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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2006): Education - UK - Schools

Academy sponsors 'all want to be in London'

J. Boone

Financial Times, January 16th 2006, p.4

Multinational companies appear reluctant to step forward as sponsors of academies, although a donation of £2m would give them a significant role in the running, ethos and even the curriculum of their chosen school. The scheme is proving more attractive to entrpreneurs and religious organisations.

Cameron accused of U-turn on school admissions

B. Hall

Financial Times, January 10th 2006, p.2

Having reportedly backed school autonomy in relation to admissions in his leadership campaign, the new Tory leader has excluded the possibility of a return to eleven-plus exams and grammar schools. Ten percent of secondary school intake could be selected by aptitude however.

[See also Guardian, January 10th 2006, p11, Daily Telegraph, January 10th 2006, p.1]

Cameron fails test on education

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, January 10th 2006, p.4

Designed not to offend anyone, the new Tory education policy aligns with Labour’s. Opinion piece has a dim view of yesterday’s announcements.

Early literacy work with families: policy, practice and research

C. Nutbrown, P. Hannon and A. Morgan

London: Sage, 2005

The book is based upon the work of the Raising Early Achievement in Literacy Project in Sheffield. It documents the range of policies which contribute to the context for developing early literacy work with parents of young children and describes a range of practices in schools and other early childhood education and care settings to support the parents in their roles as early literacy educators.

Educational policy and social reproduction: class inscription and symbolic control

J. Fitz, B. Davies and J. Evans

London: Routledge, 2006

The book takes a look at British educational policy over the last 60 years when secondary schooling for all children became a fact. It contributes to the debate about the extent to which education is a force for change in class-divided societies.

Eighty-eight sex offenders were free to work in schools

R. Garner

Independent, Friday 20th Jan. 2006, p.5

Officials at the Department for Education and Skills have identified 88 cases where teachers either convicted of, cautioned about or suspected of sex offences against children were allowed to continue to work in schools. The Education Secretary apologised to parents in a Commons statement. She also said that legislation would be introduced into the Commons setting up a statutory body responsible for deciding all cases.

Enchanting a disenchanted child: revolutionising the means of education using Information and Communications Technology and e-learning

L. Beastall

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.27, 2006, p.97-110

Using ICT and e-learning across the curriculum is seen by the UK government as part of the solution to the challenge of delivering a more effective education to children in schools. However, attempting to embrace the use of technology in education has brought to light a skills shortage among the teaching staff. Use of ICT and e-learning has the potential to attract young people through stimulating digital resources. However, in attempting to engage pupils, the government may have succeeded in alienating teachers. The paper concludes that the government should invest more in training teachers to effectively incorporate ICT into their practice.

Head teachers reject Blair’s school reforms

J. Glover & M. Taylor,

Guardian, January 10th 2006, p.1

An ICM poll of 805 head teachers and assistant heads found that 61% disagree with plans to allow successful schools to expand on demand. Half also oppose plans for schools to be given greater freedom from local authority control. A separate survey showed that 72% of Labour backbench MPs oppose the government’s education reform plans set out in the recent White Paper. However, there was clear support among MPs for compromise, with 54% of respondents saying they would support the government if it put in place a statutory admissions code to prevent schools from cherry picking the best pupils.

[See also Education Guardian, January 10th 2006, p.1-2]

Heads you lose

P. Revell

Public Finance, Jan.20th-26th 2006, p.26-28

Schools are experiencing grave difficulties in filling vacant head teacher posts. The recruitment crisis is threatening to undermine the government’s education reforms. Candidates are being put off by the stress of implementing a plethora of unfunded government initiatives such as the healthy schools policy and the workload agreement aimed at cutting the hours worked by classroom teachers.

Headteacher vacancies expose schools crisis

R. Smithers

Guardian, January 12th 2006, p.

Hundreds of unfilled permanent head teacher posts, vacant despite record salaries, are blamed by the National Audit Office for preventing improvement in the worst schools.

The Impact of the National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme on educational services in England

W. McCracken and others

Deafness and Education International, vol.7, 2005, p.179-194

The article presents results related to the impact on educational support services of the introduction of the first phase of the national Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) in England. It presents results from a qualitative study of 27 educational services before and after the implementation of NHSP. The results centred on five distinct themes:

  1. characteristics of good and poor links between services
  2. changes in working practice
  3. training needs and provision
  4. funding and resource implications of NHSP
  5. the perceived opportunities of NHSP.

Keeping it real

F. Millar

Public Finance, Jan.20th-26th 2006, p.22-23

Article presents an alternative vision for education reform in England. It rejects the policies of parent choice and competition between schools favoured by Tony Blair. Instead, it argues for the promotion of comprehensive schools with wide and balanced intakes which work together for the benefit of all members of the community. It claims that parents want access to good local schools, not the stress of competing with other families for a place at the best establishment.

Kelly admission on sex offenders

P. Curtis and M. White

Guardian, January 12th 2006, p. 7

The Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has admitted that ministers in her department have allowed registered sex offenders to continue to work in schools and has ordered an urgent review of each individual decision.

[See also Daily Telegraph, January 12th 2006, p.1; Independent, January 12th 2006, p.6, Financial Times, January 12th 2006, p.2; Times, January 12th 2006, p.1 (Times article summarises categories of offenders registered on the two lists: “Sex offenders register”, and “list 99”.)

Kelly confusion

G. Jones

Daily Telegraph, January 13th 2006, p.1

Due care is advised as guidance given to schools over whether to treat job applicants and employees with police cautions the same as those on the sex offenders register fails to take account of detail. Article looks at the issues focussing on the sex offender employed as a P.E. teacher by Hewitt School in Norwich.

Kelly struggles to defend school reforms

B. Hall

Financial Times, January 7th 2006, p.2

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly’s defence of New Labour’s latest proposals on school reform is rejected by teachers’ representatives at an education conference. Her 'prospectus' and attempts to dispel 'myths' about selection by ability failed to dispel their qualms, or clear up confusion. Heads and governors, many of whom reportedly will ignore the trust school concept, are fed up with being used as an experimental laboratory for reform, still fear a fragmented system enabling schools to clandestinely select pupils.

[See also Guardian, January 7th 2006, p.6]

Key issues in special education: raising standards of pupils’ attainment and achievement

M. Farrell

Abingdon: Routledge, 2005

The book explores the role of educational standards in special education. It concentrates on such issues as:

The definition of standards
Identifying, assessing and providing for special educational needs
Assessment and benchmarking
Curriculum provision and target-setting
The role of the Code of Practice

The Legal power to discipline pupils: a response to the DfES consultation paper

Children’s Legal Centre

ChildRight, issue 222, 2006, p.13-14

The government is proposing to include a new chapter on school discipline in the Education Bill due to be published in early 2006. The government wants to give school discipline a clear legal basis. The article argues that the proposed chapter is unnecessary since school discipline already has a legal basis in s.3 Children Act 1989 and s.175 Education Act 2002. Moreover, its proposals pay too little attention to upholding children’s rights.

Parent power? Don’t make me laugh

F. Miller

Education Guardian, January 10th 2006, p.4

This article is an opinion piece looking at government policies that depict parents as the cause of, and solution to, their children’s problems simultaneously and at issues relating to special needs education, admissions complaints, accountability and parental rights.

Truancy rises despite £885m attempt to tackle it

L. Lightfoot

Daily Telegraph, January 19th 2006, p.2

Costly investment in liaison officers, truancy sweeps and local initiatives have failed to stop the previously level annual figures for truancy from rising. Poorly performing schools have been targeted successfully, but the Public Accounts Committee recommends more guidance for heads.

U.S. firm in line to take over running of British schools

R. Garner

Independent, January 18th 2006, p.7

Edison, the largest profit making operator in US education who started out managing challenging American schools, are very interested in managing British schools, and are talking with a government adviser .

Values in education: we’re all citizens now

H. Maitles

Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2005 (Policy and practice in education)

The book offers suggestions on how more active learning may result in better values and more active citizens. It poses some questions fundamental to the understanding of citizenship:

  1. What is education for?
  2. What are schools for?
  3. What values should schools aim to develop in young people and how?

Watchdog says 1m children caught in sub-standard schools

M. Green

Financial Times, January 11th 2006, p.2

New analysis of data shows that although the number of poorly performing schools is falling, many struggle and a recovery period of four years is too long according to the Audit Office. The article touches on the cost and effectiveness of intervention strategies including, Excellence in Cities, academies and Fresh Start schools.

[See also Guardian January 11th 2006 p.4; Independent, January 11th 2006 p.1&2]

Wots rong with fonix

M. Edgington

Early Years, no.48, Spring 2006, p.7-9

In the context of the current debate about the benefits of synthetic phonics for teaching children to read, the author argues that no quick fix or single approach can work. Early years teachers need to continue to listen to individual children, work in partnership with parents, use storytelling to fire children’s imaginations, encourage children to learn songs, and provide positive role models to demonstrate reading and writing skills.

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