Latest Educational News

Schools must follow 'simple rules' to 'crack the code' of social mobility, says tsar

by TES Connect, July 28, 2016

Social mobility should be the 'holy grail of public policy', former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn has said
If some schools can crack the code of helping disadvantaged children to excel then it isn't "unreasonable" to ask others to do the same, the country’s social mobility tsar has said.

Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, has said there are “simple rules" that schools can emulate to ensure that "deprivation needn’t be destiny".

Speaking at the Teach First Impact Conference, where TES is an exclusive media partner, Mr Milburn said schools that had "cracked the code" on social mobility use the pupil premium strategically, build a high-expectations culture, focus on the quality of teaching and engage parents effectively.

He added: "Critically, they seek to prepare students for life, not just exams. If some schools can do these things, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask why others cannot do likewise."

The former Labour cabinet minister said there should be a "zero tolerance approach" to schools whose results remain below floor standards for a five-year period – and he called for "wholesale changes" in leadership of these schools if progress is not made.

During the event, Mr Milburn also called for the end of the "education lottery" – where schools with similar intakes of poorer pupils achieve vastly different outcomes.

Addressing the Teach First participants, Mr Milburn criticised the recruitment system as being "chaotic", claiming that teachers are drawn to schools where performance is good and student intake is less challenging.

Edinburgh is the UK's most expensive city for students

by BBC News, July 28, 2016

Edinburgh is the most expensive city in the UK for students to live and work in, according to a Royal Bank of Scotland survey.
Above average rent costs plus lower than average term-time income made it the least affordable.
However, Edinburgh students are still the highest social spenders and spend above the weekly average on alcohol.
The cheapest Scottish city on the RBS Student Living Index was Dundee in 10th place, with Glasgow in 16th.
Portsmouth topped the list of 25 as the most cost-effective city in the UK.
The survey of 2,500 students across the UK took into account a range of factors including how much students spend on going out to how much time they spend studying.
Edinburgh students pay an average of £112.05 on rent per week, compared to around £110 across the UK.

Are grammar schools about to make a comeback?

by BBC News, July 26, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools are back on the agenda with a grassroots Conservative group about to launch a campaign for their return.
But if Theresa May's government gave a political green light to such a controversial proposal, how might it happen?
The first step would be the removal of the current ban on opening new grammar schools in England.
This was introduced in the early years of Tony Blair's government in the vain hope of drawing a line under the debate about grammars.
In the Blair compromise deal, the remaining grammars were allowed to continue, unless a ballot of the local community chose to abolish them. But there would be a ban on the creation of any new grammars.
The repeal of this legislation is the first target of grammar campaigners.
But there is also a requirement, created by David Cameron's government, that all new state schools should be free schools, a type of academy set up by community groups or academy chains.

Student fees: Universities could charge £6,300 a year, Queen's says

by BBC News, July 26, 2016

Student tuition fees in Northern Ireland could rise to £6,300 a year, Queen's University in Belfast has said.
It said students should pay between £5,200 and £6,300 depending on the level of government funding available.
Students currently pay £3,925 to study at Northern Ireland universities.
The figures are contained in an internal university document in response to the NI Executive's programme for government (PfG) 2016-21, which has been obtained by the BBC.
In the document, Queen's said the money higher education institutions had received from the executive had reduced from £214m in 2009-10 to £185m in 2014-15.
"This equates to some 13% in cash terms and 24% in real terms," it said.
"The 2015-16 academic year saw a further 10.8% reduction in the higher education budget, totalling £16.1m.
"The impact of this funding reduction has required the university to substantially reduce its undergraduate intake."

100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school – according to teachers

by TES, July 24, 2016

Classified as General.

TES and the National Association for the Teaching of English ran a survey to find teachers' top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school. Here are the results.
1 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

2 Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

3 Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4 Matilda by Roald Dahl

5 The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

6 The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis

7 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

8 We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

9 Dogger by Shirley Hughes

10 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

11 Stig of the Dump by Clive King

12= Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

12= The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

14 Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

15 Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne

The best way to bring back grammar schools

by The Spectator, July 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Could grammar schools be about to make a comeback? That Theresa May went to one, and that the number of grammar-school-educated members of the cabinet has increased from three to eight since she took over, has fuelled speculation about a shift in education policy.

There are various forms this could take. The least politically difficult would be for Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary, to let England’s 164 grammar schools expand. Her predecessor, Nicky Morgan, approved an application by a selective girls’ school in Tonbridge to set up an annexe in Sevenoaks; it’s due to open next year. Greening could approve several more. The school in Sevenoaks has been described as England’s first new grammar in 50 years, but because it’s a branch of an older school it doesn’t run afoul of the 1998 School Standards and Frameworks Act, which prohibited the creation of any more selective schools. If May and her Education Secretary want more grammar-school places, this would be the easiest way to get them.

100 Tory MPs back scrapping the ban on new grammar schools

by The Telegraph, July 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

More than 100 Tory MPs are expected to back scrapping the ban on new grammar schools as a campaign launches this week to secure the change now Theresa May is in Number 10.

Conservative Voice, a Tory activist group launched by David Davis and Liam Fox in 2012, will formally restart its grammar schools campaign on Tuesday.

They will be writing to Mrs May and her new Education Secretary Justine Greening, holding events in Parliament and across the country and launching a social media drive to build up pressure.

The move comes after Ms Greening said she is “open minded” about allowing new grammar schools to open in England in a marked change in tone from David Cameron’s government.

Senior backers of grammar schools including Mr Davis and Mr Fox are now sat around the cabinet table while other frontbenchers have expressed support for expansions in their constituencies.

Campaigners believe now is their best chance for a generation of overturning Tony Blair’s block on the creation of new English grammar schools, enshrined in a law created in 1998.

You’ve graduated – so what happens to your bank account?

by The Guardian, July 23, 2016

With summer graduation ceremonies now taking place across the country, thousands of twentysomethings are contemplating their post-university futures. One of the many things they will have to get to grips with is changes to their banking. We look at what this entails.

Do I have to change account?
Ultimately, yes. Unfortunately, the joys of the interest-free student overdraft will come to an end, and you can’t stay on your student account without a current letter of attendance from a higher learning institution.

So what happens?
In stark contrast to the scramble of high street banks attempting to seduce freshers with the promise of free railcards and gift vouchers, the transition to a graduate account is usually far more sedate. You will probably get a letter from your bank stating when your student account will be automatically converted into a graduate one. These accounts are better than conventional accounts, but not as good as student accounts. For example, NatWest’s graduate account allows an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000 in the first year after university, but it reduces each year after.

New schools funding scheme to be delayed by a year

by BBC News, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

The implementation of a new national funding formula for schools will be delayed by a year, Education Secretary Justine Greening has told MPs.
The government had been planning to bring in the new funding scheme in England from 2017-18 - but it will now apply from 2018-19, she said.
"We must get our approach right," Ms Greening told the Commons.
Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticised the delay as "woeful".
And Neil Carmichael, chairman of Parliament's education select committee, who raised the issue in an urgent Commons question, asked why more delay was necessary.
"When does she really expect this programme to be fulfilled?" he asked.
He pointed out that the plan had already gone out to consultation earlier this year.
'Historic change'
The government says the new formula is needed to tackle uneven levels of funding across England, with the best funded areas getting more than £6,300 per pupil per year, while the worst-funded averaging just £4,200 - but there are concerns that while some schools will benefit, a new formula could mean some schools in areas of need facing budget cuts.
Ms Greening told MPs she did not want to rush into changes without being sure of their ramifications.
In a written parliamentary statement, she said the first stage consultations on the new national funding formulae for schools and high needs, published in March, "have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from head teachers, teachers, governors and parents".
"There is also a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right."

Deal fairly with students, universities told

by BBC News, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

Universities have been told to deal more fairly with students by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Some "still have work to do" to fully comply with consumer protection law, says CMA senior consumer director Nisha Arora in an open letter.
The CMA has already "taken targeted action" to improve practices at three universities, the letter to all higher education providers says.
The government must "hold universities to account", said consumer group Which?
In March last year, the CMA set out how universities should comply with consumer law.
This included providing information to allow students to compare courses, and some institutions were asked to amend their practices accordingly.
In October, the CMA began a review of institutions to check their compliance with the rules.
After taking soundings within the sector, the review focused on 25 for closer study.
Of these, three were singled out for improvements, says the CMA.
For example:
University of Buckingham will no longer threaten, apply or rely upon academic sanctions to recover accommodation fees, library fines or other non tuition fee debts
Bucks New University will drop a contract rule which invalidates student complaints if they attend a graduation event
Birkbeck University London will no longer apply a rule which stops students using the complaints procedure if they have tuition fees debt.
There were many examples of positive changes, the review found, including:
updated policies and terms to end academic sanctions when students are in non-academic debt

Communities to provide free lunches for children during school holidays

by The Guardian, July 22, 2016

To ease burden on poor families, churches and community groups around UK are making thousands of meals available

As school holidays begin, churches and community groups are launching schemes to provide children with free lunches to alleviate the burden on poor families through the summer.

Families whose children get free school meals in term time face extra costs during holidays. “When people are living on a very marginal income, it doesn’t take much to knock them over,” said Dominic Black, the vicar of North Ormesby in Middlesbrough.

The real problem with university tuition fees is that they aren't high enough

by Telegraph, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

For all the fury it will inevitably attract, the increase in the annual tuition fee for universities was inevitable, logical and sensible, up to a point.

Inevitable and logical because the alternative was a fee that was frozen in cash terms and therefore falling in real terms, reducing the value of the fee revenues going to universities. And for a system created to generate revenues for colleges, that makes no sense.

Spinning on a teacher's chair: the top rites of passage at primary school revealed

by Telegraph, July 22, 2016

From spinning on a teacher’s chair to accidentally calling them mum: the rites of passage of primary school children have been revealed.

A new survey has uncovered the things that youngsters think they should have done or experienced in school by the time they reach 11 - and more than a few of them are slightly naughty.

Others related to spending time outdoors or concern for their fellow man.

What are my options if I do better than expected at A-level?

by Telegraph, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

It's an exciting scenario; you are predicted ABB, but somehow, come A-level results day, you actually achieve AAA.

If this is the case on August 18, then congratulations, now is the time to celebrate. If you are happy with your choice of university, then you can sit back and look forward to the start of term.

Why working parents like me dread the summer holidays

by Guardian, July 22, 2016

Before it appears that I’m some kind of villainous dad, I need to establish that ever since they came into my life, my overriding purpose in life has been to be a diligent, devoted parent to my two children – even when the girl one threw up in my face or the boy one diagnosed himself with cancer because his belly button was hurting.

How I stopped worrying and learned to love summer holidays with the kids
Alice O'Keeffe
Read more
But each year when the summer holidays loom I transform into a twitchy, cranky mess, breaking out in cold sweats and clawing at my own skin as I fret about what’s to come once they’ve been turfed through the school gate for the last time.

Perry Beeches Academy Trust: Critical EFA report delayed

by BBC, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

An education watchdog delayed publication of a critical report into a flagship academy trust once praised by David Cameron, the BBC has learnt.
The Education Funding Agency (EFA) gave Perry Beeches The Academy Trust 24 hours' notice of its report on "weakness in financial management".
But the trust's request for a "grace period" was granted - and publication delayed by a further two days.
The EFA said it "always" gave notice of publication.

The 100 things to do before leaving primary school

by BBC News, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

Falling asleep in a lesson or telling your teacher to "chill out" are among the 100 things primary-age children feel they should do before turning 11.
As a million children wave goodbye to primary school, a Times Educational Supplement survey of 2,500 youngsters reveals their wish lists.
The top 100 includes numerous pranks such as spinning on the teacher's chair or being caught impersonating "Miss".

Students not applying to top universities despite cash incentives – study

by Guardian, July 21, 2016

Ucas poll finds many do not consider going to higher tariff institutions, with offers of vouchers worth £500 having little effect

Offering students incentives worth up to £500 would still fail to persuade many of them to visit top universities such as Leeds, Manchester or Cardiff, according to a survey conducted by the UK admissions clearing house, Ucas.

Institutions face a stiff battle persuading students to set their sights higher and apply to enter selective universities such as those in the research-orientated Russell Group, including Nottingham, Southampton and Newcastle, as well as to Oxford and Cambridge, the results suggest.

How do we find a good secondary school for our daughter in London?

by Telegraph, July 21, 2016

Classified as General.

As we have heard before - and are constantly reminded about around national offer day in March - securing a place at a good state school is a chief concern for parents. As such, gaining a place can be hugely competitive across the country, and London is no exception.

Despite the multitude of good state schools in the capital, there are relatively few that take pupils based on their academic achievements, making the task even harder if parents are looking for a grammar school education.

10 per cent rise in pupils excluded for physically attacking adults

by Telegraph, July 21, 2016

Classified as General.

The number of children suspended or expelled from school for physical attacking an adult jumped by an average of 10 percent last year, figures show.

There were 610 permanent exclusions from state schools in England in 2014-15 for assaults on grown-ups, up 11 percent from 550 the previous year, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics.

Of those, 290 - almost half - were pupils in primary schools.

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