Latest Educational News

Crisis in primary places as one in seven children fail to win admission to their first choice school

by The Independent, April 17, 2014

Classified as Primary.

eachers' leaders warned of a crisis in primary school places on a day when thousands of parents had to face up to the disappointment of not getting their child into their first-choice school.

A poll of more than 50 local councils indicated that around one in seven parents - nearly 86,000 - failed to win a place at their first choice school.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the figure was 39 per cent, while parents in other London boroughs also fared worse than the rest of the country. In Lambeth, south London, the figure was 21 per cent, and in Hammersmith and Fulham it was 25 per cent.

Chess 'should be compulsory in primary schools'

by The Telegraph, April 17, 2014

Classified as Primary.

Pupils as young as seven should be given compulsory lessons in chess amid claims it boosts concentration levels, numeracy and reading comprehension, according to a teachers’ leader.

Primary schools should give all pupils at least one term’s worth of chess in an attempt to get them interested in the game at a young age, it was claimed.

Hank Roberts, former president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said Britain was one of the few European countries that failed to recognise chess as a sport or fund a proper “in-school programme”.

He insisted the game was hugely popular in private schools but too many in the state system failed to offer it to pupils.

Research has shown that the game – which is already part of the curriculum in some nations – can dramatically improve pupils’ levels of concentration, boost problem-solving skills and develop their thought processes.

Primary school places revealed as squeeze continues

by BBC, April 17, 2014

Classified as Primary.

England is facing a "growing crisis" over primary school places, a teachers' leader has said, as parents find out where their children will attend.

Dr Mary Bousted, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of failing to ensure places are available.

Early figures suggest tens of thousands of pupils will not get their first choices.

The government said it had doubled funding for new school places to £5bn.

It highlighted how it had allowed good schools to expand and said most families were getting their first choice of school.

Report: 10% of bullied teenagers have tried to commit suicide

by The Independent, April 16, 2014

Classified as Bullying.

One in 10 teenagers bullied at school have attempted to commit suicide, according to research published today. In addition, a further 30 per cent go on to self-harm.

The study, by the anti-bullying pressure group, Ditch The Label, shows that 45 per cent of 13- to 18-year-olds have experienced bullying by the age of 18, with the majority saying the primary reason was their physical appearance. Researchers canvassed 3,600 young people.

Bullying expert Professor Ian Rivers, from Brunel University, said the research showed that we still have got a great deal to do to ensure that our young people are safe in our schools and able to learn in a supportive educational environment.

Disadvantaged schools are 'career suicide' for headteachers

by The Independent, April 16, 2014

Classified as Ofsted.

Ofsted was wielding a "Sword of Damocles" over "any senior leaders foolish enough to think that they will be sufficient to undertake the tricky work of turning round schools with seriously entrenched problems," Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, told her union's annual conference in Manchester.

The education standards watchdog often delivered a verdict on schools of high challenge or high deprivation soon after the new head arrived, with the result the school got a poor rating and was forced into becoming an academy.

Dr Bousted described Ofsted as "an agency designed to inspire fear and loathing in teachers and school leaders".

'Crisis' warning as up to four in 10 refused first choice primary school

by The Telegraph, April 16, 2014

Classified as Primary.

Up to four in 10 children missed out on their first choice primary school in parts of England while hundreds of pupils were not allocated places at all.

There were warnings of a mounting admissions "crisis" as figures show that almost 40 per cent of infants in parts of the country failed to secure places at the main school of their choice.

Officials were also warned to brace themselves for a surge in the number of official appeals.

GCSEs and A-levels 'scheduled to take account of Ramadan'

by The Telegraph, April 16, 2014

Classified as GCSE.

Exam chiefs are considering scheduling GCSEs and A-levels to accommodate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, it was announced today.
The Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards, said it could run large-entry tests in the morning to prevent Muslim pupils being forced to take them when they are hungry.
It is believed that the move will affect subjects such as English and maths in 2015 which traditionally cater for the largest number of pupils.
The move comes as members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers called on examiners to take account of the impact of Ramadan when Muslims are supposed to fast during daylight hours.

Blame the system, not teachers, for any 'cheating'

by The Telegraph, April 15, 2014

Classified as Cheating.

Research by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) reveals that many teachers are "cheating" – or, to be more precise, “teaching to the test” and manipulating lessons to make sure they hit targets.

What a surprise. If Britain’s schoolchildren are indeed the most over-examined in Europe, there are bound to be a few unpleasant sideeffects. One of these is that teachers too are overworked, overstressed and over-pressurised.

“Welcome to the Machine”, as Pink Floyd once so masterfully put it. Our secondary education system – three full years of game-changing exams in teenage years alone (GCSE, AS and AS level) – means that British education has become one giant exam-passing machine, guided by often arbitrary exam targets.

One-in-five new primary places ‘created in poor schools’

by The Telegraph, April 15, 2014

Classified as Primary.

More than a fifth of new school places for under-11s have been created by expanding poor-quality state primaries, official figures show.

Some 51,000 additional places – 21 per cent – created to meet extra demand for primary schools are in institutions that have been branded “inadequate” or “requires improvement” by Ofsted, it emerged.

In some areas such as Wolverhampton, Shropshire, Doncaster, Bracknell Forest and Medway, the proportion of new places created in poor schools rises well above half.

The disclosure threatens to cast a shadow over action taken to ease the pressure on primary schools, with fears that local authorities in some areas are prioritising quantity over quality.

It comes just a day before the parents of more than 600,000 children find out which state primaries they have got into for September.

Cambridge 'town' vs 'gown' gap is widening, Mary Beard warns

by The Telegraph, April 15, 2014

Classified as University.

Classics professor Mary Beard has warned that residents in Cambridge feel large areas of the town are closed off to them due to heightened security at the university

The ‘town’ versus ‘gown’ divide in Cambridge has grown in recent decades as the university has become increasingly closed off from the general public, classicist Mary Beard has warned.
The professor and TV presenter warned that Cambridge was becoming a “two-party town” as the heightened security prevents residents accessing university buildings and land.
Prof Beard made the claim in an article for the Cambridge News in which she dismissed the image of dons as "port-swilling freeloaders" as a myth and expressed concern about the low pay of junior university staff.
She wrote: “I also think that the division of ‘town’ and ‘gown’ has grown in some ways more obvious over the 30 years I have lived here as a resident, rather than as a student.
“Increasing (and understandable) concerns with security have meant that more college buildings, playing fields and through-ways are open only to those with an electronic uni card.

Infants 'unable to use toy building blocks' due to iPad addiction

by The Telegraph, April 15, 2014

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warn that rising numbers of children are unable to perform simple tasks such as using building blocks because of overexposure to iPads

Rising numbers of infants lack the motor skills needed to play with building blocks because of an “addiction” to tablet computers and smartphones, according to teachers.

Many children aged just three or four can “swipe a screen” but have little or no dexterity in their fingers after spending hours glued to iPads, it was claimed.

Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers also warned how some older children were unable to complete traditional pen and paper exams because their memory had been eroded by overexposure to screen-based technology.

Pupil behaviour ‘worse than thought’

by The Independent, April 15, 2014

Classified as Behaviour.

Unruly behaviour in schools is far worse than inspectors and official government reports indicate, according to a major study of classroom disruption out today.

Even teachers in the most popular, oversubscribed state schools have to work hard to avoid their classrooms getting out of control, it adds. Hardly any schools are free of disruptive behaviour.

The report coincides with a new survey by unions which warns of rising mental-health problems among teaching staff – with 40 per cent of those saying they have such problems citing poor pupil behaviour as the cause.

Young children left at school 10 hours a day, warn teachers

by The Independent, April 15, 2014

Classified as Family.

Children as young as four are spending 10 hours a day at a school as an example of the erosion of family life, according to research published today.

A survey of more than 1,300 teachers reveals growing numbers of parents are putting the need to work ahead of spending quality time with their children.

One teacher from a Kent primary school told researchers: "Many of our parents are commuters into London and therefore work long hours. We have children as young as four who are at school 8am to 6pm, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Another early years teacher from North Yorkshire added: "These children walk around like ghosts, do not talk to anyone, fall asleep, do not progress as quickly as their peers. Their parents are also 'too busy' to support them in an adequate way at home."

Families have less time together, teachers warn

by BBC, April 15, 2014

Classified as Family.

Family life is under growing strain as parents have to put work before their children, a survey of teachers finds.

Teachers warn days of up to 10 hours in school or childcare result in children who do not talk to anyone, fall asleep and lag behind their peers.

Most of the more than 1,300 teachers polled by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) felt families spent less time together now.

The government said parents should decide what is best for their family.

According to the survey teachers believe pressure on families is eroding childhood.

More than half (56%) of the 1,343 members surveyed said they thought children spent a lot less time with their families than they did 20 years ago.

Nearly three quarters, (74%) said parents and children had less time together than they did five years ago and 61% thought they had less time together than two years ago.

Teachers warn over 'corporate greed' in schools

by BBC, April 15, 2014

Classified as Schools.

England's education system is being "destroyed through corporate greed", teachers claim.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) warns of a "culture of cronyism" with private companies increasingly taking control of schools.

The union accuses these companies of "thriving on the spoils" of consultancy fees for free schools and academies.

The government said these schools were subject to "far tighter" financial controls than council-run schools.

The ATL passed an emergency motion at its annual conference calling for a school funding system in which all schools are funded in a "fair, transparent and accountable way", with safeguards to prevent "unacceptable" financial practices.

'Universities remain bastions of middle class culture'

by The Telegraph, April 14, 2014

Classified as University.

As more people go to university and more funding and effort goes into 'widening participation' (WP), we should be seeing a new world of diversity, new ideas and voices.

Yet the evidence suggests that our universities remain bastions of middle class culture, a place where people from more disadvantaged backgrounds are expected to become more middle class.

As a result, going to university looks and feels unrealistic for many people; with many believing that it's just 'not for them'. And for those students from communities who wouldn't traditionally consider higher study, it can be an uncomfortable experience.

Just recently, the NUS shared research into how white students gain higher degree scores than minority ethnic students with the same A-levels. They suggested there can be a restrictive, monolithic culture among students and in HE generally.

University does not pay after graduates see wages plummet

by The Independent, April 14, 2014

Classified as University.

Starting salaries for graduates have fallen over the last five years, fuelling fears students will be discouraged from going to university because of the poor return in wages for the fees they have paid.

A study published today shows that the average starting salary for graduates in professional employment has fallen by 11 per cent – from £24,293 a year to £21,702.

Even in jobs with traditionally high starting salaries – such as medicine and dentistry – pay has fallen since 2007 by 15 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

The Government has responded by trying to emphasise that a degree is still a valuable investment, but students have expressed concern at the findings. It prompted one students’ leader to warn: “We are the first generation in modern history who stand to be worse off than their parents.”

Laws calls for a period of 'stability' in education

by BBC, April 14, 2014

Classified as Schools.

A "significant period of stability" in schools should follow the coalition government's wide-ranging changes, says schools minister David Laws.

Under the coalition, England's schools face tougher inspections, changes to A-levels and GCSEs and a new curriculum.

Mr Laws said he and Education Secretary Michael Gove were now "very focused on delivery and implementation".

Speaking to teachers, Mr Laws said "excessive politicisation" in education should be avoided.

Addressing the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in Manchester, Mr Laws, a Liberal Democrat, defended the coalition's programme of change.

He said that when a new government came into power after another had been in power for a long time, policy change was inevitable.

But he said all parties should now allow time for changes to take effect.

Ilford County and Woodford County High Schools to expand

by Guardian, April 14, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

A plan to increase pupil numbers at two grammar schools by 50 per cent has been given the green light.

Redbridge council’s cabinet last night agreed to launch a public consultation on a proposal to increase yearly intake at Ilford County and Woodford County High Schools from 120 to 180.

The expansion could be completed in time for the 2016/17 academic year.

The council has not revealed whether the entry criteria for the schools will change.


by Yellow Advertiser, April 14, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

A PLAN to halt the declining numbers of Southend pupils getting into the borough’s four grammar schools has been launched.
Southend Council announced an investigation in November after less than 200 local children in 2013 took up 600 available places at Southend Boys, Southend Girls, Westcliff Boys, Westcliff Girls.
The decline was part of trend that began in 2009 that has seen children from outside of Southend – some travelling from as far as Brentwood – taking up grammar school places.


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