Latest Educational News

Raid universities to fund teachers in tough schools, urges Alan Milburn

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

The government should plunder undergraduate tuition fees to fund a 25% pay rise for teachers willing to work in challenging schools, Alan Milburn, the government’s social mobility champion, has proposed.

Milburn, who chairs the social mobility and child poverty commission, said in a speech on Thursday that radical approaches were needed to close the educational attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their better-off classmates.

“National pay bargaining has not helped to narrow the attainment gap. The old orthodoxy is not working. The current government’s laissez-faire approach of giving schools more freedom and then sitting back to see what happens is not working either,” Milburn told a Policy Exchange conference in London.

Education has never mattered more, so why won't the UK invest in it properly?

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

In the run up to the general election, we’re profiling subject areas to see how they could be affected by a change of government and policy priorities. This week our focus is on education.

The key issues:
A series of policy changes has led to a number of university teacher training schools closing down;

The sector is struggling to recruit and retain teachers. This comes at a time of an 18% rise in primary pupil numbers;

Many of the UK’s top education researchers are nearing retirement;

The UK’s investment in education R&D continues to fall behind its competitors;

There’s increasing divergence between England and the rest of the UK in how teachers are trained;

Adult education is being slashed and burned – this is too important to ignore

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

That poor hounded millionaire Jeremy Clarkson needlessly lost his job just for punching a colleague in the face and repeatedly shouting abuse at him. What will the BBC and, by extension, the UK, do without him? As if this wasn’t bad enough for British exports, Zayn Malik has announced his exit from the boy band megabus One Direction. A nation can only take so much loss at any one time. Is this why news announcing that adult education in England “will not exist by 2020” sounded like a pin dropping during carnival? Was it all just too too much to bear?

Well, probably not. If we were a nation that valued the concept of learning as a lifelong necessity rather than something only young people do, we might worry more about the swath of cuts to further education.

Vital modern languages could be lost, warns Labour

by BBC News, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Some modern languages vital to the UK's economic future could be lost from schools in England, Labour has warned.

Exam boards have announced plans to drop qualifications in languages such as Portuguese and Turkish.

Ministers should take urgent action to ensure they are not lost from the curriculum, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said.

The government said its reforms did not stop boards developing qualifications in any language they chose.

Girls begin to doubt sporting ability at age seven

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Girls become more self-conscious and begin to doubt their sporting abilities after the age of seven, according to research commissioned by the government equalities office. The study found that girls aged seven and eight had not yet ruled themselves out of doing sport on the basis of their gender, but that unhelpful stereotypes were beginning to emerge.

Some girls told interviewers they disliked playing games outside in the cold and that they worried about their performance – even if they were actually considered good at sport.

The small-scale study, which involved 38 pupils, found that boys consider themselves faster and stronger than girls, and more sporty. “Girls are rubbish at football ... when they kick the ball, it goes, like, 5cm,” one interviewee said. “Men can play more sport than women.”

What role should teachers play in career guidance?

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Since the Education Act 2011, schools have been required to offer career guidance to their students. Some of this responsibility has inevitably landed at the door of teachers, but their exact role remains a bone of contention.

My colleagues and I at the University of Derby have just published a paper for Teach First exploring this question. What became clear was that teachers shouldn’t be expected to be careers guidance professionals. Instead, it’s about a partnership. Career guidance professionals bring expertise in theory and knowledge of the labour market and links with employers to the table, while teachers bring pedagogic knowledge and have sustained relationships with their students. Other key stakeholders – such as employers and post-secondary learning providers – are also important. Together all of these different people help young people to explore the opportunities open to them and make purposeful steps towards their future.

Top Catholic school takes fight for admissions policy to court

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

The religious ethos of one of England’s oldest state-funded Catholic boys’ schools is at risk after an education watchdog attacked its admissions code, the high court has heard.

The London Oratory, which has attracted the sons of top politicians, is challenging findings by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) that many aspects of its admission arrangements for 2014 and 2015 breached the schools admissions code.

The OSA investigation was triggered by a complaint from the British Humanist Association about the faith-based criteria used to select pupils for places at the heavily oversubscribed Catholic academy, founded in 1863.

Schools scoop cash prizes in London ceremony

by Hartlepool Mail, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

A SCHOOL criticised by Michael Gove for its ‘lack of ambition’ has won £100,000 for being among the best in the country.

Easington Academy picked up the prize as a national finalist in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards and Hartlepool’s West View Primary School won £25,000 for being a regional finalist.

The former Education Secretary caused controversy when he said Easington Academy and fellow East Durham Schools were places where it was possible to ‘smell the sense of defeatism’.

School budgets 'facing significant cuts'

by BBC News, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Schools in England will have less to spend per pupil over the next five years, no matter who wins the election, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says.
The think tank's pre-election report, based on parties' spending pledges, says schools face up to 12% in real-terms cuts over the next parliament.
It says increasing pupil numbers and staff wages are adding to the pressure.
The Association of School and College Leaders said it presented a "bleak picture for education funding".
The IFS says day-to-day spending on schools has been relatively well-protected by the coalition government compared with other public service areas, but after the election that will change whoever is in government.
Analysing the spending pledges of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, the IFS said they all suggest a real-terms reduction of 7% per child by 2020.

Grammar schools set lower pass mark for poorer children

by The Independent, March 26, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

A group of grammar schools have doubled their admission of disadvantaged pupils in a single year – by quietly setting a lower 11-plus qualification score for children from disadvantaged homes. The new two-tier pass mark – the first results of which are revealed by The Independent today – appears to represent one of the most radical and effective ever attempts to reduce the middle-class strangehold on good grammars.

Birmingham’s five state grammar schools have offered 20 per cent of their places this September to pupils from poorer homes.

This was achieved after the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI, which runs the five schools, set a lower qualifying score in its 11-plus test for children entitled to the “pupil premium” - ie those who have been entitled to a free school meal at some time in the past six years.

Education Does Not Make You a Happier Person

by Time, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

A new study finds that the chance of happiness is the same, whether you went to college or not

There is no link between your education level and your personal happiness, says a new mental-health research study published by the British Journal of Psychiatry.

According to a press release, researchers from Warwick Medical School were inspired by the strong association between poor education and mental illness and wanted to investigate if the opposite was true: Does being educated lead to happiness?

Schools could face cuts of 12 per cent, says Institute for Fiscal Studies

by TES Connect, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Schools should brace themselves for cuts of up to 12 per cent over the next Parliament, according to a highly influential thinktank.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said commitments made by all three of the main parties were “much less generous” than suggested and could mean that spending would fall by 7 per cent in real terms between 2014-15 to 2019-20.

But the cuts could rise to 12 per cent once increases in National Insurance and pension contributions and the likely growth in public sector earnings were taken into account.

Schools have been “remarkably well protected” under the coalition government, the IFS says in its Election Briefing Note, but it predicts that they could soon be “squeezed harder”.

Birmingham's two-tier grammar schools entrance plan wins support

by The Independent, March 25, 2015

Classified as Grammar Schools.

A radical plan which has seen a city’s grammar schools double the number of disadvantaged pupils they take in won support from education campaigners today.

Five state grammar schools in Birmingham run by the Schools of King Edward VI foundation have set a lower qualification score in their 11-plus tests for children entitled to the pupil premium - those who have been in receipt of free school meals during the past six years.

The decision has won support from the highly respected Sutton Trust education charity, which campaigns for equal access to education for all pupils.

Stoke-on-Trent schools are 'not good enough'

by The Sentinel, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

THOUSANDS of pupils across the city are being educated in schools that are 'not good enough' and are underachieving at most key stages of their education.

This is the worrying verdict of an Ofsted report published today, which tracks the school improvement work overseen by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Despite tangible improvements in SATs results, the Potteries is still one of the 10 worst-performing areas in England for the proportion of youngsters attending good or outstanding primary schools.

But the report says there is 'cause for optimism' because the local authority has begun to develop a more 'ambitious' and 'rigorous' approach to transforming children's education.

Ministers call on exam boards to save minority language qualifications

by TES Connect, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

Ministers are calling on exam boards to re-consider their decision to axe a series of GCSEs and A-levels covering “non-traditional” languages.

The AQA board has said it will scrap A-levels in Bengali, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi and Polish. OCR is to stop offering the A-level in Biblical Hebrew, and both GCSEs and A-levels in Dutch, Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese and Turkish.

The boards say they have to make the cuts, due by 2017, because of low or declining entry levels and a shortage of the experienced examiners needed to set and mark papers.

This evening the Department for Education denied suggestions that its exam reform programme was to blame and called on the exam boards to think again.

A spokesperson said: “Our reforms do not stop exam boards developing robust language qualifications in any language they choose as long as they are high-quality, demanding and academically rigorous.

If only every state grammar school would try to level their admissions playing field

by The Independent, March 25, 2015

Classified as Grammar Schools.

The ability of the middle classes to get their way is legendary. But even though I was once described on TV as “so middle class that my taps run with Balsamic vinegar”, I cheered when I read that five state grammar schools in Birmingham have set a lower 11-plus entry demand for children from poorer homes. Almost overnight, this has resulted in 20 per cent of highly sought-after places going to children entitled to the “pupil premium” (a government initiative which gives extra funding to disadvantaged children).

The children weren’t given a massive leg-up; their qualifying score was only 7 per cent lower than required from better-off children. But it was enough. The five schools have significantly changed what has become a shameful malaise.

Government must do more to explain functional skills, report warns

by TES Connect, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

More must be done to improve employers’ awareness and understanding of functional skills if the qualifications are to be respected, according to a new report.

The Education and Training Foundation found that although functional skills in maths and English are gaining widespread recognition with employers, their purpose and value need to be better explained.

Its report, Making maths and English work for all, says a publicity campaign should help put the qualifications in context and make sure they are not seen as a “consolation prize” awarded by a GCSE-focused system.

Functional skills are not “broken”, it says, but do need improving.

It also says their standards should be aligned to employability and their content should be based on what employers need for their workforce. They also need flexible but more standardised and rigorous assessment to give employers confidence in them, it adds.

Adult education could disappear by 2020, colleges warn

by TES Connect, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

Adult education and training in England could cease to exist within five years if government funding cuts continue, it has been claimed.

The stark warning comes from the Association of Colleges, which estimates that 190,000 adult learning places could be lost in the next year alone.

The AoC claims new research, published today, shows 40,000 places could be lost on courses in health, public services and care, with 10,500 more places on ITC programmes also at risk in the next 12 months.

Last month it was revealed that funding through the Skills Funding Agency for adult skills in 2015-16 will be reduced by more than £249 million, an 11 per cent cut on 2014-15.

However, the SFA has set an apprenticeships budget of £770 million, and has estimated that funds available for other non-apprenticeship adult skills will be reduced by almost a quarter (24 per cent) as a result.

Grammar schools set lower pass mark for poorer children

by The Independent, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

A group of grammar schools have doubled their admission of disadvantaged pupils in a single year – by quietly setting a lower 11-plus qualification score for children from disadvantaged homes. The new two-tier pass mark – the first results of which are revealed by The Independent today – appears to represent one of the most radical and effective ever attempts to reduce the middle-class strangehold on good grammars.

Birmingham’s five state grammar schools have offered 20 per cent of their places this September to pupils from poorer homes.

Tendring: Top A-level students will be able to use state-of-the-art uni facilities in innovative scheme

by Gazette News, March 24, 2015

Classified as General.

SIXTH-FORMERS at schools across the Tendring district will be invited to study specialist subjects at the University of Essex for the first time in its 50-year history.

The university is inviting teenagers studying A-level at four schools in Tendring to spend one day a week at the Wivenhoe Park campus.

The schools are Clacton County High School, Clacton Coastal Academy, Brightlingsea’s Colne Community College and Harwich and Dovercourt High School.

There will be spaces for about 200 pupils, with the first intake starting in September.

Students taking four A-levels will continue to study three subjects at their school sixth-form and the fourth at university, on Tuesdays.

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