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

ANNUAL REPORT SEPTEMBER 2003 TO AUGUST 2004 - OFFICE OF THE SCHOOLS ADJUDICATOR

2004.

Reports on the work of the service in settling disputes about school admissions in 2003-2004. A total of 270 cases were referred, of which 171 were objections to admission arrangements, 47 were for variations to admission arrangements, and 51 were statutory proposals. Points out that:

  • many admissions forums are now working well in co-ordinating arrangements locally;
  • too many admission criteria are not clear or are too elaborate;
  • too many schools are failing to follow the procedure for making admission arrangements laid down in regulations.

BAD SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION TO BE PENALISED IN EXAMS

R. Garner

The Independent, Nov. 29th 2004, p.8

The head of the Government's exams watchdog is poised to instruct examiners to start penalising poor spelling and grammar in GSCE and A-levels.

BEING A BOARDER: A SURVEY OF BOARDERS' AND PARENTS' VIEWS ON BOARDING SCHOOLS

Office of the Children's Rights Director

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, [2004]

Found that modern boarding schools are looking after children well. Findings dispel myths about boarding schools being rife with bullying and full of homesick children. However, results also show that boarding does not suit every child, and it is vital that the right choice of school is made for the individual.

BOYS AND SCHOOLING IN THE EARLY YEARS

P.Connolly

London: RoutledgeFalmer, 2004

Boys' underachievement in education has now become a global concern, and this book represents the first major study of its kind to focus specifically on young boys and achievement. It makes an argument for the need to begin tackling the problem of boys' lower educational performance in the early days and suggests a number of practical ways in which these can begin to be addressed.

CHANGING LEADERSHIP AND SCHOOLS: DIVERSITY, EQUALITY AND CITIZENSHIP

A. Osler

Race Equality Teaching, vol.22, Summer 2004, p.22-28

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s diversity and equality issues were sidelined within school leadership discourse. The Race Relations Amendment Act now requires all head teachers to prevent discrimination and promote equality. Evidence suggests that head teachers will require training and support in realising equitable outcomes between students from different ethnic groups. The model of school leadership currently being proposed focuses on diversity and difference without recognising the central goal of equality. It also marginalises the experiences of those leaders who are not white and/or male.

A CURRICULUM OF OPPORTUNITY: DEVELOPING POTENTIAL INTO PERFORMANCE

B. Wallace and V. Donnelly

Gifted Educational International, Vol.19, 2004, p.41-66

The article summarises a guidance document produced by the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales. It explores how to identify "more able" children and the best ways to stimulate them. It considers a wide range of able pupils, including those who may have learning difficulties, are disaffected, or underachieving. The document encourages using a wide range of solutions to accommodate talented pupils, stressing that there isn't a single formula for success.

EVALUATION OF THE VULNERABLE CHILDREN GRANT

S. Kendall and others

Department for Education and Skills, 2004 (Research report; RR592)

Report was commissioned to evaluate the implementation of the Standards Fund Vulnerable Children Grant (VCG) introduced in April 2003. Report covers how the grant has been implemented, the strategies and interventions funded by the grant, the impacts, outcomes and effective practice associated with VCG funded interventions, methods for identifying and tracking vulnerable children, and Local Education Authorities' methods for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the grant.

HOMOPHOBIA, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND SCHOOLS: A REVIEW AND IMPLICATIONS FOR ACTION

I. Warwick and others

Department for Education and Skills, 2004 (Research Report; RR594)

Homophobic bullying can affect children's and young people's physical and emotional well being and their attendance at school. Report reviews current knowledge and identifies gaps.

IF YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO GET AHEAD, FIND A NURSERY PLACE

A. Frean

The Times, Nov. 26th 2004, p.2

Children who have formal pre-school care start infant school with the equivalent of year's head start over those who stay at home, according to the latest findings of the government-funded EPPE (Effective Provision of Pre-School Education) study. What really mattered was not the number of hours a day spent in care, but the number of years spent in pre-school.

(See also: The Independent, Nov. 26th 2004, p.7)

EDUCATION AND ISLAM: A NEW STRATEGIC APPROACH

M.I. Coles

Race Equality Teaching, vol.22, Summer 2004, p.41-46

Calls for a new strategic approach to the education of Muslim pupils in mainstream schools, which takes account of the centrality of their faith in their lives.

HOW SPECIAL

R. Woolnough

Community Care, Nov.11th-17th 2004, p.28-30

Two professionals present arguments for and against educating children with special needs in mainstream schools. While professionals are supportive of inclusion in theory, in practice schools lack funding and teachers lack the special training they need to cope.

IMPROVING CHILDREN'S BEHAVIOUR AND ATTENDANCE THROUGH THE USE OF PARENTING PROGRAMMES: AN EXAMINATION OF GOOD PRACTICE.

S. Hallam, L. Rogers and J. Shaw

Department for Education and Skills, 2004 (Research report; RR585)

Some Local Education Authorities currently encourage parents who fail to ensure their children attend school regularly to go to parenting classes before they consider bringing a prosecution. In December 2002, the government announced the introduction of parenting contracts under which parents will be required to attend parenting classes in order to bring about an improvement in their child's attendance/behaviour in a specified period. Survey showed that parents generally found the programmes helpful in improving their relationships with their children and their children's behaviour.

INEQUALITY, ACHIEVEMENT AND AFRICAN-CARIBBEAN PUPILS

C. Hunte

Race Equality Teaching, vol.22, Summer 2004, p.31-36

Research has identified key issues underlying the underachievement of Afro-Caribbean pupils, including:

  • low teacher expectations for academic success;
  • high teacher expectations for challenging behaviour;
  • discriminatory behaviour management practices;
  • repression of Afro-Caribbean cultural expressions;
  • high levels of pupil-teacher conflict.

Paper goes on to describe the Aiming High initiative launched by the government in Nov. 2003, which aims to raise levels of achievement for this group.

MIXED SCHOOLS TOLD TO USE SINGLE-SEX CLASSES

S. Cassidy

The Independent, Nov. 17th 2004, p.12

Mixed schools should teach boys and girls separately for some of the day, in the opnion of David Milliband, the Schools Standards Minister. Mr Milliband described as "startling" the findings of a four-year study by Cambridge University, which found a marked improvement in results at a mixed school that switched to teaching boys and girls in separate classes.

(See also: The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 17th 2004, p.1; The Times, Nov. 17th 2004, p.3)

NANNY STATE

L. Ward

Guardian Education, Nov. 23rd 2004, p.2-4

Labour's 10-year strategy on childcare, due next week, is expected to focus on schooling from 8am to 6pm. Who will staff breakfast clubs? What's in store for babies? Tony Blair knows the answers may hold the key to the next election.

'OLD-FASHIONED, OUT OF TIME'. CLARKE DISMISSES PRINCELY VIEW OF EDUCATION

R. Smithers and F. al Yafai

The Guardian, Nov. 19th 2004, p.3

The Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, has claimed that the heir to the throne did not understand his own country's education system. Pressed to comment on a note written by Prince Charles in which he questioned "child-centred" education and a "learning culture" which sought to push people without "the natural ability" to rise above their station, the Education Secretary, said it was very damaging when children were dismissed as non-achievers and urged the Prince to think before speaking out.

(See also: The Independent, Nov. 19th 2004, p.11; The Times, Nov. 19th 2003, p.3; The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 19th 2004, p.1)

RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN

J. Crace

Education Guardian, Nov. 9th 2004, p.2-3

The author talks to headteachers who have fought the stigma of being put into 'special measures' about how they turned around a failing school.

SCHOOLS RECEIVE A LESSON FROM YOUTH WORK PRACTICE

M. Clegg

Young People Now, June 23rd-29th 2004, p.9

The article looks at the role of youth workers in secondary schools and how the presence of a worker can benefit disaffected pupils.

THOSE WHO CAN, JUST TEACH

J. Crace

Education Guardian, Nov. 2nd 2004, p.2-3

It was supposed to take at least two years to implement reforms to cut teacher workload, but already some schools are pushing ahead. The article delivers a progress report.

TINY STEPS

R. Smithers

Education Guardian, Nov. 11th 2004, p.4-5

The article talks to David Bell, Chief Inspector of Schools in England, about his plans to change the inspection regime.

TORIES PLAN NEW BORSTALS TO RE-EDUCATE BAD PUPILS

J. Clare

The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 29th, p.9

Badly behaved children would be sent to schools modelled on Borstals under proposals to be announced by Michael Howard. The Conservative leader will say that a Tory government would set up 150 "Turnaround Schools" - one in every local education authority - providing a new regime for "problem pupils".

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