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

£27m scheme to give free books to all under-fives

M. Taylor

The Guardian, July 25th 2005, p.9

Every child up to the age of four is to get a free bag of books under a £27m government scheme designed to promote reading. The Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has outlined plans to hand out 9m free books over the next three years, in an attempt to develop a lifelong passion for reading and increase social mobility. The scheme will be run through the charity Booktrust.

Because they’re worth it?

P. Revell

Public Finance, June 24th-30th 2005, p.24-26

The government's flagship city academies have come under attack for failing to improve student achievement, and some private sponsors have pulled out. However, defenders of the concept argue that the academies have only been in operation for two years and need more time to produce results.

Challenging the post-Fordist/flexible organisation thesis: the case of reformed educational organisations

K.J. Brehoney and R. Deem

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.26, 2005, p.395-414

Up to the mid-1980s, state-funded educational organisations in the UK displayed bureaucratic features, including rules, staff hierarchies, and complex procedures. However, professionals employed in these organisations retained discretion and autonomy in their work. Since then, the introduction of an audit culture and a greater emphasis on regulation of the work of teachers and academics has decreased discretion and autonomy. Paper suggests that New Managerialism offers a better explanation of these changes than post-Fordism.

Creating a learning school

D. Middlewood, R. Parker and J. Beere

London: Paul Chapman, 2005

The authors look back at the 'teaching school' of the past where teachers had the knowledge, tests and examinations measured the extent to which pupils had received it and the intellect was central to success. They then look forward to the 'learning school' of the future where learning is a process, schooling is a contribution to life-long learning, and emotions, instinct and creativity are as important as intellect. The authors set out a vision of what a learning school will look like and why such schools are needed.

Introducing ICT in secondary schools: a context for reflection on management and professional norms

M. Simpson, F. Payne and R. Condie

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol.33, 2005, p.331-354

Within the Scottish education system, there have been significant moves towards devolved decision-making. It is government's expressed intention that schools must become more responsive to changing community requirements. One social change that alters community expectations of schools is the widespread use of ICT. Research shows that the Scottish Executive's hopes and aspirations for the incorporation of ICT into education, backed with generous funding for training and equipment purchase, are being defeated by a mechanism for change which relies on self-initiated trial-and-error action by individual teachers, with occasional edicts from central and local government. School organisation and culture appear to be not conducive to informed or co-ordinated higher order information management, decision taking, planning and action for change.

Parents plead for grammar schools

A. Blair

The Times, July 26th 2005, p.27

Thousands of parents are appealing to the Government to reverse plans to end academic selection, which will in effect abolish 70 grammar schools at one stroke. Northern Ireland's grammar schools are among the highest achieving in the country but the Government has declared they must stop selecting pupils on academic ability within three years. Last month 7,000 parents delivered a petition to the Department of Education in Northern Ireland demanding the right to retain selection.

Removing the safety net

J. Crace

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

Nearly one in 10 special schools has closed since Labour came to power. The author visits one in its final year, and finds a community wondering why its success is being sacrificed in the name of choice.

Safeguarding children: safer recruitment and selection in education settings

Department for Education and Skills 2005

Government guidance to help schools and other educational establishments review and modify their recruitment, selection and human resources management procedures to deter, reject and identify people who might abuse children or are otherwise unsuited to work with them.

Special classes for poor children who fall behind

T. Helm

Daily Telegraph, July 26th 2005, p.2

Deprived children who under-achieve in primary schools are to be "separated off" for special tuition after figures showed the achievement gap between rich and poor pupils had widened under New Labour. In a speech today, Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, will signal a fundamental shift in policy away from investment in deprived schools, to investment targeted more specifically at pupils in those schools who need the most help.

Teachers’ new deal forces schools to make cuts and sack 1,700 staff

R. Garner

The Independent, July 19th 2005, p.4

Three out of four primary schools are being forced to make cuts next term, according to a survey of 500 primary schools carried out in conjunction with the National Association of Head Teachers. That would mean more than 16,000 schools in England and Wales having to make cuts, and 1,700 staff losing their jobs. The cuts are the result of a new law, coming into effect next term, which guarantees all teachers 10 per cent of their time away from the classroom for marking and preparation. More than one in 12 schools are being forced to sack staff.

Teaching children to read

Education and Skills Committee

London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2004-05; HC 121)

There is some evidence to suggest that children's attainment in reading has improved since the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) in 1997. However, there is still a very wide spread of ability and a large proportion of children - around 20% - leave primary school without the reading (and writing) skills expected of their age. The report recommends a review of the NLS to determine whether its current prescriptions are the best available. Further large-scale, comparative research on the best ways of teaching children to read is also necessary to determine which methods are most effective for which children. This research should be commissioned by the DfES.

Two years on: the destinations of young people who are not in education, employment or training at 16

S. Maguire and J. Rennison

Journal of Youth Studies, vol.8, 2005, p.187-201

Paper draws on evidence from the evaluation of the piloting of the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in England to explore the extent to which a financial incentive to remain in full-time education prevents young people entering the "not in education, employment or training" (NEET) group. Evidence suggests that the EMA has been successful in encouraging some young people to stay on at school instead of entering the NEET group. However, it was less successful in attracting young unemployed people back into full-time education.

What’s the good of education?: The economics of education in the UK

S. Machin and A. Vignoles (editors) S

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005

Volumes have been written about the value of more and better education. But is there sufficient evidence to support this commonly held belief?. This book explores that question in unprecedented detail and asks how much teachers actually matter for children's educational attainment. What payoff do people get from acquiring more education when they enter the labour market? How well do education systems function in providing children with the skills they want and need? The book concludes by issuing some strong policy recommendations and offering an evaluation of what does and does not work in improving educational attainment.

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