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

Admission impossible?

P. Wilby

Public Finance, March 23rd-29th 2007, p. 20-23

The introduction of parental choice of secondary school was designed to both raise standards through competition for pupils and increase social mixing. In fact, middle class parents used gaming techniques to get their children places in the best schools, and popular schools cherry-picked bright children to maintain their position in the league tables. The new Code of School Admissions which came into operation in 2007 aims to level the playing field by prohibiting schools from interviewing children or their families or taking account of primary school reports. It also encourages selection for popular schools through lotteries and fair banding systems, which would require schools to admit a certain number of children from each ability band.

Curriculum online? Exploring the political and commercial construction of the UK digital learning marketplace

N. Selwyn

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 28, 2007, p. 223-240

Government support for the production and consumption of educational software is a key element of New Labour’s educational technology drive. At present much attention is being directed towards marketing “digital learning” to an education sector traditionally wary of technological innovation. This paper examines the political and commercial discourses surrounding digital learning and associated initiatives such as Curriculum Online and the Digital Curriculum.

'Modernising the comprehensive principle': selection, setting, and the institutionalisation of educational failure

M. Araujo

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 28, 2007, p. 241-257

New Labour has promoted the use of setting by ability in comprehensive schools as part of its modernisation agenda. This approach is probably aimed at attracting middle-class parents to, and retaining their support for, the state education sector by providing their children “safe” spaces within schools, away from pupils designated as failures. Teachers also appear to be sympathetic to setting, on the grounds that disruptive pupils would be banished to lower sets, making it easier for classroom discipline to be enforced and brighter children prepared for GCSE examinations. This article illustrates through a case study how setting within a comprehensive school affected the daily lives and educational careers of pupils.

New Labour, new leaders? Gendering transformational leadership

C. Lambert

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 28, 2007, p. 149-163

Transformational leadership has been widely recognised as playing a key role in the implementation of educational reform internationally. This paper draws on selected educational speeches made by New Labour politicians to locate changing discourses on leadership within the broader accountability framework through which the relationship between head teachers and central government has been reconfigured.

Partnerships for inclusive education: a critical approach to collaborative working

L. Todd

London: Routledge, 2007

Increased partnership between professionals, particularly through the integration of services, indicates a major opportunity for child and parent participation, but one that seems in danger of being side-stepped. Drawing on substantial research evidence, this book looks at reasons for this situation, what is happening now, what developments and initiatives have been tried and what can be done to develop a culture of participation. Some of the main threats to participation are discussed in this book including:

  • Has ‘partnership’ ever existed?
  • Who is excluded from 'partnership'?
  • Which discourses have made participation illusive and what are the implications – theoretical and practical - for how we move forward?

The practical guide to special education needs in inclusive primary classrooms

R. Rose and M. Howley

London: Paul Chapman, 2007

Children with special educational needs (SEN) form a significant part of the overall school population. Since the publication of the Warnock Report, advances in the understanding of pupils with SEN and the approaches to providing them with an appropriate education have been considerable. However, for many teachers, these pupils continue to provide a challenge. This book offers practical advice on how to become an inclusive primary schoolteacher and covers issues such as the demands of the curriculum, approaches to classroom management and organisation, the expectations of teachers and other adults, and creating inclusive classroom environments.

Towards extended schools? How education and other professionals understand community-oriented schooling

C. Cummings, L. Todd and A. Dyson

Children and Society, vol. 21, 2007, p. 189-200

The Labour government has proposed that all schools should offer services and activities beyond the school day to help meet the needs of children, their families and the wider community. The government has not provided, however, detailed guidance on what these extended services might look like, leaving this to local discretion. Two different understandings about how extended schools might operate emerged from interviews with over 350 professionals. It is suggested that these understandings rest on different assumptions about social and educational issues.

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