Improving all the time;Books

11th June 1999 at 01:00
THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT HANDBOOK. By Jim Sweetman, Courseware, pound;19.95.

* A Team Approach To School ImprovementBy North Tyneside Council, pound;80 Publishers still churn out handbooks and guides full of tips for school improvement. Sweetman focuses on important issues for schools and teachers. The tone of the writing is direct, but the over-use of stock phrases and jargon tends to detract from the effect.

Sweetman gives credence to the centrality of teacher development in school improvement. Unfortunately, this interpretation is soon lost as it becomes obvious that the book is primarily concerned with instrumental not developmental routes to school improvement.

North Tyneside Council has produced a toolkit of materials in loose-leaf binder and electronic form. The success of any stand-alone pack inevitably depends on the quality of guidance, support and explanation provided at the outset and at subsequent stages of usage. These materials have been put together by a team who have direct experience of school development. In fact most sections are to be recommended due to their immediate practical application.

Dr Alma Harris Senior lecturer and co-director of the centre for teacher and school development, University of Nottingham

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