Better Schools (1985)

The proposals in this White Paper, produced by Margaret Thatcher's second administration (1983-87), formed the basis of the 1986 Education (No. 2) Act.

The complete document is presented in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go straight to the various chapters:

1 The present situation (page 1)
2 The curriculum (9)
3 Exams and assessment (29)
4 Education of under fives (38)
5 Teaching quality (41)
6 Discipline (57)
7 Parents and schools (59)
8 Ethnic minority pupils (61)
9 Legal framework (63)
10 Aspects of LEA management (78)
11 Resources (82)
12 Independent sector (86)
13 Future progress (88)

The DES also produced a summary of the main points of the White Paper:

Better Schools - A Summary.

The text of Better Schools was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 30 August 2017.

White Paper: Better Schools (1985)

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1985
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

[title page]

Better Schools

Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Education and Science
and by the Secretary of State for Wales
by Command of Her Majesty
March 1985



6.40 net

Cmnd. 9469

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Chapter 1: The Present Situation

Chapter 2: The Primary and Secondary Curriculum

Chapter 3: Examinations and Assessment

Chapter 4: The Education of the Under Fives

Chapter 5: Teaching Quality

Chapter 6: Discipline

Chapter 7: Parents and Schools

Chapter 8: The Education of Ethnic Minority Pupils

Chapter 9: The Legal Framework

Chapter 10: Aspects of LEA Management

Chapter 11: Resources

Chapter 12: The Independent Sector

Chapter 13: Future Progress


[page 1]




1. The quality of school education concerns everyone. What is achieved by those who provide it, and by the pupils for whom it is provided, has lasting effects on the prosperity and well-being of each individual citizen and of the whole nation. The Government has reviewed, together with its partners, its policies for school education in England and Wales. This White Paper sets out its conclusions.

2. The Government's principal aims for all sectors of education are first, to raise standards at all levels of ability; and second, since education is an investment in the nation's future, to secure the best possible return from the resources which are found for it. In applying these aims to the schools the Government is concerned with the experience of every pupil over the whole range of school activities. There is much to admire in our schools; many of them cope well, and some very well, with their increasingly exacting task. But the high standards achieved in some schools throw into relief the shortcomings, some of them serious, of the others. Nor are the objectives which even the best schools set themselves always well matched with the demands of the modern world.

3. What is expected of schools alters over time with changes in society and in national circumstances. In consequence successive generations may differ in how they define standards at school and how they measure changes in such standards, so that historical comparisons of standards achieved can rarely be exact. But two trends in particular can be identified since the Education Act 1944 came into force. First, economic, social and demographic changes have profoundly altered the circumstances under which schools have to do their work. Britain's place in the world has changed and our membership of the European Community is increasingly influencing our society and our economic opportunities. British society has become more complex and diverse; values and institutions are increasingly called into question; the pace of technological change has quickened; and unemployment has added to the pressures of a daily life which has become more precarious and sometimes more turbulent. Second, the schools have been expected to expand the range of their tasks, as a result of the transformation of their material and moral environment. They have had to cope with conflicting views about how their tasks should alter. There has been neither clarity nor agreement about priorities among the many aims they set for themselves and those which others set for them.

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Progress over the last thirty years

4. As this Chapter will explain, a great deal remains to be done. But the school system of England and Wales can take credit for much progress since the war. Through the addition of two years to the compulsory period, the system now offers to all, not just a fraction of pupils, a secondary phase long and broad enough to lay the foundations for adult life and work in the world of today and encourages 47 per cent (compared with 13 per cent in 1947) to continue in full- time education until at least age 17. So far as the maintained sector is concerned, in 1954 three primary school classes in every five had more than 30 pupils, and half of these had more than 40; in 1984 only one in every five had more than 30, and less than one in a hundred more than 40, pupils. Between 1954 and 1984 the proportion of secondary school classes with more than 30 pupils fell from nearly one-third to less than one in ten. These improvements enable teachers to pay more regard to the needs and progress of the individual pupil . School provision for the under fives now extends to 43 per cent of 3 and 4 year olds compared with 21 per cent in 1972 and 15 per cent in the 1950s and 1960s.

5. With these changes in provision there have also been important changes in the curriculum. To a far greater extent than was the case thirty years ago, primary schools:

- offer a broad curriculum;
- teach English and mathematics in a way which transcends simple skills;
- teach science, craft and art as an integral part of the curriculum;
- introduce history and geography effectively in topic and project work;
- encourage pupils, across the whole curriculum, to learn by active participation rather than by the passive reception of facts and rote learning.
The present widespread use of computers in primary schools would of course have been unthinkable thirty years ago.

6. In secondary schools, too, notable advances have been made over the same period. Far more than was the case, secondary schools provide across a wide range of ability a broad curriculum which:

- includes science for most pupils;
- encourages a wide range of oral, written and graphic communication;
- widens mathematics beyond computation and increases its depth;
- offers opportunities to use and understand computers;
- encourages the skills of design and technology;
- affords the opportunity to learn a modern language;
- encourages active participation in music, drama and art;
- widens the scope of history, geography and classical studies;
- includes careers education.

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7. More generally, in both primary and secondary schools personal and social development is now fostered systematically. Many schools have coped successfully with changes in the social and ethnic composition of their areas, particularly with teaching English as a second language. The needs of the handicapped and others with special needs are beginning to be identified better and tackled more discerningly in special schools and ordinary schools alike. Schools have also become more open towards the communities they serve; in particular they now do more to associate parents with their work, and many have developed strong links with local industry and commerce. The provision of Welsh language medium teaching and the availability of Welsh as a subject are now extensive throughout most of Wales at both primary and secondary levels.

8. Some of these improvements have been reflected in what pupils achieve in public examinations in the secondary phase:

Percentage of school leavers withMid
(a) 2 or more GCE A level passes10(11)13(15)
(b) at least 1 GCE A level pass13(14)17(20)
(c) 5 or more GCE O level grades A-C or CSE Grade 1*2127

Note: The figures in this table include pupils in both maintained and independent schools. Figures in brackets represent the proportion of all young people with the qualifications shown, including those obtaining them in colleges of further education.

As the table illustrates, 20 per cent of young people are now obtaining at least one A level pass. About 75 per cent leave school with at least 5 graded** 0 level/CSE results, and only about 10 per cent leave without any graded results at all.

The need for higher standards

9. But the Government believes that, not least in the light of what is being achieved in other countries, the standards now generally attained by our pupils are neither as good as they can be, nor as good as they need to be if young people are to be equipped for the world of the twenty-first century. By the time they leave school, pupils need to have acquired, far more than at present, the qualities and skills required for work in a technological age. Education at school should promote enterprise and adaptability in order to increase young people's chances of finding employment or creating it for themselves and others.

10. Many examples can be found of high standards achieved in schools in widely different circumstances by pupils of all abilities. If the standards achieved in these schools could be achieved at all the schools in similar circumstances, the quality of school education would rise dramatically. Such a substantial and sustained improvement is realistic. It is also necessary in order to protect the nation's prosperity and well-being and to give all individuals fair scope to develop and exercise their talents.

*These grades are broadly equivalent to the former O level 'pass' grades.

**GCE O level grades A to E; CSE grades 1 to 5.

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11. The Government has a duty to take the lead in securing this improvement. England and Wales have a national system of schools, established and regulated by statute and mainly financed from public funds, in which the responsibility for providing good education to the pupils is shared by several agencies. The Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales have a general duty to secure the well-being of the education service. That duty is largely exercised through important specific functions - relating, for example, to the supply, training and qualifications of teachers, the pattern of school organisation, and the inspection of schools - which by their nature bear on the school curriculum. As a result, the Secretaries of State's views about that curriculum inform both their general and their specific functions in relation to the schools. The Secretaries of Stale discharge their responsibilities towards the education service in partnership with the other agencies within it: local education authorities (LEAs), the churches and other voluntary bodies, governing bodies, and teachers. It is also the Government's task to mediate and where necessary reconcile the needs and wishes of all those outside the system - parents, employers, taxpayers, ratepayers and all others who are concerned with what the schools do for their pupils. The duty of the Government is to ensure as far as it can that, through the efforts of all who are involved with our schools, the education of the pupils serves their own and the country's needs and provides a fair return to those who pay for it.

12. This duty is by no means simple to discharge: assessing the benefits of the resources invested in education is complex. First, pupils vary widely in their capacity to benefit from education al am given point in the process. A particular pupil's capacity to benefit depends on many factors, including his ability and aptitudes, his home background and support, and what he has gained from the education already undergone. These factors cannot be measured precisely. Second, it is not possible precisely to assess all that is attained on leaving school. I;or both these reasons it is difficult to assess the success of the school in building on the pupil's individual capacities and experience - the value that the school has added, and enabled the pupil to add, in developing them. Such an assessment depends in large measure on the skills of teachers in using a variety of assessment techniques, but can also be informed by the judgements of Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) and local advisers, by the views of parents and employers, and to some extent by comparisons with what is achieved by other schools in similar circumstances.

A professional judgement

13. In exercising their functions in relation to schools the Secretaries of State draw heavily on the advice of HMI about the state of education in the schools and the effects of Government policy on it. In the light of what they find through inspection of all kinds, HMI report to the Secretaries of State on general or particular aspects of school education and on individual schools. Reports of this kind are now published.

14. The reports of HMI reveal an uneven picture.

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15. At their best, the schools in England and Wales grapple with their tasks with a strong sense of purpose, reflecting in all they do the whole-hearted enthusiasm and commitment of the staff under the leadership of the head- teacher: they bring out what the pupils have to give by setting challenging goals based on high expectations, and by motivating them towards active, well- directed enquiry rather than passive learning. In these schools an orderly atmosphere encourages sound learning and an easy relationship between teachers and pupils is based on mutual respect. By age 11 the best primary and middle schools have consolidated the pupils' positive personal qualities, have developed (to a degree which varies inevitably with pupils' abilities and home background) an almost universal competence in reading, writing and other language skills and in a wide range of mathematical skills, and have established the foundations of understanding and competence in science, in the humanities and in aesthetic and practical subjects. The best secondary schools turn out young people with self-confidence, self-respect and respect for others, who are enterprising, adaptable and eager to face the demands of the adult world, and who are equipped to face it by a sound and broad grounding in knowledge, skills and understanding to a depth commensurate with their abilities.

16. Two of the features found in the best schools - the commitment of the teachers to the education of their pupils and the orderly and civilised relationship between teachers and pupils - can be observed in the great majority of all schools. Many other of the features found in the best schools are also found in most other schools. But the present spectrum of quality and the variations between schools are wider than is acceptable in a national system of school education based on 11 years of compulsory attendance. The findings of HMI point to several areas of substantial weakness in an unacceptably large proportion of our schools.

Primary and middle schools

17. A weakness found to a greater or lesser degree in about three-quarters of primary and middle schools is in curricular planning and its implementation. Curricular guidelines exist for English and mathematics in about three-quarters of the schools but they frequently do not extend to other important elements of the curriculum, and often do not make explicit the different approaches to learning, and the increasing demands, which are needed as children progress through the school. Above all, there are rarely effective mechanisms for ensuring that declared curricular policies are reflected in the day-to-day work of most teachers and pupils. In only a minority of schools is the best practice of individual teachers in each area of the curriculum adopted as a standard to be emulated throughout the school.

18. The mistaken belief, once widely held, that a concentration on basic skills is by itself enough to improve achievement in literacy and numeracy has left its mark: many children are still given too little opportunity for work in the scientific, practical and aesthetic areas of the curriculum which increases not only their understanding within these areas but also their literacy and numeracy. In a majority of schools over-concentration on the practice of basic skills in literacy and numeracy unrelated to a context in which they are needed means that those skills are insufficiently extended and applied.

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19. In about half of all classes much work in classrooms is so closely directed by the teacher that there is little opportunity either for oral discussion or for posing and solving practical problems. Pupils are given insufficient responsibility for pursuing their own enquiries and deciding how to tackle their work.

20. Many teachers' judgements of pupils' potential and of their learning needs tend to reflect preconceptions about the capabilities of different categories of pupil. These preconceptions are often shared by parents and by the pupils themselves. As a result, expectations of pupils are insufficiently demanding at all levels of ability. Many pupils are allowed to get by with work which is adequate but costs them little effort. It is not easy even for experienced teachers to match the widely differing needs and capabilities of individual children with appropriate objectives, methods and materials. In most classes, irrespective of their size, content and pace are geared to the middle level of ability in the class: able pupils are insufficiently stretched and waste time practising skills already mastered, while the diverse individual weaknesses of the less able, even where they have been diagnosed, are not tackled appropriately.

21. By the end of the primary phase many pupils do not appreciate sufficiently the need to exercise such vital qualities as rigour and perseverance. This is partly because teachers do not always insist that pupils should adequately understand the essentials of an area of learning, and partly because, as noted already, they underestimate their pupils' potential. One consequence of both these shortcomings is that pupils acquire only a shaky foundation for some of their subsequent work. Another is that some pupils see little or no connection between the effort put into a task and the satisfaction gained from the increased understanding and mastery that go with a job well done. Periodic testing of pupils and conscientious record-keeping are common but few schools or LEAs have formulated and implemented policies for assessment and record-keeping designed to be used to ensure progress and continuity of learning for all pupils in all areas of the curriculum.

22. The best schools have shown that primary age pupils can achieve very high standards through a broad curriculum pursued in depth, provided that the teaching is well-informed and challenging. Such good practice makes heavy demands on teachers in the selection and use of subject matter in areas of the curriculum - science particularly, and craft - in which they themselves may lack confidence and expertise. The demands become particularly pressing for the 9-13 age group. But the deployment of staff within schools often does not take account of individual teachers' strengths and weaknesses, and the organisation of teaching for the older primary school pupils and the younger pupils in the secondary phase does not achieve the required gradual transition between class teaching and specialist teaching. Moreover few primary schools have designated subject consultants in more than one or two areas of the curriculum, partly owing to pressure on resources and to the shortage of suitable specialists, though there has been a welcome increase in the number of teachers with designated responsibility for work in science. Where subject consultants have been appointed it is unusual for them to be given the time, the

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status and the encouragement to enable them to prepare and offer support to their colleagues and to exert the necessary influence on the whole curriculum of the school. Few schools have a systematic approach to the career development of staff and to the induction of probationers.

Secondary schools

23. In secondary schools there is little evidence of agreed curriculum policies directly influencing the school as a whole, in particular on such pervasive matters as the promotion of language development and careers education. Many departments still fail to translate their own. and the school's, declared aims and objectives into practical terms: they have syllabuses but not schemes of work. LEAs often fail to provide the strong guidance necessary to ensure curricular liaison with feeder schools.

24. In a large minority of cases, teachers' expectations of what pupils could achieve are clouded by inadequate knowledge and understanding of pupils' individual aptitudes and difficulties; or by the stereotyping which is a consequence of preconceptions about categories of pupil; whether teaching groups are streamed, banded, setted, or deliberately formed from pupils of widely differing ability, teaching is frequently directed towards the middle of the group and there is insufficient differentiation of teaching approaches. This last weakness is less common in practical areas of the curriculum, but elsewhere it is a widespread and very serious problem, particularly when the class contains a wide ability range.

25. In virtually all schools and departments there is often excessive direction by the teacher of pupils' work, and there are too many lessons where classwork and homework are unimaginatively set. Pupils need more opportunities to learn for themselves, to express their own views and to develop their ideas through discussion; teachers do too much of the work for them. Most schools also still lack detailed assessment policies, which should be an integral part of the curriculum, not an optional extra.

26. Good teaching depends heavily on a reasonable match between the qualifications and experience of teachers and the subjects they teach. Mismatch occurs when they have to teach a subject outside the competence which they have acquired through training and experience; it is a serious problem in about one-fifth of secondary schools. Mismatch is most common in English, mathematics, physics, religious education and craft, design and technology (CDT); many teachers engaged in remedial education do not have appropriate training, and some are isolated from the thinking and practice of rest of the school.

27. Heads of department commonly and deputy headteachers to some extent have too little time and scope for managing the planning and development of the curriculum and optimising the use of staff and other resources. A majority of schools and LEAs lack a systematic approach to the career development of staff and to the induction of probationers. Only a minority

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of schools and departments ensure that non-staff resources are both well managed and related to the teaching styles required; school-produced material is too rarely linked with books, audio-visual resources or educational technology to broaden what is offered to pupils of different abilities.

Special schools

28. Many of the weaknesses found in primary and secondary schools occur at special schools, particularly those catering for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. There too, for example, over-concentration on the practice of skills in English and mathematics often gives too little opportunity for other work in which those skills might be extended; and the curriculum for pupils of secondary age is frequently too narrow and the teaching approaches insufficiently differentiated for individual needs.

The need for action

29. The previous paragraphs have discussed a number of weaknesses. Not all of these are the fault of the schools, nor of the education service. Many of them are related to the wider problems facing our society, many of which are not, or only partly, susceptible to Government measures. For example, despite the best efforts of the teachers the performance of some pupils can be adversely affected by racial prejudice and discrimination. But the Government has a duty to act where it can. It believes that in order to tackle these weaknesses and to improve standards action is necessary in four areas of policy:

(1) to secure greater clarity about the objectives and content of the curriculum;
(2) to reform the examinations system and improve assessment so that they promote more effectively the objectives of the curriculum, the achievements of pupils, and the recording of those achievements;
(3) to improve the professional effectiveness of teachers and the management of the teaching force;
(4) to reform school government and to harness more fully the contribution which can be made to good school education by parents, employers and others outside the education service.
The following Chapters set out the action which the Government intends to take in each of these areas in conjunction with the other partners in the education service.

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30. Addressing the North of England Conference in Sheffield in January 1984, the Secretary of State for Education and Science proposed a programme of measures relating to the school curriculum in the interest of raising standards. Consultations with the Government's partners in the education service and with other interests have shown that there is widespread acceptance of the need to improve the standards achieved by pupils, and of the proposition that broad agreement about the objectives and content of the school curriculum is a necessary step towards that improvement.

31. Such broad agreement, explicitly formulated, would enable the partners in the education service to take the necessary action together. It would also have other important advantages:

(1) it would be clear what tasks society expects our schools to accomplish. The schools' performance could then be more fairly judged against agreed expectations about those tasks;

(2) it would mean that parents, employers and the public would have a closer understanding of the purposes for which they were being asked to support the work of the schools and would thus be better placed than they are now to co-operate with the schools in achieving common aims. Despite many constructive local and national initiatives, schools and employers continue to understand each other's purposes and needs imperfectly; and employers have made it clear that they would welcome a clearer agreement about the schools' objectives;

(3) it could become an important means of raising teachers' expectations of their pupils' performance, which would then be reflected in their approaches to teaching and assessment. It could also help to remove preconceptions based on pupils' sex or ethnic origin;

(4) it would help to secure that in our national school system variations to suit local circumstances do not allow school standards in any locality to fall below an acceptable level;

(5) it is a prerequisite for monitoring progress over time in the achievement of higher standards of performance.

32. The Government acknowledges the magnitude of the task it is setting itself and its partners. Objectives cannot be agreed for all time. Even initial agreement will take several years to accomplish, although some objectives may be settled sooner. It will be carried out through policy statements (such as the recent statement on science education in schools*) issued by the Secretaries of State after consulting all concerned. Alongside these, but not normally coinciding in time, there will be HMI publications designed both to inform and to stimulate discussion. In particular, publications in the recently inaugurated

*'Science 5-16: A statement of policy': details of publications referred to in this White Paper are given in the Bibliography (page 92).

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Curriculum Matters series* will build up a general description of the objectives of the curriculum as a whole for all children of compulsory school age, and the contribution which individual areas and subjects can make towards those objectives. They will examine individual subjects and curricular elements in more detail, considering where appropriate such matters as teaching approaches, and proposing objectives to be attained at the ages of (in particular) 11 and 16.


33. The formulation of national objectives for the curriculum necessarily starts from current policies and practice, both of which already often serve purposes which are explicitly stated. The Government wishes to base these objectives on the best practice currently adopted by LEAs and schools.

34. The objectives are intended to have practical effect by becoming the basis of the curricular policies of the Secretaries of State, the LEAs and the schools. Curricular policy at each of these three levels would thus be directed towards the same objectives. But the application of the objectives is different at each level because the functions of the Secretaries of State, the LEA and the school, though interrelated, are separate from each other, and are exercised over a progressively more limited geographical area. The Secretaries of State, the LEA and the school each need a curricular policy in order to discharge their respective functions in accordance with their judgements. The Secretaries of State are accountable to Parliament for the performance of the education service at all levels. Their curricular policy informs not only the exercise of their statutory duty "to promote the education of the people of England and Wales and the progressive development of institutions devoted to that purpose, and to secure the effective execution by local authorities, under [their] control and direction, of the national policy for providing a varied and comprehensive educational service in every area"**; but also the exercise of the statutory functions which give expression to this general duty, for example in relation to the supply and training of teachers and the determination of proposals from LEAs and governing bodies of aided schools about the pattern of school organisation. The LEA's curricular policy informs the exercise of a wide range of its functions, particularly in relation to such matters as the provision of schools, the deployment of its teaching force and its advisory service. The school's curricular policy informs the organisation and delivery of what is offered to the pupils. It is one important means through which the school can plan the optimal disposition of its human and other resources, assess its own performance, and promote an understanding of common aims with parents and employers. Since the functions of the Secretaries of State, the LEA and the school interrelate, the policies adopted at each level influence, and are influenced by, those adopted at the others. LEAs, for instance, have an

*Those published so far are 'English from 5 to 16', 'Aims and Objectives of Teaching and Learning Welsh for 5-16 year old Pupils' and ' The Curriculum from 5 lo 16'. Further discussion documents in this series are in preparation on other subjects and aspects of the curriculum, including one on mathematics which will he published shortly.

**Section 1 of the Education Act 1944.

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important role in seeking to promote good practice by spreading successful approaches from one school to another.

35. It follows from the separate but interrelated functions of the Secretaries of State, the LEA, and the school that the curricular policy of each may contain features not found in that of one or both of the others. For example, it would not be appropriate for either the Secretaries of State or the LEA to determine the detailed organisation and content of the programme of the pupils of any particular school. That should be a matter for the headteacher and his staff, and that this should be so would be acknowledged in the curricular policy of the Secretaries of State and the LEA. To take another example, it might be part of the Secretaries of State's policy that a minority language - say Italian or Latin - was available within the maintained school sector but that not every LEA should secure its provision within its schools: and where the LEA's policy included the provision of the language in question, this might be on the basis that the provision should be limited to a few schools in accordance with their ability and willingness to offer it.

36. It also follows from the different functions of the Secretaries of State, the LEA and the school that the common objectives are applied with differences of emphasis and balance to reflect local circumstances and are pursued by a variety of routes in accordance with local judgement. For example it would not in the view of the Government be right for the Secretaries of State's policy for the range and pattern of the 5-16 curriculum to amount to the determination of national syllabuses for that period. It would however be appropriate for the curricular policy of the LEA, on the basis of broadly agreed principles about range and pattern, to be more precise about, for example, the balance between curricular elements and the age and pace at which pupils are introduced to particular subject areas (e.g. a foreign language). Within the authority, the curricular policy of each school would reflect the policy of the LEA, for example through the staff and other resources made available to it by the LEA, but would develop, in the detail needed for the work of the school, the strategies by which the school intended to secure an appropriate curricular range and pattern in the programmes of its pupils. Such strategies would reflect the school's own priorities in accordance with its traditions, its ethos and its view of the needs of its pupils in the light of parental and other expectations.

37. The establishment of broadly agreed objectives would not mean that the curricular policies of the Secretaries of State, the LEA and the school should relate to each other in a nationally uniform way. In the Government's view such diversity is healthy, accords well with the English and Welsh tradition of school education and makes for liveliness and innovation. Some conflict of view in the working out and application of national, local and school curricular policies may therefore be unavoidable. It is important that the statutory framework should facilitate the satisfactory resolution of such conflicts where they arise. That is the purpose of the Government's plans, described in Chapter 9, to redefine the curricular responsibilities of the LEA, the governing body and the headteacher of county, controlled and maintained

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special schools. The Government does not propose to introduce legislation affecting the powers of the Secretaries of State in relation to the curriculum.

38. Broadly agreed objectives for the curriculum, once formulated, will need to be reviewed from time to time in the light of how they have stood the test of practical application and to take account of changes in our society and in the role assigned by it to our schools. Such reviews will need to involve all the partners in the education service and its customers. The adaptation over time of jointly adopted objectives is a joint task.


39. Concern for the effective application of curricular policies prompted the Government in 1981, following the publication of 'The School Curriculum' to encourage through the issue of DES Circular 6/81 (Welsh Office Circular 44/81) the further development of expressly-formulated curricular policies at the local level. DES Circular 8/83 (Welsh Office Circular 59/83) followed up this initiative by asking each LEA to provide a report on the progress made in drawing up a policy for the curriculum in its primary and secondary schools including a description of the roles played in this process by those within and beyond the education service, and a statement of the ways in which the policy was to be given practical effect.

40. The Government pays tribute to LEAs for the priority which they have given to the formulation of curricular policies over the past three years and more. It proposes to publish an account of the responses to Circular 8/83. No brief summary can do justice to the range of developments reported (and in some cases now well-established), nor to the careful discussion and thought which evidently underlie much of what is said. A number of features common to many responses are particularly significant:

(1) most LEAs have drawn up general statements of policy for the 5-16 curriculum, sometimes separately for the primary and secondary phases, or are actively working towards such statements;

(2) the consultations involved in drawing up those statements have often been extensive, drawing on governing bodies and parents as well as advisers, headteachers and the staffs of schools;

(3) most schools have responded to 'The School Curriculum' by setting out their aims in writing. A number are taking steps to assess their curriculum against those aims. Many I I As are reviewing schools' aims, to ensure compatibility with their own curricular policies, or are asking schools and governing bodies to do so. A number of LEAs have developed schemes for schools' self-evaluation, lo which they attach importance;

(4) LEAs generally recognise that their curricular policies have consequences for the management and deployment of the teaching force. A number have formulated curriculum-related policies for staffing, for implementation as resources become available. Others have identified

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the need for special staffing measures to support the curriculum in schools affected by falling rolls. The importance of in-service training, within the resources available, is generally recognised. Some LEAs have identified in their responses the need to expand the work of the advisory service, if developments in schools are to be effectively supported and monitored;

(5) questions of breadth and balance within the curriculum are recognised as important. There is also general acceptance of the principle that the school curriculum should be relevant to what happens outside school, but few responses give specific details of how this aim is to be achieved.

41. There are also issues which seem to the Government to be important, to whose implications comparatively few LEAs devote attention in their responses. These include:

(1) the translation of curricular policy into teaching approaches and methods;

(2) continuity between the primary and secondary phases;

(3) the need for differentiation within the curriculum, in order to meet more effectively the needs of each pupil according to his ability and aptitudes;

(4) policies for those elements of the curriculum, especially in secondary schools, which are not taught as separate subjects;

(5) the role of employers in contributing to developments in curricular policy.

42. The main purpose of Circular 8/83 was to establish the extent to which LEAs have now adopted curricular policies, and what these policies are. The responses show that an explicit curricular policy will shortly inform the work of nearly every LEA, but that many authorities' policies do not yet extend to all the matters for which local policies are needed. At local level, as at national level, continuing consultation and thought are needed so that fully worked-out local policies may inform, as necessary, the broad national agreement about objectives for the curriculum which the Secretaries of State are seeking. When further progress has been made at local and national level the Secretaries of State intend to ask LEAs to report further on the development of their curricular policies, either generally or in relation to particular aspects.


43. The definition of agreed objectives for the curriculum in principle encompasses four strands: the purposes of learning at school (paragraph 44); the contribution of each main subject area or element (paragraph 54); the organisation and content of the 5-16 curriculum as a whole (paragraph 56); and what is to be attained at the end of the primary phase and of the compulsory years in the secondary phase (paragraph 80). The objectives apply also where the age-ranges of schools do not correspond with the typical pattern.

(i) The purposes of learning at school

44. A possible list of the purposes of learning, closely following that offered in 'The School Curriculum', is:

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(1) to help pupils to develop lively, enquiring minds, the ability to question and argue rationally and to apply themselves to tasks, and physical skills;

(2) to help pupils to acquire understanding, knowledge and skills relevant to adult life and employment in a fast-changing world;

(3) to help pupils to use language and number effectively;

(4) to help pupils to develop personal moral values, respect for religious values, and tolerance of other races, religions, and ways of life;

(5) to help pupils to understand the world in which they live, and the interdependence of individuals, groups and nations;

(6) to help pupils to appreciate human achievements and aspirations.

There is room for legitimate disagreement about the priority to be attached to each element in this list, and the relationship between them. LEAs and schools have generally reflected the content of this list in their own formulations of basic aims. The Government takes that as evidence that, at the most general level, there is very little disagreement that these are indeed the purposes of school education.

45. The Government believes, and its belief is embodied in certain national programmes, that these purposes require that the curriculum offered to each pupil, from whatever background, should reflect a number of fundamental principles. Those set out below have commanded widespread assent during the consultations of the last 12 months:

(1) the curriculum in both primary and secondary schools should be broad: as a whole and in its parts it should introduce the pupil to a wide range of areas of experience, knowledge and skill. The HMI surveys 'Primary Education in England' and 'Curriculum and Organisation of Primary Schools in Wales' both pointed conclusively to the fact that the teaching of language and mathematical skills in isolation or in a purely theoretical way was less effective than when they were associated with a wide-ranging programme of work which also included art and craft, history and geography, music, physical education, and science. This principle applies in respect of every pupil: it leaves no room for discrimination in the curriculum on grounds of sex;

(2) the curriculum should be balanced: each area of the curriculum should be allotted sufficient time to make its specific contribution, but not so much that it squeezes out other essential areas;

(3) the curriculum should be relevant: all subjects should be taught in such a way as to make plain their link with the pupils' own experience and to bring out their applications and continuing value in adult life. Related to this is the need for a practical dimension to learning, reflected both in the balance between subjects and in the content and teaching of subjects themselves. Most pupils take well to practical and other work which they believe will help them to get on in the modern world, whose technology they find stimulating rather than daunting. The curriculum should be devised and taught so as to harness such excitement and enthusiasm. These requirements are at the heart of the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI, described in paragraph 50), which explores

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how what is learned at school from age 14 can be more effectively related to the demands of working life; and of the Microelectronics Education Programme, whose aim is to help schools to prepare pupils for a society in which the new technology is commonplace and pervasive. The Government thinks it important that the relevance of the curriculum should also be enhanced, as is happening increasingly, by local initiatives which bring schools and employers together in shared activities;

(4) there should be careful differentiation: what is taught and how it is taught need to be matched to pupils' abilities and aptitudes. It is of the greatest importance to stimulate and challenge all pupils, including the most and least able: within teaching groups as well as schools the range of ability is often wide. The Cockcroft Report ('Mathematics Counts') pointed to the "seven-year difference" at age 11 in attainment in mathematics, and similar differences may be expected in other subject areas. Such differences need to be reflected in classroom practice. The Government is supporting development work to promote this principle through the Lower Attaining Pupils' programme, which investigates how differentiation is best developed and applied across the curriculum for pupils within the chosen target group. It is thus closely concerned with teaching approaches. Similarly, for pupils (including the most able) aiming for the 16+ examinations and beyond, the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE, see Chapter 3), with differentiated papers and questions, will encourage and test success at different levels of attainment.

46. A curriculum founded on these principles will, in the Government's view, serve to develop the potential of every pupil and to equip all for the responsibilities of citizenship and for the formidable challenge of employment in the world of tomorrow. It is vital that schools should always remember that preparation for working life is one of their principal functions. The economic stresses of our time and the pressures of international competition make it more necessary than ever before that Britain's work-force should possess the skills and attitudes, and display the understanding, the enterprise and adaptability that the pervasive impact of technological advance will increasingly demand. This applies equally to those who will be employed by others and to the many who may expect, for part or all of their working lives, to be self- employed. The balance within the curriculum and the emphasis in teaching it now need to alter accordingly.

47. In 1984, the Secretary of State for Education and Science asked selected employers' organisations to identify those capabilities which their members look to the schools to have fostered in recruits to industry and commerce. Respondents gave widespread support for a broadly-based education which academic achievement should be complemented by the capacity to apply knowledge and by the development of personal qualities and skills, including motivation and commitment, self-discipline and reliability, confidence, enthusiasm and initiative, flexibility and the ability to work both individually and as part of a team. Employers urged that schools should set out

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to equip pupils with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for adult and working life; most also stressed the need for greater emphasis on the relevance and practical applications of what pupils learn. Competence in reading, writing, and oral, numerical and social skills was seen as the essential minimum; it was also regarded as important that both pupils and teachers should have greater awareness of the wealth-creating function of industry and commerce.

48. Education and training cannot always be distinguished, but they are complementary. They need to be brought into closer relation in a variety of ways, given the fact that compulsory education ends at age In, the wide range of pupils' attainments, aptitudes and aspirations at that age. and the diversity of facilities for post-16 education and training. The Government believes that the linking of education and training, whatever form it takes, should have preparation for employment as one of its principal functions.

49. Such preparation should help young people to make themselves more suited to likely patterns of employment. It will therefore be necessary to resolve the issue of how best to fit work-related skills within initial full-time education. The Government believes that all pupils should follow a broad balanced and suitably differentiated programme until age 16; that such a programme should contain a strong element which relates to the technological aspects of working life: and that both this element and all others should be taught so as to give effect to the principle of relevance outlined in paragraph 45(3) above, with particular emphasis on practical and oral skills. All the elements of a broad 5-16 curriculum are vocational in the sense that they encourage qualities, altitudes, knowledge, understanding and competences which are the necessary foundation for employment. But only the programmes which prepare directly for a specific vocational area are strictly vocational. These can often helpfully be supported by pre-vocational programmes which bridge the transition between the broad programmes which are essential up to age 16 and those post-16 programmes which are explicitly vocational.

50. The resolution of this issue and of the link between education and training centre on the 14-18 age range, and have to embrace the work of the schools and of the colleges of further education, and the needs of industry and commerce. It was to meet these issues that the Government established in 1983 the TVEI. This is supporting, through the Manpower Services Commission, pilot projects in most LEAs in England and Wales (as well as in Scotland), at a total cost of some 250m, for coherent courses at schools and colleges leading to recognised national qualifications over a 4 year period. The TVEI embodies the Government's policy that education should better equip young people for working life. The courses are designed to cater equally for boys and girls across the whole ability range and with technical or vocational aspirations, and to offer in the compulsory years a broad general education with a strong technical element followed, post-16, by increasing vocational specialisation. The course content and teaching methods adopted are intended to develop personal qualities and positive attitudes towards work as well as a wide range of competence, and more generally to develop a practical approach throughout the curriculum. The projects are innovative and break new ground in many

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ways, being designed to explore curriculum organisation and development, teaching approaches and learning styles, co-operation between the participating institutions, and enhanced careers guidance supported by work experience, in order to test the feasibility of sustaining a broad vocational commitment in full-time education for 14-18 year olds.

51. The Government is encouraged by the enthusiastic co-operation of LEAs. schools and colleges in the TVE1 and looks forward to the outcome of this important initiative. The Government is considering the wider application of its lessons, having regard to the overriding need for continuity and progression throughout the 5-16 period and to subsequent full-time education. Evaluation of the TVEI is under way at both national and local level. It is already evident that additional effort on in-service training, promoting developments related particularly to the TVEI. would advance the aim of a curriculum based on the four principles set out in paragraph 45. Additional resources will be made available for such training and the Manpower Services Commission has been invited to administer a scheme for this purpose pending the introduction of the new in-service training grant arrangements outlined in paragraph 176.

52. The principles in paragraph 45 also have important implications at all levels as auricular policies are given expression in curriculum content and teaching methods. They underlie the discussion of the curriculum for the primary and secondary phases which follows, and they are at the heart of successful classroom practice in the primary phase as well as the secondary (though they may be applied differently in each case). The fact that their application is here and later usually expressed in relation to subjects should not be misinterpreted. In the Government's view every element of the primary and secondary curriculum and every area of learning within it is concerned with the development of positive personal qualities and attitudes; and that curriculum can validly be analysed and described in a number of ways for professional and other purposes. But much curricular content is, for many purposes, and especially in the secondary phase, most conveniently described by reference to the body of knowledge and skills associated with a particular subject. Such a description implies no particular view of timetabling or teaching approach. Nor does it deny that learning involves the mastery of processes as well as the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding. The Government believes that these two aspects of learning are not in opposition to one another. When it comes to practice, there is much common ground among those who may hold widely divergent curricular philosophies. It is not in dispute that the purposes of education at school go beyond learning the traditional subjects. Nor is it generally denied that the acquisition of both practical and intellectual skills is often impossible except on the basis of factual content and that certain essential skills entail an understanding of specific factual material.

53. Subjects themselves change and develop. Moreover subject boundaries are not rigid and need to be approached flexibly. Some subjects are deliberately taught in connection with others, particularly in the primary phase; some elements or aspects of a subject arise naturally in the course of teaching another subject; the amount of time devoted to any subject relative to

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other subjects varies in accordance with the age and ability of the pupils and the pace of their progress. Pupils' timetables need not be, though particularly in secondary schools they often are in practice, structured by reference to subjects. What is at issue is neither whether particular elements of the curriculum appear overtly or are "hidden" nor the labels which appear in the timetable (which are in any case variable in the secondary phase and may not exist in the primary phase), but the place within the curriculum which the content and processes associated with subjects should occupy in substance.

(ii) The contribution of each main subject area

54. The second strand in the definition of objectives concerns the contribution of each main subject area both to the development of positive personal qualities and attitudes and to intellectual and practical skills, understanding and knowledge. The national criteria for GCSE (see Chapter 3), through their guidance to the designers of examination syllabuses, offer a concise accounts of the understanding, knowledge and competences which should be developed in the course of following the syllabus. But the national criteria relate directly only to the curriculum of the later years of the secondary phase, and not to the whole programme of any pupil even during those years. The task of giving a complete account of the contribution which each curricular element makes to the 5-16 curriculum as a whole will need to be accomplished through the policy statements and the HMI publications described in paragraph 32.

55. Religious education has its special contribution to the education of all pupils, and should be given the significance which it deserves within the curriculum. The place of religious education is governed by statute: the Government has no plans to propose changes in the provisions of the Education Act 1944 relating to religious education and collective worship in schools, provisions which have stood the test of time. Within the statutory framework an introduction to the Christian tradition remains central to the religious education provided in our schools. The Government looks to LEAs and schools to ensure that the statutory requirements are met.

(iii) The organisation and content of the curriculum

56. The third strand is the organisation and content of the 5-16 curriculum as a whole. The demands which arise from the four principles outlined in paragraph 45 in relation to the knowledge, understanding and skills to be acquired, the processes to be mastered, and the personal qualities and attitudes to be developed greatly exceed, in aggregate, the time available for teaching and learning, particularly during the secondary phase. It is therefore essential to eliminate in both the primary and the secondary phase material and practices which do not use that time to good effect. The removal of such clutter takes a variety of forms - the avoidance of unplanned repetition within and between subjects; the dropping of work which, though once important, is now outdated for example the science teaching which has failed to incorporate more recent concepts and technological developments: much better planning by the LEA and the schools of the transition between schools to avoid curricular discontinuity or needless repetition; and improved planning of courses and syllabuses within each school for the same purposes.

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57. The time so saved could in principle be used in two ways. It could assist a redistribution of the balance between the elements which make up the curriculum so that each may, to a greater extent than now. make its particular contribution without leaving insufficient time for all other essential elements to make their particular contribution. For any subject area there is a minimum period for which it has to be offered to enable the pupil to gain a lasting benefit; that minimum depends on the area of learning itself, on how closely it can be related to and reinforced by other areas of learning, and on the pupil and his stage of development. The time gained can also be used more effectively by improving what is offered to pupils within the area of learning in question. without altering the amount of time devoted to that area, by concentrating on the essential aspects of what that area is best able to contribute to the pupils' total education.

58. It is evident that even when such changes are made and curricular planning optimises the interrelation of areas of learning, schools will still have insufficient time for teaching all that it is in principle desirable for them to teach. Choices will need to be made and priorities determined. In the Government's view, both of these matters fall properly for determination at the level of the LEA and the school, within a framework set by national, LEA, and school curricular policies.

59. As a step towards achieving that framework, the Secretaries of State issued, in September 1984, a discussion paper 'The Organisation and Content of the 5-16 Curriculum' which set out provisional views. Taking account of the comments received, the Government believes that it is now timely to offer a statement of national policy on the broad issues raised, and to pursue discussions in the light of it. These discussions will need to take account of the concurrent process of formulating, on the basis of consultation, statements of policy about the contribution of each main curricular element towards the totality of the curriculum.

The primary phase

60. Children develop quickly during their time in primary schools. The primary phase should help pupils to get the most out of the process of growing up and should build on their natural enthusiasm during this period of rapid change. To this end, the primary phase should help pupils to learn to under- stand themselves, their relationships with others and the world around them; should stimulate their curiosity and teach them to apply it purposefully and usefully; and should develop the foundations for later learning and those personal qualities and attitudes which, if acquired during the primary phase, provide a sound base for what follows. The principles set out in paragraph 45 should apply throughout this phase, and should be so applied that learning becomes, and remains, a pleasure.

61. Teaching in the primary phase is organised very flexibly, allowing any given curriculum to be delivered in a variety of ways. Although the curriculum which the primary schools seek to deliver is largely a common one, they use widely differing language to describe it. Such descriptions can validly seek to

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begin by relating what is taught to the development, for example, of values and attitudes or of particular understanding, competence and knowledge. In the light of its consultations, the Government believes that there is wide agreement that the content of the primary curriculum should, in substance, make it possible for the primary phase to:

- place substantial emphasis on achieving competence in the use of language (which, in Wales, may be Welsh as well as English; but which does not normally encompass foreign languages);

- place substantial emphasis on achieving competence in mathematics, in accordance with the recommendations of the Cockcroft Report;

- introduce pupils to science;

- lay the foundation of understanding in religious education, history and geography, and the nature and values of British society;

- introduce pupils to a range of activities in the arts;

- provide opportunities throughout the curriculum for craft and practical work leading up to some experience of design and technology and of solving problems;

- provide moral education, physical education and health education;

- introduce pupils to the nature and use in school and in society of new technology;

- give pupils some insights into the adult world, including how people earn their living.

62. What has been set out above does not fully describe the tasks of primary schools: they have in addition to cope with a range of other needs of pupils, not least those arising from their home circumstances. A primary curriculum on these lines would be both broad and relevant. A reasonable balance between its elements may best be achieved by including what pupils should know, understand and be able to do in each area of learning in the statement of the school's auricular aims, and carefully and regularly monitoring both the substance of what is taught and pupils' progress against that statement. Plainly the content of the curriculum cannot be divorced from the teaching approaches employed. To take one important aspect of these teachers in almost all primary school classes have to teach a broad curriculum to a very wide spread of ability. They need to ensure that the pace of learning is as suited to the brighter children as it is to the average or the less able. The importance of differentiation will become increasingly apparent as pupils get older. Teaching the broad curriculum outlined in paragraph 61, and doing so with the necessary differentiation, places formidable demands on the class teacher which increase with the age of the pupils. Older primary pupils (including those in middle schools) need to benefit from more expertise than a single

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class teacher can reasonably be expected to possess: this has consequences for staffing and the deployment of staff within a school, including the use of teachers as consultants. In the Government's view the education service needs to give further thought to these questions; some aspects of them are considered in Chapter 5.

63. A general acceptance of the objectives set out in paragraph 61 will have two further advantages. Experience has shown that the adoption of appropriately varied teaching strategies and schemes of work which reflect all these objectives enables pupils of all abilities to progress more quickly in achieving each one of them, including those relating to language and mathematics. Furthermore, teachers have a framework for so arranging the elements in the 5-11 curriculum that there is both coherence and progression in what is offered: and there is less risk that teachers will be professionally isolated in their work.

64. These principles should be capable of application in the great majority of primary schools. The main constraints lie in the number of teachers and their collective qualifications and skills, and in the size of the school. The smaller the school. the more serious these constraints are likely to be. These matters are further considered in Chapters 5 and 10.

The transition from the primary to the secondary phase

65. The 5-16 curriculum needs to be constructed and delivered as a continuous and coherent whole, in which the primary phase prepares for the secondary phase, and the latter builds on the former. These requirements are essential whether or not the transition from one phase to the other involves a change of school. In educational terms the transition does not represent a radical departure but merely a step in a progression from teaching mainly or entirely by the class teacher to a situation in which the pupil needs to be taught by many specialist teachers. It is in the pupil's interest that the progression should be gradual, so that he can accommodate to a multiplicity o\' adults to whom he looks for guidance and does not lose sight of the coherence of his programme through the fragmentation of its delivery. In the Government's view, older pupils in the primary phase should begin to be systematically introduced to teaching by members of staff with expertise in an area of the curriculum other than that which the class teacher can offer. Moreover, while it is important in the secondary phase to secure match between the teachers' subject qualifications and experience and the teaching programme, there are advantages in not exposing the youngest secondary pupils immediately to the full range of individual specialist teaching. However this change is phased, curricular continuity and progression arc essential. Their achievement requires much detailed organisation and effort by the LEA and the schools concerned whatever the age of transfer between schools may be.


66. During the secondary phase pupils mature from late childhood through adolescence towards the threshold of adult life. The curriculum for 11-16 year olds needs to reflect that progression in its content and organisation. The

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Government's policies for breadth and balance require that, taking the period as a whole, the curriculum for all pupils, in addition to religious education (subject to the relevant statutory provisions), should contain English (including English literature); mathematics; science; a study of the humanities; aesthetic subjects; practical subjects; physical education; and a foreign language for most pupils. There should be an element of choice in the curriculum for the 4th and 5th years but the choice of options should not allow pupils to undertake a programme that is insufficiently broad or balanced. In schools in Wales, it will also be necessary to make provision for Welsh language teaching and for the acquisition, across the curriculum, of familiarity with the Welsh heritage and culture. Alongside and through these elements, here expressed in terms of subject areas, the 11-16 curriculum should continue the work of the primary phase in developing positive personal qualities and attitudes, consolidating pupils' understanding of the values and foundations of British society, and fostering social and study skills. The ethos of a school and the moral education it provides also play a significant pari in reinforcing attitudes and behaviour. What the schools provide is more than the aggregate of the subjects taught, and it is important that schools and all the teachers in them should see this to be so. An 11-16 curriculum constructed on this basis, and incorporating also the principles of relevance and differentiation, should, in the Government's view, constitute the substance of what pupils are offered during the five compulsory years of the secondary phase.

67. The Government welcomes the wide agreement that during the first three secondary years the curriculum should continue to be largely common to all pupils, but varied in pace and depth to reflect differences in ability and maturity. This principle should not only apply to English (and where appropriate Welsh), mathematics, religious education and physical education. It should also apply in substance, and irrespective of the timetable titles used, to science, where all pupils should study a balanced course throughout the three year period; to the humanities, where both history and geography should be studied by all throughout; to aesthetic subjects, where all pupils should study, over the three years, music, art and drama on a worthwhile scale; and to practical subjects, where all pupils should be introduced to design and work in a range of materials in the subject areas of CDT and home economics. All pupils should be introduced to new technology and how it is affecting people's lives and work. Britain's membership of the European Community, and her place as a trading nation, make it essential that the great majority of pupils should receive a course in a foreign language designed to be of lasting value, and that a second foreign language should be offered from the second or third year to those pupils who can benefit from it. The choice of first or alternative languages should reflect the LEA's policy for foreign languages in its area. These important questions will be considered further in the policy statement which the Government proposes to issue later this year, following consultation on its discussion paper 'Foreign Languages in the School Curriculum'.

68. There is general agreement that difficult questions arise in determining pupils' programmes in the 4th and 5th secondary years. A difficult balance has to be struck between accommodating pupils' special interests and aptitudes and retaining breadth and balance so that no pupil can drop subjects or other

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elements whose continued study may be an essential foundation for subsequent learning, training or work.

69. To achieve this aim the Government believes that every pupil needs to continue in these years with English, mathematics, science* and, save in exceptional circumstances, with physical education or games; should study elements drawn both from the humanities and the arts; and should take part in practical and technological work in a number of subjects, for example in CDT and not least in science. Most pupils should also continue with a foreign language. The place of religious education is governed by statute. If programmes on these lines are to be pursued, it is likely that 80-85 per cent of each pupil's time needs to be devoted to subjects which are compulsory or liable to constrained choices and that only 15-20 per cent of that time can be left for studying subjects which are freely chosen and which supplement the compulsory and constrained part of the programme. Some schools already adopt this approach. The compulsory and constrained elements ensure that each pupil's programme adequately prepares him for employment: they can support vocational aspirations which can then be further supported in the unconstrained elements of the programme. This approach is reflected in the evolving pattern of provision for 14-16 year olds within the TVEI, since the practical and technological aspects within TVEl courses are elements of a kind which should be in every pupil's programme. Free options provide an essential opportunity for enriching the curriculum with elements which appeal only to a minority of pupils, eg a further foreign language, or a particular aspect of the arts or applied subjects; they also make it possible to reinforce the compulsory and constrained part of the curriculum for less able pupils.

70. The need to secure breadth and balance in the limited study time available puts a premium on studies which maximise the opportunities for later learning. It is important that pre-vocational work and work experience designed to help pupils to prepare for employment should be kept broad and available to all pupils; and that courses designed to foster more specific vocational skills, popular though they may be with many pupils, should not displace courses of a more general character. The objective of the TVEI is to avoid these pitfalls in promoting, for the 14-18 age range, a variety of pre- vocational programmes which, during the first two years at least, form part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

71. The new technologies are exciting and challenging and can enrich the learning process in various ways: they will increasingly affect what pupils need to learn. Moreover, throughout the secondary phase room needs to be found for essential curricular elements which need not, or should not, be taught as separate subjects. For example some awareness of economic matters, notably the operation of market forces, the factors governing the creation of private and public wealth, and taxation, is a prerequisite for citizenship and employment; and health and sex education, taught within a moral framework, are a necessary preparation for responsible adulthood; whether they appear under these names in the timetable or are taught in connection with other courses or subjects is best left to the school's discretion. Other examples of such elements

*The nature of the science programme is further developed in 'Science 5-16: A statement of policy'.

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include careers education; personal and social education; moral education; and political education. On the other hand the issue of war and peace, for example, which naturally arises from many aspects of the curriculum, should be treated in the context in which it arises; the Government believes that to assign a special place in the timetable to courses labelled "'peace studies" unbalances the curriculum and oversimplifies the issues involved.

Special educational needs

72. "The purpose of education of all children is the same; the goals are same. But the help that individual children need in progressing towards them will be different."* The purposes and the curricular framework set out above are broadly applicable also to the substantial minority of pupils in ordinary schools who have special educational needs, which require the schools to adapt or augment the programmes for them, or to alter the means and methods by which these programmes are delivered. But (quite apart from the legal requirement that all pupils with special needs who are educated in ordinary school must be educated as far as possible in association with pupils not having such needs) their programme should differ from the hitter's only insofar as their special needs call for adjustment. If they are the subject of a statement under the Education Act 1981, the adjustment will be governed by the statement.

73. Many pupils with statements are educated in special schools or in designated special units or classes in ordinary schools. In October 1984 the Government issued a discussion paper on the organisation and content of the curriculum in special schools (including special units and classes in ordinary schools). That paper considered the application to these schools of the principles set out in 'The Organisation and Content of the 5-16 Curriculum' mentioned in paragraph 59, on the basis that any differences should not fundamentally affect the aims or range of what is offered, but should reflect the need to overcome difficulties of access or to modify the depth of the content.

74. Three broad strands can be identified in the approach to the curriculum in special schools. Pupils who have difficulties of communication, motor skills or personal relationships need help mainly with access, in the broadest sense of the word. New technological devices have dramatically increased the opportunities available to children with physical and sensory handicaps both to communicate with others and to expand their learning. Given adequate support, many of these pupils are able to follow a curriculum very similar to that offered in ordinary schools. The majority of pupils in special schools, however, suffer from some degree of intellectual impairment. They may, according to the extent of their impairment, need a "modified" or a "developmental curriculum. The former should include most of the elements of the ordinary school curriculum but requires a different emphasis and pace. The Government has commissioned research on the curriculum for this group from the University of London Institute of Education. The "developmental" curriculum places the main emphasis on the personal and social development of pupils, generally those with complex learning difficulties, to enable them to take a part in and derive satisfaction from the society in which they live.

'The Warnock Committee's Report: 'Special Educational Needs', paragraph 1.4

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75. The three approaches above bear on such questions as the desirable and minimum sizes for special schools, their age-range, their admissions policy and the relationship with provision in further education. The Government will apply the approaches to its policies for special education after discussion with those concerned.

The organisation and content of the curriculum: the next steps

76. The objectives set out above make it necessary to alter practices in many schools. The Government shares the view of many in the education service and outside it that more emphasis needs to be given to science and technology: to practical application of knowledge and to practical skills throughout the curriculum; and to helping pupils to understand, and to develop positive attitudes towards, the demands which industrial and technological changes will increasingly make on all aspects of adult life, notably employment.

77. In the Government's view, more consideration needs to be given to the balance of the various necessary elements within the curriculum, particularly for the 4th and 5th secondary years, in the light of the contribution which each element makes to the pupils' total education. The Secretaries of State will continue to pursue these matters with their partners in the education service. In the light of those discussions the Government proposes to offer a further statement on the organisation and content of the 5-16 curriculum in due course.


78. The Government believes that homework policies should be formulated at the level of the LEA and the school, rather than the national level. Homework is an important element of independent study and is not necessarily done at home. Appropriately set and marked, homework valuably reinforces work in the classroom. Yet the available evidence suggests that few LEAs at present have formulated explicit policies for homework and the homework policies of most schools are not fully worked out. The Government recognises that effective homework policies make calls on resources. It also recognises that homework is not an end in itself, and that children have a life outside school which to a greater or lesser extent also contributes to their education. But it believes that, within the constraints set by the resources available, every LEA and school should establish a policy for homework to form part of its curricular policy and to serve that policy's objectives in relation to the whole curriculum and to its elements. Homework policies should relate to such matters as the amount, range and character of what should be expected in the primary and secondary phases at various ages and ability levels, the conditions which make for the effective use of homework, and the problems faced by pupils whose home environment may make study at home difficult. These matters will shortly be the subject of consultation with the education service, HMI will survey and in due course publish a report on practice in schools in relation to homework.

School libraries

79. The Government believes that the function and use of libraries and media resources in support of work in the school is another essential feature of

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the curricular policy of every LEA and school. Books and other sources of information have been vulnerable to pressure on resources. But there is much evidence, some of it assembled in a recently published report* by the Library and Information Services Council, that the quality of school work can be improved where LEAs and schools succeed in making available to both primary and secondary pupils an adequate stock of books and other means of information (including new technology) through the school library, assisted by the authority's public library service. By including library services in its curricular policy, the school is better placed to ensure that the library is fully used to extend the range and depth of learning throughout the school.

(iv) Levels of attainment

80. The fourth strand in the definition of objectives relates to levels of attainment. It is the Government's longer-term aim to raise pupil performance at all levels of ability so as to bring 80-90 per cent of all 16 year old pupils at least to the level of attainment now expected and achieved by pupils of average ability in individual subjects, ie the level associated with grade 4 in the CSE examination; and to do so over a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills in a number of subjects. A necessary step is to define more precisely what is meant by the desired level of attainment at age 16 for pupils of differing abilities. A much clearer and more precise definition than exists at present will be available when the new GCSE examinations are established, as Chapter 3 explains. These examinations will provide a point of reference for attainment at age 16, but only in relation to the knowledge, understanding, skills and competence which the examination courses are designed lo develop. Attainment targets are needed also in relation to matters not tested by the GCSE and, in relation to all aspects of the curriculum, for the end of the primary phase.

81. A more precise definition, based on the Government's longer-term aim, of what pupils of different abilities should understand, know and be able to do, will assist with the formulation of the curricular policies of the Secretaries of State, the LEA, and the school; will help all concerned to assess the effectiveness of policies and practice: will encourage teachers to have high expectations of pupils (and so help to bring about their realisation); and will help to motivate the pupils. It will be no short or easy task to move towards a more precise definition of attainment targets. These cannot be simply expressed if they are to apply to the whole ability range of pupils; and the type of definition and the degree of its precision are bound to vary between elements of the curriculum. A start on the necessary work is being made in the HMI publications described in paragraph 32 and, for age 16, in the development of grade criteria for the GCSE. The work will be supported by the findings now in course of publication from the surveys conducted by the Assessment of Performance Unit (APU) of pupil performance in English, mathematics and science at age 11 and 15 (and, for science, also at age 13), and by an account which MM I will publish during the year of good work done by primary pupils in a number of areas of learning. This information will show schools and others what pupils at all levels of ability can actually achieve and will therefore throw light on what they might be expected to achieve as policy and practice develop.

*'School Libraries: the Foundations of the Curriculum'.

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82. Judging whether curricular aims and objectives are being achieved, whether nationally, locally or by the individual school or pupil, requires the effective assessment and monitoring of each pupil's performance. But that assessment serves other purposes as well. As Chapter 5 explains, it is part of the teacher's delivery of the curriculum. It enables the teacher to help pupils progress faster by identifying not only what they find easy and hard but also the opportunities which they need to develop particular personal qualities, attitudes and skills; by adapting accordingly both what is taught and how it is taught: and by discussing the way forward with the pupil and his parents throughout the primary and secondary phase, and not least when option choices come to be made during the latter. Assessment of each pupil's performance is a complex professional task, in which a wide range of evidence has to be taken into account. The findings of the APU surveys of the pupil population as a whole provide much information about the obstacles to good performance which individual pupils face in the subject areas surveyed. This information has great professional value for classroom practice and is being made available to teachers through a series of booklets dealing with specific aspects of learning.

83. The teacher's assessment of pupil performance is also the basis of a school's evaluation of its own performance. It enables teachers individually and collectively to judge the success of their professional decisions about what to teach and how to teach it, and to review, and as necessary revise, these decisions.

84. In addition, assessment and monitoring of pupil performance is important for the formal and informal acknowledgment of what pupils achieve. Examples of formal acknowledgement are the results of public examinations, to which teacher assessment of course work contributes substantially, and the proposed records of achievement for all school-leavers, which are discussed in Chapter 3.


85. The school curriculum is not static. It is constantly being developed as teachers individually and collectively reappraise what they teach and adapt the existing or the new tools of their trade in response lo changes in the needs of their pupils, the state of knowledge, ideas and attitudes in society, and their perceptions of these matters. Curriculum development is a professional activity, consciously and deliberately carried out by teachers and others. It is stimulated and supported by such bodies as the associations of subject teachers; by in-service training work conducted by HMI, LEA advisers and the teacher training institutions, and in teachers' centres; and by some independent bodies.

86. But it is not enough to rely on all these means to ensure that curriculum development is carried out to the necessary extent in all the areas where it is needed. The Government has accordingly acted, jointly with the local authority associations, to establish and fund the School Curriculum Development Committee, with the remit to review and evaluate the curriculum development work being undertaken by others against the likely future needs of schools, to identify what further such work is needed, to undertake it or

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assist others to undertake it within the Funds at its disposal, and to disseminate the results of curriculum development work undertaken by itself and others. The Committee's function is not to advise the Government on matters of curriculum policy; it has, rather, an important role in securing on the ground the changes which will need to follow from the establishment of curricular policies, both central and local.

87. The Government is also making specific contributions to the improvement of certain aspects of the curriculum within the schools. It is supporting, through education support grants, several activities designed to implement its policies: the teaching of mathematics in schools; science teaching as part of primary education; and pilot projects to improve the quality of education in urban primary schools and the quality or range of the curriculum in rural primary schools. The schemes promoted by the TVEI (see paragraph 50) are making an important contribution to developing the curriculum for the 14-18 age group. The Microelectronics Education Programme and the Lower Attaining Pupils' programme (paragraph 45 (3) and (4)) are also designed to lead to developments in the curriculum. As noted in paragraph 82, the findings of the APU are now being published in a form designed particularly to help the work of classroom teachers, as are the findings of a research project at Leeds University, funded by the Government, on children's learning in science.


88. The policies described in this Chapter are intended to lead towards a framework within which LEAs, schools and teachers will be able to act more effectively to improve their pupils' education. That framework is as yet incomplete: much remains to be done, at all levels within the education service, before the shared aim of broad agreement about the objectives of the school curriculum can be realised. HMI will be publishing discussion papers on the curriculum and its elements (paragraph 32). Among the immediate tasks which fall to the Government are:

(1) the publication of an account of LEAs' responses to Circular 8/83 (paragraph 40);
(2) consultations on statements of national policy on individual subjects (paragraph 32);
(3) the publication, after consultation, of a further statement in relation to the organisation and content of the 5-16 curriculum (paragraph 77).
89. This Chapter has considered the curriculum during the years of compulsory education. Effective curricular policies at every level need to be consistent with the education offered before and after that period. The former is discussed in Chapter 4. As for the latter, young people may continue their education either in school or, full-time or part-time, in further education. The form taken by such education, whether at school or college, is bound up closely with the system of public examinations, the subject of the next Chapter.

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90. For most pupils, the period of compulsory education culminates in assessment through public examinations. The Government believes that this should continue to be so. Examination results are one important means of assessing achievement; examinations, properly designed, are a stimulus to good performance, and parents and employers, as well as many pupils, rightly value them.

91. Examinations exert a strong influence on the secondary school curriculum, and they need to be designed and used in the service of the curriculum. The Government's aim is to achieve broad agreement on objectives for the curriculum, and to secure the provision of examinations which reflect that agreement and which in turn make their own contribution to improving the quality of education. Such examination courses are an important preparation for employment.

92. The examinations at 16+ provide the benchmark for the aim, referred to in paragraph 80, of bringing 80-90 per cent of all pupils up to and beyond the standard of performance now associated with the average, across a range of subjects. Reform of these examinations, as described below, will enable them to serve as such a benchmark in an effective way.

93. The Government believes that the examinations taken at school should serve the following specific objectives:

(1) to raise standards across the whole ability range;
(2) to support improvements in the curriculum and in the way in which it is taught;
(3) to provide clear aims for teachers and pupils, to the benefit of both and of higher education and employers;
(4) to record proven achievement;
(5) to promote the measurement of achievement based on what candidates know, understand and can do;
(6) to broaden the studies of pupils in the 4th and 5th secondary years and of 6th form students.
94. The Secretaries of State have established an independent body, the Secondary Examinations Council (SEC), to supervise the operation of examinations taken by pupils during the years of compulsory schooling and at 18+ and to advise the Government on the ways in which the national system of secondary examinations may best meet the needs of the education service and its clients. Since it was set up in 1983 the SEC has made a substantial contribution to the development of examinations. It will have an important part to play in the coming years.

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95. The Government has taken action in regard to several aspects of secondary examinations and assessment. The following paragraphs describe these actions and the reasons for them.


96. The present system of examinations designed to be taken at age 16+ - the GCE O level, the CSE and the more recently introduced joint 16+ examinations - is in need of reform. There are 20 separate examinations boards each awarding its own certificate, many hundreds of subject titles, and nearly 19,000 syllabuses; many of the apparent similarities between syllabuses mask real differences and many of the apparent differences are unreal. The existing examinations serve largely to place candidates in rank order and there is no clarity about levels of attainment in more absolute terms. The O level and CSE grades overlap, and this is unfair to able candidates who obtain a CSE grade 1. which often carries less esteem than the corresponding O level grades. For all these reasons the users of the examinations system, particularly parents and employers, can have no clear understanding of the significance of O level or CSE certificates. Moreover, the examinations often test mainly the capacity for the orderly recall of facts and give insufficient weight to such things as the ability to reason, or to solve problems, or to oral and practical skills; the targets which teachers and pupils set themselves are accordingly less useful than they should be.

97. In order to remedy these weaknesses, and to meet the aims described in paragraphs 92 and 93, the Government announced in June 1984 its decision to establish the General Certificate of Secondary Education with a seven point scale of grades, A-G, which will replace O levels, CSE and the joint 16+ examinations. All the GCE and CSE Boards have, with some reservations on particular aspects, accepted the Government's proposals. The first GCSE examinations will be held in 1988. The main features of the GCSE will be:

(1) a single system with differentiated assessment: it will be more equitable, and will permit candidates at each level of ability to show what they know, understand and can do on the basis of suitably differentiated papers, or differentiated questions within papers, in all subjects;

(2) national criteria: these are nationally agreed guidelines with which all GCSE syllabuses and examinations will comply. They have been developed by the examinations boards themselves and approved by the Secretaries of State on the advice of the Secondary Examinations Council. National criteria are needed in order to ensure that syllabuses in given subjects have sufficient content in common, that the assessment is conducted according to common principles, and that pupils, parents and other users of examinations will be better informed and have a clearer understanding of what a given GCSE certificate attests. The criteria provide for syllabuses and examinations to be free of political, ethnic, gender and other forms of bias, and to take account of the linguistic and cultural diversity of candidates. By comparison with existing examinations, the national criteria place a new emphasis on oral and practical skills and course-work, on reasoning and on the application, as well as the acquisition, of knowledge and understanding. The Secretaries of

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State have approved the first edition of the national criteria, the texts of which are agreed between the boards, the Secondary Examinations Council and the Education Departments. The criteria were published in March 1985. It will be for the Secondary Examinations Council, in consultation with the examining groups, to advise on revisions to the national criteria;

(3) criteria-related grades: the grading system needs to be more objective than it is at present. Grade criteria are accordingly being developed as an extension of the national criteria: they will define the main aspects of each subject which the examinations will be designed to test and the levels of attainment expected of candidates in each aspect for the award of particular grades. Once the grade criteria are developed, the award of grades will depend on candidates" ability to demonstrate defined levels of skill, knowledge and understanding. The Secondary Examinations Council has set up working parties to draft grade criteria for 10 subjects in the first instance: English, mathematics, French, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, CDT and Welsh. These subjects account between them for over two-thirds of total subject entries in the existing 16+ examinations. The Council will report progress, and consult on the draft criteria, in summer 1985, In autumn 1985 it will begin work on a second batch of subjects. The aim is to devise grade criteria in due course for all subjects commonly examined at this level;

(4) target group: the existing examinations at 16+ were originally designed for the top 60 per cent of the ability range by subject: about 90 per cent of school leavers now obtain a graded result - at whatever level - in at least one subject. This is the base from which the Government wishes to see progress towards the aim referred to in paragraph 80. The target group for the GCSE will not be limited to any pre-ordained percentage of candidates. The GCSE will be designed for all candidates, whatever their abilities relative to other candidates, who are able to reach the standards required for the award of particular grades;

(5) administration: the GCSE will be administered by 5 groups of boards, 4 in England and 1 in Wales, instead of 20 independent boards as at present. Within the groups, the GCE Boards will have special responsibility for confirming the standards of grades A to C, and the CSE Boards a similar responsibility for grades D to G;

(6) Distinction and Merit Certificates: the Government wishes to encourage the ablest pupils, no less than others, to pursue a broad and balanced curriculum. The Secretaries of State have accordingly published for consultation proposals for the introduction of Distinction and Merit Certificates to reward candidates obtaining good grades in a specified range of subjects. The Government will announce its conclusions in the ight of the consultations;

(7) in-service training of teachers: a special programme of training is being mounted to help all the teachers concerned to prepare for the introduction of the GCSE. The programme will focus particularly on assessment

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techniques and the setting and assessment of course-work. For this purpose the Government and the local authority associations have agreed that, subject to the approval of Parliament, the training provided by the examining groups within the programme should be supported by the in-service teacher training grants scheme, and the Government will also increase its grant to the Secondary Examinations Council.
98. The arrangements for the GCSE are designed to secure, far better than at present, that candidates are tested on what they know, and can do and understand, rather than on what they do not know and cannot do or understand; that what is tested relates to worthwhile achievements; that success or failure depends on the candidate's own performance, tested against defined standards and irrespective of the performance of others: and that similar performance will be similarly recognised and rewarded. The Government is confident that the arrangements will improve both teaching and examining in schools and colleges. They will promote a much needed increase in those practical and other skills which will be demanded by the future pattern of employment. They will also improve the motivation of many pupils following examination courses, particularly those who at present may expect only modest results in GCE or CSE examinations: courses offered under the GCSE will be designed to present appropriate challenges to candidates at each level of ability.

Pre-vocational courses pre-16

99. Some schools prepare pupils for pre-vocational examinations other than O level and CSE (eg those of the City and Guilds of London Institute, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Business and Technician Education Council) during the years of compulsory schooling. Such courses will continue to be available to complement GCSE examinations as well, in the service of a curriculum which is broad, balanced, relevant, and differentiated in accordance with pupils' abilities. The Government is setting up a working party, under an independent chairman, with representatives of all the examining and validating bodies concerned, and serviced by the Secondary Examinations Council, to draft national criteria for pre-vocational and vocationally oriented examination courses taken by pupils of statutory school age. The working party will also consider progression from such courses to post-16 courses which lead to vocational qualifications.

Graded assessments

100. Graded assessments are designed to test and usually to certificate attainment at certain points in a course. Some interesting work is being carried out by LEAs and examinations boards in developing such assessments. A large number of pupils arc now involved in schemes of foreign language testing on the basis of graded objectives: an account of the strengths and weaknesses of some of this work was presented in 1983 in a report by HMI*. Graded assessments have a valuable potential for motivating pupils and in evaluating progress towards relatively modest short-term objectives, but they carry risks

*'A Survey of the Use of Graded Tests of Defined Objectives and their Effect on the Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages in the County of Oxfordshire'. Reports on developments in other LEAs are to be published shortly.

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fragmentation and inflexibility in the curriculum and in teaching and learning. The Government welcomes the exploratory work which is now going on. Judgement must be reserved on the value of graded assessments in particular subjects and their possible application across the whole curriculum: more development work needs to be done and evaluated. For the great majority of pupils. graded assessments should not be alternatives to the GCSE but should be designed to help on their way pupils who are expecting to take these examinations. For some pupils, however, graded assessments will enable credit to be given for work which is not carried forward to the level of the GCSE. The Government is funding two feasibility studies on the development of graded tests for lower-attaining pupils in mathematics, following a recommendation of the Cockcroft Committee. The Secondary Examinations Council will monitor developments in this area, and the Secretaries of State have asked the Council to be associated with the evaluation of this component of the Government- funded pilot projects on records of achievement (see paragraph 119).

A levels

101. The Government is committed to the retention of A levels (including Special papers): they set standards of excellence which need to be preserved; they have an educational value in their own right; they provide the foundation for degree courses; and they play an important role in selection for higher education.

102. The Government is aware of concern about the nature of the grading system, including the definition of grade boundaries, and about the content of A level examinations. A working party of the Secondary Examinations Council is studying the A level grading system and has issued proposals for consultation. The GCE Boards and the Standing Conference on University Entrance have developed cores for the content of 11 of the most popular subjects. All these initiatives are a useful start, which can provide, as time and resources permit, the basis for re-appraising A level syllabuses and the assessment of performance in the A level examinations.

Advanced Supplementary (AS) levels

103. The principles of breadth and balance apply also to those on A level courses. The present arrangements for examinations at 18+ and for admission to higher education encourage students to pursue good grades in a limited range of A level subjects, to the exclusion of other subjects whose study would be valuable for adult life and employment. The Government has decided to take action to promote greater breadth for those engaged in A level studies, without reducing standards.

104. In a consultative paper published in May 1984 the Secretaries of State set the objective of broadening the curriculum for A level students without diluting academic standards, and proposed the introduction of new examination courses to that end - Advanced Supplementary or AS levels - which students would be able to take alongside A level courses and which would require about half the amount of teaching time of an A level course. The Secretaries of State suggested that the new qualification, and its adoption by

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the universities and other institutions of higher education as an important element in admission processes, would enable A level students to study additional subjects which would contrast with or complement their A level studies without diminishing their chances of admission to the higher education institution of their choice. The Secretaries of State expressed the hope that those not taking A level courses full-time, including mature students, would also benefit from the new qualification.

105. The response to these proposals indicated very strong support among the universities for the introduction of AS level courses, together with a willingness to give full recognition to the new qualification in admission processes. Employers' organisations too gave firm support for the proposal. The rest of higher education and the examinations boards mostly indicated support in principle as well. Many respondents emphasised their concern about the need to devise appropriate syllabuses. In schools and colleges, opinion was divided: some of the teachers' organisations expressed serious concern about the design of syllabuses, the possible extra pressures on A level students, and the difficulties of accommodating AS level courses within available resources.

106. In view of the support shown for the proposals, notably by higher education, the Government has decided that AS level courses should be introduced on the lines proposed with adjustments to take account of its consultations. The Secretaries of State will invite the GCE Hoards to prepare syllabuses in co-operation with the Secondary Examinations Council, higher education and others concerned, so that the first AS level examinations may be held in 1989, a year later than was proposed. The extra year will allow more time for the preparation of syllabuses and consultation on them. It will also separate by one year the introduction of AS levels and the GCSE.

107. In the Government's view, the following principles should inform the design of AS level syllabuses:

( 1) the syllabuses should be intellectually demanding and coherent, with an emphasis on practical applications as appropriate;

(2) they should be designed to require about 21½ hours of teaching per week over two years and about half the study time of an A level course;

(3) they should be related where possible to suitable A level syllabuses, and in particular to core syllabuses where they exist, to the extent that the principles in (1) and (2) permit.

108. It is essential that higher education should have confidence in the rigour, coverage and standards of AS level courses, and that the general quality of work demanded for the award of any grade is comparable with that of A level courses, so that full credit may be given for AS level success in all aspects of the admission processes.The grading of A level and AS level examinations will accordingly need to be closely linked.

109. The Government does not envisage that there should be any compulsion on A level students to take AS level courses. The representatives of higher

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education have stated that there can be no question of prejudicing the entry opportunities of candidates from schools which can provide few or no AS level courses by giving a general preference to candidates with AS level successes, and the Government endorses that approach. The representatives of higher education have however also stated that, subject to any specific requirements set by individual departments, institutions will in general regard both traditional combinations of A level subjects and broader combinations of A and AS level subjects as being wholly acceptable as a preparation for higher education. They have also made it clear that, while some departments may continue to require three specified A level subjects, many see advantage in a broader spread of subjects. The normal minimum requirement for entry to degree courses will continue to include two A levels (and, for HND and equivalent, one A level).

110. The Secretaries of State are confident that the majority of schools and colleges which offer A level courses on a substantial scale will be able to accommodate at least some AS level courses. Schools with large sixth forms, sixth form colleges and tertiary colleges will be relatively well placed to introduce a range of AS level courses at an early stage. The Secretaries of State recognise that schools with smaller sixth forms will find it more difficult to accommodate AS level courses. If however such schools were to offer only a few courses at AS level, even as few as two, that would in itself valuably extend the range of options open to their students.

111. The higher education bodies have made clear that they attach particular importance to the early development of AS level syllabuses in mathematics with practical applications, design and technology, English and modern languages. Many schools and colleges have emphasised the potential value of an AS level course in general studies. The Government hopes that the GCE Boards will be able to offer syllabuses in all these areas, and in others as well, from the outset, and that syllabuses will be developed over time in all subjects where there is sufficient demand. The Secretaries of State believe that the development of a range of courses at AS level, by widening the choice of subject combinations available to A level students, will help to prepare them better for adult life and for employment.

Certificate of Pre-Vocational Education

112. The Government has promoted the establishment of a new qualification, the Certificate of Pre-Vocational Education (CPVE), for those young people who stay on full-time in either schools or colleges for one year after the compulsory period and who are not pursuing CSE or O level (or in due course GCSE) qualifications with a reasonable hope of success, and do not have a clear vocational aim in view. The CPVE is administered by a Joint Board of the two principal examining and validating bodies for pre-vocational education - the City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) and the Business and Technician Education Council (BTEC) - on which the other main examining bodies, in schools as well as in further education, together with employers and LEAs. are represented; it is intended to replace a range of existing courses including

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the pre-vocational courses of the CGLI, BTEC and the Royal Society of Arts, and the Certificate of Extended Education offered by most CSE and GCE Boards.

113. CPVE courses will have a strong element of general education, offered in practical contexts, as well as a progressively sharpening vocational focus. Students will be expected to make progress in various "core" areas (including communications, numeracy, science, information technology, knowledge about industrial society, and personal and creative development) and to explore one or more of five broad vocational areas. Structured work experience will be an important element in each course. The main examining and validating bodies offering more specific vocational courses have signified their intention to recognise the CPVE for the purpose of progression in these courses; and the CPVE should become a qualification widely valued by employers.

114. For the most part CPVE courses will involve not the teaching of separate subjects but the development of skills, knowledge and attributes across the areas covered by each course. Assessment will be by the teachers on the basis of nationally established "levels of achievement", and there will be no overall pass/fail. The CPVE will enable all students, particularly those with a limited record of success in the GCSE examinations, to demonstrate what they can learn and achieve in a situation related as directly as possible to adult working life. In view of its novel character, the success of the CPVE requires important changes in most schools' and teachers' methods of working. The Government, through the Further Education Unit, has financed a substantial staff development programme for school as well as college staff; and the in-service teacher training grants scheme (see paragraph 174) is facilitating the release of teachers to courses of training for the CPVE as well as for other pre-vocational teaching.

115. Work is in progress to ensure that the CPVE, as it develops, relates coherently to the pre-16 pre-vocational courses referred to in paragraph 99, and to the Youth Training Scheme.

Records of achievement

116. Many important educational attainments are not reflected in examination results. The Government believes that young people should be given credit for what they have achieved during their time at school across their whole programme and should be provided, on leaving school, with a short summary document which recognises their achievements. It has therefore set the policy objective of establishing by the end of the decade arrangements under which all pupils leaving school will be provided with a record of achievement.

117. If the full potential of a system of records of achievement is to be realised, schools will need to establish internal arrangements for recording information about a pupil's progress and achievements during his period of secondary education. The final summary will draw on this. There will also need

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to be regular discussions between teacher and pupil to assist the pupil's development and progress by motivating and encouraging him. and making him more aware of his strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. The process of recording and discussion has, in addition, important consequences for the pupil's programme: the school has to think more systematically than is at present the general practice about the pupil's curricular needs; and the teachers need to give the pupil opportunities to demonstrate those qualities on which the record is intended to throw light.

118. The Government acknowledges that the record of achievement, to be valued by pupils, will need to be accepted and recognised by employers and other users. A particular problem will be in recording personal achievements and qualities in a way which is not open to the criticism of subjectivity. The Government considers that this problem will best be met by basing such assessments on concrete examples of what a pupil has achieved and experienced, from which personal qualities and skills may be inferred.

119. While a substantial minority of schools and LEAs, including the schools involved in every TVEI project, are developing records of achievement, sometimes under the heading of "pupil profiles", it is widely accepted that more practical experience is needed, on a pilot basis, before records of achievement can be introduced nationally. The Government is therefore providing financial support, through education support grants, for nine pilot schemes (including one in Wales). A national Steering Committee will oversee the monitoring and evaluation of these schemes.

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120. Children learn more in their highly formative years under the age of five than at any other time. They learn initially, and mainly, from their families. Parents have the prime role in introducing children to language and social behaviour, and in helping them to learn from experience. Parents lay the foundations of a process which both they and the schools develop, and, while they do so, other agencies, such as mother and toddler groups and pre-school playgroups, seek to reinforce their efforts. This Chapter considers the function of schools before the start of the compulsory period of education, and relates that function to the part played by parents and other agencies.

121. Children reach compulsory school age at the start of the term after they become five. Below that age, except in the case of children with statements under the Education Act 1981, it is for LEAs' discretion whether to make provision and what form that provision might take, and for parents to decide whether to send their children to school. The type of provision made in school for the under fives varies from area to area but overall some 80 per cent of children are estimated to be at school before they are five. Excluding "rising fives" (ie those within one term of their fifth birthday), about 43 per cent (71 per cent in Wales) of the three and four year old age group, taken together, attend maintained nursery or primary schools. 22 per cent attend nursery schools or nursery classes in primary schools, while 21 per cent attend the youngest classes of the primary school. Most commonly nursery provision is part-time, while primary school provision is more often full-time.

122. Nearly all children stand to benefit from some attendance at school before reaching the compulsory age provided that what the school offers is appropriate to their age and stage of development. For many children under five, appropriate provision develops cognitive skills (especially through language) and social skills, and so facilitates progress in the early years of compulsory schooling. For some children nursery education is particularly beneficial; for example, for those with physical or emotional problems or other learning difficulties, or from socially or economically deprived backgrounds. Where children come from homes where little or no English is spoken, too, nursery education can be valuable in itself and enable the children to derive more benefit from the early years of the compulsory period, particularly when it provides a planned programme to help them learn English.

123. The education of young children is founded in play. It is through play that the nursery teacher, with the necessary ancillary support and resources provides the basis for the main primary phase by incorporating the areas of learning, including personal and social development, outlined in paragraphs 61-62.

124. Many children, before they begin school, attend a pre-school playgroup. About one-third of three and four year olds do so, attending typically two or three morning or afternoon sessions a week. There is great variety in the purpose, scope and quality of playgroups. Their success in

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developing cognitive and social skills is heavily dependent on the personal qualities and experience of those who run them and on the commitment and involvement of parents. The best playgroups do much for the under fives and their parents.

125. An increasing number of under fives are in the infant classes of primary schools (21 per cent of 3 and 4 year olds excluding "rising fives"). It has long been accepted that it may be educationally appropriate for children to be admitted to the reception class of a primary school when they are rising five. Encouraged by parental demand LEAs have increased their provision for under fives by utilising surplus space in primary schools which becomes avail- able when the school population is falling. This can be a cost-effective use of resources when the accommodation cannot otherwise easily be taken out of use. But it is important that there is sufficient regard for the maturity and readiness of the children and that teaching, ancillary staff, accommodation and resources are appropriate to the age group. Relatively little adjustment is needed where it is only rising fives who are to be admitted for the first time. But more changes are needed in approach and provision where admission is extended to younger children. Whether in a nursery or infant class, these need, for example, direct access to outdoor and grassed areas and an adequate number of teaching and other staff with the appropriate skills.

126. In small schools children who are barely four are sometimes admitted to a class of five year olds and in very small schools to a class with children aged up to seven. It is unrealistic to expect a teacher simultaneously to provide an appropriate education for younger four year olds and for children of compulsory school age. Very young children can be introduced too early to the more formal language and number skills and they miss the essential exploratory and practical work through which a good nursery programme forms a sound basis for later learning. Some four year old children are now moved up too early from nursery class or school, and suffer similar disadvantages.

127. Where a parent is at home or can arrange care for other parts of the day, part-time attendance is a valuable way of achieving the transition from home to school, or from nursery education to infant classes. It is also an economic use of resources, for more children can benefit from a given number of staff, and more flexible patterns of teaching and grouping can often be used.

128. The Government recognises that LEAs face considerable problems of priority in determining the type and distribution of provision for under fives. Authorities have rightly tried to give preference to those children who stand to benefit most or who most need help. The Government has recognised this in the additional support it has given to nursery education for children in inner cities under the Urban Aid Programme and for ethnic minority children through funds made available by the Home Office under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966, as well as through the distribution of rate support grant.

129. The DES and the Welsh Office provide grants to the Pre-school Playgroups Association (PPA) (and the Welsh Office also supports similar

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work for Welsh-speaking children) to support a team of national advisers who run courses for training parents and playgroup leaders. The DHSS contributes very substantially to the PPA's headquarters and regional costs. Many local authorities also give support through both their education and their social services departments to local voluntary playgroups (eg those run by national charities as well as those in membership with the PPA) and to mother and toddler groups - and link these with toy libraries, day nurseries and registered childminders in a comprehensive network of facilities for the under fives in their areas. The Government has encouraged the education and the social services departments of local authorities to develop co-ordination between the provision of education and care for under fives. Nursery teachers are working in some day nurseries, and centres (under various names) which combine day care and nursery education have been introduced by a number of authorities. Some have involved adult and community education facilities, youth employment schemes and parent counselling. In these ways the capacity for parents to be closely engaged in what is provided for their children can be reinforced and under-five provision can be of wider benefit to the community.

130. In view of the benefits of education for the under fives, and parental demand for its provision, the Government will make it its aim that its plans for LEAs' expenditure should allow provision attributable to under fives to continue in real terms* within broadly the same totals as today. On this basis, in full-time equivalent terms, the number of children participating can remain broadly constant; there can be considerable flexibility in adjusting the ratio of full-time to part-time participation; and it would be possible for the quality and cost-effectiveness of the provision to be improved as authorities are able to make progress in adapting provision more suitable for older children to the needs of the younger age group.

*Cash figures adjusted for general inflation as measured by the GDP deflator.

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131. To a large extent, the tasks that the schools are expected to undertake fall to the teachers: and the progress of the pupils is the measure of their success. 'Teaching Quality' (Cmnd 8836) recognised this and outlined policies for enhancing the professional effectiveness of teachers. This chapter discusses in more detail the teacher's professional role, and in the interest of strengthening that role develops the policies set out in 'Teaching Quality' for the size, deployment, training and management of the teacher force.

Teaching approaches

132. The teacher's job has always been a demanding one. The policies for the curriculum and examinations set out in the foregoing Chapters present the schools with a difficult and challenging task which will require the full use of teachers' intellectual, physical and emotional resources. The work can rarely. perhaps never, be accomplished as well as its performer and others would wish. The teacher's professionalism represents his constant attempt to achieve that ideal.

133. If pupils are to acquire knowledge, skills and understanding appropriate to their ages, abilities and aptitudes, across a broad, balanced, differentiated and relevant curriculum, the teacher must make available the information and the learning experiences needed. The professional work of the teacher includes the provision of information and the management of learning experiences: it also includes deciding how pupils should be grouped, the choice of teaching approaches and methods, and the choice of books, teaching materials and equipment. This work extends to decisions about the advantages to be gained from introducing the applications of new technology across the curriculum, and from the involvement of people from outside the school - parents and employers, for example - in the educational process. These things may be seen as the means through which the curriculum is delivered: taken together, and combined with the attitudes and capabilities of the teacher, they also exercise a powerful influence on the curriculum.

134. Every teacher needs a repertoire of teaching styles. At times, for example, every teacher properly adopts the traditional expert authority role, providing information, explanation and opinion. At other times teachers need to guide learning less formally, promoting individual and group inquiry, and sharing discovery with the pupils. Teaching styles have to be varied sensitively to match the nature of the work in hand and the characteristics of the pupils as well as their stage of development.

135. The teacher's role as guide and mentor to each individual pupil is even more complex. It requires both careful monitoring and recording of pupils' progress, and an understanding of individual capacities and difficulties. The emphasis given to these complementary facets of the teacher's work will differ between the primary and secondary phases. Both are always present in good teaching and tutorial work, though the balance between them will vary given

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the range of relationships and teaching and tutorial arrangements that exist in any primary or secondary school and the characteristics of individual pupils. Leading, encouraging and motivating pupils in a way which excites their interest and engages intellectual curiosity is at the heart of good teaching.

136. One aim of education is the development of good powers of oral and written communication. In the day-by-day formal and informal work of the school opportunities should be deliberately provided for the use of the spoken word in a variety of ways so that pupils may become confident listeners and talkers. There is usually no shortage of practice in written modes such as copying, doing exercises, making notes and summaries, but too much emphasis on these easily organised forms of work is likely to hinder the development of skills in practically useful and creative forms of written and oral communication. Cultivating communication and independent learning means that pupils must be put into situations where they can explore lines of thought, set up hypotheses and develop reasoning powers. Questioning demands a range of techniques ranging from the closed question that calls for a single precise answer to the open-ended question which encourages different avenues of thought and speculation. Pupils should be encouraged to form opinions supported by evidence, to defend those opinions by logical argument and careful expression, and to recognise that in many situations more than one opinion can reasonably be held. An ability to establish and guide classroom relationships which permit and encourage such developments is an important part of the teacher's repertoire.

137. The practical dimension within the curriculum also makes demands on teaching methods. It requires not only the use of physical skills and movement as in physical education, drama and dance and an emphasis on doing and making as in the creative and performing arts, home economics and CDT; it also means providing practical activity as a secure foundation for understanding in subjects such as mathematics, science and history. The principle of relevance means that teachers should be skilful in drawing on pupils' experience and helping them to apply what is learnt to life outside school, so preparing them more effectively for working life. Thus the social and economic implications of scientific and technological activity have a place in the teaching of science, as do aesthetic and economic issues in the teaching of CDT, art and design and home economics. Teachers who have themselves had experience of employment outside education will also be able to draw on that experience of Across much of the primary and secondary curriculum, teaching needs to include attention to such practical and intellectual skills as observing, experimenting and testing hypotheses, designing and planning often with aesthetic and economic considerations in mind, and evaluation. The TVEI and the Lower Attaining Pupils' programme explore these matters in some depth.

138. The teacher is the organiser of classroom activity. The teacher sets detailed learning objectives, plans the effective use of time, ensures classroom safety, and arranges the availability of materials, but the teacher is also the organiser in a broader sense in constructing the situations in which pupils learn. which have to be appropriate to both the learning objectives and the pupils. The experiences offered in the context of a broad, balanced, differentiated and

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relevant curriculum will vary according to age. ability and aptitude. The curriculum has therefore to be mediated in a variety of ways. Increasingly, this will involve an understanding of the uses of new technology in the learning process. For some purposes a whole class, or even a whole year group, may work together. Practical work may need to be carried out in small groups within a class, and pupils needing special help with learning problems may need to be taught individually or in small groups sharing similar problems. Classes spanning a wide range of ability or age call for careful adaptation of teaching style, and they make heavy demands on teachers' skills in the selection of material and classroom management. Organising classes in bands or sets so that they contain pupils of broadly similar ability or aptitude is often a helpful way of alleviating the learning and teaching problems posed by a wide range of pupils, although small schools may find such a form of organisation difficult. grouping pupils by ability is however rarely sufficient in itself as a means of mediating the curriculum to individual pupils according to their strengths and weaknesses. In all types of grouping, the most effective form of differentiation to help individuals' learning lies in the teacher's use of different kinds of language with different pupils; in varying the pace of introducing new materials: and in carefully judged consolidation and revision.

139. Curricular objectives include qualities and competences to be fostered, for example the ability to work co-operatively, to persevere, to show enterprise and to accept responsibility. Such objectives require teaching and working methods which give opportunities for these qualities to be shown and developed in a variety of contexts. A further set of skills required by teachers comprise the ability to recognise and deal with low motivation. For this purpose particularly, lessons should be well organised and relevant, and presented with sufficient flexibility to take advantage of changing moods. Moreover a skilful matching of teaching styles in pupils needs and abilities. and a lively and intelligent approach to the subject matter being taught, can help to avoid problems of discipline in the classroom and the school. Teachers are among the adults who, by personal example as well as classroom practice, may exert a significant influence on the development and attitudes of the pupils.

140. All teachers also need to be able to recognise when the reason for an individual pupil's poor performance lies elsewhere than in low motivation, poor preparation or presentation of lessons, or the teacher's failure to adapt to the mood of the class. There is a wide range of possible reasons why a pupil may be failing in school - medical conditions, whether permanent, temporary or recurrent, intellectual impairment, or failure to adjust because of emotional or social insecurity, which may have its roots in the pupil or the home. These reasons are not always identified or brought to the attention of the school or the individual teachers. Not every teacher can be an expert in the treatment of such special needs; but every teacher needs to be able to observe the symptoms of difficulty and to be acquainted with ways of obtaining advice and access to specialist help.

141. It is clear that to fulfil satisfactorily this demanding variety of roles, in primary or secondary schools, teachers need solid expertise in one or more

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curriculum areas, training and practice in classroom skills appropriate to the age range of the pupils, and appropriate personal qualities. The criteria for initial teacher training courses set out in DES Circular 3/84 (Welsh Office Circular 21/84), on which the recently appointed Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education will base their work, give practical expression to these three requirements. The criteria also draw attention to the value of prospective teachers having had previous employment or self-employment, or experience of work with children or adolescents in school. It is particularly helpful for intending teachers to gain some experience of industry or commerce, before or outside their initial teacher training course or as part of the course itself.

142. It is widely recognised that throughout their careers teachers need opportunities for in-service training. The Government welcomes recent advice on in-service training from the Advisory Committee on the Supply and Education of Teachers (ACSET), and sets out its response in paragraphs 172-176.

143. The professionalism of the teacher also involves playing a part in the corporate development of the school. HM1 reports frequently refer to the importance of professional team work, where the teachers within a school agree together on the overall goals of the school, on the policies for the curriculum in the widest sense, including policies for the standards of behaviour expected of pupils, and for the relationships expected between teachers and pupils. The pupils' own ability to co-operate and work well with each other is enhanced by the experience of members of staff working productively together in a professional relationship. HMI reports also draw attention to the value of agreed policies for marking and assessment within a school. Where such policies have been developed assessment has its proper place in the overall development of learning, and can be used diagnostically by teachers to improve their own strategies and approach. A further essential ingredient of the professional responsibility of teachers is their readiness to involve themselves with parents and the community served by the school. Important examples are provided by reception class teachers visiting the homes of children before they enter school; by the many primary schools which offer parents easy and informal access to the classroom; and by the many secondary schools which have developed close relationships with parents and links with local employers.

144. Like other professionals, teachers are expected to carry out their professional tasks in accordance with their judgment, without bias, precisely because they are professionals. This professionalism requires not only appropriate training and experience but also the professional attitude which gives priority to the interests of those served and is constantly concerned to increase effectiveness through professional development. The Government believes that this concern should be fully taken into account in the policies for the staffing of schools and the training, deployment and management of teachers.

Special needs

145. Special educational provision in ordinary schools and special schools requires particular professional skills and training. The Government has welcomed and considered recent advice from ACSET on this subject.

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146. School teachers cannot all be experts in this field, but nearly all will have pupils with special needs in their classes. The Government therefore accepts the need for each county and voluntary school to be able to call upon a teacher with specific responsibility for advising other members of staff, and for those teachers to have some time free from teaching to enable them to carry out these duties. As regards special schools and classes, the advice in Circular 4/73 (Welsh Office Circular 47/73) on staffing is being reviewed and the Government intends to offer new advice on the staffing requirements (teachers and other staff) for pupils with statements of special educational need, wherever they may be educated. The Government believes, however, that it would be imprudent to abandon the existing statutory safeguards: it does not therefore propose to withdraw the requirement that teachers of classes of blind, deaf or partially hearing pupils should acquire an additional specialist qualification.

147. The Government intends that an introduction to the subject of special needs should form part of the initial teacher training of all new teachers. Training institutions will need to review their courses and their arrangements for staff development to ensure that they can satisfy this aspect of the criteria for the approval of initial teacher training courses. Although all teachers should be aware of the implications of special educational needs, only a minority will need to become specialists. Specialist qualifications should be acquired after initial training and a period of experience; the Government will pursue the substitution of in-service courses for the existing specialist initial training courses. For those teachers who intend to teach in special schools or classes, or to undertake comparable responsibilities, the appropriate form of training should be a one-year full-time course, or the part-time equivalent. Those teachers who are intending to offer a more general advisory service to their colleagues should be prepared by one-term courses, of the type designated under the in-service teacher training grant scheme. Appropriate in-service courses on management should also include an element related to pupils with special educational needs, to take account of the role of head teachers.

Teacher supply and school staffing

148. The Government's policies for the curriculum and examinations require a teacher force adequate in size and with the right mix of qualifications, experience and teaching skills.

Size of the teacher force

149. The number of teachers employed in maintained schools depends largely on the numbers of pupils on their rolls; indeed national teacher number policy has traditionally been expressed mainly in terms of desirable ratios of pupils to teachers, or class sizes. In 1984, LEAs in England and Wales employed a total of 439,000 (full-time equivalent) school teachers and the overall pupil to teacher ratio was 17.9:1. Table 1 indicates that the number of primary school pupils has been falling throughout the last decade, faster in the second half than in the first. Although since 1979 the number of teachers employed in primary schools has been reduced, the reduction has deliberately been less than the fall in pupil numbers, so that the ratio of pupils to teachers in primary schools has improved considerably. In the secondary schools pupil

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numbers rose to a peak in 1979 and were 6 per cent lower in 1984. The ratio of pupils to teachers has improved, but more slowly than in the primary phase. Within these national figures the pupil to teacher ratios of individual schools and LEAs vary as a result of decisions taken locally. For example the pupil to teacher ratios in primary schools in 1984, at LEA level, ranged from 17.3 to 25.1, while the corresponding figures for secondary schools ranged from 12.8 to 17.6.


Full-time equivalent, in thousandsEngland and Wales,
as at January
Primary (including Nursery)5,2184,7773,953
Total number employed433.5470.6438.7

(1) Figures relate to maintained nursery , primary and secondary (excluding special) schools.
(2) The ratios of the numbers of pupils in primary and secondary schools to the numbers of qualified teachers actually employed in those schools.
(3) The ratio of the numbers of pupils in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools taken together to the overall number of teachers paid by LEAs for service in such schools.

150. Expenditure on teachers' salaries in 1983-84 amounted to just over 5 billion and represents over 60 per cent of the cost of educating pupils in schools. After consultation annually with the LEAs, the Government, through its expenditure plans, sets a framework for the total size of the teacher force nationally. These plans bear on the amount of Exchequer Grant distributed to local authorities in support of local services, but it is for each LEA to decide how many teachers it should employ. The Government's 1985 expenditure plans (Cmnd 9428) are consistent with a reduction of about 6,700 in the number of teaching posts between January 1985 and January 1986 provided that the cost of employing staff is contained. The Government expects that the rate of reduction in teacher numbers in the following two years will be broadly similar. Such a reduction would permit nationally a continuing modest improvement in pupil to teacher ratios.

Contact ratios* and class sizes

151. One key issue is the balance within the school timetable between the time which teachers spend in their classroom (and hence the size of classes),

*The contact ratio expresses the time which school staff (including the head) spend teaching as a percentage of timetabled hours.

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and that which they have free from class teaching (non-contact time). Tables 2 and 3 show recent trends in England (information is not available on a comparable basis for all the relevant years for Wales). In terms of national averages, most of the improvement in pupil to teacher ratios in recent years has been absorbed by reductions in class sizes, while contact ratios have remained more or less stable. The contact ratio is higher in primary than in secondary schools; most assistant teachers in primary schools teach for the whole time- table. Figures for some individual LEAs and schools may diverge quite markedly from these averages, both in level and in trend over time. Most of the variation in contact ratio occurs in the secondary schools. The average contact ratio for secondary schools in England in 1984 was 78 per cent. Amongst the LEAs 18 had an average contact ratio in the band 69-75 per cent, 59 in the band 76-79 per cent and 19 in the band 80-82 per cent. There is a wider range of variation in the contact ratios of individual schools.

TABLE 2 - CLASS SIZES (1) AND CONTACT RATIOS (2), 1974-1984 (3)

19741977 (4)19791984
Average class size-26.925.924.7
Percentage of classes with 31 or more pupils-35.127.419.1
Contact ratio-90.390.790.9
Average class size21.821.421.020.4
Percentage of classes with 31 or more pupils16.413.010.37.1
Contact ratio78.678.078.077.6


Percentage of classes taught by:
One teacher in classes with
1-20 pupils18.321.143.546.4
21-30 pupils51.856.943.744.5
31 or more pupils26.518.410.07.0

Two or more teachers

(1) Class size figures relate to classes taught by one teacher.
(2) See footnote on page 46.
(3) Figures relate to maintained primary and secondary (excluding special) schools.
(4) 1977 is the earliest year for which information on primary school class sizes and contact ratios is available on the same basis as for 1979 and 1984.

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152. Teachers need time away from their classes to plan the curriculum, to prepare lessons, to assess pupils' work, to undertake training and to help in the training of others, to assist colleagues with their teaching and so on. Much of this work is, and should be, done out of school hours. But some has to be done while the school is in session. The Government recognises that there are still some classes which are too large to permit adequate attention to the needs of individuals. But it believes that in general the fall in class sizes has reached point where, for any further improvement in staffing levels, more non-contact time for teachers who currently have little, and more flexible teaching arrangements, should have priority over further decreases in the size of regular teaching groups. Assistant teachers in the primary schools have the strongest claim to this additional time.

Schoolteacher numbers and deployment in the longer term

153. Turning to the future, Table 4 indicates that the fall in the number of primary school pupils has virtually come to an end; between now and 1988 rolls are projected to be more or less stable. From about 1989 the number of primary school pupils will begin to be affected by the number of births in future years; for this table the Government Actuary's 1983-based principal projection of fertility rates has been followed, suggesting a slow rise in pupil numbers to 1994 and beyond. In the secondary schools rolls are projected to continue falling until 1991, when the number will be about three million. 23 percent below the 1984 level; then a gradual rise begins.


Full-time equivalent, in thousandsEngland and Wales,
as at January
Primary (including Nursery)3,9534,0184,212

(1) Figures relate to maintained nursery, primary and secondary (excluding special) schools.

154. The policies for the curriculum and for examinations set out in Chapters 2 and 3 provide a fresh starting point for considering the number of teachers to be employed. Last autumn the Department of Education and Science circulated a discussion paper* about the size of teacher force likely to be compatible with the Government's education policies for all pupils in ordinary schools, including those with special educational needs, and with demographic prospects and national resources, and the implications for teacher deployment. (A separate paper was issued in Wales** to invite attention to some issues of particular importance in the principality, as well as to assist recipients in Wales in considering the general issues raised in the DES paper.) The figures put forward in that paper, and summarised here, were offered for debate, without committing the Government to a particular level of provision for the staffing of the schools. It was estimated that some 30-40,000 teachers more than would be needed to maintain pupil to teacher ratios by age would be required in order to implement Government policies for the schools;

*'Schoolteacher Numbers and Deployment in the Longer Term'.

**'Schoolteacher Numbers and Deployment in the Longer Term in Wales'.

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and that up to 15,000 posts towards this total might be found through redeployment from work of lower priority. Because pupil numbers will be falling over the period 1984 to 1990. the figures discussed in the DES paper are compatible with a reduction of about 30,000 posts in the overall size of the teacher force over that period.

155. The Government has received observations on this paper from ACSET* and the local authority associations. In general they support the Department's estimates of the numbers of teachers needed to implement new policies; but ACSET argue for a further improvement in primary school staffing which would raise the 30-40,000 figure in the previous paragraph by 10,000: and they express some doubts about the extent to which it will prove practicable to find any large contribution by redeployment from within the existing teacher force.

156. In the light of this analysis and the comments which it has received the Government has concluded that there is a need for some further limited improvement in the overall pupil to teacher ratio for England and Wales. The extent to which this can be achieved, and the pace of any change, must depend on future public expenditure plans. However, it will be important for this improvement to be used to achieve the curriculum and examination policies set out in Chapters 2 and 3 of this White Paper, rather than simply to reduce class size further; and for the improvement to be concentrated on those schools and LEAs most in need of it, rather than evenly distributed over the country as a whole. At the same time it will be essential to find ways of improving the effectiveness with which the existing teacher force is deployed both across and within individual LEAs. In the former case, the Government recognises that it is difficult at present for authorities to relate Government policies for the size of the teacher force nationally to the decisions which they have to take in the light of local circumstances. The Education Departments are therefore consulting the local authority associations to see whether guidance can usefully be prepared and issued by the Government.

The deployment of the teacher force

157. The deployment of teachers within an individual LEA is the responsibility of that authority and is as important in delivering an effective curriculum as the size of the teacher force. In 'Teaching Quality' the Government endorsed the principle of curriculum-led staffing under which LEAs combine judgements about appropriate curricula for the schools in the area with assumptions about organisational matters - sizes of teaching groups, for example, and teacher contact with classes - to yield staffing figures which can be examined in the light of the authority's expenditure policies. Some LEAs have found that a first attempt at curriculum-led staffing assuming desirable patterns of school provision and staffing indicates a total requirement for teachers greater than they are currently able to pay for. In such circumstances it is important to maintain the curriculum-led approach, in order to achieve the optimum curriculum provision from the teachers who can be afforded, even though it may lead to difficult choices relating to the other factors which enter

*Included in the Committee's report 'Future Demand for Primary and Secondary Schoolteachers' sent to the Secretaries of State in November 1984.

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into the determination of the teacher requirement, such as class sizes or the organisation of schools. Consideration of these choices should serve to assist LEAs in the effective deployment of their teacher force, and the Government believes that it is important that curriculum-led approaches to staffing should continue to be developed.

Quality in teaching

158. The employment of sufficient teachers fosters, but does not guarantee, quality in teaching. There is much excellent teaching in maintained schools. Nevertheless, the Government's view, reached in the light of reports by HMI, is that a significant number of teachers are performing at a standard below that required to achieve the objectives now proposed for the schools. The rest of this Chapter describes measures to improve the match between teachers' qualifications and their work, to provide further training for serving teachers, and to improve the management of the teacher force.

The match between teachers' qualifications and their teaching programmes

159. The Government announced in 'Teaching Quality' its intention to take further action to strengthen initial teacher training. In particular, it proposed that criteria should be promulgated for the approval of initial teacher training courses and a review of all existing approved courses initiated. These proposals have now been implemented. Criteria were issued in April 1984, based on the requirements set out in the White Paper and the recommendations made by ACSET. At the same time the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales announced the establishment of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education to advise them on the approval of initial teacher training courses. The Council has been asked to review all existing courses of initial teacher training, and to assess proposals for new ones, against the criteria and in the light of all relevant information including, in all cases, the findings of visits to training institutions by HMI. The Council started work in September 1984 and is expected to complete its first review within three to four years.

160. It is the Government's aim, through the application of the criteria, to promote a more rigorous approach to initial teacher training, including the selection of students for training, the academic and professional content of courses and the practical element of the training. The Government has made it clear that courses should include a substantial element of school experience and teaching practice and that in no case should a qualification carrying qualified teacher status be awarded to a student whose practical classroom work is unsatisfactory. The staff of training institutions concerned with pedagogy will themselves be expected to have had recent successful experience of school teaching.

161. The Government welcomes the efforts which many teacher training institutions are already making to develop or adapt their courses in order to meet the criteria. It believes that the criteria are thus already exerting an influence on the quality of initial teacher training and that, over time, through the influence of newly trained teachers entering the schools they will significantly enhance the quality of teaching.

162. The criteria are consistent with the guidance on the desirable match between qualifications and teaching programme set out in 'Teaching Quality'. Each new primary schoolteacher should be equipped to take a particular

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responsibility for one aspect of the curriculum (such as science, mathematics or music), to act as a consultant to colleagues on that aspect, and to teach it to classes other than his own. In the secondary schools teachers teaching a subject at A level should desirably have that subject as the whole or part of their studies for an honours degree, or in certain cases as the single subject of an ordinary degree. For other secondary school work the teacher's academic background should include his main teaching subject as one of two or three subjects taken at the same level in a BA or BSc degree, or as the main subject in a BEd degree.

163. Because the number of new teachers entering service each year is small in relation to the total number employed, the rate of progress in improving match in the primary schools will depend to a large extent on how many of those already serving in the schools have, or can acquire, the expertise needed to take a special responsibility for an area of the curriculum. The expertise at present available in the schools is heavily weighted towards the humanities and aesthetic subjects. Accordingly the Government has included the training of primary schoolteachers as co-ordinators in mathematics and science within the scheme of in-service training grants described in paragraph 86 of 'Teaching Quality'. For the longer term, the training institutions should aim to recruit to training for primary teaching people from a wide range of disciplines who have the ability and enthusiasm not only to undertake the role of class teacher, but also to share specialist knowledge with fellow teachers as well as with their pupils.

164. In January 19S4 the Department of Education and Science carried out a survey of the staffing of secondary schools. The Welsh Office carried out a parallel survey in Wales, which in addition had special relevance to the needs of the Welsh language. Early indications from the survey are that in English, mathematics, religious education and physics - subjects in which mismatch was common at the time of the last such survey in 1977 - there was in 1984 slightly less teaching given by teachers who did not have the relevant subject as one of the subjects of their qualifications. Nevertheless the quantity of such teaching remained substantial, and its distribution between subjects continued to show considerable variation. The Government will publish results from the survey during the year, including analyses of match.

165. HMI have now been able to gather further evidence on the relationship between standards of teaching and learning in the secondary schools and the qualifications and experience of the teachers. Good match is only one of a number of factors which promote high standards. Others include the personality of the teacher and his relationship with pupils; his experience within and outside teaching; his organising skills, resilience in difficult situations and repertoire of teaching skills; the motivation and personal knowledge of the pupils. Schools which aim for good match may rightly give more weight to other factors in certain circumstances: for example, to ease the transition to secondary school they may decide to restrict the number of specialist teachers whom first year pupils encounter; teachers who then need to work outside their main subject specialisms will need considerable support and guidance from the appropriate head of department. It is in any event not only the qualifications of the individual teacher that are important but also the strength of the department within which he works. A department with a good overall level of

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qualification is the better able to support some less well-matched teaching. It is also the case that mediocre or poor standards of work are sometimes observed despite good match. There is nevertheless a strong association between good match and good standards of work; and excellence is rarely found where match is poor.

166. As envisaged in 'Teaching Quality', the Government will shortly amend the Education (Teachers) Regulations 1982 to require LEAs and governors of aided schools as employers to take account of the formal qualifications of the teachers in determining whether the staff of a school is suitable for the purpose of providing education appropriate to its pupils. HMI already include observations on match in their published reports on primary and secondary schools, and these will in future take account of the requirements of the amended Regulations.

167. The Government welcomes the indications of reduction in mismatch since 1977. It looks to LEAs and schools to secure further reductions in the years ahead. The Government's policies for the initial and in-service training of teachers will support local efforts to this end.

The demand for, and supply of, recruits to teaching

168. The Secretaries of State have a duty to secure sufficient facilities for the training of teachers for service in maintained schools. They exercise control over the size and shape of the initial teacher training system by setting targets for the intake of students to courses. The Secretaries of State have now taken provisional decisions on the size and broad shape of the initial training system from 1986 and are inviting the University Grants Committee and the National and Wales Advisory Bodies to consider the distribution of intakes between institutions engaged in initial teacher training. The intention is that training institutions should be notified of their targets for 1986 and beyond before the summer break this year.

169. Shortages of teachers in certain specialisms - in particular mathematics, physics and CDT - have persisted over many years. In some cases they have been masked by the use of teachers with inadequate qualifications in these subjects; in other cases schools have offered certain subjects to fewer pupils than they would have wished. The Government's views of the place of science and of CDT in the 5-16 curriculum imply some increase in the time given to these subjects in schools.

170. The prospective fall in secondary school rolls will give rise to pressure for teachers to be more versatile, in order to maintain the curriculum on offer; but it will also tend to reduce the amount of teaching required in each subject, thus offering an opportunity to reduce shortages. Achievement of this reduction will depend on maximising the number of appropriately qualified teachers in service and deploying them to best advantage. The first need is to train sufficient teachers in the shortage specialisms. The Government will continue to take such shortages into account in determining target intakes to training. It has to be recognised however that the institutions concerned have to compete against other professions in seeking to recruit students up to the target set. Because recruitment to training in CDT has continued to be difficult the

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Government has introduced a scheme of special awards for training in that subject. After some years of good recruitment to postgraduate training in mathematics and physics there are signs that it is again becoming harder to attract students in those subjects also. The Government will give further consideration to this difficult problem. The second requirement is that LEAs and schools should manage to provide openings for shortage subject teachers despite the overall reduction in vacancies as pupil numbers fall. In recent years employers have contrived to do this; a continuing effort will be needed as the decline in secondary school rolls gathers pace.

171. As the turnover of teachers reduces, and vacancies for secondary school teachers fall back with the reduction in rolls, it will be increasingly important to promote measures to provide further training for less qualified teachers of shortage subjects, and to retain in education those who are well qualified. LEAs continue to support re-training and further training courses. Within its in-service grants scheme the Government is promoting the further training of less qualified teachers of mathematics and now proposes to add courses designed to strengthen the teaching of design and technology in schools. Provision has also been made by the Welsh Office, under the same scheme, for training in Welsh language teaching. The Government believes that LEA employers should be ready to use such discretion as is afforded by the salary structure to recruit and retain teachers in scarce specialisms, and to use the premature retirement scheme so as to improve the match between the desired curriculum and the mix of specialisms within their teacher forces.

In-service training

172. In 'Teaching Quality' the Government set out its view that in-service training has an important contribution to make to the career development of teachers, and that all teachers need from time to time to avail themselves of such training. The Government's policies for the schools set out earlier in this paper will make increasing demands on teachers' practical teaching skills, their breadth and depth of subject knowledge and their knowledge of and skills in assessment. Extensive in-service training will be needed to equip teachers to respond to these demands.

173. Annual expenditure by LEAs on in-service training for school teachers is approximately 100m at present, divided fairly evenly between the costs of releasing teachers to undertake training and the costs of provision. There is widespread agreement, reflected in advice on in-service training for school teachers submitted last year by ACSET, that these resources are not used to the best advantage. In particular, the system of "pooling", whereby LEAs are able to share among themselves a large part of the costs of sending teachers on certain types of courses, has serious defects. It favours relatively long courses, notwithstanding that shorter, less traditional activities may be more effective for many purposes; and it reduces the incentive to individual LEAs to satisfy themselves that releasing a teacher to attend a particular course is likely to represent good value for money. Insufficient attention is given by authorities to evaluating the extent to which teachers and schools benefit from training undertaken.

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174. The in-service teacher training grants scheme, introduced in 1983-84, has succeeded in stimulating training in selected national priority areas. For 1985-86 the priority areas for schoolteachers will be: management training mathematics and science teaching; special needs in ordinary schools; pre-vocational education; CDT teaching; in Wales, training in Welsh language teaching; and a special training programme to support the introduction of the GCSE. The scheme is, however, a limited one: it only provides financial assistance to LEAs (13.4m for schoolteachers in the financial year 1985-86) towards the cost of employing replacement teachers for those released for training in the selected priority areas.

175. The Government agrees with ACSET that a much more systematic approach is needed to the planning of in-service training at school and LEA level, which would seek to match training both to the career needs of the teachers and to desired curricular changes in schools. It agrees with the Committee that a radical change is required in the funding and organisation of in-service training. Consultation on ACSET's advice has shown widespread support for the case for a new funding mechanism and for more systematic and purposeful planning of in-service training.

176. The Government has concluded that the most effective way of achieving these aims would be through the introduction of a new specific grant to support LEA expenditure on most aspects of in-service training, including that expenditure currently supported through the in-service training pool. It proposes accordingly to introduce legislation extending the Secretary of State's existing power to grant-aid in-service training. It envisages that grants paid under this extended power would fall into two parts. One part would continue the existing in-service training grants for national priority areas of training; the other would be a general in-service training grant to cover both provision and release costs for training planned to meet locally assessed priorities. The expenditure to be supported by this grant would be determined each year. It is envisaged that the conditions of grant to be specified in Regulations made by the Secretary of State would require each LEA to submit information about its plans for in-service training, including arrangements for identifying teachers needs for in-service training and making good use of the teachers who had been released to engage in in-service training. Responsibility for planning and implementing much in-service training would continue to rest with the LEAs, as employers of most teachers, but within a framework which would lead to more effective planning and management of training.

The management of the teacher force

177. It is one thing to provide for enough teachers and for the initial and in-service training they need to match the curricular objectives of the schools. It is quite another to manage the teacher force so that the teachers' professional commitment, skills and knowledge are used to best effect in the schools. This is one of the most crucial responsibilities of LEAs.

178. There are two main complementary aspects to this managerial responsibility. One is the responsibility to support and encourage professional development at all stages of the individual teacher's career. A newly-trained teacher needs structured support and guidance during probation and his early

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years in the profession; other newly appointed and promoted teachers, not least those appointed to headships, need to be able to draw upon induction and training programmes directly relevant to their new tasks and responsibilities: all teachers need help in assessing their own professional performance and in building on their strengths and working on the limitations so identified; and all teachers need to be able to engage in in-service training relevant to their teaching programmes and professional needs. The other main aspect of the managerial responsibility of LEAs is the need to see that each school has a staff of teachers as well matched as possible to the curricular needs of the pupils. In the Government's view this need can only be met - particularly when rolls are falling and substantial numbers of schools are undergoing organisational change - by positive action by LEAs to achieve such redeployment of teachers as may be appropriate, and to facilitate the provision of suitable in-service training.

179. The Government recognises that the individual teacher, the school and the LEA each have legitimate interests as respects deployment and that these are not always identical or, being different, easily reconciled. But the Government believes that LEAs are responsible for pursuing such a reconciliation in the wider interests of all pupils within the maintained schools system. Redeployment, for example, has tended to be perceived narrowly by teachers and schools, as a remedy of last resort when a teacher's post can no longer be justified. The Government believes that it can and should be used more positively and that planned exchanges, transfers, and fixed-term secondment can allow teachers to obtain specific experience and skills which would be beneficial both for the schools concerned and the individual teacher's career prospects. This more positive approach will call for very close co-operation between LEAs and the governing bodies of schools.

180. The Government holds to the view expressed in 'Teaching Quality' that the regular and formal appraisal of the performance of all teachers is necessary if LEAs are to have the reliable, comprehensive and up-to-date information necessary for the systematic and effective provision of professional support and development and the deployment of staff to best advantage. Only if this information relates to performance in post can LEA management make decisions affecting the career development of its teachers fairly and consistently. Taken together, these decisions should result in improved deployment and distribution of the talent within the teaching force, with all teachers being helped to respond to changing demands and to realise their full professional potential by developing their strengths and improving upon their weaknesses; with the most promising and effective being identified for timely promotion; with those encountering professional difficulties being promptly identified for appropriate counselling, guidance and support; and, where such assistance does not restore performance to a satisfactory level, with the teachers concerned being considered for early retirement or dismissal.

181. The Government welcomes the sustained efforts made by many parties to negotiate a new salary structure for primary and secondary teachers. embracing new pay scales, a new contractual definition of teachers' duties and responsibilities and the introduction of systematic performance appraisal, designed to bring about a better relationship between pay, responsibilities and

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performance, especially teaching performance in the classroom. The appraisal of teacher performance has been widely seen as the key instrument for managing this relationship, with teachers' professional and career development assisted and salary progression largely determined by reference to periodic assessment of performance.

182. It may still be that negotiations across this wide range will prove successful, although the difficulty of reaching an agreement embracing all these elements has always been recognised. Whether or not that is the case, however, the Government believes that the introduction of systematic arrangements for the appraisal of teacher performance, to underpin the improved arrangements for in-service training proposed in paragraphs 175 and 176 and the management of the teacher force, is essential. The Department of Education and Science is in consultation with the local authority and teacher associations to establish what progress can be made in performance appraisal. The Government hopes it may be possible to promote the development of suitable methods and procedures through a project on teacher management and appraisal in a number of LEAs funded with education support grant.

183. The Government believes that consistent arrangements across all LEA areas within a single national framework are needed for a teaching force with a tradition of movement within and across LEA boundaries. This could be achieved through an agreement between the authorities and the teachers' associations. The Government believes, however, that it may prove desirable or even necessary to provide that national framework in the form of statutory regulations, as is already the case for the probation of new teachers. It is proposed therefore that the Secretary of State's existing powers for regulating the employment of teachers should be extended to enable him, in appropriate circumstances, to require LEAs regularly to appraise the performance of their teachers.

184. The responses to the Department of Education and Science's April 1984 consultative document 'A Probationary Period for Newly Appointed Headteachers' recognise the strong influence that headteachers exercise over the quality of education provided in schools. All respondents endorsed the objective that LEAs should ensure that new headteachers are carefully selected, inducted, trained and systematically supported in their new duties, but there was little support for a specific probationary period. The Government has concluded that the professional development and assessment of the suitability of newly appointed headteachers is best pursued as part of a general appraisal system embracing all teachers. The Government's proposals for improving the procedure for selecting and appointing headteachers are set out in Chapter 9.

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185. Good order in classrooms, corridors and school grounds is essential throughout the school day. including the mid-day and other breaks. All schools recognise that nothing so quickly undermines their efforts as a failure to keep in check discourtesy, disorder and disruption. There is also widespread agreement within schools that their task extends to developing high standards of conduct within the school and beyond, in the interest both of the pupil and of society. Schools recognise, too, the expectation that they will foster the shared values which underlie a free society: tolerance, consideration for others, respect for truth and respect for the rule of law.

186. Many schools consistently secure good order. They do so not simply by a regime of sanctions and rewards but more broadly by creating within the school a tone which makes for constructively purposeful activity. They attempt to create positive attitudes towards good behaviour in all that they do. The teachers themselves set an example; and in their relationships with parents. pupils and each other seek to demonstrate as well as to encourage high standards of conduct, in the awareness that adult society does not always reflect and support those standards. Often the teachers' success is attributable to the consistency with which they encourage in their pupils good behaviour and the habit of self-discipline and not simply to a particular teaching style or set of rules. Certain pupils with emotional and behavioural disorders have special needs which fall to be met under the Education Act 1981.

187. The effectiveness of schools in creating an atmosphere which encourages good behaviour and self-discipline bears on wider social problems such as the incidence of juvenile crime. The peak age for offending is 15. Ten per cent of all those cautioned for or convicted of indictable offences are children under 14. The school is only one of a number of influences, but the extent to which pupils may be in conflict with the law is bound to be of concern to teachers and to governing bodies.

188. The public rightly regard standards of pupil behaviour as a touchstone of the quality of the school system. The poor standards found in a small minority of schools give rise to widespread concern and anxiety. The LEAs and schools concerned have an urgent duty to tackle this problem. Moreover too few schools offer sufficient opportunities for pupils to acquire the habit of self- discipline or have a wide enough range of ways to acknowledge, encourage and reward high standards of conduct. In the Government's view many schools could do more to emphasise these positive aspects and so reduce their reliance on disciplinary sanctions. Corporal punishment is one such sanction and is in many schools used only for relatively minor offences. The Government has introduced legislation which will give parents the right to exempt their children from corporal punishment at school.

189. A school's efforts to promote high standards of conduct are frustrated if the pupils are not constructively occupied or become bored. One remedy lies in imaginative teaching and a determination actively to involve pupils and

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interest them in their work. The school curriculum also offers a variety of opportunities to introduce, and with older pupils to discuss more explicitly, the basis in reason and belief of accepted moral standards and the principles upon which a free and orderly society is based.

190. Schools do not act on their own. In the matter of behaviour, pupils and young people are subject to other influences. Predominant among these is the influence of the home. It is important for the pupils and for our society that schools and parents co-operate in relation to behaviour. The disciplinary demands of school and home differ. Schools need to tell parents about their policies: and to be effective, both school and home need to be consistent in the way in which they exercise their own discipline.

191. It is particularly important that parents should support the school on the question of attendance. The school should assist the parents by ensuring that they are informed about their child's erratic or poor attendance as soon a it begins to be apparent to the school. Truancy has many causes and involves only a small minority of pupils and parents. But it reaches especially worrying levels in the fourth and fifth years of some secondary schools. Moreover, in a disturbingly large proportion of cases the pupil's absence from school is condoned by the parents. Often this is for purposes which are not in themselves objectionable, but even short absences can have a significant effect on the pupil's education. Parents must be ready to exercise the responsibility which the law places on them or face the consequences of court action by LEAs.

192. The Secretaries of State are issuing a Circular about school attendance, Education Welfare Services and the way in which education welfare officers can give support to and work constructively with schools and parents. There is scope for these Services to focus more sharply on attendance. Although the main responsibility for links with parents rests with schools even where a pupil's attendance is irregular, Education Welfare Services can do much to reduce truancy. Their task is different from that of a local authority's Personal Social Services, the education welfare officer being primarily concerned to serve the child in relation to school attendance, not the whole family. But they can sometimes bring social work skills to bear where home circumstances are contributing to persistent absenteeism. Education Welfare Services; can also make a useful contribution to discussion about school policies and many aspects of schools' links with parents.

193. The Circular will ask LEAs to review the functions, organisation and methods of work of the Education Welfare Services in their areas and to inform the Secretaries of State about their existing and planned policies. This information will be taken into account in national consultations on the training of education welfare officers, which the Secretaries of State propose to set in hand during 1985. In 1986 the Secretaries of State will be seeking detailed information from LEAs about their arrangements for reducing truancy through the work of their Education Welfare Services.

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194. It has long been a principle that pupils should be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, provided this is compatible with good education and the reasonable use of public funds. The Education Act 1980 gave much greater practical effect to this principle. Parents are now entitled on the basis of published information to express preferences as to which schools they wish their children to attend. Those preferences have then to be met except in certain narrowly defined circumstances. The small minority of parents whose preferences are not met have the new right to appeal to an independent local appeal committee whose decision is binding. In 1983-4 there were some 10,000 appeals, of which about 3,500 were decided in parents' favour.

195. The 1980 Act also widened the scope for parental choice by introducing the Assisted Places Scheme, under which parents of bright children of secondary school age who could not otherwise afford a place in a good independent school are assisted with fees. Some 35,000 pupils are expected to be benefiting by the end of the decade. The scheme largely restores a degree of parental choice which was removed by the abolition of the Direct Grant Grammar Schools. In parallel with the Assisted Places Scheme, the Government has introduced a similar scheme of assistance for pupils particularly gifted in music and ballet.

196. The 1980 Act gave parents a greater say in the activities of maintained schools by allowing parents of pupils at a school to elect one or two members of the governing body from among their fellow parents. In the interests of better education, the Government now intends further to increase parental influence at school through the measures relating to school government described in Chapter 9.

The shared task of parents and schools

197. The child's education begins at home. It is in the family that personal and social development begins and a start is made on many of the skills, for example in language, which the schools develop. The parent's role as educator is reflected in his legal duty to cause his child to receive, during the compulsory period, efficient full-time education suited to his age, ability, aptitude, and special needs. That role continues after the child has started at school. At that stage parent and school become partners in a shared task for the benefit of the child. The school discharges its part of the task more effectively if it can rely on the co-operation and support of the parent in the pursuit of shared objectives.

198. It is therefore important that schools should do what they can to explain their aims and policies to parents, and to associate parents with their work. Schools are increasingly widening the opportunities which they offer to parents not merely to discuss the progress of their children with the teachers but to come into the school and contribute to its work. Schools cannot hand over to parents activities which can only be properly conducted by teachers; but many schools could with advantage take a wider view of the ways in which individual parents can use their particular knowledge and skills to assist with the daily work of the school.

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199. Experience shows that most parents are ready to respond to the opportunities offered by the school to help with what it does. Many parents, for example, take part in the activities of parent/teacher organisations, and generously meet particular needs for money or other assistance.

200. But there are also some parents who would like to co-operate with the school for the sake of their children but who lack the confidence to come forward or are held back by other obstacles or difficulties (including in some cases a degree of hostility arising from their own experience as children). A number of schools have developed schemes to reach out to and support these parents.

201. Outreach schemes of this kind take different forms. Home visiting is often used in the initial stages, particularly in schemes run by nursery and primary schools. In this way the co-operation and interest of parents is gained and, with very young children, the educational benefits of play are sometimes introduced into the home for the first time. This can be a very fruitful preparation for planned in-school activities in which those parents, the teachers and children are drawn together. Through these activities parents better understand their crucial role in their children's education and see ways in which they can help the child and the school. Through closer links of this kind, parents become familiar with the school and its aims.

202. The Government welcomes such schemes. It recognises that they demand careful planning and skilful handling. Although not appropriate to all schools, they may be especially useful in areas where economic and social disadvantages are leading to under-achievement at school. Outreach schemes have not hitherto normally extended to the secondary phase, where the circumstances which give rise to them need to be tackled differently. But secondary schools too should explore ways of reaching out to the parents of those pupils who are causing them concern.

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203. In developing its policies for schools, the Government has long been concerned about the education of pupils from ethnic minorities. A Committee was set up in 1979 to enquire into this complex issue. The Committee's final report has just been published, together with a guide to its main issues written by the chairman, Lord Swann.

204. All pupils have a right to a good education appropriate to their needs, The Government accepts and is concerned at the Committee's finding, based on a careful analysis of the evidence, that many ethnic minority pupils are continuing to achieve below their potential. Under-achievement is also found among many pupils from the majority community. But ethnic minorities tend to be relatively more affected by economic and social disadvantage. Moreover racial prejudice in our society directly or indirectly affects the achievement of many ethnic minority pupils. The Government abhors all manifestations of racial prejudice, and believes that all people of goodwill will want to work towards their elimination. The Government's policies are designed to reduce under-achievement wherever it occurs, to remove the educational obstacles which hold back particular groups of pupils, and to support the work of the education service in preparing pupils for an ethnically mixed society and in working towards racial harmony.

205. Many ethnic minority pupils, resident in this country before entering school, come from homes where a language other than English is spoken and enter school with limited proficiency in English. In addition, small numbers age 5 and over arrive in this country unable to speak English. It is essential that schools should continue to give the highest priority to the teaching of English to both these groups of pupils. The Government will continue to assist with this work through financial support under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966. Experience has shown that pupils benefit most if they learn to use English within the school's normal curriculum rather than through teaching in separate groups, although this approach is not always possible nor initially the most effective in the case of new arrivals to this country. The Swann Committee endorsed this approach. HMI will continue lo encourage and disseminate good practice in its application. In certain situations ethnic minority pupils can with advantage be introduced to school through the use of their mother tongue in conjunction with English. The principles governing good practice in this area need further professional discussion which HMI will continue to promote.

206. In the Government's view, curricular policies at national, local and school level should ensure that what is taught in schools is meaningful to all pupils. Teaching approaches need to take account of all pupils' backgrounds so that the pupils may be helped to learn by drawing upon their own experience. However, all pupils need to understand, and acquire a positive attitude towards, the variety of ethnic groups within British society. These objectives will be embodied in the statements of curricular objectives described in paragraph 32. While they should influence the whole ethos of the school, the objectives are particularly relevant to subject areas such as English, foreign languages, history and geography. They have already been embodied in the national criteria which will govern the GCSE examinations and in the new criteria for all initial teacher training courses. Their practical application is the purpose of some urban programme projects, of one of the activities to be supported by

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education support grants from 1985-6, and of in-service training courses which the Secretaries of State will propose to the local authority associations for inclusion in the in-service training grants scheme in 1986-7.

207. The Government agrees with the Swann Committee that a larger proportion of the teacher force should be drawn from the ethnic minorities, and that this increase can and should be secured without any reduction in the required level of qualification. To do any other would be a disservice to pupils whatever their ethnic origin and to the professional standing of teachers. The Secretaries of State will explore with their partners in the education service what measures are most likely to increase the supply of suitably qualified teachers of ethnic minority origin, in the light of such current initiatives as the schemes for helping mature students to achieve the levels of attainment necessary for entry to teacher training and other higher education.

208. The Government also agrees with the Swann Committee that policies designed to reduce under-achievement and to increase the supply of ethnic minority teachers should be based on accurate statistical information and be monitored through it. The collection of the necessary statistics raises practical problems, including how to preserve confidentiality, which need to be solved before a scheme can be launched which is acceptable to all concerned, particularly parents and teachers. The Government intends to bring to an early conclusion the consultations it has been holding with interested parties, in order to identify an acceptable scheme for collecting and using ethnically based statistics on pupils. The Government will also explore with those concerned the possibility of establishing acceptable arrangements for collecting and using ethnically based statistics on teachers and students in initial teacher training.

209. As the Swann Committee recognised, more research is needed into the causes of under-achievement. The Government intends to commission research into this complex question which will explore the factors, at school, at home, and in the community, affecting the achievement of all pupils, especially those whose background, or the schools system's response to aspects of it, may cause them to be disadvantaged.

210. The Government is concerned to enable the ethnic minority communities to play their full part in contributing to the education of ethnic minority pupils through the educational and cultural activities which they themselves arrange. It is important that parents and schools should understand each other's aims so that the work of each complements that of the other for the benefit of the pupils. By reaching out to parents LEAs and schools can do much to promote mutual support and co-operation between home and school. The Government's measures to change the composition and entrench the powers of governing bodies described in Chapter 9 should also help parents of ethnic minority pupils to play a more influential part in the affairs of their children's. schools.

211. The education service cannot by itself achieve the good education of ethnic minority pupils and the preparation of all pupils for life in our multi-ethnic society. The success of the schools' efforts depends largely on what happens outside their sphere. But this only adds to the importance of these efforts. They are a vital new aspect of the recognised task of every school to maintain and transmit, through its curriculum and its ethos, the accepted values of our society. The Government shares with the education service the conviction that the principles of freedom, justice and tolerance will be most effectively applied in our national life if they are soundly established at school.

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212. The Government believes that the action now necessary to raise standards in school education can in the main be taken within the existing legal framework, which gives freedom to each LEA to maintain its existing pattern school organisation and, if it wishes, to propose changes in that pattern.

213. The Government also intends to preserve the dual system of county and voluntary schools which continues to serve the nation well. To this end the government will maintain those features of voluntary schools which give them their distinctive status, including those relating to the composition of their governing bodies. In the case of aided and special agreement schools, the governing body already serves to give the school a distinctive life of its own. It is also the agency through which the voluntary body responsible for the school exercises that measure of control and direction over the school which has been accorded to it since the Education Act 1944. For such schools, the Government does not intend to change the composition of the governing body or substantially to modify its functions.

214. But there is one area of the law of school education where change is needed in the interest of raising standards. In the Government's view, it is now necessary to reform the composition of the governing bodies of county schools, controlled schools and maintained special schools; to define more clearly and establish more consistently the functions of these governing bodies; and to make minor, consequential adjustments to the functions of the governing bodies of aided and special agreement schools.

215. If a school is to succeed in all its tasks, it needs to have an identity and a sense of purpose of its own. It needs to recognise itself as more than an agency of the LEA. While the professionalism of its staff is a necessary condition for its success, it is not sufficient on its own. A school should serve the community from which it draws its pupils. To facilitate all these aims county, maintained special, and controlled schools have been required by the Education Acts to have governing bodies which were intended to introduce a lay element into the conduct of their affairs.

216. The Education Act 1980, which will be fully implemented by 1 September 1985, is making governing bodies a more effective instrument for giving each school a life of its own in the service of its local community. The Act brings to an end the widespread practice of grouping many schools together under a single governing body and is introducing limited numbers of governors directly elected by and from parents and teachers.

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217. But there remain three obstacles to realising the full potential of governing bodies as a force for good in the life of individual county, controlled and maintained special schools. First, the present arrangements still take insufficient account of parents' natural and special interest in their children's education and progress. Second, governing bodies' powers and duties have developed piecemeal and often give them too restricted a role in relation to the LEA or the headteacher. Third, LEAs have the power (of which they usually avail themselves) to appoint the majority of the governors so that these appointees can dominate the governing body.

The Green Paper

218. To remove these obstacles, the Government published in May 1984 a Green Paper 'Parental Influence at School' (Cmnd 9242) with proposals for a new framework for school government in England and Wales It proposed to change the law in two fundamental respects; first that parents elected by their fellow parents in a secret ballot should be able to form the majority on the governing bodies of county and maintained special schools, and, together with foundation governors, should be able to form the majority on the governing bodies of controlled schools; second, that appropriate powers for governing bodies should be entrenched by legislation so that these could not, as can happen at present, be overridden by the LEA.

219. Consultation on the Green Paper revealed much support for the view that the functions of governing bodies needed to be more closely defined, and that their present composition was unsatisfactory. However, although there was much support for an increase in the representation of parents and of the community served by the school, all but a few of those who commented were against the proposed majority for parent governors. In the light of the consultation the Government has decided not to proceed with this proposal; but intends to proceed with other substantial changes in the composition of governing bodies and to establish a consistent and improved pattern in the distribution of functions between the governing body, the LEA and the headteacher which will enable all three in combination to contribute most effectively to raising the quality of school education and to do so in co-operation with each other.


220. To give effect to these decisions, the Government will introduce a Bill at the first opportunity permitted by its legislative programme. The main features of the legislation are set out below.


221. The governing bodies of county, controlled and maintained special schools will consist of persons representing or reflecting the main interests concerned with the work of the school, subject to the need to keep the governing body small enough to permit the effective and economical transaction of business. The details of the composition o( the governing body for each category of school are set out in the Table opposite.

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click on the image for a larger version of the table


(a) the LEA would be tree to choose either composition for schools with 600 or more pupils.
(b) where insufficient parents stood for election (or, in any case, for schools with at least 50 per cent boarders) the LEA would appoint parent proxies to fill vacancies. LEA members and employees and co-opted members of the Education Committee would be ineligible for such proxy appointments.
(c) the headteacher would be able to choose not to be a governor.
(d) the number of co-optees would be reduced by one to allow for the addition shown in the following mutually exclusive circumstances:
(i) one representative of the minor authority (or minor authorities, acting jointly) in the case of a county or controlled primary school serving an area in which there is one or more minor authorities;
(ii) one representative of the District Health Authority in the case of a hospital special school;
(iii) one representative of a relevant voluntary organisation in the case of any other maintained special school.

This composition will be based on the following main principles:

(1) no single interest will predominate. Neither the governors appointed by the LEA, nor those elected by the parents, nor those representing the teachers will have a majority. The parents' voice on the governing body will be reinforced by the annual meeting of all parents (see paragraph 250);

(2) the existing statutory rights of representation of headteachers and other teachers, voluntary school foundations and minor authorities (for certain primary schools) will be preserved;

(3) there will be a category of governors additional to LEA-appointed, parent and teacher governors. The additional governors will normally be co-opted jointly by the parent, LEA, head and other teacher governors, under stringent quorum arrangements; but sometimes they will be foundation governors (in the case of controlled schools) or appointed by minor authorities (in the case of certain primary schools) or by the District Health Authority (in the case of hospital schools) or by the relevant voluntary organisation (in the case of other maintained special schools). The co-option of governors will serve to broaden the member- ship of governing bodies and will provide an additional opportunity.

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which the Government hopes will be used freely, to associate industry and commerce with the work of the schools;

(4) governing bodies composed on the principles set out above will have 9, 12, 16 or 19 members, depending on the number of pupils at the school. In the interest of flexibility LEAs will be free, in respect of schools with 600 or more pupils, to choose between a governing body of 16 or 19 members. Where, exceptionally, a governing body would have to contain two headteachers, its size will be increased as necessary beyond the stipulated size;

(5) all these provisions will need to be applied to the circumstances of individual schools by instruments of government (see paragraph 255).

222. Should insufficient parents stand for election or, in any case, for a school where at least half the pupils are boarders, the LEA will be required to fill the parent governor vacancies by appointing persons who have children attending the school or, failing that, by persons with children of compulsory school age. The LEA will not be permitted to appoint elected members or employees of the authority or co-opted members of the Education Committee.

223. To help reduce the turnover in membership of governing bodies, the term of office will be four years instead of three years as the Green Paper proposed. Additionally, parent governors will be allowed to complete their term of office after their children leave the school. As now, any governor will be able to resign from office and the LEA or minor authority will have the power to remove from office any governor they have appointed.

224. The Government will also proceed with the Green Paper proposal that it should not be possible to group two primary schools under a single governing body, without the Secretary of State's approval, unless the schools serve the same locality; and with the proposal to establish shadow governing bodies to discharge certain necessary functions before new schools open their doors. This change will also now cover new aided schools (see paragraph 256).


225. The functions to be discharged by the governing body, as well as those of the LEA and headteacher, in relation to a school are set out partly in the Education Acts, partly in regulations made thereunder by the Secretaries of State and partly in articles of government. In the case of county, controlled and maintained special schools, (he functions left to be allocated in the articles are substantial.

226. Under the 1944 Act, articles of government are made in some cases by the LEA (for county secondary schools with the approval of the Secretary of State) and in others by the Secretary of State. Despite the issue of model articles as a guide in 1945, present articles have come to vary widely and now often fail to allow governing bodies adequate scope. Our schools are poorer for this.

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227. To enable schools to do their work to best effect, the Green Paper proposed to establish in legislation a distribution of responsibilities between the LEA. governing body and headteacher, which recognises that the work of each complements that of the others and encourages all to make their distinctive contribution to the school's success. The proposals in the Green Paper were based on the following general principles:

(1) the LEA must have all the powers necessary to carry out its duty to secure the provision of sufficient and efficient schools for its area. In particular, it must be able to determine policies for the overall effectiveness and management of the schools in its area;

(2) subject to that, the governing body should be able to determine, in consultation with the headteacher, the main policies and lines of development of the school. This generally means strengthening its role and ensuring that it cannot be overridden in the exercise of its assigned functions;

(3) the professional responsibilities of the headteacher and staff must be respected. The role of the headteacher should have a firm legal foundation, clarifying his responsibilities and preserving his authority;

(4) in all these matters, there should be no distinction between primary and secondary schools.

228. In some respects, the Green Paper envisaged a uniform approach; in others it proposed a minimum function for governing bodies, leaving it to the LEA*s discretion to confer greater powers as it saw fit. In any event, there would still need to be articles of government applying these matters in the circumstances of individual schools (see paragraph 255).

229. Responses to the Green Paper generally endorsed the Government's view that a clearer allocation of functions is necessary. There were numerous criticisms on points of detail but these often conflicted. The Government believes that the Green Paper proposals for the distribution of functions were broadly right and will, as set out below, implement them with minor modifications.

General powers

230. The functions described below in respect of county, controlled and maintained special schools will be exercisable in the light of two procedural powers:

(1) since the LEA, the governing body and the headteacher are each concerned with the affairs of a school, each needs to be informed about what the others are doing. The governing body will have a duty to supply the LEA with such reports relating to the discharge of its functions as the LEA may require; and the headteacher will be under a similar duty to supply reports to the governing body and the LEA;

(2) in urgent matters arising from the day-to-day functioning of the school, it will sometimes be necessary for the governing body to act quickly. In such cases, the chairman (elected annually by the governors) will be empowered to act on behalf of the whole governing body.

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Conduct of the school

231. Subject to the statutory responsibilities of others, responsibility for the general direction of the conduct of a school will be allocated to the governing body. That responsibility lies at the heart of the work of the governing body as the guarantor of the school's identity. It enables the governors to exercise an important influence over the ethos of the school and tin many other matters which affect the school's success. It enables them to concern themselves with the school's contribution to the life of the local community, for example in the effect of the school's ethos on juvenile crime It also enables the governing body to have a voice in many important matters where responsibility rests mainly or partly with the LEA or the headteacher. The governing body's responsibilities in relation to these latter matters should, in the Government's view, complement and reinforce its responsibility for the conduct of the school.


232. The allocation of functions set out below applies to the secular curriculum:

(1) the LEA will be responsible for formulating and implementing the curricular policy for its area;

(2) the governing body will have a duty to determine a statement of the school's curricular aims and objectives and to review it from time to time. In so doing, it will be required to seek the advice of the headteacher and to consult the LEA;

(3) the headteacher will be responsible for the organisation and delivery of the curriculum, including detailed syllabuses and the teaching approaches and materials employed, within the available resources and having regard to the statement of aims and objectives determined by the governing body;

(4) the curricular arrangements for pupils who are the subject of statements under the Education Act 1981 will be determined by the terms of the statement.

233. These responsibilities will be exercised in the light of the LEA's responsibilities for finance and staffing and the relationship which the headteacher, as the employee of the LEA, has with it and its professional officers. As was noted in paragraph 37, the establishment of broad objectives for the curriculum which would inform curricular policy at the national and local levels would not guarantee an identity of views between the LEA, the governing body and the headteacher on all curricular matters. The Government believes however that the distribution of functions in paragraph 232 will help to resolve any conflict on the basis that the views of all concerned find expression and that there is no imposition of the views of one party.


234. The Government believes that the conduct and discipline of the pupils should be primarily a matter for the school, on the basis that operational and

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day-to-day issues are managed by the headteacher and his staff, but that ultimate responsibility, at the level of the school, rests with the governing body. In addition it is necessary to ensure that the LEA can discharge its responsibilities for securing the provision of good school education and attendance at school, for maintaining the school, and as the employer of the staff. To give effect to these principles the distribution of functions will be as follows:

(1) for the purpose of encouraging and securing acceptable standards of behaviour and positive attitudes from pupils, the headteacher will have a duty to formulate and promulgate rules and other necessary means, including the use of disciplinary sanctions, to that end. In performing this duty the headteacher will be required to have regard to such principles and guidance as the governing body may offer;

(2) the governing body and the headteacher will be under a duty to consult the LEA on any disciplinary issue which might involve additional public expenditure or affect the LEA's responsibilities as employer;

(3) if the headteacher debars (ie expels, suspends or in any other way excludes) a pupil from school for more than three days in any term, or if a debarment would prevent a pupil from taking any public examination, the headteacher will be required immediately to inform the governing body and the LEA. The governing body or the LEA will have power to direct the headteacher to terminate the debarment; any direction by the LEA in this respect will be binding on the governing body and the headteacher;

(4) the LEA, where it is satisfied that order in a school has broken down or is about to do so, will have the power to take the necessary steps to secure order.

Appointment and dismissal of staff

235. The Government's proposals under this head apply to all schools for which the LEA is the employer of staff. The selection of teachers and other staff, and their subsequent performance, are crucial to a school's standards. These matters closely concern the LEA not only because of its general responsibility for standards in its area but also because it is the employer of staff in county, controlled, special agreement and maintained special schools. They are also of great importance to the governing body and the headteacher because of their responsibilities for the school. In the matter of staffing it is necessary to strike an appropriate balance between the interest of the individual school and that of all the other schools for which the LEA has a responsibility.

236. The distribution of functions set out below is designed to secure such a balance. In addition:

(1) it will not override the special rights of controlled and special agreement schools' governing bodies in respect of "reserved teachers" for the teaching of religious education as specified in the 1944 Act;

(2) it will not apply to staff who are not employed exclusively at one school

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or to school meals staff. In these cases such matters as appointment and dismissal will be solely for the LEA, although it will be open to the LEA to consult governing bodies and headteachers. Nor will it apply to any non-teaching staff employed exclusively at one school but as part of the authority's direct labour organisation. Again, such matters as appointment and dismissal will be solely for the LEA but they will be required to consult the governing body and headteacher concerned over such a person's assignment to a school. In respect of all these staff, it will be open to the governing body and the headteacher to make representations to the LEA.
Appointment of headteachers

237. The LEA will advertise the vacancy publicly. The selection process will be managed by a panel comprising at least three persons nominated by the governing body (instead of two as proposed in the Green Paper) and an equal number nominated by the LEA, though the LEA will be free to allow additional governor members. If the panel cannot agree a list of candidates for final interview, the governor and LEA nominees will each collectively have the right to nominate not more than two applicants for inclusion in the list. The panel will be required to recommend one candidate to the LEA for appointment. As the LEA would be the headteacher's employer, however, it will have the right to decline to make the appointment, in which case another recommendation will be required from the panel, if necessary following a fresh advertisement. An exception to these arrangements will be possible where a headteacher vacancy arises as a consequence of statutory proposals for the reorganisation of school provision. In such a case, the LEA will be able, after consulting the shadow governing body concerned, to appoint a headteacher from amongst those who would otherwise be displaced by the reorganisation.

238. The legislation will establish the main features of the procedure for appointing a headteacher. The Government believes that changes in selection practice will support the procedures proposed in paragraph 237 and will also contribute to securing the required quality of appointments. Following its support for research by the Open University into headteacher selection, it held a national conference, in February 1984, of representatives of LEAs, governors and teachers. The conference agreed that those responsible for selection for an appointment should meet before its advertisement to consider the requirements for the post and the selection arrangements to be followed, and that it was desirable that selectors should have access to training arranged by the LEA, and be supported in their task by LEA officers and advisers with suitable training and experience. It was suggested that candidates should have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the school concerned. It was also accepted that employers should identify and develop potential for senior management and provide training and support for newly appointed headteachers. The Government invites LEAs and governing bodies of aided schools to review their practice in headteacher selection in the light of these conclusions and draws their attention also to the more detailed recommendations in the report of the Open University research.*

*'The Selection of Secondary School Headteachers'.

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Appointment of assistant teachers (excluding deputy headteachers)

239. The LEA will have the right to determine whether any vacant assistant teacher post remains on the complement of the school and, if so, whether it should be filled by public advertisement, from a recruitment or redeployment pool or by the redeployment of a teacher from another school, If the post is to be advertised, the governing body, delegating to the headteacher if appropriate, will be responsible for selecting a candidate for appointment by the LEA. The LEA will have the right to participate in the selection process and, as employer, could decline to appoint the candidate recommended, in which case another recommendation will be required, if necessary following a fresh advertisement. If the post is not to be advertised, the governing body will have the right to draw up a specification for the post, which the LEA will be required to take into account in offering candidates for consideration. If the governing body is unwilling to accept any of the offered candidates, the LEA will have a duty to consider its representations. If the LEA decides to overrule the governing body it will be required to report the fact to the next meeting of the Education Committee. It will not be required, as proposed in the Green Paper, to have the decision formally confirmed by the Education Committee.

240. To ensure that a headteacher who has decided not to be a governor is fully involved in the selection of candidates not delegated to the headteacher, the governing body will be required to consult the headteacher in selecting a candidate and in drawing up a specification for the post.

Appointment of deputy headteachers

241. The LEA will be free to determine whether, in the case of a vacancy for a deputy headteacher, the appointment procedure for headteachers or that for assistant teachers should be followed. The panel or the governing body (as the case may be) will be required to consult the headteacher on the selection of candidates and the specification for the post.

Teacher management issues

242. Premature retirement, redundancy, redeployment and the outcome of probation involve professional considerations. But they also affect the staffing of the school in question. The LEA will therefore be required to consult the governing body and the headteacher, before it takes a decision on any of these matters.

Non-teaching staff

243. It will be for the LEA to determine whether any vacant non-teaching post should remain on the complement of the school and, if so, whether it should be filled by open advertisement or from a pool of persons already in the authority's service. Subject to that, the governing body, delegating to the headteacher if appropriate, will select candidates for appointment after consulting the LEA and, unless the task is delegated, the headteacher. It will be for the LEA to make the actual appointment of the recommended candidate. Should it decline to do so in its capacity as employer, a fresh recommendation will be needed, if necessary following re-advertisement.

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Dismissal of staff

244. Dismissal of any member of staff will be a matter for the LEA as employer but, subject to paragraph 236(2), it will be required first to consult the governing body and headteacher. It will also be required to consider any recommendation from a governing body that a member of staff should be dismissed. The LEA will have general power to suspend a member of staff, the governing body and headteacher will each also be given that power, subject to immediate report to the LEA which will then decide on the action to be taken.

Clerk to the Governors

245. To be effective, a governing body needs a clerk who is familiar with school education and the practice of the LEA in discharging its responsibilities in relation to schools. Subject to what is said below, the clerk to the governing body will be appointed by, though he need not be an officer of, the LEA; but the LEA will be required to consult the governing body before making an appointment. It will also be required to consider any recommendation from the governing body for the dismissal of the clerk. The Government does not propose to disturb the arrangements under which the governing bodies of some controlled and special agreement schools currently have power to appoint their clerk after consulting the LEA.


246. The LEA cannot discharge its duty to maintain schools unless it is ultimately responsible for the effective management of the money it makes available. But the Government believes that the school's identity and sense of purpose will be enhanced and public expenditure will be deployed more effectively if each school is given a measure of delegation to spend it; and that cost-consciousness will be increased if the LEA and the school have a clear picture of the amount and purposes of the expenditure incurred for each school. Accordingly:

(1) to enable the governing body to be aware of what is actually being spent on the school, the LEA will be required annually to provide the governing body with an itemised statement of recurrent expenditure on the school;

(2) the LEA will be required annually to allocate a sum to each governing body to spend at its discretion on books, equipment and stationery, subject to any financial rules drawn up by the LEA. The LEA will be free to allocate to the governing body responsibilities in respect of other items. The Government welcomes the experiments of certain LEAs which are designed to combine delegated responsibility with increased value for money. In the Government's view, it is appropriate that ultimate responsibility for the use of the allocated money should rest with the governing body, but sensible for the governing body to delegate the expenditure of the allotted sum to the headteacher, who would then account to the governing body for the exercise of that discretion.

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247. The governing body will also be required formally to account to the annual meeting of parents (see paragraph 250(2)) for any sums it may receive from non-LEA sources to spend on behalf of the school.


248. Ultimate responsibility for the upkeep and condition of premises must continue to rest with the LEA, though it may involve the governing body in reviews of premises and in urgent repairs. But the use of the school premises concerns both the school and the LEA. Governing bodies of county and maintained special schools will be given control of the use of the premises out of school hours, subject to any direction by the LEA. (The responsibilities of controlled school governing bodies in this respect are already adequately covered by section 22 of the 1944 Act.)


249. The Government does not wish to alter substantially the legal framework for school admissions put in place by the 1980 and 1981 Acts. But to give the governing body a voice in the formulation of the admission arrangements for its school, the LEA will be required to consult it on this matter before the LEA publishes the arrangements as part of the information for parents issued annually.

Governing body's annual report and parents' meeting

250. Two measures will associate the whole parent body more closely with the affairs of their children's school and strengthen the accountability of the governing body to every parent:

(1) the governing body will be required to issue, free of charge, an annual report to the parents of all registered pupils about the discharge of its functions. Copies will have also to be available at the school for reference by others. This report will be in English, or Welsh, or both as appropriate. The governing body will be required to consider the desirability of also providing copies of the report in a language other than English or Welsh. The Green Paper proposed that the length, format and detailed content should be a matter for individual governing bodies; the Government has now decided in the interest of economy and effectiveness to specify in legislation both that the report should be brief and its minimum contents;

(2) except for schools where at least 50 per cent of the pupils are boarders, the governing body will be required annually to call a meeting of parents. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the governing body's report and other matters relating to the life of the school; and to make it possible to pass formal resolutions (by a simple majority of votes cast) which the governing body, LEA or headteacher, as appropriate, will be required to consider and report back on in due course. To avoid misuse of this formal procedure such resolutions will have force only if there is a quorum of 10 per cent of eligible parents when they are passed.

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The effectiveness of governing bodies

251. To help equip governors for the effective discharge of their important public service, LEAs will be required:

(1) to give to every governor, on taking office, a copy of the school's instrument and articles of government together with such further explanatory and background material as the LEA considers requisite;

(2) to secure (but not necessarily to provide itself) such training for governors, free of charge, as the LEA considers requisite.

252. The Green Paper proposed that, in order to encourage governing bodies to break away from too routine an approach to their work, a fourth meeting should be required in each year in addition to the present minimum requirement of one meeting per term. In the interest of flexibility, the Government has decided not to proceed with this proposal. The present minimum requirement will therefore be maintained. But, as now, governing bodies will be expected to hold additional meetings if the proper discharge of their functions requires this.

The making of instruments and articles of government

253. The application of the provisions set out in this Chapter to the individual circumstances of some 23,500 county, controlled and maintained special schools will require new instruments and articles of government to be made. Instruments of government currently fall to be made by the LEA for county and maintained special schools, and by the Secretary of State for voluntary schools. Articles of government are made by the LEA in the case of county and voluntary primary schools, all maintained special schools and, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, for county secondary schools. The Secretary of State makes articles of government for voluntary secondary schools.

254. As a result of the intended legislation, statute law will, for the first time, specify in considerable detail the composition of governing bodies and their functions for all categories of maintained school. This will make the present range of procedures for making instruments and articles unnecessarily elaborate. A simpler and more uniform set of procedures will be appropriate, and will facilitate the coherent implementation of the new arrangements in each area.

255. Thus LEAs will be made responsible for making and amending instruments and articles of government for all maintained schools in their areas. Before making or amending either document the LEA will be required to consult the governing body of the school concerned (or the shadow governing body in the case of a new school). These arrangements will be supplemented by additional procedures for voluntary schools, to take account of their distinctive character. In making or amending an instrument or articles of government for a voluntary school, the LEA will be required to have regard to the way in which the school has been previously conducted and to agree the proposed text with the governing body or, in relation to a matter

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dealing specifically with the foundation governors, with the foundation governors then serving on the governing body. The LEA will also be required to consider proposals from the governing body of a voluntary school for amending its instrument or articles of government. In the absence of agreement on any of these matters, the question will be resolved with binding effect by the Secretary of State.

Voluntary aided and special agreement schools

256. The majority of governors on the governing bodies of aided and special agreement schools are foundation governors, to reflect the fact that, under statute, the voluntary body responsible for the school owns the premises, employs the staff (except in the case of special agreement schools), and exercises control over the school in other important respects. It is on the basis of these statutory rights that the voluntary bodies in question (usually religious bodies) have agreed to participate in the maintained school system. The Government does not intend to change the composition of the governing bodies of aided and special agreement schools or to alter their functions except in minor respects. It will, however, now extend to new aided schools (there can be no new special agreement schools) the proposal for shadow governing bodies to discharge those functions which have to be performed before a new school opens its doors. The composition of these shadow governing bodies will be required to be consistent with the framework for aided school governing bodies in Section 2 of the 1980 Act.

257. These minor changes are on the lines proposed in the Green Paper and are designed to reflect the changes which will be made in the functions of county, controlled and maintained special schools without altering the distinctive status of aided and special agreement schools. The new powers and responsibilities of governing bodies for county, controlled and maintained special schools in respect of discipline (paragraph 234), finance (paragraphs 246 and 247), the governing body's annual report and parents' meeting (paragraph 250) and the information and training of governors (paragraph 251) will be applied to governing bodies of aided and special agreement schools, with appropriate modifications to reflect the statutory position of the governing bodies in the direction of their schools, and. in particular, the status of an aided school governing body as employer. As regards admissions, to complement the change in paragraph 249, the governing body of an aided or special agreement school will, before publishing its admission arrangements, be required annually to consult the LEA.

258. Section 23 of the 1944 Act vests control of the secular curriculum in the governing body of aided secondary schools. The Government believes it is right to extend this to aided primary schools and to all special agreement schools.

259. The 1944 Act has always allowed aided schools to revert to controlled status; and special agreement schools, though a closed category, may attain aided status. There is, however, no route by which controlled schools may achieve aided status. As proposed in the Green Paper, such a route will now be opened by legislation. Only a few schools are likely to wish to take

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advantage of this change, but the Government believes that this added flexibility will strengthen the dual system.

260. The new procedure will be broadly analogous to that relating to changes in the character of schools under Section 13 of the 1980 Act and will entail the following steps:

(1) the governing body of a controlled school seeking aided status will be required to consult first with its maintaining LEA. The views of the LEA on the proposed change and its effects on local provision will be important, given its responsibility for its area. The LEA will not have the power to prevent the governing body from making the proposal but the Government presumes that the governing body will not normally proceed in the face of LEA opposition;

(2) if the governing body decides to proceed (and. in particular, is ready to pay appropriate compensation - see below), it will publish statutory proposals enabling those in the locality (including the LEA and other voluntary schools) to make objections;

(3) it will then be for the Secretary of State to consider the proposals in the light of any objections. Part of the evidence that the Secretary of State will require in support of the proposals will be a demonstration by the governing body that it can meet the immediate and continuing financial obligations of aided status;

(4) if the Secretary of State approves the proposals, he will make an Order conferring aided status.

Where the LEA has incurred capital expenditure on the premises of the controlled school, the governing body will be required to pay compensation of an amount determined by an independent valuer. Unlike subsequent capital expenditure on the building by the governing body, this compensation will not be eligible for Government grant.

Allowances for governors

261. As announced in the Green Paper, the legislation now intended will be used to give effect to the Government's previously announced decision about allowances for governors of schools and further education establishments. On the general principle that service as a governor should be regarded as voluntary service for every category of governor, the legislation will:

(1) empower, but not oblige, LEAs to pay travelling and subsistence allowances to governors of maintained schools and further education establishments;

(2) permit differentiation between different categories of institution, but not between the governors of a particular institution;

(3) permit LEAs to disallow excessive and trivial claims by setting upper and lower mileage limits;

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(4) stipulate that service as a governor does not entitle councillors or co-opted authority members to any allowances in either of these latter capacities.

262. Following consultation on the Green Paper the Government has examined further the additional costs arising from all the changes set out in this Chapter. In the light of this further study it estimates that these extra costs would be about 10m in a full year. The introduction of the new arrangements will be phased, and the full extra annual cost deferred, over several years. Extra costs will fall to be met within the resources to be made available for the years in question.


263. After enactment, the Secretaries of State propose to issue guidance on the detailed application of the new arrangements. The Government is also considering the possibility of offering financial support for pilot projects in order to develop models of good practice in the training of governors.

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264. The preceding Chapters have identified a range of management tasks that fall to the LEA. These have to be exercised in the light of often sharp demographic change. None of them can be effectively carried out unless they are rooted in the authority's policies for the curriculum. This Chapter briefly considers certain other aspects of these tasks.

The authority's professional staff

265. In order to manage the service it provides, each LEA needs to have access to professional advice across the whole range of its responsibilities. The Chief Education Officer (CEO) and his professional staff are the principal means through which the LEA performs its functions. The role of the professional is both to assist the authority in the formulation of its policies, and to be the main agent of their implementation. In both capacities, the CEO and his staff have a key role in developing and improving the quality of the education service.

266. Within each LEA, important functions are exercised, under the direction of the CEO, by local advisers (sometimes called inspectors). They play a central part in reporting to the authority, on the basis of visits and inspections, on the quality of the education being provided in its schools; in promoting auricular and other development in primary, secondary and special education; and in providing advice based on professional expertise and knowledge of the area's schools in order to assist with the formulation of policy, and subsequently to help schools to put policies into practice. An authority's advisers also have an important role in promoting the professional development of teachers and in advising on many aspects of the management of the teaching force.

267. The Government has considered with the local authority associations how the role of local advisers in England might be clarified and their work made more effective. Jointly with the associations it is preparing a document setting out the principles which underlie agreed good practice. The Secretary of State for Education and Science intends to consult more widely on the completed document and, thereafter, to commend its contents as guidance to LEAs in the development of their advisory services.

HMI reports

268. LEAs, like the rest of the education service, stand to gain from the information and assessments contained in HMI reports. In addition to general reports on aspects of education, and those made in respect of particular authorities, an increasing number of schools in every LEA are the subject of a published report. For the authority, such a report relates not only to the school in question, but also has messages for the spread of good practice and the correction of weaknesses in the other schools which it maintains.

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269. In their follow-up to the publication of a report, the Education Departments ask LEAs not only what action they propose to take or have taken in relation to the institution inspected, but also what application the findings of the report might have for other institutions maintained by them. Presented with an HMI report, it is for the LEA to consider the evidence about the performance of the school inspected, and the implications for the authority's general policies. The Secretaries of State intend in 1986 to ask LEAs for a summary account of the action they have taken, across their schools, in the light of the reports published during the three years since the publication of such reports was inaugurated.

270. The general messages which emerge from published reports on individual schools are drawn together, and made widely available, in HMI's twice yearly reviews of its reports, which are published under the title 'Education Observed'. LEAs can use these reviews both to take direct account of the general messages they reveal, and as a general picture against which to set detailed assessments of individual schools (from HMI reports and their own sources).


271. Chapter 2 notes some of the problems which arise in the management of an effective curriculum for the 14-18 age range. The Government expects the TVEI to provide important lessons about such matters as the arrangements for selecting pupils for particular courses and for co-operation between institutions.

Minimum size of schools

272. If the LEA is to manage the pattern of schools in its area in the interest of good education, each school should as far as possible be kept large enough to justify sufficient teachers to provide all pupils with a curriculum which measures up to the principles set out in Chapter 2. This requirement becomes particularly important when pupil rolls are falling or expected to fall. Such factors as geography, population sparsity, and the need for denominational choice within the dual system may sometimes necessitate unusually small schools, which require to be staffed and supported more generously in relation to pupil numbers than the LEA would think right for the other schools it maintains. Since the resources available to the LEA are limited, it is in the interest of the pupils in both these categories of school that the former should include only those schools which for valid educational or practical reasons cannot be included in the latter.

273. HMI's national primary and secondary surveys provided the basis for the guidance which the Secretaries of State gave in 1981 (DES Circular 2/81, Welsh Office Circular 30/81: 'Falling Rolls and Surplus Places') about the desirable minimum size of certain types of school in the interest of educational standards and the efficient use of resources. The advice was that primary schools of less than 100 pupils, and 11-16 comprehensive schools of

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less than five forms of entry* required levels of staffing and other resources which were more generous than the average; and that the same principle applied to 9-13 and 8-12 middle schools which are below three and two forms of entry respectively.

274. The Government has reviewed this guidance in the light of HMI's more recent reports of formal inspections, the policies on minimum size of school adopted by a number of LEAs when rationalising school provision in the face of falling pupil numbers, and the new demands on teachers' time and other resources as the policies set out in this White Paper are implemented.

275. The Government believes that while the previous guidance for middle schools remains valid, new guidance is now needed in relation to certain other types of school. It will therefore propose the following principles to the LEAs, the voluntary bodies, and its other partners in the education service:

(1) in order to secure the necessary range and mix of teacher experience and expertise, particularly for older primary pupils, it is desirable that 5-11 schools should have at least one form of entry. Because of the smaller number of year groups, 7-11 schools need at least two forms of entry to cover the equivalent range and mix of teacher experience and curricular expertise. To the extent that educational or practical grounds necessitate smaller schools, the LEA needs to consider, case by case and in accordance with pupil numbers, how far the experience and expertise of the teachers need to be augmented by any of the means at its disposal;

(2) the number of pupils in a primary school should not in general fall below the level at which a complement of three teachers is justified, since it is inherently difficult for a very small school to be educationally satisfactory. But geographical and social factors need to be given their full weight. In isolated communities it is often right, given appropriate augmentation of its resources, to retain a small village school;

(3) an 11-16 comprehensive school of five or less forms of entry is unlikely, without disproportionately generous staffing, to be able to offer to the whole range of its pupils a curriculum appropriately broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated and delivered through a sufficient number of teaching groups;

(4) a comprehensive school catering also for pupils aged 16-18 normally needs to be of a size which enables it to maintain a sixth form of at least 150, if it is to provide an adequate range of A level and other courses. Where such a school cannot maintain such numbers, the needs of sixth form pupils can usually be adequately met with a reasonable use of resources only if the LEA succeeds in securing effective arrangements for co-ordinating the programmes of individual pupils between the school and one or more other institutions.

*A form of entry is the number of pupils deemed by the LEA to constitute a teaching group requiring the equivalent of one full-time teacher in the year in which the pupils enter the school: eg for planning purposes a form of entry to a secondary school is usually assumed to consist of 30 pupils.

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276. The quality of school education is enhanced when school premises serve the purposes of the school effectively and economically. In discharging their responsibilities for securing good education, the Secretaries of State, through regulations, lay down minimum standards for school accommodation to ensure that it is suitable for the curriculum and teaching methods. In 1981 changes were made in the regulations to increase the minimum teaching area required for pupils aged 9-11 so as to permit the provision of a wider range of facilities, including those for practical work, and to enable outdoor facilities to serve more effectively the needs of physical education and games.

277. LEAs need to manage their stock of schools in the interest of the curriculum within the resources available for capital and current expenditure, in particular they need to adapt accommodation, where appropriate, in the light of changes in pupil numbers and developments in the curriculum and teaching approaches and methods, and to keep premises in a state of repair which gives a good educational return. LEAs and governors of aided and special agreement schools have done much to secure that school buildings remain fit for their purpose. But there are still disparities in quality of accommodation and standards of maintenance which may hinder the implementation of the policies set out in this White Paper. The Government is discussing these with the local authority associations with a view to promoting good practice in estate management and making the best use of the resources available.

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278. There has been a long and sustained period of growth in national expenditure on education in schools. In the last 2(3 years current expenditure on school education by LEAs has doubled in real terms in England and Wales. Over the same period pupil numbers rose by 11 per cent During the last decade the pupil to teacher ratio (PTR) in primary schools has improved by 15 per cent and that in secondary schools by 6 per cent. In the last 5 years current expenditure on education in schools has risen by over 10 per cent per pupil in real terms. Over that period pupil numbers have fallen by 12 per cent.

279. The level of expenditure per pupil varies widely between authorities. According to LEA estimates of current expenditure for 1984-S5 there is a broad range in the expenditure per secondary pupil, with the average in the 10 highest spending LEAs exceeding the average in the 10 lowest spending LEAs by about 50 per cent. In January 1984 primary PTRs in individual LEAs ranged from 17.3:1 to 25.1:1.

280. The number of pupils in maintained primary and secondary schools is expected to fall from over 7.8m in 1984 to some 7.1m in 1991. These large changes in pupil numbers mean that if current levels of provision per pupil are broadly maintained, education's share of public expenditure can be expected to decline significantly. The Government's Green Paper, 'The next ten years: Public Expenditure and Taxation into the 1990s' (Cmnd 9189) published in March 1984, said that if the cost per pupil were maintained at existing levels, every 100,000 fewer pupils would lead on average to savings of around 90m a year. It went on to suggest that a number of factors are likely to work in the opposite direction. In particular, it said that "in addition to inescapable diseconomies of scale as pupil and student numbers fall there is a case for a better as well as a smaller teaching force and better in-service training." The balance to be struck between these various factors needs to be seen in the context of the Green Paper's broad conclusion that to the extent that some expenditure programmes will need to increase, such increases will have to be financed either by reductions in programmes of lower priority or by further efficiency savings.

281. The Government's plans for expenditure by LEAs in 1985-86 and, provisionally and in outline, for 1986-87 and 1987-88 are set out in the Public Expenditure White Paper (Cmnd 9428). The significant increase over the plans in the previous White Paper (Cmnd 9143) for 1985-86 should allow, for example, for some continuing improvement in the pupil to teacher ratio, in England and Wales taken together, and for some limited increase in expenditure on such crucial items as books and equipment. The implementation of the rate-capping legislation and preferential targets for low-spending authorities in 1985-86 should also help to bring about a more equitable distribution of expenditure on schools between LEAs. The actual level of services LEAs can provide will however depend crucially on their ability to contain costs, in particular pay which accounts for about three-quarters of their net current expenditure. It is therefore important that

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they seek to restrain pay increases for their employees and also look for possible savings in their manpower. The planned totals for capital expenditure in 1985-86 and later years should enable LEAs to meet the need for new school places due to movements in population and to make continuing progress in removing surplus school places and rationalising school provision.

282. Within the available resources, the Government believes that there is considerable and continuing scope for redeployment through increased efficiency. It intends to continue its efforts in discussion with LEAs to point out the opportunities for further progress towards ensuring the best possible use of the resources available. Many LEAs have already made valuable savings through increased efficiency. But much still needs to be done. The following main areas identify themselves for further action:

(1) the adjustment of school capacity as rolls continue to fall will remain a high priority, increasingly so in the secondary sector where the decline in pupil numbers is only now beginning to affect schools in many areas and will continue for the rest of the decade. For all LEAs the reduction in school rolls will bring sharply into focus issues about the minimum sizes of schools, discussed in Chapter 10 (paragraphs 272-275), and the best use of available resources. As a result of progress made since 1975 authorities in England are already well on their way to taking over one million surplus places out of use by March 1986. If no further reduction in places occurred, the surplus in England by 1991 is likely to be as high as two million places, some 60 per cent of which will be in the secondary sector. The Government therefore intends to set new overall targets, for the purposes of the Government's expenditure plans, of surplus places to be taken out of use for 1987 and later years and will be discussing these with the local authority associations;

(2) the provision of special schools also needs to be rationalised so that the resources available secure a good education for their pupils. The Government does not intend to set overall targets for removing surplus special school places: it is not at present possible to predict reliably the distribution of pupils between special and ordinary schools since LEAs are reviewing their policies on provision and the distribution will be affected by decisions on individual children which cannot be forecast nationally. For the comparatively small number of pupils whose main disability is one of sight or hearing, where provision has to be planned on a national or regional rather than a local basis, the Government is taking the lead in encouraging a rationalisation of provision in consultation with LEAs and the voluntary bodies concerned;

(3) the Government has recently published a consultation document on contracting out local authority services*, proposing that certain services, including school meals and cleaning of buildings, should be carried out by directly employed local authority manpower only if the work has been successfully competed for against outside contractors, on the basis of detailed comparable tenders. A limited number of LEAs have since 1979-80 achieved substantial net savings on school

*'Competition in the Provision of Local Authority Services.'

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meals through increased productivity and it is evident that comparable further savings are potentially available from most other LEAs. The Audit Commission in its recent report on aspects of non-teaching costs in secondary schools* has suggested that savings are also available on school cleaning if more up-to-date and efficient methods are introduced. Subjecting these services to the process of a rigorous cost comparison with private sector tenders should provide the best test of whether they are being run as efficiently as practicable;

(4) the Government has outlined in this White Paper certain principles which in its view should govern changes in the size and deployment of the teacher force over the next decade. It intends to continue its discussions with the LEAs about these matters.

283. The Government believes that the Audit Commission has an important role in encouraging the best possible use of resources in order to obtain further improvements in value for money. The report referred to in paragraph 282(3) emphasises the scope for savings that arise from taking surplus school places out of use. It also points to the opportunities for reducing caretaking and cleaning costs and for achieving greater efficiency within the resources available for repairs and maintenance. Other recent reports on purchasing arrangements and transport provision also have significant implications for LEAs. The Government intends to discuss with the local authority associations how best to take advantage of the analysis made by the Audit Commission in the interests of the education service.

284. Education support grants will be paid to LEAs for the first time in the 1985-86 financial year. The Government believes that these grants have an important contribution to make towards a limited and cost-effective redeployment of expenditure into activities which particularly advance the shared objectives set out in this White Paper. The activities to be supported in 1985-86 have been chosen in the light of detailed consultation with the local authority associations. In England ninety-five LEAs bid for education support grant support in 1985-86 and for each of the 11 activities for which bids were invited the bids exceeded the amount available for support. In Wales all the LEAs and the Welsh Joint Education Committee made bids which, in total, exceeded the amount available for the 11 activities being supported.

285. The Government, the LEAs and teachers attach particular importance to in-service training as a means of further developing the skills of teachers in schools in response to changing demands and priorities. Expenditure by LEAs supported by pooling arrangements or by the scheme of in-service training grants first introduced in 1983-84 has roughly doubled in real terms over the last 5 years. As explained in paragraphs 175-176, the Government now intends to introduce a new specific grant to support LEA expenditure on most aspects of in-service training, including that currently supported through the pool, with the aims of securing more systematic, purposeful and cost-effective planning of in-service training. The expenditure to be supported by this grant will be determined each year.

*'Obtaining Better Value in Education.'

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286. Progress towards the objectives set out in this White Paper will depend critically upon the effectiveness of the co-operation of the different partners within the education service. The Government acknowledges, however, that even if LEAs take all the steps open to them to secure savings and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which they deploy their resources, it may be difficult to achieve in full these objectives within existing real levels of expenditure per pupil, not least because of diseconomies of scale arising from the continuing fall in pupil numbers overall, and such factors as the increasing introduction of technology and practical work into the curriculum. The resources available for education in the future will depend on many factors including the increasing demands on other services. But the education service will do its future claims on resources nothing but good, at both national and local level, if it is seen to be taking sustained and purposeful action to secure the best use of what it has now.

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287. Independent schools are an important part of the school system in England and Wales. At any one time, about 6 per cent of the school-age population are at independent schools, and increasing numbers of pupils attend both independent and maintained schools during their school careers. The Secretaries of State have a general responsibility towards independent schools by virtue of their national duties under Section 1 of the Education Act 1944. They also have specific duties under Part III of the Act to ensure that the schools meet minimum standards.

288. Among the strengths of our schools system are its diversity and the extent of choice, increased by the Assisted Places Scheme, which it offers to parents. The independent sector makes a significant contribution on both counts. Its work in education goes back over many centuries. There has been a long tradition of high standards in its best schools, which have shown particular strengths in certain elements of the curriculum. A number of independent schools have been in the forefront of curriculum development, for example in mathematics, science and technology. But independent schools, like maintained schools, vary greatly in quality and many fall short of the standards achieved by the best.

289. The independent sector also provides opportunities for parents who wish their children to receive forms of schooling not found in the mainstream, for example, in the schools for children of foreign nationals and in those where the process and aims of education are intended to reflect and transmit a particular religious or philosophical view of life. Additionally, the sector is well placed to make provision which LEAs could not offer economically: it makes an important contribution to the national stock of boarding places; it also makes significant provision for those with special educational needs and for the artistically gifted, particularly in music and ballet. In recognition of these latter considerations, about one in six pupils in independent schools is assisted with his fees from various central and local government funds.

290. The independent sector's contribution continues to enrich the education system, and the Government is committed to preserving and fostering it. Diversity cannot, however, be pursued at the expense of standards. Part III of the Education Act 1944 requires all independent schools to be registered, and requires the Secretaries of State to take action against schools which fall below the standards which need to be met for registration. Such action is necessary in respect of the small minority of schools which are ill-equipped in terms of staffing, resources or teaching aims and methods to meet the needs of the pupils in their charge. The Secretaries of State exercise their duties under Part III of the Act on the following principles:

(1) as regards standards of premises and accommodation (including fire safety and other health and safety matters), the Secretaries of State expect these to be broadly comparable with those required of maintained schools;

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(2) as regards the curriculum and standards of teaching, Section 36 of the 1944 Act requires parents to cause their children to receive efficient full-time education suitable to their ages, abilities and aptitudes. This requirement takes precedence if it conflicts with other considerations, such as any general parental preference and the particular objectives or style of a school. The interests of the child dictate that what is offered in the school should make it possible for him to get the most out of his school years and to keep all reasonable options open to him for his future education, training or employment. This entails offering him the opportunity to acquire a broad and balanced range of knowledge and skills through appropriate and effective teaching over a worthwhile period of time. Each school is expected to seek to develop the personal qualities of each pupil and to give him tuition, offered with due regard to objectivity, appropriate to his age, ability and aptitude in English, mathematics, science (including practical and investigative work), the humanities, aesthetic subjects, practical activities, physical education and religious or moral education. Most pupils should have the opportunity at an appropriate stage to study another language. Timetabling and actual practice should reflect an appropriately balanced provision of all these elements.
291. The Education Act 1981 introduced the requirement that independent schools at which LEAs are to place children with statements of special educational need should be approved for the purpose by the Secretary of State. In order to secure approval, the independent school has to attain standards of accommodation, teaching staff, curriculum and, where appropriate, residential care comparable with those expected in maintained special schools. The schools in question are being appraised by HMI and most of them have been approved or are expected to reach the standard for approval after remedying specific deficiencies.

292. This White Paper has set out the principles which should govern the curriculum. These apply to all schools. Independent schools as a whole can learn much from good practice in the maintained sector. Equally, best practice in the independent sector can offer much of value to maintained schools, as well as to other independent schools. To assist the Secretaries of State in the discharge of their Part III duties and in the interest of good education, independent schools are periodically visited and inspected by HMI. The publication of HMI reports helps to raise standards by disseminating good practice wherever it is found in both maintained and independent schools, by pointing the way to the elimination of bad practice, and by reducing the professional isolation that can be felt by some teachers.

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Links with other policies

293. The policies and the programme of action set out in this White Paper reinforce each other and pursue coherently the aim of raising standards in our schools. They have been designed also to support the Government's policies for the other sectors of education, and link with the Government's policies outside education.

294. The Government is committed to improving opportunity and quality in post-school education and training. A broad, balanced, differentiated and relevant school curriculum, effectively delivered, will provide the most useful foundation for all subsequent phases of education and for training. It will enable those who leave school, at the end of the compulsory period or later, to continue full-time or part-time education through more specialised study. It will enhance the value of the extended Youth Training Scheme, which will provide all those leaving full-time education at 16 or 17 with an opportunity to acquire recognised occupational qualifications. It will permit a wider choice of study post-16 and support the acquisition of specific understanding or competence by the broad understanding and generic competence which it will have conferred. It will also provide a basis for training and for education later in adult life.

295. Higher standards in school education will also reinforce those Government policies outside education which are designed to strengthen the economic and social fabric of our society. More rapid technological change in an increasingly competitive world places a premium on enterprise, personal versatility and national cohesion. These values are the goal both of the Government's policy for education and of its policies for revitalising the economy and for maintaining that freedom under the law which is a precondition of each individual's fulfilment.

296. Industry and commerce are among the school's main customers. They have a vital role in raising standards at school by explaining their needs to the education service and by taking part in the development of its policies and activities. The Government will continue to invite industry and commerce to participate in national discussions of objectives, and in the work of national committees concerned with school education. It looks to firms to involve themselves at other levels, notably in the work of school governing bodies and examinations boards.


297. All those concerned with the programme set out in this White Paper will want to know whether and how quickly their efforts are bearing fruit. As Chapter 1 explains, it is difficult to measure the performance of the school system. The DES, in Statistical Bulletins 16/83 and 13/84, has published some findings on the relationship between socio-economic factors and examination

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results, but it is not possible to measure many of the factors which determine the input into the system or many of the aspects of its output; and the definition of good education changes over time. It is nevertheless possible to identify certain indicators and to attempt to compare present and future achievement in relation to them. Such monitoring, though incomplete, is essential for the assessment of policy. It also serves to inform those who rely on the school system, and those who pay for it, how far its performance measures up to the curricular objectives which the Government intends to publish on the basis described in this White Paper. It is complemented by the judgements made by HMI in reporting on the state of school education.

298. The Government proposes the following action in relation to teaching quality and pupil performance. Steps will be taken to plug the gaps which now exist in the centrally available information about the academic qualifications of newly trained teachers so that comparisons can be made over time. The quality of newly trained teachers was assessed through the sample survey whose results were published in 1981; similar surveys will be made and published at 5-yearly intervals. Results from the recent surveys of the staffing of secondary schools in England and Wales to be published this year will provide information on the qualifications of teachers in secondary schools and the match between their qualifications and their teaching tasks. The Government intends to repeat these surveys at 5-yearly intervals. Later this year the Government will explore with its partners in the education service the feasibility of undertaking similar surveys of the staffing of primary schools.

299. As regards pupil performance, the Secretaries of State will publish in due course accounts, based on surveys conducted by the Assessment of Performance Unit between 1978 and 1985, of levels of performance achieved in various aspects of mathematics and English by pupils aged 11 and 15; in science by pupils aged 11, 13 and 15; and in foreign languages by pupils aged 13. It is the intention that, when APU surveys come to be repeated in these subjects towards the end of the decade, similar accounts of pupil performance will be published for comparison with the earlier findings. The APU is also planning a national survey in 1988 of the performance of 15 year old pupils in design and technology.

300. The new GCSE examinations, based on a grading system which attests specified levels of performance, will make it possible to monitor over time what pupils know, understand and can do by age 16 in relation to many important aspects of many areas of learning. They will permit comparisons over time on a basis more objective than is available under the existing system of 16+ examinations. The national picture of GCSE results will help to show how far progress is being made towards the aim, set out in paragraph 80, of raising levels of attainment by age 16 throughout the ability range so that 80-90 per cent of all pupils reach and surpass levels now achieved by the average. The results will also enable LEAs, governing bodies, and teachers to review changes in attainment at age 16 at the level of the LEA or the school, having regard to all the factors which affect that attainment. Success in establishing targets for attainment at age 11 and 16 at various ability levels - an aim described in paragraph 81 - would make it possible similarly to

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review, at national, local or school level, what pupils attain at age 11 and their attainments at age 16, having regard to the GCSE results and all other relevant factors.

The pace of progress

301. The aim for attainment at age 16 set out in paragraph 80 is a longer-term aim and the programme of action designed to achieve it will take many years to complete. But the Government is confident that, within the life of the present Parliament, broad agreement will be reached on those national objectives for the 5-16 curriculum which relate to the purposes of learning at school, the content of the curriculum as a whole, and the contribution of its main elements; the first GCSE courses will be leading to examinations based on new grade criteria in many subjects; the first AS level courses will be starting; schemes for records of achievement will be widespread; initial teacher training will conform substantially to the new criteria laid down by the Secretaries of State; a start will be made in improving the composition and entrenching the powers of school governing bodies; and the TVEI will be established in the great majority of LEAs in England and Wales. The Government believes that, with good management of the teacher force and other resources by LEAs and schools, the range of reforms and improvements envisaged in this White Paper can be firmly established throughout the school system by the end of the decade.


302. The Government's central aim is to improve standards in schools, using the available resources to yield the best possible return, so that the schools more effectively help all our children and young people to become responsible and law-abiding citizens, to bring enterprise, versatility and application to their employment, and to foster those qualities and attitudes which will enable them to develop their talents as individuals and as valued members of society. To this end it is taking the lead in four linked initiatives:

- pursuing broad agreement on the objectives of the curriculum;
- introducing reformed examinations together with records of achievement;
- improving teaching quality in all its aspects;
- harnessing the energies of parents and others in a reformed system of school government.
In these initiatives, as elsewhere, the Government cannot act alone. Their success depends on the ready co-operation and mutual support of all the partners in education and of the customers of the schools. The Government intends to work closely with all of these, recognising that many of the factors which bear on the task are beyond the reach, let alone the control, of public policy.

303. That task will itself change as the work proceeds and its results are assessed. It is already clear that the task is hard but urgent. The accelerating

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pace of technological development, its effects on our society, and the country's economic circumstances, may make the task harder and more urgent still. School education, like other aspects of our national life, will flourish only if it succeeds in adjusting to the demands of the time more rapidly and flexibly than it has hitherto been called upon to do. The Government pays tribute to all those, within and outside the education service, who are laying the foundations of success. The prize to be won is a better, more prosperous future.

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HMI Publications

Primary Education in England. A survey by HM Inspectors of Schools. HMSO 1978. (Reprinted with corrections 1981) (ISBN 0 11 270484 0)

Aspects of Secondary Education in England. A survey by HM Inspectors of Schools. HMSO 1979. (ISBN 0 11 270498 0)

Education 5 to 9: An illustrative survey of 80 first schools in England. HMSO 1982. (ISBN 0 11 270530 8)

9-13 Middle Schools. An illustrative survey. HMSO 1983. (ISBN 0 11 270556 1)

Curriculum and Organisation of Primary Schools in Wales. Education Issues 7. Welsh Office Education Department 1984. (ISBN 0 86 3480058 6)

English from 5 to 16. HMI Curriculum Matters Series No. 1. HMSO 1984. (ISBN 0 11 270472 7)

The Curriculum from 5 to 16. HMI Curriculum Matters Series No. 2. HMSO 1985. (ISBN 0 11 270568 5)

Aims and Objectives of Teaching and Learning Welsh for 5-16 year old pupils Curriculum Matters. Welsh Office Education Department 1984.

Slow Learning and Less Successful Pupils in Secondary Schools. Evidence from some HMI visits. DES, July 1984. (ISBN 0 85522 144 5)

Education for Employees: An HMI study of part-time release for 16-19 year olds. HMSO 1984. (ISBN 0 11 270397 6)

Education Observed: A review of the first six months of published reports by HM Inspectors. DES, April 1984. (ISBN 0 85522 141 0)

Education Observed 2: A review of published reports by HM Inspectors on Primary Schools and 11-16 and 12-16 Comprehensive Schools. DES, December 1984. (ISBN 0 85522 156 9)

Other Publications

The School Curriculum. DES and Welsh Office. HMSO 1981. (ISBN 0 11 270383 6)

The Organisation and Content of the 5-16 Curriculum. A discussion paper. DES and Welsh Office, September 1984.

The Organisation and Content of the 5-16 Curriculum: Special Schools. A discussion paper. DES and Welsh Office, September 1984.

Foreign Languages in the School Curriculum. A consultative paper. DES and Welsh Office, 1983

Science 5-16: A statement of policy. DES and Welsh Office, March 1985 (ISBN 011 270572 3)

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Mathematics Counts. The report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Teaching of Mathematics in Schools in England and Wales under the Chairmanship of Dr W H Cockcroft. HMSO 1982. (ISBN 0 11 270522 7)

TVEI Review 1984. MSC, June 1984. (ISBN 0 86392 062 4)

Special Educational Needs. The report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People under the Chairmanship of Mrs H M Warnock. (Cmnd 7212) HMSO 1978. (ISBN 0 10 172120 X)

School Libraries: the Foundations of the Curriculum. Library Information Series No 13. HMSO 1984. (ISBN 0 11 630713 7)


General Certificate of Secondary Education: The National Criteria. HMSO 1985. (ISBN 0 11270569 3)

General Certificate of Secondary Education: A General Introduction. HMSO 1985. (ISBN 0 11 270571 5)

AS Levels: Proposals by the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and Wales for a broader curriculum for A Level students. DES and Welsh Office, May 1984.

Records of Achievement: A Statement of Policy. DES and Welsh Office, July 1984.

A Survey of the Use of Graded Tests of Defined Objectives and their Effect on the Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages in the County of Oxfordshire. HM Inspectors' Report 7/83. DES, 1983.


A list of Reports for Teachers and other publications is available from the Department of Education and Science.


Teaching Quality. (White Paper, Cmnd 8836) HMSO 1983. (ISBN 010 188360 9)

Schoolteacher Numbers and Deployment in the Longer Term. A discussion paper. DES, September 1984.

Schoolteacher Numbers and Deployment in the Longer Term in Wales. A discussion paper. Welsh Office Education Department, December 1984.

Future Demand for Primary and Secondary Schoolteachers. A report to the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and Wales by the Advisory Committee on the Supply and Education of Teachers. ACSET 1984.

The Selection of Secondary School Headteachers, by Colin Morgan, Valerie Hall and Hugh Mackay. Open University Press 1983. (ISBN 0 33 510410 X)

A Probationary Period for Newly Appointed Headteachers. A consultative document. DES, April 1984.

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Education for All. The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Education of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups under the Chairmanship of Lord Swann. (Cmnd 9453) HMSO 1985

Education for All: A brief guide to the main issues by Lord Swann. DES March 1985.

Mother Tongue Teaching in School and Community: AN HMI enquiry in four LEAs. HMSO 1984. (ISBN 0 11 270398 4)


Parental Influence at School: A new framework for school government in England and Wales. (Green Paper, Cmnd 9242) HMSO 1984. (ISBN 0 10 192420 8)


The Government's Expenditure Plans 1984-85 to 1986-87. (Cmnd 9143) HMSO 1984.

The Government's Expenditure Plans 1985-86 to 1987-88. (Cmnd 9428) HMSO 1985.

The next ten years: Public Expenditure and Taxation into the 1990s. (Cmnd 9189) HMSO 1984.

Obtaining Better Value in Education: Aspects of Non Teaching Costs in Secondary Schools. Report of a study by the Audit Commission. HMSO 1984.

Competition in the Provision of Local Authority Services. A discussion paper. Department of the Environment, 1985.

Reports by Her Majesty's Inspectors on the Effects of Local Authority Expenditure Policies on the Education Service in England - 1981-1983. DES, 1982-1984.


DES Circular 4/73; Welsh Office Circular 47/73.
Staffing of Special Schools and Classes.

DES Circular 2/81; Welsh Office Circular 30/81.
Falling Rolls and Surplus Places.

DES Circular 6/81; Welsh Office Circular 44/81.
The School Curriculum.

DES Circular 8/83; Welsh Office Circular 59/83.
The School Curriculum.

DES Circular 3/84; Welsh Office Circular 21/84.
Initial Teacher Training: Approval of Courses.

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DES Circular 6/84; Welsh Office Circular 39/84.
Education Support Grants.


Statistical Bulletin 16/83.
School Standards and Spending: Statistical Analysis.

Statistical Bulletin 13/84.
School Standards and Spending: Statistical Analysis. A Further Appreciation.