Latest Educational News

Students ‘penalised for good answers’ in language exams

by The Times, August 29, 2014

The highest-achieving girls at a top independent school were marked down in this summer’s language GCSEs, it was claimed yesterday. The inaccurate marking could herald problems for new GCSEs being introduced by the government next year.

Schools reeling after ‘clobbering’ in GCSEs

by TES, August 29, 2014

Unexpectedly low results lead to ‘despair’ in disadvantaged areas

Hundreds of schools in England have been “clobbered” by lower than expected GCSE results that will send them plummeting down league tables, according to the first large-scale analysis of this summer’s exams.

As well as widespread concerns over the grading of GCSE English, first reported by TES, at least 200 secondary schools received unexpectedly low results in GCSE maths.

The figures have emerged from the PiXL (Partners in Excellence) Club, which worked with more than 400 schools entering pupils for GCSEs this year. Overall, it reports that schools serving disadvantaged pupils have been particularly badly affected by changes to GCSEs and the accountability system.

'I've lain awake every night since GCSE results day, agonising over the unfairness'

by TES, August 29, 2014

I am a head of English and have recently started in a new school. Having taught in my previous school for 15 years I was determined to see my Year 11 students through to their GCSEs and was able to begin my new post in June.

I was really excited for my students this year. They had all passed their GCSE English literature in Year 10 with good grades, and we had been able to focus completely on the English language in Year 11. I worked exceptionally hard for them and in return they worked really hard for me, meeting deadlines, listening, concentrating and, as a result, many began to produce superb pieces of writing. They were enthusiastic, they were positive and they trusted me.

Jamie Oliver: 'Politicians' failure to tackle childhood obesity is shameful'

by TES, August 29, 2014

Not a single political party is attempting to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic, TV chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver has said, branding it a “shameful state of affairs”.

Writing in today’s edition of TES, Mr Oliver, who has campaigned for better school food and healthier eating habits, has criticised political parties of every hue for not making childhood obesity a priority in an election year.

The celebrity cook said the lack of focus on the issue was putting the hard work that had already been done in danger.

What Every Parent Needs to Know review – a maddening primary school primer

by Guardian, August 29, 2014

Miranda Thomas is a teacher and Toby Young is the founder of one of the earliest free schools (which are not bound by the national curriculum). Young used to be a professional contrarian, made famous by his book How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. But in this puzzler of a book, the tone of Young's usual voice – aggressive, confident, annoying, fun – is inaudible; instead, the writing is twee, sometimes unbearably so. "Try not to burst into tears when you drop them off on their first day. Crying can be contagious and you don't want to set off the other parents!" Yet Young's rebarbative tone is more than merely absent, it creates a palpable silence: this book is certainly full of opinions, yet they are not delivered as such. Instead, they are delivered as facts – kind, gentle facts. And this makes it completely maddening.

Teachers not ready for new curriculum, Sats improve and sleepy teens

by Guardian, August 29, 2014

More children are getting level 4 in their Sats and two thirds of teachers say they don’t feel prepared for the new curriculum.

Good week for...

Sats results. More children are reaching the standards expected of them in the “three Rs” by the time they leave primary school, latest figures show. The results of this year’s national curriculum tests show a four percentage point improvement in the proportion of 11-year-olds gaining at least a level 4.

Sleepy students. A Wall Street Journal article has highlighted the potential move in the US to introduce later school start times for teenagers. Evidence suggests that the need for more sleep at atypical times is a consequence of puberty. Could teachers also benefit from some extra kip?

Decent, affordable childcare 'down to luck,' study finds

by BBC News, August 29, 2014

Just 5% of Wales' 22 councils have sufficient out-of-school activities for 12 to 14-year-olds, a report claims.

Welsh councils also lag behind those in England and Scotland in having enough holiday childcare, the Family and Childcare Trust said.

The trust claims finding decent, affordable care for school-age children is "down to luck" for many families.

A Welsh government spokesman said it was committed to improving access to affordable childcare.

Petition calls for removal of West Somerset College head

by BBC News, August 29, 2014

More than 240 people have signed an online petition calling for the head of a Somerset school to be removed from her post after poor GCSE results.

Only 38% of GCSE students at West Somerset College got five GCSE passes at C grade or above, including maths and English.

The petition calls for West Somerset's principal Gaynor Comber to be removed.

Out-of-school childcare lacking in many areas, says report

by BBC News, August 29, 2014

Large areas of the country are not providing enough out-of-school childcare for primary-age children, a report suggests.

A Family and Childcare Trust study highlights official data that says 28% of Britain's local councils are short of after-school care in their areas.

English and Welsh councils have a duty to ensure enough childcare is available locally. Scottish councils do not.

Councils say they do their best, but have limited influence over childcare.

In England they are discouraged by law from offering childcare themselves, a Local Government Association spokesman said.

Students return to grammars with no decision on future

by The Impartial Reporter, August 29, 2014

STUDENTS at Collegiate Grammar and Portora Royal schools are set to return for a new term in a few days’ time not knowing whether it will be the last year both schools exist in their current form. Education Minister John O’Dowd has yet to announce his decision on a proposal to discontinue the two schools and amalgamate them by September 2015.

Cost of kitting out kids for school hits £240 per child – totalling £2.5bn

by Guardian, August 28, 2014

Parents will fork out an average of £240 to kit out each of their children with essentials such as clothes, books, stationery and other key items to equip them for the new school term in September – adding up to a staggering £2.5bn across the UK – research has claimed.

The investment doesn’t stop there, as the cost of keeping under-18s in school once term begins adds up to £50 per child per week. This regular expenditure includes everyday costs such as packed lunches, bus fares, school trips and after-school activities – comes to a total of £526m a week across the UK.

Declare the social mix of your staff, British companies told

by The Telegraph, August 28, 2014

Companies should be told to declare the social background of their workforce to combat a “deeply elitist” culture at the top of public life, the Government’s social mobility tsar has suggested.

Employers should effectively discriminate against applicants from private schools as part of a drive to stop the judiciary, Armed Forces, politics, media and the medical profession being turned into a “cosy club”, it is claimed in a report

Poorer children perform best in middle-class schools

by The Times, August 28, 2014

The number of middle-class children in a school has more impact on the achievement of pupils from poor families than the type of school they attend, research suggests.
A review published by the Institute of Education, University of London, said the performance of faith schools and academies was largely accounted for by the socio-economic backgrounds of their intake.

'The government must reverse the terrible decision of decoupling AS and A-levels'

by TES, August 28, 2014

Most teenagers will now have a good idea of what their next move will be after they opened their A-level results two weeks ago to learn their fate.

My own A-level results day actually wasn’t so long ago and I know first-hand how important it is to have flexibility when studying. As a victim of our country’s appalling careers advice service for young people, I had no idea what I wanted to do after college, let alone what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, I took a mixture of AS levels: biology, chemistry, law and politics

Britain still 'deeply elitist' as privately educated dominate top jobs

by TES, August 28, 2014

Britain is still a “deeply elitist” society where the best-paid and most-powerful jobs are dominated by a narrow group educated at private schools and Oxbridge, according to an extensive new analysis.

The lack of diversity means that many of Britain's key institutions are not representative of the public they serve, the study of 4,000 business, political, media and public sector leaders claims.

Schools not ready for new national curriculum

by TES, August 28, 2014

Most schools are not ready for the new national curriculum, a union survey suggests.

More than six out of 10 teachers said their school was not “fully prepared to teach the new curriculum” – which is supposed to be introduced this term – in the poll of 618 primary and secondary teachers carried out by the the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Surge in pupils achieving 'three Rs', Sats show

by TES, August 28, 2014

National primary test results published today suggest standards are improving, with nearly four fifths of 11-year-olds achieving the expected level in reading, writing and maths.

Ministers have hailed the news, pointing out that 81,000 more children will start secondary school with a secure grounding in the basics than they did in 2009, despite the tests becoming tougher.

The figures also show that 24 per cent of the 557,400 pupils, who took the tests in May, exceeded the expected level in reading, writing and maths – up from 21 per cent last year.

Liam Byrne: ‘we need to put higher education at centre stage of policy’

by Guardian, August 28, 2014

Liam Byrne, shadow universities minister, has today outlined some options for reform of UK higher education. In the pamphlet, entitled Robbins Rebooted a reference to the Robbins report on university expansion in 1963, Byrne calls for drastic changes to be made to the sector.

He says we either watch the university system slowly go bust and lose its place as a global science leader, or choose a different path. “Unless we get smarter as a country, we will get poorer,” he adds. “But with big reform of our university system, not big spending, we can build a richer, fairer country.”

Sats results show primary school children improving in basic skills

by Guardian, August 28, 2014

More children are reaching the standards expected of them in the "three Rs" by the time they leave primary school, latest figures show, but tens of thousands of youngsters are still failing in reading, writing and maths.

The results of this year's national curriculum tests – known as Sats – show a four percentage point improvement in the proportion of 11-year-olds gaining at least a level 4 – the standard expected of the age group, in the basics.

Universities could get cash for every poor student, says Labour

by Guardian, August 28, 2014

Universities would receive £1,000 for every low-income student they recruit under a plan put forward by Labour intended to widen access to higher education.

Liam Byrne, the shadow universities minister, describes this as a possible option in a pamphlet on university reform published by the Social Market Foundation thinktank.

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