Archives for June 3rd, 2003

DIVERSITY IS NORMAL – IGNORING IT ISN’T

Features, PublicNet: 3 June, 2003

By Loraine Martins and Helen Goulding. Reproduced by permission of the Public Management and Policy Association. The public sector is moving from solving diversity problems to celebrating and valuing differences. It is now recognized that people who are discriminated against – women, disabled people, older people, lesbians and gay men, and people from ethnic minority communities – actually form the majority of the community. The authors describe how diversity is being promoted and the benefits to service users and employees.



SCHOOLS STANDARDS WATCHDOG PRAISES AREA INITIATIVES

Headlines, PublicNet: 3 June, 2003

Inspectors from The Office for Standards in Education have found that the Excellence in Cities and Education Action Zones initiatives are successfully tackling barriers to achievement faced by pupils in disadvantaged areas. The programmes have helped schools and teachers to meet the needs of disaffected and vulnerable pupils more effectively.The Excellence in Cities programme has delivered a faster rise in standards in secondary schools in EiC areas than nationally. The later extension of the programme to primary schools means that it is too early to see a clear effect on standards at the end of primary school, but the signs are positive. Excellence in Cities strands include: learning mentors, learning support units, provision for gifted & talented pupils as well as City Learning Centres and additional specialist schools.

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COMMISSION PRESENTS PROPOSALS FOR NEW SCHOOL YEAR

Headlines, PublicNet: 3 June, 2003

The Independent Commission on the Organisation of the School Year has recommended that the current three term year should be restructured into six blocks of teaching time. It believes that the four blocks after Christmas should be even in length regardless of the official Easter period. The new Standard School Year would maintain current arrangements across the country with two holidays of two weeks at Christmas and Easter, a long summer break and three holidays of at least one week in October, February and May or June. Because pupil and teacher absences are highest in October and November the Commission has recommended a slightly longer holiday in this period to tackle the problem.The Commission recommends that the current responsibilities of LEAs, foundation schools and voluntary aided schools for setting the school year should continue, but that there should be as much standardisation as possible, leaving issues of detail to individual schools.

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SPECIALIST UNIVERSITIES FOR 2004

Headlines, PublicNet: 3 June, 2003

High quality specialist Higher Education Institutions will be able to become universities in September 2004. Currently, institutions need to teach in a wide range of subjects to be eligible for the university title. Under new criteria the subject range barrier will be removed and institutions specializing in one or two subjects will become eligible for university status. Institutions without research degree awarding powers will also be able to apply for university status.The Quality Assurance Agency has been asked to streamline procedures to speed up the application processes whilst ensuring rigour and standards are maintained. Before being granted the university title, all institutions will be required to demonstrate that they fully satisfy the revised criteria for taught degree awarding powers. Institutions that gain new degree awarding powers will have to prove that they are maintaining standards through a regular audit by the Quality Assurance Agency .

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