'Targets, targets, targets' appears to be the Government's new mantra. In a three-page report The TES examines David Blunkett's grand plan which was unveiled earlier this week.
The Government intends to create 25 education action zones over the next two or three years, mainly in inner-city areas. The first zones to be designated will take in schools considered to be underperforming.
The initiative does not have specific funding, but the intention is that action zones will benefit from programmes such as specialist schools and homework centres.
An adviser is expected to be appointed to lead an action team providing advice and support to the designated schools. The team will draw up the views of a forum made up of parents and other community representatives and nominees from the schools and the local authority. The forum will be able to propose that schools close or new ones open.
The local authority will be expected to provide resources for an improvement programme; progress will be monitored by the Department for Education and Employment's standards and effectiveness unit.
Ministers are also keen to promote more work-related training for 14 to 16-year-olds. The existing pilots of the part one GNVQs will be extended, and colleges of further education are to encourage schools to develop bridging courses to employment or training. The School Curriculum and Assessment Authority has been asked to advise on ways of encouraging schools to increase the focus on work-related education.