Latest Educational News

The digital language barrier: how does language shape your experience of the internet?

by The Guardian, May 28, 2015

Classified as General.

Does the language you speak online matter? The ability to communicate freely and access information are all promises woven into the big sell of internet connection. But how different is your experience if your mother tongue, for example, is Zulu rather than English? Tap the image below to :

http://labs.theguardian.com/digital-language-divide/

Ofsted inspectors to face tougher consequences for poor judgements

by TES Connect, May 28, 2015

Classified as General.

Ofsted inspectors will face greater consequences for issuing poor judgements on schools under a shake up of the entire inspection system, it has been suggested.

The watchdog is undergoing an overhaul in the way in which it works in a bid to try and improve the inspection system, after coming under fire from headteachers and politicians alike.

And Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director of schools, said on social media this morning that inspectors would be subjected to higher stakes as part of the inspectorate’s quality assurance drive.

Mr Harford was reponding to a tweet from educationist and writer David Didau, who said he wanted to see greater consequences for inspectors, and a more transparent system of holding them to account.

Hashtag is 'children's word of year'

by BBC News, May 28, 2015

Classified as General.

Hashtag has been declared "children's word of the year" by the Oxford University Press.
OUP analysed more than 120,421 short stories by children aged between five and 13 years old, submitted to the BBC's 500 Words competition.
According to the OUP, new technology is increasingly at the centre of the children's lives but how they are writing about it is changing fast.
Words including email, mobile and Facebook are in decline, it said.
They are being replaced by the likes of Instagram, Snapchat and emoji.
And the word television has now been superseded by phone.
The report also notes a sudden new arrival in children's sentences. The use of the hashtag symbol # to add an extra meaning or comment at the end of a sentence has become commonplace. #IblameTwitter #AndInstagram.

'UK behind Poland in key education indicators,' report says

by The Telegraph, May 28, 2015

Classified as General.

An increasing number of British students are opting to study abroad with some citing the attractive prospect of the benefits of living overseas, experiencing a different culture and working for international firms.

Studying overseas has become more popular, with half of those considering a university course in another country wishing to study at undergraduate level, a new survey by the British Council shows. A third of the students polled, aged between 16 and 30, said they were interested in some form of overseas study.

There has been a surge in interest of UK students in university courses that offer studying or working in a European country through the EU’s Erasmus programme, which has more than doubled in seven years, according to figures.

Recent Erasmus statistics show that during the 2013-14 academic year, nearly 15,600 UK students spent up to a year in another European country through the initiative, up 115% since 2007.

UK students increasingly opting to study abroad

by The Guardian, May 28, 2015

Classified as General.

An increasing number of British students are opting to study abroad with some citing the attractive prospect of the benefits of living overseas, experiencing a different culture and working for international firms.

Studying overseas has become more popular, with half of those considering a university course in another country wishing to study at undergraduate level, a new survey by the British Council shows. A third of the students polled, aged between 16 and 30, said they were interested in some form of overseas study.

There has been a surge in interest of UK students in university courses that offer studying or working in a European country through the EU’s Erasmus programme, which has more than doubled in seven years, according to figures.

Recent Erasmus statistics show that during the 2013-14 academic year, nearly 15,600 UK students spent up to a year in another European country through the initiative, up 115% since 2007.

Mediterranean migrant crisis: Pupils to study issue as part of revamped A-level curriculum

by The Independent, May 28, 2015

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Pupils will be studying the Mediterranean migrant boats crisis as part of a revamped A-level geography exam.

A new “Exploring Oceans” option introduced for the first time by the OCR exam board, will see them studying topics such as migrant trafficking, piracy, rising sea levels and sustainable fishing.

The option will be included in a new “geographical debates” section of the A-level which pupils will start studying next year.

Other topics for study under the heading will include the Nepal earthquake, the Ebola outbreak, climate change and the future of food.

The proposed syllabus, which has been submitted to exams regulator Ofqual for approval, is designed to give students more of an opportunity to take part in topical debates surrounding geography.

Number of UK university students travelling abroad as part of study soars by 50 per cent

by The Independent, May 28, 2015

Classified as General.

The number of students at UK universities who went abroad as part of their studies soared by 50 per cent last year, according to figures released.

The figures have been hailed by academics as a sign that Britain might just be about top shed its image as a “language dunce” because of the drop in the number of young people studying languages.

The figures show 28,640 UK students went abroad last year either to study or take up an internship as part of their course - up from 18,105 on the previous year.

They include 15,566 students on the Erasmus project - where students get to study or work for a year in another European country as part of a deal originally set up by the EU’s Lifelong Learning programme. This in itself was a 6.8 per cent increase on the previous year.

Professor Rebecca Hughes, the British Council’s Director of Education, said: “This latest evidence confirms that a growing number of the UK’s students are recognising the huge value to be gained from international experience.

Could exam language be holding your students back?

by TES Connect, May 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Literacy should not be a barrier to students achieving highly in maths. Unfortunately, the vocabulary of exam papers can stump students who are otherwise able. Maths teacher Julia Treen explains how she overcame this issue by teaching her classes to speak the language of exams.

“I don't understand what they want me to do.” I hear this phrase a lot during revision lessons.

In the past, my response was to interpret the question for students while drawing their attention to the mathematical processes. But with some students, this method just didn't seem to work and they stumbled over the same difficulties each time.

I wondered whether teaching common words and phrases explicitly would enable my students to be more successful in exams. So, in a research project last year, I reversed my approach. Instead of emphasising the maths, I worked with my students on exam language.

As well as carrying out whole-class tests, I asked learners to complete exam questions out loud − in my presence, but without my input. This proved to be enlightening. Where one student mispronounced certain words or phrases or ignored them altogether, it showed me that he had not fully understood what he was reading.

However, after the vocabulary teaching, this student was able to tell me precisely what the question wanted him to do. Even though he couldn't always do what was being asked, his improved understanding made it easier for me to determine exactly what was holding him back mathematically and to suggest topics for him to revise.

Seven things schools will need to know after the Queen's Speech

by TES Connect, May 27, 2015

Classified as General.

The Queen’s Speech today set out the new government’s initial plans over the forthcoming parliament. The news agenda has been dominated by legislation around an EU referendum and the possible presence of a new British Bill of Rights, but what will it mean for education?

1. Prime minister David Cameron included two pieces of legislation that will affect schools, in the shape of the childcare bill and the education and adoption bill.

2. The education and adoption bill will include the government’s plans to crack down on “coasting schools”, namely those judged by Ofsted as “requires improvement”.

3. Schools deemed to be making insufficient progress will be asked to work with expert advisers and placed under high-performing academy sponsors.

4. Those schools that are showing no improvement will see their leadership teams replaced and turned into academies.

5. Fears have already been raised, most recently by Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, that there may not be enough heads of outstanding schools to help turn struggling schools around.

6. The speech also included new legislation to pave the way for one of the Conservatives’ key manifesto pledges, 30 hours of free childcare for infants.

7. The move will essentially double the amount of free childcare on offer to parents of three and four-year-olds by 2017.

OECD survey highlights skills problem among young Britons

by The Guardian, May 27, 2015

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Britain’s low-skilled young people face the highest barriers to entering the workforce compared with their peers in other industralised countries, because a lack of employable skills sees them shut out of the labour market, according to a new report by the OECD.

The report published on Wednesday found that UK youth not in employment, education or training – the group known as Neets – lagged well behind the rest of their age group in terms of literacy and problem solving, with the combined gap being the worst among the countries surveyed by the OECD.

The OECD’s 2015 Skills Outlook recommends that British policymakers “concentrate on helping the Neets to re-engage with education or the labour market,” especially in tackling the high proportion of those aged 16-to-24 who leave school without completing their secondary education.

The OECD report is based on data from 2012, and compared the skills and abilities of young people in 22 countries as they entered the workforce.

The authors stressed the importance of “high-quality pre-primary education for all children to help mitigate disparities in education outcomes and to give every child a strong start to their education careers.

“In addition, teachers and school leaders can also identify low achievers early on to provide them with the support or special programmes they may need to help them attain sufficient skills and prevent them from dropping out of school.”

Successive governments have sought to solve the problem by requiring young people in England to receive some form of education or training between 16 and 18, which took effect last year. The result has been a decrease in the number of Neets, although the problem remains because young people can still leave school after the age of 16, while the legislation lacks teeth.

Queen's Speech: Intervention for 'coasting' schools

by BBC News, May 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Underperforming schools in England will face a more rapid intervention, under plans announced in the Queen's Speech.

The government's proposed legislation will mean that more schools are likely to become academies.

An education bill will target so-called "coasting" schools which have shown a "prolonged period of mediocre performance".

Labour's Tristram Hunt said a more pressing issue for school standards was "the quality of classroom teaching".

Head teachers' leaders warned that such "structural changes" would be irrelevant unless the government addressed a "looming crisis in both funding and recruitment".

More academies

The next phase of the government's plans for education will see an accelerated targeting of struggling schools in England and changing their leadership.

The Education and Adoption Bill announced in the Queen's Speech will give extra powers to regional school commissioners to bring in "leadership support" from other high-achieving schools and to "speed up the process of turning schools into academies".

National Spelling Bee quiz: can you beat the past winners?

by The Guardian, May 27, 2015

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The Scripps National Spelling Bee reaches its climax this week. Can you spell the words that won the competition in years past? Spellings are from Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
1.A stupidly easy effort was the key back in 1930. How do you spell this word, meaning a noisy disturbance or quarrel?


Fracas

Fracah

Frackas

Phracar
2.In 1967 this dog breed clinched the competition for Jennifer Reinke ...


Chiuawawah

Chiuahua

Chihuahua

Chiwawa

Students to learn migrant trafficking in new geography A level

by The Telegraph, May 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Pupils are to learn about migrant trafficking and piracy in a new A level from the exam board OCR.
Teenagers will also be taught about the rising sea levels and sustainable fishing, and the breath and depth of the ocean in the new geography A level.
The OCR exam board, which has created the course, said it was designed to help pupils make a connection between “the physical and human geography”.
• Students to learn about cyber-security in new GCSE
• Pupils to learn about global financial crisis in economics A-level
More than half of the A level is based on expanding geographical skills, whilst the remaining material focuses on climate change, the future of food and the exploration of oceans. It will also include fieldwork.
Geography is one of the most popular subjects taken at A Level among UK pupils with over 33,000 students taking the subject last year at A level and more than 55,600 studying the AS Level.
Mark Smith, subject specialist for Geography at OCR, said: “With the chance to explore topics like 21st century piracy, pandemics and plastic pollution, there has never been a more exciting time to study geography at school.

How can we stop big science hoovering up all the research funding?

by The Guardian, May 27, 2015

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Big science costs big money. The 100,000 Genomes Project will burn through £300m by the time researchers sequence the genetic blueprint of that many humans. Finding the Higgs Boson is estimated to have cost as much as £8bn. The newly approved European Spallation Source initiative is budgeted at €1,843bn – for now.

But is this type of mega project worth the price tag? Is it worth the opportunity cost of failing to fund other scientific ideas that will never be explored as a result? And how can big science researchers really prove that their work is worthwhile when the cost is so high, the timescales so long and the outcomes so uncertain?

At Bangor University, Jo Rycroft-Malone, professor of health services research believes that although impact from big science investments may be hard to predict, “big science scientists should be challenged to better argue the case for the impact and benefits”.
Some academics take a harder line. Bill Amos, professor of evolutionary genetics at Cambridge University doesn’t believe the outcomes of big science projects have so far been worth the “grotesque” sums invested, and says that funding bodies are far too impressed by “grandiose projects”.

Students: express yourself on the theme of austerity and protest

by BBC News, May 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Here at Guardian Students, we aim to provide a platform for a wide range of student voices. Students use our Blogging Students section to talk about everything from school feminist societies to spiked drinks, university counselling and student drug-dealing.

But we know that not all students are writers by nature. While they have plenty to say, they don’t want to express it through carefully crafted blogs. Some prefer to paint, sing, draw, film, dance, record, recite, invent, experiment, photograph, yell. That’s why we’re launching Students Express – a new way for students to send us their work through platforms including GuardianWitness, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

We’ll be inviting submissions around a variety of themes and plan to compile some of the best ones into galleries and articles on the Guardian site.

This week, as around 6,000 students prepare to gather in Trafalgar Square in opposition to Conservative plans for five more years of spending cuts, we ask you to express yourself on the theme of austerity.

Queen's Speech: Intervention for 'coasting' schools

by BBC News, May 27, 2015

Classified as General.

Underperforming schools in England will face a more rapid intervention, under plans announced in the Queen's Speech.
The government's proposed legislation will mean that more schools are likely to become academies.
An education bill will target so-called "coasting" schools which have shown a "prolonged period of mediocre performance".
Labour's Tristram Hunt said a more pressing issue for school standards was "the quality of classroom teaching".
Head teachers' leaders warned that such "structural changes" would be irrelevant unless the government addressed a "looming crisis in both funding and recruitment".

Home or away – is student accommodation becoming a luxury?

by The Guardian, May 26, 2015

Classified as General.

For Abla Klaa, one of the main perks of living with her parents while studying is that the fridge is always stocked. “I’m saved from worrying about grocery shopping or choosing between a greasy takeaway or cooking dinner – if I knew how to,” says Klaa, a second-year broadcast journalism student at Leeds University. The downside is she has to help do the dishes “and make sure the state of my room meets my mum’s impossible standards of cleanliness”.

For prospective students, deciding whether to go away to university or stay at home is becoming more pressing.

According to the National Union of Students, the price of student accommodation has doubled over the past decade, pushing living costs for a student outside London to more than £12,000 a year. With the maximum loan less than half that, at £5,740, maintenance grants frozen, and the prospect of adding to considerable tuition fee debts after graduation, leaving home to study begins to look like a luxury.

Labour must take time for a fundamental rethink about education

by The Guardian, May 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Now the dust has settled after the election, the Department of Education seems not to have changed much. Same secretary of state, same ministers and nothing so far to indicate that it won’t be the same agenda. Nicky Morgan may surprise us now that she can move on from just “not being Michael Gove”, and the absence of David Laws will be noticed. His was a voice of reason and I’ve no doubt that he protected education from some frightening outcomes in the last regime.

Of course, the Labour party is also back to where it was before the election. Starting the process of soul searching is never easy. But this time we need a different approach from 2010. Labour can afford to be more objective about the record of the last Labour education team, and it has the space and time for medium- and long-term thinking.

It’s worth remembering that the ideas it eventually puts forward for universities will have an impact not only on people now in secondary and primary school, but also on those not yet born. So good advice might be: revisit some of the big questions that too often go unchallenged and make these the basis of a new approach. I suggest three key themes that Labour could address.

First, rethink the relationship between politics and education. Some would like to take politics out of education completely: that’s neither possible nor desirable. But the boundary between the two is certainly in the wrong place. Every school reform of the last 30 years has extended the influence of politicians further into the classroom and blurred the boundary between them and the education profession. Perhaps the most striking example is the manifesto pledges on the type of phonics teachers should use and how children should be grouped in classrooms.

University tables: Coventry slips past Russell Group peers to enter top 20

by The Guardian, May 25, 2015

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Coventry University has nudged past many of its Russell Group peers to reach the highest position ever achieved by a former polytechnic in the Guardian league table of universities.

Coventry reached number 15 in the table, higher than many of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, including Birmingham, Edinburgh, York, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff, Nottingham and Newcastle.

There was little change at the top of the table: Cambridge held on to its place at number one for a fifth year running, while Oxford and St Andrews remained in second and third place respectively.

The only university to fall out of the top 10 was the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which made room for the University of Exeter. LSE fell to 13th place after being in the top three just two years ago, dragged down by a falling student satisfaction score. It wasn’t the only elite London institution to lose ground - University College London (UCL) and Imperial also slipped slightly down the table.

Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

by BBC News, May 25, 2015

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Dyslexia is not linked to any problems with eyesight, say researchers.

Teams from Bristol and Newcastle universities carried out eye tests on more than 5,800 children and did not find any differences in the vision of those with dyslexia.

This raises doubts about the value of using coloured overlays or lenses to help dyslexic children with reading.

Report co-author Alexandra Creavin said eyesight was "very unlikely" to be the cause of such reading problems.

The study draws on a long-term tracking study in the Bristol area, which has followed the health of more than 14,000 children since the 1990s.

About 3% of children have severe dyslexia and researchers, using a sample of 5,822 children from this tracking study, carried out detailed eye examinations on dyslexic and non-dyslexic children.

'Perfect vision'

They found that those with dyslexia were no more or less likely to have any sight or eye-related problems, such as short or long sightedness, squints or difficulties in focusing.

"Some practitioners feel that vision impairments may be associated with dyslexia and should be treated. However, our study results show that the majority of dyslexic children have entirely normal vision on the tests we used," said Cathy Williams, lead author and a paediatric ophthalmologist.

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