Book News: March 10th, 2005

This report from the Confederation for British Industry investigates the impact of using the private sector in England’s worst-performing LEAs and examines the government’s management of the market for education service providers. The report concludes that government could struggle to deliver future education reforms such as those envisaged for children’s services outlined in the Children’s Act 2004 and the Building Schools for the Future programme. The report claims to be the first extensive piece of quantitative and qualitative assessment of the government’s intervention policy.It analyses DfES figures and reveals that the proportion of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at A* – C grade increased by more than twice the national average on a year-on-year basis. An increase of six per cent a year compares to an average of only two-and-a-half per cent across all schools in England over the same period. It also found that the proportion of pupils receiving at least one GCSE at A* – G grade fell compared to the national average. However, the fall was considerably less than in the nine LEAs with a similar socio-economic profile used in the report as statistical neighbours. At Key Stage 2, pupils in the nine outsourced LEAs more than doubled the national average rate of improvement in English (1.5% versus 0.7% improvement). In maths, the rate of improvement was almost five times greater (1.4% versus 0.3%).

The report is available at:$FILE/The%20Business%20of%20Education%20Improvement%20Jan%2005.pdf