Factors that go under the microscope

21st July 2000 at 01:00
JUDGMENTS about the overall effectiveness of the new schools will involve highly complex issues.

These include whether schools have integrated services across professional boundaries, whether the performance of vulnerable pupils has improved as well as that of all pupils, whether pupils and their parents have developed positive attitudes to learning, whether the schools have contributed to social inclusion, whether more youngsters are living with their families and whether pupils' general health has improved.

Some of the measures used will be proxy ones, hwever. Positive attitudes to learning will be judged according to numbers going on to college and university. For parents, it will be participation in courses and other learning opportunities. Social inclusion measures will be based on local crime figures as well as school exclusions.

Changes in family cohesion will be tracked by data, such as numbers of looked-after children and readmissions to local authority care. There will also be "interactive" sessions with parents and their children which will aim to record changes in attitudes and behaviour.

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