Headlines: January 25th, 2001

The government claims in its first annual report on the project, that its ‘Excellence in the Cities’ programme is delivering improvements in education.Publicnet Briefing reported yesterday (Wednesday, January 24), that another of the Government’s projects to drive up education standards – the Education Action Zones – could be sidelined in a second Labour term.

Excellence in the Cities is a bigger project – covering bigger geographical areas and giving an extra push, and resources – to all the known stumbling blocks to success.

The performance of schools is targeted, especially literacy and numeracy, and new ‘specialist schools’ are created. There are also extended opportunities for gifted and talented children, funded access to home computers for both children and teachers, and an emphasis on good management.

Both leadership in schools and in LEAs comes under scrutiny once they are part of an EiC programme.

The annual report shows exam results in EiC areas improve more quickly than others – with a rise of 2.3 percentage points in those getting five good GCSEs, compared to 1.3 in other areas.

The numbers of pupils leaving school with no qualifications in EiC areas is falling twice as fast as other schools.

Copies of the annual report are available at www.standards.dfee.gov.uk/excellence.