Archive for February 2007

What do you Really Think about Teachers?

The Teacher Status Project has just delivered its final report. The study, which began in 2002, was commissioned by the DfES to examine how teachers viewed their role, and how other members of the public regard the teaching profession. More information about the study is available from the project website.

Child Obesity / Healthy Eating

The issue of child obesity has reared its head again, with the story of an eight year old boy who may be taken into care due to his excessive weight. If this were to happen, it would be a first in a case of this kind.

Anyone with an interest in this topic has plenty of recent literature to explore. Last month the Department of Health published Obesity Guidance For Healthy Schools Coordinators & Their Partners, while 2006 saw reports from Ofsted - Healthy Schools, Healthy Children - and the National Audit Office - Tackling Child Obesity: First Steps. A further selection of useful reports and research can be accessed in full through the Childlink service via Athens.

It is Hard to be a Responsible Caregiver

Spend some time with small children and you realize (or remember) how hard it is to be a good parent or grandparent. I recently helped drive my daughter and her children back home to California. It was a very long trip. Besides having one sick child, we also had my 7 month-old granddaughter to entertain in a car seat. She did very well until the last 2 hours of the trip. She wanted out of the car seat. She kept looking at Papa (me), pulling at her seat belts and screaming. Her look said, "Why are you doing this to me?" It was difficult not to unbelt her and hold her during that time. This family already lived through a terrible crash two years ago so my daughter is very safety conscious. I am, as well, so my granddaughter stayed in the seat. It reminded me again that responsible parenting (and grandparenting) takes patience. Giving in helps create irresponsible children. We have enough of those already.

Faith Schools

David Cameron has hit the headlines this morning for opting to send his daughter to a faith school. Students who are interested in the subject of the perceived merits / disadvantages of a faith-based education may like to look at a recent DFES-funded piece of research; Faith Primary Schools : Better Schools or Better Pupils? was published last November and examines this difficult topic from a number of angles.

Journals Guide is Back, Back, Back...

Rejoice! Copies of the Guide to Journals are finally available in the library!

We’ve had a number of delays in producing the Guide this year due to several publishers moving their titles between online services in the last 12 months, so if you’re still using last year’s edition then we strongly recommend that you pick up the new version.

For the uninitiated, the Guide lists every journal that you can access in full using the library resources, and shows you whether it’s available in hard copy, or which Athens service you will need to use to access the content. That doesn’t sound too thrilling but believe me, it’s a fantastic research aid for staff and students alike.

Valentine for Children

It would be nice if on this Valentine's Day, the legislative groups in all the states would decide to give a special Valentine to young children. Fully funding and supporting early childhood programs would be the best gift children could receive. Giving children the opportunity to have a successful beginning to life! It wouldn't even need to be wrapped up in a heart.

UK is Bottom of the League

A story about children in the UK is one of the major headlines this morning; unfortunately, it reveals a rather depressing statistic. According to a survey by Unicef - the United Nations children's organisation - Britain is at the bottom of a league table for child well-being in 21 developed nations. The full report is available online.

Citizenship in the Curriculum

A lot of discussion has recently focussed on the purpose and content of citizenship lessons within the curriculum. And the debate hasn't just been limited to educational publications - the Celebrity Big Brother controversy caused the issue to spill over into television reports and the pages of daily newspapers.

If you're interested in this topic, there is plenty of freely available up-to-date research which you can refer to. The DfES has just published a detailed literature review and case study which provides an in-depth picture of current practice within schools; this follows on from a recent Ofsted report which examined citizenship in secondary schools. Or if you'd like to learn about different international approaches to the subject, then the recent report from INCA should provide you with an excellent starting point.

Ofsted in Birmingham

Last October eleven Ofsted inspectors visited Birmingham to review the children's and young people's services in the city. Their report, which has been published this week, identified a number of strengths and weaknesses in the current provision of services. A summary of the main findings is available online, or if you prefer you can access the full report.

For more information on children's services in Birmingham, you can also visit Birmingham Early Years and Childcare; all other Ofsted publications are available in full from their website.

New Semester, New Service

Welcome! The Childhood and Education blog is designed to keep staff and students at BCFTCS up to date with the latest news and resources in this area. If you're not sure what blogging is or why it's useful, try looking at this guide from the BBC - hopefully everything will become clear...

Information about new stories, research or College resources will be added regularly to the blog as it becomes available. You can also use the news links on the right side of the page to check what education stories are in the headlines right now. And if there's anything else you'd like to see reflected in this space, then please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email - my address is in the top right-hand corner of the page. Hopefully that all makes sense, so let's get blogging!

Head Start Reminder

I had the opportunity to present a workshop at the California Head Start Association conference in Newport Beach this past week. It is always delightful to meet with Head Start folks. It reminds me how much I miss working with that population. Even with the government jerking funding around in the last couple of years, these dedicated people keep providing services to children and families. It is the family aspect that makes Head Start so wonderful. I wish that we could provide the same family support for parents in K-2 classrooms. It would take care of many problems we encounter as the children get older and parents' support of education wanes. It would take some funding, but I think that in the long run it would be much cheaper. Investing in early childhood is always cost-effective. Just look at the research!