Latest Educational News

Poorer children perform best in middle-class schools

by The Times, August 30, 2014

The number of middle-class children in a school has more impact on the achievement of pupils from poor families than the type of school they attend, research suggests.
A review published by the Institute of Education, University of London, said the performance of faith schools and academies was largely accounted for by the socio-economic backgrounds of their intake.

Parent army fights to build school in time for term

by The Times, August 30, 2014

When Fulham Boys School had its funding withdrawn at the eleventh hour, only for it to be reinstated after an outcry, its founders breathed a sigh of relief.
Now the new free school is facing another hurdle — it has only just taken ownership of its new site, two weeks before the start of term.

Boxing punches above its weight in schools

by The Times, August 30, 2014

Schools are turning to a form of non-contact boxing to meet the growing demand for high-aggression sports without the risk of injury.
Boxercise, for which children wear sparring gloves but punch against pads held by a partner, enjoyed a surge in popularity in secondary schools before cuts were made in sports funding.

GCSE results 2014: Independent schools table

by Telegraph, August 30, 2014

The Telegraph independent school league table is created using data supplied by the Independent Schools Council (ISC). Around 50 schools boycott the tables, which means that not every school is listed.
The GCSE and IGCSE results table ranks almost 400 fee-paying schools by the proportion of entries graded A*/A, schools with less than 25 candidates have not been included.

Private school GCSE table: pupils opting for alternative exams

by Telegraph, August 30, 2014

Record numbers of private schools are abandoning GCSEs amid concerns over exam standards and the quality of marking.
Figures show almost four-in-10 test papers sat by independent school pupils this summer were in the alternative “International GCSE” which was created for teenagers from overseas.

Bennett's tenets: My behaviour guides for going back to school

by TES, August 30, 2014

It’s back to school for many teachers next week- including me- and most of us are already walking like shades through the crepuscular hinterland, the limbo that joins Summer Time to School Time. And here time, defying all mastery, speeds up. It surges like a rising river and carries you into the future.

What to do when home rules trump the school rules

by TES, August 30, 2014

Jamie has a partially swollen left eye, but he is entirely unapologetic. His dad says if anybody upsets him, it’s okay to beat the crap out of them. Aidan is less coherent because of his bloody nose, but he concurs with his adversary and vows to sort this after school.

The teacher sighs. Yet again, the school rules have been trumped by the home rules.

Independent schools abandon GCSEs for international alternative

by TES, August 30, 2014

Independent schools’ desertion of the GCSE in favour of its international counterpart is continuing to snowball, figures released today reveal.

Nearly two-fifths of Year 11 exam entries from England’s major private schools are now for IGCSEs rather than the GCSEs, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

The organisation, with members that include the elite schools of Eton, Wellington and Harrow, has released statistics for 552 of its secondaries, showing that their total IGCSE entries increased from 129,288 to 152,170 this year.

Not all knowledge is equal

by The Spectator, August 30, 2014

I first locked horns with Michael Rosen, the former children’s laureate, on Sky News about four years ago. We were debating the merits of trying to teach all children the best that’s been thought and said and quickly got on to the subject of whether the grammar school education we’d received would be appropriate for everyone, or just those who passed the eleven plus. My view, then and now, is that it would. His view, if I remember it correctly, is that grammar schools aren’t suitable for anyone, gifted or otherwise. He had only survived his by the skin of his teeth.

Top-performing private schools announced

by The Northern Echo, August 30, 2014

THE Royal Grammar School in Newcastle has topped GCSE independent school league tables’ for the North-East and North Yorkshire according to new figures.

With 83.4 per cent of candidates at RGS obtaining an A to A* at GCSE and 99 per cent getting an A* to C, the Tyneside school ran up the best points score per pupil among private schools in the region.

New GCSEs penalise brightest pupils for giving longer answers in language exams, headmistress claims

by Daily Mail, August 29, 2014

The brightest girls at a top independent school were marked down in their language GCSE's because of 'erratic' marking, it has been claimed.
Fiona Boulton, headmistress of Guildford High School, and Jon Coles, a former director-general for education standards at the Department of Education, have compared GCSEs with international GCSEs.

Students ‘penalised for good answers’ in language exams

by The Times, August 29, 2014

The highest-achieving girls at a top independent school were marked down in this summer’s language GCSEs, it was claimed yesterday. The inaccurate marking could herald problems for new GCSEs being introduced by the government next year.

Schools reeling after ‘clobbering’ in GCSEs

by TES, August 29, 2014

Unexpectedly low results lead to ‘despair’ in disadvantaged areas

Hundreds of schools in England have been “clobbered” by lower than expected GCSE results that will send them plummeting down league tables, according to the first large-scale analysis of this summer’s exams.

As well as widespread concerns over the grading of GCSE English, first reported by TES, at least 200 secondary schools received unexpectedly low results in GCSE maths.

The figures have emerged from the PiXL (Partners in Excellence) Club, which worked with more than 400 schools entering pupils for GCSEs this year. Overall, it reports that schools serving disadvantaged pupils have been particularly badly affected by changes to GCSEs and the accountability system.

'I've lain awake every night since GCSE results day, agonising over the unfairness'

by TES, August 29, 2014

I am a head of English and have recently started in a new school. Having taught in my previous school for 15 years I was determined to see my Year 11 students through to their GCSEs and was able to begin my new post in June.

I was really excited for my students this year. They had all passed their GCSE English literature in Year 10 with good grades, and we had been able to focus completely on the English language in Year 11. I worked exceptionally hard for them and in return they worked really hard for me, meeting deadlines, listening, concentrating and, as a result, many began to produce superb pieces of writing. They were enthusiastic, they were positive and they trusted me.

Jamie Oliver: 'Politicians' failure to tackle childhood obesity is shameful'

by TES, August 29, 2014

Not a single political party is attempting to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic, TV chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver has said, branding it a “shameful state of affairs”.

Writing in today’s edition of TES, Mr Oliver, who has campaigned for better school food and healthier eating habits, has criticised political parties of every hue for not making childhood obesity a priority in an election year.

The celebrity cook said the lack of focus on the issue was putting the hard work that had already been done in danger.

What Every Parent Needs to Know review – a maddening primary school primer

by Guardian, August 29, 2014

Miranda Thomas is a teacher and Toby Young is the founder of one of the earliest free schools (which are not bound by the national curriculum). Young used to be a professional contrarian, made famous by his book How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. But in this puzzler of a book, the tone of Young's usual voice – aggressive, confident, annoying, fun – is inaudible; instead, the writing is twee, sometimes unbearably so. "Try not to burst into tears when you drop them off on their first day. Crying can be contagious and you don't want to set off the other parents!" Yet Young's rebarbative tone is more than merely absent, it creates a palpable silence: this book is certainly full of opinions, yet they are not delivered as such. Instead, they are delivered as facts – kind, gentle facts. And this makes it completely maddening.

Teachers not ready for new curriculum, Sats improve and sleepy teens

by Guardian, August 29, 2014

More children are getting level 4 in their Sats and two thirds of teachers say they don’t feel prepared for the new curriculum.

Good week for...

Sats results. More children are reaching the standards expected of them in the “three Rs” by the time they leave primary school, latest figures show. The results of this year’s national curriculum tests show a four percentage point improvement in the proportion of 11-year-olds gaining at least a level 4.

Sleepy students. A Wall Street Journal article has highlighted the potential move in the US to introduce later school start times for teenagers. Evidence suggests that the need for more sleep at atypical times is a consequence of puberty. Could teachers also benefit from some extra kip?

Decent, affordable childcare 'down to luck,' study finds

by BBC News, August 29, 2014

Just 5% of Wales' 22 councils have sufficient out-of-school activities for 12 to 14-year-olds, a report claims.

Welsh councils also lag behind those in England and Scotland in having enough holiday childcare, the Family and Childcare Trust said.

The trust claims finding decent, affordable care for school-age children is "down to luck" for many families.

A Welsh government spokesman said it was committed to improving access to affordable childcare.

Petition calls for removal of West Somerset College head

by BBC News, August 29, 2014

More than 240 people have signed an online petition calling for the head of a Somerset school to be removed from her post after poor GCSE results.

Only 38% of GCSE students at West Somerset College got five GCSE passes at C grade or above, including maths and English.

The petition calls for West Somerset's principal Gaynor Comber to be removed.

Out-of-school childcare lacking in many areas, says report

by BBC News, August 29, 2014

Large areas of the country are not providing enough out-of-school childcare for primary-age children, a report suggests.

A Family and Childcare Trust study highlights official data that says 28% of Britain's local councils are short of after-school care in their areas.

English and Welsh councils have a duty to ensure enough childcare is available locally. Scottish councils do not.

Councils say they do their best, but have limited influence over childcare.

In England they are discouraged by law from offering childcare themselves, a Local Government Association spokesman said.

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