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Press Releases from 2008

Critical Mass: Government's 'Small' Infant Classes Too Big

9 September 2008

Infant classes of 20 or under needed to close the achievement gap OECD figures out today show how poorly the UK continues to compare internationally on class size. Primary class sizes rank 4th largest at 25.8 (compared to the OECD average of 21.5). Additional government figures reveal that in England's primary schools in 2007/08 the average class size was even higher, at 26.2 pupils per class. According to the evidence…

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GCSEs - or the poor-man's equivalent

21 August 2008

Poor quality 'vocational' or 'vocationally related' qualifications at GCSE are locking both low-income pupils and vocational education into second-class status. Pseudo 'vocational' qualifications being used to artificially reach A*-C GCSE targets Poorer pupils more likely to be pushed into vocational qualifications Out of the thousands of pupils getting their GCSE results today, many will have been sold short with sub-standard vocational qualifications. A new report from independent think-tank Civitas, School…

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Survey reveals that 90% of secondary schools find Key Stage 2 Sats results do not reflect pupils' true abilities

5 August 2008

On the day the Key Stage 2 Sats results are released, a new report from independent think-tank Civitas, Fast Track to Slow Progress, based on a nationwide survey of 107 secondary schools, reveals that 9 out of 10 secondary school teachers cannot rely on them: 90% of secondary school teachers surveyed have found the Key Stage 2 Sats results to be inconsistent with pupils' true abilities, this last school year 79% of secondary school…

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Health Unit: Response to Lord Darzi's final report: A grand vision but the system will work against it

30 June 2008

Lord Darzi today publishes his eagerly awaited Next Stage Review of NHS policy. Ostensibly it heralds the end of the top-down era; a shift away from central targets to more self-sustaining means of driving performance, based on user-empowerment, information, choice and competition. The following measures are welcome: Extending the right of patients to choose their GP and reaffirming the right for elective treatment. The introduction of pilot schemes for individual budgets for…

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One in four will need to take the anti-paedophile test

26 June 2008

The dramatic escalation of child protection measures has succeeded in poisoning the relationship between the generations and creating an atmosphere of suspicion that actually increases the risks to children, according to a new study from the independent think-tank Civitas. In Licensed to Hug Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, argues that children need to have contact with a range of adult members of the community for their education and socialisation…

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Elite British-style schools open to all - but only in Sweden

16 June 2008

Schools in the state sector in Sweden can offer the acclaimed International GCSE (IGCSE) science qualifications that have been denied to British state school pupils by the government, according to Swedish Lessons, a report published today by independent think-tank Civitas. Science IGCSEs are used increasingly in British independent schools due to their internationally recognised high standards, one of the clearest indicators yet of the growing 'educational apartheid' between the state and independent sector. Nick…

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Politicisation of the police is putting policing by consent at risk

30 May 2008

The tradition of policing by consent, which used to make Britain the envy of the world, is in danger from political interference that is alienating the police from the public, according to a new report from independent think-tank Civitas. When officers join the police force they swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, not the prime minister. Unlike many other forces, British police have never been servants of the state: officers' powers are…

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Marriage in modern Britain: out of reach, not out of fashion

19 May 2008

A new report from Civitas, 'Second Thoughts on the Family', finds marriage to be more popular than ever - but a luxury beyond the reach of the poor Overwhelming majority of Britons want to marry Defying the idea that marriage is dead, a new Civitas/Ipsos Mori survey of 1,560 young people reveals that the overwhelming majority want to get married: Marriage: fit for purpose in 21st century Britain A nationally representative sample of 20…

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NHS far from 'fighting fit'

16 May 2008

Chief Executive's report makes a colourful picture of a gloomy outlook A reality check Accompanying the Chief Executive's Annual Report to the NHS, released today, the Department of Health claims that the NHS is 'fighting fit in its 60th year. The reality is very different. Set against the main achievements the report highlights: * The promise of cutting waiting times from referral to treatment to an absolute maximum of 18 weeks and ensuring a…

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Statement on tackling Child Poverty in 2008 budget

12 March 2008

To reach targets government must address key contributor to child poverty: parental separation. Statement from Anastasia de Waal, Head of Family and Education, Civitas, the independent social policy think tank: "Poverty is the single greatest threat to children's life chances. The Chancellor's focus on eradicating child poverty is therefore critical. However in its rush to reach the 2010 target, the government is pushing short-term policies at the expense of addressing the roots…

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NHS will continue to flounder until government control of the purse strings is cut

10 March 2008

A new report today from the independent think-tank Civitas argues that market-based reform in the NHS is being crushed by central direction and will fail if this pressure continues. The solution is putting money in the hands of patients to take control of their health care and to empower clinicians once more. The report Why the NHS is the sick man of Europe by James Gubb, Director of the Health Unit at Civitas…

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387,152 patients still waiting over a year for treatment

20 January 2008

The government has today announced another increase in the number of patients who have been treated within the 18-week target from referral to treatment (RTT). The latest count, from October 2007, shows 59.9 per cent received treatment within the targeted time. But this conceals the very serious problems that remain: 713,513 (or 18.1 per cent) of elective patients still waiting for treatment have been waiting longer than 36 weeks, with 387…

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GPs make patients suffer to protect inefficient local hospitals

2 January 2008

The government's proposals to eliminate excessive waiting from the NHS stand no realistic chance of succeeding, according to a new report from independent social-policy think-tank Civitas. The target of a maximum 18-week delay from referral to treatment (RTT), to be achieved by December 2008, is an impossibility, given the lacklustre performance of some strategic health authorities (SHAs), primary care trusts (PCTs) and hospital trusts. As the government and the Department of…

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PISA - Show's over: international study exposes government standards charade

1 January 2008

Final straw for government's education record: world's most comprehensive assessment of pupil knowledge and skills crushes UK government claims of rising school standards. PISA results show declining standards between 2000 and 2006: 523 - 495 (28 point decline) from 2000 in reading amongst UK 15 yr olds: a decline from 23 points above the OECD average, to 3 points above average. This is a drop from 7th to 17th place in PISA's international…

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