A think-tank report examined change within schools in England and said that planned reform, together with other anticipated issues such as senior staff retirement and tighter budgets, would place real demands on both the strategic and operational capacity of primary schools, such that around 20 per cent would fail to meet the new, higher benchmark of minimum standards. It made a range of recommendations, including that all primary schools should convert to academies and join academy chains by 2020, and that local authorities should be permitted to establish their own chains.
Source: Annaliese Briggs and Jonathan Simons, Primary Focus: The next stage of improvement for primary schools in England, Policy Exchange
A special issue of a journal examined a range of issues related to educational inclusion.
Source: British Journal of Sociology of Education, Volume 35 Issue 5
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
Wayne Veck, 'Disability and inclusive education in times of austerity'
Mairtin Mac an Ghaill and Chris Haywood, 'Pakistani and Bangladeshi young men: re-racialization, class and masculinity within the neo-liberal school'
Kate D'Arcy, 'Home education, school, Travellers and educational inclusion'
A think-tank report said that the rapid spread of academies and free schools had created a more fragmented school system in England, with particular issues arising regarding commissioning and monitoring. The report called for locally appointed schools commissioners at the city- and county-regional level to be responsible for commissioning and educational standards in their areas.
Source: Rick Muir with Jonathan Clifton, Whole System Reform: England's schools and the middle tier, Institute for Public Policy Research
A think-tank report examined the options and impact of increasing the length of the school day in England, including the attitudes of parents, teachers, and head teachers towards how best to use additional time.
Source: Annaliese Briggs and Jonathan Simons, Only A Matter of Time? A framework for the most effective way to lengthen the school day in England, Policy Exchange
A report examined whether and how academies used the autonomy available to them in making decisions about their schools. It said that academies had used their freedoms to innovate and improve, which helped them both to raise standards for their own pupils and to raise standards for pupils in other schools via collaboration. The report was published alongside two others: one on the development of local education systems; the other being the academies annual report.
Source: Do Academies Make Use of their Autonomy?, Research Report 366, Department for Education
A report examined ways in which local education systems were evolving in response to extensions of school autonomy. It looked at the ways in which ten such systems were evolving, the changing roles of school, local authority, and other leaders, the factors influencing these changes, and any challenges encountered. The report was published alongside two others: one on the use by academies of their independence; the other being the academies annual report.
Source: Leigh Sandals and Ben Bryant, The Evolving Education System in England: A 'temperature check', Research Report 359, Department for Education
The inspectorate for education and children's services published the results of a survey of schools' use of off-site alternative educational provision.
Source: Alternative Provision: A report on the findings from the first year of a three-year survey, HMI 140081, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
An article examined faith-based schools within the context of school choice, drawing on social identity theory.
Source: Stratos Patrikios and John Curtice, 'Attitudes towards school choice and faith schools in the UK: a question of individual preference or collective interest?', Journal of Social Policy, Volume 43 Issue 3
The inspectorate for education and children's services began consultation on proposals for a revised framework for the inspection of residential family centres, and for assessing the impact of introducing such proposals. The consultation would close on 8 July 2014.
Source: Inspection of Residential Family Centres: Consultation document, HMI 140017, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
Links: Consultation document
An article examined reform in the post-primary education sector in Northern Ireland, considered factors that best explained education performance, and discussed social injustices in the existing system.
Source: Vani Borooah and Colin Knox, 'Access and performance inequalities: post-primary education in Northern Ireland', Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Volume 22 Number 2
A report examined ways for small rural primary schools to work together in order to improve provision and raise standards, based on a study of small rural schools in Lincolnshire, England. It said that performance in these schools had improved significantly over the previous two years and that evidence suggested that partnership working had been a crucial factor in the improvement. The report offered lessons for schools, local authorities, and policy makers.
Source: Robert Hill, Kelly Kettlewell, and Jane Salt, Partnership Working in Small Rural Primary Schools: The best of both worlds, CfBT Education Trust
A study examined secondary schools' admissions criteria and practices in England in 2012-13 and the use of pupil banding as part of the Year 7 admissions process. The report said that the growth in the number of sponsored academies had not led to a corresponding increase in the use of selective oversubscription criteria. It said that distance and sibling criteria were the predominant oversubscription criteria for non-selective state schools, but the number of schools using banding had increased from 95 in 2008 to 121 in 2012. The Sutton Trust recommended that more schools, particularly in urban areas, should introduce random allocation (ballots) or banding to widen the mix of pupils with access to the most academically successful comprehensives.
Source: Philip Noden, Anne West, and Audrey Hind, Banding and Ballots: Secondary school admissions in England – admissions in 2012/13 and the impact of growth of Academies, Sutton Trust/London School of Economics
An article examined the people and organizations that proposed the creation of 'free' schools, and their interactions with the approval process. Two distinct clusters were identified. Those who were able to negotiate the approval process drew on a range of professional networks, had strongly academic educational aims, and in general did not seek to specifically serve disadvantaged communities, but most proposers located in highly disadvantaged areas had aims and expertise that did not fit well with what the government was willing to accept.
Source: Rob Higham, 'Free schools in the Big Society: the motivations, aims and demography of free school proposers', Journal of Education Policy, Volume 29 Number 1