This policy update from the House of Commons library provides a summary of the debate around the type and level of provision of sport and physical education (PE) in schools. The Department for Education has confirmed that PE will remain a compulsory subject after the review of the National Curriculum in England.
Since the Secretary of State for Education’s October 2010 statement, calling for a new direction in school sport, there have been many significant policy changes, and the update provides a useful precis.
The next issue of Better: Evidence-based Education, published in June, takes as its theme “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” and looks at the evidence that sport and other non-academic activities, such as yoga and programmes to address problem behaviour, can boost children’s physical and mental health and help them to learn.
Source: School Sport (2012), House of Commons Library
Head Start CARES (Classroom-based Approaches and Resources for Emotion and Social Skill Promotion) is a large-scale, US national research demonstration to test a one-year programme to improve pre-kindergarteners’ (age 4–5) social and emotional readiness for school. To facilitate the delivery of the programme, teachers attended training workshops and worked with coaches throughout the school year. In this report from MDRC, researchers present lessons learned from Head Start CARES about coaching social-emotional curricula in a large and complex early childhood education system. Key findings include:
- Successful coaches exhibited a combination of skills in three important areas: knowledge of the programme, general coaching and consultation skills, and knowledge of and experience in early childhood development and/or teaching.
- Incorporating coaching into day-to-day practices requires flexibility and is necessary for implementation success.
- Site-level administrators must be actively engaged in supporting and supervising coaching as well as general implementation processes.
Source: Coaching as a Key Component in Teachers’ Professional Development: Improving Classroom Practices in Head Start Settings (2012), MDRC
The Department for Education has published three new reports on the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE). EPPSE has followed around 3,000 children since 1997, when they were 3.
The latest reports look at the factors that influence Year 9 students’ social-behavioural outcomes; maths, English, and science outcomes; and a range of other measures, including enjoyment of school and anxiety.
There are many valuable findings, including, for example, that pupils who had a “positive transition” from primary school were more likely to have higher attainment in maths, English, and science. Time spent on homework was also a relatively strong predictor of better attainment and progress in all three core areas.
Source: EPPSE 3 to 14 final report from the key stage 3 phase: influences on students’ development from age 11 to 14 (2012), Department for Education.
Which programmes help adolescents struggling with social-emotional problems? Child Trends examined the effectiveness of 37 intervention programmes designed to prevent or treat internalising problems for adolescents (“internalising problems” are defined as problems or disorders of emotion or mood caused by difficulties regulating negative emotion).
Findings showed that programmes are most effective when they build cognitive behavioural skills (such as redirecting negative or self-defeating thoughts), build behavioural coping skills for developing healthy responses to stress, and teach social skills for improving interpersonal relationships and self-efficacy. Therapeutic approaches, such as family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and treatment-focused, school-based approaches were also shown to be effective.
Source: Research: What works to prevent or reduce internalizing problems or socio-emotional difficulties in adolescents (2012), National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center
A new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that, relative to children born in September, children born in August, on average:
- score substantially lower in national achievement tests and other measures of cognitive skills;
- are more likely to study for vocational qualifications if they stay on in post-compulsory education;
- are less likely to attend a Russell Group (high-status) university at age 19;
- have lower confidence in their academic ability and are less likely to believe that they control their own destiny as teenagers.
While a future study plans to identify the causes of these findings, schools may be keen to consider practical ways to address these issues. For example, they may consider reviewing the extent to which curriculum provision is developmentally appropriate for the youngest children in the first terms of schooling; how summer borns are supported in meaningfully interacting with their older peers, as equals, in classroom and playtime activities, and the role that social-emotional learning might play in enhancing achievement.
Source: Does when you are born matter? The impact of month of birth on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills in England (2011), Institute for Fiscal Studies
Further research into the effectiveness of social and emotional learning programmes can be found in the Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit.