Latest Educational News

Under pressure? Give your child a break, says head

by The Telegraph, April 15, 2015

Classified as General.

Anxious parents are “dervishes” about their children’s education and should be more detached to allow them to develop naturally, a leading headteacher says.
Peter Tait, headmaster of Sherborne Preparatory school in Dorset, said modern parents who find it hard to trust teachers or schools to do a proper job on their child’s education should be less hands-on in their approach.
Writing in Attain, the magazine of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, Mr Tait said: “While [parents] are determined to do the very best for their child, ironically, they can end up doing the opposite. It is vital to trust your intuition.”
He said parents need to exercise “common sense and parental instinct” when it comes to raising their children.
He added: “Parents also need to have confidence in those whose job it is to look after their children’s education. To do this requires a certain detachment, a willingness to trust the passage of time, focusing on whether their children are happy, challenged and purposeful and are learning the right values. If so, they will be fine.”
However, he said, some parents are changing from “sensible” and “moderate” people, who have faith in their schools and teachers, and are “turning into dervishes ready to battle with anything and anyone on behalf of ‘their’ child?
“What has made some parents put their own child at the centre of the universe and to hell with the rest?”

Nick Clegg: The choice is me, Salmond or Farage

by BBC News, April 15, 2015

Classified as General.

Nick Clegg has said no party will win an outright election victory and warned voters they face a choice between the Lib Dems, the SNP and UKIP over who holds the balance of power.
Launching his manifesto, the Lib Dem leader said he would seek to form a "coalition with conscience" that would not "lurch off to the extremes".
He pledged £2.5bn more for education after 2017 to boost opportunity.
The Conservatives and Labour have both insisted they can win on their own.
Speaking in south London, Mr Clegg said no party would win enough seats to gain victory on 8 May and either the Conservatives or Labour would have to work with others if they wanted to take power.
He said the Lib Dems' "gutsy" decision to join the Conservatives in coalition in 2010 had been vindicated, saying they had turned round the economy and governed with "compassion and a sense of fairness".

Who should pay for university education?

by The Guardian, April 15, 2015

Classified as General.

Higher education is often an election hot potato, and this year is no exception. Ed Milliband’s pledge to reduce the tuition fee cap to £6,000 has rattled cages, with some arguing that it is a step in the wrong direction, and others that it doesn’t go far enough.

There may never be consensus, but does anyone have a workable solution to higher education’s ongoing funding headache?

Tuition fees – a very brief history
“Our universities are strained to breaking point,” reads the Labour manifesto of 1966 – a year in which just 12% of people went to university.

Expansion was inevitable. It was hoped more universities and more students would stretch participation outside of the elite classes and answer a demand for more highly skilled workers. But it brought with it a new problem – funding.

Is education making the grade in your part of the world?

by The Independent, April 15, 2015

Classified as General.

At the turn of the century, world leaders pledged that all primary school-aged children would be in school by 2015. The ambitious vision failed to come to fruition, but significant progress has been made.

By 2010, enrolment in primary education in low-income countries reached 90%, up from 82% in 1999. But the UN estimates there are still 58 million primary school-aged children missing from the world’s classrooms.

While the previous education goals focused on getting more children in school, the proposed targets for the next 15 years focus on the quality of education children receive once they are at school. The sustainable development goals, which leaders are expected to adopt in September, call for governments to ensure all girls and boys complete “free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education” by 2030.

Majority of Kent voters want grammar ban lifted as Governement considers The Weald of Kent Girls Grammar School expansion

by Kent Online, April 15, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

There is strong support among voters for more grammar schools in Kent, with three out of four voters indicating they would like to see a ban on new selective schools lifted.

The issue has already proved a flashpoint in the campaign and divided the parties.

In an exclusive county-wide survey of 1,000 people conducted on behalf of KentOnline, 75% said they wanted more grammar schools, with support particularly strong among Conservative and Ukip voters and those over the age of 55.

However, the Conservative-led coalition has faced criticism for failing to give the green light for a new grammar school annexe in west Kent - the first ‘new’ grammar in decades.

Election 2015: Lib Dems pledge £2.5bn for education

by BBC News, April 15, 2015

Classified as General.

The Liberal Democrats will pledge an extra £2.5bn for England's education budget in their election manifesto.

The party said the cash would ensure spending was protected "from cradle to college" and went beyond other parties' commitments on education.

Leader Nick Clegg will say the plans are all about boosting opportunity.

But the Conservatives said the Lib Dems offered "uncertainty for parents" while Labour said Nick Clegg's party had "broken their promises" in government.

The Lib Dems are the last of the three largest Westminster parties to launch their manifestos after Labour and the Conservatives.

The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said he expected it to be a "minimalist, pared-back" document, with a focus on a few key priorities, after the party was unable to deliver its main commitment on tuition fees from 2010.

In other election news:
UKIP is also launching its manifesto, with a pledge to employ 6,000 former army veterans in the police, prison service and Border Agency and spend 2% of national output on defence

Second UTC to close due to 'financial challenges'

by TES Connect, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.

One of the first University Technical Colleges in the country is to close due to a decline in pupil numbers and “financial challenges”, it has been announced.

Black Country UTC, which is sponsored by Walsall College and the University of Wolverhampton and was only the second to be opened under the programme in 2011, will close in August.

The news comes just hours after the Conservatives promised a UTC “within reach of every city” in their election manifesto launch this morning.

It will be the second UTC to close in the space of a year after the flagship Hackney UTC in London announced last summer that it would shut its doors to new students this August due to a fall in numbers.

In a statement, the governors of the Black Country UTC, based in Bloxwich, Walsall, said the outcome had been reached following “a recent disappointing inspection, a thorough assessment of actual and projected student numbers, financial challenges, staffing capacity and the impact these will have on standards of teaching and learning.”

Croydon special school among best in the UK for inclusion

by Croydon Advertiser, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.

A special school has been recognised as among the best in the country for inclusion.

Bensham Manor, in Ecclesbourne Road, is one of a few schools in the UK to have achieved Flagship School status.

It follows an evaluation in March against a nationally-recognised framework called the Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM).

The external assessor gave staff, governors and pupils glowing feedback, describing the school a "delight to be in".

Leanne Casey, Bensham's head of inclusion, said the new status was a "great honour".

Teachers selling lesson plans online

by BBC News, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.

Teachers in the UK, who have often complained about long hours at home making their own class materials, are selling their lessons online.

The TES website is running a digital marketplace for teachers to sell their lesson ideas to other teachers.

It is the latest example of teachers producing their own bespoke classroom materials and sharing them online.

Earlier this year, a school in Cambridge published its own set of GCSE textbooks on Apple's iBooks.

The website of TES Global - formerly The Times Educational Supplement - is offering teachers a digital platform to make money out of their lesson plans and teaching materials.

Ideas for sale

The idea of teachers sharing ideas and materials for lessons online has expanded rapidly, with up to a million downloads per day of free material through the TES website.

Should the UK be more like Finland? One expert doesn't think so

by The Telegraph, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.

The UK shouldn't throw away authority in classrooms, an expert has said, trashing decades-long conventional wisdom that an education system to emulate is one that gives pupils more power over teachers and less homework.

For years Finland has been short hand short hand for a successful education system that offers teachers’ autonomy and comparatively little homework as a result of reforms implemented in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

However, new evidence suggests these reforms may have been the cause of the country’s recent decline in international league rankings.

Heller Sahlgren, author of a new report entitled Real Finnish Lessons, argues that the reasons given in the past for Finland’s top performance are largely to blame for its recent failings.

In a report published by the Centre for Policy Studies, Mr. Sahlgren writes: “Standard explanations for Finland’s education success include … high teacher trust and status, and a reputable teacher training system. Even pupils’ and teachers’ comparatively low workload have been seen as reasons for its achievements.

However, Mr Sahlgren argues, as the country’s performance has declined, explanations for Finland’s international standing are becoming “obsolete”. Scores for Finnish education at PISA league tables, a top international ranking, were at the top in the early to mid -2000s. However, they have seen a decline.

The seven big language learning issues facing the UK

by The Guardian, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.

Despite the UK’s pivotal role on the global stage and its melting pot of cultures, the country remains largely a nation of monoglots. But what is holding back Brits from learning a foreign language?

The Guardian and the British Academy launched the Case for Language Learning to investigate the reasons behind the UK’s shortage of foreign language skills, discussing the importance and value of learning a foreign tongue. The Living Languages report highlights many of the debates and thinking generated by the two-year project, and brings together some of the dominant themes.

You can find the full report here (best viewed in Adobe reader).

Here are seven of the key findings:

1. Lack of language skills is bad for the economy

Britain’s economy is being seriously harmed because of a shortage of foreign language skills. In fact, according to the government’s own statistics, it costs the country 3.5% of GDP every year - that’s £48bn. James Foreman-Peck, professor of economics at Cardiff Business School described this as a “tax on growth”, which sees the potential of small to medium-size exporters being hampered. This happens not just because they don’t have the cash to employ lots of linguists like global companies do, but also because - without language skills - they are deterred from trading internationally.

Successful apprentices enjoying new career prospects

by Belfast Telegraph, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.

The Belfast Telegraph's 50 Jobs in 50 Days campaign enabled ambitious young people to 'earn while they learn' and we caught up with four of them.

The apprentices who won places to 'earn while they learn' at leading companies during a major campaign at the Belfast Telegraph are firing on all cylinders as their careers get under way.

In 2014 the Belfast Telegraph ran a campaign, 50 Jobs in 50 Days, to encourage companies to take on apprentices. The Duke of York travelled to Belfast to launch our campaign, where he praised the contribution of apprenticeships to companies and to the wider economy.

And speaking to our apprentices, it's clear that an apprenticeship and a university degree are not mutually exclusive - in fact, one of the apprentices says he would regard his training as a gateway to a HND or HNC, which could open the door to university.

Our top-50 education apps

by Irish Times, April 14, 2015

Classified as General.


Most children would happily stay glued to the tablet for the day, whiling away the hours on computer games while the real world passes them by. Getting them away from that screen is an ongoing battle, but on the other hand there’s plenty of really outstanding educational apps to help them learn. And educational apps aren’t just for the young; there’s so much adults can learn online.

Finding just the right app among the tens of thousands for iPad, Android and Windows devices, however, can be challenging. Here, we take a look at some of the best education apps for people of all ages across a range of devices, and ask education technology experts: just what makes a good app?

The majority of apps featured here are for iOS and Android devices, although the market for Windows apps is growing.

Don't let student loans stop your university plans

by The Telegraph, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

If you’re going to university, chances are you’ll be taking out a student loan to cover your tuition fees and your living costs, and with many universities now charging the maximum £9,000 a year, you could leave a three-year course saddled with around £40,000 of debt.

Nervous? You certainly wouldn’t be alone in worrying, but you should question whether everything really is as bad as it seems. The rising costs associated with attending university often make the headlines, but with record numbers of students applying to universities in the UK, it would seem that few people have been put off.

According to Martin Lewis, founder of, one concern stems from simple semantics: the label student “loan” doesn’t do the system any favours. Forget debt collectors and demands for payment – as a graduate, you only have to start repaying the loan once you earn more than £21,000. The repayments are taken out of your wage automatically, and if you haven’t paid back the whole sum after 30 years, the rest of the debt is wiped.

How to teach … revision

by The Guardian, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

The advent of spring and the approach of summer are accompanied in school by a less welcome prospect: exam season.

May marks the beginning of Sats in primary schools and the first swathe of GCSEs and A-levels – usually practical or oral tests – in secondary schools. So as teachers try to cajole students into knuckling down, this week’s how to teach explores revision and how to make it as productive and pain-free as possible.

Start by getting students to create their own revision timetables. Author and former teacher Nicola Morgan has created a useful template to help you do this. It covers the three weeks of revision and includes a section in which students can log their exams to ensure theyare organised. It advises students to write in any days they cannot revise to help them plan ahead and includes different wellbeing tips each day to help students cope. Advice for both students and parents is available on Nicola’s blog.

Staying calm and mindful during this time is important. Get your class to think about how they might be feeling with this resource which asks: are you stressed? It includes five multiple choice questions to help students recognise how they are responding to pressure.

French exams kick out les cliches

by BBC News, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

An exam board wants GCSEs in modern languages to escape outdated vocabulary and implausible conversations about holidays, the weather and zoo visits.

The youth-friendly OCR French, German and Spanish exams would introduce topics such as tattoos and festivals.

It would mean getting rid of vocabulary such as tank tops and pencil cases.

"Students are not really going to meet somebody in a cafe in Paris and describe their entire family," a teacher told the OCR exam board.

The exam board's draft plan for new-look GCSEs for England, submitted to exam regulator Ofqual for approval, is intended to bring a more contemporary quality to modern languages.

It wants to escape a feeling that language lessons are trapped in time by moving away from themes such as "Aurelie and Fabian go to town" or "Mathilde's school day".

Ed Miliband unveils Labour manifesto with after-school childcare pledge

by TES Connect, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

Ed Miliband today unveiled the Labour party manifesto, stating that Britain succeeds when it invests in services such as schools “so they can strive to be the best in the world”.

The Labour leader set out his party’s pledges in a speech in Manchester, promising to spend money on education while also reducing the country’s deficit every year over the next five years.

With just 23 days to go until the general election, Labour is the first of the main political parties to reveal its manifesto.

Last month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that each party’s commitments to education spending would result in cuts of up to 12 per cent, adding that they were “much less generous” than was being suggested.

Speaking this morning, Mr Miliband described Labour’s manifesto as one that would create a Britain that “works for working people”. He also underlined his commitment to improving childcare provision by pledging to create a National Primary Childcare Service that would guarantee childcare in breakfast or after-school clubs from 8am-6pm.

The Labour leader said: “Today we tear up the old assumptions. Britain succeeds not when we only reward those with the six-figure bonuses but when we reward the hard work of every working person in our country. Britain succeeds not when our schools and hospitals are cut back to the bone but where we invest so they can strive to be the best in the world.

Languages GCSEs bid au revoir to 'uninspiring' content

by TES Connect, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

An exam board hopes to make its language GCSEs more appealing by dropping “rather uninspiring” content about pencil cases and "my school day", and teaching pupils to talk about tattoos and music festivals instead.

OCR says it wants its reformed French, German and Spanish GCSEs, which will be introduced next year, to have a more “contemporary appeal”.

The board is ditching phrases such as “Il y a tant de belles choses dans les vitrines” (“There are so many beautiful things in the shop windows”) in favour of “À mon avis un tatouage discret est une expression de ta personnalité” (“In my opinion a discreet tattoo is an expression of your personality”).

Explaining its “radical” update, the board cited a teacher who had told the consultation on the qualifications: “Students are not really going to meet somebody in a café in Paris and describe their entire family.”

OCR says it is also adopting skills that have had well-established global success through EFL (English as a foreign language) teaching. Katherine Smith, in charge of the new qualifications for the board, said: “This entails moving away from working too long on a clichéd topic until a student is bored with it, to working on more appealing subjects, and with an all-important shift in emphasis on the skills that they can transfer across content.”

Singapore maths question: How to solve the problem for school children that has stumped the world

by The Independent, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

A TV presenter in Singapore has sparked an unlikely viral craze after posting a maths problem that was posed to the nation’s children.

Initially confusing but very doable, it has sparked thousands of comments and shares – particularly when it was initially thought to have been posed to 10-year-olds.

"Hello Singapore" presenter Kenneth Kong has since clarified that it was actually a problem set to 14-year-olds in the Singapore and Asean Schools Math Olympiads (SASMO).

But that hasn’t stopped people testing their mettle against Singapore’s youngest and brightest.

So can you solve the question? Here it is - and don't read on below the image if you don't want to be told the answer:

Our education system is key to ensuring Britain's strength in design

by The Guardian, April 13, 2015

Classified as General.

British design is undergoing an undeniable renaissance. Following the recent Department for Culture, Media and Sport report that revealed the creative industries are worth £76.9bn in terms of gross value added, even the government is taking notice. We believe we are a nation of inventors. Innovation courses through our veins, ready to be tapped at any commercial opportunity that presents itself, wherever it is in the world.

Not only does our design heritage sell well overseas, the strength of British design and innovation also means that businesses here attract the best global talent. There’s always been a mix of nationalities working in our studio – people often attracted to London by the excellent design schools. At JBS Studio we recruit for roles of all sorts, from industrial designers and architects to lighting and programming wizards. We also look internationally for candidates.

But success can easily breed complacency. With the emerging nations swiftly absorbing many of the service industry skills we prize (see the rendering farms in China that make high intensity design processing a snip, or the excellent architecture coming out of India) how do we maintain an upper hand when we might very well be hanging on by our fingernails?


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