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Data rocks

Score interview points with information, says Barbara Oaff

Freedom of Information Act

Passed earlier this year, it gives the public access to information once deemed off-limits. Schools have had a year to get records in order so a request to see anything can be produced within 20 days.


The Children Act

Introduced in 2004, it changed the delivery of children's services. With the exception of schools it has compelled other agencies from health trusts to the police to work closer. There is a Children's Commissioner to voice young people's views to the powers that be.



Since 1997, the Government has spent pound;885 million on trying to raise attendance, rolling out measures from police-managed truancy sweeps to fines for parents who take their children on term-time jaunts. The result? Unauthorised absences have risen; an estimated extra 2,000 pupils are out of school daily.



It's crucial to cultivate a "zero tolerance" of ethnic prejudice. The newest study found that those born in Scotland can feel like "outsiders".



This is centred on "teaching the whole child" from interpreting the curriculum flexibly to providing individualised pastoral care. Current debate has broadened from those with physical, mental and behavioural challenges, to those with different learning styles and high abilities.



This has pushed its way up the agenda. The Government, which annually spends pound;200 million on the problem, has formed the Anti-Bullying Alliance to provide schools with "coping strategies". Other initiatives include celebrity endorsed wristbands and a conference later this year.


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