Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2005): Education - UK - schools

Children, sex and the media: a new educational approach

S. Bragg and D. Buckingham

ChildRight, no.219, 2005, p.8-10

Children learn a great deal about sex and relationships from the media and often prefer to learn from the media than from other sources, particularly schools. The Media Relate project developed teaching resources for citizenship studies and sex education based on the content of magazines and TV programmes. The materials are designed to support teachers in stimulating debate and critical reflection about the media's portrayal of sex and relationships.

Everyone a winner: towards exceptional achievement for all

M. Huxtable

Gifted Education International, vol. 20, 2005, p.51-69

The current UK approach of using a statistical description of high ability is limiting and can have a significant negative impact on learners and teachers. Article proposes a new framework based on the premise that all learners have the potential for high achievement in one or more areas.

Higher standards, better schools for all

Department for education and Skills

London: TSO, 2005 (Cm 6677)

The government wants to create a system of "independent, non-feepaying state schools" that will have freedom to set their own admissions policies. Schools will be encouraged to set up a trust to be responsible for their overall running that could be backed by private sponsors. Local authorities will become commissioners rather than providers and will have a duty to promote choice diversity and fair access. Free transport will be provided to bus disadvantaged children to good schools out of their home area while advisers will make sure that parents have information about the choices available to them. Schools deemed to be failing will be given a year to improve before the authority holds a competition for new providers. Teachers will be given a legal right to discipline, but local authorities will be required to provide excluded children with alternative education after five days, a reduction of the current requirement.

League tables row takes shine off GCSE achievement

R. Smithers

The Guardian, October 21st 2005, p. 14

GCSE results published yesterday showed the biggest improvement for more than a decade, but were overshadowed by a damaging row about "distorted" league tables. Provisional figures from the Department for Education and Skills for exams in the spring show 55.7% of pupils achieved the equivalent of at least 5 GCSEs at grade A* to C - two percentage points more than in 2004 - which meant the government hit its target for the first time. However teachers' leaders called for league tables to be scrapped in the face of evidence that they have failed to reflect an actual drop in performance in English and Maths.

Learning behaviour: the report of the Practitioners’ Group on School Behaviour and Discipline

Chair: Sir Alan Steer

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2005

The Group's conclusions reflect their view that good teaching is key to promoting good behaviour, but that all schools must also have strategies in place to help pupils manage their behaviour, with a balance of rewards and sanctions. These strategies need to be applied consistently by all staff. The Group are clear that schools need to take firm and consistent action to deal with any poor behaviour and that parents' cooperation is essential. It also emphasises the importance of schools creating a culture of mutual regard between parents, pupils and staff, and of schools providing strong pastoral support for pupils who are having difficulties.

Let teachers restrain pupils, says report

M. Taylor

The Guardian, October 21st 2005, p.13

Teachers should have the legal right to restrain pupils and schools should be able to apply for court orders to challenge unhelpful parents, according to a report on classroom discipline to be published today. The leaked report says teachers' rights to punish pupils who break school rules and restrain them using reasonable force should be enshrined in law. The move would replace the in loco parentis principle which gives teachers the same authority over pupils as parents. The taskforce, led by headteacher Sir Alan Steer, also looks at how best to deal with the 10,000 pupils expelled each year. It says local authorities should provide full-time education from the sixth day of exclusion, rather than the current 16th day.

Mediocre state schools fail pupils – Ofsted

R. Smithers

The Guardian, October 20th 2005, p.6

Hundreds of state schools in England are failing pupils by giving them no more than a mediocre education, said the Chief Inspector of Schools yesterday. And youngsters needing the greatest support, he added, were spending too much time with unqualified classroom assistants. The chief inspector, David Bell, added that the under-achievement of boys was a growing concern, and that the continued decline in the study of modern languages meant that the subject was now the preserve of "middle class girls".

(See also The Independent, October 20th 2005, p.6; The Daily Telegraph, October 20th 2005, p 15; The Times, October 20th 2005, p.4 and Ofsted annual report)

MPs dig in for fight over school changes

B. Russell and R. Garner

The Independent, 24th October 2005, p.4

Tony Blair's efforts to force through the most radical transformation of British schools for 40 years will this week face a backlash from Labour MPs, parents and head teachers who are increasingly concerned his reforms may not be workable. A set of proposals to be presented to Parliament by Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, will call for greater private investment in schools and a diminished role for local authorities. John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, is thought to be concerned at the prospect of stripping powers from local authorities, while left-wingers have attacked the proposals as amounting to the privatisation of schools.

(See also The Times, October 24th 2005, p.9; The Guardian, October 24th 2005, p.6; Financial Times, October 24th 2005, p.2)

Nothing succeeds like…

P. Revell

Public Finance, Sept. 30th-Oct 6th 2005, p.26-28

Article comments on an announcement by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has that failing schools will be closed after a year if they show no improvement. The government is relying on forms of partnership between failing and successful schools and outside involvement in school management by educational charities, faith and parents' groups to turn failing schools around. None of these solutions are particularly new or radical.

Poor children may be bused to schools in wealthy areas

L. Lighfoot

The Daily Telegraph, October 18th 2005, p.1

Free bus travel for children form council estates will be announced next week as part of the Government's efforts to end the middle class strangle-hold on popular schools. "Choice advisors" will tell parents about schools outside their areas to which that can apply and help them through their admission process.

Preparation of trainee teachers for teaching able and gifted pupils in English primary schools: how well do the 'standards' match up?

M. Lambert

Gifted Education International, vol.20, 2005, p.20-28

Paper examines the qualities and skills, which according to some key commentators, teachers need for effective teaching of able pupils within the ordinary classroom. It then compares these with the competencies which trainee teachers are required to achieve to become qualified teachers in England. It uses this comparison to propose some ways in which teacher training might be enhanced so that new teachers are better prepared to meet the needs of able pupils in mixed ability classrooms.

Secondary teacher workload and job satisfaction: do successful strategies for change exist?

G. Butt and A. Lance

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol.33, 2005, p.401-422

This article analyses the views of UK secondary school teachers involved in the Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder Project, which was designed to address issues of teacher workload and job satisfaction. The initiative was launched in 2002 to enable 32 pilot schools to explore ways in which they might change their working practices and reduce teacher workload. Funding was provided for schools to benefit from consultancy support, the training of head teachers, the employment of additional teaching assistants, the provision of ICT hardware and software, the training of school managers and capital building projects.

Top state schools colonised by middle classes

M. Taylor

The Guardian, October 10th 2005, p.7

The country's leading state schools are being colonised by the middle classes, educating significantly fewer poor pupils than other schools and excluding less affluent pupils who live nearby. The leading education charity trust the Sutton Trust used the latest GCSE results to identify the top 200 state schools and examined the number of poor children they taught. The study found that schools are using increasingly complicated admissions procedures to covertly select middle class children in the hope that they will boost their league table rankings.

What not to wear and other stories

A. Blair and W. Aps

Education and the Law, vol.17, 2005, p.1 - 22

Inconsistencies between discrimination and human rights approaches to the law relating to religion in schools is in need of rationalisation according to this article which compares the approaches following the recent court decision concerning wearing of the jilbab at Denbigh High School.

What’s new? Identifying innovation arising from school collaboration initiatives

R. Glatter and others

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol.33, 2005, p. 381-399

Article suggests that identifying innovation arising from a project is not a straightforward task. Its principal purpose is to promote a debate about the identification of innovation in evaluation research. To this end, the authors propose a tentative definition of innovation, and present examples of innovations drawn from their evaluation of the UK government's Diversity Pathfinders initiative.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web