Much improved: should do even better

The Group’s wide-ranging review of the state of education in England.

Key recommendations:

  • Efficiency savings of £1.5 billion and the reinvestment of some of it in teachers’ professional development; the quality of serving teachers remains the key factor in raising standards of student outcomes;
  • Two opportunities for school choice for under-attaining and socio-economically deprived pupils; guaranteed additional resources (pupil premium) for the schools these pupils attend;
  • A ‘Schools’ Code of Practice’ to require all local schools to work together to meet the needs of all students including admissions, and support for ‘partnerships of schools’;
  • A revitalised local democratic influence on schools to determine the shape, nature and scale of local education services, hold providers to account, and scrutinise those in positions of authority;
  • Confining the National Curriculum to broad and important aims backed by short and simple guidance supervised by a Commission which meets once every 5 years as a replacement for the QCDA;
  • Reform of the external exam system to include externally set, locally-marked but externally moderated exams; and
  • Reform of OFSTED which is no longer ‘fit for purpose’; independent HMI advice must be appended to White Papers and legislation.

The Group praises the unparalleled investment in Early Years education and the establishment of the network of Children’s Centres where the research evidence is already showing improvement in attainment at the end of the primary years and where international evidence supports the view that it will lead to long term savings in special programmes for adults who become a burden on the state. The paper also acknowledges the real increases in investment in more teachers and support staff as well as the welcome ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme – the first real investment in school buildings since Victorian times.

And concludes: “Those … who lived and worked through the period when education was not the priority it has been since the late 1990s, recognise the progress made and the lives which have been changed for the better…

“But we haven’t hesitated to point out ways in which the system can be improved and the urgent need to enable those still missing out, to gain the confidence and skill to become fulfilled and contributing citizens. There is a real danger now that … we might witness a collapse and fragmentation of the system which ceases to treat education as a service but as a commodity to be traded in the market place offering escape routes for the majority but leaving a minority picking up the scraps in a disintegrating system. Even those who advocated such a ‘free for all’ in education in the United States are now admitting that there is no evidence that it has led to any demonstrable improvements. To adopt such arrangements here would set us back twenty years and sacrifice ‘equity’, ‘excellence’ and ‘efficiency’ to dogma.”

Download the full document here.

Associated e-papers are listed below:

School admissions

Author: – Margaret Tulloch: Trustee of Research and Information on State Education Trust, Secretary of Comprehensive Future and school governor – New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: School admissions – a fairer system

Margaret looks at the development of school admission arrangements during the last five years, and while finding improvements asks that the Government finally remove unfair advantages in the school admissions system through enabling greater clarity and fairness, and reduced complexity for parents.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

The early years

  • Gillian Pugh: Chief executive of the children’s charity Coram Family until 2005. She is currently chair of the National Children’s Bureau and a visiting professor at the Institute of Education;
  • Bernadette Duffy: Head, Thomas Coram Children’s Centre, Camden; 2006-9 Chair ,British Association for Early Childhood Education, contributed to the EYFS framework , author on early years issues; and
  • Kate Frood: Headteacher of Eleanor Palmer Primary School, Camden, London

New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: The Early Years

The authors describe the progress made in the development of early years services but record that there is still much to be done. The Government should renew its commitment to high quality provision, improved working with families, better training of staff, extending early years provision to two year olds in areas of social deprivation and extending the Early Years Foundation Stage to the age of six.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Further education

Author: Geoff Melling, former Director of the FE Staff College, New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Further Education

Geoff says that the major challenge is to ensure that it attracts those who can most benefit from college study, and financial support for those most in need must be maintained. The new apprenticeship programme for 16-18 year olds must provide a truly integrated programme of work-place and college-based elements and that it brings about higher levels of achievement and improved work skills. The colleges work with adults must be improved especially if the jobless count rises, the sector’s stake in higher education must continue and new sources of income must be sought by working in partnership with employers and establishing college-based companies.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Higher education

Authors:

  • Professor Carole Leathwood: Professor of Education, Institute for Policy Studies in Education (IPSE), London Metropolitan University
  • Professor Roger Brown: Professor of Higher Education Policy at Liverpool Hope University, formerly Vice Chancellor of Southampton Solent University and Chief Executive of the Higher Education Quality Council

New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Higher Education – A new way forward

Carole and Roger outline the challenges facing the UK Higher Education today. They argue that as HE is central to the country’s economic recovery it should be funded at the OECD average and that funding differentials between institutions should be reduced whilst rewarding those who recruit higher proportions from under-represented groups. The authors urge that the implications of raising the tuition fee cap, and alternatives to this, be seriously considered, and more support for part-time students, research wherever it is located, and the arts and humanities. The Government must keep its commitment to widening participation and assess the equality implications of all new HE policy.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Lifelong learning

Author: Tom Schuller: Director of the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (an independent inquiry sponsored by NIACE), and formerly Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation at OECD, New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Lifelong Learning, Again

Tom reviews the unsatisfactory record of the UK Government in developing lifelong learning from the high aspirations of the late 1990s. He urges greater learning opportunities during life’s course reflecting demographic and labour market changes. Discrimination against part-time study should stop, and a range of learning entitlements should be developed including a local learning strategy developed through a partnership between colleges and libraries. There should be an improved credit system which allows achievements to be banked, and schools should be developed as places of family and community learning.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Parents and schools

Authors:

  • Fiona Millar: Writer, campaigner, Chair of Comprehensive Future
  • Margaret Tulloch: Trustee of Research and Information on State Education Trust, Secretary of Comprehensive Future and school governor

New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Parents and schools

Fiona and Margaret review the enormous strides that have been made in recent years in supporting joint work by schools and parents, and how this might develop under the Government proposals in the Children, Schools and Families Bill. The idea of the parent promoted school is looked at, and the evidence for what parents actually want from their children’s schools. The authors want better representation of parents’ views at a national level, and that children should have a right to a place in a local schools. Services to support parenting should be expanded and universal.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Aims of education

Author: Richard Pring: Lead Director, Nuffield Review 14-19 Education and Training; Director, University of Oxford Department of Educational Studies 1989-2003. New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Aims of Education and a Wider Vision of Learning

Richard sets out what it means to be a person and the implications for learning.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Towards a fair and coherent school system

Author: Ron Glatter, Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration and Management, The Open University. New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Towards a Fair and Coherent School System

Ron looks for, but cannot find, evidence that the policy of recent governments to support increasing school diversity has improved educational performance and is wanted by parents. He further considers the issue of school autonomy and concludes that there should be no differences in the level of autonomy between schools without strong justification and calls for a coherent school system that provides equivalent opportunities for all children.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Secondary school admissions

Author: Peter Newsam: Former Chief Schools Adjudicator. New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Secondary School Admissions – the legislative and administrative principles involved

Peter looks at how secondary school admission arrangements have developed since 1944 and presents three scenarios about how admission systems may develop.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

The curriculum

Author: John White: Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education University of London, with the help of Tim Brighouse, John Elliott, Ron Glatter, and Peter Newsam. New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: The Curriculum

The paper sets out the current dislocation of aims and the subject-based content of the National Curriculum and calls for a Commission immune from political meddling to create a unified system of curriculum aims accompanied by a full rationale. The curriculum would become statutory guidance and the Commission review the national aims every five years.

Disclaimer: This paper is written as a contribution to the debate on what we seek to achieve for the education system as a whole. The paper is not necessarily an expression of Group policy.

Download the full document here

Youth services

Author: Tom Wylie, Chief Executive, National Youth Agency, 1996-2007. New Visions for Education Group, 30 March 2010

MISDEB: Youth Services

Tom calls for more and better youth work to meet the needs of young people out of school, specifically the need to secure strategic local leadership, active participation of young people in the delivery of youth services following a thorough analysis of needs, and the provision of high quality youth work for more disadvantaged and vulnerable youngsters. Local and national reports should be published on the condition of young people, and an explicit set of standards which must be provided locally with quality assurance built in, and a ‘licence to practise’ for all youth workers.

Download the full document here

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