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

ANGER AT MUSLIM SCHOOLS ATTACK

R. Smithers

The Guardian, Jan. 18th 2005, p.1

The head of the government's education watchdog prompted an angry reaction from Muslim leaders after claiming that the growth of Islamic faith schools posed a challenge to the coherence of British society. The chief inspector of schools, David Bell, claimed that a traditional Islamic education did not equip Muslim children for living in modern Britain.

(See also The Independent, Jan. 18th 2005, p.6; Financial Times, Jan. 18th 2005, p.4; The Times, Jan. 18th 2005, p.11; The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 18th 2005, p.1)

CHILDREN MISSING FROM SCHOOL SYSTEMS: EXPLORING DIVERGENT PATTERNS OF DISENGAGEMENT IN THE NARRATIVE ACCOUNTS OF PARENTS, CARERS, CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE.

K. Broadhurst, H. Paton and C. May-Chahal

British Journal of the Sociology of Education, vol.26, 2005, p.105-119

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents/carers, children and young people in a Local Education Authority with the aim of obtaining a demographic profile of families and eliciting a chronology of factors which participants saw as contributing to a child going missing from school. Three different categories emerged:

  • those negotiating structural obstacles to participation in education;
  • those who had temporarily withdrawn from school due to negative life events such as an episode of homelessness, flight from domestic violence, or financial difficulty;
  • those who were victims of chronic problems such as repeat homelessness or long term poverty and who had basically given up on participation in society.

EDUCATION AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998

Anon.

ChildRight, issue 208, 2004, p.8-11

Article discusses the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on education law, focussing on appeals against exclusion from school.

AN EMPLOYMENT-BASED ROUTE INTO TEACHING: AN OVERVIEW OF THE FIRST YEAR OF THE INSPECTION OF DESIGNATED RECOMMENDED [SIC] BODIES FOR THE GRADUATE TEACHER PROGRAMME 2003/04.

Ofsted

London: 2005 (HMI 2406)

Designated Recommending Bodies (DRBs) were first established in 2002. The Teacher Training Agency (TTA) allocates places to them annually for the Graduate Teacher Programme. This is an employment-based route into teaching whereby schools train teachers on the job. Each DRB is responsible for recruiting candidates, identifying their training needs, organising training programmes to meet those needs, and assessing trainees. DRBs include higher education institutions, local education authorities, schools and providers of other education services.

HALF OF FLAGSHIP ACADEMIES FAIL TO LIFT RESULTS

M. Taylor

The Guardian, Jan .13th 2005, p.13

The government's programme to spend hundreds of millions of pounds replacing failing inner-city schools with privately backed academies has had limited success, according to figures published for the year 2004. These figures reveal that of the 11 academies listed, six have improved their results at GCSE. However, five have failed to show any improvement and one now has the second worst results in England. City academies supported by private sponsors are among the government's most controversial proposals for reforming state education. Up to 200 are planned by 2010, at a cost of about £25m each. The Department of Education and Skills said it was too early to judge the academies, some of which had been open little more than a year; the National Union of Teachers has decried the scheme.

(See also The Independent, Jan. 13th 2005, p.20)

INSIDE JOB

J. Dunford

Education Guardian, Jan. 11th 2005, p.9

Ministers should hand over assessment to teachers, one of Tomlinson's brightest ideas, says the author. No other country has so many external examinations at so many ages. The proposal for experienced teachers to become chartered assessors would harness the skills teachers already have.

'MOST IMPROVED' SCHOOLS FAIL IN CORE SUBJECTS

R. Garner

The Independent, Jan. 12th 2005, p.5

New research casts doubt on whether schools singled out in government exam league tables as the most improved in the country deserve their ranking. A study of the 10 most improved secondary schools shows more than half the pupils in seven of them failed to get A* to C grade GCSE passes in either English or maths. Almost all relied instead on putting the majority of the pupils in for GNVQs (vocational qualifications) deemed to be worth the equivalent of four GCSE passes.

NEW ROLES FOR SCHOOL NURSES: PREVENTING EXCLUSIONS

L. Buckland, J. Rose and C. Greaves

Community Practitioner, vol.78, 2005, p.16-19

Describes the experiences of two school nurses involved in an innovative project aimed at reducing numbers of children excluded from school. Nurses worked with individual children and their families using a range of intervention methods, and liaised with other agencies to support their work. The nurses also adopted a preventative approach, delivering group interventions to promote emotional literacy and coping skills.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH

F. Beckett

Education Guardian, Jan. 18th 2005, p.9

The author says headmasters are ruthlessly pursing league table glory at the expense of students. She cites several examples of schools who claim their splendid league table position is earned by the single-minded pursuit of excellence, when it as actually partly achieved by weeding out students who may not make the top grade.

OUT OF THE EQUATION

J. Crace

Education Guardian, Jan. 4th 2005, p.2-3

Even the brightest pupils aren't choosing to do physics at A-Level these days. It's not surprising. They are highly unlikely to have met a physics graduate at school. As Einstein year begins, the article reports on a growing crisis in the senior science.

PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND HEALTH EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Ofsted

London: 2005 (HMI 2311)

Too many secondary schools see achievement in personal, social and health education (PSHE) only in terms of pupils' subject knowledge and make no attempt to judge whether there has been any impact on their attitudes and personal development. The quality of teaching PSHE by specialist teachers remains considerably superior to the quality of teaching by non-specialist tutors. Other key findings include:

  • some schools do not provide PSHE in any form; their position is untenable;
  • a minority of schools are not reporting to parents on pupils' progress in the subject;
  • too few schools involve pupils in policy development to ensure that PSHE is relevant to their needs;
  • some schools have formed particularly effective partnerships with community police officers and nurses.

REACHING THE PARTS THAT NEED TO BE REACHED? THE IMPACT OF THE SCOTTISH QUALIFICATION FOR HEADSHIP

I. Menter, C. Holligan and V. Mthenjwa

School Leadership and Management, vol.25, 2005, p.7-23

The Scottish Qualification for Headship was launched in 1998. Paper reports on aspects of the national evaluation of the programme. Quantitative and qualitative data are used to demonstrate the range of impacts revealed in the study, not only in terms of individual professional development but also in terms of the impact on the schools in which candidates were working. Concludes that the programme is having a positive impact on some aspects of professional and school development which traditional programmes have found hard to reach.

ROBUST? DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH

H. Judge

Education Guardian, Jan. 4th 2005, p.7

The author believes that the recently published Tomlinson report may be the worst policy document the education establishment has ever produced. "Not for a moment does it pretend to be objective or independent. The detailed remit from its master, the Department for Education and Skills, is swallowed whole, with no criticism of the current ideological orthodoxy".

SUSTAINING IMPROVEMENTS IN SCHOOLS IN CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES: A STUDY OF SUCCESSFUL PRACTICE.

M. West, M. Ainscow and J. Stanford

School Leadership and Management, vol.25, 2005, p.77-93

Achieving sustained improvement in schools facing challenging circumstances remains a major problem. Paper analyses strategies used in a group of English secondary schools which have succeeded in raising achievement levels over time in order to learn more about the factors associated with success. Four interconnected strategies were identified as being successful in raising attainment:

  • changing the culture of the school;
  • improving teaching and learning;
  • reviewing the school day;
  • the purposive use of data.

SYSTEM 'EQUATES MATHS WITH CAKE MAKING'

J. Clare

The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 13th 2005, p.16

The Department of Education's latest league tables were sharply criticised by organisations representing state and independent schools. The Independent Schools Council said the tables, based on the exam results achieved by more than a million pupils last summer, "no longer tell parents anything valuable about a school's academic or vocational programme". It was particularly irritated by a new "inclusive" points system devised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority which, it said, accords equivalent values to qualifications in cake decoration, pattern cutting and making wired sugar flowers as to GCSEs in maths, English, science and modern languages.

(See also Financial Times, Jan. 13th 2005, p.4)

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR TEACHING IS A WASTE OF TIME, SAY ACADEMICS

T. Halpin

The Times, Jan. 19th 2005, p.13

Teaching formal English grammar to children does not help to improve their writing skills, a government-funded study has concluded. Teachers were wasting their time explaining the meaning of nouns, verbs and pronouns to pupils as part of the national literacy strategy, academics at the University of York said. They were more likely to improve children's compositions by abandoning the rules of syntax and encouraging them to try experimental methods of sentence construction. The study by the English Review Group at York was funded by the Department for Education and Skills, which did not distance itself from the conclusions.

WHOSE LEARNING? : THE ROLE OF THE PERSONAL TUTOR

K. Bullock and F. Wikeley

Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2004

The traditional role of the form or class tutor has developed into that of an academic or personal tutor; that is, an adult who works with students to guide, support and help them manage their learning. Academic or personal tutoring as a practice of learning benefits many students in secondary schools and colleges. It is increasingly adopted and specifically customised by a range of institutions which believe it will establish good habits of learning now and in the future. This book explores the concept of academic and personal tutoring and brings together established theoretical arguments and current activities in schools and classrooms. It recognises the important role of the personal tutor in working individually with his or her students, and illuminates the processes, educational relationships and learning interactions underpinning this role.

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