Skip to main content
Report cover showing pupils in classroom

Partnering for success: Preparing to deliver the 14-19 education reforms in England

“Getting these reforms right will be vital to the futures of many of our young people. In many cases, local institutions and people on the ground are responding impressively to the need for genuine collaboration to deliver the best education possible for all young people. But the less well developed areas still have much to do to provide all the options young people will be entitled to by 2013.”

Published:
13 Dec 2007
Report cover image of pupils at work in a modern building.

The Academies Programme

“Our report today shows that the Academies programme is improving the standards of education and raising the achievements of pupils from deprived backgrounds. These are early days and more remains to be done, especially in improving English and maths results. The challenge for academies is to sustain the improvements while also spreading their benefits more widely in their communities.

“For the programme, the challenge is to manage capital costs better for the hundreds of new academies still planned to be built and to use the lessons from the programme, for example on good quality school buildings, to get good value for money for the large capital investment currently being made in academies and other secondary schools.”

Published:
23 Feb 2007

The Academies Programme

Most academies have made good progress in improving GCSE results, and the programme is on track to deliver good value for money. Performance is rising faster than in other types of schools although results in English and maths are low. Academies have cost more to build than other schools, but most academy buildings are high … Read more

Report cover showing child at play

Sure Start Children’s Centres

“Though it is too early to tell the long-term impact of Sure Start children’s centres on children’s lives, we do know that families value the services they provide. It is vital that the services reach the most needy members of our communities. For the future, local authorities and the centres should focus on gaining a better understanding of their costs, and on working effectively with other agencies to get the maximum value from the resources available through children’s centres.”

Published:
19 Dec 2006

Sure Start Children’s Centres

Sure Start Children’s Centres are valued by most of the families who use them, according to the National Audit Office. The families reached by children’s centres are some of the most disadvantaged, though the early signs are that more still needs to be done to reach and support some of the most excluded groups. The … Read more

Report cover showing a mother and child painting on the table

Child Support Agency – implementation of the child support reforms

“The Child Support reforms were a final but, in the event, unsuccessful attempt to deliver the policy behind the creation of Child Support Agency in 1993. While they have benefited a number of the poorest parents and children, overall they have not achieved value for money and have not achieved what they were designed to do.

“These problems will have caused genuine hardship and distress to many parents and their children. From design to delivery and operation, the programme to reform the Agency has been beset with problems which the Department for Work and Pensions, the Agency and its IT supplier EDS, have struggled to deal with.

“The Agency’s new Operational Improvement Plan is a significant step towards addressing these difficulties and is showing signs of improving the Agency’s performance, but, given the scale of the problems, there will be no quick fix.”

Published:
30 Jun 2006

Child Support Agency – implementation of the child support reforms

The Child Support Reforms introduced in 2003 were a final but, in the event, unsuccessful attempt to deliver the policy behind the creation of the Child Support Agency in 1993. With hindsight the Child Support Agency was never structured in a way that would enable the policy to be delivered cost-effectively. While the Reforms have … Read more

Report cover showing school children holding apples in a bid for healthy eating

Tackling Child Obesity – First Steps

“Childhood obesity is a serious health problem that can follow people much later into life. It is a causal factor in a number of chronic diseases and conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If we are serious about tackling childhood obesity then all government agencies and organisations must work together more effectively. Those of us involved in inspection and assessment must ensure that this partnership working really takes place nationally and locally.”

Audit Commission Chief Executive, Steve Bundred, said:

“The Government is facing a significant challenge on a serious social problem, but it is tackling it head on. To succeed, children must be engaged in the home, at school and when being treated by the NHS. It is no surprise that it is very complicated to address because the various government agencies involved are trying to bring about changes to the lifestyles of children and families. The recommendations in this report must be embraced urgently to give the Government the best chance of achieving its target.”

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, said:

“Central Government must set a clear direction if we are to tackle obesity in children. Given that the target was established in 2004, the three Government Departments could have been quicker in co-ordinating their own actions and in making sure that those on the frontline were fully informed and supported in their efforts. There is now a need for the three Departments to work closely together to provide the leadership and direction that the whole delivery chain requires.”

Published:
28 Feb 2006
Report cover showing a pupil studying the contents of a test tube

Improving poorly performing schools

A large proportion of schools in England provide high standards of education, with pupil attainment improving in primary and secondary schools. However, some schools are performing less well. The Department for Education and Skills and Ofsted use several definitions to identify schools that are performing poorly and need additional support; among the 1,557 schools included … Read more

Published:
11 Jan 2006