PACKAGE 'TOE BY TOE' FEATURE
Back in the 60s a primary school teacher called Keda Cowling was dismayed to discover that every year a number of children in her class failed to progress in their reading. She decided to do something about this and over the years by trial and error came up with a reading scheme to help them. What she had created was in fact what we now call synthetic phonics, and her book Toe by Toe which was published in 1994 has been successfully used in over 20,000 schools in the UK . . The latest development for Toe by Toe has been the move into prisons lobbied for, funded, and organised by the Shannon Trust. Their founder Chris Morgan decided that Toe by Toe could work just as well in prisons as schools, using literate prisoners as mentors for non-literate prisoners.
Last year the Education and Skills Committee published its recommendations on Prison Education. It stated that "current provision of prison education is unacceptable", and laid out a number of recommendations about what needed to happen to bring it up to standard. The government's response was December's Green Paper - Reducing Reoffending Through Skills and Employment - some clue in its emphasis in the title. So how will this change what is available in prisons, and is it the right approach?
NAPPY CURRICULUM DISCUSSION
Figures out this weekend showed that the number of babies and toddlers attending full day care nurseries had shot up by over 30% between 2001 and 2004 to 165,000. Not all of these are children going every day, but it does highlight the increasing reliance among working parents on nurseries to take over from them during the early years of their children's lives. Whether this is desirable is a different discussion, but what happens when they are there. Currently this is outlined in two documents - "Birth to Three Matters" and the "Foundation Stage", but last month the Early Years Foundation Stage was published - an immediately nicknamed the "nappy curriculum" - bringing the 0-5 curriculum into one discrete phase. So - is it a good thing?
QUALITY IMPROVEMENT AGENCY DISCUSSION
On April the 1st - perhaps not the most auspicious date - a new non governmental public body came into being. It's called the QIA, or Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning, and its remit is Further Education in England .