[ProgressiveEd] For your attention

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Thu, 1 May 2003 14:51:56 +0000 (UTC)

Linda spotted this on the EducationGuardian.co.uk site and thought you should see it.
To see this story with its related links on the EducationGuardian.co.uk site, go to http://education.guardian.co.uk
Social class 'defines school achievement'
Staff and agencies
Wednesday April 23 2003
The Guardian
How well a British child does at school is defined by their social class, the Liberal Democrats claimed today.
While Britain is the fourth richest country in the world, when it comes to educational achievement social class is still the strongest indicator of success, Phil Willis, the party's education spokesman, said today.
Around 20,000 children leave British schools each year without any qualifications whatsoever, he told members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers at their annual conference in Bournemouth. 
He added the introduction of tuition fees for university had continued the problem into higher education, and the proportion of those going to university from the lowest socio-economic groups had halved since fees were introduced in 1998.
Mr Willis said: "Tackling inequality amongst our schools is the only way to provide our children with the quality education necessary for their individual success. Just as pupils are individuals so are schools distinctive, and we have seen increasing inequality emerge between our schools."
The 100 schools with the highest percentage of pupils on free school meals has twice the national average of children with special education needs and achieves only half the national average in GCSE results, he said.
The Liberal Democrats would introduce funding linked to the individual child and related to their needs, he said, a system "flexible enough to cater for children with special education needs, but also able to target other forms of disadvantage that impact on learning opportunities". 
He added that decentralising education from government and reducing the number of tests and targets were necessary to free schools up to deal with the needs of individual children.
Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited