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A good year for...

A good year for...

...Christine Gilbert. Began as chief executive of Tower Hamlets and was appointed CBE. In March, she was asked to head a high-profile review of personalised learning. Then in June, she landing the job as the first female chief inspector of schools.

...Church schools. The long-time beneficiaries of Labour's enthusiasm for faith school ethos looked in October like their luck might be running out.

Alan Johnson said new schools would be forced to take up to quarter of pupils from other or no faiths. A Catholic resistance campaign forced him into an embarrassing U-turn.

...Synthetic phonics. The comeback of the literacy teaching technique, which sees pupils taught by blending sounds to make words, was complete when the Government officially endorsed it in the new national primary strategy.

A bad year for...

...Gordon Brown's credibility. It sounded good. But, without any deadline, the Chancellor's budget pledge to bring state school funding up to today's independent school levels was worthless. He repeated it at Labour's party conference. Those who had seen through the spin were further irritated when he used December's pre-budget report to say it once again, and to re-announce school building projects, persuading some newspapers that it was new money.

...GCSE Coursework. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority proposed in September that, 20 years after it was introduced for all pupils, coursework should be removed from most subjects, including English literature, history and geography. Ministers were worried about plagiarism, despite a survey finding that two thirds of teachers wanted it to stay.

...Books. Secondaries in England are spending two-and-a-half times as much on exam fees as on books, a TES study revealed. The books bill was also dwarfed by computer software spending.

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