Education review abstracts


Vol. 18 No. 1, 2004 — It’s good to talk


Bringing down the barriers – the NUT’s five year strategy for education

National Union of Teachers.


“Bringing down the barriers” sets out the National Union of Teachers’ five year strategy for the development of education. This article examines the main themes of the strategy and outlines the benefits that it could bring to the education system.


The role of A New Relationship with Schools in changing the way government and schools communicate

David Miliband, School Standards Minister of State.


“A New Relationship with Schools” describes a set of changes to the way central government, local government and schools of all phases will work together in the future to drive improvement in education. The changes focus on freeing teachers to teach and matching school level flexibility with smarter accountability. The “new relationship” will also simplify the flows of communication between central government, local government and schools.


Excellence, enjoyment and personalized learning: A true foundation for choice?

Robin Alexander, University of Cambridge Professor.


In this keynote address to the NUT’s 2004 National Education Conference, Robin Alexander looks beyond the rhetoric of two current flagship government initiatives: the Primary National Strategy and personalised learning. He uncovers ambiguous intentions and suspect evidence, and shows how the initiatives fail to address a long-standing need: a primary curriculum which is fit for the new century, which encapsulates a generous and safeguarded concept of entitlement, and which provides a proper foundation for meaningful choice at age 14. Both initiatives, too, are compromised by the unyielding grip of educational centralization.


Inside-out and outside-in: why schools need to think about communities in new ways

Kathryn Riley and Louise Stoll.


This article focuses on schools and communities. The authors have been drawn to this topic by two different strands of educational debate and investigation: one which examines the internal professional learning community and the other which explores the external community context in which schools operate. Their starting point is learning: schools’ raison d’être. The impact of dramatic global changes is felt in schools on a daily basis. Information is infinitely more accessible through technological advances than hitherto and both parents and school staff struggle to make sense of the tantalising array of interactive entertainment offered on a daily basis to young people. Within-school communities seek to come to terms with the implications of global changes on learning and families, and local communities with the range of influences which shape children’s lives. The basis of the argument presented here is that in both struggles, both communities are inextricably linked.


Towards respectful inspection – a critique of proposed arrangements for school inspection and self-evaluation

Colin Richards, Professor.


This article examines the changes to school inspections set out in the Government’s “A New Relationship With Schools”. Although there are some welcome improvements on present practice, the whole purpose of inspection have not been satisfactory defined and still does not achieve the partnership with schools essential if inspection is to provide an “intelligent accountability framework”.


Innovation and personalized learning

Anne Diack, Director of the Innovation Unit.


“Personalised learning” is the concept of placing the needs of the individual learner at the heart of education. This article describes why this is so important in today’s society and illustrates the many ways in which the DfES Innovation Unit is working to promote the concept and disseminate good practice among schools.


A rich resource: the career development of black and minority ethnic teachers

Jan McKenley.


After describing the Equal Access to Promotion Programme, this article gives a critique of “The Big Conversation” as it relates to a culturally diverse society supported by a dynamic education system. Professional development opportunities are failing to reach black and minority ethnic teachers although their place and progress in the education system is essential.


Cutting through the funding fog: the Welsh experience

John Atkins, independent consultant.


This article sets out to summarise what the Welsh Assembly Government has done in terms of explaining the allocation of funding for services. It gives an outline – necessarily incomplete – of how local government funding in Wales works. It concludes with some first thoughts about the consequences of this new clarity for the future funding of education in Wales – and in England.


The rush to leadership – slight complications

Jeff Gold Principal Lecturer, Leeds Business School.


The illusive nature of leadership in general is explained in this article before focusing on characteristics of distributive leadership in schools. While this style challenges historical and hierarchical patterns, the author argues that harnessing the perspectives of all stakeholders is an essential way forward.


What is the impact of crossphase, crosscurricular learning on gifted and talented pupils?

Alessandra Desbottes, Mathematics teacher and Tammy Nicholls, English teacher both at Ulverston Victoria High School, Cumbria.


The identification process of gifted and talented pupils poses its own problems but opportunities to develop independent learners, creative thinkers and alliances of intellectuals can be created. This paper explores one cross-curricular, cross-phase project, involving six primary and one secondary schools, aimed at developing gifted and talented students’ existing talents while exploring new skills in a unique social setting.


The Key Stage 1 assessment trial

Hazel Danson, Key stage 1 teacher.


The author compares the experience of Key Stage 1 testing with this year’s trial and finds some improvements for teachers and pupils. There are, however, many inconsistencies in the Government’s position on testing which are irreconcilable with diagnostic “assessment for learning”. The article concludes that a review of the assessment system in England is vital.


How do student councils encourage student participation?

Dr Bernard Trafford is Head of Wolverhampton Grammar School and Becky Griffiths is elected Chair of the Student Council at Wolverhampton Grammar School.


This article looks at the valuable role that student councils can play from both the point of view of a student and head teacher. Student councils can encourage students who had previously withdrawn from school life to play a more active role and open up new opportunities for them. Being part of a student council can give a sense of responsibility and the opportunity to prove themselves to their peers and teachers.



Vol. 18 No. 2, 2005 — Professionalism Today


What professionalism means for teachers today

Dr Julian Baggini, author and journalist.


Julian Baggini proposes some new elements of any definition of professionalism in a contemporary liberal democracy. He suggests that teachers need to assert their professionalism as never before. In order to act in a professional way teachers need to achieve a number of “balances” in the face of changes to authority; personal and community identity; cultural diversity; the generation gap; fulfilling a role; and being accountable to targets set beyond the school. He concludes that these modern challenges are difficult and that teachers are justified in feeling proud when they succeed in rising to them.


The new professionalism of schools

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality.


Trevor Phillips calls for open discussion about the best ways of finding solutions to the underachievement of some minority ethnic groups of pupils. He reports the findings of a Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) survey about schools’ interpretations of the amendment to the Race Relations Act (2001). He says that LEAs have a vital support role in helping schools meet their obligations. He calls for greater diversity amongst school staff and governors; and for all teachers to recognise their centrality in motivating pupils and making them believe they can achieve.


What will it take for teachers to become “new” professionals?

Mary Bousted, General Secretary and Martin Johnson, Head of Education, Policy and Research. Both at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.


In its five year strategy the Government states that [Workforce reform] “will usher in a new professionalism for teachers, in which career progression and financial rewards will go to those who are making the biggest contributions to improving pupil attainment, those who are continually developing their own expertise, and those who help to develop expertise in other teachers…” (DfES, 2004) In this article Mary Bousted and Martin Johnson explore the universal qualities of teacher professionalism which the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) uphold. They relate these qualities to contractual conditions and workplace practices which would encourage their development. It reproduces, in full, the statement on New Professionalism passed by ATL’s Executive.


Building a CPD entitlement for teachers in Wales

Gary Brace, Chief Executive of the GTC Wales.


Gary Brace outlines the work of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) in developing a culture of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) amongst teachers. This has been one of the core objectives of the Council since its establishment. The article examines the background and development of the guiding principles of the Council’s CPD activity; it then goes on to describe the operation of the CPD funding programme which the GTCW administers. Finally, Gary summarises the most recent work of the Council in the creation of a Professional Development Framework for registered teachers in Wales.


The GTCE Teacher Learning Academy – a personal view

Allyson Ingall, Primary school teacher.


Allyson Ingall gives a personal view of her experience of the Teacher Learning Academy pilot. She begins by indicating how CPD policy and teacher expectations have changed during the course of her career, highlighting the increased importance now attached to work-based learning and peer observation. She then outlines key elements of the Teacher Learning Academy, notably its progressive framework, core dimensions and approach to verification. She concludes by indicating how the Teacher Learning Academy has the potential to embrace and join up the wide range of CPD opportunities available to teachers; and could provide evidence for teachers in the context of the new professionalism agenda.


Teachers making poverty history

Penny Lawrence, Director of International Programmes at VSO.


Penny Lawrence describes how Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) offers a unique opportunity for teachers to work overseas and share their skills and knowledge to help some of the poorest countries in the world. As well as the positive contribution of VSO teachers to the developing world, volunteering also brings benefits to the UK and the individual teachers themselves, in the form of professional development, renewed enthusiasm and a global dimension to the classroom.


Talking to learn: the role of dialogue in professional development

Philippa Cordingley, the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE).


Philippa Cordingley identifies the ingredients of effective professional dialogue drawing on available evidence. She stresses the importance of active listening and draws attention to the new e-learning materials available from the NUT’s website which focus on empowering people who are being coached or mentored.


From restaurant to supermarket: how Teachers’ TV can promote a more collaborative and interactive CPD network

Andrew Bethell Director of Programmes at Teachers’ TV.


Andrew Bethell “sells” Teachers’ TV – wholly funded by the Government but editorially independent – as reflecting an alternative CPD model for teachers, governors and support staff in England. He suggests the channel helps to move from top-down transmission to a more flexible and self-determining peer-to-peer approach to professional development and thereby helps teachers to take more control of their own learning.


Impact of the specialist schools programme on the teaching profession

Jennifer Jupe, Specialist Schools Trust Tom Milne, Policy Development and Partnership Fund Manager.


Jennifer Jupe and Tom Milne promote the benefits of specialist secondary schools. Referring to relevant reports they highlight in particular the opportunities for teachers arising from the specialist schools programme. The aim is that those benefits extend to all teachers not just those who are teaching the specialist focus subjects.


How integrated services for children will affect the teaching profession

Alison King chairs the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board and is Leader of Norfolk County Council.


Alison King summarises the implications of “Every Child Matters” (DfES, 2004). She emphasises the role of schools in promoting children’s well-being as well as their attainment. Alongside the introduction of extended schools the implications of Every Child Matters will require effective collaboration between schools, local authorities and other local agencies. New networks, effective liaison, regular feedback and meaningful consultation will be essential to the success of these new ways of providing improved services for children. The broad picture is illustrated with examples from Norfolk.


Extending children’s learning

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

Philippa Cordingley the founder and the Chief Executive of the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE).


Philippa Cordingley introduces the new National Framework for Mentoring and Coaching. Having led the shaping of the framework, she draws on the evidence from research and consultation to explain some of the key principles which underpin the framework. She explores debates about successful implementation of mentoring and coaching and describes the supporting resources which accompany the framework.


From lip service to in-service

Penny Kershaw is completing a Masters Degree in Education. and Penny Ellis worked as a SENCO.


Penny Ellis and Penny Kershaw evaluate INSET that was delivered in four different situations by an LEA team based in a facility that supports pupils with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). They evaluate the effectiveness of the INSET with regard to subsequent classroom practice. Consideration is given to the role of teaching assistants which the authors believe is not given enough weight in discussions surrounding the successful inclusion of pupils with SLCN. Finally, they propose conditions which appear to determine whether or not CPD will be effective.


After “Lunchbox” training – gourmet professional development

Sara Bubb, University of London.


Having set the context, Sara Bubb reviews a Teach ‘n’ Chat professional development programme that she tutored for teachers leading/coordinating CPD. Face-to-face, out-of-school, seminars with an expert tutor; plus implementing their ideas in school; plus opportunities to take part in electronic dialogue with other teachers trying out similar approaches – in combination these provided a collaborative and sustained learning opportunity. More teachers will need similar support and development opportunities if school-focused professional development is to have strategic coherence; and deliver in all schools the benefits that CPD policy makers in England hope the new approach will bring.


Teachers as researchers: the changing role of teachers

Ray Tarleton, South Dartmoor Community College, Devon.


Ray Tarleton shares his enthusiasm for teachers becoming researchers and illustrates how research can contribute to school improvement. He emphasises the importance of continuous learning throughout teachers’ careers and describes how universities and the National College for School Leadership can support this. He reports on how a group of local schools have put this into practice by forming a Learning Institute.



<< Back to Education Review homepage


See also the NUT website at