Education review abstracts


Vol. 17 No. 1, 2003


The London challenge

Tim Brighouse.


In this article Tim Brighouse, Commissioner for London Schools, examines the challenges that schools face when tackling disadvantage and outlines why he believes teachers should feel optimistic about breaking the link between socioeconomic disadvantage and educational failure.


Education Action Zones and Excellence in Cities

David Bell.


Poverty, deprivation and disadvantage are the decisive factors associated with low standards, low aspirations and social isolation. In this article, David Bell uses the evidence of OFSTED inspections to examine the impact that Education Action Zones and Excellence in Cities have had on raising the educational performance of pupils in areas of social disadvantage.


Social justice, education and the QCA

Ken Boston.


A just society seeks equality of educational outcomes in which the range and mean performance scores of minority groups reflect the range and mean performance scores of the whole cohort. Despite the complex interaction of factors which militate against some groups of students achieving equal educational outcomes with others, teachers can and do make a difference. Dr Boston explains how QCA is doing a lot to help them through the National Curriculum, flexibility at Key Stage 4, vocational skills and qualifications, and support for teachers.


Children’s centres and social inclusion

Gillian Pugh.


This article explores the concept of children’s centres, drawing on the experience of setting up the Thomas Coram Centre, and on research into the effectiveness of such centres, looking particularly at their role in promoting social inclusion.


Towards the development of extended schools: a scoping study

Kay Kinder.


This article is based on research undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in 2002 for the Department for Education and Skills and the National Union of Teachers, examining the extent and efficacy of the “extended school” model in England. The article presents an “audit” of extended school provision and discusses some of the perceived impacts on pupils, their families and the local community.


Evaluation of the Department for Education and Skills’ Behaviour Improvement Programme

Susan Hallam.


This article assesses the impact of the DfES’s Behaviour Improvement Scheme (BIP) on pupil behaviour and attendance. It highlights the wide range of interventions adopted by LEAs and looks at the factors that have effected the programme’s success.


The inequitable impacts of high stakes testing

Wynne Harlen.


This article explores the impact that summative assessment and testing can have on pupil achievement. It argues that the high stakes attached to testing can have a detrimental effect on pupils’ performance and attitude to learning.


Tackling conflict and promoting equality

Rhodri Thomas.


All schools and members of the school community have a role to play in tackling discrimination and promoting equality. Schools should be proactive in this area in order to support students, send out the wider message that discrimination will not be tolerated and prepare all their students for life in a diverse society. This article outlines one school’s experience of tackling racial discrimination.


Inclusion: concepts, capacity building and the (rocky) road to consensus

Suzanne Mackenzie.


One of the problems of moving towards a more inclusive system is a lack of shared understanding about what “inclusion” actually means. This article discusses the measures that need to be taken if schools are to implement inclusive practice in education and devise new ways of overcoming barriers to participation and learning.


Putting children first – How the new Children’s Green Paper sets out reforms for the welfare of children

Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE, MP.


Children’s life chances remain unequal with vulnerable children caught in a cycle of poverty and crime. In this article, Margaret Hodge, Minister of State for Children, outlines how the reforms proposals in the Children’s Green Paper will help to protect vulnerable children and enable them to lead fulfilled lives.


Making a difference

John Rowling.


If schools are to raise standards for all pupils they need to reject the concept of uniformity of provision and instead adapt provision to meet the different needs of pupils. This article examines one school’s attempts to raise performance and close the gap between the highest and lowest achievers.


Gender – Still an equality issue

Julie Mellor.


Whilst men and women’s roles in society have changed significantly over the last seventy-five years inequalities still remain. This article details the work that the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is undertaking to challenge gender inequality. It also highlights the role that schools can play in ensuring that all children fulfil their potential.


Just curriculum work

Pat Thompson.


This article describes how teacher led change can raise educational standards and re-engage children in their local community. It argues that the National Curriculum needs to be flexible enough to allow for teacher input and to be varied if local circumstances require.


Prevention before intervention – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of intervention

Rob Long.


This article examines the factors that can cause children to develop social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in school. It explores how problem-solving skills can be used in the classroom to prevent difficulties that disrupt the learning process.


Thoughts on the Children’s Green Paper: Every Child Matters

Alan Parker.


This article examines the main themes of the Children’s Green Paper, and analyses the positive aspects, as well as the contradictions in policy. It looks at the likely effects of the proposals on local authorities, including the implications of having one officer responsible for both education and children’s services.


Time, space and teachers’ work

Ken Jones.


Current education policy has led to a culture of conformity where teaching and learning are subject to increasing regulation. Such an environment has led to schools becoming culturally disconnected from their own communities. Rather than representing and drawing on a rich variety of cultures and experiences, schools have to conform to an external set of norms and values.


The early catastrophe – The 30 million word gap by age three

Betty Hart and Todd Risley.


Early intervention programmes do not always forestall the effects of poverty on children’s academic growth. There continues to be a disparity between the vocabulary growth of children from professional families and those from families in poverty. This article details the authors’ attempts to understand how and when differences in development trajectories begin and whether they can be overcome.


The myths and realities of asylum-seeking and refugee pupils

Nora McKenna.


This article outlines the difficulties that refugee and asylum seeking children face when trying to access the education system and looks at the important role that schools can play in promoting community cohesion.



Vol. 17 No. 2, 2004


Wales: The learning country

Jane Davidson AM.


In this article Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning outlines the steps that the Welsh Assembly Government is taking to revolutionise education in Wales and promote lifelong learning for all.


Promoting equity: The wider role of the school

Ben Levin.


Improving educational outcomes for all children demands a joined up approach where education is connected to a broader social policy. This article looks at the impact that issues such as nutrition, housing and the local community can have on raising educational standards.


From the billboard to the school canteen: How food promotion influences children

Martine Stead.


In July 2002 the University of Strathclyde was asked to conduct a review of all the published research into the effects of food advertising to children. This article provides an overview of the review’s findings and discusses what they mean for schools’ role in promoting healthy eating both inside and outside the classroom.


Our children deserve the best

Baroness Cathy Ashton.


Good early years education and high quality care are crucial to the overall well-being and development of children and their ability to flourish when they go to school and in their later years. In this article Catherine Ashton, Minister for Early Years and School Standards, outlines the work that the Government is undertaking to ensure that all children get the best possible start in life.


Creating a healthier generation

Phil Willis.


In this article Phil Willis, Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills, outlines the findings of a recent inquiry into sports and fitness in secondary schools. The inquiry, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, sets out the changes that need to take place if we are to enthuse children about sport and encourage healthy lifestyles.


Finnish education – reaching high quality and promoting equity

Pirjo Linnakyla.


PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) showed that the Finnish education system has succeeded both in academic terms and in promoting equity. This article tries to open up some perspectives on the possible reasons underlying the high performance of Finnish students. There is no one single explanation for the result. Rather, the successful performance seems to be attributable to a web of interrelated factors having to do with comprehensive pedagogy, students’ own interests and leisure activities, the structure of the educational system, teacher education, school practices and, in the end, Finnish culture.


How can schools meet the needs of minority ethnic pupils?

Maud Blair.


The growing diversity of British society has bought with it a new set of challenges for the education system. This article argues that inequalities in education will continue unless schools and teachers are given the support that they need to help all children achieve their potential.


Children’s attitudes to reading

Marian Sainsbury.


This article reports on a questionnaire survey of attitudes to reading amongst nine- and 11-year-old children. Most children enjoy reading, but levels of enjoyment have declined since 1998. Children’s confidence as readers, however, has improved over this period.


“I’m okay – I understand my feelings”

Hazel Pulley.


Including emotional literacy in the school curriculum can have a real impact on pupils’ behaviour. In this article headteacher, Hazel Pulley, outlines the work that her school has done to encourage children to become aware of their emotional reactions and how they interact with others.


Towards inclusive education: Inter-professional support strategies within and across schools and school services

Gerda Hanko.


In response to the Government’s proposals for integrated children’s services (Green Paper Every Child Matters and subsequent Children’s Bill) this article explores the extent to which school-based support strategies for teachers, focusing on inclusion, can also address multi-professional issues as an integral part of a teacher’s remit.


Homophobia: An issue for every pupil?

Kevan Collins, National Director of the Primary Strategy.


Kevan Collins praises primary teachers for their effectiveness in using the national strategies to raise achievements in the core subjects English and maths. He emphasises the importance of building on this success and broadening it across the primary curriculum. He focuses on the importance of leadership and identifies some of the challenges ahead.


The role of mentoring and coaching in teachers’ learning and development

Tim Lucas.


Schools must work towards promoting a learning culture that enables every pupil to thrive. This article examines the consequences of homophobia and the steps that schools can take to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender pupils.



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