Latest Educational News

A damning report on grammar schools pits Theresa May against the experts

by NewStatesman, September 24, 2016

Classified as 11plus.

Grammar schools are not just unrepresentative, they do nothing to change educational standards.

Theresa May’s plans to introduce grammar schools will have no difference on national attainment – and may squeeze out places for the poorest children.

That’s the findings of the Education Policy Institute, after an intensive study of grammar school demographics, and achievement levels.

It concluded: “This result suggests that additional grammar schools are not a good intervention for raising average standards across a schools system.”

Non-white schoolchildren asked to provide proof they are not asylum seekers

by Independent, September 24, 2016

Government guidance has been misinterpreted by a number of schools, reports claim, with several demanding passport details from ethnic minority students

School children are being 'singled out' and asked to provide proof of their birthplace purely as a result of their skin colour, it has been revealed.

New rules laid out by the Department for Education this year mean schools must collect a greater degree of census details from pupils starting school.

Academies encouraged to open selective schools

by BBC, September 24, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Academy chains are being encouraged to set up selective schools under government plans that include expanding grammar schools in England.
Separate units for high-ability pupils are also being encouraged within their existing chains of schools.
Schools standards minister Nick Gibb told academy bosses new selective schools would bring more choice and flexibility to the education system.
The National Union of Teachers said the majority of children would lose out.

Secret Teacher: becoming an academy destroyed my school

by Guardian, September 24, 2016

The government wants schools to join multi-academy trusts, but I’ve seen the dark side: a culture of fear, failure and back-stabbing. I won’t work in one again

There is a scene in Star Wars where Darth Vader and his entourage sweep through a corridor of the Death Star. As they pass, uniformed underlings step back against the wall and avert their gaze. Others busy themselves, prodding at terminals and frowning until the caravan of evil has gone. This is how I felt working in a multi-academy trust (a group of academies governed by a single set of directors, otherwise known as a Mat).

Grammar schools could lead to 'bigger gap between rich & poor' in North West

by ITV, September 24, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Creating more grammar schools could lead to a bigger gap between rich and poor, according to a new report.

The warnings come ahead of the Government's controversial plans to expand the current grammar school system.

The findings suggest rather than aiding social mobility, current grammars are widening division.

In a special report our correspondent Mel Barham has been hearing from headteachers, parents and pupils from across the North West on both sides of a rather heated debate.

BARBARA DAVIES: What hope when parents turn up to watch a pitched battle between three schools - and hand out weapons?

by Daily Mail, September 24, 2016

.Parents are said to have arrived at the outburst of street violence in Bexley
.Riot vans were called to the clash which involved hundreds of children
.'Who is raising them to be like this?' asks a resident living near the scene

A mass of legs and arms, some clutching bats, sticks and metal poles, many wearing school jumpers, swarms around a barely visible form on the ground. The appalling footage of the brawl that brought terror to the streets of London this week shocked many.
Witnesses told of armed boys being cheered on by foul-mouthed girls filming the violence on their phones.
‘It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,’ says Jeanne Asquith, a company administrator who watched in horror as the violence erupted outside her house.

Making all schools academies 'will cost taxpayers £320m', Local Government Association warns

by Evening Standard, September 24, 2016

Making all schools academies 'will cost taxpayers £320m', Local Government Association warns

The body has called on the government to spell out its controversial plans in greater detail.

Chairman of the LGA's children and young people board, Councillor Richard Watts, said forcing schools to become academies would be bad for pupils.

"If all schools are encouraged to become academies at some point, this will have significant financial implications for councils," he said,

Theresa May’s grammar schools plan based on ‘no evidence’, warns biggest study of existing schools

by Independent, September 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Exclusive: Former schools minister David Laws says the Prime Minister needs to go ‘back to the drawing board’ with proposals

Theresa May has been warned that her controversial plans to create more grammar schools will backfire because children from poor families will fall further behind those who secure places in them.

Primary school forced to back down on controversial rule ordering children to walk with hands behind back

by Telegraph, September 23, 2016

An ‘outstanding’ primary school has been forced to back down on a rule ordering children to walk with their hands clasped behind their backs 'at all times' after a revolt from parents, it has emerged.

Last year pupils at St George the Martyr Primary School in Camden, north London, were told they must walk in the 'correct way' in school corridors, which school bosses called the 'University Walk'.

The term is believed to derive from how students at elite universities - such as Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews - were told to walk in bygone years.

Brexit: UK universities consider EU branches

by BBC, September 23, 2016

UK universities could open campuses in Europe to offset the effect of Brexit, some vice-chancellors have suggested.
The higher education sector largely supported remaining in the UK and since the vote, has voiced concerns about the financial implications of leaving.
Universities fear losing research funding, students and staff in the event of a "hard" Brexit.
But some universities are considering expanding into Europe as a way round the problem.

Grammar schools expansion 'could dumb them down'

by BBC, September 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools could be dumbed down by expanding them in areas where parents want them, analysis of plans to increase selection in England suggests.
An Education Policy Institute study says as grammars expand, they will take more lower ability pupils - diluting their high achieving potential.
It also argues the negative impact on nearby schools is greater because more lower ability pupils are left behind.
The Department for Education said they want the plan to help local schools.

SATS probe after concerns over tougher tests for primary school pupils

by Sky News, September 23, 2016

The introduction of a new set of rigorous exams will be the focus of a Westminster inquiry, as some schools threaten to shun them.
Tough new exams for primary school children are to be investigated by MPs amid threatened boycotts.

The review of SATs by the Commons Education Select Committee will take an in-depth look at the tests, taken by primary school pupils at the end of Key Stage One and Key Stage Two.

Some schools have threatened to shun the exams after a new set of rigorous tests were introduced.

Almost half of pupils in England failed to meet tough new standards in reading, writing and maths, with huge differences between different areas of the country.

In this week's TES Further: 'Do we really want to write off 122,000 maths students as failures?'

by TES, September 23, 2016

Also: college romance, and the drawbacks of forced GCSE resits
In this week's TES Further, Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, writes that the insistence on GCSE resits for those who don't achieve a C is "damaging" for the learning experience of many FE students (article free for subscribers). This year, pass rates for those retaking their English and maths GCSEs were just 27 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively. While many still staunchly defend the practice, Dawe has his doubts: "Do we really want to write off 122,000 maths students as failures when there is an alternative route pen to them in the form of functional skills?"

Homework without the headaches

by BT News, September 23, 2016

Five of the best educational sites for your children’s homework help – and one to make sure they surf safely.

With new school terms kicking into gear, the dreaded ‘h’-word is now firmly back on the agenda for young students. But with plenty of useful tools and resources available online, homework doesn’t need to be a headache and your children don’t have to struggle alone.

So with the new term underway, we’re offering a helping hand with our round-up of six ways to make homework time happier.

Theresa May's grammar school claims disproved by new study

by Guardian, September 23, 2016

Education Policy Institute says additional grammar schools would not improve educational standards

Grammar schools do not improve the exam results of bright students beyond what they would have achieved at a good comprehensive, while more grammars would widen the attainment gap between rich and poor, a study has found.

The analysis of GCSE performance in selective state schools, carried out by the Education Policy Institute, concluded: “We find no evidence to suggest that overall educational standards in England would be improved by creating additional grammar schools.”

'Severe' teacher recruitment crisis is hitting pupils' results, heads warn

by TES Connect, September 23, 2016

School leaders say the government should make it easier to recruit teachers from abroad
More than half of secondary school leaders believe the teacher recruitment crisis is “so severe” it is having an impact on the students’ GCSE results, according to a new survey.

The heads want the government to make it easier for them to hire teachers from overseas.

In a poll by the Association of School and College Leaders, 51 per cent of respondents said that teacher shortages were affecting GCSE performance, while a further 23 per cent said they were hitting A-level and AS-level results.

Some 80 per cent of school leaders believed the recruitment situation was “worse or significantly worse” than a year ago.

The findings have been sent as evidence of the need for teaching to be placed on the “shortage occupation list”, which is decided by the Migration Advisory Committee.

The MAC, which is part of the Home Office, is gathering evidence to ascertain whether schools should be allowed to recruit teachers from English-speaking countries outside of the European Economic Area.

Under new laws, workers from outside the EU who earn less than £35,000 and have been in the UK for five years will have to leave.

Cut teaching hours to ease the recruitment crisis, Pisa chief advises

by TES Connect, September 23, 2016

Andreas Schleicher says more hours for lesson planning and CPD are needed to ensure the job remains 'intellectually attractive'
Ministers must make teaching more "intellectually attractive" to stop long classroom hours driving people away from the profession, according to the official behind the world’s most influential education rankings.

Andreas Schleicher, who runs the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), made his comments after new figures revealed that teachers in England and Scotland spend a significantly larger proportion of their working time in front of pupils than most other developed countries.

"Teaching load is really high in England – this is a big chunk of teachers work and it means they have less time for other things than teaching, such as professional development and lesson planning," Mr Schleicher, director for education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said.

His comments came as the Association of School and College Leaders warned that teacher shortages in England were "so severe" that it was having a direct impact on the performance of GCSE students.

Mr Schleicher stressed that while pay was important for teacher recruitment and retention, tackling the balance between teaching and other activities was also key.

Grammar schools expansion 'could dumb them down'

by BBC News, September 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools could be dumbed down by expanding them in areas where parents want them, analysis of plans to increase selection in England suggests.
An Education Policy Institute study says as grammars expand, they will take more lower ability pupils - diluting their high achieving potential.
It also argues the negative impact on nearby schools is greater because more lower ability pupils are left behind.
The Department for Education said they want the plan to help local schools.
The government said the report focused on the binary system of the past but this was not what its plans intended to recreate.
The EPI report models what would happen to grammar schools by expanding them in the way the government is considering.
It talks about a grammar school bonus for those pupils studying in them, describing it as an extra 2.4 grades at GCSE across eight subjects for all pupils in the current stock of grammars.
For the small minority of the poorest pupils in grammars - those on free school meals - it works out as 3.9 grades, which is half a grade per subject compared with pupils at other types of schools.

UK universities draw up plans for EU campuses ahead of Brexit

by TES Connect, September 22, 2016

British universities are considering plans to open branches inside the European Union in an effort to soften the blow of Britain’s exit, as they struggle to navigate new challenges in regulation and funding.

How universities went on a building spree as tuition fees pour in
Read more
As hundreds of thousands of students across the UK prepare for their first week of lectures and seminars, university leaders, juggling the threat of Brexit, punishing new government appraisals and increased competition both inside and outside the sector, say they are facing a severe period of uncertainty and higher risks over the next 12 months.

The Guardian spoke to vice-chancellors, senior staff and students to assess the state of British universities. A period of huge growth in recent years, fuelled by tuition fees, has provided them with funds to expand significantly – and go on a multibillion-pound spending spree on new facilities and buildings – though there are fears students are paying too much of a price.

Latin should be taught in every state primary school, says leading academic

by Independent, September 22, 2016

Professor Dennis Hayes claims teachers in his training sessions would 'hate' the idea because 'they think the only thing you need is Google'

Latin and Classics should be taught in every primary school and not limited to the middle and upper classes, a leading academic has said.

Professor Dennis Hayes, an expert from the University of Derby and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee, has warned that Latin and ancient Greek along with modern languages are in danger of becoming “the preserve of public schools”.