Does this mean more dyslexia help?

BBC NEWS | Education | ‘Learning guide’ for every child

Learning guide’ for every child
pupil writing
The report seeks a new focus on each child’s learning style
Every child in England should have a “learning guide” to see that they benefit from new, personalised education, an expert group has said.

Pupils should learn how to be better learners, aided by their teachers and parents and perhaps “active retired” people, the Gilbert Review urged.

The role of the national curriculum and of exams should be reviewed, it proposed – a move welcomed by unions.

Education Secretary Alan Johnson said he wanted no child to be “left behind”.

The review team was led by Christine Gilbert, former chief executive of Tower Hamlets and now head of the education inspectorate Ofsted.

‘Moral purpose’

Ms Gilbert said personalised teaching and learning is “what every parent wants, what every child deserves and what the country needs” to meet the 21st century’s global challenges.

Personalising education is “a matter of moral purpose and social justice”, the report said, as “pupils from the most disadvantaged groups are the least likely to achieve well”.

Its aim is to ensure that good progress is made by “all children, in all schools, all of the time” by 2020.

It recommends, among other things:

* all schools should set out how they are making personalised learning a reality
* a group should be set up to review urgently how the national curriculum and assessment should develop, with more “testing when ready”
* feedback from pupils should be used to design lessons
* secondary schools should have “learning guides” to monitor progress and advise pupils and parents
* parents should get more information, such as lesson plans on the internet
* teacher training should be revised, outstanding teachers might have sabbaticals to enhance their skills
* a group should be set up to distinguish effective innovation in teaching from “fads and fashions”
* government should set targets for there to be no “stuck” pupils, to increase the progress all pupils make
* those not progressing as expected should be entitled to extra support, such as one-to-one tuition, in or out of school

Alan Johnson said: “We need to make sure that no-one is left behind at any point – from the most gifted and talented children at the top of the class, to the uninterested child at the back.”

Many teachers and schools were doing all of this already, but he wanted to make sure the good work was repeated in every school.

Progress review

Derek Wise is headteacher at Cramlington Community High School in Northumberland and one of the report’s authors.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The really important thing is that one person in the school knows the student, the work they’re doing, their learning, in the round and has the time to spend with them, let’s say, half an hour per half term, reviewing their progress and setting targets.”

Anthony Seldon, master of the Wellington College in Berkshire, also told Today: “The idea of having mentors for pupils is something that has happened for many years in the independent sector and I think it is one way in which the state sector is learning from the independent sector.”

Leader of the National Union of Teachers, Steve Sinnott, said: “If at long last the government is going to evaluate the detrimental impact of high stakes testing on pupils and schools, this is a big shift in thinking.”

Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the review should have gone further.

We need to make sure that no-one is left behind at any point
Education Secretary Alan Johnson

“It misses a golden opportunity by remaining too firmly entrenched in the same narrowly defined standards and accountability agenda to be really visionary,” she said.

“We definitely don’t see any need to set an extra target for pupil progression.”

Shadow schools minister Nick Gibb called for more schools to use setting to teach pupils in ability groups.

“Tailoring the curriculum to each child’s ability must surely lead to higher levels of attainment across all ability levels,” he said.

The Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, Sarah Teather, said: “More of the same with some new buzzwords thrown in is not going to bring about the change we need.”


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