Education news round up Dec 1992

December 01, 1992

The government published its Education Bill on October 30 and parliamentary proceedings started in November, following its July white paper Choice and Diversity: a new framework for schools. Among other provisions, parents, churches and voluntary bodies can seek to set up new schools, funded as grant maintained, with 15% of the building costs coming from private and business sources. Previously only existing schools could opt to become grant maintained. In addition, voluntary aided and grant maintained schools will have a new category of up to four sponsor governors, whose appointment must be approved directly by the Secretary of State. So far, of 25,000 state schools in England and Wales, only 348 schools have completed procedures to opt out, according to Education Secretary, John Patten MP, speaking in the second reading debate on November 9. The government’s target is 4,000, including most secondary schools, by 1995. Contact DFE on 071 925 5042

Meanwhile business people attending a CBI conference on the education white paper on September 28 heard Education Secretary, John Patten MP, urge businesses to make what he termed a “blue chip investment” in education, with guaranteed returns in well-educated young people. However, Sir Bryan Nicholson, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Post Office, while supporting the aims of the white paper, warned that the benefits of opting out are not proven and that the period of transition to the new regime would be damaging. He expressed dislike of the concept of sponsor governors, saying most employers see themselves as customers of education, some as partners, but few as sponsors. Contact CBI on 071 379 7400

Working with education should be a normal part of doing business and so be able to demonstrate clear benefits sought, achieved and evaluated, according to BP. To prove it, the company has undertaken a detailed evaluation of its own programme which it published in November as a guide to others. The booklet, Assessing the Value, describes a rigourous and impressive approach to a notoriously soft area of business activity. (A future issue of Community Affairs Briefing will review BP’s methodology in more depth.) Contact Chris Marsden, BP, on 0442 232323

Young people need greater incentives to pursue vocational training, according to Learning Should Pay, a report carried out by the London School of Economics and published on October 13. While demand for skilled labour is growing and government is expanding the supply of places, the real problem is a lack of demand among those leaving school at 16. The research is sponsored by BP as part of its £3 million Aiming For College programme. Low rewards are just one factor, with complexity of access and family influences identified as playing a part.

BP has also published a progress report on the various local projects in the Aiming for College programme, largely focused in three areas: East London, through BP Oil’s international headquarters; Glasgow through BP Exploration’s European HQ; and West Glamorgan where BP Chemicals has a major plant. Contact Jeremy Nicholls, BP, on 071 496 4350

A conference to consider the rule business placements have in the initial training and induction of teachers was organised by Understanding British Industry for 60 people from business and education in Warwickshire on October 12-13. Sponsored by Unilever, it examined the lessons of a national pilot programme for new teachers. The conference coincided with Unilever’s own Teacher Placement Week in Merseyside, during which 12 teachers joined several Unilever group companies for industrial experience. Contact Susan Fox, Unilever, on 051 644 8684

The world’s second largest pharmaceuticals company, Glaxo, announced in November a £3 million programme of academic medical research endowments. Funded by the British-based holding company, Imperial College will gain a Chair in organic chemistry, Strathclyde University a Research Fellowship and Lincoln College, Oxford, a junior research fellowship. Contact John Barr, Glaxo Holdings, on 071 493 4060

The Industrial Society has organised a series of one-day workshops on school governors from the business community, linked to the second edition of an information pack. The pack, sponsored by the Department for Education, includes fourteen fact sheets on all aspects of being a governor. The one-day workshops took place on October 15 in Bristol and November 12 in London, with a final session due in Leeds on December 10. Contact Roger Opie, Industrial Society, on 021 454 6769 or, for copies of the pack, DFE Publications on 081 533 2000

The national pilot programme to develop a strategy for applying Investors in People in schools had signed up 48 schools working with 29 TECs by October. IIP is a national standard for effective investment in people and the pilot scheme is run by the Teacher Placement Service. Each school is assigned an adviser, either the TEC or a local company. A monthly newsletter is planned and a national forum will be established early in 1993. Contact Katie Alderson, TPS, on 0865 722585

A pilot programme of headteacher placements has been launched by Safeway in 8 locations, offering week-long placements for primary and secondary heads. The aim is to offer experience in a range of business disciplines and to build closer links with schools. The programme will be evaluated and expanded if proved successful. Safeway already offer some 200 teacher placements each year. Contact Mary Wilkinson on 0925 811515

Individual schools with poor playgrounds, mainly those in inner city areas with asphalt sites, can apply to Learning through Landscapes for a grant to carry out practical improvement projects which involve the children themselves. The two-year scheme, funded BT at a cost of £30,000, should help about 30 schools and was launched by the Education Minister, Eric Forth MP, on October 19. Contact Richard Redden, BT, on 071 356 5385

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 7 – December, 1992