Liberal education vision
aims for class sizes of 16
by Chris Parr
sizes and providing them with extra mium to ensure less advantaged
support.” youngsters get more money for Welsh pupils achieve the highest
Mr Clegg said that £1.5 billion their education. standards in art and design,
Cutting secondary school class sizes could be raised by taking tax credits Christine Blower, general sec- design technology, religious
to just 16 and one-to-one tuition or away from better off families, with retary of the National Union of education, and Welsh as a first
catch-up classes form a core part of the remaining £1 billion coming Teachers, said: “Cutting class sizes language, according to Wales’s
the Liberal Democrats’ vision for from a “radical” overhaul of educa- and providing one-to-one tuition chief inspector of education.
education. tion quangos and the way Ofsted can radically help in creating a level In his annual report, Dr Bill
The party’s education mani- runs inspections. playing field for all children regard- Maxwell, head of education
festo, launched this week, outlines He hopes this could lead to class less of their background, and is inspectorate Estyn, concluded
plans to channel around £2.5 billion sizes of just 16 at secondary level fundamental to tackling deep rooted that more than 80 per cent of les-
into schooling for underprivileged and 20 for primary schools. disadvantage.” sons in these subjects were given
children should they come to power The manifesto states: “A pupil Dr Mary Bousted, general secre- the top grades. With teams of
at the next election. premium would be available to tary of the Association of Teachers inspectors assessing 201 subject
Party leader, Nick Clegg, said the school which each disadvan- and Lecturers, said: “While we departments in schools in Wales
that the link between poverty and taged pupil attended. It would be agree there is some scope for effi- in the last year, the report ruled
underachievement in the classroom attached to those children entitled ciency savings in the education that the lowest standards were in
was failing to improve, despite the to free school meals. The pupil department, there would need to be science and Welsh as a second
billions already invested by the premium would be set nationally very careful thought about where language. This trend had been
current Labour government. and it would top up a national per- any cuts should be made to pay seen for a number of years.
He told SecEd: “One of the big- pupil base funding figure. It will for this.” Standards were deemed to be
gest challenges we face as a coun- raise the poorest children’s school She added: “Any move to deter- “good or better” in 72 per cent of
try is breaking this link between funding to private school levels, much depending on where they A SecEd investigation last year mine school funding at a national the secondary schools inspected,
financial deprivation at home and with the average school receiving were born. He told The Daily found that per-pupil funding in level would need to be thoroughly including 19 per cent in which
educational underachievement in around £2,500 extra for every child Telegraph: “One of the reasons for England’s local authorities varied evaluated before implementation to standards were “outstanding”.
the classroom. entitled to free school meals on this huge gap seems to be the very from £3,728 to £7,603. see whether it could provide a bet- But Estyn’s overriding mes-
“Despite all the money that their roll.” unfair funding of schools in dif- The Conservative Party ter way to get money to the pupils sage was that too many learners
has been spent by Labour, schools David Laws, the Liberal ferent parts of the country. Many unveiled its draft education mani- and schools in greatest need. We are still underachieving, and that
taking disadvantaged children Democrat’s education spokesman, schools find that they have far less festo last month, and has also said would also like more detail about all too often learning is hindered
aren’t getting the money they need said it was unacceptable that the funding than other schools with it would shut down a number of who would decide what individual by poor facilities.
to break this link by cutting class life chances of children varied so similar challenges.” quangos and introduce a pupil pre- schools receive.” The standard of accommo-
dation and facilities in more
Study reinforces worries over transition
than 40 per cent of second-
ary schools inspected in the last
year were deemed to be a cause
In secondary schools, stu-
Children’s transition to secondary joined four secondaries in Fife from activities as well as in extra- The findings are likely to rein- should implement better induction dents who were most commonly
school is marked by a sharp drop 19 primaries. The interviews took curricular activities, showed a sharp force worries that young people lose schemes and try harder to establish deemed to be achieving their best
in enjoyment within six months, place twice in P7 and twice in S1. decline at this time. motivation in S1 and S2, and attain- a sense of community. were 6th formers. In 83 per cent
according to a study of hundreds of The five factors used to assess “However, despite the evidence of ment levels therefore drop. “The more a child participates in of 6th form lessons standards
Scottish pupils. progress were school commitment, an initial ‘honeymoon period’ imme- Average maths and science school, the more they feel a sense of were judged to be good or better.
Far from encountering difficul- school belonging, school participa- diately after the move to second- scores in S2 have been on the wane belonging. A lot of schools should The proportion of good work or
ties, all of those surveyed showed tion, self-esteem, and wellbeing. ary, by the final questionnaire visit since 2003 and only half of S2 be trying more to identify this sense better in key stage 3 and post-16
greater commitment to learning, Dr Vivienne Horobin, who car- children perceived certain aspects of pupils have well established skills in of community with smaller groups was about the same as last year,
self-esteem, a sense of belonging ried out the study, said: “The most school in a less positive light.” reading and numeracy, according to doing things together.” but the proportion in key stage 4
and wellbeing straight after moving striking finding was that, contrary All outcomes bar self-esteem two separate studies. Just 30 per cent Ronnie Smith, general secretary improved to 75 per cent (up by
up from primary. However, when to expectations, children recorded declined, she said. of S2 pupils gain the required maths of the EIS, Scotland’s largest teach- eight per cent).
measured six months later, the same an improvement in school commit- It was not clear whether the drop level, against 47 per cent in P7. ing union, said he hoped the “obses- Inspectors judged the quality
factors had declined significantly. ment, school belonging, self-esteem signalled a return to a more real- A review of Scottish educa- sion with qualifications” would ease of teaching overall as “outstand-
The study, by researchers at and wellbeing immediately after istic outlook or the beginning of a tion by HMIe in 2008 found that with the arrival of Curriculum for ing” in a quarter of the schools
the University of St Andrews, was moving to secondary school. “more prolonged negative attitude” many secondaries failed to build on Excellence. The approach aims to inspected. This is a significantly
based on a questionnaire complet- “Only school participation, towards school and education in pupils’ P7 achievements. set greater store on developing social higher proportion than last year.
ed by nearly 400 children as they describing involvement in class general, she added. Dr Horobin argues schools skills and keeping pupils motivated.
Still chance to enter ICT giveaway
Entries have already started arriving The TeamBoard RT 77”(4:3) is primary schools are already using
for SecEd’s latest ICT giveaway, a finger-touch controlled interactive Classroom Monitor.
which launched in January. whiteboard with a guaranteed-to-
We are offering all UK second- clean surface, protected under war-
How to enter
ary schools the chance to win in two ranty for 10 years. To be in with a chance of winning
great competitions. Its low-glare Versa surface offers these prizes, email your answers to
In the first, one lucky school a dry-erase writing and projection the above questions, including your
will win £3,500 worth of inter- surface, suited for projection mean- name, school and contact details, to
active whiteboard and kit from ing the image can be viewed from Pete Henshaw, the editor of SecEd, on
TeamBoard; while the second is any angle and seat in the room. email@example.com
offering two winning readers a TeamBoard Total Mobile is a You can also post entries on the back
free one-year licence each to the mobile, interactive whiteboard of a postcard to SecEd Competitions,
Classroom Monitor online interac- stand which enables users to inte- St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Road,
tive reporting and management tool grate the TeamBoard and projector Herne Hill, London, SE24 0PB.
for their schools, worth £1,000. See into one slim, adjustable unit that is The deadline for entries is
below for full details of the prizes both mobile and finger-touch height Friday, February 26.
and for how to enter. Good luck! adjustable by the presenter with no The two competitions are open
technician required. to all UK secondary schools, but
It can be wheeled around and are restricted to one entry per school
Interactive whiteboard fits through standard-sized doors per competition.
manufacturer, TeamBoard is without the need to recalibrate, and Please note: if you intend to enter
offering SecEd readers the chance its height can be adjusted easily. both competitions, please send two
to win a TeamBoard Total Mobile Visit www.teamboard.com
has teamed up with SecEd to offer mary schools, the revised second- to consider whether performance separate emails or postcards.
stand, projector and TeamBoard two lucky teachers the chance to ary school version of the tool has is high, secure, or low within Normal SecEd terms and condi-
worth more than £3,500.
each win a one-year licence of been tailored to meet the specific the level. Visit www.classroom tions apply. For a copy of these or
Prime Principle Ltd, developers the brand new secondary school demands for key stage 3 and 4 monitor.co.uk
for further information, email pete.
of the award-winning interactive online interactive reporting and assessment. firstname.lastname@example.org
markbook Classroom Monitor, management tool, worth £1,000. Classroom Monitor Secondary
call 020 7501 6771.
Prime Principle Ltd launched permits staff and pupils to periodi- To win in the TeamBoard The winning schools in each
its new online interactive mark- cally “consider” significant written competition, just tell us how competition will be drawn at ran-
book for secondary schools, called and oral evidence of attainment, many years the TeamBoard RT dom from the correct entries and
Classroom Monitor Secondary, at “review” the evidence using the 77”(4:3) surface is guaranteed for. announced in SecEd during March.
BETT 2010. assessment guidelines, and “judge” To win in the Classroom Monitor All entries will be passed on to the
Already used by 1,200 pri- and assess overall subject levels competition, just tell us how many respective companies.
4 SecEd • February 4 2010
04 news.indd 4 3/2/10 16:40:04
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