACHERS IN ENGLAND: A CASE STUDY IN EDU-BUSINESS

P. Mahoney, I. Hextall and I. Menter

Globalisation, Societies and Education, Vol.2, 2004, p.277-296

The paper describes, in the context of the implementation of performance-related pay for teachers in English schools, the extent to which the private sector had penetrated the education system. It goes on to explore some consequences and implications of private sector involvement in public education. It argues that education is being turned into a standardised commodity which can be traded across national and cultural boundaries.

CHILDREN NEED ADVENTURE TRIPS, SAYS OFSTED

S. Cassidy

The Independent, Sept. 28th 2004, p.8

Children are being denied school adventure trips because teachers fear being sued in the event of an accident. Activities such as caving and canoeing teach children about teamwork and leadership as well as developing physical skills.

(See also The Times, Sept. 28th 2004, p.9)

CONTROL, AUTONOMY AND PARTNERSHIP IN LOCAL EDUCATION

N. Bennett, J.A. Harvey and L. Anderson

Educational Management Administration and Leadership, Vol.32, April 2004, p.217-235

The article explores the relationships of schools with their Local Education Authorities (LEA) through interviews with six chief education officers (CEOs) drawn from a variety LEAs. Results of the interviews showed that CEOs saw the concept of partnership to be problematic, creating confusion about the extent to which LEAs could constrain schools through formal accountability and external codes of practice. The article concludes that the concept of partnership requires further clarification if it is to be used to describe relationships between schools and their LEAs.

DEAL STRUCK TO STOP UK POACHING TEACHERS

R. Garner

The Independent, Sept. 2nd 2004, p.19

The government has agreed to crack down on private agencies recruiting teachers from Africa and the Caribbean to work in the UK. Such agencies will loose their "quality mark" which guarantees ethical standards to schools if they persist.

EDUCATION SPENDING CAN BE CUT BY £5.7BN, SAY TORIES

B. Hall

Financial Times, Sept. 6th 2004, p.2

The Conservatives estimate that £5.7bn could be saved by making all schools self-governing, reducing the role of local education authorities and introducing a lighter inspection regime.

EVALUATION OF FAST TRACK TO PROSECUTION FOR SCHOOL NON-ATTENDANCE

K. Halsey and others

Department for Education and Skills, 2004 (Research report; RR567)

Report documents the experiences of 12 local education authorities as they implemented the fast track to prosecution framework. The framework sought to ensure a faster approach to the implementation of intervention strategies for tackling school non-attendance.

EX-NO. 10 AIDE OFFERS EDUCATION MANIFESTO

R. Smithers

The Guardian, Sept. 28th 2004, p.4

Former Downing Street aide Fiona Millar attacks government education policies. She is critical of the school choice agenda, the government's "academy" programme, and the idea that the new independent state sector schools should be able to set their own admissions criteria. She also calls for the abolition of charitable status for independent schools to prevent the flight of middle class parents from the state sector.

(See also Education Guardian, Sept. 28th 2004, p.2)

IMPROVEMENT THROUGH INSPECTION: AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF OFSTED'S WORK

P. Matthews and P. Sammons

London: Ofsted, 2004 (HMI 2244)

Report evaluates the impact of inspection on the quality and standards of education. It finds that well-managed schools and those that cause concern are the most likely to benefit from inspections. Many other schools show some improvement but, in the absence of external follow-up, tend to make incomplete use of their inspection findings. It goes on to comment on the inspection of independent schools, the post-compulsory education and teacher training sectors and local education authorities. Evidence of the quality of inspections, particularly school inspections, is examined. Report addresses some of the concerns raised about inspections and identifies improvements since the first cycle of school inspections. Evidence confirms that advance notice of inspection often contributes to the stress on teachers and may result in heightened performance during the inspection visit.

THE INTERNATIONAL ROLE OF THE NCSL

A. Walker and C. Dimmock

Educational Management Administration and Leadership, Vol.32, July 2004, p.269-287

The article explores the international role of the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). It begins by discussing the uniqueness of the NCSL and its potential to influence leadership research and practice internationally. It then sets out three possible pathways for the college - as a tourist, a colporteur and a confrere - and uses a case study from Hong Kong to illustrate how the three roles might be played. The authors favour the role of the confrere, arguing that it is from this perspective that the NCSL can best create an international learning environment for policy makers, as well as benefiting the growing number of multicultural schools and communities in the UK.

KEY STAGE THREE

F. Millar

Education Guardian, Sept. 28th 2004, p.2-3

Much has been achieved since 1997, says former Downing Street aide Fiona Millar. But if Labour wins a third election, it should abandon the messy compromise of choice for the middle classes, and concentrate instead on students who really need help.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

P. Earley and J. Evans

Educational Management Administration and Leadership, Vol.32, July 2004, p.325-338

The National College of School Leadership (NCSL) was established in November 2000 to provide a national focus for school leadership development in England. Its aims, amongst others, are to develop a range of leadership programmes to ensure heads have the confidence, skills and understanding to transform learning, to analyse, describe and celebrate great practice in school leadership and to promote collaborate learning and communication. As well as this, it seeks to demonstrate its impact on school leadership and to measure its progress in its key goal to "have every child in a well-led school, and have every leader as a learner". The article explores the methodological issues involved in measuring the College's impact, with specific reference to two surveys of heads and deputies in English state schools in 2001 and 2003. The strengths and weaknesses of using baseline and follow-up studies as impact measures are discussed and new methodological approaches and research designs are suggested.

A MULTI-AGENCY APPROACH TO REDUCING DISAFFECTION AND EXCLUSIONS FROM SCHOOL

R. Webb and G. Vulliamy

Department for Education and Skills, 2004 (Research report; RR568)

The report presents a qualitative evaluation of a three-year project which placed five social work trained home-school support workers in seven secondary schools in Yorkshire for three years. The support workers undertook casework with 10-20 pupils with challenging behaviours with the aim of preventing their exclusion from school. Support workers were successful in averting permanent exclusions and saved senior school management a great deal of time in dealing with crises.

THE NATIONAL COLLEGE FOR SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

G.M. Crow

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, Vol.32, 2004, p.289-307

The world of leadership has changed dramatically in our post-industrial society. In today's world successful leadership is based on the theory of socialisation, where leaders are not only taught the skills they require, but also expected to actively contribute towards their learning. Within this context the article explores the aims and programmes of the National College for School Leadership from a North American perspective, and identifies the opportunities and challenges it faces in contributing to the reform of leadership and leadership development.

A NATIONAL EVALUATION OF SCHOOL BREAKFAST CLUBS: EVIDENCE FROM A CLUSTER RANDOMISED TRIAL AND OBSERVATIONAL ANALYSIS

I. Shemlit and others

Child, Vol.30, 2004, p.413-427

The study aimed to measure the health and social impacts of breakfast club provision in schools serving deprived areas across England. Analysis revealed a mixed picture of benefit and apparent negative outcomes. Intention to treat analysis showed improved concentration amongst the intervention group at three months and reduced truancy. Observational analysis at 1 year showed a higher proportion of primary school breakfast club attendees eating fruit for breakfast compared to non-attendees. However, a higher proportion of breakfast club attendees had borderline or abnormal conduct and total difficulties scores (primary school pupils) and prosocial scores (secondary school pupils).

(For economic aspects see Child, Vol.30, 2004, p.429-437)

THE NOISY TRUTH OF COMMUNITY

M. Benn

The Guardian, Sept, 2nd 2004, p.26

A new model school offering cheap private education to be set up by the right-wing Civitas think-tank in Brent has received little support. The article considers why middle class parents have chosen to stick with local state schools.

POOR GET LESS HELP WITH SCHOOL UNIFORM COSTS

R. Smithers

Guardian, Sept. 9th 2004, p.11

The government is urging all secondary schools to have a school uniform. However, while the cost of uniforms has soared, a survey has revealed that school clothing grants are available now in for fewer parts of Britain and are worth less than was the case three years ago.

SCHOOLS FORCED TO CUT SPENDING ON BOOKS TO COVER EXAM COSTS

R. Garner and S. Cassidy

Independent, Sept.10th 2004, p.16

The Secondary Heads Association reports that examination entrance fees have doubled over the past four years. In a typical 1500-pupil comprehensive, public examination entrance fees are now about £100,000 a year, plus administration costs of £32,500. The Association is also calling for reform of the public examination marking system. Under its proposals, senior teachers at all schools would be recognised as "chartered examiners" and then allowed to mark pupils work.

(See also Guardian, Sept.10th 2004, p.5)

SECONDARY EDUCATION: TEACHER RETENTION AND RECRUITMENT

Education and Skills Committee

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2003/04; HC1057)

The report calls for schools struggling to recruit staff to be allowed to pay above the national rate. Also proposes the creation of a programme to recruit and train an elite band of teachers committed to working in the toughest schools. However, concludes that there is no general shortage of teachers thanks to incentives to encourage graduates to enter the profession, such as training bursaries and "Golden Hellos" for new teachers in shortage subjects.

SECONDARY EDUCATION: SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Education and Skills Committee

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2003/04; HC58-I)

The report examines the process of school admissions, focusing particularly on how children are allocated a secondary school place, how parents and guardians express their preferences regarding school allocation and how disputes are resolved.

THE "WALKING" SCHOOL BUS TO TACKLE OBESITY

A. Sparrow

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 23rd 2004, p.7

The article reports that government is planning to introduce a bill to tackle childhood obesity and traffic congestion caused by the school run. It would:

  • allow councils to charge better-off families for using school buses;
  • introduce more "safe cycle" routes;
  • stagger school opening hours;
  • encourage children to walk to school in groups supervised by adult volunteers

TRUANCY LEVELS RISE DESPITE £16M DRIVE

S. Cassidy

Independent, Sept.17th 2004, p.16

Truancy levels rose by 6.54% in 2003/04 with an average of 48,900 pupils missing school without permission every day in spite of a £16m drive to cut the number of children skipping class.

WHAT CAN NATIONAL DATASETS TELL US ABOUT INCLUSION AND PUPIL ACHIEVEMENT?

L. Florian and others

British Journal of Special Education, Vol.31, 2004, p.115-121

Recent developments in the Department for Education and Skills have produced a National Pupil Database (NPD) that contains information about the attainments of individuals, and the Pupil Level Annual Schools Census (PLASC) that includes personal and demographic information about individual pupils. The NPD and the PLASC together are able to provide the information needed to track individual pupils over their school careers and explore issues in their individual performance. The article explores the problems and possibilities of researching issues of pupil achievement and inclusion using these national datasets.

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