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Welfare reform on the Web (February 2007): Education - UK - schools

2020 vision: report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group

C. Gilbert (Chair)

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2006

This report sets out a broad strategy for the introduction of personalised learning in English schools over the next decade. It proposes that every school should devise a strategy to personalise teaching and promote “learning to learn”. Schools should identify all pupils not making progress and put in place plans designed to overcome barriers to learning. Ofsted should showcase schools that “buck the trend” in boys’ underachievement to spread best practice. The government should consider introducing an entitlement to additional support, possibly from external providers, for pupils not progressing in English and maths. The National Curriculum should be reviewed to ensure that it develops in ways that support personalised learning and personalised learning should become a fundamental part of teacher training.

The annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools 2005/06


London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC 78)

The report begins with the Chief Inspector's commentary on education and childcare in England, including reflections on the changes made to inspection arrangements. The first section of the report presents evidence from inspection in 2005/06 of childcare and early education settings, schools, colleges, initial teacher training providers and other institutions which it falls within Ofsted’s remit to inspect. The second section of the report draws together the findings of the joint area reviews and surveys carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools and childcare inspectors to provide the evidence about the progress and achievements of children and young people in relation to the Every Child Matters outcomes. The Chief Inspector states that the overall picture is positive as the overwhelming majority of settings inspected are at least satisfactory and over half are good or outstanding.

Convergence or divergence? Initial teacher education in Scotland and England

I. Menter, E. Brisard and I. Smith

Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 2006 (Policy and practice in education)

The book examines the key characteristics of Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET), including systems of governance, institutional arrangements, quality assurance processes, curriculum and assessment and the significance of ITET within national systems of education. Further themes are the professional context of ITET in Scotland and England and the roles of key stakeholders such as the government, schools and local authorities. The book also considers the significance of recent political, social and cultural identities and their influence on the development of ITET policy and practice and looks at the ways in which ITET in these two countries is diverging, perhaps under the pressure of post-devolution nationalism, or converging, under the pressures of globalisation.

Early intervention and prevention for children excluded from primary school

C. Panayiotopoulos and M. Kerfoot

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.11, 2007, p.59-80

The New Labour government in the UK made tackling social and school exclusion a priority when it came to power in 1997. This paper reports on a randomised controlled trial of a multidisciplinary intervention designed to prevent exclusion of pupils from primary school and first year of secondary school due to emotional and behavioural problems. Results suggest that:

  • Offering support to schools and families regarding their excluded children is vital
  • Prevention at an early stage is better than intervention at later stages because it avoids future involvement with the criminal justice system, social services and healthcare services
  • Outcomes are more positive when there is full engagement of the family, the child and the school

Education and the politics of selection: radical policies for those set to fail in the twenty-first century?

J. Demaine

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol.16, 2006, p. 191-206

The author compares the education policies of the Blair government with those of the Conservative opposition, and finds them similar. Both are committed to an agenda of school choice and the “freeing up” of secondary schools from local authority control so as to promote diversity in the education market place. These policies will lead to popular schools being over-subscribed, and the return of various forms of pupil selection which will disadvantage working class children.

Educational reform: an ironic perspective

E. Hoyle and M. Wallace

Educational Management, Leadership and Administration, vol.35, 2007, p.9-25

Holding professionals to account became a world-wide trend in education in the 1970s and is generally termed the reform movement. Under s succession of UK governments, peer accountability was replaced by new market and bureaucratic patterns. The strategy that emerged was one of greatly increased central determination of education policy, supported by a range of institutions of accountability, with responsibility for implementation vested in strengthened management at the organisational level. Ironically, in spite of massive investment in education, there is no ringing endorsement of the reform among teachers and the public at large.

Gender and teaching: where have all the men gone?

S. Riddell and L. Tett

Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 2006 (Policy and practice in education)

In recent times teaching has become an increasingly feminised profession. The book provides an in-depth analysis of the reasons why men are less likely to choose to become teachers through a review of the gender balance of teachers in primary and secondary schools in Scotland. It asks what are the barriers, both perceived and experienced; why should men be involved in teaching; why is male absence a problem? It then explores how the gender balance in teaching can be changed and makes recommendations that are likely to encourage more men to remain within or join the teaching profession.

School catchment areas to be scrapped

G. Paton

The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 10th 2007, p. 1 + 4

The new mandatory school admissions code proposes the introduction of a ‘lottery’ system for school selection to ensure fairness and to prevent middle-class families from monopolising good school places by moving nearer to high-performing schools. Schools will also be banned from considering parents’ backgrounds, interviewing families, or pricing poor children out through insistence on expensive school uniforms. No preference should be given to children whose parents can support the school financially.

School leaving age goes up to 18

A. Browne & P. Webster

The Times Jan. 12th 2007, p.1 + 4

Reports that government is planning to raise the school leaving age from 16 to 18 by 2013. Under the plans, 16- and 17-year-olds would have three options: 1) staying on at school to study for A-levels, new style diplomas or the International Baccalaureat; 2) undertaking full-time vocational training at a further education college; or 3) entering the workplace, but with a guaranteed minimum level of training, such as an apprenticeship.

Understanding minority ethnic achievement: race, gender, class and ‘success’

L. Archer and B. Francis

Abingdon: Routledge, 2007

The book examines the views, identities and educational experiences of those pupils who are undoubtedly ‘achieving’, but who tend to remain ignored and overlooked within popular concerns about under-achievement. It combines a broad analysis of minority ethnic pupils’ achievement together with a detailed case study of an educationally ‘successful’ group, the British-Chinese, whose apparent success offers a fascinating angle to debates on the reproduction of social inequalities. The book covers:

  • Theoretical and policy context to issues of ‘race’, gender, social class and achievement
  • The role of teachers and schools
  • Chinese parents’ views of their children’s education
  • British-Chinese pupils’ views on their approaches to learning and their educational identities
  • The relationship between aspirations and educational achievement
  • The complexity and subtlety of racism experienced by ‘successful’ minority ethnic pupils.
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