Headlines: October 17th, 2000

The ‘excellence in the cities’ programme – which helps provide challenge to gifted children in urban areas – is to be extended to almost a third of England’s secondary schoolchildren.The funding is contained in a further 82 million pound package set aside by the Department of Education and Employment to improve secondary education in a similar way to that which has seen improvements in primary schools.

The new money will allow the inclusion of 160,000 more young people into the excellence programme, which will now cover places like Sandwell, Oldham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Luton, Blackburn, Blackpool, West Cumbria, Folkestone and Portsmouth.

The money coincides with the publication of the numeracy and literacy targets that the Government proposes to set for 11-14 year olds as of 2001.

The National Strategy for 11-14 year olds has been sent to middle and secondary schools, LEAs, teacher unions and other relevant bodies for consultation. It is available on the DfEE standards website at www.standards.dfee.gov.uk . The deadline for response to the consultation is 15 December.