achievement faced by pupils in disadvantaged areas are having many
positive benefits, the chief inspector of schools said
today, though their effect on attainment has been uneven.
The Office for Standards in Education report, Excellence in Cities
and Education Action Zones: management and impact, found that the
programmes have helped schools and teachers to meet the needs of
disaffected and vulnerable pupils more effectively. The report also
found that exclusions are being reduced and attendance is improving
at a faster rate in the schools involved in the programmes.
The effect of the programmes on attainment has been variable in
relation to the national picture. The introduction of the Excellence
in Cities (EiC) programme has been associated with a faster rise in
standards in secondary schools in EiC areas than nationally. The
later extension of the programme to primary schools means that it is
too early to see a clear effect on standards at the end of primary
school, but the signs are positive. Excellence in Cities strands
include: learning mentors, learning support units, provision for
gifted & talented pupils as well as City Learning Centres and
additional specialist schools. Education Action Zones (EAZ)
programmes have had more effect on attainment in the primary schools
than in the secondary schools involved.
Chief inspector David Bell said :
'I am pleased to report that these programmes are providing pupils
with a broader range of opportunities and helping to raise
aspirations, confidence and self-esteem of young people in the most
disadvantaged areas. However, more needs to be done to ensure that
they help consistently to raise attainment across the board.'
The report, published today, found:
- Excellence in Cities (EiC) and Education Action Zones (EAZ) have
provided pupils with a broader range of opportunities and a re helping
to raise their aspirations, confidence and self-esteem. Exclusions
are being reduced and attendance is improving at a faster rate in the
schools benefiting from this funding than in the nation as a whole.
- EiC provision has had more impact on raising standards and
improving inclusion than EAZ activities.
- The EiC programme has strengthened co-operation between schools
and local education authorities. Its planning, funding and structures
are simpler than that of EAZs and its emphasis on making provision
directly for pupils is straightforward to interpret.
- The main strands of EiC match the needs of schools and, overall,
they have been implemented well. Secondary schools have generally
used the funding productively and adapted their provision
successfully to suit their pupils. The later introduction of the
scheme to primary schools is showing promise.
- Attainment in schools in EiC areas has risen relative to national
results at the end of Key Stage 3 and in the proportion of pupils
gaining five or more A*-C and one or more A*-G grades at GCSE. The
gap with national results remains, but has closed, especially between
2001 and 2002.
- The EAZs in the first round had a limited initial impact on school
improvement, mainly because over-ambitious plans did not always focus
on the challenges faced by schools in their areas. The management of
zones has subsequently improved.
- EAZs have helped to develop co-operation between schools and have
made some very productive links with the business community.
- The impact of EAZ programmes on attainment has been stronger in
primary schools, where standards in English and mathematics have been
rising at a faster rate than nationally, than in secondary schools.
In secondary schools the effect of EAZs has been greater in tackling
disaffection and promoting inclusion than in raising attainment.
Results at Key Stage 3 and GCSE remain well below the national
- Both programmes have had the greatest benefits in schools where
leadership and management are very good. Attention to the
implications of the schemes for management in schools was
insufficient at their inception, but more attention has been given to
these implications as the schemes have developed.
The report makes recommendations including: simplifying sources of
funding; providing more secure guidance and training; giving more
support for improving school management and raising the quality of
teaching; and continuing to focus on tackling poor attendance.
David Bell added: 'Overall both programmes are making a positive
impact in schools in disadvantaged areas, but not comprehensively and
consistently so. There is no room for complacency. There are rapid
improvements in some schools but this is offset by the disappointing
progress, or even decline, of others.'
1. The report, Excellence in Cities and Education Action Zones:
management and impact, ref HMI 1399, is available here.
2. The report covers only those secondary schools in phase 1 of the
EiC programme and the primary schools in the 'expansion' programme.
It only covers round 1 Education Action Zones.
3. Case studies are available - please contact Ofsted press office
for further information.