Wednesday, 14 November 2007

New-Labs promises on education look empty ten years on

If you had ordered something ten years ago and paid through the nose for it you might have expected to have, at lest, had sight of it by now.

Lancaster University has conducted research into New-Lab’s specialist schools programme and it’s Excellence in Cities initiative. They have concluded that, despite billions being spent on them the government’s policies have provided "meagre" benefits.

Cambridge University have published an interim report from a wide-ranging, independent, two-year review of primary education pointing out that despite some £500m spent so far on literacy standards of reading have been "more or less static since the 1950s".

New-Lab’s ‘National Literacy Strategy’ had "a barely noticeable effect" on reading ability and has apparently managed to significantly reduce any actual enjoyment children get from reading – bound to make them want to read then – not.

Further the literacy levels of the poorest children have dropped even further behind their peers than anywhere else in Europe.

It is a damning indictment on the Government and it didn’t need the universities to find that out, as virtually any parent with school aged children will attest, though perhaps it does to provide concrete evidence of it that the government can’t ignore.

We can only hope that the government pay more attention to what actually really works and less to educational and political theory, though one fears it is unlikely given that government interference is so often the kiss of death to anything they take an interest in with their regulations, policies and omnipresent measurements and targets.

“Schools ‘n’ Hospitals”, “14 Days to save the NHS” - but only if you are actually com-pet-ent. It all rings rather hollowly now but the spin goes on.
It seems that the official reaction to the reports were right in the river with the Egyptian crocodiles :-)

1 comment:

JRD168 said...

Oddly enough Phil, I agree with much of this. I believe that much of the improvement in education in recent years (and there has been an improvement!) is despite, not because of government policy.

Teachers and students work damn hard. Improvements in exam results are at least partly due to this.

Much of the government's alterations have been due to tinkering around the edges, and don't really alter the remaining disparities in provision. (I daren't say Grammar Schools!) Academies are just one example of this tinkering attitude though.