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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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New publications

Liberating Learning: Widening Participation

Patrick Derham, Michael Worton

Comprising a number of essays by education experts, this text examines the state of contemporary secondary education in Britain. The text asserts that narrow curricula and rigid assessment systems have had a negative effect on secondary education, and that the social gap in education remains wide. The authors call for a more generous approach to teaching and learning that will engage young people and give teachers more freedom. Initiatives that are successfully raising aspirations and participation are examined. Adapted from the publisher's description.

KLA

Subject Headings

Thought and thinking
Secondary education
Great Britain

Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters: A KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Leila Fiester

Many children from low-income backgrounds in the USA fail to meet reading benchmarks, an issue that is not helped by low state standards that may mask shortcomings. This report makes suggestions about improving outcomes. These include developing a coherent and aligned early childhood education system; encouraging parents and caregivers to provide positive home learning environments for children; working to transform low-performing schools into high-achieving ones; and working to combat student absence and 'summer learning losses'. The full report is available online.

Key Learning Areas

English

Subject Headings

Primary education
Reading
Child development
United States of America (USA)

Guidance on the Place of Creationism and Intelligent Design in Science Lessons

DCSF,  2007

This report, developed in line with the National Curriculum in Britain, examines the place of intelligent design and creationism in science lessons. It notes that discussion of the origin of the universe and human life, as well as the relationships between religion and science, are to be discussed within Religion classes, and to some degree Citizenship and History classes. However, science classes are to focus on the 'nature of science as a scientific discipline'. Science teachers may respond to students' questions about creationism by asking questions related to the nature of scientific theory and the accepted scientific consensus around phenomena such as evolution and the Big Bang. The DCSF does not specify specific resources to be used in the classroom, and teachers are able to use their professional judgement in selecting resources. However, if such materials contain discussion of intelligent design or creationism, it should be made clear that these do not constitute a scientific theory. The full report is available online.

Key Learning Areas

Science

Subject Headings


Science teaching
Religion
Great Britain

Opportunity Knocks: Closing the Gaps between Leaders and the Public on Math, Science, & Technology Education

Alison Kadlec, Will Friedman
Public Agenda,  2010

The document reports on research undertaken to inform efforts to improve maths, science and technology education and outcomes for all students in Kansas. It follows a national report that identified an 'urgency gap' between leaders and parents on the importance of STEM education. This gap can be bridged by involving and engaging parents and students in STEM by demonstrating the real-world applications of science and technology; ensuring students are involved in STEM education at an earlier age; and improving teacher quality. The full report is available online.

Key Learning Areas

Science

Subject Headings

Science
School and community
United States of America (USA)

Can I Get a Little Advice Here? How an Overstretched High School Guidance System Is Undermining Students' College Aspirations

Public Agenda,  2010

Recent research has indicated that many students in the USA believe that they receive inadequate career guidance. Many students also believe that their teachers are better placed to give careers advice than careers counsellors. Careers counsellors in tertiary institutions were perceived by students as more helpful but not exemplary. These findings are important given that students who are dissatisfied with their careers counselling are less likely to go directly to university and are more likely to make poorly informed decisions regarding further study. The full report is available online.

KLA

Subject Headings

United States of America (USA)
Careers

Poorer Children's Educational Attainment: How Important are Attitudes and Behaviour?

Haroon Chowdry, Claire Crawford, Lorraine Dearden, et al.

Drawing on data from several large-scale studies undertaken in Britain, this report examines the ways that different aspirations, attitudes and behaviours can influence children's educational outcomes. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds were much less likely to experience a rich home learning environment, which has implications for children's cognitive development. Parental attitudes towards education, as well as children's self-efficacy, were found to influence achievement in the primary years, which is when attainment gaps start to widen. At secondary level prior decisions, attitudes and behaviours were found to influence students' outcomes, although family attitudes towards education also played a role. Gaps were most evident in cases where disadvantage persisted across generations. The full report is available online.

KLA

Subject Headings

Socially disadvantaged
Child development
Great Britain