Latest Educational News

£800m spent on free nursery places for three-year-olds fails to improve education standards

by The Independent, March 30, 2015

Classified as General.

Spending £800 million of free nursery places for three-year-olds has failed to produce any lasting improvements in education standards, according to a study published today.

The policy was first billed as a "double dividend" which would help prepare children better for school and give their parents more opportunity to find part-time work.

However, according to an analysis of the programme presented to the Royal Economic Society yesterday, children's school outcomes are only slightly improved at age five if they have taken advantage of free nursery places.

General Election 2015: Labour promise legislation to boost vocational education and apprenticeships within 100 days if elected

by The Independent, March 30, 2015

Classified as General.

Labour will introduce legislation within 100 days of taking office to boost vocational education and apprenticeships, the party's education spokesman Tristram Hunt pledged yesterday.

An education Bill will be one of the first off the stocks if the party wins the General Election, he said at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference in Liverpool.

It will be jointly sponsored by the Department of Business and Department for Education. "We're moving away from this isolated vision of the DfE," he said,. "Within 100 days you will have a Labour education Bill about vocational education, apprenticeships and training."

Headteachers' salaries are soaring in academies and free schools, say teachers

by The Independent, March 30, 2015

Classified as General.

Headteachers must guard against the "rot of greed" which has seen their salaries soar in some academies and free schools, teachers declared yesterday.

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Liverpool, heard that growing numbers of heads were now earning more than the Prime Minister's salary of £142,500 a year.

"When schools were under local (council) control, it would have been unthinkable as well as impossible that a headteacher, of even a group of schools, could earn more than a director of education, let alone the Secretary of State for Education, let alone the Prime Minister," Simon Clarkson from Leicestershire told the conference.

Free nursery places 'make no academic difference'

by BBC News, March 30, 2015

Classified as General.

Sending three year old children to nursery may not make any difference to their academic results later on, suggest researchers.

£800m has been spent annually on free places for three-year-olds since 1998.

Researchers say the main benefit has been to make childcare cheaper for families with young children.

They conclude that while the policy may have encouraged more mothers to return to work, there was no long term effect on children's academic development.

The studies were carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Essex and Sussex universities.

Schools in Kirklees and Calderdale get a share of £367 million repairs fund

by Examiner, March 30, 2015

Classified as General.

More than two dozen local schools are to receive a share of a £367 million fund to repair and extend their buildings.

Thirteen schools in Kirklees and 15 in Calderdale have been named as beneficiaries of the Condition Improvement Fund 2015/16 - although details of how much each will get have not yet been released.

Each is expected to receive tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.

More than 1,000 English schools will share the money. The fund criteria include keeping academy and college buildings safe and in good working order by tackling poor building conditions, building compliance, energy efficiency and health and safety issues.

Labour’s education policies: you ask the questions

by The Guardian, March 30, 2015

Classified as General.

Teachers are desperate for you to inspire us to vote for Labour in May. Apart from fully qualified teachers and no more free schools, what sets you apart from the Tories?

Craig Parr, history teacher, Stoke Newington, London

One very clear difference is our analysis that the biggest short-term problem facing English education is also our long-term failing: vocational education. On that, we have a wide-ranging reform agenda - more demanding apprenticeships, a gold-standard Technical Baccalaureate qualification and creating new Institutes of Technical Education focused on high-level skills.

Also, there is a crucial difference on funding – unlike the Tories we are committing to protecting the entire Department for Education budget in real terms. So that includes 16-19, SEN and the early years, all of which are just as critical for schools to tackle inequality.

Numbers studying physics rise as blockbuster films, the Hadron Collider and the Mars Rover inspire students

by The Independent, March 29, 2015

Classified as General.

Blockbuster films such as Gravity, Interstellar and The Theory of Everything, combined with a huge interest in machines such as the Large Hadron Collider at Cern and the Mars Rover, are creating a buzz around physics and leading to higher numbers of students applying to study the subject.

The Institute of Physics said the number of UK students applying to study for a degree in physics had risen by 40 per cent over four years, while numbers wishing to take physics at A-level had grown by 3 per cent from 2012 to 2013.

Q: How much time should be spent on homework? A: 70 minutes at most, every day

by The Independent, March 29, 2015

Classified as General.

Teenagers should not do more than an hour of maths and science homework per day – according to a new study – as any more has been found to be counter-productive.

But this isn’t an excuse to slack off from revision or assignments as the best test results were produced after regular and short periods of homework, rather than longer blocks of time.

The performance of 7,725 students from 148 schools in the region of Asturias, Spain, was monitored. They were each asked how many hours they spent on different subjects and whether they received help.

How play-based learning can give young children skills for life

by TES Connect, March 29, 2015

Classified as General.

All work and no play, the saying goes, makes Jack a dull boy. And there may be more truth in that than previously thought, according to Richard Bullard, headteacher at Combe Down Primary School in Bath.

Bullard was converted to the possibilities of play by a trip to the Czech Republic, where, he says, the early-years provision was “delightful”.

He says that the Czechs, along with other Eastern European cultures, “allow their young children to be just that. These children play, dress up, help around the nursery, get out and about and are encouraged to be independent. Mollycoddling? Pah. Babies and toddlers are left to have their naps outside in pretty much all weathers.”

This early independence sets children up, Bullard says, with skills for life. He adds that his subsequent decision to implement more play-based learning at Combe Down was “music to the ears” of the early-years leader.

Confident teachers' students perform better, report finds

by TES Connect, March 29, 2015

Classified as General.

Teachers with confidence in their abilities find that their students perform better, a new report says.

The study, by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), suggests that countries which want to improve education should focus on teachers’ self-belief.

Published ahead of an international summit of education ministers and union representatives in Canada this weekend, the report finds that teachers with high levels of confidence in their abilities tend to have better results. It says that greater “self-efficacy” among teachers – defined as “belief in their ability to teach, engage students and manage a classroom” – has a positive impact on students’ attainment.

The war against humanities at Britain's universities

by The Guardian, March 29, 2015

Classified as General.

A war is being waged within the cloistered world of academia, a war whose repercussions will be felt down through the generations. Long one of Britain’s global success stories, our universities are under attack by an austerity-obsessed government looking to maintain the excellence of our institutions at a fraction of the cost. The dictates of the market economy have been unleashed upon our once-sacred seats of learning, and academics wear the haunted looks of the terminally battle-scarred. With the threat of further cuts to come whichever side wins the general election, and none of the major parties promising to stand in the way of the corporate colonisation of education, the debate has reached an unseemly head, with many academics in open revolt and professional publications full of bilious fulmination.

Northamptonshire receives £1 million Government funding to provide free school meals

by Northampton Chronicle & Echo, March 28, 2015

Classified as General.

Northamptonshire County Council has been awarded more than £1 million to provide free school meals for reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils across the county.

The Department for Education funding has been allocated as part of the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals programme, which enables infant school age children to benefit from a free hot lunch.

The programme was introduced in September and around 79.2 per cent of eligible families in Northamptonshire are taking advantage of a free school meal.

The funding, awarded for the year 2015/16, will be spent on improving kitchen and dining rooms, buying new kitchen equipment and introducing salad bars.

School league tables: how has your child's school performed?

by Evening Times, March 28, 2015

Classified as General.

Education Scotland's latest figures for school exam results show 58% of school leavers are doing better than expected.

The Evening Times has created league tables for the six surrounding local authority areas, showing how many pupils are leaving school with three or more Highers.

Of the 71 schools the Evening Times collected data for, 41 met or exceeded the benchmark figure while 30 did not.

In East Renfrewshire, six schools met or exceeded their benchmarks while one did not. Similarly, in West Dunbartonshire four met the suggested target but one did not and in East Dunbartonshire seven did while one did not.

Adult education providers in Burton and South Derbyshire fight on despite cuts

by Burton Mail, March 28, 2015

Classified as General.

COLLEGES offering adult education in Burton and South Derbyshire are battling to continue courses for mature students after the Government announced it will slash funding for around 190,000 places.

The Association of Colleges revealed that funding nationally has been cut by 24 per cent and warned that if the cutbacks continue at the same rate then adult education will not exist by 2020.

In response to the news, Burton and South Derbyshire College has said it is working to move away from relying on state funding, while Derbyshire County Council has said it may have to cut more of its leisure courses from its programme.

A-level in leisure studies to be scrapped

by The Independent, March 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Leisure studies is to be scrapped as an A-level subject – but the sometimes ridiculed media studies will remain.

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) said a number of changes would be made to the list of A-levels and GCSEs by 2017.

Among other A-levels to be dropped are anthropology, citizenship studies, home economics, pure mathematics, performing arts and science in society.

In a statement, Ofqual’s chief regulator, Glenys Stacey, said: “We are today confirming the principles against which we will determine those GCSE and AS and A Level subjects that may be offered for first teaching from 2017.

GCSEs and A-level subjects culled by Ofqual

by BBC News, March 27, 2015

Classified as General.

The often-maligned subject, media studies, has survived a cull of A-level subjects as England's qualifications watchdog moves to toughen examinations.

Ofqual is scrapping home economics, citizenship studies and communication and culture A-levels.

GCSEs in catering, digital communications, expressive arts and home economics are also being axed.

Ofqual said it based its decisions on whether the subjects "were of an appropriate level of academic demand".

A number of educationalists have expressed dismay at the rise of media studies as an academic subject.

Time to change the school run to the school walk?

by Cambridge News, March 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Can I talk about "accidents" for a moment?

I don't like the word accident. Some things that happen are truly accidents, things that you can't control. But do we really understand what the word accident means?

Looking at the dictionary, accidents are described as "an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm". To try to comprehend what this means, why not think about a parent dropping a child off at school in their automobile and think how you would describe that car hitting another child?

It is certainly an undesirable or unfortunate happening. More children in hospital with head injuries and some broken bones is never a good thing. We should try to reduce these as much as possible.

'Financial education needs to be taken seriously'

by The Telegraph, March 27, 2015

Classified as General.

I graduated from university during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). As school students, we’re told that a university education is the golden ticket to a future we can’t grasp yet. This is perhaps why schools are ranked not only in terms of their A-level results but on how many students receive a university place.

The GFC, however, proved that rhetoric wrong. I was surrounded by incredibly driven and capable young people, labelled ‘high achieving’ by the education system but who were suddenly unable to get a job. We were told that the ‘credit crunch’ had hit hard, resulting in training programs being cut and firms not hiring.

In the next few years, graduate programs were flooded with competition from less fresh graduates armed with more experience, let go from their jobs because of the ‘credit crunch’.

Many young pupils 'can't communicate'

by BBC News, March 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Too many children are starting school in England unable to speak in simple sentences or control their behaviour, a study says.

The Early Intervention Foundation's analysis found a fifth of children lacked the expected personal, social and emotional development by age five.

A quarter of children were unable to communicate at the level expected for their age, it added.

The government said it recognised the importance of early years investment.

And this was why it had raised spending by £1bn a year.

Change in A-levels is stressful for students at Burton and Derbyshire College

by Burton Mail, March 27, 2015

Classified as General.

FOR students waiting to sit their A-levels this year, the month of May seems a little too close.

While many people are willing spring to arrive quickly, youngsters across the area feel the month of May edging closer with each passing day.

That month, and the looming exams which pupils sit during that time, could dictate their futures. That is a fact which they are all too aware of.

"It's very nerve-wracking," said Dani Coltman, 18.

Dani is studying for an A-level in psychology at Burton and South Derbyshire College alongside a BTEC course in sport.

Her revision is already well under way for the exam, but she said she was aware how much there was still left to do.

She told the Mail: "There's a lot of pressure because you've got so much to remember and you know everything is based on that one exam.

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