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  • Responding to Challenging Circumstances

    John MacBeath John Gray

    Jane Cullen David Frost

    Susan Stewardand Sue Swaffield

    Schools on the Edge

  • Schools on the Edge

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  • Schools on the EdgeResponding to Challenging Circumstances

    John MacBeath, John Gray,Jane Cullen, David Frost, Susan

    Steward and Sue Swaffield

    Paul ChapmanPublishing

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  • John MacBeath, John Gray, Jane Cullen, David Frost, Susan Stewardand Sue Swaffield 2007

    First published 2007

    Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes ofresearch or private study, or criticism or review, aspermitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored ortransmitted in any form, or by any means, only withthe prior permission in writing of the publishers,or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordancewith the terms of licences issued by the Copyright LicensingAgency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside thoseterms should be sent to the publishers.

    Paul Chapman PublishingA SAGE Publications Company1 Olivers Yard55 City RoadLondon EC1Y 1SP

    SAGE Publications Inc2455 Teller RoadThousand Oaks, California 91320

    SAGE Publications India Pvt LtdB-42, Panchsheel EnclavePost Box 4109New Delhi 110 017

    Library of Congress Control Number: 2006931454

    A catalogue record for this book is available from theBritish Library

    ISBN-10 1-4129-2970-9 ISBN-13 978-1-4129-2970-7 ISBN-10 1-4129-2971-7 ISBN-13 978-1-4129-2971-4 (pbk)

    Typeset by C&M Digitals (P) Ltd., Chennai, IndiaPrinted in Great Britain by the Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, WiltshirePrinted on paper from sustainable resources

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  • Contents

    About the Authors vi

    Acknowledgements viii

    List of Abbreviations ix

    Introduction 1

    1 Every Child Matters? 5

    2 A Matter of Policy 21

    3 Exceptional Challenges: Schools and Communities on the Edge 39

    4 Schools of Hope 59

    5 Can Governments Change Schools? 83

    6 Measuring Improvement 103

    7 Schools for the Future 123

    Appendix 140

    References 142

    Index 151

    v

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  • About the Authors

    JJaannee CCuulllleenn is a Research Associate with the Centre for Educational Researchand Development (CERD) at the Von Hgel Institute, St Edmunds CollegeCambridge, and works concurrently with the Open University, East of England.Her research interests are in education in contexts of disadvantage, in wideningparticipation in education, and in discourses in education. She was project man-ager of the DfES funded evaluation of Schools Facing Exceptionally ChallengingCircumstances project. Her current research focuses on regional initiatives towiden participation to higher education. She has come into research from a back-ground of teaching and school management in Asia, South America and Africa.

    DDaavviidd FFrroosstt is a member of the Educational Leadership and School Improvementteam in the Faculty of Education and one of the founder of members ofLeadership for Learning: the Cambridge Network. For many years he has workedwith teachers, schools and local education authorities to provide frameworks ofsupport for school improvement. His research focuses on leadership for learningwith a particular emphasis on teacher leadership. Through partnerships withschools and local authorities he has developed strategies for supporting teachersas agents of change and key actors in the creation and transfer of professionalknowledge. He is the founding editor of the journal Teacher Leadership.

    JJoohhnn GGrraayy is Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge. He has under-taken a number of major studies of school improvement and played a leading role indeveloping more sophisticated approaches to the evaluation of school performance.He has directed over 60 externally-funded research projects for a wide range of

    vi

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS vii

    organisations including the ESRC, charities and governmental organisations. He waselected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2000.

    JJoohhnn MMaaccBBeeaatthh is Professor of Educational Leadership at the University ofCambridge. He has written widely on leadership, school improvement and schoolself-evaluation, his books now translated into twelve languages. He has held anumber of consultancies with the OECD, UNESCO, the European Commission,the Hong Kong Government and National Union of Teachers with whom he con-tinues to work closely. He was a member of the Government Task Force onStandards for four years and continues to advise the Executive in his nativeScotland. He was awarded the OBE in 1997 for services to education.

    SSuussaann SStteewwaarrdd worked as a Research Associate in the Faculty of Education from2001 to 2006. She worked on a number of projects including the InclusionEnigma sponsored by the National Union of Teachers and the evaluation of theSFECC project on which Schools on the Edge is based.

    SSuuee SSwwaaffffiieellddss teaching and research interests are within the fields ofeducational leadership, school improvement and assessment. Leadership forlearning, critical friendship for headteachers, assessment for learning are particu-lar interests. Along with the evaluation of the Schools Facing ExceptionallyChallenging Circumstances project, other recent research projects include theESRC/TLRP Learning How to Learn project, and co-directing the internationalLeadership for Learning Carpe Vitam project. Sues work at the University ofCambridge builds on her previous experience as a teacher and adviser.

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  • viii

    Acknowledgements

    The authors are indebted to the headteachers and staff of the Octet schools fortheir forbearance and patient co-operation in providing the research team withaccess to their schools. We appreciate the extent to which they have opened uptheir practice to scrutiny while continuing to face extremely challenging circum-stances on a daily basis.

    We are grateful also to the DfES for funding the project on which this book isbased, in particular to Sue James who co-ordinated, on its behalf, the Octet inter-vention that was the subject of our evaluation.

    We also acknowledge the essential part played by Helen Cunningham and DaveEbbutt who worked with the authors as members of the research team.

    Thanks are also due to Sally Roach and Janet Gibson of the administrative staffat the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education for their invaluable support.

    And to Jude Bowen and Katie Metzler who managed the process from concep-tion to publication.

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  • List of Abbreviations

    AAOOTTss Adults other than TeachersBBEECCTTAA British Educational Communications and Technology AgencyCCAATT Cognitive Aptitude TestCCPPDD Continuing Professional DevelopmentDDffEESS Department for Education and SkillsEEAALL English as an Additional languageEEAAZZ Educational Action ZoneEEBBDD Emotional and Behavioural DisorderEEiiCC Excellence in Cities ProgrammeFFSSMM Free School MealsGGCCSSEE General Certificate of Secondary EducationGGNNVVQQ General National Vocational QualificationGGTTCC General Teaching Council HHMMII Her Majestys InspectorsHHRROO High Reliability OrganisationsHHRRSS High Reliability School ProgrammeIICCTT Information Communication TechnologyIINNSSEETT In-Service Education and TrainingIIQQEEAA Improving the Quality of Education for AllJJAARRss Joint Area ReviewsKKSS22 Key Stage TwoKKSS33 Key Stage ThreeLLEEAA Local Education AuthorityMMII Multiple IntelligencesNNAAOO National Audit Office

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  • x LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

    x

    NNCCSS New Community SchoolNNCCSSLL National College for School LeadershipNNFFEERR National Foundation for Educational ResearchNNRRwwSS New Relationship with SchoolsOOEECCDD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentOOffsstteedd Office for Standards in EducationOOSSHHLL Out-of-school Hours LearningPPIISSAA Programme for International Student AssessmentPPLLAASSCC Pupil Level Annual Schools CensusQQCCAA Qualifications and Curriculum AuthorityRRMMLL Ruth Miskin LiteracySSAATTss Standard Assessment TasksSSEENN Special Educational NeedsSSFFCCCC Schools Facing Challenging CircumstancesSSFFEECCCC Schools Facing Extremely Challenging CircumstancesSSIIGG School Improvement GroupSSLLTT Senior Leadership TeamSSMMTT Senior Management TeamSSRRBB Single Regeneration BudgetSSSSAATT Specialist Schools and Academies TrustSSSSTT Specialist Schools TrustUUNNEESSCCOO United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural OrganizationVVAAKK Visual, auditory or kinaesthetic

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  • Introduction

    This is a book about schools on the edge. It is, in part, a story of eight Englishschools living on the precarious edge between success and failure, but it is, inlarger part, a narrative of schools and communities edging towards a commonpurpose and understanding of what is educationally important and achievable.The history of school education, wherever and whenever it has been written, pro-vides accounts of schools in the centre of the social mainstream as against schoolsperpetually on the periphery. What brings them together is a common policyframework but their social and economic circumstances are worl