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Making a Difference: Performance of Maintained Secondary Schools in England

When measuring the performance of maintained schools in improving the academic achievements of their pupils, the Department for Education and Skills should take account of newly available data on the academic achievements of the pupils in earlier stages of their education and on aspects of their economic, social and cultural backgrounds. This recommendation appears in … Read more

Report cover showing children with exam results

Making a Difference: Performance of Maintained Secondary Schools in England

“Measuring and comparing the performance of schools are vital to the task of improving the education of our children. The Department and Ofsted are now able to take into account the influence of external factors in order to analyse the difference that schools make to the academic achievements of their pupils. This provides a more robust and objective assessment of the relative performance of schools, and gives policy makers a firmer basis for targeting their efforts on those schools most in need of support.”

Published:
28 Nov 2003
Cover of Report

Child Support Agency Client Funds Account 2001-2002

“I continue to be concerned at the high level of error in maintenance assessments and I have had to qualify my audit opinion on this account yet again. It is disappointing that the Child Support Reforms aimed at improving the accuracy of maintenance assessments, had to be delayed because testing on a new computer system had not been completed. But it is prudent not to introduce the reforms until it is shown that the system can be operated to specified standards.”

Published:
23 Jul 2002
Report cover showing young people's images on playing cards

The New Deal for Young People

“The New Deal for Young People has been successful in placing 339,000 unemployed young people into jobs, and the programme has also had a beneficial effect on the economy.

“The programme must continue to evolve to meet the needs of the increasing proportion of clients with severe or multiple barriers to employment and the changing economic climate. It is therefore vital that the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus continue to monitor and evaluate the programme’s effectiveness. In particular, they must evaluate the changes introduced to the programme to ensure that it continues to help these vulnerable young people and provide good value for taxpayers’ money.”

Published:
28 Feb 2002
Report cover showing graduates throwing hats

Improving student achievement in English higher education

Student achievement rates in English higher education institutions have remained high during a period of considerable expansion of student numbers, although rates vary widely between institutions. The higher education sector will have to recruit and retain more students from hitherto poorly represented social groups and help them to succeed if the government’s learning targets are … Read more

Published:
18 Jan 2002

Improving student achievement in English higher education

Student achievement rates in English higher education institutions have remained high during a period of considerable expansion of student numbers, although rates vary widely between institutions. The higher education sector will have to recruit and retain more students from hitherto poorly represented social groups and help them to succeed if the government’s learning targets are … Read more

Report cover showing adult students.

Improving Student Performance – How English Further Education Colleges Can Improve Student Retention and Achievement 

“Further education colleges, with the support of the Funding Council and the Department, have done well over the past five years to increase the proportion of students who achieve their qualifications. In particular we were pleased to see that the number of colleges with overall achievement rates below 50 per cent has reduced dramatically.

“Overall success rates remain disappointing, however, and the gap between the best and worst performing colleges is still too wide. Poorer performing colleges need to adopt the good practices of the best if they are to help the Government meet the National Learning Targets2.”

The further education sector provides a wide range of education and training opportunities to people from school leaving-age upwards. There are some 400 further education colleges in England, enabling 3.8 million students to study for some 17,000 different qualifications from about 480 awarding bodies, at a cost to the public purse of some £3 billion.

The Department for Education and Employment is responsible for determining the overall policy for further education and the Further Education Funding Council is responsible for implementing it. From April 2001 a new Learning and Skills Council will replace the Further Education Funding Council and Training and Enterprise Councils. (Training and Enterprise Councils are private sector companies which manage local training and enterprise activities under a performance-based contract with the Secretary of State for Employment).

1 Success rates are the number of qualification aims achieved as a proportion of those started, even though students may subsequently have dropped them. Achievement rates do not take account of qualifications started but not completed.

The National Learning Targets represent the Government’s aim of making a substantial improvement in participation and achievement in education and training at every level

‘ National Vocational Qualifications

” General National Vocational Qualifications

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, is the head of the National Audit Office employing some 750 staff. He and the NAO are totally independent of Government. He certifies the accounts of all Government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources.

Published:
2 Mar 2001

Improving Student Performance – How English Further Education Colleges Can Improve Student Retention and Achievement 

Over the last five years, further education colleges have helped a growing proportion of students to achieve their qualifications at the same time as supporting a big increase in student numbers. But further education colleges must make greater improvements in their student success rates, Sir John Bourn, Head of the National Audit Office, said today. … Read more