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<ul><li><p>Responding to Challenging Circumstances</p><p>John MacBeath John Gray </p><p>Jane Cullen David Frost </p><p>Susan Stewardand Sue Swaffield</p><p>Schools on the Edge</p></li><li><p>Schools on the Edge</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page i</p></li><li><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page ii</p></li><li><p>Schools on the EdgeResponding to Challenging Circumstances</p><p>John MacBeath, John Gray,Jane Cullen, David Frost, Susan</p><p>Steward and Sue Swaffield</p><p>Paul ChapmanPublishing</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page iii</p></li><li><p> John MacBeath, John Gray, Jane Cullen, David Frost, Susan Stewardand Sue Swaffield 2007</p><p>First published 2007</p><p>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. </p><p>Paul Chapman PublishingA SAGE Publications Company1 Olivers Yard55 City RoadLondon EC1Y 1SP</p><p>SAGE Publications Inc2455 Teller RoadThousand Oaks, California 91320</p><p>SAGE Publications India Pvt LtdB-42, Panchsheel EnclavePost Box 4109New Delhi 110 017</p><p>Library of Congress Control Number: 2006931454</p><p>A catalogue record for this book is available from theBritish Library</p><p>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)</p><p>Typeset by C&amp;M Digitals (P) Ltd., Chennai, IndiaPrinted in Great Britain by the Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, WiltshirePrinted on paper from sustainable resources</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page iv</p></li><li><p>Contents</p><p>About the Authors vi</p><p>Acknowledgements viii</p><p>List of Abbreviations ix</p><p>Introduction 1</p><p>1 Every Child Matters? 5</p><p>2 A Matter of Policy 21</p><p>3 Exceptional Challenges: Schools and Communities on the Edge 39</p><p>4 Schools of Hope 59</p><p>5 Can Governments Change Schools? 83</p><p>6 Measuring Improvement 103</p><p>7 Schools for the Future 123</p><p>Appendix 140</p><p>References 142</p><p>Index 151</p><p>v</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page v</p></li><li><p>About the Authors</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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</p><p>vi</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page vi</p></li><li><p>ABOUT THE AUTHORS vii</p><p>organisations including the ESRC, charities and governmental organisations. He waselected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2000.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page vii</p></li><li><p>viii</p><p>Acknowledgements</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>We also acknowledge the essential part played by Helen Cunningham and DaveEbbutt who worked with the authors as members of the research team.</p><p>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.</p><p>And to Jude Bowen and Katie Metzler who managed the process from concep-tion to publication.</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page viii</p></li><li><p>List of Abbreviations</p><p>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</p><p>ix</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page ix</p></li><li><p>x LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS</p><p>x</p><p>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</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Prelims.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page x</p></li><li><p>Introduction</p><p>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 worlds apart. Schoolson the edge face a constant struggle to forge a closer alignment between homeand school, parents and teachers, and between the formal world of school andthe informal world of neighbourhood and peer group.</p><p>Children and young people live nested lives, writes Berliner (2005) referring tothe contextual layers of experience through which they attempt to make sense oftheir world. Failure to grasp the complexity is a weakness of policy that looks forsimple remedies, he suggests. So when classrooms do not function as we wantthem to, we set about improving them. Since those classrooms in turn are inschools, when we decide that those schools are not performing appropriately, wecommence improving them as well. But those young people are also situated infamilies, in neighbourhoods and in peer groups which shape their attitudes andaspirations, often more powerfully than their parents or teachers. </p><p>This is a story that could be told in Sydney, Hong Kong, Paris or New York.Politicians and policy-makers often pursue a school improvement path without atextured understanding of what it means for schools to meet the needs of youngpeople on the edge of the social mainstream. These schools serve families andcommunities that have been cut adrift. The decline of traditional industries in the</p><p>1</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Introduction.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page 1</p></li><li><p>hinterland of major conurbations has stranded some adults and young people onthe periphery of economic life and the schools they attend often sit amid the rubble of run down neighbourhoods, distanced from their surroundings by theirvalues, traditions and frequently inflexible structures. Sometimes they are alsophysically distanced, on the outskirts of town, drawing young people literally andsymbolically to a different place.</p><p>Education may be the route out of challenging circumstances if the will and skillcan be found to navigate a path through the rigid conventions of schooling. Someyoung people, however poor the financial status of their families, are able to drawon a social capital in the home which provides momentum and support. Thereare others who, with no such legacy, still manage to surmount the obstacles ofboth school and social conventions to achieve beyond expectation. Others followthe line of least resistance into the twilight economy. Their uncelebrated intelli-gence is put to use on the margins of the law, lured over the edge into scraping aliving by whatever means and sometimes criminal activity, what Manuel Castellshas tellingly described as perverse integration, the back door entry to becomingaccepted and achieving success (Castells, 2000: 74).</p><p>Those who teach these young people also come from a different place. Theneighbourhoods these teachers visit on a daily basis are rarely the ones theywould choose to live in or whose lifestyle they would choose to emulate. It is thatvery ability to choose that separates most teachers from those they teach. And itis the freedom to choose that distinguishes them from parents to whom govern-ments proffer a choice of schools, as if choosing well might make all the differ-ence between life on the edge and life in the mainstream.</p><p>Yet choice is exercised. It is often a rejection of the local school and the imme-diacy of its problems and the children who litter gardens and pavements with dis-used wrappers and Coke cans and inscribe their personal slogans on shop frontsand bus shelters. As these families choose schools in better neighbourhoods withnicer children, they leave behind schools with a critical mass of parents andpupils who have less resilience or capacity to choose. They leave behind them aswell schools which struggle to survive, year on year on the edge of viable num-bers whilst attempting to meet the demand for public evidence that they are ableto perform just as well as any other school, despite the unevenness of the playingfield and the seemingly unyielding yardsticks of accountability. </p><p>Yet, however bleak the picture, there are schools in all countries which succeedin defying the odds, sometimes by statistical sleight of hand, sometimes by a con-centrated and strategic focus on those students most likely to reach the bar and,in some instances, by inspirational commitment to deep learning across bound-aries of language and culture. These schools are, in every sense, exceptional.</p><p>2 SCHOOLS ON THE EDGE</p><p>MacBeath-3462-Introduction.qxd 10/14/2006 5:02 PM Page 2</p></li><li><p>A matter of attainment</p><p>The last decade has witnessed increasing use of so-called league tables to locateschool performance. Exam performance has become crucial and schools whichare judged not to be up to the mark are deemed suitable cases for treatment. Butwhat counts as low attainment and how many secondary schools might be impli-cated? Such questions are more difficult to answer.</p><p>A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) on poorly performing schools(2006, Figure 14: 23) suggests that in 2001 just over 600 secondary schools had30 per cent or fewer of their pupils getting five GCSEs at grades A*C. Judgedagainst national averages, where half the pupils were getting over the same hur-dle, all these schools could be described as low attaining. In that year, however,the view of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) was that 20% repre-sented the minimum acceptable target for all schools. Of the 600 schools justunder 200 had less than 20% of their pupils getting over the same hurdle (2006,Figure 14: 23). Only 10% of the schools falling below the 20% hurdle were,accor...</p></li></ul>