Latest Educational News

Pupils ‘should take two maths GCSEs’

by The Times, September 16, 2014

A new maths GCSE to boost basic skills has been demanded by National Numeracy, a charity founded two years ago to raise numeracy levels.
It said teenagers should sit two maths GCSEs, just as they sit separate exams in English literature and language.
A new exam should focus only on core maths and become an “additional and universally respected” qualification.

Inspector to test his powers with dawn raids on schools

by The Times, September 16, 2014

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector, has ordered several dozen “dawn raids” as he tests new powers after concerns highlighted by the “Trojan Horse” controversy over Islamist fundamentalism in schools.
He has authorised 40 inspections of schools over the next fortnight, with no advance warning to prevent heads arranging showpiece activities.

Cambridge given triple A pass by ratings agency

by The Times, September 16, 2014

The University of Cambridge is in a strong position with low levels of debt and the potential to increase its endowment substantially, according to Moody’s, the credit rating agency.
It confirmed the university’s triple A rating, putting it on a par with Harvard.

Britain shows off its brilliant brains in table of world’s top universities

by The Times, September 16, 2014

Britain has four of the world’s top six universities thanks to their strong international reputations among academics and employers.
The University of Cambridge shares second place with Imperial College London in the global ranking, pushing Harvard to fourth position.

Test 14-year-olds in maths to counter 'national scourge' of poor numeracy, says charity

by TES, September 16, 2014

Poor numeracy skills are still a "national scourge" that risk harming the UK economy, a charity has warned, as it called for a new GCSE in everyday maths.

The importance of maths in everyday life has been overlooked for too long, according to National Numeracy, which has set out a new seven-point plan to tackle the problem.

It calls for teenagers' numeracy skills to be checked at age 14. It also wants a new numeracy, or core maths, GCSE qualification to be introduced alongside the current maths GCSE as part of the reforms currently taking place in England.

Free school meals: are the right children getting served?

by Guardian, September 16, 2014

At St Mary Redcliffe primary school in Bristol, headteacher Emma Payne is on lunch duty. She's got a new kitchen extension, a load of shiny cooking kit – the oven cost £6,000, she whispers – and is supervising children choosing from chicken stew, baked potatoes and ratatouille, or tuna and vegetable wraps.

It has not been a smooth ride. A single project manager at the council was responsible for 60 kitchen refurbishments so was rarely able to oversee the build. This meant her site manager, Chris Parkes, had to come in at weekends over the summer to coordinate five different contractors. Fortunately, given some hiccups along the way including a defrosting fridge destroying the kitchen floor, Parkes is a calm man. "It'll be nice when it's finished," he says with a twinkle.

State school pupils doing worse in 'tutor-proof' 11-plus tests

by Guardian, September 16, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

The start of the autumn term is a bittersweet time for headteacher Sue Lewin. Settling new entrants at her Buckinghamshire junior school quickly gives way to five weeks of stress and anxiety for older pupils preparing to move to secondary school.

Choosing a new school can be a fraught process for families everywhere. But in Buckinghamshire, one of 15 fully selective authorities, the pressure starts early. Over the last fortnight pupils have sat preparation papers for the 11-plus, and the real exam. Many will have been coached for months, or years.

Why Greg Clark’s silence on tuition fees could backfire

by Guardian, September 16, 2014

Why is Greg Clark using a lot of words without saying anything? He has, as he told his audience at the annual vice-chancellors’ conference last week, a PhD from the London School of Economics. But by the time he sat down, most of his listeners’ notebooks were blank.

The answer is not in Leeds, where the minister was speaking, but in Birmingham at the end of the month, where the Tory manifesto for next year’s general election will take shape. Like the Lib Dems, it seems that the Conservative party neither has, nor wants, any new initiatives for universities. But in between is next week’s Labour party conference in Manchester. This may expose Clark’s empty rhetoric as an expensive miscalculation.

Does telling students to respect each other do more harm than good?

by Guardian, September 16, 2014

As someone who teaches philosophy in schools, the biggest problem in my lessons, besides blanket indifference, is pupils not giving each other the space to speak. They interrupt and shout over each other, tell one another to shut up or deride ideas with laughter. This behaviour is not just an obstacle to the lessons, it is antithetical to them.

I have been trained to eliminate all this by insisting that in philosophy lessons pupils "respect" one another. A tense or combative atmosphere is the problem and respect is considered to be the solution. That's the idea, but I have never been fluent in the language of respect and I wonder whether there are better words to hand. Is telling pupils to respect one another actually part of the problem rather than the solution?

Four British institutions ranked in top six of world's universities

by Guardian, September 16, 2014

Improvements in research have seen Cambridge University and Imperial College London surpass Harvard University in the latest authoritative annual ranking of the world's top universities, published on Tuesday, with four British institutions in the top six.

The QS ranking of world universities, regarded as the most rigorous of its type, places Imperial and Cambridge as second equal, behind only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the international stage in 2014, thanks to a year of impressive citations measured by QS's survey of academic output.

QS world university rankings 2014: top 200

by Guardian, September 16, 2014

The top 200 universities in the world, as ranked by higher education data specialists QS

What makes a global top 10 university?

by BBC News, September 16, 2014

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in first place in the latest league table of the world's best universities.

It's the third year in a row that the US university, famous for its science and technology research, has been top of the QS World University Rankings.

Another science-based university, Imperial College London, is in joint second place along with Cambridge University.

Heads attack no-notice inspections

by BBC News, September 16, 2014

Head teachers have attacked the idea of Ofsted inspectors visiting schools in England without any warning.

Such unannounced inspections treated staff like "naughty children", says Brian Lightman, head of the Association of School and College Leaders.

On Monday, Ofsted said there would be 40 no-warning inspections this month.

X Factor pupils turn against classical instruments

by The Times, September 15, 2014

The next generation of orchestral musicians will be weaker than the current crop as children are choosing to learn instruments more likely to get them on The X Factor than the Proms, according to senior teachers.
A report by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music shows that the number of pupils learning to play the electric guitar has overtaken those learning the violin for the first time.

Disillusioned parents pool resources for home teaching

by The Times, September 15, 2014

Growing numbers of middle-class families are joining forces to educate their children together at home, having become disillusioned over a shortage of places at local schools.
Professional parents have drawn up rotas with other families to share teaching in home education networks as an alternative to setting up a free school, and some have hired a teacher. This gives children wider access to adults’ expertise and greater opportunities to socialise, these parents say.

Students in hotels as universities fail to cater for rising numbers

by The Times, September 15, 2014

Students are being forced to live in hotels and temporary accommodation ready for the new academic year because their halls are either oversubscribed or still being built.
The government has abolished a cap on intake, allowing universities to accept another 30,000 applicants nationally. But several universities have not fully catered for the higher intake, disrupting the arrival of hundreds of students.

Millions 'wasted' trying to close attainment gap between rich and poor, says leading academic

by TES, September 15, 2014

Politicians should not throw money at “broad policies”, such as providing free school meals for every infant, as they do little to eliminate the achievement gap between the rich and poor, a leading education academic has said.

Kathryn Asbury, co-author of G is for Genes with geneticist Robert Plomin, said universal educational policies are not the most effective way of helping children from poorer backgrounds to reach their potential.

Dr Asbury, a lecturer at the Psychology in Education Research Centre at the University of York, singled out popular interventions such as Bookstart, which gives a bag of books to every newborn child, and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s controversial £1 billion universal free school meals policy as examples that will do nothing to help close the gap between the wealthiest and poorest children.

Unemployment has dropped but the grad job market has not fully recovered

by Guardian, September 15, 2014

Two well-established, if rather narrow, surveys of employers both support the idea that the jobs market for London-based financial firms has improved. More significantly, the recent annual Destination of Leavers of Higher Education survey confirmed that graduates who left university last summer entered a rather better jobs market than their peers from the year before.

As the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows with this chart, the overall employment rate for UK and EU graduates from a full-time first degree after six months was up from 68.5% last year to 70.7% this year, and unemployment after six months was down from 9.1% to 7.8%.

Music education still preserve of the rich, UK study shows

by Guardian, September 15, 2014

The proportion of children in the UK who know how to play a musical instrument has almost doubled in the past 15 years, but poorer youngsters are more likely to miss out, according to a report.

The study, by ABRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, also found that the piano, recorder and classical guitar were the most commonly played instruments by children and young people, but adds that the drum kit, electric and bass guitar have become increasingly popular. The electric guitar has overtaken the violin in popularity.

I have a dyslexic child – what are the best books to get her reading?

by Guardian, September 15, 2014

My 11-year-old dyslexic daughter has loved reading Ruby Redfort books over the holidays – do you have any suggestions of other books that will keep her similarly gripped and actually enjoy reading?

The best news I can give you is that there is a new Ruby Redfort title coming very soon. Feel the Fear will be published in the autumn and your daughter will be able to get right back into the exciting life of Lauren Child’s clever and resourceful 13-year-old detective.

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