Quarkside

08/12/2010

UK in 3rd Division for Education

Filed under: Education,Outcomes,Policy — lenand @ 3:00 am
Tags: , , ,

A McKinsey report shows how to improve school systems.  Their research suggests that common sets of interventions can help systems move from one performance level to the next, without regard to culture, geography, politics, or history.  You will have to register to see the full article – 126 pages.  As they (including Sir Michael Barber) say:

“This report looks closely at 20 school systems from different parts of the world, and from an array of starting points, that have registered significant, sustained, and widespread student outcome gains, and examines why what they have done has succeeded where so many others failed. In undertaking this research, we have sought to understand which elements are specific to the individual system and which are of broader or universal relevance. We believe that what we have discovered will help other systems and educational leaders to replicate this success.”

There are many findings that are significant in the UK context.  Page 21 has a “Universal Scale”  that compares across systems, across countries by expenditure by pupil.  The UK is in a ‘Good’ category , but behind Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Ontario, who are in the ‘Excellent’ and ‘Great’ divisions.

It is not an easy read, but the results have great credibility.  The webcast may give some people a softer introduction and a wider view from round the world.  One eye opener for me is the degree of confidence in Singapore in the use of English as the prime language of tuition, where it is not the national language of any of the multi-racial society.  In 1983, the government mandated that English would be the medium of instruction in all subjects, except the mother tongue. The majority of parents saw English as offering the greatest employment opportunities for their children.  The UK system produces 25% of young people that do not recognise a link between reading and success; people with poor literacy are least likely to be in full-time employment at the age of thirty.

From a point of Quarkside continuity, look at the quality of this report compared to the one commissioned by DfE on SIF. None of McKinsey’s finding could be challenged, they are all based on solid research.  Perhaps Sir Michael Barber should be called back to DfE, he was responsible for the oversight of implementation of the Prime Minister’s priority programs in health, education, transport, policing, the criminal justice system and asylum/immigration.  On the other hand, could we afford the fees?

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