Latest Educational News

Nearly half of poor 11-year-olds unable to read books, newspapers and websites

by Telegraph, September 8, 2014

Nearly half of poor children are unable to read and understand books, newspapers and websites by the time they leave primary school, according to research released by backers of a major new campaign to wipe out illiteracy in Britain.
Disadvantaged 11-year-olds are as much as seven years behind their more able peers for reading, the study has found, making Britain one of the most unequal countries in the Western World. In the EU, only Romania fares worse.

Head in sudden exit from top public school Sherborne

by The Times, September 8, 2014

For almost 500 years Sherborne has been at the heart of the educational establishment, producing generations of military and religious leaders. However, the all-boys public school has now been divided by the shock dismissal of its headmaster less than a week into the new academic year.
Chris Davis left after just four years in charge, having returned to teaching following a successful career in the City.

Weakest young readers are seven years behind peers

by The Times, September 8, 2014

England has the widest gap in reading ability between the best and worst 10 and 11-year-olds of any European country except Romania, research shows. The gap is equivalent to seven years of lessons in primary school.
Researchers discovered that 45 per cent of poor white British-born boys could not read well when they left primary school. England has the strongest link between weak literacy and unemployment of any developed country, including the United States.

The new group at freshers’ week – helicopter parents

by Guardian, September 8, 2014

“Well … bye then! You’re on your own now,” said my dad, shutting the door of my brand new university bedroom. Although I’d been planning this moment for months in some detail, and had been intending to pile on a bit more eye makeup and then head straight over to the union in search of new pals and lager tops, I froze. My eyelids prickled slightly, which was obviously because my hayfever was flaring up. In September. What I meant to say was “Cool! See ya!” What came out of my mouth was “Daddeeee! Mummeeee! Don’t leave meeeee!”

But thank goodness they did. Because those three years of dealing with flooded flats, missed deadlines and angry bank managers all by myself has made me the woman I am today. I’m as proud of the time I dealt with the mouse infestation as I am of my degree. Perhaps more so.

Yet a generation of helicopter parents – those who constantly hover over their children, chauffeuring them, bankrolling them and supervising their activities – are increasingly accompanying their offspring to freshers’ week.

Hundreds of schools have no access to computers

by The Times, September 8, 2014

An estimated 250 schools still do not have a computer, despite coding now being part of the national curriculum and their use being crucial to children’s career prospects, a study suggests.
It also estimates that while the vast majority of teachers use digital technology, only about one in seven is completely computer literate.

Campaign to end 'shameful' reading gap in primary schools

by TES, September 8, 2014

Around 1.5 million children will leave primary school struggling to read by 2025 unless urgent action is taken, according to new research published today by a campaign group set up to eradicate illiteracy.

The report published by Save the Children, on behalf of the Read On Get On campaign, shows that England is one of the most unequal countries in Europe when it comes to children’s reading.

The research suggests the UK economy could be £32bn worse off without action being taken to ensure 11-year-olds leave primary school as more competent readers.

Poor reading 'could cost UK £32bn in growth by 2025'

by Guardian, September 8, 2014

The fear that 1.5 million British children will reach the age of 11 unable to "read well" by 2025 has prompted the launch on Monday of a new campaign backed by a coalition of businesses, charities, bestselling authors and teaching professionals.

The Read On. Get On campaign is aimed at making a radical improvement in reading standards one of the central goals of politics and education in the next decade. It is being spearheaded by Save the Children, the CBI and the Teach First charity and is unusual in the diversity of its supporters – they include authors JK Rowling and Michael Morpurgo plus a host of book publishers, the Sun newspaper and the Premier League.

Welsh universities' lower grades admission concerns

by BBC News, September 8, 2014

Concerns have been raised that students are getting into universities in Wales with lower grades than elsewhere in the UK and the gap appears to be widening.

Figures show a recent stagnation in the average A-level "score" students need to get to study for a degree here.

The Conservatives said it showed Wales was falling further behind the UK, and the student fees subsidy must end.

The Welsh government said it was working with universities to encourage high-calibre students to stay in Wales.

Inspiring teachers say they lack the freedom to excel

by Independent, September 7, 2014

Even the country's most inspiring teachers are upset at the amount of central government interference in how they go about their jobs, a new study has revealed.

Former education secretary Michael Gove had insisted that for his reforms to succeed, teachers needed more freedom from central control.

However, a study of 36 inspiring teachers identified through inspection reports – for a research project aimed at uncovering world-class teaching – revealed that many are worried their autonomy had been reduced and their working conditions suffered as a result of the reforms.

A million 'missing out’ on state help for school leavers

by Telegraph, September 7, 2014

Reforms designed to cut the number of jobless school leavers are failing to prevent more than one million teenagers “falling through the cracks”, according to Ofsted.
The Government’s attempts to stop young people becoming unemployed are “too narrow” because they focus on 16 to 18-year-olds without properly safeguarding long-term job opportunities, it is claimed.

Homework just got harder – for parents

by Guardian, September 7, 2014

Summer holidays are over and it's back to school, but the new term is not just for children. This year parents, too, could find themselves back in class learning how to help with homework.

Primary schools across England are planning more after-school lessons for families on new ways of teaching maths and helping with phonics, grammar and spelling as a tougher, more academic curriculum is introduced. It's not just schools offering to help. O2, the communications company, has linked up with a children's charity to provide digital workshops in its stores for the new computing and coding lessons.

The Observer view on teaching coding in primary schools

by Guardian, September 7, 2014

The "three Rs"; Sir and Miss; the long summer break to enable children to work the harvest season: a Victorian schoolteacher would probably find more familiar than foreign about schools in modern Britain. But there will be one important difference for children returning to school this week: they will be the first generation for whom coding will be a compulsory part of the curriculum.

All children will learn how to write and debug programmes from five: a welcome development for a school system that has too often proved slow to keep pace with changes in the world. But it also highlights some features of the system to which education reformers should pay more heed.

Online learning: the UK’s scepticism is holding it back

by Guardian, September 7, 2014

Online learning is still seen as the poor relation in the UK – but it’s time for attitudes to change. As the student cap is lifted, and opportunities for expansion increase, online education offers a way for UK universities to compete internationally without struggling to meet capacity.

It’s a different story in the US. There, online degree courses have turned a corner. No more lurking in the shadows as the lesser option, the fallback. If it wants to make the most of those opportunities for expansion, the UK can learn some useful lessons from the US experience of learning to love online education.

Many teenagers 'moved from care to B&Bs'

by BBC News, September 7, 2014

More than half of English councils place young people leaving care in unsuitable accommodation for long periods, data from a charity suggests.

Barnardo's said 51% of councils placed teenagers in bed-and-breakfasts for a month or more in 2013-14.

Under government guidance, councils should only use B&Bs in an emergency when a young person needs urgent help.

The Local Government Association said authorities worked "extremely hard" to find suitable accommodation.

Children's charity Barnardo's obtained the figures from responses to Freedom of Information requests to all 152 English local authorities.

Exam board criticised after A-level regrade adds 21 marks

by The Times, September 6, 2014

An A-level student has raised concerns about marking after one of his exam papers was re-graded from a D to an A when he challenged it.
Jack Lane was aghast when he was told he had been awarded an additional 21 marks after a second examiner checked his script. He has since been inundated with messages from fellow A-level students after writing an open letter to the OCR exam board on Facebook.

Schools forced to buy pizza as meal firm fails

by The Times, September 6, 2014

Teachers were forced to scour supermarket shelves or order takeaway pizza after a contractor supposed to provide hot school meals failed to deliver.
Primary schools have an obligation to provide free meals to all pupils aged five, six and seven under a scheme initiated by the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

How your child can prepare for the 11 plus exam

by Get Bucks, September 5, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

As children head back to school for some parents their focus is already on next year.

Yes, it’s time again for the 11-plus exams. Whether or not you agree with the Grammar school system, the desire to get a place at Grammar School is as intense and competitive as ever.

The formal name for the test is the Buckinghamshire Transfer test and the exam takes place earlier this year on Thursday 11th September.

School fees rise four times faster than earnings

by TES, September 5, 2014

The cost of sending a child to a private school is rising around four times faster than earnings, according to research.

The study suggests that some parents are increasingly unable to afford to educate their children privately, with average fees now taking up more than a third of the average full-time salary.

School uniforms: A history of 'rebellion and conformity'

by BBC News, September 5, 2014

As the nation's children head back to school, proud parents have been excitedly photographing their offspring's posing in new uniforms. But they are far from the first to take pride in the school dress code. BBC News Online looks back at the history of the outfits kids up and down the land learn to love - or loathe.

Picture school uniforms from the past and the top hats and tails of Tom Brown's Schooldays or the cheeky cap-throwing of Just William may come to mind.

School computer tablets: Who foots the bill?

by BBC News, September 5, 2014

More and more schools in Northern Ireland are telling parents computer tablets are essential for their children's education, but who has to pay for them?

Education authorities say they are not in favour of schools passing on large bills to parents already finding it difficult to pay for stationery, uniforms and PE gear.

However, some schools insist the computer tablets, including iPads, are essential for learning.

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