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

Action research for inclusive education: changing places, changing practice, changing minds

F. Armstrong and M. Moore (editors)

London: Routledge, 2005

Presents an approach to action research which can help dismantle discriminatory and exclusionary practices in education. Insider accounts of action research help challenge assumptions about the supposed limits of inclusive education, and offer examples of how change can be realistically achieved. These include:

  • the co-ordination of services for minority ethnic groups
  • peer mediation of access to the literacy hour for children with autism
  • developing a role of learning support assistants in pioneering inclusion
  • developing links between special and mainstream schools.

Analysing underachievement in schools

E. Smith

London: Continuum, 2005

Underachievement in school is one of the most widely used terms in education today. It is also a subject which raises questions about what we expect from a fair and equitable education system. This volume provides a critical analysis of two sides of the underachievement debate, at each of the three levels of focus - international, the UK and the individual. It considers the 'crisis' account of falling standards and failing pupils but also presents an alternative which urges re-evaluation of the underachievement debate in order to consider who might be underachieving and why.

Assessing teacher effectiveness: developing a differentiated model

J. Campbell and others

London, Routledge, 2004

Systems of teacher appraisal and evaluation are being created across the world in order to monitor and assess teacher performance. But do the models give a fair evaluation? The authors of this book argue that teacher effectiveness is too narrowly conceptualised and methods of measuring it are not attuned to the real contexts in which teachers work. Instead they propose a model of differentiated teacher effectiveness which takes into account that teachers may be more effective with some categories of students, or with some subjects, that with others.

Bad schools to close after a year

A. Blair and T. Halpin

The Times, September 6th 2005, p.22

Failing schools in England will have to improve or close after a year. At present schools can spend two years in special measures, the Ofsted rating that signals a school is failing. From next year schools which have not improved after a year could be shut.

Best in class?

K. Leason

Community Care, Sept. 1st-7th 2005, p. 26-28

Government policy has favoured the integration of children with special needs into mainstream schools, but the effectiveness of this approach has been questioned recently.

Caring after hours

H. Wheatley

Community Care, Sept. 1st-7th 2005, p.38-39

Extended schools offering out-of-hours child care could help parents return to work. Disabled children would also benefit from inclusive leisure activities. However, questions remain about how extended services will be staffed and whether other specialist services will lose out.

Conditions of domination: reflections on harms generated by the British state education system

A. Beckmann and C. Cooper

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.26, 2005, p.475-489

Since the neo-liberal reforms of the 1980s, the British state education system has focused on producing students with the skill sets required by employers. Schools have been placed under intense pressure to conform through performance targets and league tables, while universities have been placed under stricter surveillance and control through the research assessment exercise (RAE) and demands that they conform to the needs of the free market. Article explores the harm that these dehumanising and reductionist approaches to education have caused.

Drug education in schools


London: 2005

Report evaluates the quality of drug education programmes observed in schools during the survey. Based upon research findings, it outlines young people's use of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. It outlines key aspects of provision, such as teaching, that have improved since the last Ofsted report in 1997.

Exams? Pass on that one

N. Valios

Community Care, Sept. 1st-7th 2005, p.30-32

Describes how Merton Borough Council is improving the educational attainment of looked after children through a range of initiatives. These include the Chances team which is dedicated to supporting looked after children, ensuring that children are enrolled in suitable schools, provision of flying tutors to coach children, and encouraging elected members to take seriously the council's role as corporate parent.

New academy schools fuel education row

M. Taylor and R. Smithers

The Guardian, September 5th 2005, p.7

Ten new academy schools are to open as the government presses ahead with its most radical reform of the state school system. The schools are backed by private sponsors, including Christian organisations, in return for a large degree of control over their curriculum, ethos and staffing. The government insists that these schools are improving the standard of education in some of the most deprived areas of the country. However, according to the critics, they could also create two-tier education based on social class.

The new politics of education in Britain’s changing times

J. Demaine

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol.15, 2005, p.115-127

The Labour government has sustained the quasi-market in education inherited from the Conservatives, allowing the better off to secure places in what they regard as the "best" schools for their children. A second strand of policy has put in place a range of initiatives to help disadvantaged families and children. This involves the Sure Start programme and the provision of children's centres, the focus on numeracy and literacy in primary schools, school improvement targets for primary and secondary schools, easier access to university and educational maintenance allowances to encourage young people from poor families to enter post-16 education.

Parents to get public money to run their own schools

T. Halpin

The Times, September 7th 2005, p.1

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, intends to end the local councils' dominance of the state education system by inviting other groups to open and run schools. The role of the councils would be as "the commissioner rather than the provider" of education.

Protecting children: a handbook for teachers and school managers. 2nd ed.

B. Whitney

Abingdon, Oxon: RoutledgeFalmer, 2005

This book provides detailed and practical advice to help the busy teacher or school manager. The author offers a realistic account of the inter-agency child protection system and of the particular contribution of schools within in it, including:

  • information on the legal frameworks
  • responding to concerns about children's welfare
  • meeting inspection standards for effective governance
  • managing allegations against education staff
  • wider issues of child safety, including bullying and child employment

Schools struggle to find suitable heads

M. Green

Financial Times, September 5th 2005, p.3

More than a fifth of vacancies for headteachers are going unfilled. The Secondary Heads Association and the National Association of Head Teachers said action had to be taken on both pay and workload to attract candidates into leadership.

Schools that select ‘well-off’ children to face crackdown

R. Garner

The Independent, September 5th 2005, p. 7

The best schools are closing their doors to the children of less well-off families, according to a report 'Sins of Admission' by C. Waterman. New regulations should be brought in to stop the schools from using parental interviews to covertly select children from better-off families in the hope that they will boost their position in exam league tables. New regulations are also necessary to stop many faith schools offering a segregated education to youngsters.

State schools in crisis over standards and rising truancy

T. Halpin and A. Bell

The Times, September 22nd 2005, p.1

New figures show soaring truancy levels, a student drop-out rate of nearly 25 per cent and a surprise fall in state school entrants to top universities. Despite massive levels of public spending on programmes to cut truancy and attract more state school students into higher education the Government is failing to meet its key objectives for education.

Truancy hype masks reality

G. Carson

Community Care, Sept.15th-21st 2005, p.18

Results of a recent survey suggest that police anti-truancy sweeps are ineffective since almost two-thirds of young people stopped are not truanting. However, educationalists want to continue with them, if only for the message they send to the community that truancy is not acceptable.

Warning on primary school test targets

M. Green and S. Briscoe

Financial Times, Aug.24th 2005, p.2

Labour promised that by 2006 85% of all children leaving primary school would have reached the required level for their age group in English, maths and science. However, test results for 2005 show that, while science scores have remained at the 2004 level of 86%, maths scores have reached only 75% and English 79%. Head teachers have warned that schools have little chance of reaching government targets.

We don’t want no separation

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Sept.1st-7th 2005, p.34-35

Black boys achieve very poor examination results in British schools, and it has been suggested that they might benefit from being taught separately. However experts argue that segregation would simply add to their feelings of exclusion. Instead they suggest that educational attainment of black boys could be raised by encouraging parents to become more involved in their sons' education and through cultural awareness training for teachers.

Winds of change

M. Ellsmore

Public Finance, Aug.19th-Sept.1st 2005, p.26-28

Describes how a Public Finance Initiative Project enabled Bexley Council to refurbish two of their schools.

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