Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool
This was New Labour’s first education White Paper. Appendix: Achievement in our schools The text presented here was created from a photocopy of the printed version. The investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool in the original have been omitted.
Excellence in Schools was prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 4 February 2013. Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland. Foreword by the Secretary of State This, the first White Paper of the new Government, is as much about equipping the people of this country for the challenge of the future as it is about the Government’s core commitment to equality of opportunity and high standards for all. 2 Policies will be designed to benefit the many, not just the few. 3 The focus will be on standards, not structures. 4 Intervention will be in inverse proportion to success. 5 There will be zero tolerance of underperformance.
6 Government will work in partnership with all those committed to raising standards. An early years forum in every area, planning childcare and education to meet local needs. A network of early excellence centres to spread good practice. Effective assessment of all children starting primary schools. Class sizes of 30 or under for 5, 6 and 7 year-olds. Education Action Zones providing targeted support and development where they are most needed. An extensive network of specialist schools benefiting neighbouring schools and the local community.
Better developed information and communications technology within a clear national strategy. 1 A new approach 1 Learning can unlock the treasure that lies within us all. In the 21st century, knowledge and skills will be the key to success. Our goal is a society in which everyone is well-educated and able to learn throughout life. Britain’s economic prosperity and social cohesion both depend on achieving that goal 2 Good teachers, using the most effective methods, are the key to higher standards.
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20 Government will lead the drive to raise standards and create the right framework, but it cannot succeed alone. It must work in partnership with all those who have a part to play in improving the quality of education: parents, teachers and governors, local authorities, churches and business. Parents are a child’s primary educator and our partnership approach will involve them fully. We want to put the years of division, conflict and short-term thinking behind us. 1 Education will be at the heart of government. Policies will be designed to benefit the many, not just the few.
The focus will be on standards, not structures. Intervention will be in inverse proportion to success. There will be zero tolerance of underperformance. Government will work in partnership with all those committed to raising standards.
Questions on which we would particularly welcome views are set out in the text and summarised at the end of each chapter. That sets out clearly the various ways in which responses can be made. The deadline for consultation is 7 October 1997. It is virtually impossible for children to make a success of their lives unless, when they leave primary school, they can lead and write fluently, handle numbers confidently, and concentrate on their work. We aim to ensure that all children have that firm foundation for their education.
11 The “outcomes” provide national standards for early years education. They emphasise early literacy and numeracy and personal and social skills. Smaller primary classes 16 Our pledge to reduce class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year-olds will be a key factor in improving standards in primary schools. Research evidence shows the importance of class size for younger children. Smaller classes at this age mean teachers can spend more time identifying early on each child’s individual needs and difficulties and offering the help children need to master the basics. 5-10 minutes – whole class review to share, present, revise and evaluate work The school places emphasis on careful classroom organisation and on training pupils to work independently. This enables the teachers to devote almost all their time to teaching literacy and not managing the lesson.
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26 The existing centres, however, offer support only to a small fraction of primary schools. 2002, we need to move much more quickly and for all schools. We expect both the national campaign to improve literacy and also the general drive to raise standards in schools to make substantial contributions to achieving the literacy targets. English at the end of primary education, to meet national targets. What information from the assessments that are carried out when children start school would parents find most helpful?
What effective ideas for teaching, and the involvement of parents and the community, would you wish to see as part of the numeracy strategy? Primary and secondary schools have the information they need on pupil performance to develop plans for raising standards. But they will need their partners in government – the LEAs, OFSTED and the DfEE – to support them and maintain pressure to improve. All these partners must understand clearly what are their roles and responsibilities. The individual school targets are included within each LEA’s Education Development Plan. The DfEE and OFSTED monitor and contribute to the process to ensure targets are high and ambitious enough. 14 The role of the LEA is to advise and, where necessary, challenge schools to set their sights at the right level.
This will apply to all schools, and especially those which may have coasted along with average performance when their real potential is far higher. OFSTED’s inspection reports should comment on whether the school’s targets are appropriate and on the progress towards them. Where this evidence indicates a school is setting challenging targets and performing successfully the LEA will take no further action. 20 This new constructive role will replace the uncertainty from which LEAs have suffered in recent years. In return, LEAs will have to be fully accountable. They must demonstrate to their own schools, to parents and the local electorate, and to the DfEE that they are doing a good job in improving their schools.
The Government expects all LEAs to play their part in driving up standards. Where they do not, we will not hesitate to intervene directly. The Secretary of State approves a Plan or refers it back to the LEA for further work,drawing on advice from OFSTED. Where exceptionally agreement on a Plan cannot be reached, the Secretary of State may direct OFSTED to undertake an inspection of the LEA. Question: How much of an LEA’s work should be covered in its Education Development Plan? Support of good management and leadership in schools 25 It is vital that the way governing bodies lead their schools is adequate. There should be a good two-way flow of information between governors and LEAs.
The quality of the headteacher is a crucial factor in the success of a school. OFSTED’s role 31 Both external inspection of schools and LEAs by OFSTED, and schools’ own improvement planning, are essential and indeed complementary parts of the improvement process. 32 We are firmly committed to regular inspection of all schools by OFSTED. It contributes to public accountability and to the improvement of the education service through the comparative data which is then made available. Keep the Secretary of State abreast of good practice nationally and internationally. 39 The second major change already made is the establishment of the Standards and Effectiveness Unit in the DfEE.
The Unit is an integral part of the Department’s Schools Directorate, and will take the lead in ensuring that all the partners in the education service contribute fully to the raising of standards. How can schools and LEAs ensure that they use the target-setting process most effectively to improve performance? In what ways can the OFSTED inspection system process be further refined and improved? What more can and should the Department itself do to support and challenge its partners in education? The 21st century will demand that we develop the diverse talents of all pupils. Mixed ability teaching has proved successful only in the hands of the best teachers and should be used only where it is appropriate and can be seen to be effective. We make a presumption that setting should be the norm in secondary schools.
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We will explore effective new approaches to teaching and learning and spread them across schools. 4 The new Standards and Effectiveness Unit will gather examples of and issue guidance on best practice, from this country and abroad, in organising classes to meet the different abilities of pupils. 12 A key to the Department’s selection of schools for support as specialist schools will be commitment to the wider community. What should be the main characteristics of EAZs if they are to achieve the objective of motivating young people in tough inner city areas? In what ways can the Grid best be developed to ensure that all learners have access? What needs to be done to encourage educational, media and business organisations to collaborate in the development of research into innovative approaches to schooling?
Teachers hold the key to their pupils’ success. We promise teachers a new deal: there will be pressure to succeed, but it will be matched by support to do their job well and recognition and appreciation of their achievements. 32 Teaching assistants work with pupils, under the overall direction of teachers, both inside and outside the classroom, in small groups or on a one to one basis. There are several different categories of teaching assistant. In primary and nursery schools, they may be classroom assistants, nursery nurses or special needs assistants. In secondary schools, they may be foreign language assistants, music assistants or special needs assistants. A voice for teachers 35 Teaching is a profession – one of the most important professions for the future success and well-being of our country.
Other major professions are represented by national bodies, such as the General Medical Council and the Law Society, which set and maintain the standards expected of their members. General Teaching Council to speak for the profession. What should be the timetable for introducing the mandatory requirement? How can we develop an effective fast-track route to headship?
What arrangements would be needed for confirming Qualified Teacher Status at the end of a successful induction year? How should Advanced Skills Teachers be selected and what functions should they be expected to carry out? How can current headteacher and teacher appraisal arrangements be sharpened up to provide an early indication of development needs and targets for improvement? How should teaching assistants and associates be used in schools? Previous chapters have set out how we will help to raise the quality of teaching and learning.
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Pupils need support from parents, local authority services, business and the community, as well as schools, to ensure they reach their full potential. 6 Helping pupils achieve Parental support Learning together 1 Parents are a child’s first and enduring teachers. Almost without exception teachers found the training useful and reported that the technique resulted in improved pupil behaviour and work output. 16 As part of their behaviour policies, all schools need effective strategies to deal with bullying. These work particularly well when the whole school community, including pupils, is involved in their development and application. The emotional and mental distress caused by bullying can have a severe adverse effect on pupils’ achievement – both directly and where it leads to truancy.
Support from business and the local community 32 Business, voluntary and public organisations, working in local partnership, call make a major impact in motivating young people and helping raise standards of achievement. We want to support and extend this work, particularly through mentoring and school-business links. 33 Mentoring of individuals and groups has proved successful in inspiring and motivating young people. 35 We intend to add a new drive to school-business links, both nationally and locally as part of our plans to raise standards. Education Business Partnerships, as organisations which develop and provide sustained links for the benefit of all parties, are established in all parts of the country.
Many partnerships are already involved in valuable and innovative work but some of the impetus has been lost over the last decade. 39 We intend to take early action to promote work-related learning for 14-16 year-olds. By the age of 14, too many young people, especially boys, have become disaffected with the school system and a traditional curriculum. How best should we develop a national framework for pupil motivation that promotes national and local action effectively?
What should programmes for citizenship and parenting cover? Our priority is standards, not structures. But we need a new and clearer framework in which all the partners understand their roles and can work effectively together towards the common goal of raising standards. 7 A new partnership Community, aided and found at on schools 1 The focus of debate in recent years has been too much on school structure, too little on standards. OUR WORK The World Bank brings innovative financing, global knowledge and experience, and long-term commitment to each of its partnerships with countries that aspire to grow their economies and provide greater opportunities for their people. Sustainable economic growth continues to offer the surest path out of poverty.