Latest Educational News
by BBC, November 29, 2006
Graduates of so-called Mickey Mouse degrees have skills that are vital to a successful economy, a report says.
Courses in golf management, cosmetic science and surfing have previously been attacked for devaluing academia.
But according to vice-chancellors' group, Universities UK, they are valuable preparation for jobs in emerging and established industries.
The report looked at 26 universities which developed degrees alongside employers and found them effective.
by BBC, November 29, 2006
A test will be established so schools for children with special needs are not closed unless better alternatives are available, the government says.
Schools Minister Andrew Adonis said "strong guidance" would be issued to local authorities in England.
He made the announcement on the eve of a conference on special educational needs organised by the Conservatives.
The Tories accuse Labour of presiding over the closure of special schools, forcing pupils into mainstream classes.
by Guardian, November 29, 2006
Oxford dons rejected controversial plans yesterday that would have brought academic self-rule to an end and handed decision-making at the university to outside business leaders.
The plans were comprehensively defeated at a meeting of the dons' "parliament" but the final decision may go to a postal ballot of 3,770 members of academic, library and administrative staff.
Opponents said the proposals would leave dons hanging on to academic independence by their "fingernails", while disappointed supporters said they needed time to reflect on how to go forward after a two-year process.
by BBC, November 28, 2006
State schools must be able to offer the same exams as the private sector to halt a divide between the two, the shadow education secretary has said.
David Willetts told a conference on education policy that a "new and worrying divide is opening up".
He said that independent schools increasingly turn to exams such as the IGCSE and new Pre-U, which England's state schools are not funded to offer.
by Daily Mail, November 28, 2006
As a new book on Latin has become a surprise Christmas bestseller. It's author shares with us 'Ut amator latinus sis', which means, if you'll forgive the pun, 'How to become a Latin lover':
Being savaged by Monty Don is not too bad, really - a bit like being smothered in the furry arms of a tousle-haired teddy bear. All the same, when the TV gardener attacked me a few days ago for perpetuating a class war by promoting Latin, I thought it was a bit much.
I was on Radio 4 discussing my book about Latin, in which I attempt to explain my love for the language - a book which, to my great surprise, has become a Christmas best-seller.
by Belfast Telegraph, November 28, 2006
Northern Ireland could have one of the best education systems in the western world if Government plans to scrap academic selection go ahead, a leading academic claimed today.
Professor Tony Gallagher, head of the School of Education at Queen's University in Belfast, is strongly critical of attempts to retain selection as a means of determining which children get into grammar schools.
In an exclusive article written for today's education pages in the Belfast Telegraph, Prof Gallagher said he found it difficult to understand the DUP's "stubborn insistence that we must stick with selection at 11, come what may".
by The Herald, November 27, 2006
The mere mention of school uniforms can be relied upon to induce waves of nostalgia. Did you have to wear traditional tartan or did your school exercise a more relaxed approach?
Either way, the issue of whether dress code is vital to a school's success continues to divide those in the education community.
by Guardian, November 27, 2006
Today's news about the degree to which creationist ideas are seeping into the school curriculum is another blow to the government's plans to further entrench the academy movement in our education system. The uproar over intelligent design theories comes just after the largest gathering yet, held in London at the weekend, of teachers and activists opposed to the new super - and super-undemocratic - schools, a movement which is gathering formidable strength.
Last year, the Anti-Academy Alliance attracted 80 people to its first conference in Birmingham. This year there was a last-minute switch of venue due to an 11th hour swell in registration; well over 200 activists, teachers, writers, educationalists and students poured into the Institute of Education on Saturday to debate the new schools.
by Watford, November 27, 2006
Opposition to a proposal to stop some children going to the same school as their siblings continues to grow, with the county council this week branding the plan "unfair, untested and unworkable".
Hertfordshire County Council's executive member for education, David Lloyd, said: "We are asking the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to take our views, and the views of schools in the county, on board and reconsider."
The code proposes to remove priority for siblings of pupils attending partially selective schools, such as Rickmansworth, Parmiter's and both Watford grammar schools.
by This is London, November 27, 2006
Teachers' shaky grasp of grammar and punctuation has been exposed in a survey of the nation's literacy skills.
Two-thirds made a basic apostrophe mistake in a test administered to more than 2,000 workers from key professions. Eight per cent even muddled the use of I and me.
by The Times, November 27, 2006
Top private schools, including Dulwich and Eton, are leading a push to bring in tougher new exams for teenagers, says Sian Griffiths
Gemma Peachey remembers feeling astonished that some of the children she had thought brilliantly intelligent at her private girls’ school weren’t offered a place at Oxford University when she was. “It was surprising who did get in and who didn’t,” says Peachey, who graduated from the university last year. “They were all predicted three As at A-level. Some of the people I always had down as very clever didn’t make it.”
This weekend thousands of jittery teenagers nationwide will be nervously mugging up on reading lists in preparation for interviews at Oxford and Cambridge, which start early next month. All are top grade students, but they can no longer rely on their A-levels alone. Forty years ago fewer than 10% of A-level passes were A grades, last summer nearly a quarter were. This autumn Oxford expects to reject 9,000 students, most of them with three predicted As at A-level, Cambridge will turn away 10,000.
With so many gifted pupils being denied a place at an elite university, private schools, including Eton, Dulwich and Harrow, are now turning up the heat in the fight for tougher exams for 16 and 18-year-olds.
by Guardian, November 26, 2006
The government will this week demand that the traditional school trip is put back on the timetable
'I know it probably seems silly to other people but I'm really, really concerned about the safety of my child,' the posting on the Parents Centre website read. 'It just doesn't seem safe to have so many five-year-olds near the water.'
The message was about a school trip to the beach. Worried she would look like a 'loony over-protective parent' if she told the school how she felt, she decided to pretend her daughter was ill that day.
The debate around the safety of school trips has been raging for more than a decade. Ever since four teenagers drowned while canoeing in Dorset in 1993, parents and teachers have fought to save excursions. But a string of disasters has threatened to cut into the idyllic image of children trekking through countryside. Moreover, in a number of cases schools or individual teachers have been sued or jailed when things go wrong. This has led to a culture of fear among schools.
by The Times, November 26, 2006
I have read that our top universities are trying to attract more applications from state-educated students. I have also read that most of the state-educated students attending such elite institutions were educated at selective state grammar schools. Could you tell me the number and percentage of students currently attending our top universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and Durham who went to comprehensive schools?
by The Times, November 25, 2006
THE government is to fund a switch away from A-levels to an international diploma, a move that could further undermine the state exam system.
Tony Blair is to promise greater choice for parents with the creation of a network of state schools offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) as an alternative to A-levels.
The education establishment, which had assumed ministers were committed to the A-level “gold standard”, appears not to have been consulted on the changes.
The plan is likely to put A-levels under even greater pressure. Universities have complained the qualification no longer allows them to select the best undergraduates because so many pupils get top grades.
Elite universities have therefore introduced aptitude tests, on top of A-levels, in subjects including medicine, law and history.
by BBC, November 25, 2006
The headlines in some newspapers were shocking: "More than half of secondary schools are failing pupils".
But is that really true? And where does it leave Tony Blair's mantra of "education, education, education"?
It was certainly the case that, in its annual report, Ofsted judged that 13% of secondary schools were "inadequate".
Additionally it said a further 38% were only "satisfactory", with the rest either "good" or "outstanding".
The problem was that the chief inspector of schools in England, Christine Gilbert, had endorsed her predecessor's view that "satisfactory" was not good enough.
This gave reporters carte blanche to add the 38% in the "satisfactory" category to the 13% dubbed "inadequate", giving 51% that were not good enough.
by BBC, November 25, 2006
Scores of school teachers have encountered sexually abusive language in class, a snapshot survey for a teaching union suggests.
A fifth of primary and two thirds of secondary school teachers quizzed by the National Union of Teachers said they had experienced sexist bullying.
One in 20 of the 190 teachers in England and Wales who replied said the abuse happened at least once a week.
Sexist jokes and put-downs made female pupils feel degraded too, the NUT said.
The union's general secretary, Steve Sinnott, said the results highlighted the need for the government to provide advice to schools on recognising and reducing sexist bullying and language.
by STV, November 25, 2006
One fifth of primary school teachers have been verbally abused by their pupils, with many swearing in a foreign language, a poll has said.
The National Union of Teachers adds that 75 per cent of secondary school teachers have been sworn at in the classroom.
The union claims the behaviour is unacceptable and has called on parents to encourage more respectful behaviour.
The union's general secretary, Steve Sinnott, said: "The Government must encourage schools to develop policies that have teeth which discourage parents and young people from using sexually abusive language.
by BBC, November 25, 2006
The exams system in England is unwieldy and becoming unsustainable because of a record number of pupils challenging their results, head teachers warn.
Last year 45,000 pupils - one in 14 GCSE students - queried a result.
And the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) says the extra work and the cost of the appeals is pushing the exam system towards collapse.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) denies the claims insisting it is fair on all pupils.
Last year, one in four of all the 45,000 GCSE pupils who challenged their exam mark ended up being upgraded.
The QCA said the number of marks regraded was relatively small, given that six million GCSE papers were marked last year.
by The Times, November 25, 2006
In what is believed to be the first venture of its kind, Brighton College, a leading independent school, is planning to export British public school education to Russia.
Boarding schools in England have attracted interest from growing numbers of wealthy Russians in the past decade who are keen to give their children a high-quality education in a secure, friendly environment.
Brighton College is seeking to build on these links by building its own public school, 50 miles south of Moscow.
Several elite schools, such as Dulwich College, Harrow and Shrewsbury, have set up in the Far East to feed a growing appetite for British public school education, but none has so far attempted such an undertaking on Russian soil.
by The Times, November 24, 2006
Children as young as 5 are consistently swearing at teachers, with nearly 20 per cent of primary school teachers claiming to have been subject to sexually abusive insults from pupils.
In a study commissioned by the National Union of Teachers, England’s largest teaching union, researchers also found that 75 per cent of secondary school teachers said that pupils used language such as “F*** you” or “I’ve f***** your mum” to one another.