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

BLAIR PLEDGES FREEDOM FOR TOP SCHOOLS

M. Green

Financial Times, April 11th 2005, p.3

Labour will outline moves to erode local government control of education on Wednesday, with a manifesto pledge to allow the highest performing primary schools to become independent. The decision will lead to more schools owning their own assets, employing staff directly and determining their own admissions policy.

COOK THE BOOKS

J. Crace

Education Guardian, April 12th 2005, p.2-3

The article looks at a hidden scandal: the school books shortage. The article asks how can books regain centre stage as they compete with ICT in the classroom.

EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT PARTNERSHIPS: LOCAL COLLABORATION FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT AND BETTER SERVICE DELIVERY

Department for Education and Schools

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2005

The concept of Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) introduced in this prospectus is designed to give some unity and sharper focus to the idea of collaboration in the education service. It is hoped that the idea of EIPs and this prospectus will stimulate the expansion of high quality collaboration, the rationalisation of partnership activity where appropriate, and the devolution of responsibilities and resources to groups of schools and other partners. An EIP should aim at raising attainment and improving pupil behaviour; developing personalised provision for young people; and increasing provision of childcare and other extended services.

EDUCATION PROVIDERS QUICK TO LEARN LESSON

M. Green

Financial Times, April 19th 2005, p.4

The amount spent on private services for schools has grown dramatically and is set to increase further. More than £4.5bn of the schools budget went into non-capital contracts with private providers in 2002-03, according to analysis by the CBI, the employers' organisation. The headline grabbing initiatives, in which City banks, philanthropists and entrepreneurs line up to adopt state secondary schools have obscured a far more dramatic trend: the growth in the amount of taxpayers' money being paid to companies offering education services.

AN EVALUATION OF INSPECTION REPORTS ON THE MANAGEMENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

K. Reid

School Leadership and Management, vol.25, 2005, p.117-135

Article examines the impact of Ofsted reports on the management of attendance within secondary schools. It is clear that Ofsted gives close attention to a school's official statistical rates of attendance when forming judgments about it. This is driving many schools to search for innovative approaches to combating pupils' absence, including concealing it by under-reporting.

GOING FOR SPECIALIST SCHOOL STATUS: PERSPECTIVES FROM A FRONT LINE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT

A.J. Sinkinson

School Leadership and Management, vol.25, 2005, p.191-208

The specialist schools programme is at the heart of government policies aimed at raising standards of teaching and learning in England. Article presents a case study examining the bidding process and outcomes of being awarded specialist school status from the point of view of the head of mathematics in a secondary school.

GCSE EXAM PAPERS WILL BE SENT TO INDIA FOR MARKING

D. Gardham and L. Lightfoot

The Daily Telegraph, April 25th 2005, p.10

A major examination board is sending its GCSE papers to India for marking. AQA, one of the three main boards, is planning to have 500,000 papers scanned and e-mailed 5,000 miles abroad. The plans are part of a £2 million contract for papers to be marked in India, where examiners' salaries are a fifth of those here.

HEADS-ON COLLISION

C. Ryan

Public Finance, Apr.15th-21st 2005, p.28-30

Head teachers are claiming that they cannot implement pay reforms which significantly raise teachers' salaries and the 2003 workload agreement within existing budgets. The workload agreement increases costs by guaranteeing teachers a half day a week away from the classroom for lesson planning, limiting the time they can be required to spend covering for absent colleagues and relieving them of a range of routine clerical tasks.

LABOUR PLANS TO LOOK FOR 'THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST' AT 4

T. Halpin and A. Blair

The Times, April 21st 2005, p.2

Four-year-olds will be tested to identify the brightest pupils under a dramatic extension of Labour's programme for gifted and talented children. Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, said that she wanted teachers to choose the most able 5 per cent of pupils for special attention at primary school.

ONE IN FIVE CHILDREN LEAVING PRIMARY SCHOOL CANNOT READ

R. Garner

The Independent, April 7th 2005, p.5

The number of children struggling to read when they leave primary school is "unacceptably high", according to the Education Select Committee. It warns that academics have claimed the Government has underestimated the number of 11-year-olds failing to reach required standards in reading. It says:

"Even if government figures are taken at face value, around 20 per cent of children do not achieve the success in reading (and writing) expected of their age".

This amounts to approximately 120,000 pupils a year.

(See also The Times, April 7th 2005, p.1; The Daily Telegraph, April 7th 2005, p.1)

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP IN THE 21ST CENTURY: DEVELOPING A STRATEGIC APPROACH. 2ND ED

B. Davies, L. Ellison and C. Bowring-Carr

RoutledgeFalmer, 2005

Reform continues to be a dominating feature of education in the UK. The authors of this revised edition address the new standards and competency frameworks now required in school leadership. All the major aspects of school leadership are discussed, including:

  • strategic and ethical dimensions of leadership;
  • leading and managing change;
  • leading and managing staff in high performance schools;
  • information for student learning and organisational learning;
  • transformation of schools in the 21st century.

SHAKY FOUNDATIONS

P. Revell

Public Finance, Mar.4th-10th 2005, p.28-30

The Labour government plans to expand the successful specialist schools programme and create more city academies and "foundation" schools. The latter own their own buildings, appoint their own staff, and set their own admissions criteria. The government's proposals weaken local authority control over schools in their area and reduce democratic accountability for their activities. There are fears that autonomous foundation schools will fail to maintain their estate properly and will set admissions criteria that discriminate against disadvantaged pupils.

SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: THE CASE OF BRITISH EDUCATION POLICIES WITHIN A EUROPEAN UNION CONTEXT

N. Alexiadou

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 3, no.2, 2005, p.101 - 125

While examining the links between education and wider social and economic policies emanating from New Labour and the European Union, this paper argues that these entities have redefined equality (of opportunity rather than of outcome), and that education as a determinant of opportunity bears the burden of balancing liberalised markets with social justice.

TRANSFORMING SCHOOLS: ILLUSION OR REALITY?

B. Barker

School Leadership and Management. Vol.25, 2005, p.99-116

It is assumed by government that leaders with appropriate training can transform schools, motivate teachers and liberate pupils from disadvantage. Article tests this theory through a case study of a failing comprehensive school in the Midlands. This shows that effective leadership by two successive head teachers improved the organisational climate and culture of the school. However, the expected improvements in examination results did not follow. This suggests that intake mix may influence results more than organisational characteristics shaped by head teachers. While leadership training may improve school climate, a transformation in performance is unlikely.

USE OF SNIFFER DOGS IN SCHOOLS IS 'SUCCESS'

R. Smithers

The Guardian, April 21st 2005, p.12

Sniffer dogs should be used in all secondary schools to help deter teenage drug use, proposed a crime academic after hailing a four-year experiment as "very successful".

YOU CAN RUN, AND YOU CAN HIDE

D. James

Education Guardian, April 12th 2005, p.8-9

The author claims that discipline problems in state schools are driving many teachers to the private sector.

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