Latest Educational News

Universities threatened by marking boycott

by The Courier, October 21, 2014

Courier country students could see their degrees thrown into disarray after a major union voted to press ahead with industrial action.

The potentially crippling action, organised by the University and College Union, could see exams left unmarked and coursework not set.

The union called the vote after it emerged pension changes could cost members £20,000 per year.

Dust may cause peanut allergy

by The Courier, October 21, 2014

A new study has revealed that peanut allergy may be caused by exposure to peanut protein in household dust.

Around two per cent of schoolchildren in the UK are allergic to peanuts while severe eczema in early infancy has also been linked to food allergies, particularly peanut allergy.

Record number of exams re-graded

by The Courier, October 21, 2014

Record numbers of A-level and GCSE grades were changed this year, amid growing concerns among schools about marking.

New figures show that tens of thousands of results were altered after increasing numbers of papers were submitted to exam boards for rechecking and re-marking.

Headteachers said they were not surprised that there had been a significant rise in requests for re-marks this year, as many schools had seen "worrying" results which they did not believe reflected students' true abilities.

Record number of appeals over GCSE and A-level results

by The Telegraph, October 21, 2014

Record numbers of GCSEs and A-levels have been upgraded following complaints from schools over poor marking, according to the exams watchdog.
Figures show some 450,500 official appeals were lodged by schools following this summer’s exams – an increase of almost 50 per cent in just 12 months.
The total number of appeals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has now more than doubled in the last three years.

Christian school ‘must invite imams to lead its assemblies’

by The Times, October 21, 2014

A private Christian school has been threatened with closure unless it invites clerics from other faiths to lead assemblies, a pressure group has claimed.
The Christian Institute, an evangelical campaign group, says that Ofsted inspectors downgraded the school from a rating of “good” to “adequate”, saying that it was failing to promote respect for other faiths.

Who’ll tell the truth about the local comprehensives?

by The Times, October 21, 2014

“So, there was loads of mucking around, and the teacher wouldn’t do anything,” says Drew, a 13-year-old boy on the panel, unaware of how much his words are affecting his audience.
We’re in the hall of one of the more affluent state primary schools in the capital, but things are topsy-turvy this evening.

Are British students getting fitter or fatter?

by Guardian, October 21, 2014

They say you are what you eat. At no point in my freshers’ week do I recall eating a lazy fast-food addict, who drank heavily and thought exercising was something priests did to rid people of demons; but then I am an unreliable witness – I was mostly inebriated.

A recent survey showed that 46% of freshers miss their mum’s cooking more than anything else from home, and it’s not hard to imagine why. My attempts at cooking in my own student days would inevitably produce unsightly failures; inducing indigestion after I was forced to stuff them down at a lightning pace to hide the evidence.

Spot the difference: why do more men teach in independent schools?

by Guardian, October 21, 2014

There are plenty of misconceptions about the differences between state and private education in the UK. But when considering teaching employment options, there are some reassuringly solid facts – including statistics showing clear contrasts between the gender balance in maintained and independent school staffrooms.

While women dominate both sectors, the proportion of men teaching in private schools is significantly higher than in their state counterparts. According to a 2014 census by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), which represents more than 1,200 independent schools in the UK and overseas, almost 40% of full-time equivalent teachers in its member schools are men. In state schools, in contrast, the latest Department for Education statistics show that in 2013 men accounted for just over a quarter of teaching staff.

Why the need for a gender divide in school uniforms? Or loos?

by Guardian, October 21, 2014

Hearing that the school would get a new uniform brought a new low. But the head and governors were worried about the arrival of a new academy down the road. So not only were our pupils’ perfectly adequate black blazers now to be replaced by expensively piped-and-pinstriped ones, lest we get “left behind” in the school fashion wars, but we were also informed there would be gender-specific ties – red for boys, orange for girls.

This was five years ago, but I still remember feeling bewildered. In a society that already puts too many arbitrary divisions between people, why create another by making our kids wear different-coloured strips of material?

GCSE and A-level results changed for 45,500 on appeal

by BBC News, October 21, 2014

More than 45,000 exam grades from this summer have been changed after schools challenged the results, up by 15%.

The number of inquiries questioning GCSE and A-level grades rose even more sharply, up by 48% to 450,500, according to exam watchdog Ofqual.

"Every such change has a big impact on the individuals affected," said education minister Nick Gibb.

"There is a growing lack of confidence in the exam system," said head teachers' leader Brian Lightman.

Social mobility tsar: four-in-10 mothers and fathers 'should receive parenting classes'

by The Telegraph, October 20, 2014

A national programme of parenting classes should be introduced because as many as four-in-10 mothers and fathers struggle to raise their own children, according to the Government’s social mobility tsar.
Alan Milburn said it should be “the norm” for families to be given advice on issues such as reading to their children, imposing discipline and restricting TV viewing to tackle the scourge of “bad parenting”.

Children should start saving for university at birth

by The Times, October 20, 2014

Tax-free savings accounts should be set up for babies to pay for university fees, according to a centre-right think-tank.
It suggests setting up education savings plans for children at birth. These could then be withdrawn at the age of 18 to pay for university.
The “junior Isas” would be given a Kitemark for quality, the Centre for Policy Studies said.

The music teacher in tune with Pyongyang regime

by The Times, October 20, 2014

A music teacher at one of the country’s most prestigious independent boys’ schools is a communist who has visited North Korea.
Dulwich College, which was founded in 1619, is an academically selective school in south London that charges fees of up to £36,000 a year and whose old boys include PG Wodehouse, Nigel Farage and Ernest Shackleton.
Lesley Larkum, head of strings at the school, is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and reportedly said that she had sympathy with the secretive North Korean regime.

Don’t leave yourself open to abuse, teachers told

by The Times, October 20, 2014

Teachers should keep their distance from parents as much as pupils on social media sites for fear of being “trolled” in revenge for classroom punishments, a head teacher has advised.
Mark Steed, principal of Berkhamsted School and chairman of the information and communications technology (ICT) strategy committee for the Independent Schools Council (ISC), told The Times that parents could “troll” teachers following punishments or oversights involving their children.

Child poverty set to rise, says social mobility commission

by BBC News, October 20, 2014

The UK risks becoming a "permanently divided" society unless "radical new approaches" are taken by the next government, a report suggests.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission also claims the target to reduce child poverty by half by 2020 will not be met.

Chairman Alan Milburn said the three largest Westminster parties were being "less than frank" on the issue.

He said housing costs and youth unemployment needed to be tackled.

Mr Milburn, a former Labour minister, said the current government had "discredited existing child poverty targets and failed to put in place new ones", creating an "unholy mess".

'Relative poverty'

Cameron set to be first Tory PM to opt for state secondary

by The Times, October 18, 2014

David Cameron is set to become the first Conservative prime minister to send his child to a state secondary school.
He said that he and his wife, Samantha, had visited several state secondaries and were considering them for his eldest daughter, Nancy, 10.
If Mr Cameron wins the general election in May, he could become the first serving Conservative prime minister with a child at a state secondary, when she starts in September.

Fake it till you make it girls, advises Ms González

by The Times, October 17, 2014

State school girls should fake confidence and not be made to feel like second-class citizens compared with public school boys, according to Miriam González.
The lawyer, who is married to Nick Clegg, said that the biggest reason for girls underachieving was lack of self-confidence.
She told an event hosted by Primary Futures, which arranges for volunteers to speak about their jobs in primary schools, that more than half of girls had no access to role models.

Lib Dem peer gives business school £15m

by The Times, October 17, 2014

A £15 million donation has been made to the University of Manchester’s business school by a Liberal Democrat peer.
The gift, by the family trust of Lord Alliance, is among the biggest single philanthropic donations to a university outside Oxford, Cambridge and London. The school will change its name from autumn 2015 in recognition of this and past support from the peer.

Colleges snub school performance-pay system to retain salary scales

by TES, October 17, 2014

England’s elite sixth-form colleges have snubbed the government’s controversial performance-related pay reforms in schools by coming up with their own salary framework.

The proposals from the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA), which represents 93 institutions across England for 16- to 19-year-olds, mark a significant shift in approach.

While the SFCA plans to formalise the link between appraisals and annual pay rises in the sector for the first time, several key elements of the system in use in schools have been ignored.

Crucially, the plans also commit colleges to matching the pay on offer in schools for the first time since 2010.

Schools prepare for "catastrophe" in GCSE results

by TES, October 17, 2014

Official figures being published next week are expected to reveal a significant drop in the proportion of pupils achieving the main GCSE performance measure for the first time since its introduction.

Schools say the fall in the percentage of students passing five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths has been particularly pronounced among disadvantaged students who qualify for the pupil premium.

One local authority has revealed a drop of nearly 9 percentage points on the measure and another described results in its area as “catastrophic”.

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