A report by the National Audit Office today has highlighted the major challenge faced by the Department for Education and Skills in reducing pupil absence from schools. The Department, together with local authorities and schools, has made some progress in reducing total absence. At the same time, there has been no decline in unauthorised absence, … Read more
Sector: Children and families
“Better attendance at school by pupils improves their educational achievements and, in turn, their lives and prospects. Even a small reduction in absence would result in many pupils receiving greater benefit from their education.
“The rate of absence from schools in England has proved difficult to reduce. However, the efforts of the Department for Education and Skills, local authorities and schools are starting to have an impact. They must keep up the momentum and reinforce in schools and among parents and pupils the importance of attending school.”
4 Feb 2005
Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported today that the Social Fund plays an important role in helping people in financial hardship, and is reaching many of those in greatest need. But there is a risk that potentially eligible people are not aware of the Social Fund and that some Jobcentre Plus … Read more
“The Social Fund provides an important safety net for some of the most vulnerable in society, many of whom will have limited or no access to affordable credit and mainstream financial services. The Social Fund is reaching many people in need. But the Department needs to raise awareness of it both with potentially eligible customers and its own staff.
“I am pleased that the Department is improving its debt recovery procedures and standardising the process for dealing with Social Fund applications across the country. But I am concerned about the standard of decision-making on Social Fund applications, as evidenced by the high number of errors on certain awards.”
13 Jan 2005
Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported today that the Department for Education and Skills has made a good start to its long-term strategy to improve the levels of adult literacy and numeracy in England, but there are more challenges ahead. While the Skills for Life Strategy has met its 2004 target, … Read more
“Higher levels of literacy and numeracy will benefit England both socially and economically. More people will have the opportunity to live richer lives. The Department has made substantial progress since 2001 in improving the teaching of literacy and numeracy and making more people aware of the options and wanting to learn. But this is only the beginning. The Department and its partners will need to be creative and responsive if they are to reach another 1.5 million people by 2010. My report sets out some of the steps they need to take if they are to succeed.”
15 Dec 2004
Nearly 100,000 new childcare places have been created for pre-school children since 1998 and the Government is on course to meet its targets for the provision of free part-time early education for three- and four-year-olds. But Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported today that more needs to be done to ensure … Read more
“The Government has made impressive progress in creating new childcare places and in providing early education for pre-school children since 1998, but not enough of these new places are yet in deprived areas where they would most benefit children and parents. The Government’s investment will be wasted if the new provision is not viable. More training is needed, especially for childminders, and providers need more support to help them manage their businesses.”
27 Feb 2004
“The Youth Justice Board has done much to implement reforms to the youth justice system, but more needs to be done to rehabilitate young offenders within the community to reduce risks of reoffending. The movement of young offenders from one institution to another can be unsettling for offenders, breaking developing relationships with those responsible for their supervision, and disrupting educational and other programmes intended to help prevent reoffending. Better assessment of custodial needs, and more recognition of offenders’ progress with their programmes when deciding who to move, would be beneficial.
“And better co-ordination by all agencies involved in supervising young offenders in the community or in providing appropriate support services for such young people would reduce uncertainty for some offenders about accommodation, education or employment on completion of their sentence.”
21 Jan 2004
Head of the National Audit Office Sir John Bourn reported to Parliament today that the Youth Justice Board, established in September 1998, has successfully developed and introduced a range of new non-custodial sentences and programmes for young offenders. There is scope, however, for the Board to improve forecasting of custodial numbers, deciding of placements and … Read more