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Newsletter

No 19, November 2006

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New projects

Geoff Lindsay writes:

CEDAR has been awarded two new research projects funded by the Department for Education and Skills as part of its programme to support parents, particularly those of children at risk of developing behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

The Parent Early Intervention Pathfinder (PEIP) project will study the roll out of three programmes of parent training: Webster Stratton, Triple P and Supporting Families Supporting Communities. The DfES decided to support these three after a review of the literature on the effectiveness of parent support programmes. The purpose of our study is to examine their roll out across 15 local authorities, five for each programme.

We shall be examining both processes and outcomes. The former are important to explore the factors which support, and hinder, the successful implementation of programmes. In the roll out the programmes will be implemented by personnel from five different LAs per programme, each with its own characteristics including range of services, demographic profile and priorities. Comparison LAs will also be studied.

We shall also be examining the effects of the programmes in terms of their impact on parents' and children's outcomes. There is evidence that these programmes can work under controlled arrangements, the task now is to see how they can achieve comparable success when implemented across several LAs and where the programme developers have less control over implementation. This is an important issue with any successful programme and especially so in this case where the evidence from these pathfinders will be used to determine whether and, if so, how to roll out these programmes across the country.

The second project is a study of Parent Support Advisers (PSAs) in 20 pilot LAs. The purpose of the study, and approach taken is similar to that for PEIP, namely to examine both the processes of implementation that support or build successful implementation and to examine the benefits achieved by the use of PSAs.

The PSAs will work closely with schools, either as clusters or individual schools, and have a range of responsibilities. Priorities will be determined locally at school, cluster and LA level. A major focus is on supporting parents directly and to prevent the development of Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) in their children. This may include direct work with parents and support to help parents access other services. In addition, PSAs will have a role in developing parental engagement with the school wider community.

Both projects will include cost effectiveness analyses. There is a small degree of overlap between the projects allowing us to explore the implementation of both in an LA.

Both studies are led by Professor Geoff Lindsay with Professor Hilton Davis, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust and Kings College London. A team from CEDAR comprising Sue Band, Mairi-Ann Cullen, Liz Davis and Dr Stephen Cullen will be undertaking most of the fieldwork, Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, Warwick Medical School and Dr Ray Evans, Coventry LA and Associate Fellow in CEDAR will provide consultancy on parenting and LA practice respectively. Dr Steve Strand (CEDAR) will lead on the quantitative analyses and Chris Hasluck, Warwick Institute of Employment Research, will lead on the cost effectiveness analyses. Geoff Lindsay, Hilton Davis and Ray Evans will also undertake some fieldwork.

The PEIP will end in March 2008. The PSA research will finish in August 2008, but over the autumn of the year we shall be disseminating the research.

 

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SEN and Ethnicity - Project Summary

Steve Strand writes:-

CEDAR has recently completed a contract from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) that investigated the relationship between special educational needs (SEN) and ethnicity. Differences in the proportion of pupils identified as having SEN across different ethnic groups has historically been of concern, both in the UK and US. However it is not clear what the current picture is in England or the reasons for any differences that may exist: whether there is a genuine higher incidence of SEN in some ethnic groups; whether some pupils are inappropriately identified; or whether some pupils are not identified at all.

The research involved a statistical analysis of national data to explore the complex interrelationships between SEN, socio-economic disadvantage, gender and ethnicity. The 2005 Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) data for 6.4 million pupils aged 4-16 in England were analysed. Supplementary data on the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) was also gathered. Logistic regression analyses were completed to calculate the odds-ratios of having an identified SEN (either School Action Plus or a statement of SEN) for overall SEN and for each primary type of SEN. For ethnicity, these odds ratios tell us how much more (or how much less) likely an outcome is for each ethnic group relative to the White British majority group. The analyses were completed both for ethnic group along (unadjusted models) and also after adjusting for the influence of other factors such as age, gender and socio-economic disadvantage (adjusted models). This was accompanied by a detailed review of the research literature between 1990-2005 to identify possible reasons for over or under-representation. A questionnaire to Local Authorities and focus group interviews with key LA personnel were also completed.

Key findings were:

Socio-economic disadvantage (poverty) and gender have strong associations than ethnicity with overall prevalence of SEN and of certain categories of SEN. However, after controlling for the effects of socio-economic disadvantage, gender and age significant over- and under- representation of different minority ethnic groups relative to White British pupils remain. The nature and degree of these disproportionalities varies across both catergory of SEN and minority ethnic group.

Black Caribbean and Mixed White & Black Caribbean pupils are around 1 1/2 times more likely to be identified as having behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) than White British pupils. The literature suggests teacher and school factors including racist attitudes and differential treatment of Black pupils as a reason for their over-representation in the BESD category. However, the PLASC data does not show similar over-representation of Black African or Black Other groups. Further work to investigate this over-representation is needed and the focus needs to be on distinguishing the different needs of these pupils. Positive approaches to engage the pupils and and their parents and to focus on success, perhaps modelling on 'Aiming High' but with a specific additional SEN focus should be considered.

Bangladeshi pupils are nearly twice as likely to be identified with a hearing impairment than White British pupils, and Pakistani pupils are between 2 - 2 1/2 times more likely to be identified as having Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, a visual impairment, hearing impairment or multi-sensory impairment. The literature suggests a greater incidence of genetic factors related to consanguinity (where parents are blood relations) as an important factor in the over-representation of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children for these SEN categories. However, care must be taken not to over-attribute developmental difficulties to this factor.

The Department of Health needs to be actively engaged to address this issue and to develop a sensitive stategy to engage the community in a consideration of risk associated with consanguinity.

Asian and Chinese pupils are less likely than White British pupils to be identified as having Moderate Learning Difficulties, Specific Learning Difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The literature suggests that this could be because of difficulties in disentangling learning difficulties from issues associated with English as an Additional Language (EAL) and therefore work is needed to assess whether these children's needs are being met appropriately or whether their EAL status is leading to an under-estimation of the nature and severity of cognition and learning needs. The literature also suggests that lack of early take-up of health care among EAL groups may be an additional risk factor.

Travellers of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma pupils are over-represented among many categories of SEN, including Moderate and Severe Learning Difficulties, and BESD. The literature suggests a number of factors ranging from those associated with school such as negative teacher attitudes, racism and bullying, and a curriculum perceived as lacking relevance, to factors associated with Traveller cultures, such as high mobility, poor attendance and early drop out from school. However, the research base on this group is limited and therefore conclusions are indicative only.

A conference was help at University of Warwick on 30th October 2006 at which the CEDAR team presented the research and the guest speaker was Chris Wells, Head of the SEN and Disabilities Division at the DfES. The conference was well attended and further extended the debate.

The full report can be downloaded from:

Lindsay, G., Pather, S., & Strand, S. (2006). Special educational needs and ethnicity: Issues of over- and under-representation. DfES Research Report 757. Nottingham: DfES. Available at: www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR757.pdf

A seven page research summary can be downloaded from:

Lindsay, G., Pather, S., & Strand, S. (2006). Special educational needs and ethnicity: Issues of over- and under-representation. DfES Research Brief 757. Nottingham: DfES. Available at: www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR757.pdf 

 

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Working in the Contemporary Visual Arts

Sheila Galloway writes:

Research for Arts Council England's Review of the Presentation of the Contemporary Visual Arts: Structure and Leadership.

In 2006 Arts Council England has prioritised the visual arts for the first time. In June, 'Turning Point', the new national ten-year strategy for the contemporary visual arts was launched. This was developed after a research programme in 2005 which included the Warwick team's investigation of employment, career and professional development in this field. We also looked at matters of under-representation. CEDAR collaborated with Warwick's Institute for Employment Research in collecting new data, both qualitative and quantitative, from about 900 people, through:

* An Employers' Skills Survey with responses from 364 institutions

* A Workforce Survey with responses from 523 individual professionals

* 5 group interviews in 4 English regions involving 45 people who work in the presentation of the contemporary visual arts. These were complemented by individual interviews with key people who had particular expertise.

We also drew on official statistical sources, reviewed existing research evidence and did three 'comparator' studies, exploring the situation in theatre, in broadcasting and the media, and in the presentation of the visual arts in Germany. While broadly in line with what was already know, the new data nevertheless highlight some striking issues.

About 70% of the organisations were idependent. 54% had exhibition space but 32% has no gallery space, being professional associations, networks or agencies. Their business activities varied: almost two-thirds mentioned exhibiition and presentation of visual art, and 60% education and outreach work. Half commissioned and produced visual art, and 30% traded art through a gallery or shop. Three quarters were technically 'micro-enterprises' with 1-9 employees. Just over half had four or fewer employees.

The total workforce represented in the survey was 7,000 people, of whom 3,500 were employees, 1,200 self-employed and 2,300 unpaid. Unpaid trainees outnumber paid trainees almost eight to one. Employment patterns reflect a largely female workforce (almost three-quarters), much project-based work, and the sector's exceptional openness to voluntary activity. Despite women's strong presence, there were clearly constraints on their progression to higher leadership roles. Interpretative roles were 80% female, curatorial positions 70%, deputy director posts 60% and director posts 60% female.

The Employers' Survey depicts a paid workforce which is 93% white, with Black and Asian employees accounting for about 2%, and the Workforce Suryey found that almost 95% were white. Against national workforce standards the level of representation should be roughly 50% higher than it is currently.

Employers' responses indicated that disabled people comprise barely 1.5% of the workforce, while the Workforce survey reported 4% with a long-term illness, health problem or disability. Meanwhile, interviewees confirmed a widespread reluctance to admit to disability.

Half those completing the Workforce Survey had degree level qualifications: a further 40% had a postgraduate diploma or degree. About 70% had under five years' experience in the sector, and about 20% had had no work-related training in the past year. About half had had on-the-job or in-house training.

Of those is professional posts, two thirds had permanent contracts, a fifth fixed-term contracts, and 10% worked freelance. (The prevalence of traineeships and unpaid voluntary work means that these reults will underestimate the extent of insecure employment). About 60% earn less than the national average for all employees, even though this workforce consists of highly qualified people doing work of a professional nature. Interviewees said that it was difficult to benchmark salaries for curatorial roles against other professional occupations, and that the skills needed in local authority posts (both curatorial and managerial) were not reflected in salary levels. London salary levels were seen as inadequate, especially for those with families.

Half of respondents had an employer which operated an occupational pension scheme. Almost three-quarters had no pension attached to their current post. Almost 30% had no provision beyond the basic state pension.

Without greater union activity on pay and conditions in the sector, there is little way to ensure that any national guidelines on pay would be followed. An organisation's size affects the terms and conditions which can be offered. Small companies provide a seedbed for innovative practice but usually operate under straitened circumstances. Yet they are part of the public-private infrastructure which fosters the creative industries.

Interviewees spoke of inherent self-exploitation - from which the visual arts benefit. Meanwhile, senior staff described being 'inundated' with people asking for unpaid positions. Working unpaid as a rite of passage to prove commitment and employability gives an advantage to those young people who can afford to do this. But this situation disadvantages anyone who lacks family resources.

Employers felt that, however well qualified, new graduates still had much to learn. How these workplace skills are funded is an issue for the sector. Many new graduates have generated their own work experience in both term time and vacations, and the level of internships and unpaid voluntary work means that the cost of early training in addition to academic study is being absorbed mainly by the individual, not the employer or the sector.

Interviewees with experience outside the arts commented on levels of competence in administrative and management posts within the arts generally. The traditional approach of appointing people with an interest in the sector will not enhance the competence of the support system for those in professional and presentational roles. People need appropriate training and professional development opportunities.

Some senior staff with multiple roles in small organisations felt that their own needs were sidelined to cope with immediate operational priorities and the development of more junior staff.

On the need to attract young people from ethnic minority backgrounds, interviewees often focused on social deprivation, seeing that as being just as important as enthnicity. Others felt that such school-leavers now have a wide range of career possibilities which offer more attractive pay and opportunities. Many interviewees said that Art History courses were unduly Eurocentric. At the same time, some reacted against having to 'tick the box' to meet cultural diversity criteria when seeking funding.

Alongside frustrations about structural factors, interviewees spoke about their diverse career trajectories and the learning curves, commitment and passion associated with their work. This research gives a strong insight into an area which has not always been clearly defined and it has informed Arts Council England's new strategy for the contemporary visual arts.

The main authors of the research report drew on contributions from colleagues Rhys Davies (IER), Dr David Owen (IER and Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations), Dr Andrew Sparks, Erica Lindley and Dr Vivien Freakley.

The full report and the associated strategic paper can be downloaded Arts Council England's website.

Galloway, S., Lindley, R., and Behle, H. (2006) Working in the Presentation of the Contemporary Visual Arts.

Lindley, R. and Galloway, S. (2006) Working in the Presentation of the Contemporary Visual Arts.

Accessible at www.artscouncil.org.uk/turningpoint 

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Artist Teacher Scheme National Evaluation

Sheila Galloway writes:

Many initiatives enable practising artists to work in school. In contrast, the Artist Teacher Scheme (ATS) has since 1999 offered teachers an out-of-school chance to refocus on their artistic practice. By 2005 ten regional ATS centres existed in England. Each involves a prestigious contemporary gallery partnered with a higher education art/design institution, providing professional development opportunities.

The belief is that their personal development as artists can directly benefit participants' effectiveness as teachers and can ultimately affect their students' learning and creativity. Previous research identified the need to develop art teachers' subject knowledge but, with contemporary find art practice changing fast, people need to confidence to engage with it complexity. Those preoccupied with daily school priorities also find it hard to maintain their creative practice. The Artist Teacher Scheme helps them do this through one-day workshops, intensive residential course, intermediate level evening/weekend sessions and MA courses.

CEDAR was commissioned to conduct the first national evaluation of the Scheme with Julian Stanley of the Centre for Education and Industry working with Sheila Galloway and Steve Strand. It addressed:

* administrative and delivery structures and marketing and publicity arrangements

* evidence on how the scheme affects teaching standards, how sustainable this is and forms of future reinforcement

* how the Scheme supports partnership working and increases access to the arts and culture

* making suggestions for the future development and evaluation of the Scheme.

The research involved a mix of methods:

* reviewing documents about local schemes

* site visits to meet providers and participants

* analysing participants' details from Teacher Profile forms

* a postal survey of 145 participants in 2005-06

* interviewing 22 centre and course leaders

* interviewing 25 artist teachers on courses, in schools and on the telephone.

The Scheme's fluidity meant centres could exploit local resources and expertise, and they retain a high degree of autonomy. As the ATS expands, the relationship between centres and the national management group may merit reassessment. The report advocates greater visibility for this national initiative, with more opportunities for networking and providing a platform for participants' work.

One project outcome is a national participant database, and every course participant now completes a simple Registration form. The 2005-06 cohort was 81% female, with quite an even age spread. 79% worked in state schools, and one third were heads of department (42% in the survey).

The survey found artist teachers significantly more confident in their abilities as art educators than in their abilities as artists, and more satisfied with their work as art educators than with their work as artists. They rated courses highly, with content, quality of delivery and overall value of the experience above 85%. 86% would recommend their course to a colleague. We characterised their motivation as 'artistic', 'teacherly' or for 'artist teacher' reasons. Some teachers resist the idea that this course could directly serve their teaching: others found the dual aspect attractive.

The immediate impact is often in seeing oneself as an artist. Participants welcomed the chance to experiment, to be challenged, to move outside their 'comfort zone', valuing the peer group support. They cited greater confidence in critical debate, and regained 'the language of the studio'.

Considering effects on teaching practice, 59% had used in-school techniques or materials encountered on their course. 57% were more confident in developing students' critical analysis skills. The survey and interviews record clear effects on educational thinking and pedagogy.

Using ATS experience in school included replication of techniques, referencing more contemporary works, taking students to galleries, sharing one's work with pupils, operating like an 'artist-in-residence', exploiting new knowledge and confidence. Fostering a better critical dialogue was frequently mentioned. Being a learner again was stimulating, and 'progression' was not always linear and academic, culminating with an MA - it could mean a rethinking, deepening or widening of practice.

Teachers gave evidence of positive effects on pupils including more varied work, more experimentation, greater confidence, better discussion and, for a few, better exam results. Others were cautious about identifying such effects.

Like any dynamic initiative, the Artist Teacher Scheme is constantly evolving. The evaluation considered managerial issues, took stock of it achievements and highlighted ways to sustain a distinctive form of professional development.

The report will be published shortly by the National Society for Education in Art and Design.

Galloway, S., Stanley, J. and Strand, S., (2006) The Artist Teacher Scheme: Practice and Prospects. National Evaluation Report, Corsham, NSEAD.

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Local Evaluation of Chelmsley Wood Children's Centre

Mairi-Ann Cullen writes:

CEDAR has conducted the local evaluation of Sure Start Chelmsley Wood since it opened in 2000. During 2005-06, we were commissioned to undertake the final one; what had been a Sure Start local programme has now become part of Chelmsley Wood Children Centre. In acknowledgement of national changes in the delivery of services to children and families, our evaluation focused on three benchmarks: the Outcomes Framework of Every Child Matters (stay safe, be healthy, enjoy and achieve, achieve economic well-being, make a positive contribution) (DfES, 2004); the relevant Standards (1,2,3,5,8 & 11) from the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services ('the Children's NSF') (DfES/DH, 2004); and a sixth outcome, accesible services, added locally by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. Integrating these three in one evaluation was regarded as innovative and helpful by staff in the Centre and local professionals interviewed.

Our evaluation (Cullen & Lindsay, 2006) found evidence that the Centre was successful in contributing to all five outcomes for children and to the achievement of the six relevant Standards from the Children's NSF. Underpinning this success was the accessibility of services to children, mothers, carers and, to a lesser extent, fathers. Further, a range of local professionals, from across the statutory services and the voluntary and community sector, regarded the work of the Centre as fitting in with and supporting the aims of their own services. Such a degree of congruity is a strong foundation for the further development of Children's Centres in Solihull.

Compared to the previous CEDAR local evaluations, this one used two new methods of data collection; peer interviewing and children taking photos. Six parents were trained to conduct interviews with other Sure Start members by the CEDAR researcher and the Centre's adult tutor. The resulting interviews revealed that peer interviewers were able to speak to a wider range of members and to elicit a wider range of views than an external interviewer. Eight three-year old children were given disposable cameras and asked to take pictures of what they liked and didn't like about the Centre. When the pictures were developed, the children's mothers wrote down their child's explanation of each photo as its caption. The photos and captions revealed the Centre from children's perspective in a fresh, enlightening way but also corroborated the very positive views gained from adults. Analysis showed that their photos covered eight main topics: 'activities and toys I like in the creche' (52 photos); 'what I like about the centre environment' (28); 'my friend/s' (22); 'Sure Start staff I like' (20); 'this is me' (9); 'my mum is here too' (8); 'I like my home too' (5); and 'I like Rainbow Tots' (3).

The evaluation was also different from previous years in that it had an advisory group of whom over half were parents. An important legacy of the CEDAR evaluation has been that children's voices are now included routinely in the Centre's internal service evaluations and reviews of practice and that parents have taken over responsibility for more formal evaluation.

References 

Cullen, M.A. & Lindsay, G. (2006). Sure Start Chelmsley Wood: Report of the Local Evaluation 2005-06. Outcomes for Children and Support for Parenting.

Available from:

Department for Education and Skills (2004). Every Child Matters: Change for Children. DfES Publications: Nottingham. Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health (2004). The National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services. DfES Publications: Nottingham.

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Evaluation of capital modernisation funding for electronic registration in selected secondary schools

Geoff Lindsay writes:

Pupil non-attendance has been a major concern for many years. Not only does absenteeism reduce opportunities for learning in school it is also associated with increased risk of involvement in anti-social behaviour and crime. This project arose out of the government's strategy to improve educational standards and reduce anti-social behaviour.

The capital modernization programme was designed to support the development of electronic registration systems in schools (N=538) with the highest levels of unauthorized absence. These schools were eligible for grants towards purchase and installation of an e-registration system approved by the DfES (total budget £11.25 million). The research took place between 2002-05.

Visits were undertaken to 46 secondary schools on two occasions to interview key staff: a member of the senior management team, attendance administrative officer, Year 7, 10 and 11 tutors and the education welfare officer (EWO); third visits were made to a small number of schools. A total of 414 interviews were held. In addition two surveys (2004 and 2005) were sent to the non-case study schools to gain a broader perspective: response rates were about two thirds in each case. Interviews were also held with suppliers and an analysis of the DfES database for school level attendance and achievement data allowed a comparison with non e-registration schools.

The findings

Impact
Schools were consistently positive over the project, judging e-registration as useful in providing information on absence but were split on whether authorized or unauthorized absence had decreased as a result of its installation. However, our analysis indicated that absence, particularly unauthorized absence, had decreased over the period of the project to a greater extent than the national trend. This positive result much be tempered by the difficultly in isolating e-registration from the many other initiatives in operation. In fact although schools were positive about e-registration, they placed it 7th out of 9 factors they considered useful in reducing absence.

The development of lesson monitoring which allows attendance monitoring throughout the day were viewed particularly positively. By the end of the project most schools had moved or were moving towards its use.

Systems in operation 
Installation could take many months if wiring or the installation of radio equipment was required. Training of staff was essential. Some systems were administered by laptops which allowed use of the funding to have wider benefits for teachers in the classroom, but laptops can be unreliable. Temporary staff e.g. supply teachers posed another challenge.

The various systems all had substantial facilities, which expanded over the project e.g. texting to parents and links to other databases. Reports on attendance and its trends could be made. However, many schools were still developing their use of these facilities and so not yet making full use of the rich data analytic facilities available. Nevertheless, high proportions of schools rated e-registration positively on a wide range of factors, e.g. two thirds considered it good value for money and would recommend it to other schools.

One disappointing finding was the general lack of local authority involvement. School generally made their own decisions on the system to use and the potential role of the LA to co-ordinate purchase and training was rarely implemented.

Our study suggested that e-registration was a useful resource but as an aid to schools tackling non-attendance. It had many strengths but the main approaches necessary were the creation of a positive school climate and development of a relevant curriculum for disaffected pupils.

The full report can be accessed by the DfES website or DfES Publication:

Lindsay, G., Muijs, D., Hartas, D., & Band S. (2006). Evaluation of capital modernization funding for electronic registration in selected secondary schools. Research Report 759. Nottingham: DfES Publications.

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