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

Improving literacy and numeracy in schools (Northern Ireland)

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC 108)

TIn order to raise levels of achievement among school children, the Department of Education introduced its Strategy for the Promotion of Literacy and Numeracy in Primary and Secondary Schools (the Strategy) in 1998. However, progress in literacy and numeracy attainment levels has been manifestly unsatisfactory since then. The report examines the impact of the Strategy on the attainment levels of pupils and whether the methods of teaching literacy and numeracy used have been effective. It recommends that the Department:

  • Addresses under-achievement of boys
  • Addresses differences in performance by pupils from different religious backgrounds
  • Takes lead in identifying and championing best practice in literacy and numeracy teaching
  • Engages parents to provide educational development at home
  • Looks at ways of narrowing the long standing gap between the best and lowest literacy and numeracy performers in Northern Ireland schools

Included or excluded? The challenge of the mainstream for some SEN children

R. Cigman (editor)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2007

In 2005 Baroness Warnock wrote a pamphlet in which she expressed serious concerns about the effects of her report on special education, published almost thirty years earlier. Not least of these was the suffering of some SEN children in mainstream schools, who had nowhere else to go since the closure of special schools in their area. Her concerns raised a storm in the press and among many educationalists and disability groups. The book contains chapters by some of Mary Warnock's critics, as well as chapters that support and elaborate her views on inclusion. It asks the question: "should all children be included in the same schools?" and provides a forum in which conflicting arguments can be presented. Some of the chapters are by teachers or parents of children with special needs, or by people who have such needs themselves. Some are by educationalists, psychologists, lawyers and philosophers.

Schools on the edge: responding to challenging circumstances

J. MacBeath and others

London: Paul Chapman, 2007

Schools serving young people on the margins of society face a major challenge in trying to create an environment where students can succeed. The book examines key issues in the field of school improvement. It draws on the evidence from the Schools Facing Exceptionally Challenging Circumstances project to explore:

  • The policy context of schools on the edge
  • The nature of extreme challenge
  • The way schools have responded to extreme challenge
  • What seems to be effective in helping such schools
  • Obstacles to success, and the facilities and resources that can make a difference
  • Strategies to meet the needs of the local community and facilitate lasting change.
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