Latest Educational News

Boys resorting to mobile phone 'txt speak' in schools

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

Thousands of children are resorting to mobile phone “txt speak” in the classroom amid growing concerns over standards of writing, according to research.
Figures show more than one-in-six boys in primary education employs mobile phone text message abbreviations such as “lol”, “gr8”, “l8r” and “b4” in their school work.
Boys are considerably more likely to shun conventional grammar and spelling than girls as the lines between formal and informal writing become increasingly blurred, it emerged.

League tables: the top universities for research

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

Today, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published wide-ranging assessments setting out the quality of research carried out by universities across the UK.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) – the biggest ratings exercise of its kind in the world – will be used to allocate funding of around £2bn a year to universities between 2015 and 2021.
The REF provides an assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines. The research of 52,061 academic staff from 154 UK universities was peer-reviewed by a series of panels comprising UK and international experts.

UCL breaks Oxbridge stanglehold on university research

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

The Oxbridge grip on research in the UK has been broken for the first time by the rise of London’s elite universities, according to an analysis of official data.
Major new rankings setting out standards of research show that University College London is now challenging the dominance of Britain’s two traditional academic powerhouses.
Figures show Oxford is still named as the best university in the UK but UCL is now second, pushing Cambridge into third.
It also emerged that other institutions in the capital are tightening their grip on places at the top of the rankings, with Imperial College London and King's College London featured in the top 10.

Oxbridge degrees add £7,600 to graduate starting salaries

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

An Oxbridge education adds the equivalent of £7,600 to graduate starting salaries, figure show, amid claims that degrees from low-ranking universities may no longer be worth the money.
Research shows the average student leaving Oxford and Cambridge will earn £25,600 after six months compared with £18,000 for those graduating from former polytechnics.
The study – by the Sutton Trust – insisted adults with a degree were paid higher than the rest of the British workforce, with a typical graduate “premium” of 28 per cent for men and just over 50 per cent for women.
But the social mobility charity warned that “not all degrees are created equal”, pointing to substantial differences between universities and subjects.

Oxbridge graduates earn thousands more than peers

by The Times, December 18, 2014

raduates of Oxford and Cambridge earn a first salary £3,300 higher than those who studied at other elite universities and £7,600 higher than students at new universities, a study has found.
Oxbridge students whose own parents did not go to university start work on even higher initial salaries, earning about £1,000 more than peers from affluent families with a history of higher education.

UCL  beats Cambridge in research race

by The Times, December 18, 2014

The quality of research at Britain’s universities has been given a ringing endorsement despite a widening north-south divide in the scale of world-leading work by academics.
A big rise in the standard of academic research was found by experts in comparison with a similar exercise conducted six years ago for higher education funding bodies.
Oxford had the largest volume of highly rated research but University College London emerged in second place after a series of mergers, pushing Cambridge into third.

Lego: can this most analogue of toys really be a modern urban planning tool?

by Guardian, December 18, 2014

One September day in 2005, the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson set up a few tables in a bustling downtown square in Tirana and unloaded three tonnes of Lego bricks. The Copenhagen-born, Berlin-based artist, known for his enormous, immersive installations – he once installed a gigantic, glowing sun at Tate Modern – included simple instructions: residents of the crumbling Albanian capital, which was recovering from the end of communist rule in 1990, were to construct their visions for the city’s future out of Lego. “Building a stable society,” Eliasson said, “is only possible with the involvement and co-operation of each individual.” As the days passed, everyone from kids to adults, passers-by to committed users, gradually turned the plastic rubble into a glistening white Lego metropolis.

Oxford overtakes Cambridge as Britain’s top research university

by Guardian, December 18, 2014

Cambridge University has been nudged off its perch as Britain’s leading research university, overtaken by its traditional rival Oxford and the London powerhouses after a two-year-long assessment of research quality.

The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (Ref), published on Friday, will be pored over by the 52,000 academics at 154 institutions who took part in the huge public assessment of their research output, which determines the division of £2bn of public money in research funding annually.

Oxford is set to take the largest share of the block funding, after almost half of the research produced by its 2,400 academic staff was given the top four-star rating by panels of judges and experts in each subject, while the output of University College London’s 2,600 staff placed it above Cambridge’s 2,100, according to analysis of the results by Research Fortnight.

Free school meals 'for 85% infants', says Clegg

by BBC News, December 18, 2014

An extra 1.3 million pupils in England, 85% of infant children, are eating a free school lunch, the government says.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says this is saving families £400 a year.

But there are concerns the scheme means some schools losing out on extra funds aimed at poorer pupils, whose families now have to register separately.

Some schools are said to be giving away iPads to encourage poorer parents to register, so they continue to receive this extra "pupil premium" funding.

London overtaking Oxbridge domination

by BBC News, December 18, 2014

London universities are breaking up the traditional dominance of Oxford and Cambridge, according to official figures on research excellence.

The London School of Economics has the highest proportion of "world-leading" research among UK universities.

In rankings based on research grades, University College London has overtaken Cambridge for the first time.

The research ratings will determine the allocation of £2bn public funding for universities each year.

Anger at £300,000 plan to drop college from King’s

by The Times, December 17, 2014

Students are up in arms over plans by one of the country’s oldest universities to change its “confusing” name at a cost of about £300,000.
King’s College London wants to remove “college” from its title to set itself apart itself from nine King’s colleges in the UK, including one at Cambridge.
The university hopes that will prevent “considerable confusion” for prospective students. A petition against it attracted 7,000 signatures in 24 hours.

We need Red Cross protection for all our schools

by Guardian, December 17, 2014

I am in Kinshasa. I am in a college hall talking to a thousand young people about education. I am handed a note of what has happened just minutes before in Peshawar, Pakistan. The children stand as one. Silence. Faces fall. We are exactly 3,960 miles from London, 4,507 miles from Peshawar, but the vast distances mean little. An event – a terrorist attack, as almost always – has united the world in outrage again: 132 children dead, murdered by the Taliban in classrooms and corridors. This horrific attack, the worst school atrocity ever, was on boys and girls everywhere.

Student raises thousands of pounds for homeless man who offered her money

by Guardian, December 17, 2014

An art student living in Preston has raised over £21,000 for a homeless man, after he offered her his last £3 so that she could get a taxi home safely.

Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, who studies at the University of Central Lancashire, had lost her bank card and needed to get home after a night out when the homeless man, known only as Robbie, offered money to help.

The 22-year-old declined the offer, but was so moved by his gesture that she started a campaign to raise enough money to help him get a flat. She set up a donation page and asked people to each donate £3 for her fundraiser, which involved spending the night on the street, along with supporters who had heard about her story through social media.

‘Lots of secondaries have that palpable sense of threat, they’re safe here’

by The Times, December 16, 2014

To its mainly poor, black pupils, Sir Greg Martin’s new boarding school is Hogwarts, but locals are opposing his plans
“Where are we all from?” asks the teacher, a simple enough question with which to open her first lesson of the day, but we quickly get into difficult territory. Where are these children from? The whole class of 13-year-olds bar one boy is black, the teacher is black and yet here we are in a 19th-century stately home, and indeed a part of England, that has not seen such a collection of black people before.

A winter’s tale: don't overlook the value of drama in school

by Guardian, December 16, 2014

With the festive season underway, and work on the Bedales Christmas theatre production in full swing, it was something of a wrench for me to put things on hold for a meeting of independent school drama teachers in London a few weeks ago.

I found myself discussing the importance of drama and the reforms to GCSE and A-levels to be introduced next year. The government is stressing the need to prepare students for further and higher education, as well as employment, so they want to downgrade assessed coursework in favour of end-of-course exams.

Design and technology 'marginalised', teachers say

by BBC News, December 16, 2014

A puncture-proof bike tyre, light-up indicator gloves, a healthy energy drink and an app to find lost bikes - these were the winning designs in the Great British Make Off competition for 11- to 14-year olds.

The brief was to come up with innovations to improve cyclists' lives and develop them with sketches, models and prototypes.

Richard Green, chief executive of the Design and Technology Association, which represents the subject's teachers, said the competition aimed to boost D&T in schools "because it's the only place in the curriculum where practical problem-solving takes place".

Still one of the most popular GCSEs, it was being marginalised by government changes and, without intervention from ministers, may even cease to exist within five years, he added.

Roma pupils need more support, says Ofsted

by BBC News, December 16, 2014

Children from Roma backgrounds in England's schools must be better supported to learn and achieve, a report by the watchdog Ofsted says.

Ofsted surveyed three local councils and 11 schools with a large intake of Roma pupils from Eastern Europe.

The report says head teachers reported no adverse effect on the achievement of other pupils already in their schools.

But some schools had struggled to get pupils to follow school routines and behave appropriately.

‘Lots of secondaries have that palpable sense of threat, they’re safe here’

by The Times, December 16, 2014

To its mainly poor, black pupils, Sir Greg Martin’s new boarding school is Hogwarts, but locals are opposing his plans
“Where are we all from?” asks the teacher, a simple enough question with which to open her first lesson of the day, but we quickly get into difficult territory. Where are these children from?

100 dead in Pakistan school attack

by TES, December 16, 2014

At least 100 people, most of them children, have died in an attack by Taliban fighters on a military-run school in Peshawar in the northwest of Pakistan, according to reports.

Around half a dozen Taliban militants wearing military uniforms stormed the school this morning, with reports claiming that upwards of 80 students were among those killed.

Gunfire and helicopters were heard outside the school as Pakistani troops surrounded the building and ambulances carried the wounded to hospital.

Will teachers’ lists of what wastes their time be taken seriously?

by Guardian, December 16, 2014

What if 40,000 teachers had taken the time and trouble to tell the government, in a consultation, how to reduce their incessant workload and then … nothing happened? It would make them angry, right? Well, get your pitchforks ready – I’m calling it out.

The “workload challenge initiative” is one of the achingly earnest policies designed by Nicky Morgan to win over teachers just in time for the general election. Back in October, she asked teachers to send in their lists of what wastes time and what should be done to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.

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