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Heads back new high achievement culture

THREE-QUARTERS of heads are optimistic about the Government's programme of education reform, Michael Barber told the latest TES-Keele University seminar, writes Neil Levis.

The head of the Government's standards and effectiveness unit said that at last month's Learning From Success roadshows, 76 per cent of heads polled live using electronic keypads said they were optimistic about the new culture of transforming education.

Reviewing the Government's first three-and-a-half years, he pointed to the successes of the literacy and numeracy strategies - "the long tail of under-

performance has been wiped out" - and the delegation of funding and independnce to schools. "No other system devolves as much money - in percentage terms - and decisions to its schools," he said.

The literacy and numeracy strategies, he argued, had unleashed creativity on a scale that most teachers had not predicted. Progress had been measured at every level, not just at the much-publicised level 4.

The Treasury has guaranteed funding for the strategies until 2004. Secondary schools were in awe of what primaries had achieved.

Yet heads were bothered by far too much paperwork, he said. Reforms that would simplify the form-filling and bidding systems would be announced next month.

Full story on www.tes.co.uk

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