Latest Educational News

‘Too many loopholes in regulation of schools’

by The Times, October 30, 2014

Almost a quarter of children attend an underperforming school, according to a report published today.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the Department for Education for not consistently tackling low-achieving schools, despite investing at least £382 million each year.
It said there were too many loopholes and flaws in its systems for regulating schools and that it was therefore not achieving value for money.

Government scrutiny of schools is a 'sorry state of affairs

by TES, October 30, 2014

The government does not have proper oversight of the country’s schools, despite investing more than £380 million each year in taxpayers’ money, a damning report from the government spending watchdog has found.

Officials have little understanding of what interventions work to improve schools, meaning the system of oversight is not achieving value for money, the report adds.

Private school pupils earn more with the same qualifications, says study

by TES, October 30, 2014

Privately educated pupils earn more in later life than their state-school counterparts, even if they attended the same university and secured the same qualifications, new research has shown.

The study, published today, found a 7 per cent difference between workers with the same degree from the same university three and a half years after graduating.

Even when researchers looked at graduates in the same job, former private-school pupils tended to earn 6 per cent more than colleagues in the same occupation who attended state schools.

School Direct causing shortage of maths and science teachers, report claims

by TES, October 30, 2014

An overhaul of teacher training is fuelling a shortage of new maths and science teachers, a university group has warned.

In a new report, Universities UK raises concerns about the impact of the government's decision to give schools more say in the recruiting and training of staff. It says that if the pace of change continues, it could create problems in training enough teachers.

Since 2012/13, initial teacher training has undergone a radical shake-up, with an increasing number of training places going to the new School Direct programme, rather than universities.

Spending watchdog slams inspection regime for English state schools

by Guardian, October 30, 2014

Waves of reform have left England’s state schools working under a confused array of inspection regimes and unclear systems for raising standards, according to a report by the government’s spending watchdog.

The highly critical assessment published on Thursday by the National Audit Office calculates that 1.6 million children attend a state-funded school rated as less than good by Ofsted – but says the Department for Education (DfE) is unable to show what helps to tackle low standards.

State education sector needs more effective oversight, says audit office

by Guardian, October 30, 2014

After 20 years of being told by successive governments that innovation – academies, beefed-up inspection, floor standards, free schools – would root out England’s troubled schools, parents would be entitled to look on the National Audit Office report with some dismay.

According to the NAO, 1.6 million pupils are still being taught in state-funded schools rated less than good. And to make matters worse, according to the NAO’s calculations, the government appears to have no system of tracking the cost-effectiveness of its improvement efforts. Meanwhile, school oversight has become a spaghetti bowl of overlapping jurisdictions and unfilled gaps between the Department for Education and local authorities.

Private school graduates 'out-earn state counterparts'

by BBC News, October 30, 2014

UK graduates who went to private schools earn thousands of pounds more, on average, than their state-educated peers, research finds.

The study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies says the pay gap is more than £4,500 a year, raising questions over education's impact on social mobility.

It says the privately educated are more likely to attend elite universities and study subjects that lead to higher pay.

Weak schools 'improving too slowly', says watchdog

by BBC News, October 30, 2014

There are 1.6 million pupils in England who are still not getting a good education but there is a failure to deal with under-performing schools, a spending watchdog has said.

A report from the National Audit Office said there was a lack of consistency in tackling under-performance.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said she was "appalled" at the lack of progress.

Maths student thanks her degree tutor for giving her confidence

by Guardian, October 29, 2014

Elaine Hill’s decision to start an Open University (OU) degree in mathematics was a big step. At 18, despite having good results in her Scottish Highers, she hadn’t felt ready to go to university, and instead started work in a bank. Elaine, now 45, often thought about taking an OU course, but first a promotion and then having her two children meant she didn’t think there was enough time for study.

Last year she took the plunge, and as she starts her second year, she wants to say thank you to OU tutor Felicity Bryers, who boosted her confidence and showed her what she was capable of. At first Elaine wasn’t sure that she’d be able to cope: “I had zero confidence. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to do it, that I wasn’t capable because I hadn’t gone to university.”

Student startups: could you be the next Mark Zuckerberg?

by Guardian, October 29, 2014

Through market research conducted while at college, Grant Ridley discovered that while companies had an increasing need for marketing, the amount of money they had to spend on it was declining.

This gave him an idea, and his company – GR Marketing – was born. By concentrating on guerrilla marketing stunts to gain media attention, Ridley created a low-cost alternative to traditional marketing that helped him build a healthy client list.

Hidden costs of state schools causing hardship for millions, says report

by Guardian, October 29, 2014

Millions of families are struggling with the hidden costs of sending children to state school, with many forced to take out loans or scrimp on food and heating to pay for basics such as dinners, uniforms, course materials and trips.

Parents face average annual bills of £800 a pupil, although this can be much higher, with some state secondary school uniforms costing more than £500, making the idea of a free education “far from reality”, according to the Children’s Commission on Poverty inquiry.

What do parents need to know about university?

by Guardian, October 29, 2014

In the early 80s, the percentage of the UK population over 17 years old in higher education was roughly 12%. In 2011-12 it was estimated at 49%.

That’s a huge discrepancy, and the number currently in higher education could rise, as the government has promised to lift the cap on students next year.

So, what of these parents – the ones whose children are going to university, when they didn’t go themselves? How does that feel? Should we all be terrified that there is a generation of adolescent Stewie Griffins out there, sneering at the people who raised them, convinced that they just aren’t very clever?

School tests causing pupil stress, teachers' survey finds

by BBC News, October 29, 2014

Annual school tests for children aged seven to 14 are causing so much stress some pupils are refusing to go to school, a survey of teachers claimed.

Members of the union NUT Cymru said the reading and maths tests put too much pressure on children too young, with one child even stopping eating.

They also raised concerns it affected pupil morale and said the tests had little impact on attainment.

The Welsh government said they were fundamental for raising standards.

Hidden school costs may price out poorest pupils - report

by BBC News, October 29, 2014

Millions of families across Britain are struggling to meet the hidden costs of state education, suggests research carried out by young people.

The cost of non-core items risks pricing poorer pupils out of some subjects, their report claims.

The Children's Commission on Poverty says basics, such as uniforms, school trips, materials and computer access can amount to £800 per child each year.

Cameron’s schools speech was an admission of failure over education

by Guardian, October 28, 2014

Did anyone else notice that debate on schools policy was strangely absent from this year’s party conferences? Education received no more than a passing mention. It’s all a long way from the days when it was almost guaranteed a central spot in any leader’s speech. “Education, education, education” seems to have given way to “health, health, health”. Although the emphasis on the NHS is entirely understandable given the challenges it faces, I hope that the relative silence on schools isn’t a sign that the parties think all is well.

Schools waste millions of pounds paying agency fees for supply teachers, says NUT

by Cambridge News, October 28, 2014

Public money is being wasted by schools paying recruitment agencies up to £1,000 a week for every supply teacher they take on, a union says.

Teachers from the East Anglia are heading to Westminster to shine a light on what they see as the scandal of funds being "siphoned" from children's education into the pockets of commercial agencies.

They are also angry at cuts in pay and conditions for supply teachers.

Shelagh Kavanagh, an NUT member and supply teacher from Newmarket, said: "Schools are paying hundreds of pounds a day for supply teachers. Up to half of the money paid to agencies does not go to the teacher - most agencies will take up to £100 per day commission."

Mail mix-up left parents with wrong marks for child's 11-plus results

by Local Berkshire, October 28, 2014

A MAIL mix-up resulted in some parents receiving the wrong scores for their child’s 11-plus grammar school test results.

It affected a handful of pupils who sat the grammar school test at Kendrick School, in Reading, and wanted to be considered for selective grammar schools in Slough. The Slough Consortium — a body overseeing admissions to Slough grammar schools — sent out letters advising parents of results. However, they admitted a mix-up with their mail merge database means some candidates were sent the wrong results.

Slowdown in number of schools converting to academies

by Guardian, October 28, 2014

Is becoming an academy going out of fashion? Have we perhaps seen peak academisation? The number of schools in England that are converting seems to be slowing, with new academy conversions in the secondary sector dropping dramatically, Education Guardian can reveal.

The total number of new academies in the year to 1 October was 889, a fall of 11% compared with the same period in 2012‑13. In the secondary sector, only 125 schools became academies over the period, compared with 215 in 2012-13, 436 in 2011‑12 and 707 in 2010-11.

How much does an Oxbridge undergraduate really cost?

by Guardian, October 28, 2014

The leaders of our oldest universities tell sorry tales about the losses they incur when teaching undergraduates. Andy Hamilton, the vice-chancellor of Oxford, puts the annual cost of each one at around £16,000.

After discounting the £9,000 tuition fees, he says that leaves “a funding shortfall of more than £7,000 a year per student”. Our most prestigious institutions are now lobbying to be allowed to charge more, while also looking closely at the Australian government’s attempt to abolish fee caps.

Here is the news: children love language, writing and wordplay

by Guardian, October 28, 2014

“Ours is bangin’!” The words of a 17-year-old student at the Guardian Education Centre, describing the front page he and his friend had just completed, said with a big grin on his face and a congratulatory pat on the shoulder for his colleague. Every day we run sessions on news media for classes of schoolchildren from year 5 to the sixth form. The most popular is a workshop using the day’s breaking news stories to make their own front page. They spend four hours researching, writing and subediting. And they love it.

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