Latest Educational News

Let parents take kids out of school to beat half term holiday costs, LGA says

by The Independent, October 24, 2014

Local council leaders have urged the Government to let up on its attempts to stop parents taking their children out of school during term time.
Up until September 2013, head teachers were allowed to grant 10 days holiday a year during term-time, but regulations have been changed so leave can only be granted in “exceptional circumstances”, with local authorities obliged to fine parents if their child’s absence is unauthorised.

Schools angered by decision not to count IGCSEs in league tables

by TES, October 24, 2014

Hundreds of secondaries could drop down the league tables after the government decided that IGCSEs will not count fully for performance measures, TES has learned.

Heads have expressed anger at the decision; the change was discovered after their pupils had already sat the exams, which are used in more than 1,700 schools and colleges.

It is expected that the move will lead to more schools falling short of the crucial GCSE “floor standards”, resulting in some secondaries facing possible government intervention and, ultimately, closure.

Academics are pressed to give better marks

by The Times, October 24, 2014

Academics have complained of pressure from their universities to give students better marks as higher education becomes more competitive.
In a survey of more than 1,000 university academics, 38 per cent said they faced increasing pressure to award higher marks to students.
In response to another question, 32 per cent accused their university of accepting less able students in order to maintain or boost their undergraduate numbers, thus jeopardising quality.

Fewer Scots apply to study medicine

by The Times, October 24, 2014

The number of Scottish students applying to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science across the UK has fallen by 10 per cent
The number of Scottish students applying to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science across the UK has fallen by 10 per cent.
The drop is double the fall in English and Welsh students applying for these courses, both of which were down 5 per cent on last year.

Oxford applications up, Cambridge down

by The Times, October 24, 2014

Oxford received another record number of applications for undergraduate places this year, the university said yesterday.
Applications rose by 5 per cent on last year, with 18,325 candidates competing for about 3,230 places.
However, the University of Cambridge, which raised its standard entry tariff for science and maths-based degrees this year to two A* grades and one A at A level, appeared to have had a drop in applications.

Relax term-time holiday ban, say councils

by The Times, October 24, 2014

Council leaders have defied the government on one of its most controversial school reforms by challenging strict rules against parents taking children on term-time holidays.
Town hall politicians called for a more “commonsense” approach, saying that head teachers should have greater flexibility to approve parents’ requests to take children out of school.

Ban on term time holidays should be overturned, say council leaders

by Guardian, October 24, 2014

Tough new rules on term-time holidays should be overturned, leaving headteachers to decide whether to allow pupils to be taken out of school, council leaders have said.

The changes, which mean school leaders can only grant permission for trips in “exceptional circumstances”, fail to recognise that family life is not simple and there may be times when parents need to take children out of lessons for legitimate reasons, said the Local Government Association (LGA).

'Scrap ban' on term-time holidays

by BBC News, October 24, 2014

The ban on term-time holidays from school should be scrapped so head teachers can take a "common-sense approach", say council leaders.

Since September last year, local authorities have been obliged to fine parents who take children out of school for unauthorised absences.

But the Local Government Association says the new rules do not recognise the complexities of family life.

League tables are 'nonsense', say private schools

by TES, October 23, 2014

ndependent school leaders have attacked official league tables as “a nonsense” after a rule change sent their GCSE scores plummeting.

According to government data released today, the proportion of private school pupils achieving the main five A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths, nearly halved from 54.4 per cent in 2013 to 28.4 per cent this summer.

But the Department for Education (DfE) has admitted that this “large change” is mainly down to its decision to stop counting IGCSEs that have not been regulated by Ofqual in the league tables.

Headteacher cancels term-time holiday after fury from parents

by The Times, October 23, 2014

A headteacher was forced to back down after asking her governors’ approval to miss a week of school for a holiday in the Caribbean.
Jenny Winder, head of Elstow School in Bedford, was initially given permission to return to school a week later after the Christmas holiday.
She claimed her request was justified due to exceptional circumstances but also cited her “contractual rights, length of service, dedication to the school, hours worked and consistent attendance."

Fewer teenagers got five good GCSEs

by BBC News, October 23, 2014

Fewer pupils got five good GCSEs, including English and maths, this year than last year, amid major changes to the exams system.

Some 52.6% of pupils in England reached the government's new five A*-C benchmark, official statistics show.

When a bigger range of vocational exams and all GCSE entries were included in this measure of school accountability, 59.2% of pupils made the grade in 2013.

Officials said major reforms made it hard to compare results year on year.

Reader's letter

by Bristol Post, October 23, 2014

ROD MacKinnon headmaster of Bristol Grammar School (Bristol Post October 14, Talking Heads) seems to have a bee in his bonnet about single-sex education.

But I ask myself: Is this a subject which is worth even a column inch?

From my own experience of teaching in schools for boys both in Germany and in this country for a number of years, and of putting daughters through schools for girls in Bristol, the youngsters themselves thrive in such surroundings.

Drop in headline GCSE results 'reflects toughening up of standards', says minister

by The Telegraph, October 23, 2014

A drop in the number of teenagers gaining top GCSE grades will “inspire confidence” in the exams system and provide a more accurate picture of standards, according to the Schools Minister.
An expected decline in headline results should be seen as proof that the exams system is more demanding, said Nick Gibb.

School nurseries should be open longer - from 8-6pm, says childcare minister

by The Times, October 23, 2014

More schools should take two-year-olds and school nurseries need to open for longer hours so parents can go back to work, the new childcare minister said yesterday.
However his comments came as new research showed that the policy of offering free childcare for three-year-olds has helped only a small number of women into employment.

Ensure heads are worth pay, says Morgan

by The Times, October 23, 2014

School governors need to think very carefully before approving substantial salaries for head teachers, Nicky Morgan told MPs yesterday.
Under questioning by the Commons’ education select committee, the education secretary admitted that there were “some very big numbers out there”.
It emerged last week that 41 head teachers are earning more than the prime minister, who has a salary of £142,500 a year. Of those, eight earn at least £170,000 and two have salaries of more than £190,000.

Deprived pupils get Oxbridge adviser

by The Times, October 23, 2014

A group of schools serving poor communities has hired an elite universities adviser to help more of its brightest students to get places at Oxford or Cambridge.
Simon Pedley, an Oxford graduate, will give mock interviews, help with personal statements, suggest wider reading and offer advice on choosing an Oxbridge college to teenagers at schools sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust.

School turns away tattooed trainee teacher

by The Times, October 23, 2014

A teaching assistant was sent home on the first day of her job at a Catholic school because she was covered in tattoos. Charlotte Tumilty, 26, whose neck, arms, hands, legs and feet are tattooed, was interviewed and offered the job but was turned away within an hour of starting.

Female MBA graduates lack ambition of male counterparts, says study

by Guardian, October 23, 2014

The most highly qualified female business graduates lack the ambition of male counterparts in sectors such as engineering, manufacturing and natural resources, new research suggests.

Some 84% of women taking management jobs in “tech-intensive” industries immediately after gaining a master’s in business administration (MBA) aspired to a senior executive or chief executive role, compared with 97% of men, according to a global study of almost 6,000 MBA graduates by research group Catalyst.

Graduates 'should pay back fees to universities'

by BBC News, October 23, 2014

Graduates should pay their university a proportion of their future earnings rather than taking out loans, a report by a free-market think tank suggests.

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) says student loans financed by the taxpayer should be scrapped.

The study says tying universities' income to that of students would be an incentive to produce top graduates.

Critics said the proposal would lead to a narrower curriculum and push up the cost of a university education.

Code of practice for religious schools shelved

by BBC News, October 23, 2014

The Department for Education has shelved plans for a code of practice for some religious schools which operate outside of mainstream education, the BBC has learned.

It was recommended by the government's Extremism Task Force to ensure children were not exposed to intolerant views.

Home Secretary Theresa May suggested the code should be mandatory following the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham.

But the government now says more can be done within existing regulations.

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