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Education Essay: Teaching For Creativity Essay


The lack of creativity in teaching has been a significant issue in recent years. In All Our Futures: Creativity, Cultures and Education, a report by the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCE) in May 1999, there are proposals suggested to implement a wider nationwide scheme for creative education. The report highlighted that children profit from using creative skills and by having these skills developed. It also suggested that creative teaching should be made part of all academic education. This was the first time that this issue had been fully recognised. In response to this report, the government has acknowledged the significance of developing the creative skills of children, as these could become essential in future workplaces. The Nation Curriculum recognises that many employers want and need creative people: ‘Schools that promote creativity will ensure that pupils respond positively to opportunities and responsibilities and are better able to cope with new challenges as well as change and adversity’ (National Curriculum 1999). Creativity helps teachers deliver the academic curriculum to students in an appealing manner.

The NACCE report highlighted that there is a difference between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity. Teaching creatively can be interpreted as a teacher being inventive and developing strategies to engage and encourage students. On the other hand, teaching for creativity focuses on strategies that aim to develop the creative skills of the learners. Subjects such as design and technology can contribute greatly to the enhancement of creativity, as evidenced by the specific outcomes of the National Curriculum that indicate learners should be able to think creatively. In design and technology, creativity is central to developing the learner, so it is crucial that teachers of the subject recognise how to foster creativity. Nichol, points out that teachers have an important responsibility to increase ‘creativity in the D&T classroom’ (2004, p.1). Therefore, teachers have the responsibility of ensuring the development and promotion of creativity in students. Teachers have to set examples for their pupils, so the use of creativity must originate from the teacher. To do this, there are many things teachers can do. Davies (1999, p.102), suggests the chance for learners to develop creatively in the classroom depends critically on how much support is exploited through teachers. Creativity cannot be easily defined because there are a number of different approaches to understanding creativity. This paper focuses on teaching for creativity. In order to promote this I have considered how teachers can create the conditions of a secure environment where pupils feel they can take risks without being penalised and how imaginations can be stimulated through different strategies.

Create the conditions

Creativity can be defined as the willingness to be courageous, adventurous, daring and to try new things. Creative people take risks and produce some of the best ideas. Iconic designer, Michael Wolff, has never been afraid of taking risks; he has achieved great things through his passion, vision and daring attitude. Design and technology is a very ‘creative and innovative subject’ where pupils are motivated to utilize different thinking approaches and ‘to take risks’ (Spendlove, 2002). When designing and making, creative work is likely to bring about original knowledge which will incur risk taking. Innovation and risk taking are skills that are close together, as designers have to deal with the insecurity involved in creating something new. Young people tend to be very conservative when designing. However, risk taking as part of innovation can help take students out of their comfort zone. When this happens there can be a high level of uncertainty and a great emotional reaction. If teaching encourages pupils, then ‘there is merit in taking chances in using trial and error to improve ideas’ (Owen-Jackson, 2008, p.142) because a more liberated atmosphere in the classroom is created.

It is a well-known saying that we learn from our mistakes. However, the fear of making mistakes can prevent learners from trying anything new, so by an atmosphere of trust and a secure environment reassures pupils that they can take risks without being penalised if the outcome is not what they intended. I try to encourage an atmosphere in the classroom were learners feel comfortable in taking risks, rather than worrying about making a mistake. The National Strategy, Social and Emotion Aspects of Learning (SEAL), is an effective way to encourage communal and emotional skills in students. SEAL encourages learners to be ‘more aware of risk and the consequences of certain choices,’ and educates them ‘how to make appropriate choices’ (The National Strategy, 2010). The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTSA), launched a project in 2009, Butterflies in my Tummy, which combines aspects of D&T and SEAL. The scheme’s objective is to ‘promote innovation and risk-taking when children are designing’ (D&T Association, 2010). The concepts of SEAL are encouraged to create a secure environment and positive working relationship that expand the abilities and approaches required for risk taking and creativity.

Creativity for me is all about taking risks. I totally agree that ‘experimenting and notional failure are essential to good D&T education’ (Spendlove, 2002). A popular British proverb, the man who does not make mistakes is unlikely to make anything, can be seen to be true when it comes to creativity. POST-IT notes, for example, were conceptualized from a bad glue formula; sometimes mistakes lead to better ideas. Creativity is often blocked by the fear of being wrong, so using the SEAL approach is helping me support risk taking and therefore nurture creativity in the classroom. Being prepared to be wrong is an important part of being creative and having original ideas that have value. Learners should not be penalised if a bad outcome occurs through taking a risk, as long as the learner recognises where they went wrong and learn from their mistakes. I have embedded SEAL into my teaching by supporting the learners to take risks, encouraging experimentation and providing constructive feedback to address any problems. In the exploration and development of ideas, I encourage risk taking and experimentation, so that learners have the chance to come up with new ideas and learn from their mistakes.

Having pupils look at their final product and reflect on what they did right as well as what they did wrong is very important. Recently, I undertook a ‘Stars and Wishes’ task with a Year 9 design and technology class. The task involved each pupil commenting on two things they were proud of, their Stars, and two things they needed to improve, their wishes. This was in relation to a food product they had made. Some pupils felt like they had failed because their product was not perfect or not what they had expected. However, when I encouraged them to think of two things that they were proud of, they realised that there were many things they had achieved. They then began to appreciate the effort they had put in. If pupils cannot see anything they have done well, they are likely to stop trying and give up.

After looking at positives, I then encouraged the pupils to reflect on their mistakes. The nature of the task encouraged an environment where the pupils felt comfortable in admitting to their mistakes or areas that needed improving; this is where significant learning takes place. If pupils do not acknowledge their mistakes, they will be likely to repeat them. The two ‘wishes’ for each pupil became their objectives for the next practical lesson. In many situations it is often the teacher that comments on areas of improvement. However, because the pupils had the opportunity to reflect and comment on their own performance, it created a more enthusiastic approach to learning and the pupils wanted to achieve and perform even better. The next lesson the pupils learned from their mistakes and did better. As a result, their work was more creative because they were comfortable to take a risk. The students knew that it was acceptable if they made a mistake, as long as they acknowledge it and learned from it.

Teachers provide a supportive environment that encourages risk taking by acting as a role model. I show pupils that I am not afraid to take acceptable risks and when I make mistakes I remind pupils that mistakes are opportunities to learn. Through my examples, pupils see that taking risks is a valuable and necessary part of learning. By designing classroom environments that encourage risk taking, learners are supported and encouraged to take creative risks. These teaching strategies promote creativity by creating an atmosphere that encourages sensible risk taking, allows for mistakes and encourages learners to persist and to accept not getting things right the first time.

Stimulate Imaginations

It is often common to hear that good teachers are ‘imaginative’. These teachers show a mental flexibility that permits them to present a subject in a new and engaging way that supports students to be creative and enjoy learning. Philosopher Mary Warnock studied imagination and referred to it as the ‘chief aim of education’ (1976, p.9) and that ‘we have a duty to educate the imagination’. Many would argue this statement, however, I believe that imagination enhances creativity and only through this can we bring our ideas into realisation. Imagination helps to realise our full potential, therefore teachers have an essential responsibility to educate imagination. In order for imagination to grow there has to be resources to stimulate it. The more experiences pupils gain the greater their imagination, so pupils must have the resources they need to be creative. I have considered just a few teaching strategies that I consider to be effective ways of stimulating imagination in the classroom.

Often imagination is associated with imagery and when people try to describe imagination, often they refer to the capacity we have to hold images in our minds. Good visuals have the potential to enhance creativity. Several professional designers were interviewed by Malcolm Welch and David Barlex (2004) to find out what they used to support and enhance their creativity. The designers used ‘job bags’ which contained anything relevant to a particular project: models, photographs, drawings and digital images of models (Barlex, 2007). Mood boards are also excellent visual guides that stimulate inspiration. According to Bill Nichol (2004), strategies such as developing mood boards help learners develop their creative potential. During Nichols research on creativity and innovation, pupils commented on the ‘freedom’ they had when producing mood boards (2004, p.4). The benefits of using visuals help increase the learner’s creative capacity.

An ancient proverb states that on a blank sheet of paper the most beautiful of marks can be made, however, Welch (Bartlex, 2007) deliberates that a blank piece of paper may be very intimidating to pupils. From my experience, pupils tend to reflect Welch’s theory and are daunted by the thought of making the first mark. As often as possible I try to give pupils a choice to work from a blank piece of paper or an alternative. Most often the pupils choose the alternative. The alternative could be a mini white board which, although is a blank canvas, pupils do not have the fear of making a mistake because they know it can easily be erased. In a Food Technology lesson I undertook, the pupils had the task of designing a cupcake decoration, so I provided templates of cakes for the pupils to illustrate their ideas on. As a result the pupils created more ideas and were more experimental, compared to those that did not use templates.

One approach to help stimulate imagination is to encourage divergent thinking through questioning. Effective questions in this instance are those that are open and do not have only one answer. Questions with one word answers are either too easy or too hard; therefore some pupils become bored or frustrated which results in a loss of imagination. Open and relevant questions stretch and add flexibility to the mind. Teaching design and technology imposes many questions throughout each and every process.

One of the fundamental notions of D&T is the investigation into the design and production of existing products, as well as ‘how they may develop in the future’ (National Curriculum). In order to further enhance the pupil’s awareness, abilities and comprehension the following questions could be asked: What designs already existWhat do you think of themCould they be improvedThis strategy of questioning could also be used to explore the relationships between ‘principles of good design, existing solutions and technological knowledge to develop innovative products and processes’ (National Curriculum). For example: is the product or solution likely to solve the design problemThese type of questions help stimulate imagination by encouraging pupils to see lots of possible answers and see things from different perspectives.

Creativity can be enhanced by sharing knowledge. Sharing creative ideas and thoughts can help to stimulate ideas. One way for teachers to promote an atmosphere where pupils can share ideas is through group work. Teachers TV offers a series of programs named ‘Proven to Work’, where one of the programs, ‘Collaborative Enquiry’, shows how collaborative enquiry can be used to stimulate imagination. A class is spilt into mixed ability groups and asked to look at a photograph. The groups are asked to consider what they know from the photograph, what they would like to find out about the image and what it might be. The group discussions then lead to imaginative answers. This technique is often used in design and technology lessons where groups have different objects or products and have to work out what the function or purpose is. Group members have the opportunity to share their perspectives and listen to different views and approaches to problems. When pupils are working in groups they will differentiate between good and bad ideas, so the teachers must not be critical. The responsibility of the teacher is to praise pupils for coming up with ideas, whatever these ideas may be. It is also important that the students are motivated to select and develop the good ideas further. Pupils will profit from experiencing the methods, approaches and skills that others use in the creative process.

There are many ways to stimulate imagination and I have only considered a few ways teachers can achieve this. Most pupils already have a rich and varied imagination, but through the teaching of design and technology, teachers can stimulate imagination through various way of teaching for creativity.


Creative teaching methods are vital for the effectiveness of a teacher. Renzulli (1992) argues that teachers are a fundamental tool in the nurturing of creativity in students. Fasko (2001) stated that ‘creative teaching can enhance learning’. Good teachers use creative teaching methods so they can reach all their pupils and engage them effectively. Creative teaching strategies can help teachers utilise pupil’s strengths to enhance learning and encourage them to develop deeper levels of thinking. Overall they ensure the role of the teacher creates an environment that fosters creativity. This paper has attempted to outline some of the key approaches to improving creativity in classrooms.

If creative teaching strategies are incorporated into every lesson they can help children succeed. However, teaching for creativity is ‘a complex and demanding activity in which the role of the teacher is crucial’ (Barlex et al, 2007, p.152). Coming up with creative teaching strategies can put extra strain on teachers if they are not particularly innovative themselves. Morris states that teaching for creativity ‘can involve more time and planning to generate and develop ideas and to evaluate whether they have worked’ (2006, p. 5). Nicholl points out that it is the ‘teachers who sanction creative work’ (2004, p.6). However, encouraging creativity in the classroom is a skill not all teachers possess, yet any person can encourage creativity given the correct skills and knowledge. Teachers have to plan to make it happen; they may have to change their teaching styles so there is more potential for creativity. There is much that teachers can do to encourage creativity in the classroom; I have only considered a small fraction of strategies that can aid and stimulate creativity in the teaching of design and technology.

Morris comments that there are many ways teachers can use creativity in their classes but it is ‘only a job half done without the support of the school leadership’ (2006, p.7). Morris suggests that school leaders can support teachers in many ways such as providing resources that stimulate creativity and a stimulating environment. Ofsted suggests that school leadership should be dedicated to the encouraging of creativity. It will also ensure that good practise is resourced effectively across the schools. Our government is starting to realise that is it important for children to foster these creative skills, as they may become vital in the future.

The need to foster all pupils’ creativity has become an important issue after the NACCE report. The development of creativity should be a concern of the entire school. Creative teaching strategies offer a chance for a fresh vision on education. Unfortunately, there is very little literature and research to evidence that teaching for creativity is effective. The NACCE committee is currently gathering a substantial amount of information that suggests that pupils achieve higher and behave better when they are more engaged in creative activities.

The connection between creativity and effective teaching will more than likely be fully explored in the future. Since the NACCE report, creativity has been a debated topic in education and it is likely to remain this way.



Barlex, D. ed., 2007. Design Technology: For the next Generation.Shropshire: Cliffe & Company.

Fisher, R., and Williams, M., 2004. Unlocking Creativity: Teaching Across the Curriculum. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Owen-Jackson, G. ed., 2008. Learning to Teach Design and Technology in the Secondary School. Abingdon: Routledge.

Warnock, M., 1978. Imagination :University ofCalifornia Press.


Davies, T., 1999. Taking Risks as a Feature of Creativity in the Teaching and Learning of Design and Technology. The Journal of Design and Technology Education, 4 (2), pp.101-108.

Fasko, D.J., 2000-2001. Education and Creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 13 (3&4), pp.317-327.

Morris, W., 2006. Creativity: It’s Place in Education

NACCE (1999) All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education. National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education Report.London: DfEE. The NACCE report.

Renzuli, J., 1992. A General Theory for the Development of Creative Productivity Through the Pursuit of Ideal Acts of Learning. Gifted Child Quarterly 36: 170-182.


Department for Education: The National strategies: Seal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12/12/10].

D&T Association: Nesta: Butterflies in my Tummy [online]. Available at: [Accessed 12/12/10].

Spendlove, D., 2002. Risk Brings Rewards. TES Magazine, [online]. Available at: [Accessed 11/12/10].

Teaching expertise: Valuing and developing creativity. [online] Available at:[Accessed 21/12/10].

Teachers TV: Collaborative Enquiry. [online] Available at: [Accessed20/12/10].

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Dissertation Topics in Education [Updated 2018]

our site: Dissertation Topics in Education

1.0. Introduction

The aim of this guide is to aid in selecting Dissertation Topics in Education and to give practical assistance in how to structure said work. Education dissertations cover a wide range, from child development and early years education to the impact of government policy. Generally, writing an Education dissertation involves careful selection of the research question, how to design the data collection vehicle and how to interpret the results.

2.0. Categories and Dissertation Titles

2.1. The Influence on Achievement of Social Factors such as Class, Gender and Ethnicity

The degree to which Piaget’s concept of a fixed developmental sequence in children is a social construct: critically evaluate in relation to research into the developmental experience of ethnic minority children in the UK.
Has the ‘Narrowing the Gap’ agenda made a significant difference to the achievement of any underachieving group in UK schools. Evaluate in relation to the experience of one such group.
In what ways does the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ of gender differentiation influence classroom interactions in secondary school. A qualitative study.
The impact of financial cuts to local authority central support services for children from ethnic minorities: a qualitative study of the impact on primary schools.
Monolingualism and bilingualism; how do young children with a home language other than English fare in Early Years education: a qualitative study of Foundation stage.

2.2. Child Development

To what extent is Bowlby et al’s emphasis on mother-child attachment a product of its social and cultural backgroundEvaluate in relation to more recent research emphasizing the importance of significant others in a child’s development.
How important is play in promoting success in early literacy; a quantitative study.
The more limited a child’s experiences with language and literacy the more likely he or she will have difficulty learning to read. Evaluate this statement in the light of recent research.
Teacher knowledge, respect and support for the diversity of children’s families, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds are as important in early literacy development as high quality teaching: a qualitative study.

2.3. Parents and schools

Do activities which link home and school improve children’s achievement: a qualitative study.
How important is the link between supportive parental involvement and children’s early literacy development: a qualitative study/
Do primary school teachers view parents as assets: a qualitative study.

2.4. Curriculum

Should curriculum and assessment be more closely linked and what methods could be used to achieve this. Evaluate in relation to the experience of secondary school children.
Has the National Curriculum been a successCritically examine in the light of research into pupils perceptions.
Using IT for teaching for literacy, maths and science: a qualitative study of teacher’s perceptions.
Is the ‘dumbing down’of exams a reality or a media creation : a qualitative study of GCSE exam papers.

2.5. Teaching methodology

Should EFL/ESL teaching methods be used in teaching native speakers of English. Assess in relation to a particular group of primary school children.
What can teachers learn from the practice of problem-based learning and should these methods be more common in our schools : a qualitative study

2.6. Learning

In order for students to learn efficiently and effectively, it is essential for teachers to understand the different learning styles that they possess. A quantitative study of primary school children.
Can the concept of reflective practice be used to help children learn in UK schools: a qualitative study of secondary education
What methods, policies and strategies are in place in UK schools to improve the achievement of diverse learners: a quantitative study.
Do cooperative and collaborative learning methods have a positive effect on student achievement: a quantitative study
Teaching children to read: an overview of different methods used and evaluation of the ‘real’ books vs reading schemes debate

2.7. Politics and Policy in Education

Has Sure Start brought about improved outcomes for young childrenEvaluate in the light of recent research.
Do SATs create a curriculum where ‘teaching to the tests’ becomes the normEvaluate in respect of recent research.
Has Every Child a Talker improved language outcomes for young English language learners in inner city schools: a quantitative study.
Have 14-19 policies in the UK been a success: a qualitative study

2.8. Early Years Education

To what extent is the structure of early years education in the UK influenced by Piaget et al’s theory of a fixed developmental sequence. Critically evaluate in the light of childrens’ experience in ‘alternative’ forms of education.
In what ways has our understanding of the processes of learning and teaching been influenced by Vygotsky’s theoryCritically evaluate in relation to the experience of a group of primary school pupils.
How important is rich teacher talk in developing early literacy: evaluate in the the light of current research.
Teaching children to read; a qualitative study of the impact of phonological awareness on early readers.
Managing the transition from Foundation stage to Year 1: an evaluation of best practice.

2.9. Teacher Education

What knowledge about IT is taught in teacher education and how do teachers use it to support teaching and learning. A qualitative study.
The teacher as facilitator: a quantitative study of the weight given to the facilitator as opposed to knowledge provider in teacher education.
Is continuing professional development for teachers in the UK effective: a qualitative study based on teacher’s perceptions.

2.10. Primary Education

The impact of support staff in small rural primary schools: a qualitative study
Teacher or child-initiated: a qualitative study of best practice in the primary classroom

2.11. Home Schooling

How significant is the role of IT in home schooling: a qualitative study.
Motivational factors for choosing home schooling: a qualitative study.
Academic achievement and socialization amongst home-schooled university students: a quantitative study.
How well do home-schooled children perform when they return to school: a qualitative study.

2.12. SEN

Do learners with SEN benefit from personalized learning programmes: a qualitative study in primary school
Does inclusion in the mainstream classroom benefit pupils with SEN: a qualitative study of primary schools

3.0. How to structure an Education dissertation

The dissertation paper needs to consist of an abstract, introduction, review of literature, methods, findings, references and appendices.
The abstract section needs to include a summary of the research problem or purpose, summary of the research design, summary of the treatment(s), and summary of the results.
Introduction section – background of the study and significance of the problem in context
The Review of Literature Section – review of the relevant and related literature, including a theoretical rationale of the problem, need for the study, potential significance of the results, and the specific research hypothesis
Methodology Section – Identification and description of the subjects, instrumentation used in the data collection, any ethical issues involved and the procedures used to collect the data
Reference Section-alphabetical listing of all referenced text

4.0. References

2.2 Child Development

Ainsworth, M.1985. “Patterns of Attachment.” Clinical Psychologist 38 (2):27–29.

Bowlby, J.. 1988. A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. New York: Basic Books.

2.3. Parents and Schools

Epstein J, Sheldon S. (2002) Present and accounted for: improving student attendance through family and community involvement. The Journal of Educational Research;

Green CL, Walker JMT, Hoover-Dempsey KV, Sandler HM. (2007) Parents’ motivations for involvement in children’s education: an empirical test of a theoretical model of parental involvement. Journal of Educational Psychology

Izzo CV, Weissberg RP, Kasprow WJ, Fendrich M. (1999) A longitudinal assessment of teacher perceptions of parent involvement in children’s education and school performance. American Journal of Community Psychology

2.4. Curriculum

Lord, P. & Jones, M. (2006) Pupils’ experiences and perspectives of the national curriculum and assessment: final report for the research review; QCA

2.5. Teaching Methodology

Hedge, T. (2000) Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom. Oxford: Oxford University Press,

Richards, J. & Renandya, W. (eds.). 2002. Methodology in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

2.6. Politics and Policy

Dockrell, J. ; Stuart, M. & King, D. (2010) Supporting early oral language skills for English language learners in inner city preschool provision ; British Journal of Educational Psychology

2.8. Teacher Education

Pedder, D. & Darleen Opfer, V. (2011) Are We Realising the Full Potential of Teachers’ Professional Learning in Schools in England Professional Development in Education

2.9. Primary Education

Blatchford, P., Russell, A., Bassett, P., Brown P. & Martin, C. (2004) The role and effects of teaching assistants in English primary schools (Years 4 to 6) 2000-2003

Sanders, D., White, G., Burge, B., Sharp, C., Eames, A., McCune, R & Grayson, H. (2005) A study of the transition from the Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1.

Sammons, P., Elliot, K., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Siraj Blatchford, I. and Taggart, B. (2004) The impact of pre-school on young children’s cognitive attainments at entry to reception.

2.11. SEN

Dyson, A., Farrell, P., Polat, F., Hutcheson, G. and Gallanaugh, F. (2004) Inclusion and pupil achievement

Kalambouka, A., Farrell, P., Dyson, A. and Kaplan, I. (2005) The impact of population inclusivity in schools on student outcomes

Also review Free Dissertation Topics and let us know if you don’t find anything and our site can help you.

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‘Using the classroom to help develop people already practicing management is a fine idea, but pretending to create managers out of people who have never managed is a sham.’ Critically debate this proposition drawing on the literature on management education and, if possible, your own experience.


Management development is a subject that has caught various debates and arguments with regard to its importance and implications. Its importance has grown over the years due to the rising business challenges due to the rapidly growing business environment. Companies seek leaders rather than plain managers who can drive profitability and growth into the business (Viacava and Pedrozo, 2010). The basic objective behind management development is to simply ‘develop’ managers who are to be those high potential future leaders. Various companies follow different strategies for incorporating management development into their human resource management systems in order to equip managers to face challenges of the business environment specific to the nature of the business (Nicholson, 1997; Coff, 2004). The more holistic the approach the more effective, as evident from the case studies of companies, such as Unilever. To debate on the topic of management development, three essential elements of a successful manager, creating which is the basic objective of management development, are to be explored (Cole, 1995). These are professional skills, competencies, and work experience, all of which combine to create an effective and successful manager who is highly sought after by the companies. To what extent the classroom learning can infuse these characteristics into a person to create an effective manager and to what extent they are unable to do so, are the two questions that the paper attempts to answer in the light of these three key elements.

Professional skills are the necessary skills that an individual needs to have in order to become a manager and practice management (Daft, 2007). These professional skills are embedded in the most management development courses for business school students or for in-practice managers (Davis, 1995). Beyond educational qualifications, the most essential skills that are required for the manager are the know-how of the various company operations, relating to the human resources, financial management, marketing management, operations management, the supply chain management, and customer relationship management (Gasper, 2006). Knowing these, the manager can take on a holistic approach in decision making for both tactical and strategic operations and activities (Cole, 1995). Analytical and problem solving are a must have as well as effective interpersonal skills as the manager needs to handle complex problems and get work done from subordinates and people around him (Gill and Lashine, 2003). Most importantly, coupled with the basic professional skills and interpersonal skills, for future leaders having leadership and entrepreneurial skills are essential as they make up their potential and capacity to become a driver of business profitability. Without these as a part of the course of the management development program, the outcomes will be quite ineffective (Cole, 1995; Heaton and Ackah, 2007).

Business schools transfer know-how via delivering lectures on different company operations and environments, bring in guests from the industry to shed light on the prevalent business challenges. Case studies allow the students to learn about how companies handle different situations (Kerin, 2008). Industry trips and visits to companies offer insights as to how different types of work and processes are carried out within the companies’ operations (Longenecker and Ariss, 2002). Students are given projects related with bringing in new ideas and developing strategies for real products and real businesses and are evaluated for their professional skills that are depicted in the final projects done (Coff, 2004). Schools often send out these projects to the companies the projects are based on or other professionals if the idea is related to a new business that does not exist presently (Nicholson, 1997).

The other important component of management development program is the development of managerial competencies (Pine, 1999). These comprise of a manager’s ability to handle complex situations, manager’s competitiveness and drive for development competitive strategies, the manager’s ability to generate innovations for the benefit for the company in terms of acquiring edge in the market and profitability, manager’s high performance for the organisation and the ability to create high performance levels within his chain of command, manager’s ability to adapt to the changing environment and be a change agent to allow implementation of the organisational change to take place effectively, manager’s ability to be a profitability driver into the business and manager’s team playing and team leadership skills (Gill and Lashine, 2003; Rodwell, 2005).

Business schools provide insights into the complexity of the practical work environment through computer-aided simulations or group work tasks. At presents management studies are offered projects and tasks to challenge their skills into delivering solutions to companies (Shen, 2005).

Business schools encourage the students to be competitive and compete against each other for exceptional ideas in projects and assignments and ideas (Viacava and Pedrozo, 2010). This produces a certain level of rivalry and thirst for out of the box thinking that is helpful and effective in infusing into them the competitive spirit and ability that is required by the organisations. However, this only reflects the competitiveness against colleagues in classrooms where less is at stake and not millions like in a practical work environment (Cole, 1995; Heaton and Ackah, 2007). With the stakes high, the competitiveness becomes a risky game for which clever strategies need to be developed. And in order to develop those competitive strategies years of experience is required and proper business intelligence in place which the business schools and class room environment does not entail in its courses (Vloeberghs, 1998; Rodwell, 2005).

The projects and assignments that the classroom lectures and business school courses comprise of create the capacity within the potential managers to think outside of the box and challenge their creativity into bringing new ideas relating to products and strategies. However, this creativity is limited subject to the restrained approaches to analyse the business environment. Much is unreal; however, real figures are taken from the business environment and because of these non-real and impractical situations, the depth of the idea and innovation remains shallow. There is a major line between a real business problem and a real solution (Kerin, 2008). Only a manager who is in that problem will be able to clearly see the requirements and complexities and come up with a solution (Viacava and Pedrozo, 2010). A consultancy from a student who has no experience or insight into the matter and only takes in opinions and literature to come up with solutions is ineffective practically speaking (Nicholson, 1997; Coff, 2004). Thus, the in-classroom training remains good for generating a potential within the individuals to get them prepped to face the business challenges by giving them a small taste of the complex business environment and its underlying ambiguous situation (Shen, 2005).

What class room learning does not entail however, is the capacity of performance especially under stressful conditions especially those that managers in the modern business environment face that only continue to grow bigger as the businesses and the micro and macro business environment expand. The student’s only concern during their courses is towards task accomplishment relating to projects and assignments and being regular so as to score high and graduate with good ranking (Vloeberghs, 1998; Viacava and Pedrozo, 2010). The key distinction between performance levels and capacities is of the objectives and orientations. In companies, keeping performance levels high is challenge as various external and internal forces hinder the effectiveness to prevail and there are a lot of high stakes that further produce complexities and challenges for the mangers to face such as losing out on the job if a massive loss occurs, fear of redundancy if performance levels are low, fear of hampering the career if a slight mistake occurs in the managerial effectiveness and if targets are not met by the subordinates under the manager (Gill and Lashine, 2003; Rodwell, 2005). The holistic and integrated nature of the performance is something only being in a company can be taught. However, one that has worked in an organisation before and faced these challenges, knows exactly what to produce further and uses the management development program to cover his weak areas only and matches his currently acquired skills to the challenges he needs to accomplish once he gets back to work (Nicholson, 1997; Coff, 2004).

The competency of adaptability and flexibility for a manger is highly essential as pointed out earlier. This competency is one of the hardest to develop and companies have had to face tremendous amount of challenges and problems owing to the management’s and thus, the organisation’s lack of flexibility and adaptability (Cole, 1995; Heaton and Ackah, 2007). The competency of flexibility and adaptability comes from the change acceptability capability of an individual which is very much related with a person’s attitude towards work. Be it a student or a professional, a person cannot be taught to be adaptable if his attitude towards his job does not permit him to be so. This is something both the organisation and the business school fail to infuse into a person. However, what an organisation and business school can do, however, is to prove to the student or manager how difficult it is to survive without having acceptance for change in a constantly changing environment at work (Crowther and Carter, 2002).

With organisations largely engaging in team work for tactical and strategic projects, a future leader or manger needs to have effective team playing and team leadership skills in order to get a competent edge over others in the organisation (Prince, 2002). Leadership as often acclaimed by researchers and scholars and practitioners is an inborn characteristics, however, people can be shaped with time and effort to adopt leadership skills. The most important elements, therein, are to have that urge, commitment and strive to become a leader and a team player (Vloeberghs, 1998). No one can be forced to take on the role of the leader (Gill and Lashine, 2003; Rodwell, 2005). This goes for business school learning and class room learning as well as organisational management development for in-practice managers (Crowther and Carter, 2002). The distinction between the effectiveness of the class room and the organisational management development program in creating leadership characteristics within the managers is that in-practice managers, with prior experience of being around leaders or have been in the role of leadership, where they suffered lack of skills to get the work does from the team members, know exactly what to improve or what to seek and have a much larger amount of motivation to pursue the training (Cole, 1995; Heaton and Ackah, 2007). The non-practicing and non-managerial students that have no prior experience of management know little as to what to expect from a leadership role and thus, take the learning as a general course and have to later look back onto these details, which they often forget once they start work, upon facing difficulties in managing problems. They then learn from their mistakes rendering the classroom learning ineffective (Vloeberghs, 1998; Viacava and Pedrozo, 2010).

This brings to the third most important element of the management development program: the work experience. The possession of work experience allows the individual to actually become a manager. A manager is only so upon practice as book reading does not make a manager only practice does (Prince, 2002).

Because of the possession of an ample amount of work experience of the in-practice managers, the management development initiative taken for them renders quite effective outcomes as they to enhance their sills and qualifications in a specialized area of interest and capability as identified through prior performance and development appraisals, and to improve their weaknesses and remove their deficiencies (Shen, 2005).The result of this effort is the high performance output that the developed managers produce for the organisations (Gill and Lashine, 2003; Rodwell, 2005). The potential managers that graduate from schools with no prior work experience are not equitable to the role that the experienced managers with development course have, though both may have the same educational background (Nicholson, 1997; Coff, 2004). Business schools, thus, only create potential managers, that may need to undergo further management training when need be and if they are unable to handle complex business problems (Pine, 1999; Prince, 2002).

Companies upon external recruitment prefer candidates for the role of managers in the organisation who possess strong managerial educational backgrounds but with educational qualifications, they seek work experience and specific skills that match the challenging nature of the job in context. This notion then questions the ability of the business schools to ‘develop’ or rather create managers as often the successful and progressive managers in the practical work environment are those that are managers in practice and obtain grooming and development on-the-job or as part of the company training programs (Nicholson, 1997; Coff, 2004). Companies also send their high potential managers to business schools for specialized managerial courses to further their competencies (Vloeberghs, 1998). These managers find more career opportunities and growth as they enhance their qualifications as leaders and challenge further the ability of the un-experienced management graduates to pursue their career in management in contrast and win the companies’ preferences for employment.

Self Learning Audit

The Skills and Insights Developed

The course of management development has a lot to offer to the management students and delivers the key insights of the need to continuously develop one’s skills and capabilities as a manager in order to succeed in a challenging business environment. The course was surely in-depth and offered various learning elements to be infused into a student’s mind to be prepped for the career development as a manager.

Specifically, the following skills and insights were developed:

There are three key components of a management development program that produce effective outcomes: professional skills of a manager, competencies, and work experience. All of these need to essentially incorporate into the management development programs in order for effective managers to be created;
The classroom environment surely does not suffice fully the requirements of a successful management career and the creation of effective and high performance business leaders, as the importance of in-practice management and work experience cannot be ignored;
Business schools have begun to incorporate professional training and practice management courses that enable the students to gain work experience during their course of studies, which is proving to be effective as it gives the students an edge in the job market, and fulfils the requirement that the companies seek upon recruitment relating to prior work experience;
Management development, owing to its importance for growing companies and progressing managers, and the creation of future business leaders, it has and will continue to receive immense importance and exposure. The subject is growing in its scope and various new modules and components are being added into the management development courses and training programs coupled with computer-aided tools and techniques to produce interactive and simulation based learning of the potential managers.

Areas of Improvement

Having a hindsight of the project, I would have used more data collection sources in my exploratory research study such as interviews of professional human resource development managers, so as to gain a more first hand and detailed insight into the matter.


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business school”, Management Decision, 42(3/4): 499-507

Cole, K. (1995) “Management Development to the Millennium”, Management Development Review, 8(3):


Crowther, D., and Carter, C. (2002) “Legitimating Irrelevance: Management Education in Higher Education Institutions”, The International Journal of Education Management, 16 (6): 268-278.

Daft, R. (2007) Management. South Western College Publication.

Davis, R. (1995) “New Principles for Management Development”, Management Development Review,8(6): 5-8.

Gasper, J. (2006) Understanding Business. South Western College Publication.

Gill, A., and Lashine, S. (2003) “Business Education: A Strategic Market-Oriented Focus”, The

International Journal of Education Management, 17 (5): 188-194.

Heaton, N., and Ackah, C. (2007) “Changing HR careers: implications for management education”, Journal of Management Development, 26(10): 951-961

Kerin, R. (2008) Marketing. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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Management Education”, Journal of Management Development, 21 (9): 640-654.

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Pine, J. (1999) The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage. Harvard Business School.

Prince, C. (2002) “Developments in the Market for Client Based Management Education”, Journal of European Industrial Training, 26 (7): 353-359

Rodwell, J.J. (2005) “The assessment of formal management development – A method, a baseline and the need to incorporate learning styles”, Journal of Management Development, 24 (3): 239-252

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Viacava, K.R., and Pedrozo, E.A. (2010) “Higher education in management: reinventing the paradigm to gain the capacity to handle today’s complexity”, On the Horizon, 18 (1): 45-52.

Vloeberghs, D. (1998) “Management development in a context of drastic changes”, Journal of Management Development, 17 (9): 644-661.

Free Essays

Examine the links between human rights and different models of disability in education


“No person shall be denied the right to education”

(European Convention 1950, First protocol Article 2)

“Discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person”

“States parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education” (Article 26)

(Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006)

Education must be for all, without exceptions. The last years, the issue of disability and the different ways in which different communities try to approach it, have started to interest science and especially social sciences. Eventually, four models of disability were created and each one of them has an effect on both the public opinion and the legislation. Thus, human rights in education and special education were affected, when they were formed, by one or more models of disability. In this essay, I will try to show the way in which human rights are linked to the models of disability. Firstly, I will examine and analyze each one of the models and their origins, and parallel to this, there will be a brief comparison between some issues of some specific models. Secondly, I will analyze and connect the terms of citizenship and inclusive education. Thirdly, I will discuss disability and special education. And finally, in the first part I will discuss the Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education and with which model of disability it is connected. In the second part I will refer to how things are in Greece as far as special education is concerned, according to the ministry of education and based on my personal experience.

What is Disability?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization)which has been used as the basis for two national studies of disability in Britain (Harris, 1971; Martin, Meltzer and Eliot, 1988), the definition of impairment is: in the context of health experience, an impairment is any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function. Moreover, the definition of disability is: in the context of health experience, disability is any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range which is considered normal for a human being. On the other hand, the definition that DPI (Disabled People’s International) gives for impairment is: impairment is the functional limitation within the individual caused by physical, mental or sensory impairment. And the definition for disability is: the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the community on an equal level with others due to physical and social barriers (DPI, 1982).

In today’s world, that we are living, disability has begun to be considered as something universal, a global experience. Through disability, we study especially the values and the position of the people towards disability, and as a consequence, we study how each society treats its members, including disabled people.

The interest for disabilities is a combination of the academic interest, in explaining what disability truly is and its effects on all the fields of society, of the activists and the universal character that disability takes (Chard et al. 1999; Blendon and Benson, 2001)

Disability is a usual term, but practically it refers to people with some kind of bodily or mental-intellectual incapacity and because of that they cannot participate in sundry activities. There are people who claim that this inability of disabled people to participate is a consequence of the barriers which are raised by the majority of “normal” people. It is a socially constructed attitude towards people with impairments. However, disability is not just attitudes which result in discrimination, but also institutionalized practices. What is considered to be “normal” for abled-bodied is not for disabled one, such as the capacity to walk up and down stairs or to cross the road.

Disability does not only concern the person itself who is disabled but it affects the whole world too, and it also has economic, cultural and political ramifications to each society. With the interference of disabled activists and organizations, in the 60’s a lot of national governments included policies in legislation through which the rights of disabled people are protected and secured. A big change was made back in 1981 by the United Nations where the responsibility of the government to provide equal rights to people with any kind of disability was recognized. In 1980 the majority of the academics were interested almost entirely in the medical explanation of disability (Barnes, Oliver, Barton, 2002). A very obvious example was Talcott Parsons (1951) who applied sociological methods and concepts to the understanding of health and illness, and medicine in general, in their social context.

Medical model

The medical model of disability focuses on the groups that are formed, the disabled and the non-disabled. Someone’s disability is his personal problem that requires a medical solution and there are not any problems or any barriers which are caused by society. The focus is not on the integration of the disabled person, but on the disability of the person and either the cure (if there is one), or a specific assistance to overcome the effects of that impairment (Indiana Law Journal, vol 83).

For Parsons every form of sickness diverges from the norm. In the upcoming decades, there was a major concentration on ‘mental illness’ through the sociological perspective (Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol 17). Additionally, Foucault (1975, 1979) argued that mental illness and all the forms of acts that diverge are something more than the social constructs made by the dominant group.

All studies relevant to mental illness refer to economic or social problems and their consequences but neither of them really look into the meaning of what is called “individual” or “medical” as a form of disability. No one extended the theories from mental illness to any other physical disability or other impairments, and as a consequence, disabled people were socially and economically deprived (Segall, A. 1976)

Charity model

The second model of disability is the “charity model”. In this model we examine the voluntary agencies. There are organizations that have been shaped for people who are disabled and they are run by “normal” people and these organizations are completely different from the organizations of disabled people (which are run by the disabled people) (Barton, 1996).

The tradition of charities is very old and particularly for Britain it goes back into the Industrial Revolution. These charities had a wide range of occupations and they were present in a lot of social activities such as religion, entertainment, education and many more. Our concern focuses there, where the charities assumed the role of social welfare; when they had transformed their interests according to the different forms of diseases. As far as Britain is concerned, disabled people started to be gradually excluded from work, when the time of industrialization and the machinery came. This happened because the work was made for able-bodied people and as a result of this, disabled people were condemned to depend on others to make a living (Finkelstein, 1981b).

At first, church and poorhouses where those who were helping disabled people to live and after a while the organized charity was added as well. But progressively, as the state took the role of the social welfare, disabled people began to have some economic benefits from the social system and additionally we have the creation of some centers where they could stay, such as day centers (Barnes, 1990; Brenton, 1985; Handy, 1988).

The flourish of charities was in the twentieth century. There were many people who were occupied there, some of them were volunteers and some others were salaried staff of professionals (Brandon, 1988). In fact, even though some agencies occupied volunteers and called themselves as voluntary, they were not, actually they were non-governmental and they did not have any profit from the charity and their only aim was to help (Drake, 1994). Most of the charities endorsed the medical model and they emphasized on the treatment of the individual (example: the cure) or they intervened in some other ways, for example, since they knew that the use of public transportation was too difficult for the disabled people, they provided minibuses to those who needed it. But the most fascinating thing was that the disabled people did not prefer this means of transportation because of the fact that they were only for disabled andthis was exactly the ‘problem’. It was something that made a distinction between the able-bodied and the disabled. Here lies the difference between the organizations which are run by the disabled people; their focus was on campaigns and proposals for redesigning the form of public vehicles. The society of the disabled criticized the traditional charities mostly because of their philosophy, which did not unite them with the majority but separated them (Barton, 1996).

Administrative model

The third model of disability is the administrative model. Finkelstein, one of the founders of the social model, criticizes the explanatory ability of the social model as far as the position of disabled people in modern societies is concerned. He argues (1993) that the administrative model of disability is the only model which combines all the forms that a helping service can take, even if they come from the state or from voluntaries. “The cure and the care forms of intervention are administered within the rehabilitation and personal-care services respectively” (Finkelstein, 1993:37). The administrative model is some kind of dichotomous and it has some impact on the legislation. This model refers to specific fields such as education. An aspect of this model is that if someone ‘deserves’, depending on one’s impairment, to be called disabled he has, as a result of this, access to some benefits. It is a sad fact that disabled people have to pass specific tests in order to “prove” their impairment. In fact, there have been some cases of people with severe disabilities who although they deserved the benefits, they were deprived of them, for the reason that they did not fit into the “boxes” which are provided by the administrative model. So, sometimes it seems to be unfair towards a specific group of disabled people, if they do not fulfill the conditions which are set legally (French, 1994).

Social model

The fourth and last model is the social. Back to the nineteenth century we have the rising of activist organizations motivated by people with disabilities. There have been many protests in many countries such as the U.S. and Canada, for the discrimination that they have encountered. But the case of Britain was something special and important, because a new and more radical approach was embedded to theories, so now they refer to, as “the social model of disability”.

The organizations run by disabled people (for example the Upias) made the ground fertile for many disabled activists to rethink the whole idea around disability. By contrast, the social interpretation of disability argues that people with accredited or perceived impairments, regardless of the cause, are disabled by society’s failure to accommodate their needs. The social model concentrates on the social inability to incorporate the disabled with whichever disability that they might have. Because disability does not connote someone’s failure; this approach focuses on the various obstacles like social, economic or political created against impairment.

Disability studies were initially approached by medical sociology and some perspectives were raised. There has been a lot of research motivated by practical medical and other services of health concerns. For example, in Britain, despite the sociological aspects of the social model, it was a team from the Open University (1975), which developed the first studies for disability. This course was developed with the aid of a South African clinical psychologist named Vic Finkelstein and a lot of people from the U.K. who were either disabled or disadvantaged by the educational system, were attracted. Through this course, named “The Handicapped Person in the Community”, people focused on the improvement of their skills, so as to help in a better way the handicapped people to do their best help in a better way, as far as their autonomy is concerned.

The social model of disability offered the “big idea” (Hasler, 1993), to people who were disabled. But it took some time before it found acceptance from the universities of the UK, as far as sociology departments are concerned. By contrast, in the U.S. and Canada disability entered the universities in the ‘70s. And again we have a combination of activism and academy as well.

During the last years we have a more radical perspective, in which supporters were a small group of disabled scholars who were related to cultural or human studies, especially in Australasia and North America. As a consequence of that, there was a development of a more critical field of research focused on the link between socio-political position and the approach of the social model (Rioux and Bach, 1994; Davis, 1995; Linton, 1998; Albrecht et al., 2001). All of these premises created a common interest between research and academic studies and at the same time signified the rising of the interest in socio-political approach, where British writers first shed light on.

In 1970, in Britain, the term “disability” began to change from a purely medical point of view to a more sociological perspective, because people began to see disability as a form of social segregation and exclusion. There was an organization which followed this movement, the UPIAS (Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation), for which disability is seen as an obstacle that social organizations put to people with any kind of impairment, excluding them from some social activities. Thomas Carol argues that UPIAS statement is that disability comes into light when activities of disabled people are restricted by specific social structures. So disability, he claims, is not synonym to the restriction or the lack of activity as it is in the ICIDH argument. It is not that impairment does not go with limitations of activities, but this does not constitute disability (Thomas, 1999).

According to the disability movement which included the organizations that were run by disabled people argues that for disabled people, reconstruction of the society can be the cure for their disability problems. This movement dissociates itself from the mental model and it has to do with the social model (Cole, 2000)

By contrast to the social model, in biomedicine the focus is on the deviations of the bodies and minds from the social norms of each individual. This “medical model” relies on the fast growing genetic science, to eradicate the diseases. So, according to this model, disability is equated with impairment.

From the perspective of rehabilitation science, the focus shifts to a different area, it seems to be very important to help the disabled to adapt and adjust a more “normal” life. It’s a strong belief that a lot of difficulties are caused inevitably by the impairment. And this combination of belief, that on the one hand, exclusions and limitations in different forms of activities are caused by impairment and on the other hand the social barriers that are raised against disability, turns into ICIDH (International Classification of Impairments Disabilities and Handicaps). In 1970, we have the development of an organization the ICIDH, organized by Philip Wood, Elizabeth Bradley and Mike Bury. ICIDH, wanted to move further, so it tried to explain what disability is but not from a purely bio-medical perspective. For ICIDH, disability is any kind of deficiency or restriction of ability to do an activity in a specific way which is considered normal for a human being. So, ICIDH does not equate disability with impairment, there is a serious possibility that some social factors can influence some restrictions of activities (Bury, 1997, 2000).


An additional term that I would like to add because it is important to examine, is the term of citizenship. It is a definition which according to Barbalet (1988:1) defines who is and who is not a member of society. To be called citizen, it means the ability to participate in the decisions that frame his/her society. Additionally, it is the ability of someone to have access to work, travel, leisure, and generally, it is the political, civil and social rights of people (Marshall, 1950).So we must consider in what way we “see” and approach disabled people.

In my opinion, education is a fundamental human right. Education can set an individual free and give him/her power. However, there are a lot of people (adults and children) who are deprived of education, and one of the many reasons can be some particular special need that an individual may have.

Disability and special education

In the 19th[?1] century, we had schools in which elementary education was provided for all. The system, on which schools based their education, was not very helpful for disabled children, because it was based on memory tests and learning by heart. This was a very negative factor for children who lacked specific abilities. As a result, it began to be clear that the degree of difficulty was increased as much as the growing inability of the child was increased too (Cole, 2000). It was only after 1921 and after a lot of pressure that some categories of impairment were recognized as such (epilepsy, deafness, blindness, mental defectiveness and physical defectiveness). So, creating special schools or special classes within regular schools began to be considered and children who were labeled as disabled could go and be educated there. Gradually, more categories were added in the term of disablement. After 1950, a lot of special schools were created and children, who were labeled as ineducable, according to Mental Deficiency Act (1913), had the right to be educated in those schools (Cole, 2000). In my opinion, this was a very cruel way of discrimination against those children who were labeled as ineducable and it was something that followed them throughout their life.

After 1975, the idea of a more inclusive education entered the stage. Despite the economic cost, many regular schools were forced to accept disabled children in an effort to integrate them. But still, there are many problems in regular schools that make the life of disabled children difficult. As long as there are special schools, regular schools will not change their strategies dramatically so as to integrate children with impairment (Collin, 2000).

Salamanca Statement

There have been a lot of efforts to support inclusive education. One of these efforts is the “Salamanca statement and framework for action” (1994), which took place in Spain and it was organized by UNESCO and the Spanish government, in which 92 governments took part and they tried to find policies which promote inclusive education and prepare all the schools to embrace all the individuals no matter what impairment is and to support their right to learn. Special education must be included in the mainstream schools and not be considered as an isolated issue (Salamanca, 1994). “The challenge confronting the inclusive school is that of developing a child- centred pedagogy capable of successfully educating all children, including those who have serious disadvantages and disabilities” (Salamanca,1991:6). As we can assume after reading the Salamanca statement, the policies are based on the social model. Because after understanding the several social barriers which exist, there is an effort to bring those barriers down through some policies and cooperation from all (governments-schools-citizens). For example, in the statement it is referred that “ we believe and proclaim that: “… education systems should be designed and educational programs implemented to take into account the wide diversity of these characteristics and needs… those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which accommodate them within a child-centred pedagogy capable of meeting these needs” (2004:viii). And “we call upon all governments and urge them to: give the highest policy and budgetary priority to improve their education systems to enable them to include all children regardless of individual differences or difficulties…encourage and facilitate the participation of parents, communities and organization of persons with disabilities in the planning and decision-making processes concerning provision for special educational needs…invest greater effort in early identification and intervention strategies, as well as in vocational aspects of inclusive education” (2004:ix). We can assume that the statement forces the states to do whatever it takes so as to integrate all the disabled people in the educational system. They seek to have regular schools but with inclusive orientation so as not to have discrimination between humans.

Inclusive education

Inclusive education is when all children no matter what kind of impairment they have, are able to go to their local schools to be educated, and, for local schools to be able and appropriately prepared to provide all the facilities that children may need. There has to be a transformation of the curriculum in that way, so all children can be educated in the same way, without some pupils having special benefits against others. It is also important, through collaborative learning or through specific reading books or images to aid children without disabilities to learn how to coexist and cooperate with disabled children. This is a process which is helpful and all the children can learn and benefit from it. The learning support in each classroom, it would be very effective. Generally, we have to create activities which promote the collaboration of all children, to give opportunity to all disabled children to present themselves and to build up their self-esteem. Additionally, parental consulting is promoted, because it is good for children to be encouraged by their parents to feel more independent. There are a lot of other school policies which are based on the social model of disability (CSIE, 1996, 2000).

About Greece

In Greece, the education is compulsory and provides primary and secondary education and there is post-compulsory secondary education. According to the reform of 1997, it consists of two types of schools: the unified upper secondary schools and the technical vocational educational schools. Together with the mainstream schools, we also have special schools of all the educational stages, which admit students with special educational needs, such as special school for deaf people or special school for blind people. A child can go to a mainstream school which has integration classes or can go to a special school, depending on the impairment that the child may have. The decision, on which school a child will go to, is made through special education advisers and the Center of Diagnostic Evaluation and support, so as to diagnose the educational special needs of the child. Then, they choose the most appropriate school unit that will contribute to the better integration of the child. The progress of the child is evaluated from time to time. From the division of Special Education and the proceedings report of 2004-2007 we can see that a great amount of integration classes were created in the mainstream schools at all levels of the educational system ( , in Greek 20/03/11). On the one hand, there are some special schools for example, for deaf or blind children and there is still no policy to include those children in the mainstream schools, so as not to create any kind of discrimination. But on the other hand, those schools specialize in some specific impairments, so they can focus only on those children with the specific disability. The right of education for all and inclusive education is a little bit contradictory in that case, because the mainstream schools in Greece, for example, cannot admit deaf children in the same class with children who can hear.

In Greece, there is an effort to include children with specific impairments, such as learning difficulties or mild forms of mental retardation, by educating the teachers to be able to deal with those children’s requirements. A very interesting thing is that, even though the curriculum is the same for all the children whichever the school is and focuses on the equality of learning, if someone does not speak the same language there will be a serious problem because he will not be able to keep up with the rest of the students. So, there are some predetermined qualifications for someone to be able to have the same education with the others. In some circumstances, such as the immigrant’s children, if they do not know the language at all, it will be very difficult for them to catch up with the rest of the students, and maybe those children will be excluded because they do not fit in this model of requirements. But even though, there are some multicultural schools ( on 25/03/11), which are very helpful for children who do not know the language very well. As far as special education is concerned, the special schools are based on the segregation of the children and their base is the medical model of disability, because they categorize children on the basis of their impairment, however, their disability does not make impossible for people to learn and be educated, so it is sort of coming into the social model.

All kinds of children, either the disabled or the immigrants, require a specific kind of education. At this time, Greece is not ready to include all the children in a mainstream school. It would be perfect if we could have a mainstream school which could admit all the children no matter their impairment or their lack, but this is a project which requires a lot of time. And after all, this is the direction that we should all be oriented to.

To sum up, in this essay we examined the four models of disability and how they consider impairment and disability. Each one of these has its own point of view as far as disability and treatment of disabled people are concerned. All of the models have those who support their theories and those who criticize them. And through this process we can examine the weaknesses of each one. Basically, the human rights, in the last years, are based on the social model of disability, because they declare that everyone has the right to be educated no matter what impairment they may have, and taking into consideration the several social barriers that exist in the societies, they try to resolve the problems and through some new policies on schools to integrate all the children. Additionally, about the different legislations that societies have, we can note that they may have been affected by more than one models of disability. For example, in Greece, disabled people still have some economic benefits from the welfare state (which is a characteristic of the charity model). Furthermore, the administrative model has some impacts on the legislation, because, for example entering a special school or attending integration classes, the child has to pass through some tests which are predetermined and if the child fits in the characteristics that the legislation has given about disability or special needs. Then the child can officially go to a special school or to integrate in a mainstream school and attend integration classes. Moreover, the social model has its effects on the legislations, because there is an effort to recreate schools by embedding several policies in a way to integrate all children, as human rights declare. As far as special schools and mainstream schools are concerned, in my view, it would be perfect if we had one school so well prepared that could accept any child, regardless of its impairment. This would be done in an effort to achieve inclusive education. Special schools are not necessarily negative, but I think that these schools must accept only some very severely disabled children, that may be dangerous for the rest of the pupils. Any less severe impairment, with the appropriate preparation from the side of schools, would be good to be included in mainstream schools.

Free Essays

Leadership and Management in Further Education


The aim of this assignment is to carry out a study into the support that managers at College X receive to enable them to feel a sense of satisfaction and value in their contribution to the college and its performance.

The assignment reviews academic literature, on formal and informal mechanisms of support including induction, probation, performance management reviews, appraisal, and staff development together with informal methods such as peer support. The reviews, together with the use of primary research, seek to identify if the support offered to staff in college X enables them to feel as valued as the students, the education and training of whom is the core business of the institution.

Analysis of the primary research has revealed that the College Executive together with the Governing Body is committed to ensuring effective support is available to managers in an integrated and meaningful way. In so doing ensuring that the performance of the individual and the college continually develop and improve.

The main recommendations are that the performance management reviews and staff development support are firmly embedded into the college culture. This will ensure that strategic and operational level managers possess the skills required to effectively respond to the internal and, more importantly, external changes demanded of them whilst enabling them to develop a sense of achievement and job satisfaction.

1. Introduction

1.1 Rationale

Further Education Institutions (FEI) have been charged by Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) through DCELLS and Estyn to ensure and make as their main priority that effective learner support mechanisms are in place to enable the learner to learn and succeed in a nurturing, safe and supportive environment.

The research for this module will focus on the parity College X bestows on its managers, in respect of its responsibility to nurture and support them to achieve satisfaction in a similar way to its learners. In particular the use of formal and informal support mechanisms: their availability, deployment and level of effectiveness. The term ‘mechanisms’ is used to encompass the College policies and procedures that guide the manager and their teams to work effectively, the processes such as feedback on the performance of managers and the development and recognition required to create a sense of a job well done. According to Locke and Lathen (1976 cited in Tella, Ayeni & Popoola) ‘job satisfaction is a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from appraisal of one’s job or job experience’.

Estyn suggest that ‘Effective college leadership also requires that staff at all levels with leadership and management roles make an important contribution and understand, and are committed to their job roles’ ( Estyn 2010 p 33) in order for this to happen the use of support, training and feedback are required. Support and feedback are ‘essential to the working and survival of all regulatory mechanisms found throughout living and non-living nature, and in man-made systems such as education system and economy’ (Business Dictionary seen 23.3.2011) so should be key to the continual improvement in the institution.

1.2 Research Aims

To identify the effectiveness of the support mechanisms available in College X and how these impact on the performance of both strategic and operational level managers to positively increase their work effectiveness and sense of job satisfaction.
To analyse the informal and formal methods of feedback, recognition and reward available to all managers to meet the needs of the institution, their personal needs and that ‘support and challenge them to do their best’ (ESTYN 2010 p 35).
To examine the use of staff development as a tool for supporting continual improvements in the performance of strategic and operational managers and ultimately the performance of College X.

1.3 Research questions

What types of mechanisms are available in the college and to what extent managers are aware of and use these to give and receive support
To what extent does the senior management team create and maintain an environment that encourages individuals to feel valued by the institution
How does the use of feedback and recognition impact on the improvement of personal performance and accomplishment
How effective are staff development opportunities to support the strategic, operational and personal effectiveness of managers

1.4 Research Objectives

To identify the types of support available to all strategic and operational managers and their effectiveness in creating job satisfaction.
To analyse the effectiveness of the performance feedback managers receive from their superiors.
To assess the level of understanding managers have about their individual performance and its contribution to the college performance.
To evaluate the effectiveness in the provision of support offered through the use of learning and development opportunities.
To identify the processes by which outstanding performance is recognised.

1.5 Delimitations

This research is practice based and has used College X as the only institutional focus. Should other researchers wish to use the information or primary evidence questions, anonymity and confidentiality must be assured.

1.6 Ethical Issues/Permission

Permission was sought and granted by the Deputy Principal who has overall strategic responsibility for all staff development, performance management and quality. Full consent was given by participants in respect of collecting evidence through primary sources. Anonymity and confidentiality was assured by the author and the use of an electronic survey ensured only information on the responses was collected and not that of the respondent. No ethical policies or institutional regulations have been breached during the research of this assignment.

2. Literature Review

Whilst there are many management and psychological theories relating to job satisfaction and the concept of the positive effect of supportive relationships, the size of the body of literature available limits the author to use only some of the major theories as a starting point.

The identification of what support is and how it effects job satisfaction is key to the content of this investigation, Soonhee suggests ‘…that participative management that incorporates effective supervisory communications can enhance employees job satisfaction’ (Soonhee p1 seen 24.3.2011).

The use of management texts, theories, reports and web based materials together with College X’s policies has resulted in a greater understanding in the assumption that ‘…management support is seen as a key variable in the psychological well-being of employees.’ (Weinberg & Cooper 2007 p160) and therefore need effective mechanisms by which they can support and be supported. Support can be given formally through policies and, as suggested by Everard and Wilson, ‘Recruitment, appraisal and training are three activities which should not be seen in isolation from each other but as part of a comprehensive approach to developing a proficient, well motivated and effective staff…’ (Everard & Wilson 2004 p 93). Informal and emotional support and feedback ‘may increase individuals confidence in their ability to deal with the challenges that confront them’ (Wainwright & Calnan 2002 p 64) and ‘a well done or an objective signed off as completed can enhance the motivation to perform well in the future’ (Torrington & Hall 1995 p318).

‘More and more companies are realising that while they cannot offer a cradle to grave security blanket, they have a responsibility to create an environment that nurtures the individual’s ability to grow and thrive’ (Couillart & Kelly 1995 p 255).

Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ addresses an individual’s base needs such as safety and security. In a work environment these can be clean work areas, positive personal relationships and sufficient work time. The use of effective supervisory support can increase ‘self esteem’ needs through recognition, attention and confidence building. And the creation of ‘self actualisation’ can to some extent be achieved through the encouragement of individuals to be creative, demonstrate and utilise their innovativeness.

Oldham and Cummings in 1996 (cited in Soonhee p 1 seen 24.3.2011) ‘…found that employees produce the most creative outcomes when they work on complex, challenging jobs and are supervised in a supportive, non-controlling way’. To some extent Maslow’s classifications are similar, to the hygiene and motivation factors of Fredrick Herzberg’s two factor theory. As with Maslow, certain basic needs or Hygiene factors such as salary, status, working conditions, policies and psychological support have a direct effect on how a person functions within an institution. Herzberg’s motivational factors are therefore ‘… those aspects of the job that make people want to perform and provide people with satisfaction e.g. achievement at work, recognition and promotion opportunities’ (Kaur & Kainth p 7 seen 25.3.2011).

Recognition and reward should also be stimuli of job satisfaction, Steers and Porter in 1991 ‘…identified the distinction between Intrinsic and Extrinsic rewards – extrinsic arising from an individual’s own sense of satisfaction and from financial benefits (pay, health support) and intrinsic – between the individual and system wide rewards such as pride in the organisation’ (Steers and Porter cited in Gess 1994 p 87). However within the current financial Further Education (FE) environment, extrinsic factors may be limited by college accountability for the use of publicly funded finances. Couillart and Kelly state that ‘whether held implicitly or explicitly, consciously or subconsciously each person has adopted a unique mental system of rewards. And whether informally consistent or not, that reward system is what motivates one on a day to day basis’ (Couillart and Kelly 1995 p 241). This suggests that employees can develop extrinsic and intrinsic rewards though their own and their institutions Mission, Values and Vision.

Torrington and Hall suggest that ‘planning the training, development and resources necessary for employees to achieve their objectives is imperative. Without this support it is unlikely that even the most determined employee will achieve the performance required’ (Torrington & Hall 1995 p 317). Managers, like students need the opportunity to learn and become proficient in the acquisition of new skills. Therefore, a key function of management is to ‘… develop an ability to help individuals recognise their needs for development and facilitate the professional and personal development needed’ (Murgatroyd & Morgan 1992 p 146). The use of formal support mechanisms such as Performance Management Reviews (PMR) enable line managers to guide their subordinates to undertake development however ‘… a systematic and structured approach to identifying individual needs implies that there should be an equally structured approach to responding to those needs’ (O’Connell 2005 p 175).

Policies are another form of support available to the manager. Mullins suggests that they ‘…clarify the roles and responsibilities of managers and other members of staff and provide guidelines for managerial behaviour’ (Mullins 1985 p 301). Thus they enable a manager to be supported by institutional procedures and respond quickly without having to consult superiors as to the actions they take. This is a form of empowerment and implies a level of trust which has ‘been identified as one of the keys to successful management and indeed positive relationships at work’ (Weinberg & Cooper 2007 p 162).

The use of informal methods of support can be equally successful in developing job satisfaction, ‘supportive peer relationships at work are potentially more available to the individual and offer a number of benefits’ (Torrington & Hall 1995 p 429) including ‘… accessibility, empathy, organisational experience and proven task skills’ (Cromer 1989 cited in Torrington and Hall 1995 p 429). Peer and team meetings also allow managers ‘… to have their say in an impartially led session, thus permitting emotion to be expressed’ (Weinberg & Cooper 2007 p 170)


The use of formal and informal support enables the manager to work effectively as an individual, as part of a team and organisation. The need for College X to continue to develop responsive support mechanisms that parallel those given to learners is imperative. Senior managements need to ensure that whist the support mechanisms such as appraisal and staff development are in place, the basic physical and psychological needs of security, safety and satisfaction are addressed.

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Research design

The use of a case study based on the real working application in College X is the most effective method of undertaking this small scale research. It presents an opportunity to focus on relevant aspects of the formal and informal mechanisms used to support managers at both strategic and operational levels ‘… with a view to providing an in-depth account of events, relationships, experiences or processes’ (Denscombe 1998 p 32). The research methodology centres on the involvement of managers and the mechanisms by which they are supported and how these affect levels of effective performance and job satisfaction.

The primary sources of evidence come from a focus group, semi-structured interviews and the use of an electronic survey. The use of the qualitative responses from the focus group and semi-structured interviews contribute to the main bulk of the findings. Each group or individual was interviewed in privacy without the line-manager present to allow for a free and frank discussion, was shown a diagram illustrating the interaction of support systems (Appendix 1). All responses are anonymous and no information from the research sources was distributed or discussed with other participants.

Focus Group

The use of a focus group with six middle/operational level managers enabled the views of both academic and functional areas across the college to be identified. The managers were specifically selected, as they all have very different job roles and specifications within the college, and were therefore able to reflect on the different types of support they needed and received in respect of ‘clarity of performance goals and standards, appropriate resources, guidance and support from the individual’s manager…’(Torrington & Hall 1995 p 316). Each manager selected contributes to different facets of the strategic plan and where possible each has a different line manager so a possible correlation could be identified in respect of how management techniques and personality affect the support given – no formal measurement tools were used to identify this quantifiably. The participant’s views were given freely and no prompts were given by the interviewer, this allowed for a free discussion to take place. The results of the discussion are noted in bullet point form in the appendices.

Semi–structured interviews

Semi-structured interviews were held with the Human Resources (HR) officer; one of the two Vice Principals (VP); two of the four Faculty Directors (FD) and Clerk to the Corporation (CC) (Appendix 3). The findings from the interviews give an insight to the way support and job satisfaction is seen from the perspective of the Governing Body (GB) and how this is cascaded through the College Executive (CE) to the strategic and operational management levels. The questions used for the VP and FD were the same as those used in the focus group (Appendix 3), primarily to identify if there were any differences in the perception of support and job satisfaction across managerial levels.

The HR officer (HRO) interview (appendix 4) identified formal college policies and processes in respect of support and job satisfaction. The HRO is currently tasked with reviewing the PMR and is therefore aware of some of the issues being researched.

Electronic questionnaire

The electronic survey (Appendix 5) was sent to twenty four cross college managers at operational and strategic levels after interviews to prevent prompting. Twenty responses (83%) were returned. As the group of respondents is small, actual numbers not percentages are used. The questions have been formulated as statements to identify the level of understanding felt by the participants, in relation to whether they agreed or disagreed; there is no neutral response as all participants have involvement with the college support mechanisms. The questions used were arranged in sequence from induction through to job satisfaction because ‘… order inconsistencies can confuse respondents and bias the results’ (Mora 2010 p1).


The use and responses from the primary research methods enable the author to identify some of the positive aspects and potential issues of management support within College X and to what extent they have in providing a level of job satisfaction to its managers. This together with the literature review will enable a greater understanding of the mechanisms used to ‘respond to the new needs of employees and the environmental changes of the organisation……and that which executive leaders and managers should confront to facilitate participative management’ (Soonhee seen 24.3.2011).

4. Findings

‘When a Master governs, the people

are hardly aware that he exists.

Next, best is the leader who is loved.

Next, one who is feared.

The worst is one who is despised.

If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.

When his work is done, the people say

“Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”

(Lao Tzu, translated by Mitchell 1999 p16)

The findings of the primary research and literature review seek to identify if the support mechanisms used by the college do in fact enable its managers to gain a feeling of satisfaction or achievement in their job roles without impinging on their sense of autonomy.

Formal Support

College Policies

College policies available on the intranet should give managers instant support in respect of specific issues and procedures. However, to address them they are not always aware that policies exist or how to use them. When a policy is introduced training should be given which as one interviewee responded is “meaningful and enables line managers to have a clear understanding of the support offered”, this in turn allows them to take ownership, and, for example, no middle managers interviewed were aware the college had a Stress Management Policy, a vital document which would have been useful as several of them have current issues with “stressed staff”.

Induction and Probation

College X provides all managers with a range of policies and processes that should offer effective cycles of support through the ‘… three key aspects of effective performance – planning performance; supporting performance and reviewing performance…’ (Torrington & Hall 1995 p 317). Formal approaches to the giving of support provide a balance that encourages managers to feel confident and trusted to make the right choices within the confines of college procedures and ‘…yet underline the feeling that there is not a stigma in asking for help’ (O’Connell 2005 p174). When participants were asked about the formal processes of induction and probation the responses showed that although the processes were informative and well organised, there were limitations in the effectiveness of ensuring a new post holder felt adequately prepared to undertake their job effectively.

These responses may in part be due to the lack of formal standardisation in the way line managers (LM) conduct the induction of new staff. Each adapts the process to suit their sections perceived priorities. Some have very supportive methods e.g. one manager gives new staff a memory stick with guidance to policies and procedures and a list of frequently asked questions. HR arrange a termly focus group to help new appointees, and these according to the HRO could be more timely as they often fail to be of use especially to new managers who have to react to rapid change usually brought about by external demands. The personality of the LM also affects induction and probation, several of the interviewees said their LM had been extremely supportive and that a “good working relationship had been established”, this was illustrated in the questionnaire responses to question 5.

The use of probation periods should allow an open platform for discussion however managers found difficulty discussing negative aspects partly because of fear of grievances being taken out against them. Where there is a conflict of interest, HR will try to match up managers who have the right approach for that subordinate.

Performance Management Reviews and Appraisal

PMR and appraisal should be the formal drivers of support in an institution, ‘an effective appraisal should not produce surprise: it should be an honest summative statement …’ (Tranter 2000 p 152) which ‘… offers a number of potential benefits to both the individual and the organisation’ (Mullins 1985 p 639). The PMR used in College X is currently under review as the GB feels there should more analysis of data and dovetailing of appraisal and staff development in the process, a view shared by several interviewees. The CE also recognise that the current provision/policy is not fit for purpose mainly because of the ‘one for all’ documentation which does not reflect the range of activities, duties and responsibilities staff.

The questionnaire responses for 6 and 7 identify that PMR is not universally seen as a positive and constructive experience although it gives a positive sense of well being and satisfaction.

The current PMR is an annual process; all interviewees felt this was ineffective as it was “difficult to remember and recognise performance across the year” and the idea of a phased or continual review based on both quantative and qualitative data would be more effective. There were however concerns that constant review could result in the ‘Big Brother’ effect and managers would lose their autonomy.

The HRO tasked with reviewing PMR suggested “there is a need to incorporate appraisal and general performance into the Performance Policy”.

As a result of the suspension, managers felt they have had to self evaluate relying on externally set performance indicators; these include Tribal Benchmarking, External Audits, Quality Development Plan (QDP) and the Self Assessment Review (SAR). Formal feedback is essential, as suggested by Herzberg for increased motivation and ‘… for finding ways of challenging and renewing the work of a team so that it can continuously perform at increasingly high levels and transform its work from being acceptable to outstanding’ (Murgatroyd & Morgan 1992 p 151).

Therefore to ensure managers are challenged and perform effectively the development of a new policy tool is seen by the GB as key to ensuring adequate support is identified and appropriately given. The responses for question 12 indicate that almost half the respondents do not receive the encouragement and challenge to explore learning and new skills that could positively influence their job satisfaction.

Appraisal is an effective method of communication, especially in relation to strategic objectives and innovation; it can act as a sounding board for managers to propose the changes needed for team and personal performance, Interviewees, especially at senior levels, felt this mechanism was important however the “lack of opportunities due to workloads could be frustrating because of the limited time to talk – this is not a criticism, just that everyone is busy”. All interviewees felt a sense of loss because of the suspension as they felt it was as important a means of support for their teams as it was for them. PMR enables the work and innovation of managers to be formally recognised, and the CE and GB encourage feedback of good practice to be formulated as resolutions which are rolled out across the college.

Middle managers (MM) questioned felt that although work was recognised by their LM but they felt disheartened when it was not always passed on the senior management. According to HR there should be a formal and consistent vehicle to notify staff of a job well done. The GB do send letters congratulating staff and commendations are minuted. O’Connell suggests ‘…we valued the ‘individual’ member of staff and thereby made him or her ‘feel valued’ (O’Connell 2005 p 157).

At a recent prize giving ceremony the Principal thanked staff publicly for their hard work as ‘senior management need to recognise, celebrate and reward quality improvements’ (Torrington & Hall 1995 p 303). This act made all managers feel proud to be a member of the college.

Staff Development and Training (SDT)

‘The job holder is uniquely placed to understand his or her needs, although support and training are likely to be necessary…’ (Wood, Barrington & Johnson cited in Goss 1994 p 75). All managers in the college participate in development and training much of which is self motivated. One interviewee commented that they had received more SDT in the first six months of working at College X than they did in their previous employment of twelve years. The GB fully support staff development and have taken the decision to keep the SDT budget high for 2010-11. However they want the college to develop a more synergised approach to SDT by linking the needs of the strategic plan directly to PMR. Question 9 implies that there does need to be more focus on SDT via the PMR, thus supporting the GB’s strategic direction.

Interviewees of all levels stated that no external development opportunity was rejected however there appears to be little evidence of how reports on training effectiveness and its methods of utilisation within the college are recorded and distributed, one suggestion for this was the use of SharePoint.

SDT targets are set for each unit or school in the college. Most managers felt there was little initial training in operational management skills. It has been proposed that when the new PMR policy is introduced all new management appointees should have to undertake formal training in leadership and management skills, in line with Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) criteria.

Informal Support

The majority of interviewees agreed that “their peers gave them a sense of companionship and support that really helped them in the college”, however others felt isolated due to the nature of the post. The introduction of a mentoring programme could alleviate this by ensuring all managers have the same level of security and collegiality. FDs felt they rarely meet as a group and when they did “it tended to be due to crisis management, but it does allow us time to talk”. Informal and flexible support that was not rigidly monitored, i.e. an open door policy gave the majority of interviewees and questionnaire participants a sense of positivity and support.

All participants emphasised the need for Away Days – planned time when ‘… effective teams will stop working … and review the quality of their ways of working (Murgatroyd & Morgan 1992 p 145) enabling those involved to reflect as a group on past performance and develop new initiatives. The concept was introduced by the CE as an opportunity to involve all managers in the development of the college strategic plan. The most recent event enabled the CE and GB to give managers a strong sense of psychological support and security in troubled transformational times and established a shared mission, vision and values (Appendix 6).


Through examining key issues it is evident that a well structured management support system is necessary in order for those involved to feel confident and valued and fulfil the performance targets set internally and externally. The development of the new PMR, appraisal and induction processes together with a more integrated approach to SDT should enable managers to function to greater effect. The CE and GB are clearly aware of the need for proactive rather than reactive systems. The last staff satisfaction survey had a disappointing response of only 23.5%. Hence, the GB tasked the Principal, HR and Chair of the HR Committee to identify ways of increasing participation in future, as it is a key indicator of how the college is viewed as well a measure of job satisfaction amongst its employees.

Effective PMRs, development and training, attention to the emotional and physiological needs of being valued, trusted and empowered should therefore create ‘… confidence, loyalty and ultimately improved quality in the output of the employed’. ( seen 23.3.2011).


The aim of this assignment was to identify the effectiveness of the formal and informal support mechanisms available to all managers of college X. And if the psychological, social and development needs of employees are supported to the same extent as that of its students. From the results of the primary research it is evident that the available support does enable managers to carry out their day to day job roles. However this is not consistent across the college and the experiences of managers varies greatly, as one interviewee said “if you open me up I will have the college name through me like a stick of rock” illustrating the feeling of well being and genuine job satisfaction created by good support”. However at the opposite end of the spectrum, another commented “there is no incentive – when you do introduce something innovative someone higher usually takes the credit and gets recognition”.

Students have a plethora of support including; course tutors, learning coaches, counselling and financial support. To some extent this research does suggest that the majority of managers do have comparable support from their superiors, use of HR expertise and staff development. It is not sufficient to just have those resources, it is how their effectiveness contributes to the improvement in performance of the managers they support. Managers at all levels receive feedback on strategic or operational targets and indicators that is the priority although much of the feedback is ‘ad hoc’ and not recorded although many managers liked this informal approach. Ensuring feedback is regular and consistently applied coupled with finding the appropriate time and arena is proving to be a more difficult aspect to resolve.

The autonomy given to managers by the CE permits them to carry out their duties in a way they see fit, as one interviewee said “I’m paid to do the job, not continually ask what is to be done”, another commented “trust is absolutely a positive aspect, although there is no direction from my line manager, I feel empowered”. Trust and value in the individual’s judgement is seen by the majority of managers as implicit for the mature and positive work environment at college X.

The current support mechanisms are suggested by interviewees, as somewhat inadequate and outdated in respect of the feedback and development they need to undertake the roles and performance demanded of them in the fast changing climate of FE. Fletcher suggests that ‘… all systems have a shelf life – perhaps changes are required to the system to renew interest and energy …’ (Fletcher cited in Torrington & Hall p 327) and it is evident that the GB and CE are pro-actively committed to creating an environment where all supportive systems are integrated, have meaning in their relationships and recognise positive contributions from the individual employee and their effect on the performance of the institution as a whole.

4. Recommendations

At the end the focus group and interviews, all participants were asked what changes they would like implement so as to create a more supportive work environment which promotes job satisfaction. Many of these concur with the findings of the research undertaken.

Develop a system of mentoring and continue more effective induction and probation periods, which is timely and enables new managers to have first hand guidance and support in respect of college procedures and procedure thus enabling them to undertake their duties effectively from the very start.
Improve lines of communication in respect of the recognition and distribution of good practice by developing greater use of peer groups so that managers of all levels do not work in isolation benefit from the support of others. And increase the use of ‘away days’ to inform, give direction and feedback to strategic and operational managers thereby engaging everyone in the improvement of performance in college.
The anonymous data and findings collected for this research should, with the permission of all interview and questionnaire participants contribute to the current review of the PMR and appraisal processes.
Introduce effective methods of development and training to ensure all managers are aware of and confident in the use of procedures identified in college policies, this has been identified by the GB as a priority.
Establish through a skills audit or needs analysis a programme of management training for the next academic year in relation to actual issues such as conflict training, people management and motivational skills thereby ensuring their subordinates are effectively supported and managed.
Develop a system that enables the information and knowledge gained from development and training events is available for circulation amongst managers and appropriate measures are introduced to ensure value for money and positive outcomes in performance.
Use the findings of this report to act as a foundation for further research and literature review in preparation for dissertation.
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Sage Publishing

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– HRM in Action. London. Open University Press

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Buckingham. Open University Press

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O’Connell, B. (2005) Creating an Outstanding College. Cheltenham. Nelson Thornes

Oldham, G. R. Cummings, A. (1996) cited in Soonhee, K.

Soonhee, K.

Steers, R. Porter, L. (1991) cited in Goss, D. (1994) Principles of

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Resource Management. London. Routledge

Free Essays

Investigating Education through Research (IETR)


This report reviews the article Every Child Matters written by Straker and Foster (2009) and explores the need for multi agency collaboration in the ‘children’s workforce’ within an English multi disciplinary child based setting. to ensure that the ECM outcomes are met consistently through efficient in service direction of staff at multi tiered levels. This paper argues that if the outcomes of ECM are to be met, that staff working within these areas must work collaboratively. It is anticipated that only by receiving appropriate and effective multi-agency training that consistency and continuity of the broad ECM aims can be achievedSome elements of this article are applicable to my UMP in that the function of ECM broad aims relate to inclusive/inclusion and inclusivity for all children and young people. Some authors represented in this article will be appropriate and significant to my research and may be used as underpinning and reinforcement to my main policy Special Educational Needs Disability Act (SENDA).

The assessment criteria used to evaluate this journal article are:

Context/significance of the research report

Has the significance of the article been explained and justified?

Methods/methodology used

Have different research methods/methodologies been used effectively?


Has good ethical practice been facilitated prior or during the research?

Veracity /process of the research

How reliable are the findings?

Influenced by ever changing political issues, Government structures, cultural values and economic factors the authors translated policy guidelines into practical solutions using qualitative methods of research and underpinning citations from multiple theorists to evaluate the level of understanding, participation and clarity of the five Every Child Matters (ECM)(DfEs,2003) broad aims.

Every Child Matters: Change for Children (ECM) (DfES, 2003) is a legislatedinitiative set up by the Government with the intention of ensuring that every young person regardless of circumstance or environment is to be given the underpinning they require to: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; and achieve economic wellbeing. (ibid)

Every Child Matters went on to propose a framework of desirable outcomes for children which might form the basis of common assessment systems, shared working practices, and, above all, shared goals for childhood professionals (DfES, 2003: 9). A year later, the Government legislated, in the Children Act, 2004, to: create integrated children’s services departments by combining education and child and family social care functions; Bring these new services together with health and other childhood services by establishing children’s Trusts locally; Develop a set of shared working practices across these services and increase the mutual understanding and common skills base of childhood professionals. Submitted to Manchester University(no date) Dyson et al.

This paper argues that there are flawsidentified byresearchers and theorists. Sloan (2006,12) states (t)o date there continues to be tensions and rivalries between agencies about their professional knowledge, roles and specialisms. The loss of agency specialism and the responsibilities that go with this are potentially traumatic for professionals going through the transition from single agency to multi agency work (Anning et al. 2005,72).

Straker and Foster (2009) argue that as well as training and the ECM agenda, there are issues surrounding professional identity and differentiation. This is substantiated by Macdonald, (1995,35)

It challenges, to invoke Bourdieu’s notion, the various folklores which are attached to different professional arenas and hence seeks to force open social closures which different groups of workers try to uphold as they defend their professional and personal identity (cf Macdonald,1995,35 cited in Straker and Foster 2009)

The content, research methods and findings of this article will be evaluated within this document..


The evaluation criterions for this review are: Has the significance of the article been explained and justified?

Have different research methods/methodologies been used effectivelyHas good ethical practice been facilitated prior or during the researchHow reliable are the findings?

The significance of the article is to establish the level of clarity of the ECM broad aims and multi agency collaboration within children’s services departments. Every Child Matters: Change for Children (2004) identified flaws in the effective protection of children from some departments.

These concerns are further backed up by the Bercow Report [2008] which also pinpoint five major ideas – problemsthat require rectifying to enable adjustments and enhancement to develop.

The recommendationsfrom this report are gathered under these five themes:

Communication is crucial
Early identification and intervention are essential;
A continuum of services designed around the family is needed;
Joint working is critical; and
The current system is characterised by high variability and a lack of equity. (ibid)

Straker and Foster’s review clearly identifies the focus of the research and the points the paper seeks to address. The methods of research were identified as being via focus group and semi structured interviews. The mixed personnel samples were discussed and their purpose was explained. Ethical considerations were identified and appropriate protocol was evident in text. The study findings and results were clarified with recommendations for future action. The researcher concurs with the findings of ECM(2004) and the Bercow Report (2008) from reading associated literature Victoria Climbie’ Report by Lord Laming (2003)and from media coverage regarding failings of services responsible for the care for children.e.g. The case of baby P . Reform is essential to ensure no repetition of these failings.

Ethical considerations for focus groups are the same as for most other methods of social research (Homan 1991). When selecting and involving participants the researchers must ensure that full information about the purpose of contributions is given.

Implications of appropriate ethics consideration was contained in the written body of this text.

It should be stated that none of the participants were known to the researchers prior to these interviews and focus groups, and that, in order to maintain anonymity, participants are identified by letters (Cohort 1) and numbers (Cohort 2) throughout the below discussion. Straker & Foster (2009. P.124)

Honesty and keeping the contributor enlightened about the expectedoutcomes of the exercise is apparent within the paper. Good practice prohibits candidates to be pressured into communicating information, there was no implication of this in the article. Ethical considerations to be aware of in a focus group situation are the processing of confidential material and sensitivity to the feelings of each contributor. Clarification of how contributions will be used and shared by personnel involved in the exercise must be established prior to the activity. Confidentiality must be a focus to be communicated to the group as a priority this avoids any sensitive material being leaked. Analysts have a duty to conceal data from the participants This paper indicates that pseudonyms were used. This complies with the principles of British Educational Research [BERA]. According to Hammersley and Traianou,(2007)commonly recognized ethical principles include harm, autonomy, privacy, reciprocity and equity.

If social research is to remain of benefit to society and the groups and individuals within it, then social researchers must conduct their work responsibly and in light of the moral and legal order of the society in which they practice. They have a responsibility to maintain high scientific standards in the methods employed in the collection and analysis of data and the impartial assessment and

dissemination of findings.[SRA 2003, 13].

Literature Review

A literature review outlines the scope of the subject area, trends, themes and prior research that demonstrate awareness of work carried out on the issue/topic covered.

The article sets out to explore the need for multi agency collaboration within the ‘children’s workforce’. The aim to pilot and assess the overall understanding of policy interpretation in this area. The effectiveness of training to inform and guide these agencies to a joint, collaborative service with less overlap.

The literature review was initially wide including general texts such as ECM,(2003), Children’s Workforce Development Council (2007), Victoria Climbie’ Report by Lord Laming (2003) and Reid, (2005,13). The focus then narrowed drawing on the comments of Allnock et al.(2006,35-7), Atkinson et al.(2007) and Moran et al, (2006) then finally focussing on the topic aims.

Issues surrounding multi agency collusion are not new. The potential benefits have been discussed repeatedly by Government reports e.g. DfEE (1999) and Atkinson et al.( 2002), Atkins, Jones and Lamont (2007) Bloxham (1996) and Payne(1998) all agree that there are possible advantages of shared Practice. The review of literature by the authors suggested anticipated problems with strategy implementation resulting in inconsistencies and overlapping of roles across childcare teams to meet the broad aims of the ECM –Change for Children policy,(2204). Allnock et al. (2006,35-7) in summing up the research within this document identifies the need for more clarification of role where there is full coverage for all areas without overlap.

The focus therefore was for the implementation of strategies that addressed Government policy consistently. The literature review within this article is appropriate; references display deepness and wideness which is clear and concise. Several appropriate references were used in the introduction which gives a broad understanding of policy, statute and the need to work in collaboration to meet the desired outcomes of the ECM: Change for Children (2004). This literature review is good as it gives a wide overview of the subject, informed analysis of findings, identified variables and offered recommendationsfrom the findings.

The spotlight on content and relevance is evident. Critique and collaboration of other policy is also discussed within the paper. The authors state clearly that other theorists and participants concur that it is a ‘two way street’ where united collaboration will only take place when all Government partners and child care professionals share the same ethos, receive appropriate guidance and training and communication is effective . Straker and Foster’s, (2009) could have used the recommendations from the Bercow Report to evaluate and substantiate their own findings.

The literature review concludes by identifying that whilst training has been identified as being a potential asset it is still sporadic this may be due to resisting the opportunities, lack of vision to move with changes or basically that it is not available to certain sectors or personnel. Different sectors within this subject are identified as requiring further investigation these are those that require professional identity (clarification of role) and differentiation (what the role involves for the individual).It is also identified that through ECM professional development and training that these obstacles could be overcome.

Methods and findings

Research is defined by two categories qualitative and quantitative Qualitative research is drawn from many sources. This is primarilydue, as Lancy (1993) points out, to the fact that “… topic, theory, and methodology are usually closely interrelated in qualitative

research[p.3].” Both research methods usedin this journal article were qualitative. Qualitative methods are helpful not

only in giving rich explanations of complex phenomena, but in creating or evolving theories or conceptual bases, and in proposing hypotheses to clarify the phenomena. (Shwartz, 2000). Quantitative research examines the variables of statistical information. This type of research uses controlled systems in order to prove or disprove a theory.

Basic research is primary this type of research is information or data from a chosen subject that requires further explanation or clarification with the intention of gaining more clarification and understanding. The results are not immediate or short term. On one hand there is research which is qualitative with no scientific element in the experiential perception, it is the questioning why in the humanistic sense and the other which is more analytical and questions the relationship amid irregulars being qualitative and /or quantitative research to prove or disprove a hypothesis. However debate between researchers remains as to what is valid research.

Applied research

Applied research communicates outcomes on multiple layers. This type of research scrutinizes issues in genuine context the aim being the provision of a realistic resolution which usually comes from fundamentalstudy in this case Every Child Matters: Change for Children[ECM] [2004]. Applied research can capture why policy accomplishment is delayed or suspended. The example being the variables of policy interpretation, policy understanding and what trainees want their learning experience to be and how to implement changes in the workplace. This is clearly identified within the reviewed journal article.

Primary research consists of interviews and eye witness accounts etc. Which are taken from observational methods. Whereas secondary research could use books, Government documents etc. This method uses the findings of others for the advancement of knowledge. Secondary and primary research is effective when used together as it shows variety and veracity of information and data. The article reviewed used both methods to give weight and impact to the research thus providing depth and breadth.

The researchers aim was to build an accredited, tiered pathway of training. The nature of the research and the distinctive challenges of shared vision and leadership for the Children’s Service workforce is very diverse in its makeup. There were observed identified differences in this pilot research. Straker and Foster (2009) research set out to answer the questions on the effectiveness of ECM aims within children’s services, the implementation within different tiers and multi agency training. The chosen research methodology was focus group ; strength of this method is the ability to inform many people in a limited time a weakness of this method is cost and time constraints. Semi structured interview encourages two way dialogue but the interviewer must be articulate and confident; this can a weakness if not. The framework of the questions from both research methodologies cited above was to establish how far the rhetoric of ECM and the effect of translation over the multi faceted children and family service.

The sampling strategy was opportunistic 3 cohorts of participants from various fields working within children’s services. Opportunistic sampling allows new strands of information to be pursued allowing the length and width of research to be explored.(Journal of Mixed Method Research January 2007 1:77- 100). The piloting of research is to establish reliability and validity in this case by asking the same questions to different cohorts. It is the tool to measure the level of knowledge or participation in an subject in this instance ECM and multi agency collaboration and training.

Researchers will sometimes see if the measure yields different scores for two groups who are expected to differ in the construct. Harter and Pike (1994). Social enquiry when correctly executed can result in effective results for all, this type of research is grounded foundation to build on for the benefit an enhancement of the subject/s being studied. Social enquiry is predicated on the belief that greater access to well grounded information will serve rather than threaten the interests of society. Nonetheless, in planning all phases of an inquiry, from design to presentation of findings, social researchers should consider the likely consequences for society at large, groups and categories of persons within it, respondents or other subjects, and possible future research. [SRA 2003, 17]

Focus groups allow the collating of data from personnel at various levels within educational settings the diversity of their backgrounds and their original outlooks allow the researchers opportunity to obtain information from varying perspectives and backgrounds.

With an individual survey or interview, a respondent’s input will be limited to the ideas and issues that he/she thinks of at the time of the session. The only prompts to trigger these ideas are the specific questions on the survey and/or the comments from the interviewer. In a focus group participants benefit from the ability to build on each other’s ideas and comments, typically providing more extensive input than would otherwise be possible. In contrast to written or online surveys and phone interviews, focus groups present the possibility of observing nonverbal behavior. Wiesenfelder,(no date)

Focus groups are particularly useful when there are power differences between the participants and decision makers or professionals, when the everyday use of language and culture of particular groups is of interest, and when one wants to explore the degree of consensus on a given topic (Morgan & Kreuger, 1993). Kitzinger (1994) argues that interaction is the crucial feature of focus groups because the interaction between participants highlights their view of the world, the language they use about an issue and their values and beliefs about a situation. Interaction also enables participants to ask questions of each other, as well as to re-evaluate and reconsider their own understandings of their specific experiences.

Stavrou, (2002) states that it is useful in qualitative research as unreconstructed logicor the inflexible science of reasoning and is used to understand what is real: the quality , meaning, context or image of reality in what people actually do, not what they say they do [as in the collection of quantitative data] Stavrou, [2002].

Although having many benefits alongside other investigation methods limitations are evident. The researcher, or moderator, for example, has less control over the data produced (Morgan 1988) than in either quantitative studies or one-to-one interviewing. This gives little control leaving a predominantly open ended outcome with an unpredictable predetermined conclusion. A predicted outcome is not the aim of a focus group the diversity of the subjects within the group prohibits this. More positively, focus groups may pose some difficulty in assembly. Obtaining a representative sample may be a challenge as focus groups may not be an option for certain members of personnel. Such as people who have confidence issues, the less eloquent, those with speech delays or learning difficulties. The authors of the journal article did not indicate that the above was an issue for the participants taking part but if this were the case the reviewer would have expected the choice of research method to accommodate the diversities within the sample.

To address some of the weaknesses of a focus group supporting research strategies were implemented. Semi structured interviews are focused two way conversations that are used to give and receive information. This method is conducted with an open framework which differs from a questionnaire where questions are formulated prior to the interview starting. The research methodology of semi- structured interview commences with generalized questions or topics Key themes explored include roles and responsibilities, their perceptions of the ECM agenda, and its impact on their practice as well as their relationships with other agencies. Straker & Foster(2009. P.124)

This then forms the basis of a more specific line of questioning which does not require forward planning. In effect this gives the researcher ‘’carte blanche’’ to create most of the questions during the process giving the interviewer the opportunity to probe so allowing depth of detail or the opportunity to discuss delicate/conflicting issues 1-1’’ Wengraf (2001.P.194-5)

Semi structured consultations may be recorded by prior agreement in compliance with theethic code. This affords more accuracy if supported with notation as back up. The latter ensures that all questions are addressed and ifthere are mechanical glitches there is supporting evidence. The disadvantages of this research method are concluding the interview through visual clues e.g. closing books tidying up papers which may hamper the flow of the process thus turning the interviewee off . Wengraf, [2001. 11] as above states that ending an interview appropriately can lead to the emergence of a whole new area of information.

A further pitfall of this method is that the transcribing and analysis of data can prove time consuming and the opportunity to get side tracked with anecdotes and generally inappropriate information is a possibility. In any research thefirst questions that you should ask are: Has this been done beforeDoes these data already existIf so, is there value-added in doing this againRand, [2009, 16] Whilst these methods offer breadth and depth my opinion is that it would be easy to keep to the structure as other information may come up that could side track the research event.

The principle of the research was the exploration of need for multi agency collaboration within children’s services. The research focused on three sets of personnel working within different branches of the children’s care framework, ethical considerations were followed and informed consent was documented as being obtained. The sample used was diverse in its make up ranging from junior tosenior management levels. The desirable model of practice was taken from the ECM, (2004) shared goals. The article included semi structured interviews and focus groups to establish the levels of understanding and participation within their specialism. The methods chosen proved to be limited and the sample size although diverse in makeup was small which may hamper the overall picture of awareness in this field of enquiry.

Data interpretation and analysis

The authors of this journal article identified that whilst there was marked amountof similarities in opinionwithin the groups any disparity in opinions was thought to be as a result of the lack of clarity of ECM outcomes and involvement therein, this is underpinned by relevant references from Annig et al ; Sloan( 2006) .The researchers in this study identified that participant’s roles and responsibilities varied considerably and this determined the responses of the individual groups. The article therefore implies that other tiers would benefit from the knowledge and understanding of their peers roles within the sector.

Multi-channel collusion: Happens at dissimilar tiers: information transmitted to personnel from different disciplines; co-operation and joint working on a case-by-case basis; co-ordination and formalised joint working; coalition at the level of joint structures; and integration of organisations merging to create a new identity Horwath and Morrison, [2007]. The findings of the research agrees with Horwath and Morrison, [2007]. The diversity of the groups and the differing tiers gave depth and breadth of insight into the levels of participation and understanding of the ECM framework.

The study ranged from a wholly positive attitude from cohort one to cohort two, who whilst still positive did feel confident in highlighting negative and problem areas. Cohort three displayed a an eclectic mix of groups one and two. It was interesting to viewthe responses of the individual groups even though each sample group was mixed in level academically and professionally the responses in group 1 and 2 were on the whole identified as being positive. Disparities were identified in group 2 due to gaps [they felt] in understanding of the ECM framework for some employees this was proving problematic. The dynamics in group 3 was a mixture of positive and negative responses/comments in line with the other two groups sampled. The same comments from individuals during the tasks was encouraging, the mention of shared values, the understanding of other professional roles and a feeling of belonging as a result of this training exercise was a positive step .


The research concluded that key issues that emerged were communication, leadership and consistency in practice. Communication is considered to be of paramount importance in promoting the awareness of knowledge and the clarification of the work that other agencies do. Leadership was defined as being a multi tiered facet which has the ability to empower, promote a shared vision and purpose. This was acknowledged as a being a strength in shared collaboration only when colleagues were willing to change and adapt practiceto new agendas. Whilst the participants in the focus group acknowledge the needs of effective communication, good leadership in order to work collaboratively interpretation of the outcomes of ECM and overlap of role still appears to be problematic areas. Problem areas were also identified, these included lack of consistency in practice, the inability for some employees to move forward with new ideas and policy directives, lack of clarity in job description and poor perception. These findings are reasonably founded as other researchers early in the article indicate similar findings and are broadly reiterated by others participating in this research. These findings are presented in the form of statements that identify the participant by pseudonym but highlight the accurate job title.

Many sources of appropriate documentation were used to support this journal article. Theory is used to embed and underpin throughout the article. The literature used created a chronological picture of policy and the multi strand approach to addressing the issue of lack of clarity and cooperation within children’s services. The description of research participants and levels was appropriate to enable the reader to establish the reasoning behind the research that was to be identified. Ethics guidelines were documented as being followed appropriately. Some reinforcement of ethical paperwork in the appendices would have been useful. Policy and practice mis- match is identified as an ongoing concern across the children’s services sector. This exercise has identified the focal characteristics of focus group and semi structured interviews research methodology, with emphasis being on the interaction and oscillation of participants which only qualitative methods of research can facilitate. Participants who do engage in focus groups often obtain value from the experience but realistic deliberation of time consuming focus group situations from the researchers point of view could be daunting. Lack of chance to complete the required elements involved within the allotted constraints can be a deterrent.

The process of these types of research can be more collaborative than other forms of study and can be an empowering process for participants and an exciting challenge for social researchers wanting to gain a different perspective on their field of interest. (Harrell and Bradley 2009 cited in Rand, 2009) The initial questions identified earlier in this article have been answered and reasoning behind the findings has been discussed. The theory was used to substantiate the outcomes from the article.


Article Pros Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Research Methods http://www.Article Schwartz Accessed 5/3/11 accessed 14/11/10 accessed 29/10/10 24/10/10

DfEs,(2003) Every Child Matters. Cm. 5860 (London: The Stationery Office).

DfES (2003a) Every Child Matters. Cm. 5860 (London: The Stationery Office)

Every Child Matters-Change for Children. (2004) Homepage . 5/3/11

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Hammersley, M. and Traianou, A. (2007) Ethics and Educational Research. London: TLRP. accessed 5/3/11

Harrell,M. AND Bradley,M. (2009) Data Collection Mehtods: Semi Structured Interviews and Focus Groups. accessed 14/11/10

Harter and Pike, (1994) cited in Lodico, G. Spaulding, D.T., Voegtle, H. (2010) Methods of Educational Research from Theory to Practice. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Homan R (1991) Ethics in Social Research. Harlow: Longman

Horwath, J. and Morrison, T. (2007) Collaboration, integration and change in children’s services: Critical issues and key ingredients, Child Abuse and Neglect, 31, 55-69. accessed 5/3/11

Kitzinger J. (1994,1995) ‘The methodology of focus groups: the importance of interaction between research participants’, Sociology of Health 16 (1): 103-21. accessed 5/3/11

Lancy,D.F. [1993]. Qualitative research in education: An introduction to the major traditions. New York: Longman.

Manchester University(no date) Dyson et al.

Mixed Methods Sampling: A Typology with Examples, Journal of Mixed Method Research January 2007 1:77-100

Morgan D.L. (1988) Focus groups as qualitative research. London: Sage Morgan and Kruger, (1993) Social Research Update. ( no date)Issue 19 University of Surrey.

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Free Essays

Globalization brought about rising number of students migrating to different countries for higher education


1.1 Background of study

Globalization brought about rising number of students migrating to different countries for higher education. As international educations’ landscape continue to change, students are seeking opportunities that are not only advantageous to their academic agenda, but also to their social and professional development within a global context (Marginso; Agawal, Said, Sehoole, Sorozi and De Wit; Daglish and Chan, cited in Fleischmann, Lawley and Raciti). There are great challenges in higher education brought about by globalization. “These challenges are seen as threats as well as opportunities for higher education around the world” (Arambewela &Hall, 2006 p142)

Research has shown that there is a continuous rise in the number of international student in to the Netherlands. Generally the transition of studying overseas either from a secondary school or from the work place in another country in always challenging and usually stressful. According to Pereda et al. international students are often less satisfied with their courses than other student.

Most international student i.e. full-fee paying students may have similar issues with their fellow domestic students but additionally they face some distinguishing issues like inadequate financial resource, social adjustment, loneliness and cultural shock etc, these may affect the students’ experience and hence their overall satisfaction. Therefore the need to understand international students’ perception of the service quality is vital.

For a business to achieve its financial objectives and survive, understanding what creates a great satisfying customer experience is crucial. Research has shown that high service quality contributes significantly to profitability. Understanding the students’ perception of service quality and satisfaction at the university is vital to management and policy makers in the design, implementation and evaluation of services, as the key to sustainable competitive advantage is creating memorable customer experience. Competing in a highly competitive market requires the delivery of superior service because it affects corporate image.

International students have a significant role to play on the country economy for the fact that the pay full tuition fees and they spend on the country’s home produced goods and services.

1.2 The significance of the research

This research will be a source of knowledge about issues concerning international students to the researcher who is an international student. Not only will the research be beneficial to the researcher it would benefit other individuals or groups of individuals because of the following:

This research focuses on the effect of adjustment issues on the overall services experience of the international student and student satisfaction which will add knowledge to the existing literature on higher education service quality.

The importance of students from other countries to colleges and universities cannot be undermined as they bring with them different cultures which adds to the cultural richness of the institution.

The outcome of the research will be valuable to different groups of individuals like university management team and lecturers, the students and their parents, and the country. To the university management it will provide insight about international students experience and their satisfaction which will help management in policy design and satisfying their customers the students and their parents. To the lecturers it would lead to a better understanding of the international students need and better delivery of the services hence increasing their satisfaction. Finally, the students will be better served by the university and their fellow students, their experience abroad will be enhanced.

1.3 Purpose Statement

This study aims at evaluating the service quality of the Netherlands University. The overall objective is assessing international student’s perception of the service quality provided and adjustment issues, and its relative impact on students’ satisfaction and potential loyalty.

Seek to:

–Examine the dimensions of service quality and the determining factors of international student satisfaction at the university

–Analysing the effect of interaction of service quality and adjustment issue on international student satisfaction and potential student loyalty

–gain an insight in international student perception of service quality in the Netherlands University

– To provide a set of conclusions and recommendations to enhance the level of quality of service provided by universities.

1.4 Problem Statement

As the international education continues to grow in size and international full-fee paying students expect to be treat as customers, they have several adjustment issues which affects their overall experience and hence satisfaction.

“How does the adjustment issues of international students affect the overall service experience and what are the effects of this experience on their satisfaction?”

This research is conducted mainly to find answers to the question above.

1.5 The conceptual framework

This research will be guide by the SERVQUAL survey developed by Parasurama et al. An adapted SERVQUAL model with some modification made to provide contextual relevance, will be used in this study as it will help the researcher measure the perceived service quality across the five SERVQUAL dimensions. The SERVQUAL is an instrument for assessing customer perception of service quality in service and retailing organization (Parasuraman et al, 1988)

Based on extant literature adjustment issues affect affects international students experience at universities. These adjustment issues are Academic, socio-cultural and psychological factors. The main key to success in studying abroad is the degree to which the student adjusts to the above mentioned factors.

Figure 1.1 Conceptual framework

The conceptual model above illustrates the study of international students overall service experience and their relative satisfaction with the Stenden university in the Netherlands. The study with the aim of evaluating the service quality and adjustment issues of the international student on their overall service experience, will also evaluate the effect of the experience on their satisfaction and hence word-of-mouth and if they will chose same university for further education.

The main dependent variable in this study is the student satisfaction with the university and the sub dependent variables are Positive word-of-mouth and same university for further study. The independent variables are service quality provided by the university and the student adjustment issues. These independent variables influence both influence the dependent variables.

When there is an overall good experience this will lead to student satisfaction which in turn will lead to a positive word of mouth and may want to further study at same university. If quality of service offered by the school is good and students adjustment to academic, socio-culture and psychological is good this will also lead to student satisfaction. On the contrary if the service provided by the school is good but students have problems with adjusting this may have a negative effect on their overall experience and student satisfaction.

1.6 Research Questions

The central research focuses on the analysis of the international students’ perception of service quality and adjustment issues at Stenden university and the relative impact on student satisfaction and potential student loyalty. The research aims at answering the following research questions:

Which service quality factors are most important to international students
What are the adjustment issues international students faces
What factors affect international students perception of service quality at the university
What are the determinants of overall international students perceived service quality
In what ways does the quality of service affect the satisfaction of international student
How does an adjustment issue affect student satisfaction
How can the overall experience of international students be enhanced.

1.7Ethical Consideration

All the information collected will be used strictly for the purpose/objectives of this research and the researcher will abide to the ethical principles of research. The researcher will strive to be objective in her judgment in scenarios that might come up by not taking side but by being critical.

1.8Research limitations

The period required to complete the research is short therefore time is a constraint. The results may not be generalizable as the research involves only a single organisation.

1.9 Overview of the chapters

The study will consist of five chapters followed by reference and appendices

Chapter 1 Introduction consists of:

Background of study
The significance of the research
Purpose of the study
Problem statement
The conceptual framework
Research questions
Ethical considerations
Research limitations

Chapter 2 Literature review

Higher Education

– International full-fee paying student

Service quality
SERVQUAL Dimensions
Adjustment issues of international student
Student Experience
Student Satisfaction

– Positive word-of-mouth

– Chose same university for further study

Chapter 3 Methodology

Research methodology

– Quantitative research

The research Process
The population under study
Research design
Data collection

Chapter 4 finding and analysis of Data

Demographic profile of sampling
Data analysis

Chapter 5 Summary and Discussion

1.10 Reference
Arambewela, R. and Hall, J. (2006). A Comparative Analysis of International Education Satisfaction Using SERVQUAL. Journal of Services Research 6 pg 141-146
Fleischman, D., Lawley, M., and Raciti, M. Community Engagement and the International Student Experience: Definition. From
Khawaja, N. and Dempsey, J. (2007). Psychological Distress in International University Students: An Australian Study. Australian Journal of Guidiance & Counselling 6(1) pg 13-27
Mehdizadeh, N. and Scott, G. (2005). Adjustment problems of Iranian international students in Scotland. International Education Journal, 6(4), 484-493.
Pereda, M., Airey, D., and Bennett, M. (2007). Service Quality in Higher Education : The Experience of Overseas Students. Journal of Hospitality, leisure, Sport & Tourism Education 6(2) pg 55-67
Qiang, Z. (2003) Internationalizatin of Higher Education: towards a conceptual framework. Policy Futures in Education 1(2) pg 248-270
Rogers, C. and Smith, P. (1999). Identifying the needs of overseas students: a monitoring exercise at the University of Southampton, August 1992. Journal of International Education 3(3), 7-24
Sadrossadat, S. J. (1995). Psyco-Social and Cultural Adjustment Among International Students at the University of Wollongong, PhD Dissertation, University of Wollongong.
Zeithaml, V.A. (1988). “Consumer Perceptions of Price, Quality, and Value: A Means –end Model and Synthesis of Evidence”, Journal of Marketing, 52 (2) Pg 2-22.
Zeithaml, V.A, Bitner, M.J.& Gremler, D.D.(2006). Services Marketing: integrated customer focus across the firm. International 4th Edition.
Zeithaml, V. A., Parasuraman, A., & Berry, L.L. (1990). Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer perceptions and Expectations. NewYork: The Free Press.

Free Essays

The volume of education…. continues to increase, yet so do pollution, exhaustion of resources, and the dangers of ecological catastrophe. If still more education is to save us, it would have to be education of a different kind: an education that takes us into the depth of things.”—


To begin with this paper will aim to provide an overview of the diverse meanings of sustainable development, and seeks to focus on education for sustainable development and global citizenship as a community of practice dedicated to embedding education for sustainable development and global citizenship in local and global context. This paper will compare and contrast out the global and UK policy context for education for sustainable development and outline the differing government support and guidance for education for sustainable development and global citizenship (ESDGC) across UK. Hence, the author will attempt to develop an argument for change in the way human exploits the planet.

First and foremost, sustainable development often pays a profound attention to the environment due to it becoming one of the major standing obstacle on human progress, also sustainable development goal which others also prefer to view it as an organising principle and a process has been to find solutions on how the world can continue to supply humans with natural elements such as enhancing and preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations as our wants grow more and become more demanding (U.S Congress, 1994:8). So what is sustainable developmentAccording to Fowke and Prasad (1996) they have located at least eighty different meanings, and therefore have argued that the definition of sustainable development is extremely problematic, unreliable and is still-evolving concept to pin down. Nonetheless, the notoriously best known definition which has a strong international recognition was presented by the Brundtland Report published by the intergovernmental commission set up by the UN system in the mid-1980s it is suggested that sustainable development means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (WCED, 1987: 8 & 43). Thus far, this definition of sustainable development is almost a universal worldview agreement that there is no single model for sustainable development and that is a resisted and contested concept by many.

However, a second and broader definition was presented by Huckel and Sterling (2005) both argued that the widely accepted meaning offered by Bruntland report is one of the many definitions and that it was impossible to have a one universal definition for sustainability development and maintained that SD is an ill defined concept and can be approached from various perspectives and therefore they defined sustainable development as a process that develops people’s awareness, competence, attitudes and values, enabling them to be effectively involved in sustainable development at local, national and international levels, and helping them to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future (Huckel & Sterling, 2005:1).

Furthermore Sterling (2001) put forward three notions related to education for sustainable development (EDS). Namely; education about sustainability which highlights a broad sustainable concepts and possibly having knowledge on injustices and this is known as a starting point to make initiatives and head towards education for sustainability (EfS). At this stage of EfS there is emphasize on learning for change, critical and reflective thinking and conceivably possess values and capability of injustices. Therefore, as a result of learning about the environment in schools and the social transformation achieved by students facilitate a real transition towards education as sustainability whereby it focuses on the process and quality of learning to be creative, reflective and participative (Wade, 2007:106-107).

Why is sustainable desirableFirstly, according to former secretary general U Thant and others are to be believed, humanity have only an exceedingly minimal amount of time such as ten to fifteen years to drastically convert into major positive trends rather than negative lifestyles move ( Mchale, :122). Whilst, on the other hand, some experts argue that it is too late to change people attitudes in regards to sustainability in fact they stress that sustainable development is pointless. With this, it is worth pausing momentarily to consider developing countries for instance; china with economic progress is quickly rising into first world status with a prediction from the International Monetary Fund that U.S. could lose its status as the world’s biggest economic power to china in the next five years. Therefore, as a result it is believed that the carbon footprint will only escalate global warming issues and it could heighten the climate change into uncontrollable events with no way out (Sobkiw, 2008:91).

Secondly, other researchers have stated that the planet earth can only hold eight billion people and preferably two billion people effectively. So what happens to the rest of the populationOne could argue that research indicates that a hundred years ago our science and technology could only support a few hundred people on the earth. So what happenedWhat changedHow did we get six billion people on the planetWith the total still rising and with estimated every nine months, another eighty million are added. Interestingly, humanity rose to the challenge and made it possible through education and research in order to develop sustainable targets (ibid).

That being the case, one would argue that one of the greatest instruments to educate citizens of environment issues has to be the education for sustainable development (ESD) and mass awareness in order to create environmental consciousness either through formal, non-formal and informal education which has been recognised as a powerful and viable tool for bringing about behavioural change, as it has the potential to make people wiser, knowledgeable, informed, intelligent, ethical and responsible citizens now and in the future (Singhal, 2004:16). Infact according to UNESCO report published in 1997 maintains that in order for humanity to alter its course of growing difficulties and possible catastrophe thus desired changes in behaviours, values and life styles and promoting public support for continuing and fundamental changes will be required. And, consequently humanity should start the uphill climb towards education for sustainability as it’s the best hope and most effective means in the quest to achieve sustainable development. Likewise, agenda 21 endorsed the agreement that education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improve the capacity of people to address environment and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent and therefore education for sustainable development is an important asset in today’s world for generating effective public participation in decision making (Singhal, 2004:16).

Therefore, it is never too late. Clearly, it is vitally important for ESD to educate and offer opportunities to all citizens in order to understand the earth constant changes and the complexity of environment challenges and build students capacity to take appropriate action. Nevertheless, ESD will not only play as a critical role in meeting the challenges for sustainability but will also seek to transform communities to focus on positive change while working towards sustainability. In addition, it intends to educate citizens and explore on the importance of sustainability and consequences of unstable sustainability. Whereby students are taught to act upon environmental issues and learn to live in a sustainable way (Lang, 2008:8).

Firstly the vision for education for sustainability is to emphasize learning for change to create sustainable futures. Consider social and environmental aspects for instance they are one of the major attributions into global alterations and yet they are mostly ignored. Therefore, ESD purpose is to set up a way for students to learn how to re-vision and benefit from the education and learn the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation ( Secondly, health development and environment is another major risk to the planet as unhealthy population endangers economic and social development and triggers a vicious cycle that contributes to unsustainable use of resources and environmental degradation (Council of Europe, 2010:271). Thus, ESD is fundamentally important in helping to shape a better society by motivating humanity to develop their responsibility in order to maintain a quality dignified human life. Furthermore, it will also increase the capability of people to transform their vision of society into operational realities (UNESCO, 2001a:1).

Thirdly, it is sad, but true that the preservation and restoration of the earth’s environment is crucial. Yet, globally humanity depends hugely on these as one of the earth life support systems in accordance with its natural resources. Therefore developing the understanding of the interdependence and its fragility lies at the heart of education for sustainable development. Hence, it is expected that the links between societal and economic considerations will encourage people to adapt new behaviours to help preserve the world’s natural resources and behaviors which are essential for human development and survival (Council of Europe, 2010:271).

Undoubtedly, without education for sustainability (EfS) none of the above limitations will go away. Here is an example of a quote presented by Einstein he stated that;

“No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We have to learn to see the world anew.” (Einstein)

It is obviously that the quote suggests that it is important for ESD studies is one of the greatest resource that will prepare students who in the future will become teachers, bankers, managers, biologist, lawyers, and leaders to name a few create a more sustainable world. Surely, it would be arrogant if humanity with holds ESD to progress as it is crucial to all humans to have a sound knowledge on issues of sustainability. As a result, this will in fact bring environmental awareness which is decisively important for public to foresee critical milestone in the history of our planet and universe and urgency for the need of promoting such education. Besides, since it is individuals who make up the society and all the institutions are human made. It is inescapably to say what man can make, man can unmake as quoted by Frederick Douglass (Zinn, 1996:6).

However, according to David Elgin (1991) he quoted that we cannot build a future we cannot imagine and therefore suggests that the first requirements is to create for ourselves a realistic, compelling and engaging vision of the future that can be simply be told by creating a sustainable future ( Elgin, 1991:77). It is understood that in order for the sustainable development to be successful individuals must imaginatively develop and apply the vision of a sustainable way of life locally, nationally, regionally and globally ( Earth Charter Commission, 2000:6).

Although, the vision for Education for sustainable development was crystallised when world leaders agreed that the concept of sustainable development should be actively pursued as a global context (Tilbury, 2002:18). Still, there are misconceptions on whether ESD is achievable. With many researchers and studies confirming that the ESD is considered challenging and there are barriers in regards to educating the world on sustainability in a global context. So how would a sustainable globe look likeAccording to Roosa it would be a world where everyone has the opportunity to live environmentally safe, ecologically appropriate, maintain physical development, and possess efficient use of natural resources with a framework which allows improvement of the human condition and equal opportunity for current and future generations and manageable urban growth (Roosa, 2008:44). Nevertheless, As specified by Harken (1993) he claimed in reality most global problems cannot be solved globally because they are global symptoms of local problems with roots in reductionist thinking that goes back to the scientific revolution and the beginning of industrialism ( Harken, 1993:211).

Despite the challenges UN-CSD (1998) argues that it is of prime importance to make space in the curriculum for the interrelationship between ecology, economy, culture and social development. They maintain that the education should include the transmission of ethical values, co-operative behaviour and solidarity of action and that these changes ought to be carried through at all levels such as school, vocational training and during professional development (UN-CSD: 1998). I believe sustainable development is attainable. But I am also convinced that such profound change cannot be achieved without giving priority attention to the role of knowledge and education. For instance, consider several developing countries the global defined goals for SD is lesser to a certain degree compared to other developed countries who are actively attempting to live sustainability. In particular, certain parts in Africa and Asia those who live in worst slum areas which the parameter of the area is still small and yet surprisingly half a million people live in it. Until recently, these people did not have a school, hospital or even a police station. Therefore, it is unfortunate and inevitable because the top-heavy global issue on sustainability seems unachievable.

In Wales there are various projects that have been implemented for the youth and are required to work in guidance with the curriculum statement for Wales which states that youth work should be educative, enabling young people to gain skills, knowledge, understanding, attitudes and values needed to identify, advocate and pursue their rights and responsibilities as individuals and as members of groups and communities locally, nationally and internationally (Youth work curriculum statement for Wales, 2001). This statement was reinforced in September 2005 by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) by establishing education for sustainable development and global citizenship (ESDGC) strategy for action which stated that it is statutory commitment to ESDGC and sets out a Wales wide strategy for all educational sectors including the youth work sector (ibid). One example of the project working towards ESDGC is global youth work which incorporates principles and practices of sustainable development and global citizenship.

This project responds to some of the most important issues facing humanity today, environmental issues such as climate change, international wars and terrorism, trade and the global jobs market, poverty and injustice, asylum seekers and refugees, international business and identity and the survival of minority language and cultures. Therefore, it aims to empower people to be aware responsible and active by empowering them to make better decisions and supports young people to explore and take action on the global issues that matter to them and practising something positive about the issues they have learned about. The action ranges from making personal change to their lifestyles such as buying fair trade goods and so on, raising small funds, campaigning and advocating on issues at local, national and international level. Therefore, global youth work (GYW) has great recognition that young people should be encouraged to think critically about the world around us rather than just accepting the face value messages given to us from the media or politicians for example. In addition, GYW identify that the members of global society have global rights and global responsibilities and thus it is a process that we ought to realise that our lives are connected with the lives of others throughout the world. Finally, (GYW) seeks to foster active participation in order to bring change towards greater equity and justice (Development Education Association Global Youth Work training and practice manual, 2004).

Eco-schools (EC) is another example of how schools are working towards ESDGC. It is a program that is managed by the foundation for environmental education (FEE). Eco-schools currently is practiced in twenty eight countries including some African countries and being implemented in forty seven countries around the world and is based on the principles of agenda 21. This program is coordinated by the international non-profit organisation and schools are expected to work through seven steps to achieve green flag certification (Jacobson, 2006:122). Additionally, the eco-schools process is holistic it works by involving a whole school approach whereby pupils, teachers, local community, local authority, media and local businesses, parents, and other staff are all involved. This encourages teamwork and helps create a shared understanding of what it takes to run a school in a way that respects and enhances the environment (Hicks, 2007:183).

Practical examples of how schools work towards Education for sustainability: e.g. use of Forest School, Green flag….other initiatives?


Sustainable development has brought many changes in every sector of our society. It is understood as a development that encourages us to conserve and enhance our resource base, maintaining a reasonable balance between the desired goals and the available means n this is the way the endurance of the process can be established. Education for sustainable development is the educational manifestation of the concept of sustainable development and it faces a difficult task to put the principles of sustainable development into practice. Transforming the concept of sustainable development into reality is not a short-term process n producing greater lasting effects requires long-term strategies that would support changing the values of the whole community. Only this approach can achieve sustained health benefits and environmental protection in accord with the principles of sustainable development. (Epidemiology 1999;10:656-660). Therefore, as sustainable development is a concept that has ethical, moral, and spiritual connotations in it requires attitudinal and behavioural changes. The success of sustainable development will ultimately depend on the decisions individuals and groups make regarding their own behaviour and the bottom-line of these decisions is their value system (ARIC, 2000; Mang, 2005). Today, education for sustainability is positioned to enter the national stage as a priority for the coming decade. Taken together, the initiatives and framework laid out in An Agenda for Action offer a starting point. The hope is that the Agenda will stimulate further dialogue and action on these initiatives. How we meet the future is in our hands. Education for sustainability provides an opportunity to craft the future we want for a sustainable America. According to former prime minister Gordon Brown he suggested that globalisation has become one of the increasing significance and identified it as one of the six priorities resulting in global interdependence ( s to build a stronger and fairer Britain in reference to world coming together due to closer, economic, cultural, environmental, political and technological interaction


Inman, S., Mackay. S., Rogers, M., Wade., R. Effecting Change Through Learning Networks: The Experience of the UK Teacher Education Network for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship (GC). Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 12, 2, 2010, PP. 97-109. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 7th April 2011].

Roosa, R., S. Sustainable development Handbook, London: Taylor and Francis Ltd, 2008.

Roosa, R., S. Sustainable development Handbook, London: Taylor and Francis Ltd, 2010.

Versita, Warsaw. Characteristics of Sustainable Changes for Schools. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 9, 9, 2008, PP. 35-54 . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 7th April 2011].

Pavlova, M. Technology and vocational Education for Sustainable Development: Empowering individuals for the future, Australia: Griffith University, 2008.

Long, J. How to succeed with education for sustainability, Australia: Curriculum Corporation, 2007.

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Perspectives on the role of science and technology in sustainable development, United States: Government Printing Office, 1994. [accessed on the 26th April 2011].

Free Essays

How can models of community education help to redress youth re-offending in the community?


In this essay a discussion of “how models of community education can help to re-dress youth re-offending in the community” will be given. There are three different aspects of models of community education which have been chosen to talk about and they are lifelong learningin the form of an offenders scheme, self-help and self determination. A definition of community education will be given and I will also (from a variety of sources) give statistics of the youth re-offending rate. A discussion on my local area (Hackney) will also be included with a talk about what the area is like and how the crime affects the area and how high/low youth reoffending is with more statistics being included.

I will also go on to talk about restorative justice, give my own personal opinion on which of the three models work. And a talk of Dr Tony Sewell’s work will also be a part of this essay. Three other things which will be established within this essay, will be community academy, community based education initiatives and the social identity theory which I will take examples from Lionel’s detailed power point presentation. After gathering all my findings a final conclusion will be added which will be a summary of all my research and giving my own thoughts and personal opinions.

Definition of Community Education

Community education can be defined in various different ways. According to the website Wikipedia I have found that the definition of community education is.

Community Education. (2011, March 13). Retrieved April 1, 2011, from Wikipedia:

“Community education is also known as community based education/community and learning development. It is a learning and social development that tend to work with individuals and groups within their communities using a large range of formal and informal methods. Some of the programmes based in community education are developed in dialogue with communities and participants. Which improve the quality of life, of the people who take part.”

The purpose of community education is to develop the capacity of individuals and groups of all ages through action.

Taking reference from the power point present presentation on community education which was shown on week 2 of the module, I made sure to take notes on the various definitions on community education which I could include within my essay here are just a few example of definitions by a variety of sources:

presentation, L. P. (2011, February 12). UEL Plus. Retrieved April 4th, 2011, from UEL:

“According to Tony Townsend his definition of Community Education is “the strength of community education, is also its weakness, community education’s strength is that it deals with many different and varied components of education within the community. Its weakness is that this makes it very hard to describe what we do.” – Tony Townsend

“Community Education is a structured way to assist, people to improve their lives”- Hungary

“A process where learning, is used for both individual and community betterment, it is characterised by: Involvement of people of all ages”

The use of community learning, resources and research to bring about community change.

“The recognition that people can learn through, with and for each other to create a better world”. – Canada


Hackney is known for its black and black crime and has been the victim of knife and gun crime, including postcode wars according to statistics

“Young people are over-represented both as perpetrators and as victims of crime throughout the UK. In Hackney itself, young people were accused of committing more than 19% of all offences last year when they make up only 12% of the population. During that same period (2007-2008), young people were also the victims of 2,372 offences. Despite these figures, crime as a whole is falling faster in Hackney than in any other London borough, with gun crime down by 35% in 2008.”

As you can see Hackney is getting better as figures have gone down, due to more police patrolling the streets, making sure the youth’s are not hanging around after a certain time

Between April 2007 and March 2007 a report was given in which factors were given about the types of offenders after analysing this report it was assumed that:

“42% of the young offenders considered in this report were not in ETE

Asian/Asian British young offenders are more than three times more likely to be in ETE than white British young offenders.

Young women who commit offences are more likely not to be in suitable ETE.

First time offenders were more likely to be in ETE than re-offenders.

Engagement in ETE generally reduces as the young people get older and as young people re-offend. “

This just goes to show that although the majority are in education, there are small parts that are still not in education. Is it due to the lack of teachers that do not support studentsOr are people around them unable to give young people the support and encouragement needed, which enables them to be on the right track. As you can see one of the statements has said that “first time offenders, were likely to be in education than re-offenders” which could mean that young people are not being given the opportunity to bring out their true potential or may just be bored of the subjects they are studying, which is causing them to lose focus and have their mind elsewhere. I think that teachers should give every young person as much support and encouragement as they can, keeping them on the right track.


Hackney a small borough in great which coincides in East London. First established on April 1st 1965 the official council is Hackney council. With a population estimated at 212,000 Hackney is quite a big borough with different ethnicities such as white, black, Asian etc. Diane Abbott, Hackney’s MP states that she has been increasing the level of police who patrol the streets. According to Abbott she has stated that the level of crime is predominately down to young men who do feel that carrying a knife, makes them superior to everyone else. They go out to a rave and carry a gun with them which to them feels like routine. They tend to see it as a style accessory which is beginning to become part of their culture. Voicing her opinion about crime in Hackney, she has spoken out to say “we see so many young people for whom the gun culture is part and parcel of their culture it seems as though that the level of gun crime is tiny”.(2008) I will be biased and say that as a resident of Hackney myself whenever I do read about crime within my area innocent people are usually involved. With most people too frightened to come forward and do something about it. This could potentially reduce the level of crime that continues to dominate hackney.

Restorative justice

Restorative Justice. (2011, March 15th). Retrieved March 18th, 2011, from

“A broad term which encompasses a growing social movement to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem solving and violations of legal and human rights. These range from international peacemaking tribunals such as the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission to innovations within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, schools, social services and communities. Rather than privileging the law, professionals and the state, restorative resolutions engage those who are harmed, wrong doers and their affected communities in search of solutions that promote repair, reconciliation and the rebuilding of relationship. Restorative justice seeks to build partnerships to re-establish mutual responsibility for constructive responses to wrongdoing within our communities. Restorative approaches seek a balanced approach to the needs of the victim, wrongdoer and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all”

What Is Restorative Justice(2010, December Friday). Retrieved March 28th, 2011, from Restorative Justice Council:

“Restorative Justice Processes can bring those harmed, by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident, to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward”.

Restorative Justice. (2011, March 15th). Retrieved March 18th, 2011, from

It is stated that Restorative Justice, can also be known as reparative justice. The main focus is on the needs of the victims and offenders. Instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. There are various ways to look at restorative justice, you could think of it as a balance between a number of different tensions:

A balance between the therapeutic and the retributive models of justice

A balance between the rights of offenders and the needs of the victims

A balance between the need to rehabilitate offenders and the duty to protect the public.

Models of community education

There are various models of community education; one in particular is lifelong learning to me lifelong learning is continuous source of learning and building skills, throughout a person’s life experiences that can be encountered in the cause of a life time. Lifelong learning can be known as being very formal for example. counselling, tutoring, mentorship, apprenticeship, higher education etc. Or informal could be by the experiences one has had. One method lifelong method of learning I found during my research is the ex offenders scheme

Trust, T. L. (2011). Ex Offender’s Scheme. Retrieved March 29th, 2011, from The Learning Trust:

The restorative justice council has said, “the ex offenders support service, has an aim to engage, support and keep ex prisoners in learning and training to break their cycle of crime”. The scheme is run by Alison Kakande; work with young offenders in the borough of Hackney, with regular visit to prisons both in and out of London. Alison visits inmates who are in their final months in prison to give them the opportunity to talk about what they what like to do after they have left prison. Not only do these inmates receive regular guidance, which are tailored to their individual needs, but they also take into account their offending background. The scheme is on a one to one basis and also offers support to the families of the ex offenders. (What Is Restorative Justice(2010, December Friday). Retrieved March 28th, 2011, from Restorative Justice Council: )

I decided that the best way to find out more about the ex offenders scheme, was to interview Alison herself. So on Thursday 31st March 2011, I conducted a telephone interview to gain a further insight.

Me: Hello Alison, my name is Latoya, I’m a student at the University of East London conducting an essay on which way crimes can be reduced, and was wondering if you could take the time to answer a few questions for me.

Me: so Alison, why did was this scheme set up?

Well, the scheme was set up, to show offender’s that they are able to do something positive with their lives after a spell in prison. I after seeing so many people I know, who have been in and out of prison I decided to turn a negative into a positive and give prisoners an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

Me: can you give me a further insight to how the scheme runs?

Well my role is to go and visit prisoners who are about to be released and talk to them about what they want to do, when they are out. I give them the opportunity to think about whether they want to work, or get back into education, giving them the support and guidance they need.

Me: do you think that by the level of support that the inmates get, will break their cycle of crime?

There is only so much support that this scheme can give, it’s up to the individual, to take what we’ve given them and use it to utilise their full potential with our constant encouragement of course.

Me: since starting the scheme, in your opinion how successful do you think it’s been?, this scheme has a success rate of 90% and there is still more that we can do to give equal opportunities to the people who are coming out of prison and want turn their lives around, not just for themselves but for the people around them.

There are various models of community Education, e.g. Lifelong learning, community involvement, self- determination, self help etc. I will go on to discuss two models of community education. Self- help and self-determination. To have self determination you have to have a goal and aspire to reach that goal, that how self determination starts from within, by aiming to achieve something within a certain time frame. Giving my own definition of self-determination I believe this is where an individual takes control and motivates themselves to determine what they want from their own lives. By having self determination maybe this could stop youths re-offending in the sense that they are able to set themselves a goal, like going back into education; to gain themselves a qualification to make themselves and others around them proud is not going to make them to reoffend if they are doing something positive for themselves and showing other around them, how they are able to change their lives after being in prison.

Drawing on the topic of self-help after coming out of prison could be a little difficult. To help yourself, you have to be emotionally, psychically and mentally ready. Self help is where people are able to take responsibility for their own lives and well being becoming independent, not having to rely on others. There are various sources of self- help such as support groups or public information.

Which model works?

Out of the models which I have chosen to speak about, I believe that all three could work together and in their own various ways. That in particular being lifelong learning with regards to the ex offenders scheme. I believe that after interviewing the ex offenders scheme manager. I have managed to establish an understanding that this particular scheme links all three models together. To be a part of the scheme you have to have that mindset, of achieving a positive outcome, after having a negative experience. Drawing upon the ex offenders scheme, contributes to both self-help and self-determination. I have gained understanding and to my knowledge believe that this is real starting point for youth’s break their cycle of crime and for them to have a more positive experience. I think that this form of lifelong learning will enable a youth or any other offender for that matter that just because they’ve had a spell in prison; does not mean that they are not able to turn their lives around. Not just for themselves, but for friends and family also, so overall I think that all models work, but can on the basis of how


Dr Tony Sewell

According to Dr Tony Sewell “Black students are three times more likely to be excluded from school than other groups. More black young men go to prison than university; in the face of these alarming statistics it is evident that we need more black male teachers”.

I do agree with Sewell’s statement here, as we see too many young boys on the news or in newspapers, not actually being praised. But either dying or going to prison. I don’t however believe that the lack of male black teachers affect the level of young black men going to prison, as I believe it is up to the person themselves, to make a life for themselves. Of course the basis is of what family background a person has I think that has big influence on what a person does with their life, whether it is education or prison. Speaking from experience within my own family my father wasn’t always around, but I did have the love and support of my mother and my sister’s who encouraged me that university is the way forward. And after seeing my two sister’s graduate from university and gain good grades, made me want to better myself. On the negative side speaking on behalf of my older brother I can say that him never having a father around made him a totally different person which is why he ended up in prison. I think the lack of support that he got in school from his teacher’s made him doubt himself and this is where thing’s started to go wrong. I think the lack of black teachers back in his school days were next to none and the simple fact there was no male figure there to guide him growing up.

Dr Tony Sewell is a very well known educational advisor, who speaks widely on issues that relates to race, social justice, emotional and behaviourally difficult children, Sewell. A former tutor, he has also been a senior lecturer in the school of education and at the University of Leeds.

Sewell also runs his own London based charity “Generating genius” which aim is to help children in that in particular, boys of a black and mixed raced heritage. Who come from a working class background. The aim of this scheme is for those young boys to achieve educational success and go onto university.

I believe that this is the a

Community Academy

Social identity theory

The social identity theory is a theory which was developed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner, to understand the basis of intergroup discrimination. My class was given a lecture on the social identity theory and I was particularly drawn when Lionel explained and examined the minimal conditions for inter-group discrimination.

Taking notes on the particular topic I found that the main points of the conditions were Minimal group paradigm, no shared interaction between the groups, no shared goals and participations were unaware of other’s group membership.

During the power point presentation I was made aware of what Tajfel and Turner expected. The minimal group was given no name in which Tajfel and Turner expected this to have no effect, because of this they then decided to add other aspects of group identity. To establish a minimal group they took a set of young boys, who had been previously acquainted from local private schools. The boys were asked to look at a set of slides and were told to guess, how many dots were on the slide.

Lionel went on to discuss how, many people like in-groups because we are motivated to achieve and maintain a positive self-image. Self-image has two components. Personal identity and social identities, which come from the groups which we associate ourselves with. This is drawing on the fact that when our group succeeds, we succeed which can boost our self image, there is a process of this, and we were giving an example of this in the form of a diagram.

After analysing the diagram it came to my attention that there is one big link, self esteem, within this diagram I am able to take and understand that gaining self –esteem comes from a variety of sources. Take personal identity for example, this is when a person knows who they really are and exudes confidence, their self esteem can be at an all time high as they are not allowing anyone to change who and how they are. Another example is personal achievement, when someone has achieved something so great like gaining a degree of course their self esteem is boosted, it’s something they have worked hard for and can look back on.

The social identity theory is made up of three elements.

Categorization: where we as people label others and ourselves putting ourselves into categories for example, we can label someone as being an Asian, Muslim or a singer. This is a way of saying things about other people.

Identification: which groups we associate ourselves with (in groups) which predominately boosts our self esteem.

Comparison: this is where we compare our group with other groups, but tending to be biased to the group in which we belong to.


In conclusion, to answer the question how can models of community education help to redress youths re-offending in the communityAccording to the research that I have undertaken I have gained further insight and I believe that by just by having aspects such as lifelong learning which is obviously continuous throughout a person’s life, will enable the majority of ex offenders to want to take a step in the right direction and produce a positive outcome. By having support and encouragement from family and friends and the self-determination to turn their life around for the better. I think that more models of community education could be established to ensure that youth’s who reoffend are given a choice of what to do after they leave prison to deter them from reoffending.

I think that

Free Essays

What factors can be used as the most effective predictors for completed suicide in young people who self-harm within the education system


In this study the author will attempt to explore the question “What factors can be used as the most effective predictors for completed suicide in young people who self-harm within the education system”. Only articles and research which have been written by experts in the area of parasuicide and self-harm will be explored.

The beginning of the study will define exactly what is meant by the term deliberate self harm, at present there is no single diagnosis for the symptoms and are often labelled as Depersonalisation Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among many.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2004, p2) state that the rates of deliberate self-harm have been steadily rising during the past 10 years to the point where it has now become a major public health problem which accounts for roughly 150,000 accident and emergency attendances each year. NICE (2004, pp2-3) continue to say that the highest number of reported cases of deliberate self harm in Europe is in the U.K, with those young people who self harm being 100 times more likely to continue to commit suicide in the year subsequent to their incident of self harm, due to this it is often thought that young people who carry out acts of deliberate self harm intend to follow through and commit suicide, however, this is not often the case.

Favazza and Conterio in 1988(1988, pp 22-30) co authored the largest study conducted on cutting, their sample was of 240 chronic self-harmers, of all studies that have been carried out previously this was a larger sample of them all combined, a profile was drew up from he study of what they described as a “typical” self-harmer, they stated that this would be a white female which will have begun self injurious behaviour at the age of fourteen years old. Throughout her adolescents would have carried out acts of self injurious behaviour at least 50 times, this would usually be through cutting but also using other self injurious behaviour methods, including hitting or burning herself. Today however a “typical” self harmer could equally be a male but they would have started carrying out acts of self injurious behaviour at the age of twelve years old, this indicates that the pattern of self harm is changing, this could possibly be due to social circumstances, where the self injurious behaviour starts earlier but continues later into adult life, nevertheless Stone & Sias (2003, pp112-113) argue that it is difficult to really know what the typical characteristics of young people who carry out acts of self-harm are.

The study will focus around repetition of self harm and how this could effect the later risk of completed suicide regardless of recent guidance from NICE (2004) it still remains uncertain how best to manage young people who self-harm when they present to professionals and how to recognise young people who will later carry out completed suicide. The study will focus on several research papers including those on the suicide risk in young people who carry out acts of self harm and on suicide after self harm.

It will then be concluded by researching further strategies which professionals could employ to try and reduce the prevalence of completed suicide in young people who carry out acts of self harm. It will also try to identify if any predictors are present which may indicate which young people are more at risk in order to allow teaching staff to refer them to the relevant multi professional team to help manage their treatment accordingly to reduce this risk.

Literature Review

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2004 p38) describes self harm as “An act that individuals carry out in order to hurt themselves when they are feeling desperate, confused, angry or sad.” However this definition does not give any indication as to what self harm actually is. Spandler et al (2007 p9) however provides a much clearer definition stating that “self harm is an impulsive or compulsive act in which individuals carry out in order to inflict physical wounds upon themselves. Motivation behind this act being their need to cope with unbearable emotions and/or psychological distress, carrying out this act may help the individual to regulate and control their sense of emotional balance.”

There are various definitions used by researchers to describe the term “self harm” this may cause confusion and misunderstanding as to what exactly constitutes an act of self harm. Sharman (2007 p3) also defines self harm as “a means of expressing one’s feeling” and as a way of communicating when feelings and thoughts may not be able to be expressed. After self harm has been carried out children feel better for a while and also feel that they are able to carry on with life.

Soomro (2007 p1) argues that self harm is not just a response to an emotional or psychological need in which an individual carries out a non fatal act. When carrying out the act to a variable degree, an intention to end their lives may be present. Due to this the phenomenon is often described as “parasuicide” or “attempted suicide”.

According to a study carried out by Hawton et al (2007 p441) there is an increasing number of children who are carrying out acts of deliberate self harm. This increase is particularly in girls. However, a study carried out by Anderson et al (2007 p470) states that the number of boys who self harm has raised since the 1970’s. Young children who carry out acts of self harm are causing major concerns to the educational, health and social services. In several countries the third most common cause of death in boys aged 15-18 is suicide. Due to the characteristically high suicide intent held by some children demonstrating self injurious behaviour, which is carried out with particular planning to ensure that they are not discovered or found out, and also in the fatal methods which are often used in these circumstances, self harm is also viewed as parasuicide.

The terms “self-harm” and “attempted suicide” (Simpson 2006 p429) are sometimes used interchangeably as though they are one and the same problem. Despite the fact that it has been recognised that to the individual carrying out the act there is a significant difference and conflicting meaning between self harm and suicide, self harm is essentially used by individuals with the intention of being able to carry on with their lives.

In this context (McDougall et al 2010, pp 11-16) the two most common forms of self harm are termed as “cutting” and “poisoning”. Cutting is performed on both arms and legs, consisting of shallow cuts made to the skin. Cutting is also carried out on other parts of the body including sexual organs and breasts these forms of cutting are less frequent. However, it must never be assumed that self harm is restricted to the individual cutting themselves, as individuals who carry out acts of self harm can often be quite resourceful in finding ways and resources they can use when harming themselves.

Examples of self-harm include the following-:

Swallowing harmful substances or objects
Skin pulling/ scratching/ biting
Head banging
Breaking bones
Throwing themselves against objects
Pulling out hair

It is seen by many people that those who self harm are attention seekers, (Spandler et al 2007 p17 McDougall et al 2010 p39) however this could not be further from the truth as many children who demonstrate acts of self harm are extremely self conscious of the wounds and scars which they have inflicted on themselves, and often go to extreme lengths to conceal them and their behaviour from others most often by wearing clothing which cover and hide their wounds or scars.

Whilst trying to define self harm it must be remembered that it is extremely important to appreciate that it may be divided into two major groups. It is argued by Favazza (1996 pp225-260) that the first of these groups may be described as culturally sanctioned self-mutilation, this then being sub-divided into practices and rituals. The second group is described as deviant self- mutilation, which is then sub-divided into stereotypical self-mutilation, major-mutilation and moderate/superficial self-mutilation. Favazza (1996 pp225-260) then carries on to say stereotypical self-mutilation is seen as being repetitive in nature with the behaviour being carried out in a rhythmic pattern by the child.This is most commonly seen in head banging. Major acts of self-mutilation (Favazza 1996 pp225-260) lead to profuse bleeding and major tissue damage. This often occurs suddenly, and at the time of the incident may be a result of the child being in a psychotic state. He then continues to say that moderate/superficial self-mutilation is the most widely performed act of self harm. This type of behaviour holding prevalence in the range of 750 to 1,400 cases per 100,000 people. If asked to describe self harm, the majority of people would recognise moderate/superficial self-mutilation as a form of injury including burning, skin picking and cutting. However, in a study carried out by Hawton, Rodham, Evans, & Harris (2009 p26), the overall prevalence of children who perform deliberate self harm is 6729 per 100,000.

Favazza’s description of self harm (1996 pp225-260) provides a much more complete definition and gives a much clearer description of the act. However it still can be seen how difficult it is to effectively describe what self harm consists of as the terms “self-harm”, “deliberate self-harm” and “parasuicide”, cause misunderstanding and confusion, thus resulting in people holding their own opinions and ideas of what self harm actually is.

In several studies carried out by Gratz et al (2002); Van der Kolk, Perry, & Herman, (1991; Zlotnick et al, (1996) which concluded that many children who demonstrate acts of self harm may have experienced a history of emotional neglect, prolonged separation from parents/caregivers, physical and/or sexual abuse which may have led to the onset of self-destructive behaviour. This behaviour then may be maintained through their lack of secure attachment. It was found in a study of 28 participants by Van der Kolk, Perry, & Herman, (1991 pp1665-1671) that only one of the participants had not reported any form of trauma nor had their care needs been disrupted in any way. From the 28 participants 89% had experienced some form of disruption to the care needs they received from their parents/caregivers. They also found that 79% had suffered significant trauma, many suffering some form of abuse at the hands of their family and friends. These conclusions by Van der Kolk, Perry, & Herman, (1991 pp1665-1671) were also confirmed by Freeman (2010 pp58-60), where studies showed that there are numerous life factors such as sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse/neglect, and parental addiction or illness, all of which may contribute to the onset of children carrying out acts of self harm.

The studies would indicate (Sutton 2005 pp53-54) that there are a range of factors which may trigger the onset of children demonstrating acts of self injurious behaviour. However major traumatic experiences such as neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse or a combination of all events appear to be the most common trigger factors.

This is also argued to be the main reasons for children demonstrating self-harming behaviour by Martin and Gillies (2004) cited in Garisch &Wilson (2010 p152). They state that more than 20% of children reported having to deal with forms of bullying and victimisation. Also, in a study carried out over a six month period by Strong (2000 p64) of children in an adolescent psychiatry unit in 1988, 83% reported were actively involved in performing some form of deliberate self harm due to being victims of abuse.

It is argued by The Mental Health Foundation (2006) that the rates of self injurious behaviour are much higher amongst children aged 11 and 25 years, with the average age being 12 when children are beginning to demonstrate self injurious behaviour. McDougall et al (2010 p34) agrees with this aphorism that the number of children between 10 and 24 years demonstrating self injurious behaviour has dramatically increased. They also continue to say that numerous numbers of children are also demonstrating other forms of self-destructive behaviour such as eating disorders, unprotected sex and substance abuse. They also feel that children carrying out this self injurious behaviour are desperately trying to discover a way to cope with their overwhelming thoughts and feelings which demonstrating acts of self harm is intended to ease. This is a similar view that is held by Sutton (2005 p117), who argues that children who demonstrate acts of self harm find release in hurting themselves at a time in their lives when they are experiencing periods of immense emotional distress in which they feel that their ability to cope and function has failed. When carrying out the act of self injury it provides the child with a real focus to their lives, enabling them to think clearly and often provides a clear mind, creating a space where the child feels that they have total control over some aspects of their life. Spandler et al (2007 p10) also argue that the act of self injurious behaviour may serve a purpose of helping children to regulate their emotions due to this being the area with which they hold a great deal of difficulty. They also go on to say that when the child carries out the act of self harm it restores a sense of emotional equilibrium as well as reducing their internal state of tension and turmoil. Gerson and Stanley (2003 p2) agrees with Sutton (2005 p117) that the act of self injurious behaviour provides focus, as often physical pain is absent or, conversely, it is welcomed and experienced by the child as a way for them to feel alive again and reverse a sense of deadness. They report that after carrying out an act of self harm, children’s emotional state is improved and often feel less upset, even though carrying out the actual act is borne out of a sense of distress and hopelessness.

Hawton and James (2005) as cited in British Journal of School Nursing (2009 p36) state “At sometime during adolescence between 7-14% of children will have carried out some form of self injurious behaviour, and 20 – 45% would have had suicidal thoughts.” The NHS Centre for Review and Dissemination (1998 p2) also state that demonstrating acts of self injurious behaviour peak within teenage years. This also was confirmed by Sutton (2005 p42) who determined that between the ages of 13 -18 years 35% of children had carried out acts of self harm, with 30% reported to have an average frequency of every 2/3 weeks.

It is estimated by Burningham (2006) that 2 -3% of teenage girls make serious attempts to carry out some form of self injurious behaviour to harm themselves in some way. However this is not to say that although girls are reported to perform self harm acts on more occasions than boys (NHS Centre for Review and Dissemination 1998) the behaviour is confined to girls, as between 1980 and 1998 the rate of self harm being demonstrated by teenage boys has almost doubled.

It is believed by Gowers (2005) as cited in British Journal of School Nursing (2009 p35) that deprivation may be an indicator to the prevalence of self injurious behaviour within children. The Office of National Statistics (2005) agrees with this aphorism that the social class in which a child belongs has an impact on the number of children who demonstrate self injurious behaviour. McAllister (2003 pp179-183) argue that children who carry out acts of self injurious behaviour have been subject to vulnerability due to social factors they encounter. However Webb (2005) as cited in The British Journal of School Nursing (2009 p37), comments no particular social class has an impact on the number of children who carry out acts of self harm.

The Mental Health Foundation (2006) acknowledges that although there are 142,000 children attending accident and emergency each year, the actual number of children who carryout acts of self injurious behaviour may not be estimated due to them not presenting the injury or keeping the act to themselves.

Burningham (2006 p1) estimates the rate of self injurious behaviour among girls continues to rise faster than that of boys. However, in a study carried out by Van Heeringen & De Volder (2002, p136) found that the number of boys who committed suicide through carrying out acts of self injurious behaviour was significantly higher than that of girls. The Samaritans (2008) as cited in McDougall et al (2010 p33) agrees with Van Heeringen & De Volder stating that children aged over 14 years suicide in boys is three times more likely than it is in girls.

It is stated by Hawton and James (2005 p892) that the risk of suicide following a self injurious incident varies between 0.24% and 4.30%, though understanding the risk factors leading to a suicide attempt are limited and what is recognised can only be used in conjunction with careful assessment of the child, which would enable correct decisions about their care it be made. However, there are some known factors which indicate a higher risk of completed suicide following self injurious behaviour. These may include: feelings of hopelessness or apathy, substance misuse, previous episodes of self-harm and violent methods of self harm. However, it is important to recognise that children who carry out acts of self injurious behaviour, (McDougall et al 2010 p133) commit suicide as a miscalculated or accidental result of harming behaviour which has gone too far.

To support research into suicide and self harm (Spandler et al 2007 p12) the Government have introduced policy and practice to help support and cater for young children who carry out these acts. Whole school approaches and Anti-bullying strategies (The Mental Health Foundation 2006) have been implemented into Education providing a clearer awareness for teaching staff and pupils into the impact that self injurious behaviour holds. A report by The British Journal of School Nursing (2009 p98) stated that in a class size of 30 there may be 2/3 girls and 1 boy demonstrating acts of self injurious behaviour. The Department for Education and Skills (DFES) (2006) stressed the importance that school nurses need to accept that self harm is to be acknowledged as a public health problem. Ofsted (2005) identified that self harm is an issue that needs addressing in schools and issued “Healthy Minds: Promoting Emotional Health and Wellbeing in Schools”, expressing that promoting pupils’ emotional wellbeing plays a vital role in their education. Two documents issued by The Department for Education and Skills (2006) “Youth Matters: Next Steps” and “Looking for a school nurse” also identify the importance of the role of the school nurse in tackling the emotional and mental wellbeing of the pupils. It stresses the importance of bridging the gap between education and health as children could be performing self injurious behaviour within the school setting. Clark (2003 pp353-356) found that school nurses feel more able to hear and understand children who carry out acts of self injurious behaviour and feel confident in referring them to the multi agency team when they have been provided with appropriate training.

Having appropriate training may help teaching staff and school nurses become knowledgeable in accurate and early identification of self injurious behaviour and suicide. (Horowitz et al 2001 as cited in McDougall 2010 p209)

It is stated by Warm (2002 p122) that the primary goal in supporting children who carry out acts of self injurious behaviour is providing them with a safe and secure environment promoting them to feel like they have control over their lives and a sense of identity. The secondary goal is to support the child in developing their verbalisation skills, allowing them to build their confidence in identifying their feelings and building on ways to develop alterative coping mechanisms. It is the role of the teaching staff and school nurses to be supportive, encouraging but most of all non-judgmental.

It is apparent that self injurious behaviour cannot be ignored or referred to as a “stage” in which children go through during their adolescent years or treated as an insignificant event. Studies which have been carried out on attempted suicide have revealed that over half the children who have sadly taken their own lives have used some form of laceration in the index episode of self injurious behaviour. Fagin (2006 p194)


The following study was conducted using only secondary research, however, if the author had used primary research ethical consideration must be respected at all times. The focus of research into self-harm (Best, 2006, p10) is itself directed towards young people who are both emotional and vulnerably disturbed, where carrying interviews may raise anxiety and emotional levels for the young person who is describing their past or even present experiences. Before the study commences the young person should be given a full explanation of what the study entitles and its implications (Informed consent), after this information is given the young person is required to sign a written consent form.

A search was carried out to construct this study (Fink, 2005, pp3-5) utilising numerous books, computer databases both which provided comprehensive search strategies. Early searches were conducted using a concise list of final key words. At this stage the words identified were as follows-: Self-Harm, Self-Injurious Behaviour, Non-Fatal, Suicide, Adolescent, and Mental Health.

All electronic data bases available and their respective depth of the search dates were carried out utilised within the ExLibris Metalib data base search engine. The electronic journals which where searched in this way comprised the following-:

Journals CINAHL with Full text up to 14th March 2011 (30 in total)

JSTOR – Arts and Science I up to 14th March 2011 (30 in total)

Science Direct (subscribed content) up to 14th March 2011(30 in total)

ACM Digital library up to 14th March 2011 (28 in total)

SocINDex with Full text (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011 (23 in total)

Professional Development collection (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011 (17 in total)

JSTOR – Ireland Collection up to 14th March 2011 (17 in total)

Psysc Articles (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011 (4 in total)

Business source Elite (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011 (2 in total)

The search strategy was carried out on several occasions throughout a 4 month period, November 2010 to March 2011. The search was finalised on Monday 14th March 2011 where five papers were identified which were later used in the final analysis. The main purpose of the search was for the author to gain an understanding of the limitations and capabilities of the search engine and also to become familiar with the topic of Self harm. Background reading was selected by a range of books and from the papers identified at this stage, also from the reference lists which were attached to the papers that were identified as topical.

A methodical review was also commenced utilising the ExLibris Metalib data base using shortened key words such as Suicide, Self-Harm, School Nurse, and Self injurious behaviour. At this time there were no methodical reviews appropriate to this study.

In order to carry out these searches it is important to select journals which are appropriate and provide papers which are suitable as well as papers which would not was highlighted, along with the need to assess the initial search terms as the search term “suicide” was making the search to broad causing a negative impact and also takes the search for self harm in a wider direction, once papers had been identified that may possibly fit the search criteria the word ‘suicide’ was omitted from further searches. Suitable papers were being identified with the omission of the word ‘suicide’ identifying self-harm resulting in non-fatal suicide attempts.

As a result of this the author revised a list of terms to search:-

Young people who self–harm (adolescence, female, male, Abused)

Multi-professional policy (Teachers, School Nurse, Doctors, Primary Carer)

Observation Level (Self Injurious Behaviour, Risk Assessment, Health Assessment, physical Health)

Non-Fatal Suicide

The revised list of keywords (Fink, 2005, pp22-26) was then entered into the ExLibris Metalib database of methodical reviews to determine if any similar or identical reviews had previously been carried out. On March 14th 2011 the final search was carried out producing negative results. The author carried the search out as a multi-dimensional strategy this was done by entering the keywords in their individual groupings before combining the groups together to undergo further searches, this allowed for each topic to be analysed both as separate topics and in depth. However, the results obtained proved to be poor with the keywords “adolescence who self-harm” producing only 12 papers and observation level producing only 8 papers, the remaining topics producing no further papers. Finally all of the 17 topics were combined together and put in a search, also providing a negative result. Before the list of keywords (Fink, 2005, pp22-26) were put together to carry out a search of various databases, appropriate databases available via the ExLibris Metalib search engine were reviewed and selected.

The author initially chose the selected databases due to their relevance to the topic area. Also as a result of the key word search strategy that verified which journals proved more productive at identifying relevant papers on the areas of risk and non fatal suicide, self injurious behaviour and adolescents who self harm. When identifying papers which are relevant to the area some databases provided the author with an in depth search ability to view journals that stretched back several years. To allow for seminal work which may have been carried out years earlier and not replicated to be included in the study, the author searched each journal from the earliest date possible.

The databases selected and used at this point were as follows:-

Journals CINAHL with Full text up to 14th March 2011

JSTOR – Arts and Science I up to 14th March 2011

ACM Digital library up to 14th March 2011

SocINDex with Full text (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011

Professional Development collection (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011

Psysc Articles (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011

Business source Elite (EBSCO) up to 14th March 2011

Using the same multi-dimensional strategy which had been used previously the revised list was entered into the databases listed above. The results of this search identified 57064 papers on young people who self harm, 41645 multi-professional policy, 406 papers on observations levels and 143 papers on non fatal suicide.

Inclusion and Exclusion criteria

At this stage of the search a list of suitable criteria was developed in order to assist in the selection of relevant papers. This criterion was as follows:-

Inclusion Criteria

Under 20 Abused MaleFemale

Drug use.Alcohol use. Physical illness. Suicidal intent.

School nurse Papers relevant to UK Europe.

Papers relevant to Australia. Papers relevant to New Zealand.

Papers less than 10 years old. Teenagers

Exclusion Criteria

Over 20’sPharmacological.

General hospital settings.Presentations to A+E.

Papers over 10 years old.

The author now carried out a search of papers using other options which are available and an online search of sites concerned with self-harm, however, although this search produced some interesting background information, nothing that fitted into the inclusion criteria was produced. The author then carried out an online search of specialist journals using both Google Scholar and ExLibris Metalib data base search engines producing 148 papers in total, 86 in ExLibris Metalib data base and 62 in Goggle Scholar, where one or more of the keywords were contained (Fink, 2005, pp22-26) Young people who self-harm, multi-profession policy, Observation policy and Non-fatal suicide. However, although these papers were produced many of them were only abstracts of the full text. At this time the journals that were accessed included the following-:

British Journal of Psychiatry

British Journal of School Nursing

Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry

Journal of Psychology & Psychiatry Child Health Nursing

Brown University Child and Adolescent Behaviour

The New School Psychology Bulletin

Child and Adolescent Mental Health

British Journal of Clinical Psychology

Counselling Psychology Quarterly

Archives of suicide Research

To locate suitable papers the author carried out the searches using a randomised pattern of the keywords in the journal index. The author used the University of Sunderland St Peters library to carry out similar searches of any journals that featured papers on self-harm. Due to the relevance of the subject a total of 11 papers were selected.

In total of all the searches that were carried out 179 papers were produced, which the author identified as being useful or possibly relevant for this review as each one contained one or more of the four basic keywords in their title.

Once the papers had been identified the author read the abstracts of all the papers to distinguish how relevant the keywords in the titles were to the actual topic of the review. This narrowed the number of papers down to 21 which the author selected for inclusion in the review at this point. The author then made three piles and reread all of the 21 journals again, all papers which were suitable were placed in one pile, ones that were possible were placed in another pile and ones that were rejected were placed in the final pile. At this point the author reread the journals using the keywords as marking criteria to ascertain the relevance to the review. In order to make use of the best available appropriate evidence the papers that were deemed to be the most recent work on the subject were selected. At the end of the search the author has 5 definite papers for inclusion in this study.

Data Analysis

Paper 1 by Hawton (2005, pp1-3) indicates that there is a strong relationship between young people who carry out acts of deliberate self harm and those who carry on to commit suicide, with between 40% and 60% of young people losing their lives through suicide, having had at least one incident of self harm. In this case self harm being the main risk factor for completed suicide.

The aim of the study was to carryout a long-term follow-up of a large consecutive group of young people who self-harmed in order to access the risk of suicide according to gender, suicidal intent, age, length of follow up and repetition. Also the study was designed to access the risk of death from other causes not just that of suicide, for this study young people were identified through the Oxford Monitoring System, data was collected on all young people who were present at hospital through carrying out acts of self harm.

The study was carried out in Oxford, the main cohort of the study, was identified over a 20 year period starting January 1st 1978 and ending December 31st 1997 with a follow up at the end of 2000 giving a mean follow up period of 11.3 years. The part of the study which was concerned with suicidal intent of young people, those who presented during a period of 5 years between January 1st 1993 and December 31st 1997 were also included and assessed in the study using the Beck Suicide Intent Scale.

Young people included in this study were aged 15 years or over, with information being collected through national mortality registers on survival rates and estimated deaths being calculated from the national mortality statistics. The sample included 12,666 young people where follow up was possible 11,583. In the region of two-thirds (N = 6961) were female with a following two-thirds aged 15–24 years old. Self-poisoning was the main method of self harm in 85% of young people

Paper 2 by Hawton and Harriss (2008, pp441-448) studied a large, consecutive sample of under 15 year olds who presented to a general hospital following an act of deliberate self harm and went on to investigate their characteristics, problems, methods of deliberate self harm, if they repeated acts of deliberate self harm, and what the long-term outcome was in terms of risk of death. This is in contrast to previous studies of deliberate self harm in children and young adolescents which have tended to be based on small samples and have not usually included any type of long – term follow up of the participants (Kosky, 1983, pp457-468). 710 young people during a 26-year period between 1st January 1978 to 3rd December 2003 and who were under 15 years of age at the time of their first presentation, were included in the study, with deliberate self harm being defined as intentional self-injury or self-poisoning, irrespective of what the motivation for the act was, with the first episode of self-harm occurring during the study period being classed as the index episode.

Subjects for the study were identified through the Oxford Monitoring System for Attempted Suicide (Hawton et al., 2003, pp987-996) as it collects information on all deliberate self-harm patients which are assessed by the general hospital psychiatric service. Whereas non-assessed young people were identified through the regular searching of records detailing presentations to the hospital emergency department. However, this resulted in more limited information being collected, which included gender, age and method of deliberate self-harm employed. This use of a two pronged approach ensured that all patients presenting to the hospital following an act of deliberate self-harm were identified.

During the study, from 1st January 1993 until 31st December 1997, wherever possible the Suicide Intent Scale (Beck, Schuyler, & Herman, 1974, pp45-46) was completed at the time of assessment. The scale was used in order to assess the extent to which an individual appeared to want death to be the result of their deliberate self harm and is scored on the basis of the responses the patient gives to questions concerning the circumstances surrounding their act of deliberate self-harm and their thoughts and feelings at the time they committed the act.

During the 26 year study period 710 patients under the age of 15 years (N = 99 males and 611 females) presented to the hospital, all following a total of 831 acts of deliberate self harm (N = 118 males and 713 females) with the youngest patient being only 8 years of age. From 12 years of age the number of patients presenting to hospital showed a substantial increase, with a female to male ratio of 6.5:1 amongst those aged between 12-14 years. Following the index episode most of the participants in the study were admitted to a general medical bed (86.1%, 611 females/710 both sexes) and most were followed up with an assessment from the hospital psychiatric service (82.7%, 587 females/710 both sexes), with no major differences being identified between the genders in the proportion of those admitted or assessed. Compared to those children who had self-injured those who had taken overdoses (92.4%, N = 58 males/446 females) were more likely to be admitted to hospital and to be assessed. Nearly three-quarters of these overdoses involved the use of analgesics (74.1%, N = 49 males/328 females), with over half of these patients taking paracetamol as the drug of choice. There being a similar proportion of male (54.4%) and female (55.6%) children taking this type of overdose with most of the self-injuries, including those which were combined with self-poisoning, involving self-cutting (85.2%), and this being usually the young persons’ wrist or arm (74.1%).

It was found that relatively few of the female children in the study were actually in current psychiatric treatment at the time of the deliberate self-harm episodes, with both current and previous treatment being found to be more common in the male children. A quarter of the young people (26.8%, N = 150/559) had a history of deliberate self-harm, with a similar proportion (25.7%, N = 151/587) repeating episodes of deliberate self-harm and re-presenting to the same hospital during the study period. There was found to be no difference between males or females in history of deliberate self-harm or subsequent repetition, with high Suicide Intent Scale Scores (13+) being recorded in only 16% of cases, again the proportions were similar in both genders.

By far the most common type of problem for young people prior to an act of deliberate self-harm involved difficulties in relationships with other family members (77.3%, N = 320), the next most common problem being relationships with friends which was significantly more common in girls (40.7%, N = 147) than in boys (26.4%, N = 14). Problems relating to schoolwork were recorded in more than two-thirds of patients (37.9%, N = 16/141), with relationship problems between girlfriends or boyfriends being relatively uncommon during the study.

Follow-up information was available for a total of 464 patients (93.9%, N = 66 males/398 females) out of 494 young people who presented to hospital during the first 20 years of the study period. Of these patients almost all (98.1%, N = 455/464) had taken an overdose, some in combination with self-injury. During the follow-up six young people (1.3%, N = 2males/4females) died with only one death being due to natural causes. All of the deaths occurred several years after the initial presentation for deliberate self-harm, the shortest interval being 3 years 9 months and the longest 19 years 3 months.

Paper 3 by Hackney (2009, pp34-40) argues that it is during adolescence that self-harming behaviour typically begins and that such behaviours are indicative of some form of serious psychological distress and it is suggested that any people who carry out acts of deliberate self-harm may also be at greater risk of suicide. The paper goes on to highlight deprivation as having a possible impact on the prevalence of self-harm while identifying the school nurse as being a key professional in tackling these health inequalities and empowering children in the promotion of their own mental wellbeing. The study also stresses how important it is for multi-agency professionals to work together in order to bridge the gap between health and education, as self-harm may present within the school setting at any time.

The study estimates that 7-14% of adolescents will carry out deliberate self-harm at some time in their lives with 20-45% of older adolescents having had suicidal thoughts at some time. The Office for National Statistics (2005) shows that 10% of adolescents between the age of 5 and 16 years have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder with more than 24,000 teenagers in the UK requiring hospitalization after deliberately self-harming themselves, this equates to 1 out of 10 teenagers who self-harm by either taking an overdose or cutting themselves. Interestingly it was found that boys (aged 5-10 years) were twice as likely to have a mental health disorder as girls of the same age.

Statistics acquired through A and E admissions show that 54% (N = 81 male/188 female) of young people who come into contact with the services do so as a direct result of self-poisoning. However, this accounts for only a small portion of those young people who carry out acts of self-harm, 10% (N = 13/32) carry out acts of deliberate self-injury, 11% (N = 35/19) suffer from acts of illicit drug poisoning with 25% (N = 72/53) who suffering from alcohol poisoning. These statistics are collated by identifying how many young people are actually seen by acute mental health services. However, these statistics are representative of only a very small proportion of the true incidence of self-harm in young people. It was found in a study of adolescent mental health by CAMHS that only 2.6% of young people aged between 5-16 years had a clinically diagnosed mental disorder, a figure which was considerably lower than the national average. However, it was also found that up to 6.5% of all referrals involved young people who had attempted deliberate self-harm.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (2005) indicates that it is also social class which has an important impact on the number of young people who carry out acts of self-harm, arguing that children and young people who present to services following an act of self-harm are already vulnerable owing to a number of social factors which includes repeated childhood trauma, unemployment, isolation and living in a noxious environment. However, it was also pointed out that those children and young people who carry out acts of self-harm are not restricted to only one social class but rather are found across all social classes. It has been identified that adolescents who suffer from self-harm may in actual fact present with different types of behaviour such as cutting, overdoses, and burning themselves as it is acknowledged that in most cases the self-harming behaviours are an attempt to either control or contain distressing feelings which are normally the result of emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

Paper 4 by Anderson and Standen (2007, pp470-477) details a study carried out amongst doctors and nurses (N = 230) in clinical areas in which children were most likely to be seen on admission following an act of deliberate self-harm; accident and emergency; paediatric medicine; inpatient child and adolescent mental health services. Domino’s Suicide Opinion Questionnaire (Domino et al. 1982) was used in the study to both collect information and assess attitudes towards suicide among children and adolescents. The questionnaire consists of 100 items which are scored on a five-option Likert Scale with the possible responses of ‘Strongly Agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Undecided’, ‘Disagree’ or ‘Strongly Disagree’. These items then contribute to eight clinical scales and their associated themes. The Suicide Opinion Questionnaire scores for each clinical scale were then submitted to a series of analysis of variance and two-way analyses of variance. Post hoc comparisons were then made with the Scheffe test in order to identify differences not only according to participant’s profession but also their area of specialty. Subsequent analysis of variance was then conducted in order to examine any difference in attitudes that resulted from the participant’s gender, age or length of experience in their current post. During the study period the Suicide Opinion Questionnaire was responded to by 179 nurses and doctors practicing in the research setting with a further 51 participant’s failing to respond to the questionnaire.

The findings of the study suggest that the individuals taking part perceived suicide among children and adolescents as being a reflection of mental illness (N = 36.3 nuses/39.7 doctors, p<0.006) and that such behaviour often represents a cry for help (N = 36.5/37.5, p<0.840) from the person committing the act. There was also a general agreement amongst participant’s that individuals do have the right to take their own lives (N = 22.9/22.2, p<0.135), however, they also felt that this behaviour was often committed as an impulsive act (N = 23.0/23.1, p<0.312). Furthermore, there was agreement with the view that every child or adolescent could potentially commit suicidal behaviour, and that this type of behaviour was considered to be an aggressive act (N = 23.0/23.1, p<0.505) on behalf of the individual. On the other hand, both nurses and doctors obtained lower mean scores, which suggests a greater disagreement between participant’s, on the themes of religion (N = 17.9/18.7, p<0.896) and moral evil (N = 8.3/8.5, p<0.375). This in fact highlights that participant’s are less likely to accept the idea that a lack of religion is an influencing factor in suicide and are less likely to see it as a morally bad action.

This study found that both nurses and doctors were in overall agreement with the notion that suicidal behaviour among children and adolescents reflected some form of mental illness, although doctors indicated significantly more agreement (N = 134 nurses, 10%/45 doctors, 31%). This fact may have implications on practitioner’s decisions regarding referral of individuals to appropriate mental health care. The attitudes in this study reflect a contemporary view of suicide and to some extent a more understanding approach to the behaviour through the recognition that individuals have the right to take their own life, and not seeing it as puzzling behaviour in young people. This also suggests more recognition of both the psychological and social problems being faced by the children and adolescents of today and when faced by such problems it is not surprising that they react by engaging in acts of deliberate self-harm that often lead to suicide.

Paper 5 by Madge et al. (2008, pp667-677) has as it’s main focus the Child & Adolescent Self-harm in Europe (CASE) Study, a seven-country investigation of deliberate self-harm which takes the Schools Survey as it’s area of research. A total of 30,477 children and adolescents were included in the Schools Survey dataset. Overall, 51.3% of the sample was male and 48.7% female. A standard questionnaire was developed for the study which included items on; self-harm behaviour; health and lifestyle; life events and problems; personal and psychological characteristics (including personal problems requiring professional help, anxiety and depression, self-esteem, impulsivity, and coping behaviour); and attitudes towards self-harm among children and adolescents. Strict criteria were developed for the classification of deliberate self-harm, which was classified as an act with a non-fatal outcome in which an individual deliberately did one or more of the following; Initiated behaviour (for example, self-cutting, jumping from a height), which they intended to cause self-harm; Ingested a substance in excess of the prescribed or generally recognised therapeutic dose; Ingested a recreational or illicit drug that was an act that the person regarded as self-harm; or Ingested a non-ingestible substance or object. The study criteria for self-harm was met if it appeared that at least one of these acts had occurred.

Datasets were weighted by age for 14 and 15 year olds (N = 13,512), and for 16 and 17 year olds (N = 16,963) in order to take account of differing age profiles in national samples. Percentages of males and females were similar within each age group and therefore gender was not taken into account in age standardisation.

During the study Chi-square tests were carried out to assess the vicariate associations between pairs of the following variables; gender, methods of self-harm, reasons for self-harm, premeditation, whether the act took place at home, hospital presentation, someone knowing of the act, involvement of alcohol and/or drugs, and previous history of self-harm.

Overall during the study period 8.9% of females and 2.6% of males reported as having had an episode meeting the study criteria within the past year and 13.5% and 4.3% respectively reported an episode sometime during their lifetime. Not surprisingly it was found that in both genders, the prevalence of self-harm increased as the time period became greater, with children and adolescents being roughly four times more likely to report an episode of deliberate self-harm within their lifetime as an episode during the past month. Overall it was twice as likely of females as males to report episodes of deliberate self-harm within the last month, and over three times more likely for them to report episodes during the last year or during their lifetime. However, these rates may in fact underestimate the true prevalence of self-harm among children and adolescents as self-harmers may only show as having more absences from school than non self-harmers and may be less likely to respond to direct questions concerning self-harm.

Overall, well over half (55.9%) of self-harm episodes involved self-cutting only, with 22.3% involving overdose only. 11.7% involved another single method and the remaining 10.7% involving multiple methods. However there were marked gender differences (Chi square = 115.82, df = 3, p < .001). Females were much more likely to report self-cutting than males (59.5% compared to 44.3%), and overdose only (23.1% compared to 19.5%) but were less likely to have used another single method of self-harm such as self-battery, jumping, and hanging (6.4% compared to 26.0%). Reasons chosen by participant’s to explain episodes of self-harm during the previous year included; ’I wanted to get relief from a terrible state of mind’ (70.9%), ’I wanted to die’ (59%), and ’I wanted to punish myself’ (43.6%). Generally speaking those who self-harm were least likely to state that the aim of harming themselves was in order to frighten someone, get their own back, or get attention.


Following analysis of the data it is clear that adolescents between the ages of 5 – 17 years of age, approximately 19,000-20,000, who are admitted annually to hospital following acts of deliberate self-harm using a range of different methods, have an increased risk of progressing on to committing completed suicide (Powell et al, 2000, p267) and those adolescents who present to hospital on subsequent occasions may be at a far higher risk of completed suicide as the prevalence of self-harm increases rapidly during adolescence with the Samaritans (2008) stating that following road traffic accidents, suicide is the biggest cause of death among 10-24 year olds, with 184 deaths in young people aged 10-19 years of age reported annually.

However, no definite answer has been provided through the analysis of the data, of which young people are most at risk, although it does appear that a crucial factor could be the length of time between the last act of deliberate self injurious behaviour and the attempt of carrying out suicide, this being particularly so in the 12 month period following the initial act of deliberate self injurious behaviour. (Hawton et al, 2003, p540; Cooper et al, 2005, p298; Carter et al, 2005, p254), Therefore within the education system it is vital that any young person assessed as having risk factors associated with deliberate self harm are identified and given adequate care in order to maintain their well being and safety. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that when young people who carry out acts of deliberate self harm are being assessed they may not admit to experiencing suicidal feelings or thoughts. (Pierce, 1981, p393; Hjelmeland et al, 1998, p224).

The prognostic value of the Suicide Intent Scale (Beck, Schuyler & Herman, 1974, pp45-46) which was used by Hawton (2005, pp1-5) and Hawton and Harriss (2008, pp441-448) in order to determine the extent to which an young person wanted death to be the result of their deliberate self injurious behaviour is moderately low argues Kapur et al (2005, p395) particularly in young people who repeatedly carry out acts of deliberate self harm do not receive further follow up or deny experiencing suicidal feelings or thoughts.

It is clear from the data analysis that more young females (74.1%) take non-fatal overdoses with a female to male ratio of 6.5:1. However, young males tend to use more violent methods of self-harm, such as hanging, which is often associated with greater suicidal intent (McDougall, Armstrong and Trainor, 2010, p32). It was seen that nearly three-quarters of overdoses were through the use of some form of analgesic with paracetamol being the drug of choice in over half the cases, this could possibly be due to the widespread knowledge of the affects of large amounts of paracetamol on the internal organs or could simply be the result of the ease with which paracetamol can be obtained. However, despite this high percentage Hawton and Harriss (2008, pp441-448) found that relatively few female adolescents were actually receiving any form of psychiatric treatment at the time of the deliberate self-harm episodes, with both current and previous treatment being found to be more common in male adolescents. This was also reflected in the study by Anderson and Standen (2007, pp470-477) which found that both doctors and nurses felt that suicidal behaviour amongst children and adolescents was a reflection of some form of mental illness. However, Webb (2002, pp235-244) argues that whist self-harm is not in itself classified as a mental disorder, most professionals agree that it is often both a symptom and a manifestation of significant unmet needs. Self-harm can either exist together with other problems or be a symptom of other disorders, though some adolescents who carry out acts of deliberate self-harm may have more serious underlying mental health problems, such as depression, psychosis or eating disorders.

The data analysis has brought to light the necessity for further in-depth research, especially in relation to identifying the signs and factors which may be used to determine which young people who repeatedly carrying out acts of self harm are at a higher risk of completed suicide, with research also identifying how to make the assessment of young people more reliably and accurate.

It is evident that there is a significant need for randomised controlled trails to be carried out, in particular the ones where interventions are compared against each other. When evaluating these trails it is essential that the numerous different elements involved in what may be complex interventions are taken into account, the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods used to carry out these studies could prove beneficial in providing rich and in depth data on the topic of self harm.

It has been suggested that the families of adolescents who carry out acts of deliberate self-harm are also included in further studies (Freeman, 2010, p69) and that such studies are carried out on a much larger and meticulous scale.

It is important that teaching staff present an understanding of alternative strategies that they can use in order to maintain the emotional and physical safety of the young people in their care that carry out acts of deliberate self harm and who may be at risk of completed suicide. It is important that teachers take particular care when working with children/adolescents who carry out acts of deliberate self-harm in order to regulate overwhelming stress or a dissociated state as Hackney (2009, pp34-40) states in his paper that a great many adolescents who self-harm have suffered some form of neglect which has resulted in a physiological stress response that is easily triggered, but not easily regulated which in turn leads to the act of self-harm.

One radical alternative strategy for the reduction of deliberate self-harm is harm minimisation, which concerns accepting the individuals need to self-harm as being a valid method of survival until survival by other means becomes possible (Spandler and Warner (eds), 2007, pp166-167). Harm minimisation neither condones nor encourages self-harm but rather is about facing the reality of maximising safety should an episode occur. If adolescents are determined to harm themselves in some way then it is better for them to do so with information on basic anatomy, physiology, first aid, wound care, correct usage of dressings and safer ways to harm. ’Safer’ self-harming refers to how to injure, what to injure with, and where to carry out the injury as the risks of carrying out harming behaviour with no information are far greater than the risks of harming with information. If children and adolescents have no information then they have no choices. The act of making injury as safe as possible can in itself result in a reduction of not only the severity or frequency of the harm but can also help to prevent life or limb threatening damage.

Therefore, can harm minimisation be carried out with both children and adolescents, Spandler and Warner (eds), (2007, p171) believe that it can be by adapting the principles to the age group, they also believe that it is an essential treatment for teenagers and young adults as it can reduce the severe scarring or reduced mobility caused by the lack of correct wound care. It can also help to reduce damage to internal organs resulting from medication overdoses.

It is also recommended that within schools where pupils carry out acts of deliberate self-harm there are implemented self-harm programs (Crowe and Bunclark, 2000, pp48-53) these are aimed to encourage the young people who carry out acts of deliberate self harm to try to find different ways to express their feelings, this could include drama therapy and creative writing and arts, as well as classes which are aimed at teaching the young people ways at improving their coping skills, improving assertiveness and changing their restrictive thinking patterns. These strategies could prove a way forward in the education system, using interactions that are not only put in place to help prevent young people committing suicide but also to help reduce the number of young people and adolescents who carry out acts of deliberate self-harm.

Personal Reflection

When I first started to study research into self-harm as a predictor of completed suicide in children and young people I was aware that deliberate self-harm occurred in children and adolescents but was unaware of the actual scale of the problem (Gibbs, 1988). Since carrying out the study I now feel that both children and adolescents who are admitted to hospital following a deliberate act of self-harm through the use of various methods constitute a population who have a greatly increased risk of going on to carry out completed suicide (Powell et al, 2000, p267).

I also feel that those young people who present to hospital on subsequent occasions with an increasing severity in their self-harming behaviour could actually be at a far higher risk of completed suicide. However, an analysis of the data used in the study has not provided me with a definite answer as to which young people are most at risk, though it does appear that the time from the last incident to a suicide attempt may be a crucial factor in the identification of these individuals, this is especially so in the first 12 months following an act of deliberate self-harm (Gibbs, 1988; Hawton et al, 2003, p540; Cooper et al, 2005, p298; Carter et al, 2005, p254).

Throughout the study it has become clear to me that the process of teachers and teaching assistants discovering that a young person in their care is self-harming is gradual. The teacher may initially feel that something is not quite right if they spot injuries on the child but they are often reluctant to press the issue when the child either refuses to engage with them in conversation or offered them a viable excuse in which case they took a “wait and see” approach (Gibbs, 1988; Owens, Horrocks and House, 2002, pp139-199).

Following analysis of study data I feel that deliberate self-harm among young people is a serious challenge to teaching staff, a challenge for which there is a need for much better data about its prevalence. There is also a clear need for teaching staff to have both a better awareness and a better understanding about what constitutes self-harm and what its underlying causes are within the younger population. Teaching staff must also be trained to intervene with effective responses to young people who carry out acts of deliberate self-harm in order to prevent the act from occurring or limit the harm done if this is not possible as it is estimated that in a class of 30 two or three girls and one boy will be involved in acts of deliberate self-harm (Gibbs, 1988; Strong, 2000, pp249-252). For this to happen there may need to be a change in restrictive thinking patterns and practices and the learning of new interactive skills within teaching in order to allow teaching staff to better use interactions which are designed to both reduce the repetition and prevent suicide among young people who carry out acts of self-harm.


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Free Essays

Online learning as a tools into the form of education and training

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Definition of Online Learning

Online learning is a kind of powerful tools into the form of education and training that lets people to obtain knowledge and assistances through network technologies (Clarke 2008). Online learning usually boils down to learning that maintained by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Based on the survey in figure (A), 29 respondents identified about online learning that it is a type of learning where people can develop their education through the Internet (Personal Survey 2011).

Figure (A) Do you know anything about online learning?

1.2 History of Online Learning

During the year of 1800s, learning was transported through the electronic mails. However, in the year of 1990s, most of the learning was transported through CD-ROM, radio, Internet and television (Proctor (ed) 2004). People start to learn through the Internet which is also called as online learning as the technology is improving.

2.0 Categories of Online Learning

2.1 Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning is a kind of learning that people online can interactwith one another through the videoconferencing and also through the window messenger for chatting (Types of Online Learning n.d). Students not only can have their discussion with their friends or instructors, but also can have their coursework or assignments throughout their studies on the Internet. Students may become more active and motivated in their studies on socialising through the videoconferencing and chatting while they are having discussion (Types of Online Learning n.d).

2.2 Asynchronous Learning

Students do not need their instructors to be available beside them at the same time because they can send the messages to their respective instructors through the electronic mails if they have any problems or they need help from their instructors (Clarke 2008). Students may become more convenient when they enable to log on to their learning environment at anywhere for their studies (Types of Online Learning n.d).

2.3 Blended Learning

Blended learning is a kind of learning with combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students can complete their coursework or assignments by themselves with the way of blended learning and this will make their thinking skills and experiences increase. Besides that, they can take some useful information from the Internet to do their coursework or assignments instead of attending classes in campuses (Types of Online Learning n.d).

3.0 Online Learning is an effective tool in learning
Figure (B) Online Learning is an effective tool in learning

(Personal Survey 2011)

3.1 Useful and comfortable

Online learning is an effective tool in learning which online paths are useful and comfortable. Based on the survey in figure (A), 75% of the respondents approved that online learning is useful (Personal Survey 2011). Students can spend their lecture times to study where they are available on their own timetables. People enable to learn at a comfortable place by their own decision by selecting some venues where they would like to study through online at their houses, cyber cafes and coffee shops such as Old Town White Coffee where they enable to access through the Internet (The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d).

3.2 Meet new and interesting people

Online paths help to meet interesting and new people is one of the effective tools in learning. Based on the survey in figure (B), 5% of the respondents approved that online paths help to meet new friends (Personal Survey 2011). Most of the students would feel very shy when they are in their classes or groups to meet up with their new friends. This is the reason that the online paths give an opportunity to everyone gets to know each another through their personal Facebook and Twitter. This is a method of interaction between one another to improve their friendships in their classes or groups (The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d).

3.3 Learn to become discipline people

Online paths clarify to be self-disciplined is also one of the effective tools in learning. Based on the survey in figure (B), 8% of the respondents agreed that online courses teach to be self-discipline (Personal Survey 2011). A large numbers of people like to finish their works in the eleventh hours. It is the worst method to learn. So, people who are online can take their responsibility for their studies into a personally learning and they will become successful people in the future (The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d).

3.4 Encourage long-term learning

Online learning is an effective tool which encourages long-term learning. Based on the survey in figure (B), 12% of the respondents agreed that online courses promote life-long learning (Personal Survey 2011). Most of the students will slowly forget what they have learnt in their campuses or schools within few days. To help them to solve this problem, students enable to online at any time to search for their information so that they will not forget what they have learnt in their campuses or schools (The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d).

4.0 Online Learning is not an effective tool in learning
Figure (C) Online Learning is not an effective tool in learning

(Personal Survey 2011)

4.1 Need additional period on-campus lessons

Online paths need additional period on-campus lessons is one of the not effective tools in learning. According to the survey in figure (C), 10% of the respondents approved that online paths need additional period on-campus lessons (Personal Survey 2011). Students will always spend more time studying or searching information for their coursework or assignments through the Internet than studying in their campuses or schools (The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d).

4.2 Lead to lack of interaction

One of the not effective tools in learning is online paths lead to lack of interaction. According to the survey in figure (C), 90% of the respondents approved that online courses lead to lack of interactions (Personal Survey 2011). Although students only study through the Internet, they will miss all the fun of learning activities in their classes. This causes they have fewer opportunities to mix around with their friends and their mentors because they usually stay at home to access the Internet and will make their lives too boring (The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d).

4.0 Conclusion
Figure (D) Is Online Learning an effective tool in learning?

(Personal Survey 2011)

In conclusion, online learning truly is an effective tool in learning because it carries benefits to people who wish to learn more things from the Internet. According to the survey in figure (D), 77.8% of the respondents approved that online learning is an effective tool in learning (Personal Survey 2011). This will increase their knowledge and experiences through the way of the online learning. Online learning brings a lot of advantages to people such as meets up with new friends, encourages long-term learning, learns to become self-disciplined person and also is very useful. Therefore, online learning is an effective tool in learning in this society as the benefits of online learning outweigh the harms.

Reference List

Internet Articles

The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning n.d., viewed February 23, 2011,

Types of Online Learning n.d., viewed February 23, 2011,

Journal Articles

White, MMA 2007, History of E-Learning – A Brief History of E-Learning and Distance Education, viewed February 23, 2011,


Clarke, A 2008, E-Learning Skills, 2 edn, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

Personal Survey

Personal Survey 2011

Free Essays

The Journey of asylum seekers and their rights to education, employment, welfare benefits, housing, health and social services in the UK


In the essay, I will be focusing on the asylum seekers in the UK. The focus of this essay is to see how their rights to education, employment, welfare benefits, housing, health and social services are exercised in the British society. I will start by defining what an asylum seeker is. The journey will consist of different stages which are first of all seeking asylum and the rights that they get with the status. The second stage will be to see how the rights change when they are granted refugee status. And the last stage will be to examine what they need to achieve in order to become British citizen.

An asylum seeker is person who has submitted an application for protection under the Geneva Convention and is waiting for the claim to be decided by the Home Office (2011). Asylum seekers should have the right to live in safety which is ultimately more important than the right to remain in one’s own community or country. When strategies have failed, and when people have developed a well-founded fear of being killed, injured or abused, they must have the option to escape from the danger which is threatening them.

The UK has an obligation under international law to protect people fleeing persecution. The UK has committed itself to the principles of universal declaration of human rights (1948) which includes the rights to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries. As signatory to the convention, the UK is responsible for guarantying that those with refugee status enjoy equal rights to the UK citizens (UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees, 1951).

Each individual will have his own reasons of seeking asylum. It could be that they are facing persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. In too many cases and in too many countries, people who have succeeded in fleeing from violations of human rights in their own homeland are confronted with further threats in the country where they have sought asylum.

While refugees are technically the beneficiaries of international protection, they may in practice be at constant risk of intimidation or assault, either from members of the host community or their own compatriots. Also refugee women and girls are confronted with specific protection problems, especially in the situations where established social structures and values have broken down, and where the local authorities lack the capacity to enforce law and order. Sexual violence and exploitations are some major issues, which have only recently started to attract systematic international attention (Helton, 1994). I will also illustrate an example of sexual exclusion, two gay men who said they faced persecution in their home countries have the right to asylum in the UK, the Supreme Court has ruled. Homosexuals are as much entitled to freedom of association with others who are of the same sexual orientation as people who are straight (BBC, 2010).

Asylum seekers don’t have many rights in the UK. The Reception Directive defines an asylum seeker as a non-EU national who has made an application for asylum in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken. In the UK, eligibility for support under the Asylum Support Regulations and Interim Provisions Regulations starts when a claim for asylum under the Refugee Convention or a claim under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) has been recorded by the Secretary of State but not determined. In practice, therefore, asylum seekers who fulfil the eligibility criteria may be left without support due to delays in recording a claim or where it is disputed that a claim has been brought forward. The Home Office may in fact decide not to record an asylum claim if it is a second claim that does not disclose new evidence. Although, following a High Court judgment, the Home Office has extended section 4 (hard cases) support to such cases, it is arguable that the domestic requirement that a claim must be recorded to trigger entitlement to support is unlawful under the Directive (Justice, 2005). They have access to free health care from the NHS (National Health Service), if you receive asylum support from the UK Border Agency you may qualify for extra free healthcare such as NHS prescriptions, dental care, sight tests and vouchers to help you buy glasses.

To get this you need to obtain an HC2 certificate, which is issued by the UK Border Agency on behalf of the Department of Health and is evidence that you cannot afford to pay for these things yourself. The certificate is for you and any dependants you have. It is valid for six months. They also have the right to support and accommodation if they meet the requirements for it. They will not be provided housing in London. Very limited housing may be available in the south-east of England. While they are providing their housing, they must stay at the address they are given unless if they are given permission to move.

The UK Border Agency provides different housing at different stages of an application process. If an asylum seeker qualifies for housing when they first make an asylum application, the UK Border Agency will place them in what they call initial accommodation, which gives them somewhere to live for the first two or three weeks.

After this they will usually move to a different housing facility. It will normally be in the same region of the country as the initial accommodation, and in the region where their case owner works. Asylum seekers will not be able to choose where they want to live if they are provided housing facilities by the UK Border Agency (Home Office 2011).

Asylum seekers can practice their own religion, and are expected to show respect for people of other faiths. They are treated fairly and lawfully regardless of their race, age, religion, sexual orientation or any disability. The children of asylum seekers applicants have the same right to education as all other children (5-16) in the UK (Home office 2011). Schools commit much time, effort and resources to integrating the asylum-seeker pupils in a positive and supportive manner. Several schools have well-established and effective arrangements for the admission and induction of the newly arrived pupils and provide sound teaching support. Unfortunately, not all schools are well informed about basic procedures and guidance on the education of asylum-seeker pupils (Ofsted, Office for Standards in Education).

Asylum seekers will not normally be allowed to work while the Home Office is considering their asylum application, except in very limited circumstances. In this paragraph, it will be noted what those circumstances are. The majority of asylum applicants are not permitted to work while the Home Office considers their application. This is because entering the country for economic reasons is not the same as seeking asylum, and it is important to maintain a distinction between the two. However, if an asylum seeker has waited longer than 12 months for a decision to be made on their asylum application; under strict circumstances, the Home Office may grant them with a temporary work permit.

Currently, most new asylum applications receive a decision within 30 days. However, if an application has been rejected, the applicant may request permission to work if they have made asylum-based further submissions which have been outstanding for more than 12 months. This will primarily affect people who have already made further submissions. Anyone making further submissions now is unlikely to be become eligible to apply for permission to work (Home Office 2011).

Since 1980, 6000-7000 asylum applications per annum, by people originating from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Poland, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka (Crisp and Nettleton,1984). In 2007, 19 of every 100 people who applied for asylum were recognised as refugees and given asylum. Another 9 of every 100 who applied for asylum did not qualify for refugee status but were given permission to stay for humanitarian or other reasons (when these figures were published, 17 of every 100 applications had not yet resulted in a final decision).

In some cases, individuals are forced to remain in detention centres while the decisions are being made. Those removal centres are used for temporary detention, in situations where people have no legal right to be in the UK but have refused to leave voluntarily. Some of those detained in any of these centres can leave at any time to return to their home country. If the Home Office has refused to give a given asylum seeker the permission to stay in the UK and their appeals (if any) against the decision have failed, they must return to the country that they come from. If those asylum seekers do not return voluntarily, Home Office will enforce their removal and they may detain them until they return them to the homeland.

If asylum seekers decide that they want to return to their home country, they can do so at any stage of their application for asylum. They must tell their case owner if they decide to go. Asylum seekers should also tell their legal representative, if they have one (Home Office, 2011).

Asylum seekers also have the right to appeal which is usually called fresh claim. When a human rights or asylum claim has been refused or withdrawn or treated as withdrawn under paragraph 333C of these Rules and any appeals relating to that claim is no longer pending, the decision maker will consider any further submissions and, if rejected, they will then determine whether they can result to a fresh claim. The submissions will amount to a fresh claim if they are significantly different from the material that had previously been considered. The submissions will only be significantly different if the content had not already been considered; and taken together with the previously considered material, created a realistic prospect of success, notwithstanding its rejection (Home Office, 2011).

A question that arises is whether the UK would have to change the practice of detention of asylum seekers in accommodation centres (such as Oakington and Harmondsworth) in the light of the Reception Directive. Article 7(2) allows Member States to ‘decide on the residence of the asylum seeker’ for reasons of public order, public interest or ‘where necessary, for the swift processing and effective monitoring of applications’. This provision seems to address the Oakington justification, but it does not seem to cover detention. The provision covering detention, on the other hand (Article 7(3) in combination with Article 2, allows for confinement to a particular place ‘when it proves necessary, for example for legal reasons or reasons of public order’. There is no specific reference to the swift processing of applications. However, the provision is deliberately open-ended and non-exhaustive. The UK Government argues that domestic practice is not affected, while JUSTICE, on the other hand, argues that the provision must be interpreted very restrictively.

Those detainees can be family, single mothers, single person, foreign national prisoners who have completed prison terms for serious crime but who then refuse to comply with the law by leaving the UK (Home office 2011).

There are at least 280,000 people living in poverty in Britain after having their leave to remain refused. Some of them are appealing those decisions. Some just go completely underground, taking their chances on the streets of the UK with no money or shelter (Independent news, 2007).

The second stage will be to receive refugee status if the application is successful. From there, they will have the rights to work, to education (included university access), health, travel but they are not allowed to go their home countries until they are granted British citizen. A convention travel document issued to an adult will usually be valid for 10 years if they have permission to stay in the United Kingdom permanently (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain‘). Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is an immigration status granted to a person who does not hold right of abode in the United Kingdom (UK), but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study, without restriction. When indefinite leave is granted to persons outside the United Kingdom it is known as indefinite leave to enter (ILE). If they have temporary permission to stay in the United Kingdom (known as ‘limited leave to remain‘). Limited leave to remain (LLR) is an immigration status which will allow a person to stay in the United Kingdom for a period of two or five years according each individual’s case, their convention travel document will usually be valid for the same period as your permission to stay here, up to a maximum of five years ( Home Office, 2010). Under the terms of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, a state has the right to withdraw refugee status from any individual once it is safe for that person to return to their homeland ( Human Rights Watch,1995).

There is a waiting period before applying for the citizenship which is normally five years. They also require evidence to cover the relevant five- year period, because they will to see if you were in the country. The document which they require can be P60 tax certificates; or; an employer’s letter confirming employment; or a benefits letter confirming job seekers’ allowance claimed; or a benefits letter confirming incapacity benefit claimed; or documentary evidence confirming pension received.

If they commit an offence for example drink driving, being involved in any kind of criminal activities, the waiting period can increase to ten years.

There is a fee which must be paid in full according to the status. If you are single person and want to apply for naturalisation the fee is ?836 and for couple, its ?1294 (Home Office 2011).

There is a written test which is required before applying called evidence of knowledge of English and life in the United Kingdom and there is charge of ?35. The next step will be to attend the nationality checking service which cost ?60 for single and ?90 for couple, and can be different depending on which county council you decide to go to (Home Office, 2010). The nationality checking service is provided by local authorities (for example your county council or city council)

A local authority can accept and forward your application to us. They will ensure that your form is correctly completed, and they will copy your documents and return them to you. They will ensure that your application is validly submitted and that the unavailable requirements for citizenship are met. However, they will not give you nationality advice.

All applications for citizenship are subject to enquiries to ensure that the statutory requirements have been satisfied. Because of these enquires, we anticipate that applications may take up to six months to complete. Some applications may be dealt with more quickly and some may take longer, depending on the nature of the enquiries to be carried out.

To conclude this essay, I would to say that my view on the asylum seekers has changed. First of all, the government should change some policies about the asylum seekers because the UK is a country which respects human rights. My main concern was the way detention operates in case of an asylum case being refused. Children should not be in the detention centre. Child asylum and the detention of children for immigration purposes has been the subject of widespread media attention, and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme on Monday 29 November discussed 3 cases (Home Office, 2010). The government should make an end to the detention of children for immigration purposes, and should work with a number of charities representing children and asylum seekers to achieve this end.

My other issue is that the government should let those people who want to work while they are waiting for decision on their immigration to be made because the state losses by having to support them financially. For example, by issuing a temporary work permit, because some of these asylum seekers are intellectuals and the fact they forced to rely on benefit might create a level of low self-esteem. Citizenship’s fees should be revised as in my opinion, they are in elevation. There have undoubtedly been positives (as well as, presumably, negatives) from past patterns of immigration.

Now, however, they must focus, without the left/right prisms, on agreeing future economic migration policy. Politicians, in preparing the ground for debate, must put aside party politics.

They need to assess how many people can live sustainably in the UK, and turn our conclusions into policy. They have a finite resource: land. It is about that, and about housing, infrastructure, public services, water, and the effects of climate change, communities and government’s responsibilities to its citizens (Guardian, 2011).

BBC (2010) asylum seekers [online] available from> [ 7 July 2010]

Guardian(2010) immigration [online] available from [18 April 2011]
Helton, A, ‘ Refugees and human rights’, In Defense of the alien 1994, New York, 1994
Human Rights Watch, return to Tajikistan: Continued Regional and Ethnic Tensions, New York, 1995.
Independent news (2007) starving asylum seekers [online] available from < seekers are-left-to starve -in-britain-397576.html> [22 October 2007]
J. Crisp and C. Nettleton, Refugee Report. British Refugee Council, 1994.
Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, s 103(1). New appeal rights were introduced by the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004 in two circumstances: (a) for failed asylum-seeking families refused support on the ground that they failed to leave the UK voluntarily (s 9); and (b) in relation to the withdrawal or refusal of section 4 (hard cases) support (s 10).
OFSETD (2003) asylum education [online] available from <> [October 2003]
Home Office( 2010) asylum and immigration [online] available from [ April 2010]

Free Essays

Phonics Intervention for Reading Instruction and Special Education in the United States


Research on reading and reading growth over the last decades has produced a strong consensus around the essential elements of beginning reading instruction for all students, whether the focus is prevention or remediation. Findings from evidence-based research show dramatic reductions in the incidence of reading failure when explicit instruction is provided in phonemic awareness, decoding skills, spelling, and writing by classroom teachers (Foorman, Francis, Fletcher, Schatschneider, & Hehta, 1998). These instructional elements are necessary but not sufficient to support the small, but significant, number of students who encounter difficulty in learning to read (Foorman & Torgeson, 2001).

Ensuring that all students become competent readers by third grade is one of the most important tasks of primary-grade educators and is a national priority as evidenced by the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). Although the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress has suggested increases in the overall reading achievement of U.S. fourth-grade students, the proportion of students reading below basic levels (> 40%) has not changed appreciably from 1993 to 2005 (Otaiba et al., 2005). In the last two decades, evidence has accumulated pointing to deficits in phonological processing as a core cause of poor reading (Foorman, 1996). A growing body of evidence suggests that deficits in this area can be addressed through appropriate training, particularly for students through grade two (Torgeson, 1997).

State-level curriculum guides increasingly contain these essential elements of early literacy instruction and require the use of research-based methods and materials in reading instruction. Classroom teachers have access to the growing body of reading research and yet the number of students at-risk of failure on state and national assessments often suggests that the students most at-risk of failure are often not accelerating to a large enough degree to catch up with their peers and maintain grade-level performance. Classroom core reading programs generally include intervention materials designed specifically for low readers. One problem with these intervention materials is the pacing of instruction. Classroom teachers often find the pacing too brisk for struggling readers to master. This often results in teachers searching to find other instructional methods and materials that may be used to accelerate at-risk students’ reading achievement.


Reading Instruction and Special Education

The national reading gap in which 40% of our students are not reading at grade level has spurred politicians to initiate reading policy founded on research and accountability (Otaiba et al., 2005). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 allots federal money to be used to promote literacy in early grades under the premise that schools will use research based interventions and will be accountable to external evaluation (Lyon et al., 2005). Concurrently, special education law is also evolving to improve reading and academics for all students.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 described by Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006), shifts eligibility in the category of specific learning disability (SLD) away from a discrepancy model where a significant difference between academics and achievement is required for eligibility. The discrepancy model requires students to fail academically before being identified as eligible for special education services. IDEIA allows local education agencies to redirect eligibility determination of SLD from the ability/achievement discrepancy to a form of assessment that identifies a student’s ability to respond to intervention, which improves instruction for all at-risk students (Batsche, Kavale, & Koveleski, 2006).

Special education is then a last resort for students who do not respond to intensive interventions. This shift in the eligibility process involves increased accountability in general education, requiring teachers to generate data regarding students’ progress in academic areas to guide instruction and identify students who may need further support (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NCJLD), 2005).

Struggling Students and Reading

The majority of children referred for special education are identified as needing support in the area of reading (Lyon et al., 2005). However, students other than those receiving special education services, require additional reading support, further reinforcing the need for early intervention in kindergarten through second grade when reading skills are emerging (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). Torgesen (1998) indicates that children who do not acquire early reading skills often do not catch up to their peers who are reading at grade level. Negative attitudes towards reading, missed opportunities to develop vocabulary and comprehension, and less practice are characteristics that contribute to the gap between good readers and poor readers. As the gap widens, children who are not reading at grade level require intensive instruction to catch up to their reading peers who are accelerating and increasing their vocabulary at a much higher rate.

As response to intervention encourages educators to intervene for all struggling children as early as possible, it is relevant to examine reading research regarding all diverse learners. Torgesen (2007) indicates there is no correlation between phonological language ability and general verbal ability. For example, children who are dyslexic or have a specific learning disability in reading fall in the same phonological ability range as children with low intelligence. Additionally, slow learners, children with learning disabilities in reading, and children whose home backgrounds do not provide them with beginning reading foundations will require more intensive reading instruction.

Response to Intervention (RTI) and its Implications for Reading

The predominant model being adopted to address the national reading gap under IDEIA and NCLB is RTI. There are varying approaches to RTI. In this paper examination of RTI is described as follows: (a) students are provided with effective instruction by their general education classroom teacher; (b) progress is monitored; (c) those who do not respond to the classroom intervention get something else or something more, from their teacher or someone else; (d) again, students’ progress is monitored; and (e) those who still do not respond either qualify for special education or may be referred for a special education evaluation (Fuchs, Mock, & Young, 2003).

RTI is examined in this paper because the legislature backing the RTI philosophy is impacting change within our school system. RTI is requiring teachers to look at data and implement interventions which may be problematic if appropriate training and support is not provided. Mastropieri and Scruggs (2005) posit several relevant concerns regarding implementation, integrity, and the ambiguity of the evolving roles and responsibilities of teachers and diagnosticians.

The National Reading Panel (NRP, 2000) issued a report identifying research regarding key areas of reading instruction, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. The National Reading Panel report indicates that students can be successful if they are provided with systematic and direct instruction in key areas of reading instruction. Torgesen (2007) and the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, also known as NJCLD (2005) identified key elements present in effective reading instruction, and recommended that all students should participate in 90 minute reading blocks.

Students requiring more intensive instruction should be targeted for interventions and their progress should be monitored regularly. Interventions must be driven by data and should include the following: (a) reading instruction should be provided in small groups that are differentiated by needs and abilities; (b) adjustments should be made appropriately regarding intensity of instruction and group placement, and should be based on progress monitoring data; (c) small group instruction should include increased practice opportunities and direct (explicit), systematic instruction including error corrections and immediate positive feedback (NJCLD; Torgesen).

National Policy

Recent legislation, including No Child Left Behind (NCLB) of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA), is placing pressure on schools to implement research based reading interventions in an attempt to remediate the nationwide reading deficit (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). As a result, major changes are taking place systemically to produce improvements on how the nation is teaching reading (Stollar, Poth, Curtis, & Cohen, 2006; Wagner et al., 2006). If change is to occur within the classroom regarding teacher performance, support is needed (Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995).

Overview of Legislation

Over the past thirty years, the educational community has embraced various theories of instruction associated with reading (Lyon et al., 2005). Philosophy has driven educational policy, rather than research. In the 1990’s the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores indicated persistent reading problems in 4lh and 8th grades, as well as declining reading abilities of high school seniors. In 1996, Bill Clinton addressed the State of the Union with information regarding a national reading crisis. Forty percent of the nation’s fourth graders were not reading at grade level. As such, the America Reads initiative was established. Funding was set aside for volunteers to help children learn to read; however, the use of volunteers was minimally effective especially with disadvantaged youth (Lyon et al.).

In 1998, the Reading Excellence Act (REA) was passed and was the first mandate specifically focused on reading and required programs to be used that were based on research. When examining the effectiveness of REA, the government found a significant gap in educators’ understanding of scientifically based reading programs as well as a limited capacity for professional development. As a result of REA, federal and state program monitoring and research increased; and accountability at the state level was implemented (Lyon et al., 2005).

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, an amendment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Foorman & Nixon, 2006), and Reading First Legislations utilized research from the National Reading Panel (NRP) Report of 2000, which was a comprehensive summary of research regarding reading and reading instruction. The NCLB mandate allotted federal funds to be used for educational programs that have been deemed effective through research. Two grant programs were designed from NCLB including Reading First and Early Reading First.

Accountability regarding these programs required that schools provided with funding must use research based interventions, provide detailed data regarding plans and progress, and must be evaluated by an external review board (Lyon et al., 2005). As policy continues to guide and support the need for improved reading instruction within general education classrooms, special education law is concurrently aligning itself with NCLB to promote literacy for all students (Foorman & Nixon).

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) has been evolving over the past 30 years into what is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004 (Foorman & Nixon, 2006; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2004). One of the components of the reauthorization involves eligibility of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Local education agencies (LEA) are no longer required to determine eligibility through the discrepancy model, which is a significant difference between an individual’s academic achievement and cognitive ability. LEAs can now use Response to Intervention (RTI), a model that promotes the use of data to identify early need for academic support with subsequent implementation of interventions. When students fail to respond to the interventions, they may be identified as SLD (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2007).

Struggling Students and Reading

Current legislative policies regarding NCLB in conjunction with IDEIA’s recent eligibility criteria for students with learning disabilities are driving systemic changes within education to impact reading improvement for all students (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). Historically, students who were provided additional support received those services through special education. Students typically needing support in reading were identified as being learning disabled (LD). Forty years ago, students were rarely identified as having learning disabilities (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2004).

In the 1970s Congress included this category into the EHA (PL 94-142) identifying a small population of children who demonstrated unexpected and specific learning failure (Fuchs, Mock, & Young, 2003). Early researchers examined children with low reading scores and found some children had equally low IQ scores, whereas a small group of children had discrepantly higher IQ scores and often higher math scores. The latter group of students was identified as having a specific learning disability because their IQ or ability was discrepantly higher than their academic achievement (Fuchs et al., 2003).

More recently, more than 50% of the children identified as having a disability are labeled as learning disabled, making up approximately 5% of the school population (Fuchs et al., 2004). The discrepancy model, which has been in place since the 1970’s, has been successful in identifying students who have a significant gap, or discrepancy, between their ability and achievement. However, misuse of the discrepancy model and over identification of students under this label has initiated concerns regarding the discrepancy model (Fuchs et al., 2003). In addition, the use of this process in special education has excluded a large population of students, those with low IQ’s who may struggle but do not meet the discrepancy criteria, as well as students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who need additional support (Fuchs et al., 2003).

Although the cause for reading failure may vary across students, early intervention is considered helpful for all struggling readers (Torgesen, 1998). Children with low general intelligences demonstrate the same phonological processing weaknesses as children with normal intelligences who have weaknesses in the phonological language domain (i.e., children who would be identified as learning disabled under the discrepancy model) (Torgesen). Students from low socio-economic families are also considered to be more at-risk as they practice reading less often than strong readers and are often deficit in phonological and oral language skills (Otaiba et al., 2005; Torgesen).

Under NCLB, all children including those in special education are expected to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). Despite the allowance of 3% of students in special education (those with severe cognitive delays) to be exempt from standards based testing, research indicates that the primary reason schools do not make AYP is due to the performance of students in special education. Accountability for all students to achieve is necessary regardless of academic placement (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). With the alignment of NCLB and IDEIA, all individuals with reading problems will be targeted early and provided with research based interventions regardless of why the problems are occurring.

Systemic Support for At-Risk Readers

Historically, teachers have implemented a variety of instructional approaches to meet the needs of at-risk students. One approach for supporting at-risk readers is to implement various classroom organizational patterns, in hope that varying student-grouping patterns will improve achievement. An example of this, the Joplin Plan (Powell, 1964), originally used in Joplin, Missouri, grouped students homogeneously across grades and classrooms depending upon each student’s reading level. The Joplin plan was initiated with an assessment of student achievement in reading. Next, students were organized into relatively homogenous groups independent of their grade-level classification. Then, students were sent to reading classes during the day where instruction was adapted to their needs. When evaluated, the Joplin Plan was not found to be significantly more effective than the traditional self-contained classroom grouping approach (Powell).

Interclass grouping of students is a key component of a more recent urban education reform plan to increase the achievement of inner-city students from socioeconomically disadvantaged environments. In a matched experimental study using “Success For All”® (SFA; Slavin, Madden, Karweit, Livermon, & Dolan, 1990) program developers reported that students in an SFA pilot school performed substantially better than comparison school students in reading, and that special education referrals and retentions were substantially reduced. Since that time, a larger set of independent studies involving 260 SFA schools at major demonstration sites have consistently concluded that there is no significant advantage for using the SFA program. In several studies, individual student or cumulative school reading scores declined in SFA schools and there was no evidence that the SFA program did as well as traditional approaches (Pogrow, 2002).

The Federal Title I compensatory education program for at-risk students represents a national effort to raise student reading achievement. Funds for compensatory education services in reading were first allocated by the federal government in 1966 through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Title I funds are allocated for the express purpose of improving educational outcomes among poverty or low socioeconomic status (SES) populations. Borman and Augostino (1996) conducted a meta-analysis of studies over a 20-year period and reported the effects of Title I expenditures on student reading achievement. Results of this meta-analysis demonstrated that students served by Title I failed to achieve or maintain levels of success comparable to mainstream peers.

Other studies partially explained the limited success of remedial programs. First, there is a lack of alignment among the theoretical, philosophical, and instructional bases of core classroom and remedial reading instructional programs (Allington, 1994). Wilson-Bridgman (1998) found a lack of alignment between classroom core reading instruction using a synthetic decoding base and the Reading Recovery® program (Clay, 1985), which uses a psycholinguistic approach to reading instruction. When arguing for curricular alignment, Allington (1986) stressed the importance of alignment between curricula—what is to be taught, in what order, using which materials, and the method of instruction used to help the students learn the curriculum. He argued when two reading instructional programs are widely divergent, students can develop confused notions of the nature and purpose of reading. The outcome of unaligned instruction according to Allington (1986) shifts the burden from teachers to students to do the challenging work of aligning instruction between programs. The resulting remedial instruction, lacking alignment with classroom core instruction, can often lead to lower amounts of total instruction for at-risk students.

Another form of compensatory education is federally funded special education. Bean (1991) cited two concerns with the lack of alignment between special education reading instruction and classroom reading instruction. First, instructional time is lost when students transition between the classroom and pullout special education settings. Second, Bean expressed concerns over the negative consequences of categorizing students as learning disabled. Finally, Allington (1994) and Torgeson (2004) asserted that special education has failed in its promise to lift at-risk students out of school failure.

Response to Intervention Models

In response to mounting criticism of pullout special education programs, new procedures that emphasize prevention are being implemented to identify students who genuinely need special education. Fletcher and colleagues (1998) argued that the discrepancy model for identification of students for special education is a “wait to fail” approach that did not provide needed education services to students with disabilities until third or fourth grade when interventions have been shown to be less effective. To address this issue, Vaughn (2003) has developed a three-tier, response-to-intervention (RTI) model to systematically increase instructional time and intensity for at-risk students.

In the RTI model, curriculum-based measurement (Deno, Fuchs, Marston, & Shinn, 2001) is used to frequently monitor student progress so that the effect of instructional intervention can be determined in a more timely manner. In Tier I instruction, students receive reading instruction in their regular classrooms. In Tier II instruction, students who do not make adequate progress receive intensive reading interventions provided through supplemental instruction in small groups in their regular classroom from the classroom teacher or another instructor. If progress-monitoring data indicate that a student is not making adequate progress with the combination of regular classroom and supplemental instructional support (Tier I and Tier II instruction), then a more intensive intervention is provided that may include special education services (Tier III).

Instructional Support for At-Risk Students

The instruction that at-risk students actually receive is a result of classroom organization patterns and decisions about curriculum materials and methods. For example, classroom teachers may be using synthetic phonics instruction materials from a core-reading program’s intervention component. Unfortunately, teachers often find that these intervention materials lack the repetition and intensiveness needed to meet the needs of many at-risk students in their classes.

Struggling students frequently receive supplemental instruction provided by a reading specialist, special education teacher, or another instructor. This instruction is often based on supplemental commercial programs such as Reading Recovery® (Clay, 1985), Reading Mastery® (Adams & Englemann, 1996), Early Interventions In Reading® (Torgeson, 2000), and Early Steps® (Morris, Tyner, & Perney, 2001). These supplemental programs often have independent research to support their effectiveness.

For example, a study conducted by Denton, Anthony, Parker, and Hasbrouck (2004) compared two supplemental programs, Read Well® (Sprick, Howard, & Fidanque, 1998) and Read Naturally® (Ihnot, 1992). In this study, 51 students in grades 2-5 were tutored for 40 minutes, three times per week for ten weeks. When the two groups were compared, students receiving instruction in Read Well ® made significantly greater progress in word identification (fluently reading sight words) than those receiving instruction in Read Naturally®. Although many supplemental programs may claim effectiveness for at-risk students, schools must still decide which programs to use and how to use them.

Students attending a Title I school may see several adults each day, all of whom provide instruction using a different instructional program. Each of these supplemental programs may present instruction from a different philosophical framework with different sequences, strategies, materials, and procedures. An example of how this happens was found in one Granite School District elementary school. A reading specialist and classroom teacher met to plan how they would collaborate using a push-in model. The classroom teacher taught the core reading program to the whole class and used a supplemental program for Tier II small-group instruction. The reading specialist would push into the classroom, double dosing the most at-risk students with an additional small-group reading lesson. The reading specialist was working with a different supplemental program in her additional small-group lesson.

As they monitored their instruction, conflicts related to the presentation of skills using different sequences in the core program and two supplemental programs quickly became evident. Questions arose such as, “Should the spelling patterns taught in the core reading program match what was to be taught in the supplemental programs?” “What about sight words?” “Home practice?” It also became evident that students learned sight words from one word list in the classroom core program, but at-risk students were being expected to learn sight words from three different lists in three different programs.

Effective Schools Research

Students attending Title I schools often have lower academic performance, but this is not always the case. Hoffman (1991) summarized research into the practices found in effective schools conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s in the Handbook of Reading Research, Volume II. In this review, Hoffman described eight attributes of effective schools that produced strong reading achievement among at-risk students. These eight attributes were: (a) a clear school mission; (b) effective instructional leadership and practices; (c) high expectations; (d) a safe, orderly and positive environment; (e) ongoing curriculum improvement; (f) maximum use of instructional time; (g) frequent monitoring of student progress; and (h) positive home-school relationships.

While there was a high level of interest in effective schools research in the 1970s and 1980s, schools that produced high numbers of at-risk students with high reading achievement continued to draw the interest of researchers as they sought to identify factors contributing to positive student learning outcomes. Another study of effective schools conducted by Taylor, Pearson, Clar, and Walpole (1999) confirmed that systematic assessment of student progress was significantly correlated with students growth in reading fluency and overall reading performance. They found that classroom-level data provided a form of internal accountability while giving teachers a useful indication of each student’s progress through the public sharing of data. School-level communication was positively related to reading fluency and comprehension. Teachers in the most effective schools cited collaboration within and across grades as a reason for their success, making use of a collaborative model for reading instruction.

Typically, this meant that instructional support personnel—Title I, reading resource, or special education teachers—went into the classroom for an hour a day to help provide instruction for small, ability-based groups. The presence of a school-wide assessment system also permitted teachers to implement flexible small groups. The collaborative model also allowed schools to utilize teacher personnel in a manner that increased instructional time. Factors such as peer coaching, teaming within and across grades, working together to help all students, and program consistency were mentioned as aspects of collaboration which teachers valued in these most effective schools. Although curricular alignment was not specifically mentioned in this study, teachers were clearly collaborating closely and using student data to drive instruction in these schools that were beating the odds (Taylor et al.).

School reform initiatives have confirmed the results found through effective schools research. For example, a case study by Strahan, Carlone, and Horn (2003) documented three major changes in school culture that contributed to improved student performance on state-mandated achievement tests. First, teachers and administrators developed a shared stance toward learning that linked values and beliefs into a shared sense of responsibility for each child. Second, strengthened instructional methods emphasize more active student engagement where teachers responded to individual student needs and made learning as active as possible.

Third, teachers and administrators developed stronger procedures for promoting data-directed dialogue regarding student progress, measuring their own success based on student learning. Fourth, grade-level planning sessions and site-based staff development featured a process of data-directed dialogue that nurtured changes through the use of a collaborative model. As an administrator that led the Chicago public schools into improved reading instruction, Shanahan (2008) stated:

Good teaching these days is not that individual. Every teacher matters, but no teacher alone really makes the difference-especially in something complex like learning to read. We need teachers who will do a great job and raise literacy achievement and who will then turn these kids over to another teacher, who will also raise literacy achievement. That is more likely to be accomplished when everyone is doing the right thing. The right thing in this case is complex, because there are many things that need to be learned about reading and these things need to be orchestrated into a powerful whole.. .because of this we need textbooks and systematicaly organized curriculum to better support teachers efforts. That makes sense to me. Teachers who work closely with their colleagues by adhering to the discipline of a shared systematic curriculum are not surrendering their professionalism. They are just better focusing their courage and intelligence on those spects of practice where those qualities will help rather than hinder children. (p. 1)

Once again, although alignment of instruction is not directly addressed in this quote, it is clear that as teachers collaborated around student data and develop an organized curriculum, the level of curricular alignment increased.

In spite of different instructional organizational patterns, compensatory school-wide programs, remedial pullout programs, response to intervention (RTI) programs, various supplemental programs, and core intervention programs provided to at-risk readers, many classroom teachers still struggle to know how to best help their at-risk students succeed. Many teachers often resent the “swinging-door” phenomenon of pullout programs where instruction is interrupted by students coming and going out of classrooms, resulting in fragmentation of instruction for all students (Bean, 2004).

Response to Intervention and its Implications for Reading

Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006) describe the summit meeting associated with the use of RTI in special education. In 2001, the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs hosted a Learning Disabilities (LD) Summit meeting where Frank Gresham, a leading researcher in the field of consultation, presented an argument against the discrepancy model, and indicated that validated interventions should be in place prior to determining whether a student has a learning disability. Intervention procedures under RTI are often viewed as a three tier approach where primary prevention occurs within the core curriculum. Students failing to respond to the core curriculum progress to a secondary program involving small group instruction that is scientifically supported. The tertiary level is initiated when students demonstrate poor progress towards step two and require an individualized program or special education (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006).

RTI promotes early intervention and resolves some of the issues associated with the discrepancy model. Historically, the discrepancy model required students to fail academically before they could be identified for services. The discrepancy model also excluded a large number of students who had low IQ scores, came from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as other poor readers who did not meet the discrepancy. Other concerns include the use of differing discrepancy formulae and assessment instruments across students (Fuchs et al., 2004; Fuchs et al., 2003).

The assumption of RTI is that if implemented correctly, schools will be able to differentiate between students who have a disability and students who needed more or different instruction. As a result, fewer referrals for special education should be made, leading to successful identification of children who are truly disabled (Fuchs & Young, 2006). In addition to US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education, Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006) cite several agencies concurrently endorsing RTI, including the National Research Panel’s report on minority students in special education, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Division of Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

Despite continuing support from leading research organizations in education, there is some dispute regarding the sole use of RTI instead of the discrepancy model. In a competing views dialogue between Batsche and Kavale (Batsche et al., 2006), Kavale posits that RTI is a valuable prevention tool to be used to contribute to the identification process; however, it should not be used to diagnose. When asked about the research base of RTI, Basche states, “the primary measure of implementation integrity is improved student outcomes, not whether every ‘step’ in the process was completed the same way in every setting” (Batsche et al., p. 10), as compared to the discrepancy model, which emphasizes identification. Kavale describes an adequate but incomplete research base, citing the Minneapolis model and Heartland model as lacking data regarding student progress. Kavale considers RTI as still in the experimental stage as many local education agencies (LEA) are not equipped with the required resources to implement RTI to its fullest potential (Batsche et al.).

Fuchs and Deshler (2007) posit that while many practitioners and administrators are aware of RTI and successful implementation, many are not. To be successful, Fuchs and Deshler reference six elements needed for effective implementation to occur: (a) professional development programs to address skills needed for RTI as well as staff turnover; (b) administrator support, clearly stated expectations, and procedures to measure implementation integrity; (c) hiring teachers with prior knowledge and skills to implement RTI; (d) willingness of staff, including teachers and school psychologists to redefine roles; (e) provision of time for staff to ask questions and incorporate RTI into their instruction; and (f) whether the decision to implement RTI was made at the grassroots verses administrative level.

Phonics Based Reading Intervention

The National Center for Educational Statistics identified a nationwide reading gap (Otaiba et al., 2005). Most efforts to address reading problems target children in kindergarten through third grade. Less than one child out of eight who is not reading by the end of first grade will ever catch up to their reading peers (Bryant, Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, Ugel, Hamf, & Hougen, 2000). Poor readers in first grade continue to move through school as poor readers, learning new words at a much slower rate than their reading peers resulting in an increased gap over time.

The National Reading Panel (NRP) was initiated in 1997 as a means to examine the status of research-based knowledge specifically relating to various instructional approaches in the area of reading (National Reading Panel: Reports of the Subgroups, 2000). Meta-analyses were conducted by the NRP in several reading areas. Because the current study targeted implementation integrity of a phonics based reading intervention, the NRP results regarding phonics, teacher education, and reading instruction were examined.

The definition of phonics is the “conscious concentrated study of the relationship between sounds and symbols for the purpose of learning to read and spell” (Savage, 2007, p. 7). Children identified as being poor readers at the end of their elementary school careers have been identified as typically having difficulties with comprehending the alphabetic principle when decoding unfamiliar words (Torgesen, 1998). Understanding the alphabetic principle, the sound/symbol relationship, is an important step in decoding and encoding words. With the ability to decode, children can bring their past knowledge and understanding of language to attain comprehension (Savage). It is the slower than normal ability to read sight words fluently and accurately that impacts comprehension in older students who are poor readers (Torgesen). Through RTI, it will be easier to differentiate these students from those who are behind in reading due to environmental factors.

Results of the NRP meta-analysis regarding phonics instruction conclude the following (National Reading Panel; Reports of the Subgroups, 2000):

1. Systematic phonics instruction contributes more to reading growth than programs that are unsystematic or provide no phonics instruction.

2. Non-phonics programs are significantly less effective than phonics programs; however, when comparing phonics programs, no comparative significant difference was evident.

3. Effective phonics instruction can occur when delivered through tutoring in small group and class-wide settings, although greater effect size is noted in small group settings.

4. Phonics instruction is most effective when introduced in kindergarten and first grade and when preceded by letter knowledge and phonemic awareness.

5. Phonics instruction is significantly more effective than non-phonics instruction for at-risk readers, but more research is needed on low-achieving readers.

6. Systematic phonics instruction enhances word reading skills, comprehension, and spelling in kindergarteners and first graders.

The NRP concludes its phonics analysis by recommending that phonics should be supplemental and integrated with other reading instruction. Phonics is targeted for the current study because it is identified as a precursor skill for comprehension. Children falling behind their peers in kindergarten, first, and second grade will likely need further support and mastery in this area.

Explicit phonics instruction has been identified as a key component in educating early readers. Several pertinent terms are often associated with effective phonics instruction: (a) systematic phonics instruction, wherein more common sounds are taught prior to more complex sounds; (b) alphabetic principle, phonemes or sounds associated with language are represented by graphemes, letters, or letter combinations; (c) letter-sound correspondences, making the association between visually seeing a letter or letter combination with the auditory sound it represents, (d) decoding, use of letter sound correspondences to translate a printed word into speech, (e) decodable texts, providing text which utilize letter-sound correspondences being taught (Armburster & Osborn, 2001; Reading Leadership Academy, 2002; Savage, 2007).

When receiving reading instruction, students should participate in 90 minute reading blocks and those identified as requiring more intensive instruction should be targeted for interventions and their progress should be monitored regularly (Otaiba et al., 2005). Interventions should be driven by progress monitoring data to ensure the student is receiving instruction in the needed areas, and should include the following: (a) reading interventions should be provided in small groups that are differentiated by needs and abilities; (b) adjustments should be made appropriately regarding intensity of instruction and group placement, and should be based on progress monitoring data; (c) small group instruction should include increased practice opportunities and direct (explicit), systematic instruction including error corrections and immediate positive feedback (NJCLD, 2005; Torgesen 2007).

The development of curriculum-based measures (CBM) by the University of Minnesota Institute for Research on Learning Disabilities during the late 1970s arose as a means to provide educators with information regarding the effectiveness of academic interventions. Criteria for these measures are based on the measures’ ability to assess skills that will improve if the intervention is effective. Measures should be; (a) related to curriculum, (b) reliable and valid, (c) sensitive to improvement, and (d) inexpensive and easy to produce (Green & Shinn, 1990).

As the use of CBMs have been embraced by NCLB and Reading First (Reading Leadership Academy Guidebook, 2002), CBMs have also been adopted within the RTI model to assess student progress school-wide by targeting at-risk students, monitoring their progress over time, and using the data to determine which intervention to implement (Rouse & Fantuzzo, 2006).

Information from CBMs can also be used to assist in differentiating instruction by designing small group instruction based on individual student needs (Kosanovich, Ladinsky, Nelson, & Torgesen, n.d.). Differentiated instruction includes key components such as: (a) flexibility based on data and observation, (b) small groups of three to five students with similar learning needs, (c) are organized based on number of times per week and number of minutes per group sessions, (d) and can be presented through guided reading or skills-focused lessons.

Riley-Tillman and Burns (2009) describe interventions at Tier 2 level as focusing on a small group of students who are not making sufficient progress with the class’ standard curriculum. Instruction should follow developmental patterns, for example, if the bulk of the class has mastered phonics, yet the at-risk group of students has not, the teacher should focus on additional instruction in phonics with at-risk group. At this stage, teachers should be tailoring the instruction to the needs of the student.

When considering Tier 2 assessment Riley-Tillman and Burns describe the use of curriculum based measures that are repeatable and assess sub-skill mastery. Once the measure has been selected and progress has been monitored than the data can be used to determine whether a student is responding or is not responding to the intervention. Because it is difficult to conduct experimental designs within a school setting, it is recommended to use non experimental design when assessing student outcomes and making RTI decisions. A-B designs are considered useful in monitoring a child’s response to a small group intervention. If a child makes considerable progress than the data can be used to determine the duration of continued intervention or whether the child’s skills are sufficient to return to Tier 1. If limited progress is made than consideration of a more intensive or different intervention should be made, or movement to Tier 3 should be considered.


Research is providing guidance for classroom teachers as to how to provide the best instruction to enable as many students as possible to succeed in reading (Connor et al., 2007). Research on the 3-Tier Model (Vaughn, 2003) and RTI (Torgesen et al., 1999) is providing additional guidance for classroom and intervention teachers serving at-risk students. Allington and Johnston (1986) argued that curricular congruence may be the key to the design of effective programs for alleviating school failure. Research on aligning supplemental reading instruction for at-risk students to classroom core reading instruction can create a bridge between regular education settings and supplemental intervention programs.

As a result of the RTI legislation, the roles of general educators will be impacted; however, the degree of change in these roles continues to be ambiguous for many practitioners (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2005). There has been a historical dispute over what constitutes evidence regarding evidence based interventions. Little training is reported by pre-service teachers exiting training programs in the areas of reinforcement, graphing, and progress monitoring. There is a strong relationship between teacher variables and student outcomes reinforcing a need to emphasize professional development and support.

In some schools currently implementing RTI, general educators are given the responsibility for progress monitoring and implementing interventions during the first two tiers; however, they may not possess the knowledge or skills to be facilitating this responsibility. Some educators argue that special education should step up and take on the responsibility and funding for RTI while others feel RTI is a general education initiative (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2005).

Although the major tenets of effective reading instruction are being defined and explained by reading research organizations, there is dissent regarding its implementation on both classroom and school-wide levels. For example, teachers and administrators may lack training in identifying valid research findings associated with effective instruction (Lyon et al., 2005). Highly qualified teachers or professionals may not always be available to provide reading interventions. Torgesen (n.d.) suggests providing individuals who are not highly qualified with systematic intervention programs that are structured and scripted in the absence of such professionals.

The NRP (2000) explored reading instruction research finding a predominate focus on students, materials, and tasks; rather than teacher performance. Professional development was identified as an area of concern during NRP regional meetings. As a result, current research regarding teacher performance was also examined. One concern with the teacher performance research is that it is primarily correlational. The research is also deficient in identifying the content of teacher education or professional development.

The NRP points out that teacher education has been neglected in intervention research because it is assumed that student outcomes are attributed to the intervention which has been delivered by the teacher, rather than associating student outcomes to the integrity of adhering to the intervention. Half of the studies examined by the NRP measure student and teacher outcomes and found in most cases, that teacher professional development produced higher student achievement. The NRP concludes that further research is needed in this area to examine specific variables and programs contributing to change.


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Free Essays

How has the structure of the family changed in Britain over the last hundred years? Indicate the implications of the changes for the education system.


I am going to start firstly, by looking at how the family was in the years of the industrial revolution and how education was shaped and changed in this period. Secondly, I will look into the post-war immigration and how education was implicated, due to the introduction of new cultures. Citizenship classes have been introduced to cater for the changes and I will explain why some parents disagree to them. Thirdly, I will explain about the different types of families in the modern day society, looking at how education has not only changed in schools but has also been linked to the home and educating parents in some aspects of family life. I will specifically look at single-parent families and how it has been reported that these children already have a disadvantage in education, if they are from this type of family.

In the nineteenth century, the family structure was shaped by the industrial revolution. It spread throughout Britain and there was a massive increase in the number of factories. As the number of factories grew, people moved from the countryside into towns looking for better paid work. The towns were not ready for this great increase of people and housing was very overcrowded. Rooms were rented to whole families. Family size at this time was between six to twelve children and they all slept and fed in a single room. Muncie, et al (1993) cited that Smith (1986:pg 18) showed that in 1860 the average marriage produced seven children. Also part of the family living in one room were the grandparents, this is known as an extended family. Grandparents lived and were looked after by the family because they were a valuable resource, as a childminder. “Kin were an important source of aid in ‘critical life situations’ for example, aging parents, who lived with and were supported by their married children, provided a child-minding service which allowed the mother to work”. (Elliot 1986:p46).

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, schools were not very common and none were provided by the state. Children, in the working-class, were seen as benefits to the family as they were sent to work in the factories to help bring in money for the family. There was no compulsory education but Burnett (1982 ) explains that expansion of the Sunday school movement was of a great importance. It brought education opportunities to those who worked 6 days a week. Burnett (1982) also explains that sometimes even the very poor children could not attend Sunday school as they did not have suitable clothes or shoes, and the rich attended much better Sunday schools. Even before state education was around, the class divide was great, the rich had better education and the poor couldn’t even attend due to being so poor. England was introduced to universal, free education by these Sunday schools and this developed the system of day-schooling.

As the types of work became more diverse, the machinery in the factories became more technical and needed skilled workers to operate them. This meant there was a need for more educated workers and the state accepted that it needed to provide education for the working class. David (1980:pg33) acknowledges this “The arguments for the state to provide education for the working classes only won acceptance as the economy became more diversified, the need for skilled and trained labour became more critical”. Another reason why education was needed for the working class was the change in women’s employment. Children had no care and needed somewhere to go while their parents were at work. From 1893 all working-class children had to attend school for at least six years, from five years old to the age of eleven. After this children were allowed to be exempt from school as long as they had proof they were going into employment. Sunderland (1971) explained that this lead to most children being exempt from school at the age of eleven as the family needed them to work to provide an income. “Only 14% of the children on the registers of inspected schools were aged twelve and over” Sunderland (1971:pg44)

The First World War brought new opportunities for women. The men were sent to war and the women were able to fill many different roles in the workforce. This was quickly withdrawn after the war and women were expected to withdraw from working and return to full-time care of the house and children. Unfortunately due to recession money had been withdrawn from providing school meals and nursery care for their children had been forced to close; this made it near impossible for women with younger children unable to work. “Parents were once more forced to rely on their own resources for the care of their children” David (1980:pg58). Women campaigned for more equal rights and in 1918 women over the age of thirty were able to vote and in 1928 the age was lowered to twenty-one. This gave females more rights and freedom in their choices. Unfortunately there was a great depression and unemployment was high so women were unable to work and therefore stayed at home to look after the family.

After World War Two, education in Britain changed, due to the 1944 Education Act. This act made secondary education compulsory until the age of fifteen. At this time there was a recognition that Britain’s economy needed to be rebuilt and Britain called for immigrant workers. “It attracted for the first time large numbers of workers and families from the Caribbean, Indian and Pakistan” (accessed 14/03/11). This meant that Britain’s non-white population rapidly increased. This influx was not very well received by the British people and the government repeatedly discussed how to try and restrict the immigration from these countries. In schools, racism and divide in social class was very high and unless you were white and middle class; your time at school was seen as a time of prejudice, frustration and lost opportunity. Factors that contributed to this exclusion were the different languages and cultures the families had brought with them. This contributed to the immigrants finding it hard to mix with the British society; it was greatly due to the British people being uneducated in their cultures and religions. Sidney Webb (1894) wrote that we need to generate a body of systematic political thought as a prime task of those who hoped to teach others how practically to transform England into a Social Democratic Commonwealth. “In 1976 the Race Relations Act was introduced and it became lawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour and nationality (including citizenship)” (Hope 2011). This has led to a change in education which has only recently come into schools; Citizenship classes.

An unawareness of these cultures and languages and the differences between the pupils led to citizenship classes being introduced to the curriculum in September 2002. The national framework introduces citizenship as a subject to develop sound principles of freedom, equality, justice and peace. It allows the students to engage with each other and their community. However, not everyone agreed to the significance of citizenship classes; West (2010) reports in The Telegraph that parents wanted to know why Muslims and Jehovah witnesses were allowed to take their children out of the school prayers and they weren’t allowed, as non-believers, to remove their children from the citizenship classes. On 20th January 2011, there was a major review of the national curriculum by the education secretary Michael Gove and he wanted to “demote citizenship to an optional subject” (Shepherd 2011). Teachers argued that this would work against aims of the ‘big society’ and Chris Waller (Head of the Association of Citizenship Teaching) said it would set England back 15 years to when it was the “least politically literate country in the developed world”. In schools, the difference between the pupils in their abilities is seen as being due to their socioeconomic status and linguistic diversity. Bernstein (1971) suggested that there is a difference between working-class and middle class children due to the working class children being linguistically deprived. Because of the child’s different tone, accents and languages spoken, this is seen as not Standard English therefore they are misunderstood in schools. Whereas, Labov (1977) suggested that there is a difference not a deficit, therefore we should be more accepting and willing to understand these differences. The citizenship classes should help to close this divide and allow not only pupils but teachers to have a greater understanding and allowing them to be educated in the same way, as middle class students. Staying with the present time I’m going to look at the family in modern society.

There has been a disappearance of the traditional ‘nuclear’ family and now there are many different types of the family. The ‘nuclear’ family is defined by having an adult couple, lasting indefinitely, a family property and commitment. The different families include gay and lesbian relationships, adoption and fostering, separation and divorce, re-marriage and single-parents. Many factors have changed in order to create these different types.

“Age at motherhood and first motherhood has risen, family size has fallen and childlessness has increased. Cohabitation has become common, both before marriage and between marriage; rising divorce rates and a near-trebling in the number of lone-parent families”. (Mcrae S, 1999:pg5)

An increase of divorce since the Divorce Law Reform Act 1969 and an increase of births outside of marriage have led to an increase in single-parent families. Usually the single parent in the single-parent families is the mother living on her own with her children; she does the greater share of caring for her children both financially and emotionally. Being able to provide for your family as a lone-parent has become easier with the help of state benefits and social or subsidized housing: but in many cases the mother is usually forced to work in a manual job or be unemployed. There is a concern if children are at an educational disadvantage in these homes. Spencer (2004) of the school of health and social studies reports that lone parenthood is associated with educational problems and that these families are significantly disadvantaged compared with couple families. In the lone-parent homes, it is suggested that there is a material disadvantage and a low maternal education. Maternal education is the inequality in a child’s home, which does not allow a child to learn things from their mother that will help them to be healthy in their future such as learning about immunisations and nutrition. Low maternal education in alone-parent family can be due to many factors such as the mother having to work to provide for the family and cannot spend much time at home with her children.

It has been reported by Carneiro, Meghir & Parey (2007) that educated mothers tend to delay in starting a family and when they do they are more likely to be married and have a very good income. The report also shows that the educated mothers are more likely to invest in their children through books and extra tuition; also providing an availability of a computer. In these families it is reported by Caneiro, Meghir & Parey (2007) that the maternal education persists into adolescence which reduces the number of children born to young adults and the number of criminal convictions. On the other hand reports have proven that children’s education is not affected if they come from a lone-parent family. It just depends on what happens in the home; whether the time and interest is taken in the child’s education. If a single parent sets up good morals and standards and lives by example, then the children will automatically grow up according to the values set before them. Desai, Chase-Landslade & Michael (1989) have researched into lone-parent mothers and believe their attitudes and ambitions can be changed and instead of accepting that their children will live to be un-educated and therefore not work; they have suggested ways to improve this; such as putting a limit on the number of years the mothers are in receipt of benefit and help them get back to work or even back into higher education to study for a profession. Classes at local community centres have also been introduced to educate mothers in health, education and general well-being to allow the mothers to increase their maternal education.

To conclude the family has taken many different forms over the last 100 years, starting with the large families in the industrial revolution where there was not any education and children worked to earn money to support the family. The industrial revolution created a new form of education as factories had more skilled machines and needed experienced workers. Education for working class became universal and allowed every child to be educated and this created an opportunity for women to become more independent and able to work. The post war immigration brought a change to families in the sense of race, culture and language; this created a need for schools to educate children in citizenship. There was a need to understand each other’s cultures and to create a more multicultural society. This brought up disputes between cultures and religions but generally it was seen as a need to make citizenship classes compulsory. This allows not only the children to be educated in the differences in cultures and society but also for the teachers to understand their pupils too; and to make changes to be able to educate their pupils. Another change to the family structure was the changes in the different types of family in today’s modern society. The main one I focused on was lone-parent families. This has seen to affect education in the sense of these children from the lone-parent families tending to be uneducated maternally in morals and standards. This led to show that the children tend to under achieve at school; but there is research and reports in trying to improve ways of educating the parents to help their children in their future and to be able to have a good career. There has been a lot of changes in the family over the last hundred years and this has led to many different implications on education; this no doubt will continue on in the future.


Allen, K & Baber, K. (1992) ‘Starting a revolution in family life education: A feminist vision’ Family Relations, 41 pg378-384.

Burnet, J. (1982) Destiny Obscure: autobiographies of childhood, education & family from the1820’s to the 1920’s. London: Routledge.

Carneiro, P, Meghir, C & Parey M. (2007) Maternal education, home environment & the development of children & adolescents. Available at (Accessed: 17th March 2011).

David, M. (1980) The state, the family & education. London: Routledge & Kegan Ltd.

Elliot, F. (1986) The family: Change or continuity. London: Macmillan Education Ltd.

Hampden-Thompson, G & Pong, S. (2005) ‘Does family policy environment moderate the effect of single-parenthood on children’s academic achievement?’ Journal of Comparative Studies, 36 (2) pg 376-394. Available at (Accessed: 12th March 2011).

Hampshire, J. (2009) Immigration Policy in the United Kingdom. Available at (Accessed: 12th March 2011).

Hope, J. (2011) Integrating global and anti-racist perspectives, (Lecture to BA Education, Culture & Society, Goldsmiths). 24th November.

Jackson, A, Bentler, P & Franke, T. (2008) Low-wage maternal employment & parenting style. Available at­_hb6467/is_3_53/ai_n39305364/ (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

McRae, S. (ed.) (1999) Changing Britain: Families and households in the 1990’s. Oxford: Oxford Press.

Muncie, J, Wetherell, M, Langan, M, Dallos, R & Cochrane, A. (1993) Understanding the family. 2nd edn. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Sheppherd, J. (2011) ‘Dont scrap citizenship lessons, teachers plead’, The Guardian, 20th January (Online). Available at (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

Spencer, N. (2005) ‘Does material disadvantage explain the increased risk of adverse health, educational & behaviourial outcomes among children in lone parent households in Britain?’ J Epidemiol Community Health, 59 pg 152-157 (Online). Available at (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

Stubbs, M. (1976) Language, schools & classrooms: contemporary sociology of the school. 2nd edn. London; Methuen & Co Ltd.

Teachers Net (2009) Active Citizenship. Available at (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

West, E. (2010) ‘Citizenship classes are propaganda. Why can’t parents take their children out of them?’, The Telegraph, 22nd January (Online). Available at’t-parents-take-their-children-out-of-them/ (accessed: 17th March 2011).

Free Essays

The Second Millennium Development Goal: Achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015?


The main focus of this dissertation is to examine the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of achieving universal primary education (UPE) – ‘ensuring that by 2015…boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling’ (UN, 2010). This paper identifies the returns from education at both the private and social level, providing an economic justification for investment in education, which will be further explored by looking at the Human Capital Theory (HCT). Following this I will analyse recent estimates from around the world and in particular SSA, to determine whether UPE is realistically achievable by 2015. To do this I will be collecting data from the World Bank, United Nations and Millennium Development Goal Indicators to analyse information such as net enrolment rates, the proportion of students that reach grade five of primary school, and literacy rates.

This paper identifies that although SSA has made significant improvements – with enrolment increasing by 51% between 1999 and 2007, it is still unlikely that UPE will be achieved by 2015 given that around 42 million SSA children are still out of school (UN, 2010). This paper identifies that these results can be attributable to various elements of market failure – gender inequality, under schooling (due to demand and supply side constraints) alongside the misallocation of resources. This paper highlights that lack of resources and financial constraints of the national budget are fundamental economic limitations hampering the right of EFA – with the UN predicting that double the current number of teachers are needed to achieve UPE. The World Bank (2010) stresses the importance of achieving gender equality in education as a significant factor in helping to achieve UPE, alongside its effective protection weapon against HIV/AIDS. This paper realises the inter-link between the MDGs to help eradicate world poverty, inequality and stimulate economic growth.

I will then go on to identify policy changes that will aid progress towards achieving the second MDG by overcoming supply and demand side constraints. Sound macroeconomic policies combined with education are fundamental for the construction of globally competitive economies and democratic societies. As described by Birdshall and Londono (1998) ‘education is key to creating, applying and spreading the new ideas and technologies which in turn are critical for sustained growth; it augments cognitive and other skills, which in turn increase labour productivity’. This will enable sustained economic growth which will further help to reduce poverty and inequality and enable the achievement of the second MDG, and hopefully many other MDGs.

Chapter 1 An economic justification for investment into education

Psacharopoulos and Woodhall (1997) emphasize that

‘Human resources constitute the ultimate basis of wealth of nations…human beings are the active agencies who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic and political organization, and carry forward national development.’

The augmentation of developing economies in SSA can be constituted through acquiring education which ultimately increases the productivity of the un-educated workforce, developing the human resources required for economic and social transformation. The acquisition of new skills and knowledge helps to increase productivity and help improve citizens to upgrade their general standard of living, creating positive social changes to society as a whole.

The Human Capital theory has become the most common theoretical framework for the adoption of education, as described by Schultz (1971), which rests on the assumption ‘that formal education is highly instrumental and even necessary to improve the production capacity of a population.’ Such a theory has provided reasoning for heavy investment into education which would be restored through higher future earnings – ‘as an educated population is a productive population’ (Schultz, 1971). Such economic returns are at both the macro and micro levels which will be addressed below.

There is however the issue of unlimited wants and limited resources. As described by the UN (2010) it is estimated that almost double the current number of teachers are required to meet the MDG requirements in 2015. Such supply side constraints confine individuals – failing to provide them the right to education. This is exacerbated by financial constraints due to the constrained national budgets and social-political environment of a particular country (Boissiere, 2004). These issues will also be discussed later on in the chapter of market failure of education.

The rest of this chapter continues to examine the effect of investment into education by looking at the private, social and macro-economic effects to education.

(i) Private Returns to Education

The calculation of private returns to investment in education is essentially a micro-economic exercise which can be calculated using the net discounted present value calculation (NDPV). This includes a given discount rate, i; which represents an individual’s valuation of the present relative to the future in terms of consumption and leisure, amongst others. It is assumed that it is worthwhile investing in education if:

(B1 – C1) / (1 + i) + (B2 – C2) / (1 + i)? + …+ (Bn – Cn) / (1 + i) n is equal or superior to zero (Sheehan, 1973).

[Where; B1 = benefits in period 1; C1 = costs in period 1; i = the discount rate]

Individuals undertake a cost benefit analysis to determine a quantifiable economic rate of return to education and consequently whether education would be obtained. At a stance, future earnings need to at least compensate individuals for the direct and indirect costs of education – which can be seen in Figure 1. Calculating private benefits are more difficult than computing the costs of education – highlighting a weakness in the HCT.

Figure 1: Potential Earnings Streams Faced by a High School Graduate and College Graduate (Borjas, 2010)

Borjas (2010) shows the direct and indirect costs of acquiring education, which will hopefully be counteracted by the higher earnings faced by the college graduate, justifying his decision to acquire more education. Although not primarily interested in whether a pupil is a college graduate or high school graduate, the same principle applies to a child in SSA on the decision of whether to attend school or not. The foregone earnings of attending school, than perhaps working in the agricultural sector, can be seen by the shaded area 2 in the figure. In addition to this are the direct costs of acquiring education – such as books and tuition fees as shown in area 1. If these costs are lower than the benefits of increased earnings obtainable in the future (area 3) then an individual will attend school.

Most empirical literature on the private returns to education follows Mincer’s wage regression which can be expressed in the following form:

Ln (E) = a + bs + cX + dX? + eZ + u

[Where: E = a measure of earnings; S = years of schooling; X = years of work experience; X?= the square of years of work experience; and Z = other variables that could be deemed important, such as gender].

Mincer’s (1974) contribution to the analysis and distribution of earnings through his pioneering focus on labour market experience or on the job training includes the development of the human capital earnings function. This function applies regression analysis to earnings data on a cross-section of individuals to relate people’s earnings and their level of schooling and work experience. The regression coefficient on the schooling variable can, under certain assumptions, be interpreted as the private returns to education. It may however be possible to alter this coefficient to include other costs of education – such as direct public and private costs rather than just foregone earnings which would help reduce the limitation of the model.

Mincer’s model illustrates that an individual increasing their human capital stock via education to enhance their productivity of labour and of the capital they use at work will enable them to earn higher earnings. This provides a microeconomic justification for investment in education. The differences between individuals who acquire and don’t acquire education can be calculated by observing how log wages change with the level of education. This calculation can also be used as an indication to predict the demand for education.

However critics of the model identify the absence of the term ability – which exists prior to the start of human capital accumulation process and which affects the labour market wages even after controlling for acquired human capital. There are also issues concerning the quality of the education provided – the UN (2010) provided evidence on the ratio of pupils to teachers and found that these current levels don’t enable valuable learning to take place, thus hindering the returns to education. The Mincer’s regression does however provide insight into the economic justification for private investment into education. From the equation it can be seen that earnings are a function of the years of schooling acquired.

Sianese and Van Reenen (2000) also highlight the issue with the missing term ‘quality’ in Mincer’s equation which is not taken into account. Sianese and Van Reenen (2000) emphasise that obtaining education is meant to have a positive impact on the productivity of an individual in the labour market to enable him/her to obtain a higher wage in the future. Although, acquiring education doesn’t necessarily signify higher productivity (the issue of education as a signal is discussed in further detail later on). This raises an important issue about the debate of public provision – whether the Government should concentrate resources in expanding education in SSA or rather to improve the quality of educational structures for existing studentsThe former is the requirement to achieve UPE but the latter highlights an important issue; that although a greater mass of children will be receiving education, it does not specify the quality and usefulness of obtaining education – whereby productivity may not be increased at all.

There are however various other benefits to education due to the positive spill over effects to the wider economy and economic performance which I will discuss below. Also, when assessing the profitability of education as a social investment, which is especially useful for government policy – social rates of return to investment are much more sufficient as an indicator.

(ii) Social Returns to Education

The returns to education applied to the assessment of social profitability in human capital are the private rate of return of such an investment but evaluated from a social point of view. The two returns thus only diverge due to differences in social and private costs and benefits. The social returns to education should guide the decisions governments make to finance education and distribute the optimal quantity (Sianese and Van Reenen, 2000).

Viewed as a public good, education brings benefits to society as well as at the individual level. Such social benefits range from expanded technological possibilities, increases in work force productivity and greater social equity, to name a few of the monetary advantages. Social costs include public subsidy – which includes the net cost of recovery and adjusted for any possible deadweight-losses of tax-financed public spending. There are also non-monetary (non-market) rates of return to education, but are difficult to quantify – such as externalities and spill over’s. A combination of the private and social costs of education can be seen in the following table.

Table 1: Classifying the impact of human capital (OECD, 2000)

Owens (2004) explains how human capital acts as a joint agent with social capital – that facilitates collective action, to bring about economic and social development. The OECD (2000) reveals that non-monetary returns, along with economic returns which form human capital, are one of the most important contributors to GDP.

Other non-monetary social benefits that further fuel the justification for large public expenditure on education are the positive externalities associated with the education of females. This helps to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS – due to ramifications of the fertility and family planning decisions. More educated girls tend to start families later – slowing the population growth rate which helps to combat poverty. Also, as Schultz (2003) identifies though the micro-empirical studies of child development, that increases in the schooling of the mother are associated with improvements in child development outcomes. The larger effects of the mother’s schooling are observed in the child’s birth-weight, child survival, and nutritional status as measured by the height or weight-for-height given age, age of entry into school, school enrolment adjusted for age or years of schooling completed upon reaching adulthood. The positive spill over’s of an educated mother are clear to see whereby the human capital intergenerational externalities of schooling favour social investments in women’s schooling (Schertz, 2003). This follows the achievement of gender equality – an issue I will discuss later; whereby the achievement of the third MDG will help realise the second MDG and so to achieve UPE.

The social returns to education allow an assessment of the return of public subsidy provided for primary education. For developing countries, the higher rates of return to education are found at the lower, primary level which can be seen in the table below.

Sub-Saharan AfricaAsiaEurope/Middle East/N. Africa

Latin America/Caribbean







Table 2: Social returns to education by level (Psacharopoulos, 1994)

The returns to education are highest at primary level because the marginal improvements in knowledge and skills are highest at this level, which results in a population of higher productive capacity. Such findings have provided persuasive influence on public debate regarding investment and public expenditure on primary education. The World Bank has realized the importance of UPE and have recently developed the Bank’s new Education Strategy for the next decade realizing countries will not achieve MDG2 by 2015 (World Bank, 2011).

There are however various methodological and measurement issues associated with the measurement of the various social benefits that education brings. The OECD (2000) notes that it is often difficult to quantify the benefits and spillover effects that education brings, thus the total effect of education at the individual level does not compensate for the larger benefits that it brings.

(iii) Macro-economic impact of education

To identify the full social returns of education is it necessary to look at the macroeconomic level.

The Solow (or neo-classical) model aggregates the production of an economy as a function of GDP, as shown below:

[Where Y is output; K the stock of capital; L the labour force; and t the time]

However as identified by Sianese and Van Reenen (2000) this neo-classical model doesn’t incorporate any endogenous determinants of growth rates – such as the role of education. The neo-classical model argues that a one-off permanent increase in the human capital stock will be associated with a one-off increase in the economy’s growth rate, until productivity per worker has reached its new steady-state. The new growth theory argues that the same one-off increase in human capital will be associated with a permanent increase in the growth rate.

With education playing no role in traditional neo-classical theories of economic growth, new theories have brought the role of education to the forefront, providing underpinnings that education can affect the national economic growth rate via two main channels (according to Sianese and Van Reenen, 2000) these are:

1) ‘Human capital is explicitly incorporated as a factor input in the production function, by – in contrast to the augmented neoclassical model – explicitly modelling individual educational investment choices, as well as often allowing human capital to have external effects…

2) The factors leading to endogenous growth (in particular technological change) are explicitly related to the stock of human capital. This may be because either human capital is assumed to directly produce new knowledge/ technology or because it is an essential input into the research sector which generates new knowledge/ technology.’

These two strings of thought focus on the effects of firstly the accumulation or flow of human capital, and secondly; the stock of human capital. This distinction however may cause problems for measurement when discussing government subsidies for education. Sianese and Van Reenen (2000) identify that education raises the level of human capital and will have a once-and-for-all effect on output in the former case, but will increase the growth rate of the economy forever in the latter case. There is however no consensus in empirical literature over which approach is more appropriate – whereby both yield similar predictions relating to the impact of some human capital variable on growth. It is however made implicit in this study that increasing average education in an economy will permanently increase the rate of economic growth, even after the human capital stock has adjusted to its new long-run level.

Sianese and Van Reenen (2000) further emphasise the difficulty of obtaining information on defining, measuring and comparing skills and competencies on the returns to education which forces input measures to be used as an alternative. They also highlight the problems of endogeneity bias – whereby there is a reverse causality problem with education; ‘as income grows, educational standards rise, but we cannot be confident that economic growth is caused by higher educational standards’ (Sianese and Van Reenen, 2000). This highlights that the association of education and productivity growth may reflect the demand for education, as well as its supply effects.

Chapter 2: The global situation – at a glance

Primary education is a basic human right which transforms and empowers individuals yet 100 million children of primary school age (15 percent of the worldwide total) are not in school. Of these, 42 million are in SSA (UNESCO, 2006) which makes the achievement of UPE by 2015 seem unachievable. Figure 3 shows the out of school trends projected to 2015 – at present rate, regions furthest behind will miss the literacy target for 2015 – with SSA lagging furthest behind.

Figure 3: Missing the target – out of school trends projected to 2015 (UNICEF, 2004)

Although there is much more progress to be made, there has been a thirty seven million decrease in the number of out-of-school children in the past ten years. For countries that are off track, they need to raise their completion rates by around ten percent to reach UPE target by 2015. Those countries seriously off track such as SSA need to accelerate their progress much more quickly, otherwise according to a UNICEF report (2004) these countries will not reach the target before 2040, which will deprive several more generations of the benefits of education.

SSA has the lowest completion rate by far, with around just half of all school-age children completing primary school; followed shortly behind by South Asia. Bruns et al (2003) describe the disturbing stagnation pattern over the 1990s in East and North Africa with average completion rate remaining around 74 percent. East Asia is the closest to the goal of universal primary education followed by Latin America and the Caribbean. They also identify that within regions, trends at the country level diverge sharply, with rapid progress registered in some countries, stagnation in others, and decline elsewhere.

Bruns et al (2003) suggest that the trends over the 1990s provide some encouraging evidence that where political will is strong, and effective reforms are adopted, and international support is adequate, dramatic progress in increasing primary completion rates are possible. With a significant number of countries registering significant improvements in the primary completion rate of 20 percentage points or more in less than a decade; such as Brazil, Camodia in East Asia and Nicargua in Latin America, there is still hope that other countries will reach the UPE target by 2015. However, it is clear to see from table 3 that progress is still fragile. With nineteen middle-income countries and fifty-one low-income countries experiencing stagnation or decline in completion rates over the 1990s – countries such as Zambia, Madagascar, Kenya, Iraq and Cameroon all experienced a decline in completion rates and thus achievement of UPE by 2015 does not seem reachable.

Table 3: Prospects for Universal Primary Completion (taken from Bruns et al, 2003)

The picture depicted in table 3 is not hopeful but a number of the at-risk countries could reach the UPE goal if they try and match the average rate of progress – 3 percentage points per year as observed in the best performing countries over the 1990s (Bruns et al, 2003). Bruns et al (2003) believes that at this rate of progress, all of the middle-income countries and more than two-thirds of the low-income countries would reach the MDG. In order to achieve UPE, good governance and institutional structures with the aid of international assistance should support these countries’ progress. With SSA lagging furthest behind, in order to achieve UPE they will need to improve at a faster rate. Such an achievement is suppressed by the conflict amongst these countries and thus will require an even stronger combination of political will and stronger financial effort than has been organized so far.

To evaluate such deviations from the target set by the UN it is necessary to use the three different measurement tools for UPE to identify where the problems arise. The three measurement tools for UPE are:

1) Net enrolment ratio in primary education

2) Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach grade 5

3) Literacy rate of 15-24 year olds

Net enrolment rate (NER) in primary education is, according to the Millennium Development Goals Indicator (2010) the number of children of official primary school age who are enrolled in primary education as a percentage of the total children of the official school age population. The purpose of NER is to show the extent of participation in a given level of education of children and youths belonging to the official age-group corresponding to the given level of education. This is an important indicator in measuring the rates of access to education when considering gender inequality issues, as well as regional or rural/urban inequalities.

At present there is progress being made in SSA – as the number of children entering primary school has climbed sharply. The NER for primary education has risen from 56 percent in 1999 to 70 percent in 2006 (MDGI, 2010) although this is still not enough to reach UPE. While although out-of-school population has dropped by 10 million since 1999 there were still 35 million children of primary school age not enrolled in 2006. To achieve UPE this NER value needs to be close to 100 percent. In other words; almost all children in school are of the official school age whereby late school entry, repetition and drop-out rates are very low.

The second measurement tool for UPE is the amount of children who start grade 1 at primary school and reach grade 5. Completing at least five years of primary education is essential to avoid the risk of these children becoming illiterate adults.

For example; in Botswana the proportion of pupils finishing at least five years of primary education has increased from 82.0 percent in 1999 to 86.8 percent in 2005. In Kenya this statistic has increased from 72.8 in 2003 to 83.6 in 2004 (World Bank, 2010).

The knock-on-effects to literacy rates for these two SSA countries are; Kenya – 92.3 percent of boys and females in the age bracket of 15-24 were literate in 2008; for Botswana, 95.1 percent of females and males were literate in 2008. Both these countries have experienced a rise in the number of 15-24 year olds that are becoming literate. These figures will continue to rise once these younger generations pass through schooling.

Although these figures look promising, there are still 760 million persons that are illiterate. The necessity to reach UPE is essential as children’s futures and those of their children depend on whether they go to school and how much they earn. This has highlighted the role for the broader Education For All (EFA) which emphasizes ‘early childhood care and education, quality of learning, gender equality and learning skills for young people, and adult literacy’ (UNICEF, 2010) in a bid to reach the second MDG which will hopefully help realise other MDGs.

(i) Is Universal Primary Education (UPE) achievable by 2015?

To assess whether UPE is achievable by 2015 Bruns et al (2003) focused on fifty-five of the largest low-income countries in the world in which 75 percent of all children are out of school globally. Such countries have fragile domestic resource bases with institutional weaknesses making them priority for a global effort to support the achievement of UPE. Bruns et al (2003) analysed the primary completion rates and gross enrolment rates as a function of characteristics of the education system and plotted the results in the graph shown below. Clearly visible is the variance in the relationship between school enrolments and completion rates, providing a strong argument for the importance of tracking primary completion directly.

Figure 4: Primary School Completion Rates and Gross Enrolment Ratios in a Sample of Low-Income Countries, circa 1999/2000 (Bruns et al, 2003).

The diagonal line in the graph represents a perfect one-to-one mapping between GER and PCR which highlights that few of these countries have achieved as such. The 51 low-income countries under analysis were categorised into four stylized groups to deepen the analysis. Group 1 comprises relatively successful countries, with high GER (85%>) and high PCR (70%>). Group 2 includes high inefficiency counties, with high GER (80%>) but low PCR (both 60%<). Group 3 contains low coverage counties, with low GER and PCR (both 60%<). Group 4 includes countries that are falling in between the defined ranges, presenting milder version of these patterns.

For these stylised groups, education spending and service delivery characteristics were analysed enabling several clear patterns to emerge. Group 1 who is relatively more successful than the other groups devote a high share of their GDP to public primary education; have unit costs that fall in the middle range; pay teachers an average annual wage of about 3.3 times per capita GDP; have an average pupil-teacher ratio of 39:1 and have average repetition rates below 10 percent (Bruns et al, 2003). For Groups 2 and 3; their statistics deviated from these average values. For Group 2; countries in this bracket have lower average spending and much higher repetition rates – 28 percent on average. Group 3 countries have considerably higher unit costs, driven by very high average teacher salaries.

This analysis suggests that the countries doing relatively well in Group 1 may offer an indicative benchmark to guide the other groups, providing a clear strategy to achieve UPE. Furthermore, this data suggests that to achieve UPE countries have very different paths to follow including different costs and structure of service and delivery, compared to the indicative benchmark. Also brought to attention by Bruns et al (2003) is that to achieve UPE it also depends crucially on the education system reform other than just the financial reform. Such education reforms are discussed in a later chapter under policy proposals.

Bruns et al (2003) calculated that globally, roughly $33-38 billion per year in additional spending on primary education will be needed in developing countries between now and 2015 if UPE is to be achieved. Clearly this is a significant challenge and is a major increase relative to current spending levels. From this, Bruns et al (2003) do not believe that even with optimal policy reforms and strong domestic fiscal commitment to achieving UPE, countries themselves will not be able to generate the resources required, and will necessitate up to $5-7 billion of this spending to come from external aid.

Chapter 3: Market Failure and limitations of education

(i) Gender inequality in education

Further to these developing countries being off-track from reaching UPE by 2015 are the high levels of inequality between the quantity and quality of education that men and women receive. The third MDG set out by the UN promotes gender equality and empowerment of women with the target of eliminating disparity in primary education (UN, 2010). This highlights the synergy between achieving UPE and the accomplishment of other MDGs. The World Bank (2011) views education as a method to prepare children to participate in their society and the global economy, and is the basis for reducing poverty and inequality, and also to improve health and to enable the use of new technologies and spread knowledge. Figure 4 shows the disproportion between boys and girls enrolled at primary school, with the lowest rates of enrolment in SSA.

Figure 4: Primary education – percentage of children enrolled in and attending primary school 1996-2002 (World Bank, 2000)

According to the World Bank (2011) the second MDG of educating children; particularly girls – has the greatest impact on eliminating poverty. For this reason, the World Bank has placed education at the forefront of its poverty-fighting mission since 1962. Data suggests that although education opportunities for girls have expanded, the gender gap still remains large – which is especially apparent in rural areas. ‘Cultural attitudes and practices that promote early marriage, the seclusion of girls and the education of boys over girls continue to present formidable barriers to gender parity’ (World Bank, 2000). Such tradition hampers the achievement of UPE and EFA unless the realisation of the third MDG and empowerment of women is achieved.

Figure 5 displays developing countries progress toward gender parity; with SSA lagging furthest behind suggesting that they are unlikely to achieve gender parity by 2015.

Figure 5: Progress toward gender parity in primary education (World Bank, 2000)

Reasons for such gender disparities are highlighted by Tembon and Fort (2008) who identify five core issues that hamper this achievement and lessen the effectiveness of education systems. Such problems are educational quality, access and retention, post-primary education, the transition from school to work, and emerging issues such as HIV/AIDS, violence and conflict. Some of these issues are identified in the NER, completion of at least five years of primary education and adult literacy rates.

Other advantages to girls receiving at least five years of primary education have been discussed in the social returns to education section. The positive intergenerational effects help to reduce dependency ratios, boost the survival rate, educational levels and raises per capita spending – which helps lift households out of the vicious cycle of poverty along with other economic and social benefits.

(ii) Under schooling – the market failure of education

Given the amount SSA lags behind achieving UPE and thus will not reach its target by 2015, this section looks into the reasons why some children are not receiving at least five years of schooling.

It is apparent that the main reason these children do not attend school is due to family budget constraints. Many feel that attending school and getting an education does not guarantee a high return or outweigh the costs. With the schooling decision generally undertaken by parents who are blinded by the substantial in-direct costs of education, it results in too few children going to school. This highlights problems with asymmetric information amongst parents, justifying the need for public provision of primary schooling.

The individual’s decision of whether to attain primary education is displayed in Figure 6 below. Individuals only consider the private returns to education when acquiring education although the social benefits are much higher – due to the spill over effects and positive externalities associated with education. This results in too little education being obtained, causing market failure.

Figure 6: Private decision of amount of education to obtain (adapted from Todaro and Smith, 2006).

According to the HCT the decision to go to school is often undertaken by the parents who usually only consider the narrow economic returns of education and exclude the full social returns. Parents have to evaluate the costs and benefits of educating their children; whereby the private costs of schooling are deducted from the benefits associated with wage differentials from an initial decision point when their child may enrol in school.

According to Schultz (2003) the private incentives for student-family to enrol in school are the increased wage opportunities that are attainable after receiving schooling and the increased consumer benefits. The costs incurred to send their children to school include the value of the student’s time while going to school – such as time spent travelling to school, their time in class and foregone earnings, and also the direct financial expenses such as fees and textbooks. These foregone earnings are intensified during seasonal farming events, and when the child becomes older and more productive, causing more children to drop out of school and lower the completion rate further. It is usually the case that these substantial indirect costs of going to school exceed the expected income gains in the future from receiving education, resulting in a reduction in demand for education and enrolment.

The decision of the parent to enrol their child in school must value the gains their child is likely to receive from their schooling over their adult lifetimes. The private rates of return to schooling need to equalise the present discounted value of private benefits and costs. In order to make this decision parents must be willing to reallocate resources to enable their child to go to school and make such schooling investments. One possibility is for the family to borrow to enable them to make these investments; which appear likely to enhance their children’s future productivity and thus hopefully receive future return to cover such costs. However credit market imperfections often prevent this from happening despite the private returns that they could obtain. Schultz (2003) identifies the reason for this stems from the belief that the poor, who are constrained in access to such credit, and because human capital cannot generally be used as collateral by lending institutions or money-lenders. Consequently, only families with sufficient income send their children to school – resulting in only such individuals acquiring the signal; indicating that they have attained a certain level of education. This highlights a market imperfection whereby a signal doesn’t necessarily signify higher productivity, but only identifies those that have been able to afford schooling. If educational degrees/ attainment are used as a device to signal higher innate ability without raising individual productivity, then the social rate will be less than the private one (Sianese and Van Reenen, 2000). It is also causing the Government to spend too much on tertiary education which is both inefficient and an inequitable use of public resources.

(iii) Misallocation of resources

As just briefly mentioned above, problems with the misallocation of resources are another explanation of market failure in education. This misallocation is across the different levels of education – namely primary, secondary and tertiary. Perkins et al (2006) identifies that ‘among the 19 sub-Saharan African countries for which the relevant data are available, the median gross enrolment rate for tertiary education is 3 percent while the medial share of total education expenditure devoted to tertiary sector is 17 percent’. This exacerbates the inefficient use of public resources where a gap between enrolment rates and expenditure shares suggest that more attention needs to be paid to how much resources are being spent.

This is amplified by the high percent of generous allowances the government distributes to students to obtain tertiary education. Perkins et al (2006) discovered that up to 50 percent of non-educational expenditures in the form of student allowances, scholarships and subsidized housing, health care and loans was spent on tertiary education among African countries, stretching the already constrained education budget.

Given that social and private returns to education are highest at primary level – it seems imperative that governments invest more in the primary sector, then once UPE is achieved, to further invest in the secondary level, then tertiary. Given that governments invest a lot of money into education explains the high social costs of education – which is lower at primary level. However estimates of the social returns to education in Table 1 do not take into account the positive externalities associated with education at the different levels, which is mainly due to the difficulty of estimating such returns.

Given that national governments have primary responsibility for developing and implementing appropriate measures to achieve UPE, good governance and strong institutions are of vital importance to achieve it. The drive to achieve this must come foremost from the political leaders which can be translated through legal, governance and bureaucratic structures.

Policy makers and those concerned with promoting economic development need to make schooling a better investment for children in SSA and their families, as a lot of time is devoted to education to cover the direct costs of education provided by Governments and donors (Perkins et al, 2006). The political drive and determination to achieve UPE can be expressed through the amount of government expenditure spent on primary education. The UNICEF (2010) states the share of GDP for education has increased particularly in SSA countries since 1999, however this share ranges considerably from more than 6 per cent in some large African countries to less than 3 percent in large South Asian countries. Governments in SSA generally spend too little on educating their children and fail to provide the right amount of education. This is exacerbated by the problems of calculating the returns of education and no guarantee that more money spent on education yields a more productive outcome.

Furthermore, the lack of investment in education in SSA is usually the result of fiscal constraints. The various objectives of the government cover a wide range of topics – such as education and health, but also other social areas such as the military and debt service. Negative growth rates and issues surrounding defence and war have depressing impacts on the amount of expenditure on education, resulting in entire cohorts of children missing out on education than would have been apparent in a more stable economy. Such underinvestment in education results in many SSA countries not achieving the target of UPE by 2015 as set out by the second MDG.

Chapter 4: Policy Proposals – helping more children go to school

According to the World Bank (2010)

‘to reach the MDGs by 2015, school systems with low completion rates will need to start now to train teachers, build classrooms, and improve the quality of education. They will also have to remove barriers to attendance, such as fees and lack of transportation…’

With conventional knowledge that income inequality leads to educational inequality, and vice versa, there is strong evidence in the support of increased public investments in primary education. Limited capacity and low quality of public schools throughout SSA have resulted in low levels of enrolment and rising inequality to form, which alongside demand-side constraints emphasises the role for public intervention to achieve UPE.

Various methods and approaches can be used to induce families to send their children to school to help reduce the 42 million children in SSA that are out of school (UNESCO, 2006). As identified earlier, poor families constrained by low income cannot afford to send their children to school, even at primary level. School fees and uniform charges along with fees for textbooks sum up to more than a family’s combined income, as many live below the $1 a day poverty line, resulting in less demand for education.

Kremer (2008), a development economist uses randomized trials and evaluations to shed light on ways to help more children attend school and improve learning. Kremer (2008) consistently found that the decisions to attend school and invest in human capital are highly responsive to education costs and subsidies. He discovered that reducing the out-of-pocket cost of education through school meals or conditional cash transfer programs consistently increased school participation.

His results from Kenya found the magnitude of behaviour response to out-of-pocket costs was larger than expected from the standard human capital investment model. He concluded this to be the result that a large mass of households were on the margin of attending school, so that the provision of free school uniforms led to a 10-15 percent reduction in teen pregnancy and drop-out rates. Previously parents would need to pay $6 for a school uniform which is just slightly under 2 percent of Kenya’s per capita GDP. It was found that children who received payment for these uniforms remained enrolled an average of 0.5 years longer after five years and advanced an average of 0.3 grades further than their counterparts in comparison schools. This analysis was conducted using a ‘treatment’ school who were provided with out-of-pocket costs and a ‘control’ school which didn’t receive such benefits (Kremer, 2008).

Hindering such policy developments are the 1.9 million children under the age of 15 affected by HIV/ AIDS (UNESCO, 2009). This inhibits many from completing school or causing low attendance thereby reducing school demand which further inhibits UPE to be achieved. The human capital theory (HCT) framework is designed to consider complex choices that individuals make – involving the current costs and the chances of enhancing lifetime consumption opportunities. As the mortality caused by HIV/ AIDS occurs most frequently amongst adults in the middle of their working years; aged 30-45, this disease inflicts a heavy economic burden on families and society (Schultz, 2003). Within this age bracket individuals tend to be at their most productive and thereby able to provide support and care for others, including their children. Consequently, if a parent falls ill with the disease at this age it has negative implications on the private incentives to invest in education. Not only on the demand side are there effects, but also on the supply side of education; whereby teachers may fall ill with the disease. Schultz (2003) identifies that each year several percent of the schoolteachers are dying of AIDS in severely affect SSA countries such as Malawi. Consequently this will result in a growing scarcity of teachers, and in order for the government to attract replacements in this area; they will need to offer a higher salary.

If may be apparent however that from the attainment of education, more knowledge about the disease will be spread to a wider audience, helping to reduce the spreading of HIV and AIDS. Schultz (2003) identifies that if negative externalities can be confidently attributed to the dissemination of information with regard to both the characteristics of a communicable disease and the individuals own infection status, information should be provided to as many people as possible. If this is not the case then more educated and richer individuals will have an advantage due to knowledge about the disease. In this scenario public subsidies should be provided to spread information about HIV and AIDS.

(i) Policy application – Uganda

Many SSA governments implemented the abolishment of school tuition for public primary education due to concern that UPE will not be attained by 2015. Uganda was one of the first SSA countries to adopt the UPE policy in 1997 and saw a vigorous increase in primary enrolment from 2.8 million in 1997 to 7.6 million in 2004 (UNESCO, 2000). The UPE policy removed tuition fees for public primary education, providing improved access to primary education for children of poor households. Such a reduction in the direct private costs of education contributed to equality and equity in education (Nishimura et al, 2005).

Before such an introduction, student’s families paid more than 80 percent of the total direct costs of primary education with the government paying the rest. After the introduction of UPE in Uganda, the role of the government increased to provide more resources and ensure the quality and equity of education, which was supported by the mobilised resources through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative along with other donor funds. The share of GDP spent on education increased from 1.6 to 3.8 percent – with the primary sector expenditure increasing from 40 percent in 1996 to 65 percent in 2004. This enabled an increase in the supply of teachers by 41 percent, alongside the erection of new schools increasing by the same amount.

Nishimura et al (2005) analysis showed the positive effect UPE had on the poor, especially girls, in helping improve access to schools which contributed to the access and equity of education as a pro-poor policy. However, Nishimura et al (2005) revealed from their studies that more than just the one demand-side policy intervention of reducing school tuitions in primary education to achieve UPE was needed. Internal inefficiency – such as delayed enrolment and repetition still remains a major problem in Uganda, inhibiting UPE to be achieved. Also due to extremely limited resources, achievement of expanding educational opportunities to all children in poor households has not been achieved – especially to those in rural areas. Such an inequitable distribution highlights that proper supply side policy interventions – such as providing enough school facilities in the nearby neighbourhood; or demand side policy interventions – such as improving parental awareness, should pursue the elimination of school fees. Another supply side intervention aimed to help achieve UPE by 2015 is the school construction sites in remote areas in order to retain teachers in such areas. This should help increase the expected benefits of obtaining education and also exceed the total costs of the direct and indirect costs of education.

Schultz (2003) extends these thoughts with the use of the HCT to analyse education. He concludes that the design of the educational policy should take into account both the private demand for schooling and the public supply of schooling. He continues to inform that if the private returns to schooling are low and families do not demand more schooling for their children, an expansion of public expenditures on education may not increase enrolment, and building new schools is not a solution. There needs to be coordination between supply and demand to forecast school utilisation rates and to anticipate the private and social returns and forecast enrolment rates.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

As laid out by the United Nations the second MDG aims at achieving universal primary education so that boys and girls alike are able to attend and complete primary school. The benefits of receiving at least five years of primary school have been evaluated from the private, social and macro level, providing sound economic reasoning’s to justify the expenditure needed in the educational sector. However, due to inadequate resources, financial constraints, lack of focus and accountability with policy frameworks within SSA and many other low-income countries, the attainment of UPE doesn’t seem achievable by 2015.

It is fair to say that one reason aggravating these shortfalls has been caused by the recent global and financial crisis. From this, various policy proposals have been erected with the aim of achieving UPE. One apparent successor was the removal of uniform fees which resulted in improved demand for education. Furthermore, SSA countries need to ensure that there are enough teachers and class rooms to meet the demand for education, given recent experiences of increases in enrolment rates. Alongside this there needs to be sufficient coordination between supply and demand policy proposals to forecast school utilisation rates, and to anticipate the private and social returns to forecast enrolment rates.

Although identified in this paper that some SSA countries are seriously off track to achieving UPE by 2015, it is still possible that further advancements can be made to help these countries escape the issues of chronic poverty. The crucial question now depends on how quickly SSA countries can transform their pace of change to try and meet the target of UPE. It is clear that these developing countries need additional support of external finance in the form of foreign aid, to provide governments with the resources to fulfil supply and demand constraints.

There does however remain an important issue about the distribution of public provision – whether the government should concentrate resources in expanding education in SSA or rather to improve the quality of educational structures for existing studentsThe former is the requirement to achieve UPE but the latter highlights an important issue; that although a greater mass of children will be receiving education, it does not specify the quality and usefulness of obtaining education – whereby productivity may not be increased at all.


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Free Essays

Giving children a voice: Siolta and the national quality framework for early childhood education


The proposed research represents an inquiry into assessing how Early Years Practitioners utilize Siolta: “The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education”. This is Standard One in Ireland. O Kane (2007) highlights a continual rise in young people “attending early childhood settings, prior to starting schooling in Ireland.” In view of that, the National Quality framework will assist education and growth throughout this crucial period. Siolta, Standard one emphasises listening, respecting, valuing and responding to children’s decisions and choices, ensuring they get the most positive experiences in the early years of their life, (CECDE, 2004).

I will implement a qualitative methodology and a phenomenological system. Information are to be attained using unstructured discussions and child puppet interviews, assessing both child and practitioners views on how Siolta, standard one is implemented in professional practice. Special attention shall be given towards participants’ sense of identity and processes of discovery of self. Information analysis will be executed using Giorgi’s analysis process.

An array of qualitative data collection methods from semi-structured meetings with staff and child puppet interviews are to also be used in order to discover the significance of incorporating Siolta to paying attention to the children’s voice.

This essay looks to comprehend the early childhood practitioners’ experiences of incorporating standard one of Siolta in pre-school. Numerous studies haveidentified practitioners’ views on using National Quality Frameworks within pre schools throughout, Canada, United States, Australia and United Kingdom. Existing research has shown that the historical viewpoints of Irish National Framework for children. Although policies have been put in place in Ireland, research suggests, “consultation with and empowerment of children in the early years is largely underdeveloped” (CECDE, 2003). This highlights that there is a need for investigation into assessing how Early Childhood Practitioners implement Siolta, within practice.

This study intends to analyse and explore preschool practitioner’s results with regards to implementing Siolta in children’s decision making in the classroom environment. The essay shall decide if practitioners have different expectations of listening and adhering to children within the early years based on their age and stage of development.


The study looks to explore literature and its association with “Giving children a voice: assessing early year’s practitioner’s implementation of Siolta, Standard One within Early years”. Firstly, the study objectives are to be defined, and then the research proposal will executed. The approach shall be summarized throughout the paper, with primary topics dealt with. This essay is designed to analyze and explain the underlying principles behind each approach. The ways in which the information is attained and analyzed will also be provided. Important topics, such as sample selection, instrument construction and ethical issues that the practitioner will have to consider, as will the children who are part of the research. All the relevant details will be provided in the discussion.

The literature review uncovered the need for identifying practitioner and children’s views on implementing Siolta, the rights of the child into practice as a plethora of studies suggested no research to date. “Historical perspectives of The National Quality Framework” showed that there is a requirement for Siolta for a young child’s teaching. Using the collected data that has been attained from the literature review, it encouraged the notion of implementing this proposal. This particular stage of childhood has not been studied within Ireland. Thus the issue shall be fully investigated.

Summary of Literature Review

The study took place and looked to assess practitioners’ views and young children in Ireland, on implementing Siolta, standard one in professional practice. The literature review that was undertaken in September last year highlighted a curricular provision for early years and “how it stretches back over the century” (CECDE, 2004). Traditionally in Ireland, young children were taken care for within their homes, with little need for quality childcare services, outside traditional schooling. In later years, early years settings were developed to facilitate parents giving them the opportunity to work, or pursue education (Eire, 1999).

Historically, proving the child with a potent and influential “voice” has not been a priority of the people who establish the policies. However at the turn of the 1990’s things began to change for the better. An increasing acknowledgment of the rights of the child, backed by legislative statutes such as the UNCRC (1990) and the Children’s Act (1989).Article 12 of the UNCRC suggests “we shall ensure that children should form their own views, the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting them” (UNCRC, 1990), suggesting there is essential implications for practitioners who work with, and represent the child’s best interests.

The formation of policies and the maintaining of the early years area has been distributed amongst Governmental sectors until 2006: “This resulted in early-childhood policy and Government policy being implemented with little inter-departmental cooperation” (Eire, 1999).

In 1999, the Irish Government published two important documents, Ready to Learn (DES, 1999), and “the White Paper on Early Childhood Education” both related to this early childhood sector. These papers referred to the lack of early years education for children who are younger than six. Placed in these paper’s was the need for children’s developmental needs had to be fulfilled which is vital for the progression of a curriculum. The White Paper did not suggest that any particular curriculum was better than another, it merely documented the ways the early years professionals may possibly encounter trouble with deciding and identifying a suitable curriculum as well as suggested a need for a “specimen curriculum.” This curriculum was aimed at people who worked primarily with young children, such as providers and parents. In pursuit of this aim “the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment” (NCCA, 2009) created a “Learning Framework for Early Childhood Learning” In which the main objective presented a strategy which could identify a scale amongst common characteristics in children from birth – six in stages in development. This was anticipated to ease transitioning from home or the early years setting to the formal education system.

In the same year, the National Childcare Strategy was documented, this planned an interagency and inter-departmental partnership to “address the issues of childcare in Ireland” (Eire, 1999). It marked a major change in attitudes within early year stage, although it did not give details of any time-period for the appropriation, nor did it provide the potential results for success.

The CECDE launched Siolta – “the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education”, this offered a plan for high standard care in early years environments for children who are younger than six years of age. This included “full day-care, pre-school settings, child-minding and infant classes in schools” (CECDE, 2004).

As much of the debate was at policy level, researchers though it important that children’s perspectives and opinions were taken into consideration during operation, especially within early years environments. “At the heart of the education programme lies the child” (CACE, 1967), within the early year’s this quotation is most cited. It reinforces this need within early year’s services.

Research Question and Objectives

The main objective of the essay is to examine “Giving children a voice: Assessing Early Years Practitioners” and the application of Siolta, “The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education,” Standard One.

The aim looks to complete the incomplete areas in the literature as established by researchers. The main study objective is:

“How is Siolta, standard one, the rights of the child being incorporated within the professional practice of early year’s practitioners?”

As the research looks to identity how early year’s practitioners utilize Siolta, no hypotheses have been formulated. Although subsequent study aims will guide the study:

Investigating frequency of incorporating Siolta, standard one, in practice by planning and observation

To identify the ways in which each child have opportunities to make choices & make decisions which are respected in practice
To establish the ways each child has opportunities and is enabled to take the lead within activities
To establish how children are supported to problem solve and become independent learners
To identify how children are facilitated to actively participate in daily routines, such as activities (CECDE, 2004).


Polit and Beck (2004) state that “the chosen method of research should be directed by the aims of the study and by the questions the study is guided towards answering.”

Quantitative research means exploring “phenomena by collecting numerical data which is analyzed using mathematically based methods, primarily statistics” (Kumar, 2011). Conversely, qualitative research is “a systematic and subjective approach used to gain insights to describe and give meaning to life experiences” (Burns & Grove, 2005).According to Martin Heidegger (1899-1976) cited in (Polit and Beck, 2004), “phenomenological enquiry is the meaning of people’s experience in relation to a phenomenon and how those experiences are interpreted.” In light of this, the Heideggerian phenomenological shall be appropriate to explore this research question in this study, because researchers will look to assess how each participant utilize Siolta, standard one, in professional practice. A range of data collection methods such as semi structured interviews and child puppet interview’s will be employed as a means of assessing how practitioners incorporate Standard one into professional practice as well as young children’s perspective of their pre-school experiences. In order to find the perspectives from both practitioners as well as children, qualitative methods will be used throughout the study. This should offer an insight into the implementation of the framework within the early years setting, and the professional development of supporting the rights of the child. The choice of implementing the phenomenological approach was affected by Byrne & Taylor’s (2005) qualitative study which can “help provide a description of the lived experiences and views of professionals working with children.” Phenomenological research as described within the literature is “a philosophical approach which is interested in the perspectives or lived experiences of a person, knowing the essence of the experience and what it means” (Burns & Grove 2005 & Polit et al. 2001). Semi-structured interviews shall be undertaken to attain information regarding this research question, as it permits “the researcher to gain more clarification on various aspects discussed by the participants” (Polit and Beck, 2004). Interview methods have advantages; they are “inclusive of people who may be illiterate or may not write as fluently as they speak” (Wood and Ross-Kerr 2006). Creating natural environments enabling individuals to present information where it is more natural and easier, “to respond to the questions orally rather than in writing” (Grinnell and Unrau, 2008). Additionally answers may be more honest and reliable if obtained in a spontaneous way rather than written responses “which are self-censored” (Grinnell and Unrau, 2008).The data collection instrument “is semi structured interview and as this is both timely and a costly method of data collection, the population size will be limited” (Burns & Grove 2005).

Polit and Beck (2004) suggests that “Giorgi’s analysis approach relies solely on researchers; with this approach it is unsuitable to return to participants to validate findings or to use external judges to review the analysis.” Polit and Beck (2004) identifies “the steps involved in Giorgi’s method, these include; reading the complete protocols to get a sense of the whole”, description of phenomenon being studied, distinguish units from participants’ articulating the “psychological insight in each of the meaning units”, whilst the final step is referred to as the “structure of the experience” which involves “the researcher combining all of the transformed meaning units” into a reliable account relating to the experiences of the participants.


Polit & Beck (2006), suggest “a sample is a subset of the population, selected to partake in a study.” Evaluation sample in this research is early childhood practitioners and children. Burns and Grove (2005) state that a “saturation of data” takes place when “additional sampling provides no new information, simply repetition of data collected previously.” The sample will consist of a pre-school leader, one assistant from each of six settings and six children according to age and gender which will be selected through Louth and Monaghan. This is a vast area with a wide selection of schools to choose from. The volume of participants is considered enough “when saturation of information is accomplished” (Burns and Grove, 2005). Polit & Beck (2006) suggest that “a convenience sample can be defined as a selection of the most readily available persons as participants in a study.” This sample shall be chosen out of convenience because it is where researcher is situated, near Louth and Monaghan, and is acquainted with several service providers in these locations. The criterion for inclusion depends on the participants being volunteers, registered preschool practitioners who have a minimum of 2 years experience teaching in preschool and hold formal qualifications at level six or above. Also preschool children with parental consent.

Data Collection

To obtain data for this study objective the process of data acquisition proposed is semi-structured interviews. Moore (2000) recommends: “semi-structured interviews are the best means for the researcher to collect information about attitudes and beliefs.” Such discussions vary from “structured” interviews, this is where “the researcher obtains participants responses to pre-determined standardized questions to an unstructured interview” (Moore, 2000). Semi-structured interviews, however, offer the opportunity to modify the language, yet not the intent of the study. This is because it recognises that respondents can incorporate different meaning to words and may not use the same vocabulary (Moore, 2000). The researcher looks to attain information from practitioners on how they incorporate the rights of the child in practice as well as interviewing children through puppetry. Through assessing the views of the children themselves, recognises children’s human rights to engage in suitable research and gaining a lot knowledge from going into the children’s environments and respecting their perceptions. Therefore the researcher feels that that semi-structured interviews are the most appropriate form for the purposes of this research: “These interviews are referred to as focused interviews as they provide the interview a focus on the study” (Parahoo, 2006). The researcher will spend three consecutive days in each of the pre-schools, enabling the children to get to know the person who is conducting the puppet interview with them. Interviews will take place separately, in a quiet area of the preschool room, to avoid disruptions. Denscombe, (2007) suggest the interview room should “be set up in a manner which is comfortable and relaxed favourable to having an interview, with no interruptions throughout it.” As the interview is being held in the preschool room, the participants will be in their normal environment which will help them answer the questions at ease in regards to the areas of play they like/dislike. Timing is important to avoid disruptions, so morning break seems an appropriate time to conduct the interviews. To help gain the children’s attention, a puppet will be used; a soft toy will also be available if children become restless throughout the interview. Also, Tape recording the interview is “a reliable means of transforming spoken words to text” (Parahoo, 2006). It benefits the interviewer, as they have access to a record of participant’s answers. However, Miller and Salkind (2002) state that tape recording has negatives, for example, interviews “may inhibit a frank discussion or the subjects may be too sensitive to allow themselves be taped”, another disadvantage is the associated high cost with travel and salary expenses. Interviews are much more time consuming as it entails the researcher carrying out the interview themselves (Miller and Salkind, 2002). However, the researcher suggests this method is appropriate for the study in question as benefits overrule the disadvantages. Participants are guaranteed a record of their interview, which they can have access.

Grinnell and Unrau, (2008), suggest “flexibility is an advantage of an interview as probing questions while interviewing can be used to provide greater depth to responses.” The interview schedule will be designed to allow flexibility to probe more thorough responses, and each interview will cover the same material in the same order. Information gathered using interviews can be easily compared, while the data collected can be maximised in richness.

Pilot Study

A pilot study is an important element in the research approach, as it determines the feasibility of the approach. This enables improvement of the “design of this research approach and to examine the credibility and robustness of the actual results” (Parahoo, 2006). Van Ort (1981) suggests a pilot study is: “a smaller version of a proposed study conducted to certify that the methodology is practical” (Burns & Grove 2005). A piloted interview schedule will be conducted in advance; six preschool leaders will partake to test the wording, structure and content for ease of understanding. Consent will be sought (appendix 7). Every participant shall be interviewed and recorded. Giorgi’s method of analysis is to be implemented to analysis the findings. Following evaluation, this will establish whether the methodology is feasible. The researcher can then make changes to the approach, if required.

Data Analysis

Giorgi’s phenomenology is the method of analysis utilised within this study, it is described as exclusively relying on researchers interpretations (Pilot and Beck, 2004). Schneider et al. (2001) suggest that Giorgi’s “method of phenomenological analysis obtains descriptions of various experiences and evaluate them for their “lived meanings.” These are compiled via “standard phenomenological procedures of ‘reduction, imaginative variation, and intuition of essences” (Schneider et al., 2001). There are four phases to this approach, comprising of the interpretation of the complete transcripts, dividing these into meaningful units and conversion of information within the units to create a structure of the occurrence. Interview transcripts shall be read thoroughly in order to associate meaningful units within this study. They shall be turned into statements which look to convey implicit or explicit meaning. Subsequently they will be synthesised into a synopsis of how practitioners are incorporating Siolta within practice, and puppet interviews on assessing the views of children themselves.The concluding phase of analysis will integrate shared meanings into a general level perception.

Credibility and Robustness

Speziale and Carpenter (2007) suggest that rigour “is a major concern in qualitative research.” Several qualitative researchers discard notions of reliability as well as the validity in favour of phrases: “truth, accuracy and credibility” (Parahoo, 2006). Chilisa and Preece (2005) state, “rigour involves the confidence the researchers places in procedures used in, data collection, analysis and interpretation, along with its findings and conclusion.” The researcher has to be conscious of the chance of threats to the validity of the investigation. As a result, warranting credibility and validity has to be inbuilt within the research design process. Pilot studies are implemented to guarantee that each interview strategy is feasible and that the field notes shall be stored to make sure there is a low level of bias in the investigation.

According to Parahoo (2006) “reflexivity is the on going process of reflection by the researcher resting on her their own values, prejudice and presence and those of the respondents, which can affect the interpretation of responses.” Thus, to make sure the study has rigour, the researcher has to change their approaches to fit in with concepts of reflexivity and validation of information in which are applied to the interviewees. Parahoo (2006) states “that researcher own personal knowledge and experience may shape questions asked within interviews.” Hence, the researchers are conscious of her views and personal experiences when developing the research questions which look to minimise the levels of bias.

Information shall be validated by going back to the participants to foresee whether extensive descriptions reflect the participant’s experiences. Other researchers are to be asked to investigate every area of the transcripts, to validate and compare the results to validate the study.

Ethical Considerations

To undertake this research I have had to send an application of to the ethical committee of “the Institute of Technology” (Appendix 3). Polit & Titano Beck (2008), suggest that “when humans act as participants in a study their rights must be protected” and that “there are three principles on which ethical consideration is based; beneficence, respect for human dignity, and justice.” Beneficence encompasses when the research makes sure the participants are not subject to unnecessary injury or damage, ranging from physical to emotional, social or financial, problems. Beneficence also looks to acknowledge a participant’s right to protection from manipulation. This implies that the participant must not be exposed to a scenario in which they are not ready. There has to be a respect for their “human dignity” which means acknowledging their right to self-determination, and allowing the participant the liberty to choose if they want to be part of the research. It also entails their right to complete disclosure. This implies that the research has to disclose the nature of the research. According to Speziale and Carpenter (2007) “informed consent must be obtained from the participants and informant participation must be voluntary” (Appendix 7). A letter that discloses the intentions and reason for the research will be forwarded to every preschool (Appendix 4), and then there will be a brief telephone conversation with the preschool head teacher so that the intention of the research can once again be disclosed to make sure they are completely clear on what it hopes to attain and achieve.. Confidentiality relating to children’s personal information and details of the preschool will be stressed. A letter of consent shall also be forwarded to each parent of the children through the preschool head teacher (Appendix 6). Permission slips have to be returned before the researcher can accept the children as part of the research.

A vetted researcher will visit the pre schools for three consecutive days. The first two days will be used to get friendly with the participants and to make sure that they are comfortable with the researcher. Parahoo (2006) highlights the problem for participants to “remain anonymous when adopting an interview method.” Although due to them having an ethical duty in keeping a participant anonymous has to be disclosed. The information that is attained from the study has to be confidential also. Yet written copies shall be present to the participant upon request. Every participant has the right to withdraw from the study. The purpose of the research, through this form of contact as a way of collecting information does not expose any participant to dangers of physical or emotional damage.

Data Storage

LoBiondo-Wood and Haber (2002) state that humans have to be treated fairly. Data has to be kept in a hard-copy format. Hardcopies of the interview tapes and transcription shall be securely kept, eliminating unauthorized access unless to the individuals who have been authorized by the respondent. Hardcopies will be retained pending full completion of the research study; they will be stored in a locked cabinet that can only be accessed by the researcher.On completion of the research all hard-copies will be eliminated.


This research looked to explore early childhood practitioners lived experiences of incorporating Siolta, standard one, and assessing the views of the children within the professional practice of early years. Although this study may reveal much informative data on incorporating Siolta, standard one within daily practice, a more extended study may be fundamental. In using a larger sample of pre schools and children across various counties around Ireland will ensure more conclusive evidence. Should it be exposed that there are additional problems with Siolta within daily practice, and then it shall form the bases for a view for additional training which will advance quality practice in early years across Ireland. This study will help participants with regards to improving their professional practice and presenting a chance to learn about incorporating Siolta. To conclude participants may be satisfied therefore highlighting a contribution to improving high quality practice through the implementation of Siolta, National Quality Framework.


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Free Essays

Study of the Coalition Government’s scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)


This paper addressed decision by Coalition government to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) paid to students who stayed in post- compulsory education. It explored the history of EMA and the circumstances leading to its scrapping. The paper presented discussions emerging from those who are in support of EMA and those who aren’t and the context in which Coalition decided to scrap it. The discussions explored beliefs that decisions taken by Coalition do not take into consideration their impact on students across the country. The paper discussed an academic literature, viewing the conflicting and opposed nature of EMA in post-16 education and, therefore, may be understood better from students’, staff and parents’ perspectives.

The decision by the researcher to tackle this current issue was because of concerns about the future of 25 students on Foundation Learning and Springboard who were all EMA recipients on full ?30 a week band. The researcher wanted to find out if the new funding mechanisms replacing EMA were the best to tackle problems of deprivation and disadvantage students faced and how not getting EMA would impact on their learning.


The aim of the paper was to find out if EMA delivered policy requirements of widening participation, increased retention and attendance, encouragement of social mobility, inclusivity, access for all, Every Child Matters and equal opportunities to resources. These policy aspects were examined in detail as they are embedded in the whole realm of EMA. The influence of EMA on crime was discussed in relation to its ability to reduce crime. The paper attempted to seek justification as to why Coalition scrapped EMA and replaced it with different funding mechanisms, eradicating uninformed assumptions as to which funding practices are either appropriate or effective. The paper examined these aspects in relation to their influence on choice of destinations for students. Policies which impact on post-16 education and further education (FE) were discussed to enhance understanding of the initial introduction of EMA policy.


In the United Kingdom, during the 1980s to1990s there was an influx in post-16 education. Many 16, 17 and 18 year olds remained in full time education. By 1994 numbers had doubled. In 1998 four fifths of post-16 children came from families where parents were managers or professionals, compared to less than half of those from poor working class backgrounds. Children from poor working class backgrounds made up ten percent of children not in education, employment or training (NEET). DfES (2004). This became policy issue for Labour in terms of post-16 education being largely enjoyed by children from wealthier backgrounds.

This necessitated the formulation of education policies to narrow the gap between poor and rich children. The first policy was the Standardised National Curriculum, (Market Reform) for all learners from the age of 7 to 16. It’s purpose was to make pupils study certain curriculum subjects in detail in order to tackle problems of poor numeracy and literacy to raise standards, widen access and improve basic skills. Many children left school without qualifications, GCSE pass rate was low, more than 2/3 did not pass GCSE and many opted for vocational qualifications. Dearden et al (2005).

This policy was time consuming as teachers planned all the subjects. Parents were given the right to choose schools, impacting on housing and cost of moving for poor parents. League tables made some schools look bad. The quasi-market system made it hard for some schools to improve. It created social- class and educational inequalities. Poor students were left behind, attending poor schools, underachieving in disadvantaged societies. Funding was based on school enrolment. Schools were given autonomy on the type of student to enrol, encouraging social and educational exclusion.

Following this policy in 1998, was the National Numeracy and Literacy Strategies (Curriculum Reform). Policy objective was to improve basic skills by using prescriptive methods to help teachers to know what to teach and how to teach it and allowing literacy and numeracy hours on the curriculum. Students were tested on their understanding of curriculum subjects by using national tests at 1, 2, 3, and 4 key stages. The limitations of this policy made it difficult to attract qualified teachers because of poor teachers’ packages, introduction of performance related pay and unfavourable conditions in relation to other professions. There was no autonomy for teachers. Everything was prescribed, removing creativity and initiative in teaching.

In spite of efforts by Labour, post-16 participation remained low. Another policy was introduced, the Vocational Qualification Reform which introduced the NVQs and NGVQs for students who were not performing well academically and to raise participation in post-16 education. It was a way of encouraging work- related education and making vocational qualifications look attractive to employers. Dearden et al.(2002)

This policy was unsuccessful. The qualifications were not valued by employers who thought only low performing students took vocational courses and therefore paid them low wages. Machin and Vignoles (2006). There was no unification of the system. There were too many different providers offering too many different qualifications with no economic value which Melia (1995) called “The Further Education Qualification jungle”. This did not encourage poor students to stay on in post-16 education.

Following 1991 and 1992 Education White Papers was the Kennedy Report (1997), which recommended that extra funds be made available to Inner City Colleges for students from socio-economically deprived backgrounds and those from poor post code areas, to widen participation. Children who fitted this category were nicknamed the ‘Kennedy Children’. Public view suggested this was done at the expense of children from the ‘right’ postcodes. Researcher can argued that the ‘Kennedy children’, as a matter of policy,had a right to benefit from extra funding to encourage them to stay on in education and achieve, from exclusion to inclusive education. Green and Lucas (2000). This led to the introduction of EMA policy. EMA policy was designed to address financial constraints which formed a barrier to post-16 participation in FE particularly among learners from low socio-economic backgrounds. Policy objectives were designed to improve student retention and attendance rates in sixth form and post-16 education, to raise participation and attainment levels in further education.

Labour launched the pilot project in September 1998-1999 in 56 out of 150 Local Authority Areas (LEAs). It targeted students in areas with low post-16 participation, low retention, low achievement rates, in areas where there was deprivation, where most of the population lived in rented accommodation and did not participate in the job market because of low qualifications and lack of skills. Heaver et al (2002).

After the first pilot proved a success the second pilot was launched in 2002-2004. Machin and Vignoles (2004) in agreement with the Kennedy Report reviewed a policy reform which introduce EMA to help students from poor backgrounds whose parents earned less than ?30,000 a year if they remained in education beyond compulsory education. EMA policy was administered first through the Learning Skills Council (LSC) but was moved to Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA). YPLA aims are raising aspirations, improving attainment targets to Level 2/3, reducing the NEET cohort and delivering Every Child Matters outcomes for young people. Eysenck (December 2010) affirmed “EMA makes it possible for students from poorer backgrounds to go onto sixth form or college rather than forcing them to leave school to take low paid, dead end jobs”.

It was officially launched nationwide in 2006 after being regarded a success in encouraging young people to stay on in education and opening up chances for students from disadvantaged back grounds who were unlikely to stay on in education after the compulsory education period. Chancellor Gordon Brown announced “The four pilots of EMA had proved a success, helping 20,000 extra students a year to stay in education”. Slatter (July 2003:2). By putting this policy in place Labour recognised Every Child Matters outcomes on inclusive education, raising aspirations, access and equality of opportunities for students with special or additional learning needs. Miles (2010). The Kennedy report pointed the need for these groups to be adequately educated to prevent social and economic exclusion. The recent proposed scrapping of EMA contradicts the Kennedy Report

EMA was means-tested. Students received varying amounts depending on their family yearly income. Some students received ?10, ?20, others received the full ?30 allowance a week. In addition, each student received various bonuses for attendance and achievement at the end of the course. Table1 shows how the students were paid according to individual household income. In 2004 about 50% of 16-19 year olds qualified to be eligible for EMA.

Table 1

Up to ?20,817?30.00 a week
?20,818-?25,521?20 a week.
?25,522-?30,810?10 a week

Source: Dearden et al (2005)

Social welfare benefits, child credits received by parents and earnings gained through part time jobs taken by young people were not considered. The money was paid into students’ accounts to help with the purchase of educational materials, bus fares and lunch but students could spend it as they wishe

Coalition decided to scrap EMA. In support, Nash (2002) announced that EMA had not been successful in encouraging participation of poor children. New applicants were not accepted after January 2011. Grounds for scrapping EMA given by Coalition are, it has not been properly targeted when Labour introduced it, Labour covered every young person with the same blanket and made them eligible. They claimed that learners were abusing it by spending it on alcohol, luxury goods, cigarettes and not using it to buy educational materials. Coalition goes further to say EMAs were costing the taxpayer ?564 million a year and there was no evidence on attainment of qualifications by those staying on at school. Not achieving qualifications and receiving EMA was like their parents signing on to get benefits. Lee (January 2011). Some researchers say “they see no reason why these youngsters cannot take part time jobs like newspaper rounds like we did in our days”. Freedman (2008: 2). Encouraging children to take part time jobs helps them to develop work ethics.

According to Michael Gove, EMA did not achieve the initial objective of encouraging young disadvantaged people to stay on in education after the compulsory education period. This was Labour’s way of keeping unemployment figures down as they did not have other options for them. Pearson (February, 2011). Labour argued this by quoting the education spokesman who said “…96% of 16- year olds and 94% of seventeen- year olds participate in education, employment or training because of the EMA”. Pearson goes further to say children do not need to be bribed to stay in education. What they need are initiatives, excellent teachers and help to remain focussed and find purpose in school. McGivney (December 2005:3) says “A curriculum that is based on varied interests and wishes of learners is far more effective in attracting learners and sustaining their motivation.” What is needed is to make learning meaningful and enjoyable to prevent dropouts.

When Michael Gove was Shadow Schools Secretary for Conservatives he hinted that EMAs were an expensive undertaking causing huge deficits which the country cannot afford. Coalition was accused of being out of touch with the plight of disadvantaged and poor people in this country. The context in which Coalition is scrapping EMA is strengthened by a letter written to The Guardian by a seventeen year old student drawing attention to abuse of EMA by students who owned cars and laptops and receiving EMA while living with their divorced mothers. Jones (2010)

Although Labour had planned to scrap EMA in 2013 when their proposed plan to raise school-leaving age to 18 came into place, they are now on the opposition trying to stop scrapping of EMA. Labour ministers lost the parliamentary vote to stop this decision by Coalition and Andy Burnham expressed concern that the decision will force children out of full time education, he predicated a raise in crime and said it will influence students’ decision making. Liard (2010).

A survey conducted by Buie (2007) found no evidence of the impact of EMA except that it encouraged the benefit culture as most of recipients’ parents were on social benefits and their children might see it as the norm but Jaquette (2009) showed achievement rose by 10% with large numbers from disadvantaged communities. During this survey, students who were interviewed complained that some students just came to make up their hours and get paid and they were distracting lessons and stopping others from learning. In addressing the issue of students not in education, employment or training, (NEET) Buie (2007:3) said “they have become disengaged and disaffected well before the age of 16, and EMA has little impact on them”. This is why some researchers have suggested EMA should only be paid on achievement rather than waste it on young people who do not take interest in educational achievements.

However, Coalition is proposing to cut out EMA and raise school leaving age and replace EMA with Pupil-premium Fund in schools and the Discretionary Learner Support Fund in Colleges (DLSF). The learner support fund will cost ?78 million per year in comparison to EMA. Finlay et al (2007b: 233 ) called it “Flowers in the desert”. This indicates funding is likely to run out before provision is finished and students are not automatically entitled. Answering to questions in parliament, Mr. Hughes, Coalition’s access advocate strengthened their position by announcing that government could not sustain the system to carry on as it is, there is no money. He went on to warn that at EMA’s full value of ?564 million a year to cover 6480,000 students, the scheme is unsustainable. J. Lee (January 2011).

Rogers (December 2010:2) in support of the DLSF reiterates that “ensuring the most disadvantaged pupils get the support they need has to be our priority”. This fund is paid directly to FE colleges. Principals and Managers of these institutions will use their discretion to decide how this money will be used in line with the 1992 Education Act which urged Principals and Managers of FE colleges to provide students in their colleges with financial or other help of any nature as they consider fit. This gives autonomy to colleges and the money will be properly targeted.

The public argument against scrapping of EMA is partly based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children and the ten year strategy for children and young people (UNCRC) for 2008-2011. The convention mentions the importance of developing a culture which considers matters that impact on children and young people and review them routinely. Bearing in mind the requirements of the convention, the 2009 Youth Conference agreed EMA will be made available to all post -16 students without considering parents’ earnings. In view of what is going on currently, Coalition would dispute the later part of this statement because it is not targeted specifically towards poor students.

Labour opposed scrapping of EMA from the point of view that without funding, policy on inclusive education is rendered ineffective and support for learners with special educational and additional needs will drop, compromising their job prospects, adding numbers to the benefit bill and social mobility will be affected as students cannot move out of the grips of poverty. Mittler (2005) defines policy on inclusion as affording each person the help they need to achieve. Scrapping their EMA will open the poverty gap between the rich and poor, causing educational inequalities, as many will not be able to stay on in education.

Colleges and other FE institutions delivered inclusive education because the EMA afforded students to attend but without it, it will be hard to bring students back from the NEET. EMA was the attraction, encouraging access and equality of opportunities. Laird (2010) EMA confirmed that in the past six years post-16 participation has improved by 30 percent and she links this back to the fact that EMA was introduced, and encouraged children to stay on. Labour also goes on to say the cost of EMA will be outweighed by the higher wages the students will earn in the long run when they are qualified and benefits payments will be reduced.

Organisations campaigning against scrapping of EMA, (Save EMA and Unison) considered taking legal action against the Coalition for failing to recognise an earlier statement which stated that learners who had started new programmes in 2010 will continue to receive the EMA until 2013. Coalition has now said all EMA funding will stop at the end of the 2010 academic year.

Crime data published by the Home Office Offenders Index showed that during the pilot period EMA had a positive impact on reducing crime. Table 4 shows a reduction of crime in all areas where the young people received EMA. Violent crimes remained high. This may be due to the different types of crimes constituting “violent crime.”

Table 4 showing crime reduction in pre- and post- EMA periods

Areas with EMAViolent1,645Burglary 4, 219

Theft 7, 6431,4682,230

Areas without EMA Violent 1,137Burglary 2,227

Theft 7,6430, 9771,176


Source:Hirschfield (2004)

The areas chosen were known to have high crime rates and the main perpetrators were young men. The differences in crime rate between EMA and Non-EMA areas could mean the likelihood of other crime reducing strategies working alongside EMA but the evidence is there that EMA helps to reduce theft and burglary crimes by providing ready cash for young people and they do not have to get it by illegal means.

From teachers’ perspective, EMA has helped to develop parents’ interest in the education of their children. They were involved at the initial application of EMA and phoned the institution if there was a problem with the student’s payments and the teachers used this opportunity to discuss other issues pertaining to the education of the particular student. One parent admitted “On occasions the threat of loosing his EMA got him out of bed” Jones R (2010:2). FE teachers see the removal of EMA as a real challenge for them to get students motivated to attend. This confirms Labour’s argument that EMA has improved attendance and participation. Student A. who has made it to CambridgeUniversity said he would not have made it if it wasn’t for EMA. The Guardian (April 2010).

In contrast, Coalition, in 2010 recorded students’ reactions to a question which asked them what effect scrapping of EMA would have on their education and choice of destinations. Students responded in the following manner:

45% said none.

42% said they would have stayed in education but would have needed to take a part time job.

7% said they would have gone into work-based learning.

6% said they would not have stayed on at all.

The evidence is shown here that 90% young people would have stayed on with or without EMA. Bolton (2011)

Poorer students have been cut off from the social arena and their window of opportunity has been closed. This is breaching ‘Every Child Matters’ policy aspect on “making positive contribution, enjoying and achieving economic wellbeing”. It is extremely difficult to meet these objectives under the current situation. The Child Act (2006) stated that providers incorporate “Every Child Matters” frame work and that it is Ofsted inspected but in any political climate according to Ball (1997:105),) “policies shift and change their meaning in the arenas of politics” and they are understood and used differently by different actors with different interests. Steer et al (2007

This researcher has seen how EMA helped young Asian women, who would otherwise be married off by their fathers the moment they finished compulsory education. EMA has helped them avoid becoming victims of their culture. Parents arranged forced marriages if girls were not engaged in education. Mirza (2009) described it as being persuaded into a marriage against ones will in the name of family honour. During class discussion on scrapping of EMA the girls told the researcher this decision by Coalition had hit them hardest. They said staying on in education was the only way of delaying forced marriages. The diverse nature and cultural backgrounds of students need to be considered when making decisions so that certain groups of the population do not feel excluded and victimised by the system. This is in accordance with the UN Convention 2010-2011.

Another EMA recipient, student B who is studying sciences to qualify to study medicine said “I will have to take a part time job as my parents cannot afford transport and lunch money for me but I know that I shall have less study time and it will have an impact on my results”. Recipient C said she lived on her own and uses some of her EMA to pay bills and transport and if she does not get it she will have to stop studying for her Level 2 English and Mathematics. Student C said he was from a working class background and although he only received ?10 a week it went a long way to help him complete his studies. This shows how students have been affected by scrapping of EMA in their individual situations and how it might alter their destinations. Coalition has effectively altered provision and opportunities available to students. Bolton (January 2010)

Coalition is considering a 14-19 funding system and extending the pupil-premium fund to FE colleges. The extra money could be used to hire more staff or improve facilities which will benefit more people than paying EMA to a few individuals. Government will pay more money to colleges who enrol more students from poor backgrounds. A research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that post-16 study is a follow up of good GCSE’s.It is, therefore, meaningful to stop EMA and spend money on improving pupils’ grades at this level.

The impact of scrapping EMA in the researcher’s organisation influenced behaviour management and pedagogy. On starting a course students sign an EMA contract which binds them to rules on attendance, time keeping, acceptable behaviour and achievement. The researcher used this contract as a tool to encourage positive behaviour and students’ EMA payment would be stopped if parts of the contract were breached. When the announcement to scrap EMA was made, the researcher felt disarmed and discouraged. EMA was used to motivate and discipline students.

Students who enrolled after January 2010 often missed sessions complaining they had no bus money and borrowed money to buy lunch from staff members. Some students left before completing their courses to get jobs. Enrolment numbers dropped. Several students openly said “I only came to collect my money. If I don’t get paid I don’t come”. These students disrupted lessons and abusing the EMA.

Decreasing student numbers caused financial deficits which resulted in staff redundancies. The manager controlled purchasing of stationary. Her decisions adversely affected teaching due to lack of resources. Students who completed Level 2 English and Maths did not apply to colleges due to uncertainty about EMA. This impacted on the organisation’s finances as they could not make claims on progression. On the other hand, there were some good outcomes. Some students said they will have to stop smoking, drinking, cut down on mobile phone calls and nights out because they could not afford them anymore.

In the researchers’ professional practice, scrapping of EMA brought the realisation that the job was more pastoral care than teaching, there was need for a sympathetic approach and more understanding when addressing students’ problems. The researcher learnt new behaviour management techniques which promoted conformity and encouraged achievement. Using EMA to control behaviours was punitive and unethical. The method did not foster good student –teacher relationships. Methods of planning and presenting lessons changed to captivate interest and enthusiasm to cater for students who were at risk of dropping out. The generic lesson plans produced by the company were not student-centred. The researcher became more pro-active and innovative in sourcing out learning aids as there was no money to purchase them from shops.

Regionally, institutions of FE offered staff voluntary redundancies as they fore saw reduced numbers of students enrolling on courses after the scrapping of EMA. There seemed to be more young people on the streets during week days which could be indicative of children going back to NEET. There were radical changes in contracts at the local college to embrace the changes. Learners complained they have not been listened to. Many students took poorly paid part-time jobs to fund transport to college and pay for educational materials. One office which referred students from NEET to institutions of FE closed their High Street office and moved into a small place and some staff made redundant. A local Youth Centre run by the NHS has reported a rise in numbers of young people frequenting the place to play games and watch television during week days.


At the beginning of this paper seven key issues were identified and have been used to analyse the impact of the scrapping of EMA on post16 students and their choice of destinations. EMA influenced students’ decisions to stay in education after the age of 16 and fulfilled it’s policy objectives on widening participation of students from poor backgrounds, inclusion and social mobility. The NEET cohort was reduced because students were rewarded financially for turning up, making their study look like work. EMA had a positive effect on students’ decision making and choices of destinations, encouraging equal access to opportunities. In terms of crime reduction, EMA played an important role alongside other crime reduction mechanisms. EMA encouraged parental support and dialogue with staff. Children perform better when they feel supported by family.

Every child in this country deserves to benefit from a healthy economic environment which embraces those born into poverty according to Children’s Act 2004 and Youth Matters. Every citizen aspires to benefit from a society with strong educational achievements, skilled people and reduced crime rates. Our government shoulders the responsibility to ensure every child achieves their full potential by putting in place economic policies which do not create stumbling blocks for young people but point them towards the right direction and provide the necessary help for them to complete their learner journeys.No of words: 4,359


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Free Essays

Reflective essay on education and training


Through this course I have learnt reflect on my strengths and weaknesses in relation to education and training.

I now recognize that there are different learning styles which are Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist (Honey and Mumford, 1982). Online questionnaires have shown that I am between an activist and a pragmatist. I now understand why I focus on practical matters and to be less interested in exploring hypotheticals or more abstract and theoretical areas. I need to understand what a theory is useful for, and what it can be applied to in the ‘real-world’. I require information to be explained so I can relate it to previous experiences.

I tend to teach students by my preferred method of learning although on reflection this is not suitable for all (Anonymous ) .

I find it difficult to concentrate on lengthy written tasks or reading technical books. I have found reading off screen hard work and have a tendency to flick between screens therefore I have had to print out the screens and read them on paper and instruction videos I have had to watch several times. I also am learning to become more disciplined when using the computer as I often have multiple windows open thus becoming easily distracted.

Time management is something that I now aware is not my strongest point in that I tend to leave projects until the last minute. I have therefore mapped out a study plan, to allow me to make constructive use of my time. (Landsberger)

The discipline of critiquing is a challenge for me as I tend, with education journals with training articles that have multiple choice questions, to try and answer the questions first without reading the article or at least speed read it. I now understand how important when looking at journal articles and web pages how relevant the information is and more importantly its source being it a properly referenced article or a sponsored piece (Pears, Shields and Lancaster, 2007). Previously I had never considered this to be particularly important. This is an area I need to improve, as I now realise much of studying is about critiquing and assessing information

In previously I have used end note in Windows Word as the reference tool, as I was unaware of other styles of referencing especially when used for academic papers. I now have learnt how to use Refworks as a tool for referencing which I have also applied to another project.

Using search engines in the past have been very much a hit and miss affair where I used phrases rather than keywords. Having been shown how to use Google scholar and specifically Boolean operators, my search strategy is now more efficient and has led to a larger number of relevant hits. (Anonymous )


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Free Essays

Racism and its likely Implications for University Education


The rise of cultural assimilation (a policy response to support multi-ethnicity that promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture), integration and cultural diversity over the past decades in the UK would be a seeming assurance that racism is a thing of past but such assurance would be wrong because racism, while it has indeed reduced significantly over the years is still weaved into the sub cultural elements of the country and hidden from public view (Adamson et al, 2009). The implication of this could be significant especially given that the UK is sold internationally as a tourist destination, financial centre and a place to get quality education (Home office, 2005).

By studying the implications more closely, it would be of note that racism could be managed where tourism is concerned because most tourists are short stay visitors who may likely not notice the serious effects of racism but where studying and education is concerned, the effects of racism are likely to be felt because most students who are from outside the city or the country live for years within the city for the span of their education which normally last for years. This statement is true for NTIC students because of the racism that is often witnessed in the Nottingham environment. Records show that over 1,700 people were direct victims of racist incidents in Nottingham alone in the year 2005 and 88% of the charges prosecuted were proven in court (Bond, 2011).

This scourge is not only witnessed on the streets in the Nottingham city but across schools and in the classrooms from primary schools to Universities, and statistics (See e.g. Law, 2007) shows that rather than decline the rate is seeing the reverse. However, given the importance of Nottingham and the role it plays in offering quality education to members of the public who come from other areas of the country and countries around the world, racism might need to be further understood to gain deeper insight into its variations and its implication particularly for NTIC students.

In view of the above background, the overriding aim of this proposal is to set out the groundwork for the dissertation which is aimed at improving understanding into the workings of racism in Nottingham and particularly how it affects current students of NTIC and the implications for future education in the city.

Rationale and Importance of the study

The motivation behind the chosen topic is varied but is mostly concerned with the researcher’s personal interest and experience. It is taught that such topic will also help to contribute to understanding the modern day nature of racism and how it works. This subject is particularly important because of the concerted efforts that have long been made to eradicate all forms of racism and racial discrimination in all parts of society including social settings such as schools. Determining the perceptions of college students in terms of how they view racism and race-related segregation amongst the student community in Nottingham is therefore a worthwhile means of addressing the critical issues involved in race relations.

Research Objectives

To investigate the modern nature and variations of racism
Understand it impact and implications for NTIC students and education in Nottingham
To determine the perceptions of NTIC students about Racism and race relations between fellow students in Nottingham

Research Questions

What is the nature of racism in Nottingham
How is it perceived by NTIC students and what are its likely implications for studying and education in Nottingham

Literature Review

In the common monitoring project annual report (2005), it was argued that “the effect of racist attacks and harassment is wider than the effect on the direct victims”. The report continued: “Racism, and the possibility of being attacked, threatens the quality of life of the whole communities”. The report further shows that since 2004, racism has increased by 2% year on year. The continuous rate of racism includes 1326 incidents of verbal racist abuse, 254 physical assaults, 242 instances of criminal damage, and other allegations such as racial harassment, threats, malicious phone calls, written material, unpleasant substances, graffiti etc (Common Monitoring Project, 2005).

The table below shows the reported incidents of racism across different cities in the UK. The calculation was based on 2001 census.

Source: Tomasevski, (2005)

In another recent study conducted by Hussein et al (2009) on the effects of racism on the Chinese community, they found that “the Chinese living in the UK are critically subject to series of racial abuse which range from name calling to property damage on their businesses and personal properties, they also found that a range of arson, physical attacks which has often led to emergency hospitalization and death and been meted on the community over the past years” (P.29).

In another recent report Craig (2007) found that the scourge of racism is still very prevalent in the UK and especially in remote communities where cultural integration have not played a huge role. Several possible dimensions of racism and racist conduct have been identified in the academic literature. Indeed, a number of academic constructs have been used to categorize and define different contextual facets of racism including supremacism, racialism, segregationism, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and other associated constructs (see for example Modood, 1992). Furthermore, dimensions of racism have also been discussed in terms of the level of its incidence – whether it is institutional, economic, or individual. Institutional racism may refer to any form of structured or systemic racism perpetrated, promoted or permitted by governmental, religious, corporate or educational institutions especially to the extent that they are able to influence the orientations of a large number of individuals. Following this perspective, Jones (2000) identifies three levels of racism, which he suggests can be: institutionalized, personally mediated, or internalized. On another level, Essed (1991, p.3) introduces the conceptual dimension of “everyday racism”, which refers to the forms of racial discrimination that are manifested in “familiar, recurrent, systemic practices”; and such practices, according to Essed (1991), ordinarily involve socialized behaviours and attitudes. There is also a dimension of segregation and exclusion that, while not exclusively racial, may incorporate racist considerations. This dimension has been termed ‘social closure’, and as Parkin (1974) explains, it involves “the process by which social collectivities seek to maximise rewards by restricting access to a limited number of eligibles” (p. 54).

Analyse the sources

The sources considered for the literature review are more of reports and research findings sponsored by the government and conducted by interest groups as there are relatively small empirical studies accessible by the researcher. While this may potentially limit the outcome of what can be understood about racism. The researcher makes effort to address this problem by scouring every available sources for useful studies and literature on racial discrimination to add to thoughts from modern literature.

Research Design

A qualitative research approach has been considered for the dissertation because such approach would be more useful in investigating the issues and underlying problems and the implications of racism. According to Stake (1995) qualitative research is useful where the aim is to understand the causes and the real scenarios in research settings. The method would be used as a way of exploring and understanding everything about racial discrimination.

Research Method – Case Study

The qualitative case study method has been chosen to conduct the research and would focus on Nottingham and in particular the students of NTIC. Yin (1984) defines the case study research method as involving the academic “study of a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context”. For the most part, case studies are useful for gaining in-depth knowledge because they emphasize a contextual analysis of deliberately limited of events or conditions as well as the relationships that govern them. They will be used for the dissertation to achieve the research aims and objectives.

Data Collection

Both primary and secondary data collection methods are considered for the research, the main primary instrument considered appropriate is the semi structured interview because of its flexibility in drawing appropriate information from the respondent (Saunders et al, 2000). This method was selected because it would help the researcher to obtain specific information and insights into the incidence of racism among students and other community members in NTIC; useful information pertaining to the diverse dimensions and underpinnings of racism and segregation would be learned through the mentioned interview structure with students and lecturers in the academic community. In total, about 35-40 respondents are considered as the appropriate population size. Secondary data will be sourced from existing reports, research journals and government statistics.

Sampling Method

Given the nature of the present research, a representative sampling method is considered appropriate. Representative sampling offers the researcher the opportunity to identity the exact representative of the population studied. According to Saunders et al (2000) by using this method, the students of NTIC specifically those who represent other population apart from British are interviewed. In order to maintain objectivity and validity of the research possible outcome, the population will not be limited to any ethnic group or country.

Ethical Considerations:

One of the foreseen ethical issues might be the disclosure of data from interviewees who may feel uncomfortable answering certain questions about how they feel about racial discrimination. Given that the present subject is also very sensitive, there are certain issues that might arise from concerns especially where some questions are concerned. In addition, use of the collected data might be the fear of some interviewee’s. The researcher will allay such fears by ensuring that only questions which are relevant are asked and data related to personal details such as name will be excluded to protect interviewee’s identity. All respondents will also be assured that data collected will be strictly used for the purpose of the research and shall not be disclosed to any third party, while the researcher will try at possible best to avoid sensitive questions that can cause problems.


Adamson et al (2009). Hidden from public viewRacism against the UK Chinese population. The Monitoring Group and the authors?

Bond, A. (2011) “NUS Reveals Rampant University Racism“, Durham One, 14 June. Available at: [29 June 2011]

Craig, G. (2007b) Cunning, loathsome and unprincipled’: the racist tail wags

the welfare dog’, Journal of Social Policy, 36,(4), October: 605-623.

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Hussein, B, Smith, Law, I. Lau, C. Chau, C, Chueng, T. (2009). Hidden from public viewRacism against the UK Chinese Population: The Monitoring Group and the authors

Hammond, R. and Axelrod, R. (2006) “The Evolution of Ethnocentrism”, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50(6): 926–936.

Home Office (2005) The Race Equality Duty and the Statutory Three Year Review Probation Circular 21/2005, London: Home Office.

Jones, C. P. (2000) “Levels of Racism: A Theoretical Framework and a Gardener’s Tale”, American Journal of Public Health, 90(8): 1212-1215.

Law, I. (2007) Tackling racism, whiteness and Eurocentrism in learning and teaching, Educational Developments, 8.3, August: 15-17.

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Yin, R. (1984) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications

Free Essays

Impact of Technology on Higher Education


Powerful economic, technical and social trends facilitated by the advent of the internet are revolutionizing traditional concepts of business, economics, education and learning (Feuer, Towne & Shavelson, 2002). The effects are more profound on higher education. This proposal seeks to examine the impact of technology in higher education in the UK. The research will employ a quantitative approach to data collection and analysis. The use of surveys will be utilized by the researcher. The study will be based on a survey of higher education institutions in the UK, drawn from HEIDI database. Conclusion will be drawn based on the findings obtained

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction to the study

The widespread use of technology is changing the social, political, economic and cultural fabric of life. Technological innovation, long a hallmark of academic research, is now impacting on the process of teaching and learning in higher educations. Once the domain of ground based classrooms is now occurring on-demand, synchronously or asynchronously around the globe. This can be seen in Warwick Business School (WBS), which has seen its annual intake grow a third since 2008 partly because of the rising interest from developing countries which value British Education and also due to a growing recognition that quality MBAs can be obtained through distance learning format (Kovel-Jarboe, 2010).

Education is now possible through electronic sources using outreach and in-house programmatic learning (Anderson & Dexter, 2005). The factual learning that once characterized post-grad professions such as engineering, law, medicine and business is now better taught by well-developed electronic programs. Sophisticated learning-management systems, distance education and the opportunity to collaborate with major research partners globally are some of the transformational benefits that Universities are currently embracing (Slavin, 2002). Undoubtedly, technology is changing the curricula and spawning rich forms of online research and collaboration (Anderson & Dexter, 2005).

1.2 Problem statement

There is a growing consensus that higher education institutions in UK need reforms so as to meet the challenges of the knowledge society and its citizens. As part of an ongoing examination, the impact of technology on teaching and learning in higher institutions is under scrutiny. This proposal thus seeks to examine the impact of technology on higher education, in particular the use of technology as a learning enabler in higher institutions in UK.

1.3 Research Objectives

The primary goal of this analysis is to answer the following question: what are the impacts of technology on learning in higher educationAs a result the following are the research objectives:

Ascertain the various approaches through which technology has been integrated into learning in higher education
Examine to what extent technology has been used as a learning enabler in higher education institutions in UK.
To infer the correlation between technology effect on higher education and the overall performance of these institutions.
2. Literature review

Two major themes dominate existing literature regarding the impact of technology on teaching and learning in higher institutions. Firstly, an increased awareness on the changes occurring within the traditional education system. Secondly, recognizing the need for efficient management of these changes.

2.1 Literature review summary

According to Foster et al (1999), the prime motivator for the integration of technology in higher education institutions is mainly the “external forces”. These forces have the power to influence institutional decisions. Edwards (1997), whilst recognizing that change is inherent in many areas of the society, identified the library and information services as the most prone area to change due to technological advancement

Carlson (2000) cited the issue of integration of technology with instruction as the major challenge facing higher educations. Carlson (2000) stated further that academe was lagging behind the society at large in the application of some of the technology trends like personal digital assistant devices which higher institutions have not been able to integrate into their networks. He also identified e-commerce services as another area in which the academe was lagging behind the private sector in its use and application.

Ehrmann (1999) described three main revolutions that had occurred in education. He identified the third revolution as the technology revolution which was made possible by computing, video and telecommunication. This brought about more learners and inevitably changed the way in which higher education delivers its services.

Levine (2000) identified new technologies as the major driving force to the changes in university and college systems. Other forces cited in his article include: entrance of commercial organizations in higher education, shifting demographics, move from industrial to information society and the changing relationships between higher institutions and federal and state government.

Dickey (2005) conducted case studies of educational institutions. In one of the studies, Dickey (2005) used the Active World environment in an undergraduate business-computing course. While in another similar study, he used an object modeling course. From these case studies, Dickey (2005) concluded that the use of new technologies such as Virtual reality, social media, gaming and mobile devices presented with it various opportunities including self-defining the learning context, promoting collaborative and cooperative learning, and creating interactive experience with models or materials that may not be replicable in a traditional classroom. From what can be discerned, most existing literature emphasizes the imperative need of developing ICT in higher education.

2.3 Research question

As a result, this analysis has been inclined to answer the following two research questions:

What are the impacts of technology on higher education in the UK
To what extent has technology been used as a learning enabler in higher education institutions in UK
3.Research methodology

3.1 Research philosophy

A research philosophy is a belief about the way data concerning a particular phenomenon should be collected and analyzed (Saunders et al, 2009). In order to understand and interpret the impact of technology on higher education institutions in UK, we certainly need ways to viewing it. The philosophical perspective that is to be deployed to inform the research approach in this analysis is the positivism philosophy.

3.2 Research approaches

Two major paradigms are often employed in research analysis namely: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative approach is a formal, objective and systematic process that utilizes numerical data in obtaining information. Generalizability, objectivity and numbers are features that are often associated with quantitative approaches. On the other hand, qualitative methodologies are of the view that the world is holistic and that there is not a single reality.

3.3 Research strategy

In selecting the research strategy for this analysis, the nature of the perceived connection between the theory and research question, as well as the philosophical perspective will be influential as both the qualitative and quantitative research strategies differ greatly in this respect. Quantitative approach originates from a positivist perspective that holds that holds that objective knowledge can be derived from direct observations or experience. Whereas qualitative approach stems from the intepretivist philosophical perspective which is concerned with understanding and interpreting phenomena through meanings which people attach to them. Quantitative strategy will be chosen over qualitative strategy due to reliability, generalizability and the fact that quantitative results are often more accurate and perhaps more representative. The use of survey and a focus group will be employed by the researcher.

3.4 Data collection

Data for this study will be based on a survey of higher education institutions drawn from HEIDI database. HEIDI comprises of an online database containing statistics on all higher education institutions in the UK. This database enables comparison of data for higher education institutions in the UK by allowing the researcher access to data on National student survey, UCAS data, Admission data, Universities UK pattern data, and HESA performance indicators data among others.

3.5 Data analysis.

There is evidence of allocation of central resources to support activities that focus on aspects of teaching and learning which yield significant impacts in terms of improving access, effectiveness of teaching, and widening participation (Anderson & Dexter, 2005). Therefore, a strong emphasis on the development of new ICT related pedagogy and E-learning fueled by technological advancement is a big step of the universities in enforcing the professionalism.

3.6 Reliability, validity & Generalizability

A survey generally gathers data at a particular point in time so as to establish the relationship that exists between events (Dillman, 1978). The importance of survey lies in its appeal to universality and its ability to establish a degree of confidence from a set of findings (Hutchinson, 2004). Its popularity is due in large to its utility on countless research situations.

However, the use of survey as a research instrument has been criticized with some researchers citing potential difficulties of survey administration. Nevertheless, this study will adopt survey method as a tool for collecting its data. In order to improve on the content validity, the survey will be designed, formulated and implemented in a manner that follows recommendations from various authors. In particular, the recommendations on survey piloting, layout and questionnaire design by Churchill (1991), Dillman (1978) and Conant et al (1990) will be adopted.

3.7 Ethical issues

The proliferation of technology in higher institutions is more likely to bring with certain ethical issues that need to be addressed. One of the scariest ethical issues is that technology allows ISPs to voluntary disclose content and other information in situations deemed to be of emergency. Another anticipated ethical issue is that technology may open doors for law enforcement agencies to secretly install softwares via Trojan horse emails. These are but some of the ethical issues that may arise.

3.8 Research limitations

Some of the limitations that might be encountered by the researcher are discussed in this section. There is no correct research method for determining what delivery method leads to one student becoming more engaged that another. Statistics alone do not reveal why one student prefer taking a fully online program while another prefer taking a ground class. Also the research will be limited to institutions within the UK.

4. Conclusion

With the above taken into account, it can be concluded that this research proposal is of paramount importance. This research will contribute to the profound analysis on the impact of technology on higher education in UK. Conclusion will be drawn based on the findings obtained from the study.

5. Time scale

Stages (Months)

6. Reference

Anderson, R. E., & Dexter, S. (2005), School technology leadership: An empirical investigation

of prevalence and effect, Educational Administration Quarterly, 41(1), 49-82.

Carlson, S. (2000), Campus survey finds that adding technology to teaching is a top

Issue, The Chronicle of Higher Education, p A46.

Churchill.G.A (1991), Marketing research: Methodological foundations, London, The Dryden press

Conant.J.S, Mokwa.M.P, Varadarajan.P.R & Cooke.R.A (1990), strategic types, distinctive marketing competencies and organizational performance: A multiple measures study, Strategic management journal, vol 11, pp.365-383

Dickey. M. D. (2005), Brave New (Interactive) Worlds: A Review of the Design Affordances and Constraints of Two 3D Virtual Worlds as Interactive Learning Environments, Interactive Learning Environments, 13(1-2), 121-137.

Dillman (1978), Mail and telephone surveys: The total design method, New York, Wiley publishers

Edwards, C. (1997), Change and Uncertainty in Academic Libraries, Ariadne, Available URL:

Bull, J. & Zakrzewski, S. (1997), Implementing Learning Technologies: A University -Wide

Approach, Active Learning. No. 6

Ehrmann, S. C. (1999), Technology’s grand challenges in academe, Bulletin of the

American Association of University Professors, pp. 42-46.

Feuer, M., Towne, L., & Shavelson, R. (2002), Scientific culture and educational research.

Educational Researcher, 31(8), 4-14.

Foster, J, Bowskill, N, Lally, V, McConnell, D (1999), Preparing for networked collaborative learning: an institutional view, European Conference on Educational Research, Lahti, Finland, 22-25 September 1999. Available at:

Hutchinson (2004), Effects of supervisory behavior: The role of individual differences among sales people, Journal of Marketting, vol 53, pp.40-50

Kovel-Jarboe, P. (2010), The Changing Contexts of Higher Education and Four Possible Futures for Distance Education: Issues Challenging Education, University of Minnesota. Available URL:

Levine, A. E. (2000), The future of colleges: 9 inevitable changes, The Chronicle of

Higher Education, pp. B10-B11.

Slavin.R. (2002), Evidence-based education policies: Transforming educational practice and

research. Educational Researcher, 31(7), 15-21.

Free Essays

In what ways are social class, ‘race’/ethnicity, and gender problematic identity constructions? And how can they affect achievement in education?


An examination of the problematic identity constructions associated with social class, race / ethnicity and gender. Theories of essentialism and social constructism are used to understand these notions, and to assess the extent to which they can affect achievement in education.

1. Introduction

The following will take a theoretical approach using contrasting ideas about the nature of social reality to look at problems of race / ethnicity, social class and gender / sexual identity, and the impact each has on equality in education.

Social constructivism is the idea that there is no one objective reality shared by everyone. The meaning of physical reality is created by individuals and groups through beliefs based on their past experience and predispositions (Walsh 2010). Social constructivism has been widely influential in the social sciences and humanities, and was shaped by a number of theorists including Vygotsky (1925) whose studies of how children learn emphasizes the role of a social framework for education, and also by Berger and Luckmann (1966), who popularized the notion in English speaking countries (Van Dusek 2006). Social constructivist approaches to race, class and gender suggest that the way we perceive each is a function of history and culture, rather than a given objective fact.Our views of women and men, and the roles appropriate to each, for example, is rooted in the political climate, and relates to social power structures (Hirschmann 2003)

By contrast, essentialism is the view that the characteristics ascribed to members of different races or sexual identities are fixed and objective. It suggests that the way things are perceived reflects the essential nature of that thing. The essence is a causal mechanism for the properties things display (Mahalingam 2003). When applied to sexuality, for example, an essentialist view suggests that orientation is based upon an inner state which causes a person’s sexual feelings and actions. The view also holds that the essence is either biologically caused or acquired in the first few years of development (Clarke et al 2010).

While race, gender and class can be viewed alone, more recently an ‘intersectional’ approach has emerged, pointing out that these three constructs overlap, and can create layer upon layer of disadvantage and multiple oppression. Suggested by Crenshaw (1991), intersectionality shows that social identity is created in a more complex way than we might have thought (Berger 2006).

2.1 Race / Ethnicity

It is certainly the case that different races and ethnicities are characterised by differing physical appearances, including colour of skin and facial features. However, an essentialist view of race and ethnicity would suggest that each race also has a number of behavioural, mental and intellectual characteristics which distinguish them from other races. For example, there is an assumption that native Hawaiians are lazy, of low intelligence, promiscuous, hospitable and easy-going (Ponterollo et al 2009). Essentialism may also suggest that the characteristic traits are genetic, and that some races / ethnicities are superior to others.

Essentialism in approaches to race and ethnicity seem to be rooted in a late 19th century scientific viewpoint which assumed biological explanations for a range of human characteristics (Rubin 2005), and which naturalised traits such as racial difference. It has been suggested that essentialism still exists in educational, with the belief that each race had a distinct and fixed character, and that different racial groups should be taught with this in mind (Giroux and Shannon 1997).

There are a number of clear problems with essentialist theories of race and ethnicity. For example, attempts to put humans into racial groups seem to use arbitrary selection of traits with no clear explanation of why these traits are important. In addition, essentialist views, fail to account for the richness of human life, culture and experience. Finally, essentialist theories seem to lack significance. What use can they be put to(Corlett, 2003). Further, it has been pointed out that the genetic basis for ethnic essentialism is flawed, as races exhibit greater genetic differences within themselves than between one race and another (Hill and Cole 2001).

Essentialism is often associated with racism: the idea that “people are seen as causing negative consequences for other groups, or as possessing certain negatively evaluated characteristics because of their biology” (Hill and Cole 2001, p. 162). In education, it might lead, for example, to an assumption that children of a certain race are less intellectually able than others, and hence to a reduced attempt to engage with them; or to the assumption that black people excel at sports (Hill and Cole 2001).

In contrast, a social constructivist approach to race and ethnicity seems a more useful one for equality in education. This position allows for greater flexibility as race and ethnicity are seen as dynamic forces, subject to change and shaped by power relationships and cultural forms that dominate the institutions in which they are found (Giroux and Shannon 1997). The social constructivist sees race as a construct “a concept that signifies and symbolises socio-political conflicts and interests in reference to different types of human body” (Winant 2001, p. 317; cited Dillon 2009). Race is not a biologically determined set of fixed characteristics, but rather a complex mix of projections regarding inequality, hierarchical relationships and conflict which have been used to differentiate, regulate and shape reactions between people. The set of presuppositions about racial characteristics become objectified into social institutions and cultures. They are a consequence of social attitudes and decisions made about other people by individuals and groups (Dillon 2009).

Because racial differences are encapsulated in social institutions, and as education is an institutionally based phenomenon, racial prejudice and distinctions made between ethnicities need to be accounted for in education, and it seems important to reject an essentialist view in favour of a constructivist one, with the insight that perceived differences in learning ability, for example, are a consequence of historical political and social vested interests, and do not reflect an underlying reality.Within the UK, there has been a move towards eradicating racism within education. An unthinking mono-cultural approach which promoted British colonial history has given way to a multi-cultural one. Nowadays, an awareness of legislation and regulations regarding race are built into teacher training, for example it is stated that student teachers need to be familiar with the 1976 Race Relations Act, which outlawed discrimination between racial groups. A number of other laws and regulations since have framed education, including codes of practice issued by the Commission for Racial Equality, and more recent directives introduced by the European Court of Human Rights (Hill and Cole 2001).

Despite the existence of such legislation, there is still a question regarding whether racism is still part of the education system. If we accept the social constructivist view, while racist attitudes are open to change, they are deeply embedded in the culture. Schools and other educational bodies may be subject to ‘institutional racism’, “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin” (MacPherson et al 1999). Institutional racism is enshrined in the culture of an organisation, and individuals who make up the organisation may not even be aware of it. If an institution is predominantly white, it is likely that it has practices which exclude non-white people. The Stephen Lawrence enquiry in the UK in 1999 brought the issue to public attention, and a number of changes to the national curriculum, reporting procedures and monitioring levels were made.

2.2 Social Class

The UK is still heavily stratified in terms of class, with resulting inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. The division between rich and poor has increased over the last 20 years, with the rich becoming even better off, and the less well off even poorer.There are various views of what the class system means. Class can be characterised on the basis of occupation and education, with manual (skilled, unskilled or semi skilled) trades equated with the working class, white collar workers with the middle classes, and professionals with the upper classes (Hill and Cole 1999). Marxism has offered a long-lasting analysis of class, suggesting that it is a vehicle whereby the interests of a few are allowed to override the interests of the many.Marx saw society as a history of class struggle, and class as closely tied up with the interests of capitalism, under which the means of economic production are placed in the hands of a small number, with most people having to sell their labour to survive. Marxists also suggest that the education system was class-ridden, existing primarily to tend to the interests of the elite by a process of ‘economic reproduction’, training people to take up a place in the work force, and by ‘cultural reproduction’’, by which children are educated to believe that the upper classes tastes are the norm, and working class ones should be rejected (Hill and Cole 1999).

It has been claimed that Marxism challenges essentialism, for example by opposing the notion that the division between the working and upper classes is ‘natural’ and ‘fair’. However, many suggest that Marxism is in fact inherently essentialist rather than allowing fluidity in the class structure. For example, Marx believed in the fixed nature of the key concepts he used, ‘the individual’, ‘class’ and ‘the state’. He further assumes that people are members of a particular class for life, rather than able to move from one class to another. He also suggests that there is a unity to the concept of the ‘working class’, for example, over and above the shared conceptions of all the people who make up the class (Wolfreys 2006). Littlejohn (1978) suggests that for Marx, social class expresses an ‘essence’, with political movement reduced to expressions of interests determined elsewhere. In addition, Littlejohn suggests, Marx saw society as having a fixed, stratified structure in which economics underpinned political, legislative and cultural layers (Littlejohn 1978).

Post-modernism has suggested that the Marxist notion of class is no longer relevant, and argues that we are now in a post-capitalist era, in which the old social distinctions play no part (Hill and Cole 1999). Post-modernism is consistent with social constructivism, as it suggests that there is no reason to believe in an objective, fixed society, and that we rather need to study discourses and texts to understand what social constructs mean for the people who interpret them. For the post-modernist, personal identity has become fragmented and decentralised, and the notion of class has lost power as it has become subsumed by other measures of identity including gender and race. As identity is fragmented, so individuals can define themselves as classless, or move from class to class (Lareau and Conely 2008). In short, “social class has… ceased to be of central empirical significance to our culture” (Milner, 1999). However, this view is widely disputed, for example by Hill, who suggests that post-modernists are simply unable – or unwilling – to recognize the divisive power of class in today’s society (Hill, 2002).

The growth in the gap between rich and poor does suggest that class issues are still relevant. In terms of education and equality, it seems that class does play a role. Bordieu, for example, carried out empirical studies in French educational establishments, and showed that family background, social class and school are linked, with schools still representing the social and economic inequalities found in wider society. His suggestions have been confirmed by work in the US, suggesting that social differences are reinforced by the education system there, for example the policy of elite colleges such as Harvard to favour children of ex-students. Dillon also points out that access to education is not enough to increase social mobility, as working class students are likely to lack the abilities to make the most of their education that their middle class peers take for granted, for example skills in networking (Dillon 2009). It is also possible that more recent changes to education frameworks in the UK including raised fees for higher education and more freedom for schools to select pupils will create a climate which introduces further divisions between classes in an ‘increasingly segregated system’ (Taylor 2006).

2.3. Gender / Sexual Identity

Similarly, gender and sexual identity are notions with inherent problems. If we adhere to an essentialist view, it would be assumed that certain characteristics are attached to people of each gender, for example men are more intelligent, better with machinery, and better at sports, with women more suited to home making and issues to do with emotions. Similarly, an essentialist perspective might suggest that gay men are uniformly ‘camp’, dress flamboyantly and have a high-pitched voice, with lesbians likely to look like men and have a rough manner.

By assuming that men and women have certain characteristics which define them, stereotyping is more likely to arise. Stereotypes can be acquired through family and wider society, and often develop at a young age, although are complex in nature and the precise nature of the stereotyped characteristics can vary considerably. Stereotypes are not innate: children first learn to differentiate between men and women before later ascribing sets of characteristics to them (Schneider 2004). Stereotypes both influence, and are influenced by, the role men and women play in society. They are problematic in that they not only describe differences between men and women, but also dictate what roles they should play. This can lead to oppression and the suppression of an individual’s freedom. Stereotypes cover a wide range of areas including cognitive abilities, physical appearance, behaviour and emotion. While stereotypes about both gender and sexual orientation are less oppressive now than they have been in the past, prejudice based on such labelling is still in existence, perhaps in a more subtle way (Worrell 2001), for example concerning whether women are expected to do as well in education as men.

Stereotyping on the basis of gender or orientation can lead to oppression and inequality as it reinforces prejudices about difference, and can help maintain inequality and perpetuate injustices. Stereotypical views about men and women may be used to justify unfair treatment, for example paying women less on the assumption that work is less important to them (Andersen and Taylor, 2007). Awareness of the ways in which women are oppressed by men has increased since the advent of feminism, which uncovered the ways in which there is an unfair balance of social and economic power between men and women, and the extent to which men have a vested interest in controlling women to maintain this balance in their favour. Oppression of women, it has been argued, is carried out not just by individuals but is built into social and institutional structure so pervasively that it is not always obvious (Choudhuri 2008). Similarly, oppression and inequality can damage those of non-mainstream sexual orientations, particularly gay men and lesbians. While awareness, understanding and tolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people (GLBT) has increased over the last hundred years, negative treatment has not been removed. “Prejudice, discrimination and oppression on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity permeate our sociocultural context, affecting everyone in deleterious ways” (Messinger 2006, p. 44).Oppression on the basis of sexual orientation can take various forms including exploitation (not offering gay workers the same rights for spouses as given to different sex couples), powerlessness (disrespectful treatment, discrimination in the work place), systematic violence (verbal or physical abuse directed at an individual solely because he or she is gay) and cultural imperialism (the assumption that the worldview of the prevailing, ‘straight’ culture is the correct one) (Messinger 2006).

Within education, therefore, there is a clear need to work against discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, although such discrimination may well be institutionalised and hence less visible. Equality can be worked towards through a variety of methods including understanding the complexity of sexuality and gender, being aware of an challenging heterosexual assumptions and practices, understanding the role education can play in overturning prejudice, challenging homophobia, understanding how gender and orientation issues can intersect with race and class, and learning about LGBT histories (Banks and Banks 2009). Even in these seemingly more enlightened times, research evidence from the USA suggests that LGBT pupils are at higher risk of harassment within their educational instutites: many reported feeling unsafe while in school (64% compared with 10% of pupils who felt unsafe because of their gender), while many lesbian pupils reported physical and verbal harassment and victimisation (Klein 2007). Within the UK, legislation does exist to ensure equality for LGBT teachers, and a national initiative to reduce homophobic bullying was launched with incidents logged and a teaching programme suggested (Sears 2005).

3. Conclusion

If a teacher subscribed to an essentialist view of gender, race and class, he or she might believe that one or other gender, race or social group is inherently better than others at academic subjects. This might lead to situations where the academic performance of the pupil was affected negatively or positively. For example, a belief that boys are better capable of mathematics or science might lead to the teacher spending more time with the boys, praising their good work more enthusiastically or not helping girls. A belief that Afro-Carribean boys are noisy and don’t care about their education might lead to the teacher being more harsh with boys of this race, assuming that they are more likely to be disruptive in class. A similar belief might cause the teacher to assume they are unlikely to be interested in certain subjects.Similarly, the teacher might assume that working class pupils were inherently less intelligent, and might as a result spend less time with them, and not work to encourage any goals of further education. On the other hand, by taking a constructivist view, there is more scope for children to be seen as individuals, and not typecast by their class, sex and ethnic background. A constructivist might also be aware of the extent to which an educational institution is sexist, racist or classist as part of its very structure, and take more steps to counteract this.


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Banks, J A and Banks, C A M (2009) Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, John Wiley and Sons, USA.

Berger, P L and Luckmann, T (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Anchor Books, NY.

Berger, M T (2006) Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Choudhuri, L (2008) Community Planning for Intervention for Victims of Domestic Violence, Kassel university press, Kassel.

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Corlett, J A (2003) Race, racism, and reparations, Cornell University Press, USA

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Dillon, M (2009) Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and Their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, John Wiley and Sons, USA

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Hill, D and Cole, M (2001) Schooling and equality: fact, concept and policy, Routledge, UK

Hirschmann, N J (2003) The subject of liberty: toward a feminist theory of freedom, Princeton University Press, Princetown NJ.

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Free Essays

UK Education System Case Study


Education in the United Kingdom has been a battleground of educational and socio-political ideologies. This is particularly true over the last thirty years, as different political parties taking power each made it their first priority for change. The following essay uses a range of theoretical approaches to the sociology of education to unpick the relationship between an educational system’s structure and its function. The case of the UK system will be examined.Functionalist and structuralist approaches to the sociology of education are particularly useful in the case study.

Theoretical Approaches to Education

Many theoretical approaches are derived from Marx, who frequently discussed education in terms of the class struggle. He pointed out that education served the interests of the ruling class, and acts as a way of maintaining the status quo in society. This perspective was later elaborated on by Weber, who looked at the way knowledge can be used to help particular social groups maintain their position in society, and Durkheim, who looked at the ways social institutions work in society, particularly the ways in which they help maintain social order.More recently, while the Marxist legacy is still influential, with the view that educational institutions are sites of class conflict, other views are also discernable. Critical Theory, which started in Germany’s Frankfurt school, suggested that technology and bureaucracy are dominant social forces, and heavily influence education systems. By uncovering this, which was seen as a form of capitalism, it was hoped that individuals could be freed from false belief sets. Other contemporary perspectives are heavily influenced by Weber, looking at struggles for ownership of education in terms of the predominant cultures of the groups involved in the struggle. Another perspective is interactionism, which shifts focus from the macro level to the individual. It looks at the ways in which the social world is formed by the meanings attributed to actions and events by human participants. Theories of this nature can provide insight into how educationalists and those in the system actually experience this (Saha 2008), but are less useful at explaining how function links to the structures which determine education.

Other important theoretical perspectives on education are provided by structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism is another Marxist perspective on education, but together with Marx, the linguistics of de Saussure is an influence. Structuralist perspectives were first applied to anthropology by Claude Levi-Strauss who theorised that any given culture was essentially a system of symbols. Following this, structuralist perspectives were applied to many differing fields from literature to sociology and education. Its core perspective, as stated by Bulle (2010) was to ‘explain meaning of human activity through its symbolic function’ (Bulle: 2010: 97). That is, for education, a structuralist approach would look at the way that the institutions surrounding teaching generate the meanings found within that institution, and how objects within the institution take on a symbolic function rooted in a network of wider relationships. Structuralism has also been described as being a ‘synchronic’ study of the rules of ‘society’ (Ball: 2010: 1321).

Functionalist perspectives are also rooted in Marxism, but with a Durkheimian perspective. The main thrust behind functionalism in sociology is the idea that all institutions are part of a social system that is present by common consensus and that all aspects of the ‘system’ are integrated with each other. For perspectives on education, this might mean looking at the way decisions are made and influence is carried out, and the playing out of power relations which impact upon teaching and learning practice. Weber (cited Dzebik 2010; Beare and Slaughter (1993)) described educational systems as predictable and rational with “systematic and rarely changed” routines, and on the large scale, to determine the activities taken by thousands of people at a time. Weber also describes educational systems as a machine. While this seems particularly applicable to the time period in which Weber was writing, a perspective rooted in class struggle and the workings of power continue to be influential.

The UK Education System, its Structure, Function and Context

Within the UK, the education system needs to take the concept of social class into perspective. According to West and Pennell (2005), the determination of social class can be a challenge in itself because it can be ‘used interchangeably with’ the idea of ‘socioeconomic status’ (Topping and Maloney: 2005: 78) although they are not always synonymous with each other. Nowadays, with a society that is perceived as being more fluid, the concept of social class can be harder to pin down.There is also a link between class and poverty levels, although other factors such as ethnicity, special educational needs and gender are seen to be connected with social class too. There is currently a focus upon the impact of poverty on education, with figures of children on free school meals used as a measurement of poverty, and this in turn suggests extra educational needs.The OECD Economic Survey explains:

FSM (free school meals) is used as a marker of….extra needs and enters school funding formula and is the criteria for the new pupil premium (OECD Economic Surveys 2011: 86 )

Thus, there seems to be some recognition that class, to the extent that lower class status can be associated with poverty, plays a role in education, and steps are being taken to address the inequalities poverty brings about.

Above was outlined the nature of functionalism and structuralism, both with common roots in Marxism, and both with useful insights into educational sociology today. Both of these schools of thought can contribute to the debate concerning the nature of education within British society, and illustrate the impact that poverty and social inequality can have on education and society in general. Both functionalism and structuralism will be used to explain and explore how poverty affects educational results.

According to a recent OECD (2011) report, incomes and educational outcomes are unevenly distributed in the UK, particularly compared to many other OECD countries. It has been suggested repeatedly (OECD 2011; Feinstein et al 2006) that household poverty can have a serious negative impact on children’s achievements as well as upon their behaviour.Once a certain threshold of income has been passed, lifting the child out of poverty, “additional increments to income have less substantial effects” (Feinstein et al 2006: 108).Therefore, and as emphasised by Feinstein et al (2006), parental income, which equates to some extent with social class, can have a direct bearing upon the education of the child. This seems to affirm a Marxist analysis of education. In addition, it seems arguable that in areas where resources are directed to the improvement of the educational system, the benefits are felt by both parent and child (Feinstein et al, 2006).This would seem to support a structural analysis of education, as changes to the system as a whole make positive changes to the meaning individuals find within the system.

Functionalism and structuralism can explain this inequality in more depth. Durkheim, writing at a time of mass-industrialisation when the factory system was held in high esteem as a business model, likened the then-new phenomenon of mass schooling to a factory, and saw it as a direct result of the industrial system (Dzebik 2010).Durkheim, who widely influenced functionalism also believed that any change in the educational system was a direct and causal consequence of changes in wider society as a whole (Morrow and Torres 1995). This is confirmed by the insight, noted above, that intervention in the education of children living below the poverty line can improve the lives of those children and their families.

Many would argue that schools have hardly changed in nature since Durkheim’s time, and hence that his insights are still relevant today. As Ball suggests (2010: 1312), the school “is … a social site for the presentation of partial knowledge – ideology”. Knowledge is presented as a way of socialising children to fit the needs of society as a whole, and particularly a post-capitalist, global society (Ball 2010). In other words, within the UK, education is designed not to develop well-rounded individuals, but to create material to ensure the continuing functioning of the corporate world.As Wexler (2010) suggests, there is little interest in transformation through learning but rather upon reproducing the most efficient units for the working world. In both cases, the individual needs of the child are subsumed into the needs of society and its institutions.This lack of interest in transformation, it has been argued, helps solidify the existing status quo, and re-confirm the boundaries which separate the social classes (Ball 2010). In addition, it has been shown that parental attitudes towards education directly affect children’s aspirations and own attitude to school. Parents who affirm the benefits of education can improve the levels of their children’s educational achievements as well as reducing the rates at which they drop out of education (Feinstein et al 2010). Parental attitudes towards education can also be adverse, which is often a function of their previous experience and disaffection with the educational and societal system.Family history can be seen as a background from which disaffection can arise.However, parental attitudes are a function of wider social issues, thus suggesting a structuralist perspective is useful. Poverty and hence inequality can dictate how education is viewed in a family. Family attitudes towards education can also be intergenerational, in that they can be passed from one generation to the next (Parsons 2010). However, it could be said that this issue of intergenerational educational disaffection, as an example of how social stratification can directly and indirectly affect the educational aspirations of the individual, can support both a structuralist and a functionalist view of education.

Other factors, in addition to poverty (although often found alongside them) can influence attitudes towards education. For example, being a child of a single-parent family, or with unemployed parents, can influence levels of achievement (Parsons 2010). The complexity of the relationship between poverty, family background, employment, crime and educational achievement suggest that the structural approach to education, which stresses the inter-connectedness of purportedly separate variables, is appropriate. The relatively recent concept of social exclusion attempts to address the nature of this relationship but there is also a recognition that “school exclusions are part of wider social exclusions related to inequality and poverty” (Parsons 2010: 37).

Under a functionalist perspective, education exists to produce adults who can fit seamlessly into a post-capitalist society and contribute to global capitalism. However, a fairly recent phenomenon raises questions about whether the system is in fact producing these adults. The concept of ‘NEET’s (young adults not in employment, education or training) has arisen since the late 1990’s to describe a distinct social group who “are not just economically inactive but also seemingly completely inactive, occupying an unconstructive (and potentially threatening) position on the social topography” (Attewell and Newman 2010: 185). However, on closer examination the existence of this category supports, rather than works against, a functionalist analysis. For the group to be defined and vilified, there first needs to be an idea of what it means not to be a ‘NEET’, that is, to be a functioning and useful member of society. As this non-NEET group is by far the larger, this suggests that society as a whole has created a situation in which non-NEETs are the desired product of the educational system, and NEETs a problem to be addressed (Attewell and Newman 2010). The NEET category is a by-product of defining young adults in terms of the role they can play in a money-generating world. It is certainly the case that NEETs have been vilified, with a “common assumption in the UK, particular in policy arenas, that while NEETs come from diverse backgrounds, they share “low levels of aspiration and little motivation”’ (Popham 2003: 8).The phenomenon therefore seems to support a functionalist analysis of education.

More generally, the issue of pupil dissatisfaction and drop-out rates also supports a structuralist and functionalist perspective. Attitudes towards education, it has been mentioned, originate in the family, and are in turn linked to wider social and structural issues of socioeconomic background, parental education level, area in which the family lives, and ethnicity (Attewell and Newman 2010). Cultural identities nowadays are increasingly complex, and wealth and opportunity distributed increasingly unequally. Robinson (2010) also links an awareness of inequality between social sectors to dissatisfaction and lack of commitment amongst school pupils.Pupil attitudes are thus causally linked to wider social structures, and to being part of a machine designed to create the best ‘end product’ for a capitalist system.


The above analysis has looked at the case of the education system in the UK, in the context of theoretical perspectives on educational sociology. Functionalism and structuralism, both rooted in Marxist views of society, have been shown to be useful in explaining some of the most pertinent facets of education today.


Attewell, P, and Newman, KS, (2010), ‘Growing Gaps: Educational Equality Throughout the World’, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Bulle, N (2008), ‘Sociology of Education’, Peter Lang AG, Germany

Feinstein,L, Duckworth, K, and Sabates, R (2008), ‘Education and the Family: Success Across the Generations, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon

Lynch, K (2008), ‘Research and Theory on Equality and Education’, IN: Hallinan, MT, (2008), ‘Handbook of Sociology and Education, Springer Science, University of Notre Dame, IN

Morrow, RA and Torres, CA, (1995), ‘Social Theory and Education: A Critique of theories of social and cultural reproduction’, State University of New York Press, Albany NY

OECD (2011), ‘OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2011, OECD Publishing Accessed on 30th November 2011

Parsons, C, (2002), ‘Education, Exclusion and Citizenship, Routledge, London

Robinson, K, (2011), ‘Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, Capstone Publishing (A Wiley Company), Chichester, UK

Saha, L J (2008) ‘Sociology of Education’, in T L Good (ed.) ‘21st Century Education: a reference handbook, SAGE, USA

Wexler, P (2000), ‘Sociology of School Knowledge’, IN: Ball, SJ (ed.), (2000), ‘Sociology of Education’, RoutledgeFalmer, London

Zsebik, P, ‘Educational Leadership for the 21st Century: Building a Capacity for change’, iUniverse, Bloomington IN, USA

Free Essays

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: The Role of Vocational Education and Training in Skill Development


This study is aimed at exploring the role of vocational education and training (VET) in developing a skilled workforce and meeting the requirements of an efficient and well-functioning modern economy. The discussion will focus on vocational education and training being one of the crucial responsibilities of employers and employees and on the part to be played by the state in facilitating such occupational programs with reference to the implications of different VET systems on skill development. The analysis will also include a comprehensive account of arguments that demonstrate significant connections between VET systems and various models of labor market and evaluation of how such links may affect skill development. These arguments will be validated by particular examples of various VET systems used in different countries along with highlighting the key aspects of different vocational education and training systems in terms of workplace learning.

The Meaning and Importance of VET

In order to establish and sustain a prosperous economy and ensure its steady growth, having a skilled workforce is highly essential (Directorate for Education 2009). While some of the vital skills are a result of development of general education and training at all levels, many advanced nations such as UK, USA and European countries are in constant need of specific occupational skills to respond to the rapidly growing fields driven by technological advancements (Organization for Economic Cooperation 2010, p.3). Vocational education and training systems play a critical part in supplying the occupational skills that are in demand and hence facilitate the organizations and the economy in general to adapt to the swiftly changing needs. Professional programs and qualifications greatly assist in prevarication of economic activities through the formation of occupational identity (Nijhof et al 2003, p.40).

Vocational education has been taken as one of the most critical tools for addressing social, economic and political crises that threatens the social stability and economic productivity of nations. Lack of competent and skilled labor, growing unemployment, high rate of high school and college drop-outs and the transforming demographic nature of personnel have placed the matter of vocational training and workplace learning on top of the educational reform programs of many developing countries (Greenan & Mustapha 2002). Thus due to its dynamic nature, VET systems are unceasingly subject to various forces that lead to changes in educational institutions, job industry and society in general. According to the findings of a research conducted by Greenan & Mustapha (2002) to investigate the employability of students who are vocationally certified as compared to those who are not, both employers and educators believe that vocational graduates have better employment opportunities than those students who have simply completed their academic education.

Employer organizations and trade unions are working to define, design and implement vocational programs, for instance, establishing national vocational qualification standards in Britain. VET not only serves to supply and maintain the needed labor skills but also develops and delivers occupational standards in collaboration with the professional sectors (Nijhof et al 2003). Besides providing the required labor force, an efficient VET system works to; educate and train new workers and employers to support the knowledge base in organizations, provision of up dated information and training facilities to align the talents and skills of trainees with the current labor demands, enabling the adaptation of latest technologies and innovation work methods and facilitating innovation and interactive learning process (Nijhof et al 2003, p. 40). In addition to this, as argued by Preston & Green (2008), significantly contributes towards institutional integrity, value formation as well as in reducing inequality and sense of discrimination in the social and organizational context.

VET as a Crucial Responsibility of Employers

It is of common knowledge that progress in the employee management can play a massive role in enhancing the competitive advantage of firms. Human Resource Management indeed maintains that the success of a company’s business strategy largely depends on the development of a more refined, extensive and strategic approach to labor management. As the nature of personnel management and function changes, HR managers are getting increasingly inclined towards including training function in their human resource strategies for using labor more effectively (Rainbird 1994). Since VET not only enriches employees for dealing professionally with the upcoming challenges posed by the current revolution in scientific, information and communication technology but also provides the competences which are essential to tackle such wide-scale changes, it has become a major responsibility of employers to devise personnel strategies that encompass VET systems in order to prepare the workforce for meeting the requirements of innovative techniques for doing diverse jobs.

There are several internal as well as external drivers that compel companies to invest in learning and training programs. For instance, companies may need to retrain employees for undertaking any innovative project, in preparation for succession, for improving individual and collective performance or aiding organizational change (Wilton 2011, p. 251). On the other hand, certain external elements such as market, technological or legislative changes may lead to skills deficiency and firms might require providing relevant coaching to fulfill those deficiencies. Each state has crafted its own VET system which governs the functioning of training programs executed within institutes. For example, the VET system in Germany is perhaps the most advanced and effective mainly due to the fact that it places a lot of stress on the organizational as well as the social role of vocational programs (Preston & Green 2008, p. 20) and there exist a strong cooperation among the state, trade unions and organizations.

Germany has a dual system of apprenticeship where specialization centers are accessible after initial training and some relevant work experience, however, this VET system also referred to as ‘societal model of training’ is predominantly governed by labor-market situation whereas focus is also given to promoting civic values by means of professional socialization (Preston & Green 2008, p. 20). Thus the German VET system is characterized by immensely effective dual apprenticeship system based on a combination of schooling and workplace, sound employer organizations, healthy collaboration among the state, employers and trade unions and high-level interaction between training and education systems. There is an equal distribution of responsibilities and steering functions between the state and social partners (employers, trade unions) on local, regional and national level. The German VET system is a remarkable model for other countries to follow because both government and social partners mutually share the responsibility to ensure that its workforce has the right skills development framework for dealing with occupational and professional challenges in the future. The following paragraphs will review the diverse VET systems that are being employed in different countries with special emphasis on the role of employers and state in ensuring the provision of effective vocational training.

Overview of Different VET Systems

This section is intended to provide an extensive analysis of the various mainstream vocational education and training systems with special reference to the provision of training programs and ensuring workplace learning as a key responsibility of the organization’s Human Resource department and the role of government in encouraging the development and spread of VET through forming policies and cooperating with employers’ organizations and trade unions especially in terms of financing and controlling VET operations.

Regulated VET System

In a regulated Vocational training system, organizations that are registered and authorized by the state provide industry based qualifications to the learners. These organizations include both public and private institutions and the VET courses are designed to deliver nationally acknowledged competencies which employers identify as crucial to meet their needs. In a regulated VET system, majority of the vocational programs directed at competency-based and career oriented training are publicly funded. The Vet system in Australia, Denmark and Netherlands is regulated by several acts, legal guidelines and regulations which are established in collaboration with employer committees and unions (Rauner & MacLean 2009, p.422). For instance, Australia’s Vet system is centrally controlled by the government and is highly advanced, owing to a decade of continuous restructurings and it works well to offer practical training to individuals and providing skills which are pre-requisite of a modern economy. On the other, France’s VET system is based on ILM (Integrated Learning Model) which is underpinned by national levy system. Similarly, as noted above, the Vet system of Germany is also state regulated where legislations has an element of coercion for HR managers to train their employees and so it has noticeable implications for the pattern in which skill development programs are formed and executed at organizational level (Coffield 1998, p.32). Despite the fact that regulated approach motivates employers and employee cooperation in terms of vocational educational, the dual apprenticeship model of VET that is operative in Germany have few weaknesses too. For instance, it is less flexible and adoptive to the skill needs of certain kinds of occupations and is to a significant extent, reliant on employers’ supply of internships and training and on labor market conditions (Green 2011).

Voluntarist VET System

Voluntarist VET system is the one which has little or no state interference and vocational education is left to the choice of organizations or the individuals. The VET system that is operative in UK is a striking example of Voluntarist system of vocational training where the state does not take responsibility of offering skill development courses or promoting workplace learning (Coffield 1998, p.32). Where such as system is flexible enough to allow swift response to changing employer/individual demands, it also results in overproduction of graduates, penurious aptitude based learning that is low on professional socialization, inadequate supply of transitional skills which ultimately leads to polarization of income and skills (Green 2011). This Voluntarist practice in the UK is considered as one of the core reasons for the relatively low level of VET provided by the companies (Coffield 1998, p.33). The structure of British Vet system majorly relies upon NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) which are basically related to competence and occupation and such a certification is obtained through assessment and teaching. The bodies responsible for providing such qualifications include Sector Skill Councils, Qualification and Curriculum authority, Colleges and Employers, however, there is no governing body that can check the functioning of these authorities and thus there is no accountability on part of the VET providers, particularly employers for the fulfillment of VET responsibility. In this kind of government orientation where the role of state is restricted to mere appreciation and encouragement, the consequences are often low investment in skills and narrowly focused and poor quality apprenticeship system.

Developmental VET System

This approach to VET is being implemented by a growing number of firms. It encompasses goal-setting and regular evaluation, however, its primary focus is on motivating trainees to learn and improve their performance. The principal strength of this sort of system is that it minimizes the tendency to scooping-out particular skills and thus reduces skill polarization. Furthermore, it raises skill and pay levels of less-skilled occupations and serves as a useful agent of professional socialization. Today, almost all European countries and several other states are making attempts to modernize their regulated or Voluntarist VET systems that were either built on low-skill equilibrium (such as in UK) or on labor market institutions and steady economies. Immensely powerful economic forces such as rapid technological advancements, globalization of markets and dramatic changes in the ICT field have led to an increasing concern for upgrading of VET systems. Attempts to develop GNVQ in Britain, the improvements in the dual system in Germany, new VET legislations in Netherlands are some of the clear examples of revisions of VET systems worldwide.

Since VET system is generally considered as one of the social system in which government, educational institutions and social partners work together to build a national VET set-up, it is deeply rooted in the economic, social and cultural patterns. Because of these strong connections, it is complicated to introduce innovations in the VET system as it requires changes in private-public arrangements, labor and education laws, funding, labor agreements, training traditions, occupational identity etc. However, since business organizations, training providers/ institutions and state are the principal steering elements of VET systems, their joint collaborations and correct approach to developing and executing VET strategies can prove to be a powerful resistance towards the above listed barriers. The contribution of government is critical to guarantee the smooth and effective functioning of VET systems because state has the authority to regulate the evaluation and recognition of vocational certifications and also to control the cost-effectiveness and quality of VET institutions (Silberman 1982, p. 205). Therefore, it is vital for states as well as private partners to invest in Vet and to monitor, regulate and supervise the functioning of VET system in order to ensure the availability of required skills and competencies and to align the systems with the current economic demands.

The Correlation between Labor Models and their Effects

To what extent a VET system is effective largely depends upon recognition of the labor markets, productivity of learning process, efficiency of delivered qualifications, motivation for further training etc. VET is also extremely vital for societal development because it provides access to required skills and pathway to the labor market, which depicts the nature of its association with fundamental labor market models; Occupational labor market model and Internal Labor Market Model. The former relates to individuals holding specific qualification certified either by a their peer group judgment or a diploma, whereas the latter exists when a company frequently fills particular vacancies by transferring or promoting existing staff and thus restricting outside recruitment to a limited number of positions (Eyraud et al 1990, p. 502). The key difference between the two models lies in their implications on skills development; OLM concentrates more on providing training in the beginning stages of an individual’s career, just as in case with apprenticeship, while ILM mainly emphasize on continuous workplace training. The VET system that prevails in UK and Germany is based on OLM where training is standardized to occupational norm and no significant attention is given to skill formation but on its maintenance. On the other hand, the Vet system in Japan is ILM based where the nature of in-house training is firm-specific. The national education-work setting in Japan as well as in USA, Canada and Australia is a loose bonding between labor market and VET system, with a flexible corresponding between qualifications and jobs, allowing for prevailing school-based extensive coaching and on-job training (Baethge 2006, p. 72). Alternatively, the National Vocational Qualifications in UK, which even though has a lot of room for improvement, depicts a labor market driven model of VET where the state approves qualification standards provided by the job industry for enhancing transparency of workplace training programs.


From the above mentioned literature, the importance of a sound VET system for the progress of the economy has been established. While employers continue to adopt VET as a part of their HR strategy, realizing the need to equip employees with skills essential for coping with the current transformations in the job industry, state should also play an equal role to enforce and facilitate vocational training at all organizational as well as higher educational levels. It has also come to light that regular upgrading of VET systems is inevitable if the state and, employers to be specific, wish to have a skilled workforce that is well prepared to handle newer work challenges.


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and training: institutional, curricular, and professional conditions, Boston, Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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Silberman, H.F., 1982. Education and work, Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.

Free Essays

Impact of Globalization Trends on Education Structures and Policies


Globalization is a widely discussed and contested topic. The process of globalization has profound impacts on the capacity of a nation to formulate its policies. It is accompanied by a seemingly endless process of change within education (Peters, 1992). Globalization is one main issue that is increasingly attracting the attention of most academicians, researchers and policy makers. It has gained relevance in the context of higher education. Education is an important driver of growth and poverty reduction. Education policies have been in existence for quite some time and have played an important role in the development policy. The most recent wave of globalization is likely to have profound effects on education structures and policies across the world.

What is globalization?

‘Globalisation’ is a term that describes the process of integrating societies by removing legal, political and geographical constraints (Trowler, 1998). Vulliamy (2004) describes it as a process which is rapidly integrating the world into one economic space via an increasingly networked global telecommunication system. A study by Tikly (2003), suggest globalization as an inevitable and largely irresistible phenomenon that contains opportunities and threats for national development. Globalization is therefore seen to be concerned principally with integration into global and regional markets underpinned by technologies
Although internationalization is not new to education policies, the forces and tensions under the umbrella concept of globalization constitute dramatically different environment in which education institutions and policy makers operate in (Marginson, 1999). The changes to which education structures in UK and around the globe is exposed are complex and varied (Marginson, 1999). Nonetheless, the globalization concept indicates that these changes are somehow interrelated. For the purpose of this analysis, we will stress the following tendencies within the overall force of globalization:
• Restructuring of the economic world system due to rapid integration of the world economy resulting from a transformation to a post industrial knowledge economy and increasingly liberalized trade and commerce.
• Rise of network society due to technological advancements and the expansion of the internet
• Increasing virtual mobility of people, knowledge and capital resulting from the development of new transport facilities, expansion of the internet and increasingly world integrated community
• Complex cultural developments whereby we have an increasing cultural exchange and multicultural reality on the one hand of homogeneity and cultural differentiation and segregation on the other hand.
• Erosion of the nation state and a widening of the gap between socio-political regulation and economic activity.
Such is the nature and complexities of forces associated with globalization. These forces define the social environment in which education structures and policies operate in (Green, 1999). Further, these forces condition the context in which education policies and structures have to operate and profoundly alter people’s experience of both formal and informal education (Green, 1995). For example, most institutions are transformed to become targets of corporate expansion and sites for branding. A more detailed explanation will be discussed below.
Impact of globalization on education structures and policies
Globalisation has profound impacts on education structures and policies. The impact is profound but also diverse, depending on the locality within the global arena. While there is often a danger of oversimplification and generalisation when dealing with globalisation, diversity has to be recognised and promoted to a certain extent. Various views have been expressed in literature with regard to the impact of contemporary globalization on the processes and structure of education worldwide.
1. Direct impacts on both the curriculum and pedagogy
Carnoy (1999) suggests direct impacts on both the curriculum and pedagogy. There is little evidence however to support such an assessment. Whilst attempts have been made to inject global awareness on school curricula in western industrialized countries, these have generally remained very low status add-ons. Carnoy (1999) continues to argue that whilst the direct impacts on pedagogy and curriculum are limited, the more general influences of economic restructuring and political ideologies are immense. For instance, globalization is putting considerable premium on highly skilled and flexible workers in an organisation hence increasing the demand for university education.
2. Emerging ‘bordeless’ higher education market
The most visible manifestation of globalisation in the education sector is the emerging ‘bordeless’higher education market. Globalization leads to huge increases in worldwide demand for higher education through opportunities created by the internet and new communication technologies which in turn shape an environment in which providers can expand their supply of educational facilities (Breier, 2001). Universities from Australia, North America, Europe and England are reaching out their educational provisions to the international market by actively recruiting international students through establishing branch campuses or via distance education, e-learning and other transnational activities (Breier, 2001).
These increasing demands bring new providers into the market. The business of borderless education comprises various forms and developments including the emergence of corporate universities, professional association that are directly active in higher education, and media companies delivering educational programmes among others (Alao & Kayode, 2005). These new providers extensively use the Internet and ICT as a delivery channel.
3. Erosion of national regulatory and policy framework
Globalization is also associated with the erosion of national regulatory and policy frameworks in which institutions are embedded (Slattery, 1995). The policy framework is subject to erosion in an increasingly international environment marked by globalizing professions, liberalized market place, mobility of skilled labour, and international competition between institutions (Slattery, 1995). Most institutions acknowledge this and thus develop consortia, partnerships and networks to strengthen their position in the global arena. Schemes such as the European Credit transfer system and mobility programmes such as UMAP and SOCRATES can be developed to stimulate internationalization in higher education with respect to the various national policy frameworks (Dearden et al, 2002). There is need for an international regulatory framework that transcends the eroded national policy framework and steer to some extent the global integration of higher education system.

4. Create new and tremendously important demands and exigencies towards universities as knowledge centre’s
Consequently, globalization creates new and tremendously important demands and exigencies towards universities as knowledge centers (Dearden et al, 2005). Research and development is crucial in any knowledge and information driven society. Globalization of research and development leads to a more mobile and highly competitive international market of researchers. Moreover, universities are called upon to take up responsibilities in the society, deepen democracy, act as mediators and to function as centre’s of critical debate. These higher demands placed upon them create tensions in institutions and stimulate other organizations to engage in such kind of activities.
5. Increasing demand for higher education worldwide
Finally, the continuing trend of globalization is expected to increase the demand for higher education worldwide. In the developed world, the society will always ask for highly qualified and flexible workers. Modernization, economic development and demographic pressure increase the demand for higher education in most parts of the world (Blanden & Machin, 2004). Governments and local institutions generally lack enough resources to deal with the increasing demand hence leaving an unmet demand to the international and virtual providers. This demand not only grows quantitatively but also becomes more diverse. The internet together with new technologies are increasingly providing new opportunities for more flexible delivery of higher education, thus increasing demand in some countries and meeting demands in others where traditional institutions have failed. These developments brought by globalization underpin the assertion that higher education will emerge as one of the booming markets in future (Blanden & Machin, 2004).
The need for an international regulatory framework
There is a big difference in the way countries deal with private universities and transnational higher education. Greece and Israel, for instance, rarely recognize their diplomas and degrees (Blanden, Gregg & Machin, 2005). While other countries residing in the developing world such as Malaysia recognize their incapacity to meet the increasing demand and thus welcome foreign providers (Blanden, Gregg & Machin, 2005). Principally, there is no reason to oppose a positive and open attitude towards transnational higher education and private universities.
In modern policy approach, it must be recognized that private and transnational institutions are also capable of fulfilling public functions. Despite the fact that traditional higher education institutions have a specific tradition and academic culture to defend, it should be amenable to competitors from diverse backgrounds. It therefore becomes imperative to have in place international and sustainable policy framework that deals with private and transnational providers.


The globalization trends are leading to a wide spread changes that are impacting on education worldwide. Nation states acknowledge this and have developed reforms to their educational systems in response to modernizing ideas and international trends. It should be noted that globalization represents a new and distinct shift in the relationship between states and supranational forces and that its impact on education is profound in a range of ways. Whilst this analysis does not present an exhaustive listing of the impact of globalization on education, it does bring out key dynamics and highlight important areas of action for academicians and policy makers with respect to globalization.
(1557 words)


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Free Essays

The policy to include SEN pupils in mainstream education has failed to address many of the key issues for these pupils and as such fails to be effective

Introduction and Background

The broad policy which involves the inclusion of pupils who are considered to have special educational needs (SEN) within mainstream schooling across England and Wales first originated as part of the Warnock Report, 1978 (DES, 1978). However, over the years, several different codes of practice and governmental guidance documents have established strong policies and even legislation which states that it is essential in mainstream schools to provide a learning environment that is suitable for a diverse range of pupils and abilities, including SEN. In accordance with the Education Act 1996, this requirement is a statutory requirement and therefore mainstream schools are bound to have a facility within them to deal with SEN. Despite this, there remains a seeming lack of understanding when it comes to the best practical ways in which these individuals can be managed within the mainstream environment, with a focus primarily being on ensuring that there are school level policies in place in order to facilitate the needs of these individuals, with a particular focus on behavioural concerns. In reality, however, it is suggested here that the handling of SEN pupils in the mainstream environment needs to be much more individualised, so that it can offer valuable guidance to all teachers, not simply those directly involved in the support of SEN pupils (Harden, 2003).

One of the immediate difficulties which arise when undertaking this type of research is that of defining what is meant by special educational needs, in the first place. This definition can have a dramatic impact on how the particular school or educational establishment then goes on to actually include such students. For example, there is an argument to be had that a particularly gifted student would potentially have special educational needs. If the concept of a special needs pupil is simply based on the amount of time that is required from the teacher and is based on requirements which go beyond the “average” student, these types of questions and the influence that they would have on teaching practices, in general, is potentially huge for the development of the success of the inclusion policies, started back in 1978.

Aims, Objectives and Methodology

The overall aim of the research is to determine whether or not the specific policy and now legislative requirement placed upon mainstream educational establishments to have an agenda in place to include SEN pupils has been effective or not. In order to achieve this, there are several strands to the research which need to come together through the use of an interpretivist approach, recognising that opinions and activities vary, depending on the surrounding circumstances, but with the ability to draw central themes and ideas such that the original statement can be answered.

The actual concept of special educational needs will be looked at in terms of how policy defines these pupils with recognition that this definition will have an impact on the way in which the students are to be supported under the general inclusion of these students within mainstream education. Inclusion is a critical factor in this regard and this is also one of the strands of the research, which requires a larger amount of attention. By stating that the policy aims to include SEN pupils, it is impossible to determine whether the policies are proving successful or not, without considering what precisely is meant by inclusion and whether it is judged, based on educational achievement, or whether it is based on some softer issues such as social inclusion.

Taking an interpretivist research approach to this paper, the aim is to establish more specifically whether inclusion in mainstream education can impact on particular individuals with special needs, with the recognition that the impact will naturally vary, depending on the surrounding circumstances and it may also vary from school to school and classroom to classroom. The research question here has expanded the issue of inclusion within mainstream school by taking on an interpretive paradigm as it is thought that, in order to gain a greater understanding of the various factors that may ultimately impact on the practical application of the policies being produced.

From an ontological point of view, the research will establish an understanding of the nature of the area of special educational needs and how these pupils could potentially be integrated into mainstream education. The research will, therefore, focus largely on how special educational needs are defined and the practical ways in which the policies deal with the requirement, in order to add value to this research area. The secondary stage of the research takes a more epistemological perspective and looks at the nature of the knowledge that has been established and whether there are fundamental flaws in the approach which has been taken, so as to question whether some of the known factors remain valid. Consideration will also be given as to whether a different form of reality within the area of special educational needs should be established.

The area of SEN within mainstream education is, potentially, relatively complex and it is therefore necessary to take a balanced approach between questioning current policies and looking at the foundations behind them and looking towards the future of how these policies could be shifted or applied, in order to achieve the underlying aim of genuine inclusion at every level.

Current Theoretical Position

The area of educational needs and the treatment of those with special educational needs have gained considerable attention from both academics and professionals, particularly since the government created a formal policy to demand greater inclusion within mainstream education. As noted during the introduction, there is now a statutory requirement on mainstream schools to ensure that they have suitable methods of provision for including SEN pupils within their organisation and this has created a large body of information and research as to how this has been implemented and whether or not it has been effective.

As part of the “general statement on inclusion” in Curriculum 2000 (QCA, 2000), some general principles of inclusion were established which argue that, if these principles of inclusion were suitably pursued, the general policies relating to the effectiveness of SEN inclusion would be achieved. The three areas included: setting suitable learning challenges; responding to the learning needs of individuals who are often very diverse; and thirdly, recognising and putting in place processes to overcome any potential barriers (Wang and Algozzine 2008).

Previous research in this area has, however, typically fallen into specific areas, namely the way in which mainstream educational establishments can provide an appropriate response to any behavioural concerns and behavioural issues within their school, as a result of the inclusion of SEN pupils (Harden, 2003). Research has also been relatively extensive when it comes to determining the impact that this additional support can have on participation and inclusion, e.g. the role of the assistant teachers. Finally, there is also a body of research which has looked at the approaches taken at school level to manage a variety of different communities which may be around them. However, whilst this point of view clearly offers valuable information as to how inclusion is achieved, it is argued here that a somewhat limited view has been taken by the existing literature in this area (Dyson et al., 2002).

Inclusion in itself needs to be questioned and there is a large volume of research which has looked specifically at whether or not inclusion should automatically be viewed as a positive aspect of these types of social policies. For example, Oliver (1996) argues that inclusion is, in fact, an automatic right for all children with any form of special educational needs, regardless of the extent of the need or the personal reasoning for each individual. Other researchers have taken a different approach and have failed to take on board the underlying assumption that inclusion is a positive aspect, in all cases. For example, Smelter et al. (1994) argues that placing an individual within mainstream education may not always be the best approach for that individual. Therefore, the focus needs to shift towards establishing policies where the underlying aim is to provide the best possible educational environment for each individual. This would automatically mean that some pupils would not necessarily be focused upon in terms of gaining inclusion within mainstream education, but rather the policy setters would be looking at the broader issues of educating SEN pupils in such a way that they gained the best overall results and this may require a different educational approach to be taken.

The perceptions of both teachers and teaching assistants in the area of inclusion of SEN pupils are also a crucial factor and has gained some attention, in recent years. For example, the way in which support provisions are provided is in itself potentially a vitally important research area. According to the SERC Report in 1993, approximately 8,000 SEN pupils were found to be educated in mainstream classes, within primary school education. However, only 50% of these pupils were receiving additional support which was primarily focused on learning and remedial support, rather than social needs. The way in which additional support interacts with the mainstream educational establishment is arguably a crucial aspect of this research.

The research, therefore, takes an interpretivist approach which recognises that the effectiveness of inclusion may depend on whether or not the support structure is in place for effectively filling the gaps that would prevent an SEN pupil from struggling with being involved in mainstream education. It also looks at the underlying policies for achieving inclusion in mainstream education, and how these needs should to be accommodated within mainstream education, looking at the practical approaches taken when it comes to providing specific support that is tailored for each individual. Due to statutory requirements, it is taken as a given that inclusion is the ultimate target, yet research in this area has looked primarily at how precisely this should be achieved. INTO (2000). For example, research has looked at how SEN pupils should be accommodated within mainstream education, so that these pupils remain within the mainstream education establishment, but are required to attend special classes to assist with their specific area of difficulty. This focus is primarily aimed at establishing the resource needs of teachers who are providing support for special educational needs; however, it also gives a strong indication of how these SEN pupils can be accommodated within mainstream education, but can also have their own needs met through the use of special classes, where appropriate (Norwich and Lewis, 2001).

The increasing need to provide teachers and resources to support inclusion in mainstream education is justifiably one of the key areas of literature that has previously been established within the area of special educational needs, as the current situation seems to suggest that the need to achieve inclusion within mainstream education is a given. However, the real difficulty comes when it is necessary to this area is how to implement inclusion in the most appropriate way. It could be argued for example, that inclusion is potentially beneficial, provided it is suitably resourced and supported, so as not to be the detriment of any pupil, whether they are SEN pupils themselves or, indeed, others within their peer group.


Even a cursory glance at issue of including SEN pupils within mainstream education indicates a much broader range of factors and issues which need to be considered when looking to implement such a policy. Statutory requirements for inclusion are already part of this system within the UK. Therefore, the chosen area of research is to look at how effective these policies have been, while also questioning whether indeed setting policies is the appropriate way of providing the best educational background for all pupils. The research will also look at ways in which these policies should be practically applied and the types of resources that need to be made available in order to support the inclusion of SEN pupils within mainstream education. By taking a rounded view of the issue of SEN pupils within mainstream education and even questioning the foundation of the original policy, a stronger understanding of the various different factors can be had. These finding should help prevent mainstream schools from becoming too focused on practical issues such as achieving educational results, but also recognising that issues such as social inclusion are likely to be of considerable concern, when it comes to the overall picture of achieving inclusion within mainstream education.


Department of Education and Science (DES) (1978) Special Educational Needs, Report of the Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People (Warnock Report). London: HMSO.

Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) (1998) Meeting Special Educational Needs: A Programme of Action. London: DfEE.

Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) (2001) Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs. London: DfEE.

Harden A (2003) Supporting pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) in mainstream primary schools: a systematic research of recent research evidence of strategy effectiveness (1999–2002). In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute

of Education

Howes A, Farrell P, Kaplan I, Moss S (2003) The impact of paid adult support on the participation and learning of pupils in mainstream schools. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education.

INTO (1997) The Visiting Teacher Service for Special Needs, INTO Report.

Norwich B, Lewis A (2001) Mapping a pedagogy for SEN. British Educational

Research Journal 27: 313–330.

QCA (2000) General Statement for Inclusion in Curriculum 2000. London: QCA.

Roaf C, Bines H (1989) Needs, rights and opportunities in special education. In: Roaf C, Bines H (eds) Needs, Rights and Opportunities: Developing Approaches in Special Education. London: Falmer

Sebba J, Sachdev, D (1997) What Works in Inclusive Education. Basingstoke:


Wang C, and Algozzine B (2008) Effects of targeted intervention on early literacy skills of at-risk students. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 22: 425-439.

Free Essays

Working with children and young people in education

Summary of the main argument of the article

Jabeen (2009) conducted a quantitative and a qualitative children-related study in Pakistan. By using quantitative research methods in the first study she could differentiate between certain groups of children, examine their demographic features and outline their problems. This was done from the “adult perspective”. The second study was based on qualitative-interpreting methods and constituted a participatory approach which had an added value to the evaluation. While participatory research can be resource- and time intensive it provides an insight into children’s lives which constitutes a necessity in order for society to understand children’s experiences. In addition this kind of research increases the likelihood of being able to protect the wellbeing of children and young people. In Jabeen’s second study the children were involved in the research and determined the terms of their interaction with the researchers. Children participants could maintain their individuality, autonomy and privacy. Such research ensures children’s rights to form opinions and express them in their preferred form and protect them against exploitation through research processes. This is very important since in the Pakistani cultural context there are no national statements or standards for the ethical conduct of research (Jabeen, 2009) and thus rights-based research involving children is not being guaranteed.

Jabeen (2009) suggests that the role of ‘least-adult’ i.e. operating on the children’s level in their social worlds, could be beneficial in such a context in order to engage the trust of children whilst conducting research with them. Jabeen described the children’s participation as enthusiastic because they had “never been asked before” and had the chance to express their opinions and talk about their personal experiences.

Discuss the ethical considerations or implications in working with children/and or young people. Refer to the article selected (about 700 words)

Rights-based research with children (but also with adults) makes it necessary to implement an approach that reveals patterns and differences within children’s experiences across times, places and cultures (Beazley et. al, 2009, p.369).

The UNCRC points out, that children have the same rights as adults (Beazley et. al, 2009, p.368). These rights include respect, dignity, equality, expression, non-discrimination, life, and civil participation.

However as Robson et. al (2009) observe, an international treaty such as the UNCRC can only refer to basic common rights of daily life, which are depending on different cultural values. It is however of importance, that children’s rights are defined by considering the respective cultural context. The authors stress out the significance of four ethical considerations, namely: (i) participation, (ii) acting in the best interests of children, (iii) protecting children from exploitation and (iv) researching young people “properly” (Robson et. al., 2009, p.468).

With respect to the first ethical consideration, the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child provides children with the right to have a say in those matters affecting their lives (Robson et. al., 2009, p.467), thus legitimizing children’s participation in research.

For the successful implementation of participatory research, it is essential that adult researchers behave respectfully towards children and young people, encourage the trust of children, are flexible with respect to the research design using methods which enable children to express their opinions, views and experiences and provide a transparent research process (Beazley et. al, 2009, p.370).

Regarding the acting in the best interests of children it is essential that researchers try to conduct their research as ethically as possible. Robson et. al (2009) indicate that this is not always possible. For example by trying to ensure children’s participation in their research, the authors did not consider collisions between the young people’s school studies and their involvement in research (Robson et. al, 2009, p.471).

The third ethical consideration concerns the protection of a possible exploitation of children. While the UNCRC states in Article 19 the right of children to be protected from exploitation which is being specified in article 32, a definition of the term “exploitation” is missing. This is somehow problematic since the limits of ethical research have to be decided in this case by the individual researcher (Robson et. al., 2009, p.472).

The last ethical consideration concerns the children?s right to be researched properly i.e. researching the lives of children is expected to maintain reasonable academic standards. This raises the question of who is eligible to research children properly. Jabeen (2009) suggests that a combination of different methods of data collection can increase the reliability of research and could be a proper way of pursuing children-based research. An answer as if to whether the “adult perspective” or the “children perspective” is the only proper way to research children cannot be easily given.

It seems that ethical practice which often involves the balancing of different demands is not easy in practice (Robson et. al., 2009, p.467). Successful rights-based research depends more on the political and ethical commitments of the researchers (Robson et. al., 2009, p.477).

However doing research “right” and “properly” means above all trying to maintain high ethical standards to protect children and young people from exploitation and respecting their rights, opinions and views.


Beazley, H.; Bessell, S.; Ennew, J.; and Waterson, R. (2009) The right to be properly researched: research with children in a messy, real world. Children’s Geographies, 7(4), 365-378.

Jabeen, T. (2009) “But, I’ve never been asked”: Research with children in Pakistan. Children’s Geographies, 7(4), 405-419.

Robson, E.; Porter, G.; Hampshire, K.; and Bourdillon, M. (2009) ‘Doing it right?’: working with young researchers in Malawi to investigate children, transport and mobility. Children’s Geographies, 7(4), 467-480.

Free Essays

A Critical Review of the article: From continuing education to personal digital assistants: what do physical therapists need to support evidence-based practice in stroke management


This critical essay has been written to seek to evaluate a peer reviewed journal article entitled ‘From continuing education to personal digital assistants: what do physical therapists need to support evidence-based practice in stroke management’ (Salbach 2010).

In this essay, the contents of this paper shall be critically discussed to validate its purpose, methods and findings. Once this has been undertaken, conclusions shall be drawn regarding the implications of these.

2.Study Purpose

The peer reviewed journal article entitled ‘From continuing education to personal digital assistants: what do physical therapists need to support evidence-based practice in stroke management’ (Salbach 2011) has been written to seek to understand how physical therapists would be best able to gain access to research literature and resources whilst they are working. The author has chosen a variety of articles to seek to justify why their topic is so important. However, upon close examination of the references cited most of these are over four years old (as an example see: Cricelli, 2006; Honeybourne, Sutton & Ward, 2006). It would therefore, seem that the literature in relation to this subject, is older and that there is a need for this study. In conjunction with this, most of the cited articles which are specifically related to the provision of evidence based learning resources for physical therapists are dated from the 1990’s (Tassone & Speechley, 1997) and during the first five years of this century (Stevenson, Barclay-Goddard & Ripat, 2005). The only exception to this is a paper by the author Salbach (2009). Therefore, there is a strong need for this research to be carried out, as it will enable scholars to understand how physical therapists perceive and view the best means through, which they may undertake their work by having access to the evidence base on electronically. Both the lack of literature and the benefits, which may arise if the electronic system for these physical therapists is implemented strongly, justify the need and requirement for this research.

4.Study Approach

This research has sought to understand the best means through which physical therapists may have access to evidence based treatment information (Salbach 2011: 786). To this end, the researchers have sought to undertake a satisfactory investigation by adopting an appropriate research approach (Dash, 1993). Since the research question is educational in nature participants have been asked a number of theoretical questions to seek to ascertain how the proposed methods may be used to enhance their clinical practice. To this end, they have considered different paradigms based on the research criteria. This will assist them to select and define problems for inquiry.

For this research, a qualitative approach was adopted, as a number of depth interviews with physical therapists were to be undertaken (Salbach 2011: 787). This is based on the anti-positivism study approach. This research paradigm places emphasis on social reality. Therefore, the research uses methods to view and interpret the views held by individuals according to the ideological positions that they favour. Thus, knowledge is personally experienced rather than acquired from or imposed from outside. The anti-positivists believed that reality is multi-layered and complex (Cohen et al, 2000) and a single phenomenon has multiple interpretations. Therefore, this type of research is based on subjective data, which is gathered from participants. To this end, it is possible to understand why Salbach (2011: 787) used this approach for their study, as they were seeking to understand what physical therapists perceived about having access to information via a PDA. However, though adopting this method allowed the researchers to gather in-depth information, they could have adopted a positivist approach to undertake this research.

The positivist paradigm can be used to explore social reality. However, this is based on observation and reason as means of understanding human behaviour. Therefore, this method utilises objective data to understand different phenomena (Cohen et al, 2000). Hence, this research would have been undertaken within the framework of the principles and assumptions of science. This would have changed the nature of the study, as the researcher would not have been able to gather in-depth data. Instead, they could have collated a survey and distributed this to a wider number of physical therapists. This would have given their study more objectivity, measurability, predictability, controllability and constructs laws and rules of human behaviour. However, the questions, which they posed, would have to be changed to closed or attitudinal based ones, so that all answers could be coded and statistically verified.The nature of the research question would not have been affected by this change and the same methodology of conducting interviews over the telephone could have been implemented.

From the above though, one may see that the research paradigm, which was chosen by the researchers, was because they wished to gather in depth information (Salbach 2011: 787), though the methods chosen limited the objectivity, measurability, predictability and controllability of their study (Cohen et al, 2000). However, the method, which they chose, suited the requirements, which they stipulated for their study.

5.Study Methodology

The research methodology which was chosen for this study was ‘a qualitative descriptive approach to address the study objective. In-depth interviews were conducted by telephone to enable access to physical therapists living in remote or rural areas and to maximize flexibility of scheduling interviews’ (Salbach 2011: 787). This suited both the needs and requirements of the research, as the researchers wished to gather in depth information to understand the best means through which physical therapists may gain access to evidence based treatment information (Salbach 2011: 786). To this end, the research design was appropriate for the study.

The researchers wished to understand the physical therapists attitudes towards evidence based data to enhance their clinical practice and whether or not they would consider utilizing a PDA to access this information (Salbach 2011: 786). Therefore from a theoretical perspective to understand this fully an in depth approach had to be utilized to ensure that the researchers fully understood the attitudes perceptions and reasons why these participants either favoured using this approach or not. Without using this type of methodological approach, they would not have been able to fully answer the research question, which they had posed.

Another consideration is the ethical issues, which surround this study, as it is important that these are carefully considered by the researchers. The aim of the project was about developing resources and educational initiatives for this specific group of physical therapists (Salbach 2011: 787). To this end, these participants needed to be fully consulted on what was being proposed to ensure that it was acceptable to them. In line with this the researcher also ensure that the participants were made aware of the purpose of the study (Salbach 2011: 787), they took measures to ensure that their responses were kept confidential and they ensured that the participants identities remained anonymous (Salbach 2011: 788). This ensured that the study was undertaken ethically and that the participants understood both their role and the researchers when they took part in the study.


The participants of this study were randomly chosen from a list of therapists who had indicated that they would be happy to take part in research (as they had already responded to a previous survey (Salbach 2011: 787). Therefore, the sampling methodology, which was used, allowed the participants and the researchers to choose how and when they would take part in the study. To this extent, the sampling process used was quite flexible, however, as random participants were chosen if one had decided that they were not able to take part, then this would have meant that the researchers could have had to select another participant from the therapists chosen. Therefore, under these circumstances the sampling process could have become cumbersome.

In relation to this, the participants that did take part in the study were informed of its purpose, the researchers and their role, they were also allowed to undertake interviews over the phone in a variety of places, where the confidentiality of their responses could be assured (Salbach 2011: 788). Therefore, the approach that the researchers adopted enabled the participants to undertake their interviews under circumstances where they felt comfortable. This ensured that the researchers met the ethical requirements of the study.

7. Data Collection

The data for this study was collected by undertaking a number of telephone interviews with randomly selected study participants (Salbach 2011: 788). Within the context, of the study, the sample, which was used, was therefore sufficient. The methodology, which was adopted by the researchers, limited the generalizability of their findings (Cohen et al, 2000). Therefore, the researchers may not have gathered data, which was applicable to all of the physical therapist in Canada. However, this is one of the limitations of the approach, which they chose to use. Further to this, as each of the interviews were transcribed verbatim and interviews were continuously undertaken until themes had been clearly identified by the researchers, the documentation of the study and its findings were fully completed in line with the methodology which was adopted (Salbach 2011: 788). To this end, within the context of the study and its acknowledged limitations the whole picture was examined. However, the design and the data collection methods, which were utilised, for the study were not flexible, as the approach used needed to be carefully managed to ensure that the research question was answered in the correct manner.

8.Data Analysis

A thematic analysis was adopted for analysing the results of this study (Salbach 2011: 788). This is a way of seeing, making sense of related material, systematically observing situations, groups, organisations, interactions, cultures and behaviours. Thematic research is a repetitive process that involves understanding, coding, making memos, querying the data to get differing viewpoints. It may be said that, thematic analysis enables researchers, especially in the early stages of a project, to formulate their problem and to create the foundations for the design of their project to help to support knowledge sharing and communication. The ‘data’ being analysed might take any number of forms such as, an interview transcript. This is the method has been utilised to analyse the interview transcripts from the study.

Further to this, to seek to ensure that the thematic analysis was undertaken properly, NVivo, a new-generation qualitative data analysis (QDA) computer software package created by QSR International was used (Salbach 2011: 788). Therefore, the interview transcripts from this study were analysed by adopting this approach. This enabled the researchers to understand the content or to create groups of themes by coding the interview transcripts. Once this had been undertaken, the coding enabled the researchers to categorise the material from the interview transcripts. This then enabled them to ascertain each of the themes, which were present and to understand the data, which had been collated.The researchers were then able to fully understand what the results from the research undertaken indicated (Salbach 2011: 788).

These methods were suitable for the study due to the type of data that was gathered. However, the article does not state if other methods were considered and discounted though they may have been (Salbach 2011).


The researchers have based their findings on the subjective opinions of a number of respondents who were interviewed. Though, the interviews did not stop until a number of themes had been identified (Salbach 2011: 788), the nature of this data is always going to be questionable (Cohen et al, 2000). However, the researchers have tried to combat the issues, which are related to their chosen methodology by ensuring that the interviewers did not know the interviewees and by utilising random sampling (Salbach 2011: 787). Therefore, one may say that the researchers have done there upmost to ensure that the research procedures adopted produced results, which were trustworthy.

Furthermore, they have taken the verbatim responses of the respondents and utilised NVivo, a computer software package created by QSR International to analyse these. Again this has helped to ensure that the researchers personal preferences or subjective opinions do not affect the results when they are analysed. This also ensures that the analysis, which has been undertaken, is objective and therefore trustworthy.

In summary, one may say that in the context of this study the researchers have sought to ensure that the data collection and analyses are as trustworthy as possible given that the data which was collated was based on the subjective opinions of the respondents (Salbach 2011: 787).

10. Conclusions and Implications

The findings from this study, which have been stated by the researchers show that the physical therapists that were interviewed perceived that there was a need for them to have access to evidenced based data, which could help them to improve their practice (Salbach 2011: 790-791). However, as the researchers have stated this is the first study which has been undertaken to ascertain which means would be best to effectively achieve this type of knowledge transfer. Furthermore, they have also acknowledged that due to the sample of respondents that were chosen this has limited their findings (Salbach 2011: 792). Both of these factors, coupled with the limitations of the methodology, which was chosen to undertaken this investigation have limited the conclusions, which can be drawn from this research (Cohen et al, 2000).

Though the researchers sought to ensure that the data collected and the analysis, which was used produced trustworthy results, due to the nature of the study, its reliability may be questioned (Cohen et al, 2000). This is because it is based on limited data, which has, been collated from a small sample of therapists (Salbach 2011: 792). To this end, the reliability of the results, findings and conclusions may be questioned. The conclusions which are drawn from the study are vague, which reflects the nature of the findings (Salbach 2011: 792). From this, one may assert that the study may have identified the preferences in relation to these therapists, however the findings are so limited that they researchers fail to suggest one strategy, which could be used to implement this.

In light of this, it can be said that the study has been unsuccessful in its aim. This has been left unsaid by the researchers when they are drawing their conclusions (Salbach 2011: 792). Therefore, the information, which they have produced, only informs us that strategies should be considered. However, this was clear from the beginning of the study, so what can we really learn This is questionable, we can learn that this is important to enhance clinical practice (in this limited context) and we can learn that strategies need to be carefully considered. However beyond this, there is little that may be gleaned from this, apart from the fact that this approach to examine this type of problem may give such limited and questionable results that other methodologies should be considered before the ones which have been adopted by these researchers.


Cohen, L., Lawrence, M. and Morrison, M. (2000). Research Methods in Education (5 th Ed.). London.

Cricelli, I. (2006) Use of personal digital assistant devices in order to access, consult and apply a corpus of clinical guidelines and decision based support documentation like the Italian SPREAD Guidelines on stroke disease. Neurological Sciences, 27 (Suppl. 3), S238–S239.

Dash, N.K. (1993). Research Paradigms in Education: Towards a Resolution. Journal of Indian Education 19(2), pp1-6.

Honeybourne, C., Sutton, S. & Ward, L. (2006) Knowledge in the Palm of your hands: PDAs in the clinical setting. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 23 (1), 51–59.

Salbach, N. Veinot, P. Susan B. Jaglal, S., Bayley M. and Rolfe, R. (2011) From continuing education to personal digital assistants: what do physical therapists need to support evidence-based practice in stroke managementJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17, 786-793

Salbach, N. M., Veinot, P., Rappolt, S., Bayley, M., Burnett, D., Judd, M. & Jaglal, S. B. (2009) Physical therapists’ experiences updating the clinical management of walking rehabilitation after stroke: a qualitative study. Physical Therapy, 89 (6), 556–568.

Stevenson, T. J., Barclay-Goddard, R. & Ripat, J. (2005) Influences on treatment choices in stroke rehabilitation: survey of Canadian physical therapists. Physiotherapy Canada, 57 (2), 135–144.

Tassone, M. R. & Speechley, M. (1997) Geographical challenges for physical therapy continuing education: preferences and influences. Physical Therapy, 77 (3), 285–295.

Free Essays

Local Education Authority (LEA)

Recommendation of Report

It is recommended that the “Jolly Phonics” system is not purchased by the Local Education Authority because there is a plethora of similar, free resources available to teachers.

Summary of Supporting Evidence

Phonics work is an integral part of all primary teaching and development of a strong foundation in reading at the individual word level is vital if children are to perform well in more advance whole-text challenges (Ehri and Snowling, 2004). Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to manipulate phonemes, the basic units of sounds that make up a language. This awareness has repeatedly been shown to play an important part in developing basic reading and spelling abilities (Bird, Bishop and Freeman, 1995; Ehri et al., 2001; Goswami and Bryant, 1990; Torgesen, Wagner and Rashotte, 1994, Cardoso-Martins, Mesquita and Ehri, 2011) and it is right to be included in the curriculum.

Jolly Phonics ( aims to teach children the basics of literacy through the use of synthetic phonics, which are allocated to one of seven groups. Children are taught in five stages that comprise learning the letter sound, learning letter formation, blending, identifying the sounds in words and learning irregularly spelt words. Use of Jolly Phonics with children lacking in basic reading ‘readiness’ has been found to increase reading age by up to 2 years and 7 months in comparison to a control group (Ekpo et al., 2007) and Stuart (1999) found that the Jolly Phonics system is successful with both English speaking children and children for whom English is a second language. Therefore, there is evidence to suggest that Jolly Phonics could be a worthwhile investment.

Theories of Reading and Spelling

Theories of reading are still under debate. However, the way in which children learn new words, and recognise words they have already read, can be separated into four main theories (Ehri, 2006):

Phonological recoding is where children sound out and blend either syllables or graphemes, which are the smallest, meaningful units in a language. This approach requires the aforementioned phonemic awareness.
Analogising (Goswami, 1986) involves the use of words a child is already familiar with to help them read new words. For example, a child who knows the word ‘fountain’ may use this to read the word ‘mountain.’
Prediction (Goodman, 1970; Tunmer and Chapman, 1998) is when the child uses context and letter clues to try and guess an unfamiliar word.
Memory or sight means that the child recognises a word through the visual memory of seeing it before.

Despite a wealth of evidence in favour of the phonemic recoding approach to reading and spelling, other theories exist and their supporters have argued that phonemic learning may not be the only basis on which children can build their literacy skills. For example, there is the theory of ‘Mental Orthographic Representation’ (MOR) (Apel and Masterson, 2001; Apel, 2009), which is the ability to store a mental representation of the written forms that spoken language take and recognise words by matching them to one’s stored representation (Mayall et al., 2001). This theory would come under the ‘memory and sight’ umbrella as opposed to the more audiological basis of phonological recoding. Recent evidence has suggested that MOR could develop independently of phonemic awareness, contrary to previous belief, and could also be used to predict literacy development (Apel, Wolter and Masterson, 2006; Treiman and Kessler, 2006, Nation, Angell and Castles, 2007). Therefore, too much focus on phonemic awareness through use of the Jolly Phonic system could be denying children of other vital skills they need to read and spell successfully.

However, it is believed that dyslexic children have trouble recognising new words because of poor phonemic awareness (Snowling, 1981; Bruck, 1992) and it is stipulated that they are relying on the aforementioned memory and sight of words when trying to decode a novel word. Dyslexic children struggle because they have no visual memory of the word and cannot rely on phonemic awareness to try and decode it. Therefore, they are unable to read the new word. This suggests that development of phonemic awareness should perhaps dominate the way in which children are taught to read and spell successfully.

Value for Money

In conclusion, although there is strong evidence that the ‘Jolly Phonics’ system and an emphasis on developing phonemic awareness could greatly improve children’ literacy skills, it is based on a materials that could be accessed and utilised by teachers in a more cost-effective way. There are numerous free resources available on the internet, for example, the Mr Thorne Does Phonics ( website contains a collection of child friendly videos broken down into ‘phases’ and designed to teach children phonemic awareness in a fun and engaging manner.

Using such a structured programme could distract teachers from supplementing children’s reading with other sources such as story-books, which could help develop other aspects of reading such as semantics and use of imagination. For example, it has been claimed that a good grasp of phonemes can only account for up to 40% of a child’s reading ability (Manis, Doi and Bhadha, 2000; Cunningham, Perry and Stanovich, 2001) and Cunningham (1990) found that reading ability was significantly improved in a group of children who received phonemic awareness training that explicitly detailed the use, value and application of phonemic awareness in the act of reading as opposed to the procedural type of training provided by systems such as Jolly Phonics. Therefore, it is important that teachers don’t come to rely solely on the Jolly Phonics system, something that could be encouraged in light of its expense.

Sources of Further Information – website for the Jolly Phonics program, which includes case studies. – a plethora of free teaching resources that could be used as an inexpensive alternative to the Jolly Phonics system. – a collection of child friendly videos designed to teach the phonics system.

‘Learning to Read Words: Theory, Findings, and Issues’ by Linnea C. Ehri – a comprehensive review on the different theories of reading, available at


Apel, K. and Masterson, J.J. (2001) Theory-guided spelling assessment and intervention: A case study. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 32, pp. 182-195.

Apel, K., Wolter, J.A. and Masterson, J.J. (2006) Effects of phonotactic and orthotactic probabilities during fast-mapping on five year olds’ learning to spell. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), pp. 21-42.

Apel, K. (2009) The acquisition of mental orthographic representations for reading and spelling development. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 31(1), pp. 42-52.

Bird, J., Bishop, D.V.M. and Freeman, N.H. (1995) Phonological awareness and literacy development in children with expressive phonological impairments. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38(2), pp. 446-462.

Bruck, M. (1992) Persistance of dyslexic’s phonological awareness deficits. Developmental Psychology, 28(5), pp. 874-886.

Cardoso-Martins, C., Mesquita, T.C.L. and Ehri, L. (2011) Letter names and phonological awareness help children to learn letter-sound relations. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109(1), pp. 25-38.

Cunningham, A.E. (1990) Explicit versus implicit instruction in phonemic awareness. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 50, pp. 429-444.

Cunningham, A.E., Perry, K.E. and Stanovich, K.E. (2001) Converging evidence for the concept of orthographic processing. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14(5-6), pp. 549-568.

Ehri, L.C., Nunes, S.R., Willows, D.M., Schuster, B.V., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z. and Shanahan, T. (2001) Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read: Evidence from Reading Panel’s meta-analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 250-287.

Ehri, L.C. and Snowling, M. J. (2004) Developmental variation in word recognition. In: C.A. Stone, E.R. Silliman, B.J. Ehren and K. Apel eds. Handbook of language and literacy. New York: Guilford, pp. 433-461.

Ehri, L.C. (2006) Learning to read words: Theory, findings, and issues. Scientific Studies of Reading, 92(2), pp. 167-188.

Ekpo, C.M., Udosen, A.E., Afangideh, M.E., Ekukinam, T.U. and Ikorok, M.M. (2007) Jolly phonics strategy and the ESL pupils’ reading development: a preliminary study. Paper presented at 1st Mid Term Conference held at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State: Nigeria.

Goodman, K. (1970) Behind the eye: What happens in reading. In: K. Goodman and O. Niles eds. Reading: Process and Program. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, pp. 3-38.

Goswami, U. (1986) Children’s using of analogy in learning to read: A developmental study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 42, pp. 73-83.

Goswami. U. and Bryant, P. (1990) Phonological skills and learning to read. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Jolly Learning Ltd. [no date]. Teaching Literacy with Jolly Phonics [online]. Available from [Accessed 23 February 2013].

Manis, F.R., Doi, L.M. and Bhadha, B. (2000) Naming speed, phonological awareness, and orthographic knowledge in second graders. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(4), pp. 325.

Mayall, K., Humphreys, G.W., Mechelli, A., Olson, A. and Price, C.J. (2001) The effects of case mixing on word recognition: Evidence from a PET study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 13(6), pp. 844-853.

Mr Thorne Productions (2013) Mr Thorne Does Phonics [online]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2013].

Nation, K., Angell, P. and Castles, A. (2007) Orthographic learning via self-teaching in children learning to read English: Effects of exposure, durability, and context. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96, pp. 71-84.

Torgesen, J.K., Wagner, R.K. and Rashotte, C.A. (1994) Longitudinal studies and phonological processing and reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Treiman, R. and Kessler, B. (2006) Spelling as statistical learning: Using consonantal context to spell vowels. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(3), pp. 141-170.

Tumner, W. and Chapman, J. (1998) Language prediction skill, phonological recoding ability and beginning reading. In: C. Hulme and R. Joshi eds. Reading and Spelling: Development and Disorders. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., pp. 33-67.

Snowling, M.J. (1981) Phonemic deficits in developmental dyslexia. Psychological Research, 43(2), pp. 219-234.

Stuart, M. (1999) Getting ready for reading: Early phoneme awareness and phonics teaching improves reading and spelling in inner-city second language learners. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 69, pp. 587-605.

Free Essays

The emergence and social impact of the internet on primary school education


The computer and its related technology such as the internet are increasingly used in society today, impacting various systems including classrooms in primary schools across the world. There has been an increase in use and emphasis of information and communication technology (ICT) in educational activities, to aid teaching and to enhance learning. Primary schools have been encouraged to integrate ICT into the curriculum and to provide not only access, but also knowledge and skills to prepare students for life in a modern society.

Several western countries throughout the globe such as the United Kingdom and the United States have prioritized the use of ICT in education through policy development and the allocation of funds for the endeavour (US Department of Education, 2004; Labour Party, 1997). The No Child Left Behind Act announced by the US government in 2001 and its constituent subsection Enhancing Education through the Technology Act of 2001, provided for the evaluation of technology and its significance to teaching and learning in the long term.

In the UK, access to computer technology was prioritized in the ‘National Grid for Learning’ providing access to essential education materials of high quality (Labour Party, 1997). The British government made huge investments in creating initiatives such as ‘UK online’- networked online centres, the ‘National Grid for Learning’ initiative – the connection of 30,000 public schools to the internet by 2002, as well as the ‘New Opportunities Fund’ – to train teachers in the use of technology (Selwyn, 2002).

To support the strategic use of ICT in UK’s four education departments, BECTA (the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency was established (BECTA, 2006). It serves to provide insight from research and analysis of ICT as a strategic advisor and coordinator of e-strategy. It also works with relevant partners to enable the strategic delivery of e-strategy (BECTA, 2006). In the US, the Department of Education’s Office of Educational technology (OET) seeks to maximize the contribution of technology towards the improvement of education (US Department of Education, 2004; 48).

These policy initiatives, in addition to those of other stakeholders such as school’s management and boards, parents, as well as the ICT and other industry, have served as catalysts for the development of new standards, enhancing the use of ICT tools and the internet in primary schools (Prior and Hall, 2004).

Discussing the all-round internet use by children, Livingstone (2003) distinguished three major categories including: entertainment, education and edutainment. This variance in usage can both be beneficial in improving learning outcomes with the enhancement of engagement, and challenging outcomes, where the children have difficulty in withdrawing from the desire for entertainment provided through ICT. For instance, regarding the use of ICT for leisure purposes (especially game-playing), there is significant evidence linking to the hindrance of progress to target attainment. The more time in leisure activities such as on games, the less is available for study Lankshear and Knobel, 2003).

A study conducted by Passey et al., 2004 made the finding that pupil’s learning with the use of ICT was characterized by greater motivation levels towards the achievement of personal learning goals, which is a desirable outcome in education, but less desirable was their increased motivation towards gaining positive feedback on their individual competence. This latter trait had its evidence in the concern among pupils of failure in front of others, especially the teacher. Other studies (Passey et al., 2004, HMIE, 2005; Livingstone and Condie, 2003) also support the view that these technologies and their visual nature – animations, simulations and moving imagery, enhanced the engagement of learners through the employment of varying approaches to teaching, and enhanced their conceptual understanding.

With regard to ICT and attainment, an extensive review of literature by Cox et al., 2003 found in a survey of almost all National curriculum subjects, that ICT had a positive effect on pupil attainment, marked in core subject areas in which investment on specific ICT resources to support teaching and learning has been greater such as English, Mathematics and Science. These technologies were specifically found to generally support language development, especially at early stages, on word recognition and vocabulary building which are essential sub-skills (Lankshear and knobel, 2003). The internet has significantly enhanced the support and stimulation of education activities across the curriculum with the increased range of resources.

Engagement with teachers was also improved, with the teachers having positive responses to the use of learning objects in their classrooms, as well as their competence and ability to integrate technology into the learning environment and process (Saude et al., 2005). These benefits have enhanced change and innovation in primary school education increasing access to and the use of technologies (Ofsted, 2004).

Williams, 2005 reported that ICT had particular positive effect for pupils with special needs enabling them to rise above their unique barriers to learning and, in as well, leading to their greater achievement, improvement in self-esteem and confidence, as well as enabling greater participation in their present work.

Partly due to its support of a student-centred learning environment, the use of the internet in teaching is growing exponentially (Hill et al., 2004). The interactive technologies offered by ICT allow for teachers to capture materials digitally from a variety of sources, which are cut and pasted to create new and exciting teaching materials relevant to the context and the young student’s learning needs. Valentine et al., 2005 in a survey of parent and pupil perceptions of ICT found that these stakeholders believed that the internet and ICT tools made schoolwork more enjoyable and improved achievement, as well as improving motivation and confidence of the pupils.

Saude et al., (2005); Plowman and Harlen, (2000); and Cox et al., (2003) note that teachers often encounter challenges in the integration of ICT and the internet into primary school education programs. In primary school, pedagogy is invariably given greater attention and the traditional focus on the child, as opposed to process skills or specific subject knowledge in the higher levels of learning. The teacher’s role has, however, changed especially in situations of more extensive ICT use in classrooms and e-learning contexts, becoming more of a facilitator, offering support and mediation. This changed role, Reeves (2008) notes, encourages a predominantly ‘instructivist’ pedagogical culture rather than constructivist, where the learner is often viewed as a passive recipient of instruction receiving little emphasis.

Inequality in access, especially with regard to ICT tools for home use, is a major challenge impeding participation for the disadvantaged and therefore challenging their outcomes. This inequality could be due to numerous factors including socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, etc. (John and Sutherland, 2005). There is also a challenge in technology’s unintended promotion of segmented learning as opposed to group learning. The internet and ICT technologies and especially the use of laptops and personal computers encourage stationary operations and individuality opposed to the mobility and sociability of students characteristic in a traditional primary school classroom. Children are often swept off by the immense opportunities afforded including the use of various media, and are difficult to control as a group. It would be hard in such instances of drift to revert back to the whiteboard or chalkboard, and the controlled learning process (Cox et al., 2003). The use of interactive whiteboards, however, mirrors the traditional setting and control and enables greater involvement and participation, with the teacher at the front and engaging the whole classroom.

With the internet making available tons of information with dedicated search engines providing ease of search, it is characteristic for the primary school students to scan for bits of information in rapid fashion rather than spend time to increased concentration on the context, thereby minimizing their acquisition of the content of information (Cox et al., 2003). E-learning has also been increasingly questioned over issues such as the loss of the traditional opportunity to think out loud, to engage in working through problems, and to engage in the constitution and articulation of new ideas. These could be a hindrance to the desired outcome and the development of social skills (Hill et al., 2003). In the traditional setting, students are able to see their peers in action with everyone wanting to put up their best work.

There are concerns over Child Safety with the availability of the internet. It is essential to have child safety in all its forms and various countries have, in light of such concerns, instituted protection measures for children. The US government through the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) of 2001, for instance, sought to enforce the introduction of policies for internet safety for students in primary schools. In this endeavour, procedures and technologies to hinder access to inappropriate sites, such as teacher monitoring, blocking software or filters, as well as contracts with both parents and students have been instituted in various primary school systems and settings (Barrow, C., and G., Heywood-Everett, 2006).

In the UK, internet safety is also a pressing issue, and various filtering strategies and safety policies, including the employment of an internet safety coordinator (BECTA, 2002). However, a research study made the finding that Year 6, 10 and 11 students were more likely, due to internet usage at home, to access unsuitable sites in breach of set-out policy (Barrow and Heywood-Everett, 2006). Risk areas associated with the internet can be distinguished including cyber-crime (bullying or stalking), its negative effect on social relations, and negative emotional impact due to exposure to pornography, violence and explicit language. Studies also indicate negative impacts on time management, with the neglect of school tasks drawn away by internet addiction (BECTA, 2002). The internet also seems to cause reduced concentration with intense use due to its offer of a plethora of infinite opportunities. It is also linked to physical impacts on health such as obesity and muscle pain (Barrow and Heywood-Everett, 2006.).

With the increased use of technology and especially the internet in society today, there has been an increase in use of such technologies in primary school educational activities across the globe. The benefits conferred by ICT use include enhanced interest and engagement in the school curriculum, improvement of basic skills, lessened disengagement of students and the improvement of learning outcomes. Its negative impacts include the consequent lack of concentration, challenges in time management, hindrance of socialization and concerns of child safety from risks of cyber-crime and exposure to inappropriate content.

Barrow, C., and G., Heywood-Everett, 2006. E-safety: The experience in English educational establishments: An audit of e-safety practices; 2005. Viewed from:
BECTA, 2002. Internet Safety. Viewed from:
BECTA, 2006. About BECTA. Viewed from:
Cox, M., C., Abbott, M., Webb, B., Blakeley, T., Beauchamp, and V., Rhodes, 2003. ICT and Pedagogy: A Review of the Research Literature. ICT in Schools Research and Evaluation Series No.18. Coventry/London: Becta/DfES
Hill, J., D., Wiley, L., Nelson, and S., Hans, 2004. Exploring research on Internet-based learning: From infrastructure to interactions. In: D.H. Jonassen (ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed. Pp. 433-460). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
HMIE, 2005. The Integration of Information and Communications Technologies in Scottish Schools. An interim report by HM Inspectors of Education.
John, P., and R., Sutherland, 2005. “Affordance, opportunity and the pedagogical implications of ICT.” In: Educational Review, 57 (4) 405–413
Labour Party, 1997. New Labour: Because Britain deserves better. Viewed from:
Lankshear, C., and M., Knobel, 2003. “New technologies in early childhood literacy research: A review of research.” In: Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 3 (1) 59–82
Livingstone, S., 2003. Children’s Use of the Internet: Reflections on the Emerging Research Agenda. New Media & Society, 5(2), 147-166.
Livingston, K., and R., Condie 2003. Evaluation of the SCHOLAR Programme. Final report for the Scottish Executive Education Department. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive
Ofsted, 2004. Report: ICT in schools – the impact of Government initiatives: Primary Schools. London: Ofsted
Passey, D., and C., Rogers, with J., Machell, and G., McHugh, 2004. The Motivational effect of ICT on pupils. England: DfES/University of Lancaster.
Plowman, L., A., Leakey, and W., Harlen, 2000. Using ICT to support teachers in primary schools. Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE) Research Report no 97.
Prior, G., and L., Hall, 2004. ICT in Schools Survey 2004. ICT in Schools Research and Evaluation Series No.22. Coventry/London: Becta/DfES
Reeves, T., 2008. Evaluating what really matters in computer-based education. Viewed from:
Saude, S., V., Carioca, J., Siraj-Blatchford, S., Sheridan, K., Genov, and R., Nuez, 2005. “KINDERET: Developing training for early childhood educators in information and communications technology (ICT) in Bulgaria, England, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.” In: International Journal of Early Years Education, 13 (3) 265–287
Selwyn, N., 2002. “e-stablishing an inclusive societyTechnology, social exclusion and UK government policy making.” In: Journal of social policy. 37(1), 1-20.
US Department of Education, 2004. Towards a new golden age American Education: How the internet, the law and today’s students are revolutionizing expectations. Viewed from: http:/
Valentine, G, Marsh, J and Pattie, C (2005), Children and Young People’s Home Use of ICT for Educational Purposes. London: DfES
Williams, P (2005), Using information and communication technology with special educational needs students: The views of frontline professionals. Aslib proceedings: new information perspectives, 57 (6) 539–553

Free Essays

The Application of Strategic Procurement Strategies to Further and Higher Education Institutions: Measuring Corporate Performance


Whilst further and higher education institutions in the United Kingdom are generally considered as having the primary purpose of educational output, it is generally seen in the market place that these institutions are run in a similar fashion to most other corporate institutions. It is therefore not surprising that strategies of strategic procurement in these institutions are similar to these traditional corporate institutions. Further and Higher Education Institutions (FHEIs) face a unique challenge in terms of sustainability goals as they are highly valued in the market in terms of national education goals, yet face significant challenges with regards to budget concerns as relying on government funding, research incomes, tuition income and fundraising initiatives as combined sources of incomes. With austerity measures in the current economy seeing further restraints on these budgets, strategic procurement becomes arguably more important. FHEIs historically, as having a primary goal of educational output place a stronger emphasis on operational efficiency and as a result may neglect strategic processes which have an effect on long-term sustainability goals (Kotler & Murphy, 1981). The underlying assumption of this research proposes that FHEIs do not prioritize strategic procurement as a part of their corporate performance objectives and therefore are institutions that stand to benefit greatly from the implementation of effective strategic procurement measures. Simultaneously however, the need for strategic procurement measures ensuring sustainability and organizational effectiveness must meet the need for operational efficiency. As such, traditional theories of strategic procurement may have limited operation to these institutions. However, there is a lack of research into the applicability of these theories in this sector and the proposed research there aims to address this gap.

The research proposed aims to understand the potential benefits of strategic procurement that exist for FHEIs, as well as a set of criteria that can be used to measure this aspect of organizational efficiency within the sector taking into consideration the specific challenges and nuances of the sector itself. Specifically because of the high reliance on operational efficiency within these institutions, it is necessary to consider the non-financial benefits of strategic procurement, as well as the financial benefits.

Research Question & Objectives

The research question proposed hereby aims to determine the application of theories of strategic procurement in the further and higher education sectors in the United Kingdom with regards to potential benefits and corporate performance. In doing so, this research proposes the following specific objectives:

To determine the specific benefits of strategic procurement in the further and higher education sector in terms of corporate performance.
To determine a set of criteria for measuring the effectiveness of strategic procurement within this sector.
To determine the applicability of traditional theories of strategic procurement to Further and Higher Education Institutions.
Literature Review

Whilst there are a number of definitions that are offered for procurement, the following definition is offered for the purposes of the proposed research:

“Participation in the development of requirements and their specifications; managing value analysis activities; conducting supply market research; managing supplier negotiations; conducting traditional buying activities; administering purchase contracts; managing supplier quality; buying inbound transportation” (Dobler, 1990).

It is submitted that this definition is most relevant to FHEIs, because of the governmental purchasing element that is involved in these institutions by their very nature. FHEIs historically have needed to adapt their procurement strategies in a manner to maximize their resources. With 70% of the activities of a typical college of further and higher education consist of teaching and other business support activities, and only 30% made up of procurement (Quayle & Quayle, 2000), it is clear that there is a strong need to ensure that these procurement strategies are efficient and that these clearly maximize resources.

Strategic procurement generally consists of six core components, including supplier optimization, risk management, total quality methods (TQM), green purchasing, global sourcing and vendor development (Ukalkar, 2000). In assessing the potential benefits to FHEIs, one must consider the strategies used by these institutions in relation to these core components. The distinguishing feature of the proposed research however is in the application of these components to FHEIs, as arguably these theoretical concerns do not necessarily consider the size and type of organization involved in the evaluation.

Cox (1996) argues that there is a need for proactive strategic procurement management, rather than reactive management. The approach argues a link between competencies, relationships and asset specificity in order to procure a supply and value chain which reduces the costs of transactions and improves profitability. In this way therefore, the strategy must be one which is flexible and specific to the organizational needs of those institutions. To this end Chadwick (1995) argues that assessment of performance in this sphere can only be truly effective when the specific circumstances and environment of the organisation are considered. This measurement must be used with the means of improving performance and therefore lending itself to lean development of strategy rather than generic application of corporate strategies.

As a means of measuring institutional effectiveness of strategic procurement, Smith and Conway (1993) identified seven key characters of effective procurement. These are: a clear procurement strategy, effective management information and control systems, development of expertise, a role in corporate management, an entrepreneurial and proactive approach, co-ordination and focused efforts. Quayle and Quayle (2000) supplement this with an eight character, namely effective communication of the key success factors to all levels of the organization. This eight characteristic recognizes an identified weakness in procurement strategies as occurring when members are unaware of the total procurement picture (Wheatley, 1998).

These definitional elements will form the foundation of assessing the applicability of traditional theoretical components of strategic procurement to FHEIs considering the specific nuances of these organizations are unique in their position within the sector. In order to measure the effectiveness and potential benefits of these strategies for FHEIs, these theories will be examined as they apply to these types of institutions. In addition, the content of these characteristics will be explored in terms of traditional corporations to determine actual practical effectiveness in terms of financial and non-financial goals.

Data Collection & Analysis

Data collection in the proposed research will consider both primary and secondary information available as it relates to the topic. Primary information will be gathered about the state of FHEIs in the U.K with regards to publications by selected institutions as regards to financial and non-financial information, as well as that which is published by these institutions about their strategic procurement strategies. Primary information with regards to organizational goals of strategic procurement will also form the basis of the proposed research in order to determine the criteria for measuring the effectiveness of these strategies.

Data collection of secondary sources will be undertaken from a number of electronic sources, primarily from databases that consolidate the information relevant to the current topic. This will be drawn from sources such as such as Questia, Jstor, Emerald Insight, and Google Scholar. This will be used to supplement any other secondary resources that are available in libraries or published in scholaric literature. This literature will be used in order to form a theoretical comparison between the goals of these institutions in relation to their published strategy and on the basis of this comparison, recommendations for improvement of these strategies will be made.

The primary method of data analysis proposed by this research is one of secondary data analysis. Secondary data analysis can be defined as the analysis of data or information that was either gathered by someone else or for some other purpose than the one currently being considered, or often a combination of the two (Cnossen, 1997). If secondary research and data analysis is undertaken with care and diligence, it can provide a cost-effective way of gaining a broad understanding of research questions without having to undertake time consuming and often impractical methods of empirical data studies.


FHEIs are unique corporate institutions which face significant challenges in the market, because of the need for operational efficiency above effective procurement. However, because of the current economic climate and the ever increasing concerns over budgetary constraints of these institutions, the benefits of strategic procurement present attractive advantages. The nature of FHEIs make application of traditional theories of strategic procurement problematic as they may not consider the specific needs of these institutions and therefore the current research aims to explore the benefits that may result in the application of strategic procurement management, however specifically the application of traditional theories of strategic procurement. Through analysis of the published strategies of these institutions and comparative analysis with the accepted theories of strategic procurement, this research aims to develop a set of criteria for measuring the effective application of strategic procurement within FHEIs for maximum benefit within these institutions and in doing so, to add value to the current ambit of knowledge available with regards to strategic procurement within further and higher education institutions in the UK.


Chadwick, T. (1995) Strategic Supply Management. Butterworth Heinemann: Oxford.

Cnossen, C. (1997) Secondary Reserach: Learning Paper 7, School of Public Administration and Law, the Robert Gordon University, January 1997. [online] Available on: [Accessed 2 January 2013]

Cox, A. (1996) Relational competence and strategic procurement management. European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management, 2 (1), pp. 57-70.

Dobler, D., Burt, D. and Lee, L. (1990) Purchasing and Materials Management. McGraw-Hill: New York, NY, pp. 100-15.

Kotler, P. and Murphy, P. (1981) Strategic Planning for Higher Education. The Journal of Higher Education, 52(5), pp. 470 – 489

Quayle, M. and Quayle, S. (2000) The impact of strategic procurement in the UK further and higher education sectors. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 13(3), pp. 260 – 284

Smith, R. and Conway, G. (1993) Organisation of Procurement in Government Departments and their Agencies. HM Treasury Consultancy and Inspection Services Division: London.

Ukalkar, S. (2000). Strategic procurement management for competitive advantage. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Wheatley, M. (1998) Strategic procurement: the route to big savings. Management Today, December, pp. 2-5.