Archives for February 11th, 2003

STRATEGIC DIRECTION SHIFTS TOWARDS SPECIALIST SCHOOLS

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 February, 2003

Advanced schools and Beacon schools are out and Specialist schools are in. This major shift in the quest for excellence in secondary schools was announced by Education Minister Charles Clarke. The former strategy was creating a multi-tier system with many different titles and was proving damaging. The new approach it is claimed will limit competition and offer a wider spread of opportunities. The strategy shift marks the start of a more inclusive approach with the expectation that diversity will be encouraged and excellence will be the spur to equality.Initially, further approval has been given for another 217 comprehensives to become specialist schools. This takes the total to 1,200, or 38% of all English state secondaries. The aim is for all comprehensives turn specialist eventually, but with at least 2,000 by 2006. New types of schools will include those with a focus on specialist subjects such a such as English, history and geography. There will also be a rural option and rural comprehensives will be able to apply for specialist status based partly on their location, combining a subject area with countryside interests. This would allow a rural science specialist to offer teaching and qualifications related to agriculture. Existing specialisms include technology, languages, sports, arts, business and enterprise, engineering, science, mathematics and computing.

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POWER TO MOVE FROM WHITEHALL TO TOWN HALL

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 February, 2003

Health Secretary Alan Milburn’s vision of ‘Real Localism’ includes limits on the size of Whitehall and a re-balancing between the power held by central government and the power held by local communities. This vision comes hard on the heels of Chancellor Gordon Brown’s prediction that the next decade will see the biggest ever shift of power from Whitehall and Westminster to the regions and local communities. This will mean Britain moving away from centuries of being weakened by centralisation to become a country strengthened by local centres of initiative, energy and dynamism.Alan Milburn believes that the time is right for a fundamental re-assessment of what functions Whitehall needs to perform in an era where the premium is now not just on making policy but on securing delivery. The days of Whitehall knowing best are over.

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WEIGHING E-GOVERNMENT

Features, PublicNet: 11 February, 2003

By Scott Proudfoot Reproduced by permission of eGov Monitor Weekly The progress of e-government has so far been measured by the quantity of services provided. The nation states with the largest ‘baskets’ are declared eGovernment leaders. The author argues that qualitative measures should be introduced such as effectiveness and impact on citizens. He outlines what is being done in the UK and elsewhere to get a better measure of e-government.

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