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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2005): Education - UK - Schools

ALL TOGETHER NOW

M. Johnson

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

Personalised learning has been the education buzz phrase of 2004 - but what is it? The author concludes it is a purely political construct. Ministers, he says, should talk less about individual achievement in school and more about social cohesion.

AUTHORITIES LOSE TRACK OF 10,000 EXPELLED STUDENTS

A. Blair

The Times, Dec. 10th 2004, p.10

Local education authorities are failing expelled school-children and losing track of up to 10,000 of them each year, according to Ofsted. The main age group affected were 12-14 years olds who were being lost by the system.

CAPITAL RESULTS

C. Ryan

Public Finance, Dec.3rd-9th 2004, p.28-30

Describes the dramatic improvement in Islington's schools since support services were contracted out to Cambridge Education Associates .

EDUCATION BILL

London: TSO, 2004 (HL Bill 10, session 2004/05)

The Bill will enable key reforms set out in the government's five year strategy for learning, including:

  • a more efficient and effective school inspection system;
  • guaranteed three year budgets for every school from 2006, aligned with the academic year and ring-fenced;
  • school profiles that will give parents a balanced assessment of each school's ethos, characteristics, performance and improvement priorities.

THE EFFECTIVE PROVISION OF PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION (EPPE) PROJECT: FINAL REPORT

K. Sylva and others

Nottingham: DFES Publications, 2004

The EPPE project investigated the effects of pre-school education and care on children's development from the age of three to seven. Data were calculated on children's developmental profiles at ages 3, 4/5, 6 and 7 years, background characteristics related to their parents, their home learning environment and the preschool settings they attended. Settings were drawn form a range of providers (local authority day nurseries, integrated centres, playgroups, private day nurseries, nursery schools and nursery classes). A sample of "home" children who had received no or minimal preschool education were recruited at school entry as a control group. Additionally, EPPE explored the characteristics of effective practice through 12 case studies of settings where children had positive outcomes.

EXTENDED CHILDCARE IN SCHOOLS PROMISED

R. Smithers and L. Ward

The Guardian, Dec. 2nd 2004, p.5

Every child in the country will have access to an "extended school" open between 8am and 6pm by the end of the decade, the government will pledge in its long-awaited national childcare strategy. Primary and secondary schools will be encouraged to open for longer hours and offer extra childcare assistance to working families through breakfast clubs and after-school clubs, under an initiative backed by the Prime Minister and outlined in the 10-year plan, published alongside Gordon Brown's pre-budget report. A detailed prospectus will be published in January.

(See also The Daily Telegraph, Dec. 2nd 2004, p.1; The Independent, Dec. 2nd 2004, p.8)

FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE EFFECTIVE INCLUSION OF PRIMARY-AGED PUPILS WITH DOWN'S SYNDROME.

S. Fox, P. Farrell and P. Davis

British Journal of Special Education, vol.3, 2004, p.184-190

Research investigated the ways in which schools manage the inclusion of pupils with Down's syndrome and the factors that contribute to the success of mainstream placements. Evidence from 18 case studies suggests there is no single way to guarantee effective inclusion. Inclusion is more likely to be successful when:

  • the class teacher takes a central role in the organisation of the child's daily educational experience;
  • the Teaching Assistant works effectively with the class teacher;
  • the curriculum is made accessible to the child .

HEADS CALL IMPROVED RESULTS 'POINTLESS'

R. Smithers

The Guardian, Dec. 2nd 2004, p.14

Primary schools in some of England's most deprived areas have helped the national year-on-year improvement in standards of reading, writing and mathematics in 11-year olds, according to this year's league tables. But headteachers called the exercise 'pointless' and unions are sceptical. David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "League tables are increasingly pointless as they do not actually do a very good job of providing information to parents and the public about how schools are doing." The National Union of Schoolteachers said the scores should be "treated with caution."

OUT OF SCHOOL: A SURVEY OF THE EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT AND PROVISION FOR PUPILS NOT IN SCHOOL

Ofsted

London: 2004 (HMI 2294)

In excess of 9,000 pupils are permanently excluded from school each year and up to 10,000 are missing completely. Schools and local education authorities (LEAs) are not tracking consistently children's whereabouts, achievements or destinations. The lack of agreements between schools and across local authority boundaries is impeding progress. The collection of data has improved, but analysis of this data is insufficiently detailed and it is not being used to inform action for improvement. However inspectors found pockets of good practice. Liason between services is particularly well-developed in relation to looked after children, and young people attending some alternative centres of education for reasons of disaffection are positive about the support they receive.

PERSONALISED LEARNING: NEW DIRECTIONS FOR SCHOOLS

M. Johnson

New Economy, vol.11, 2004, p.224-228

Offers a personal view of the government's personalised learning agenda, suggesting that the most welcome outcome could be a higher interest among teachers in pedagogy and more active learning experiences for all pupils. This reform poses challenges for the way assessment is used in the English education system.

POST-16 CURRICULUM AND QUALIFICATIONS REFORM IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND: LESSONS FROM HOME INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS

A. Hodgson and others

Journal of Education and Work, vol.17, 2004, p.441-465

Article compares Curriculum 2000 and Higher Still, recent reforms of post-16 education in England and Scotland respectively. Comments on and compares the policy process, issues of progression, assessment, promotion of parity of esteem for vocational education, and the approach to key skills acquisition.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS GET TAX BOOST

A. Frean and T. Halpin

The Times, Dec. 21st 2004, p.1

Private schools and hospitals will escape the crackdown they feared on their 100% tax breaks when ministers publish their long awaited Charity Bill. The Bill will stop short of automatically stripping elite schools of their charitable status or demanding that they open their doors to the wider public. In the event all private schools will have to do is undergo a "public benefit" test to prove that they serve the wider community if they want to retain charitable status. The definition of "public benefit" will be left up to the Charity Commission, which has traditionally cast a benign eye over some of the country's most elite institutions.

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS & SCHOOL LEADERS: A KEY TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

H. Green

Abingdon, Oxon: RoutledgeFalmer, 2004

Everyone working in education needs a clear understanding of the professional standards required of teachers and school leaders. This book provides the definitive guide to the standards that are now widely used for initial teacher training, induction, continuing professional development and performance management. In addition it covers the standards for subject leaders, which underpin the national programme for subject leaders, and the standards for headteachers, which are now used as an essential requirement for headship.

REFORMING 14-19 LEARNING: TOWARDS A NEW COMPREHENSIVE PHASE OF EDUCATION

A. Hodgson and K. Spours

New Economy, vol.11, 2004, p.217-223

Authors analyse the Tomlinson proposals for a new diploma system to replace current public examinations and warn of the dangers of a partial response by government that would result in a "dilution" of their positive effects. They call for Tomlinson's proposals to be reinforced by the creation of a new tertiary learning system based on institutional collaboration and by a significant reform of the youth labour market, including encouraging employers to become more involved in vocational education.

REMODELLING THE SCHOOL WORKFORCE PHASE 1

Ofsted

London: 2004 (HMI 2298)

The national workforce agreement was introduced by government in 2003. It set out a strategy for improving the quality of education in schools by remodelling the school workforce, including transferring some clerical duties from teachers to support staff. Report highlights examples of good practice in removing administrative tasks from teachers. However, most teachers and senior managers remain opposed to using teaching assistants to teach whole classes. Report finds that secondary schools are in the strongest position, with many having taken active steps early on to ensure that teachers get 10% of their scheduled teaching time to plan and prepare. They are also better at delegating non-teaching work to support staff. Primary schools are finding some aspects of the workforce agreement more difficult to implement.

SCHOOLS ARE BLAMED FOR LACKLUSTRE APPROACH TO READING

T. Halpin

The Times, Dec. 15th 2004, p.14

The head of Ofsted issued a rebuke to thousands of primary schools for failing to teach children to read properly. David Bell attacked a culture of low expectations in a hard core of primaries, saying the teachers "almost always" blame everyone but themselves for their pupils inability to read. He said the teachers in some schools still lacked the knowledge to teach reading seven years after the national literacy strategy was established to raise standards.

(See also Financial Times, Dec. 15th 2004, p. 4; The Independent, Dec. 15th 2004, p.12)

SCHOOLS' VIEWS OF THEIR LEA 2004: THE NATIONAL SCHOOL SURVEY

Audit Commission

2004

More than 8,000 schools responded to the survey which looked at a number of areas such as LEA Strategy, support for school improvement, facilitating access to services and special educational needs. The survey found that schools continue to rate the support and services they receive from their local authority as at least satisfactory in a majority of areas, although the variation is still marked. LEA support for numeracy and literacy, personnel advice, and financial support and advice were areas highly rated by schools. Schools' views were more positive than in 2003, especially about questions relating to funding issues. Schools have also become more positive about support for special educational needs questions, despite this area remaining one of low satisfaction overall.

SO WHO WILL PROVIDE THE MONEY?

E. Rogers

Young People Now, Nov.3rd-9th 2004, p.8

The government has guaranteed funding for extended schools offering health and social care on site only until April 2006. In order to sustain their initiatives, schools may have to charge service providers rent.

A THIRD OF ALL TEACHERS TAKE TIME OFF FOR STRESS, CLAIMS SURVEY

R. Smithers

The Guardian, Dec. 13th 2004, p.3

One in three teachers working in schools in England and Wales took sick leave last year as a result of job-related stress, according to a study by the Schools Advisory Service. Stress was largely ascribed to excessive workload, lack of support, lack of communications and the pressures of having to deal with poorly behaved children and difficult parents.

UK SCHOOLS SLIP DOWN WORLD'S LEAGUE TABLE

J. Clare

The Daily Telegraph, Dec. 7th 2004, p.1, 4

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Kingdom had slipped significantly down the world education league tables, particularly in maths. In the second round of tests conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment involving more than 250,000 15-year-olds in 41 countries, the UK dropped in three years from fourth in science to 11th, from seventh in reading to 11th and from eigth in maths to 18th. The OECD's report is a blow to the Government, which hailed the 2001 results as a triumphant vindication of its policies.

(See also The Times, Dec. 8th 2004, p.15)

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