Thursday, 4 December 2008

”It Doesn’t Work – So Let’s Do More Of It…”

England's flagship primary school social and emotional learning programme has had little impact on pupil behaviour, a study has suggested.
Another day, another failed government initiative…
Neither the parents nor the teachers questioned by researchers reported any effect on the key social skills targeted by the "Seal" programmes.
But it provided work for more civil servants and public sector workers. So it was worth it, really!
Although there was a general view that the programme had a positive impact, the researchers found little evidence of this when schemes were formally evaluated, particularly with parents and teachers.

Parents reported no improvement in any of the core skills being targeted by the schemes.

And teachers in only one of the four schemes evaluated recorded any positive impact at all on pupils' behaviour and social skills.
So, the ‘general view’ proved to be based on nothing more than wishful thinking. As is often the case with these schemes and initiatives. So far, so as expected…
The researchers said it appeared that what small improvements in behaviour the programme had notched up, were not transferred to the home setting.

The report highlighted how one boy who had been asked how the group sessions had helped him outside school said: "No, I smash windows at home."
And why…? Because he can, no doubt.
The researchers suggested this failure to transfer may be down to a lack of parental involvement or the "light touch" nature of the interventions.

The researchers also suggested there was only so much that school-based programmes could do on their own, and that a child's home circumstances could be a "barrier" to improvements.
You cannot ask schools to instil social skills into children if there is no expectation at home that these are desirable in and of themselves. To try, is to set yourself up to fail miserably.

So, to sum up, it doesn’t work and we should scrap it and try something else?

Oh, no, of course not:
It suggested that projects should last a whole term and that more resources should be made available.
Naturally...! That’s always the response of government when one of their flagship projects doesn’t work. Throw more money at it.

The government isn’t planning to even listen to the report, preferring to stick its hands over its ears and go ‘La la la la’:
"Many schools that have implemented Seal have seen a marked improvement in the way their pupils interact with each other both inside and outside the classroom. "

He added that there had been positive feedback from teachers, psychologists, Ofsted and independent researchers.
I expect there has. But there’s been no results!

Unless you count the continued employment of ‘teachers, psychologists and Ofsted staff’ as a result. And I think we all know the answer to that one…

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