Latest Educational News

Teenage dropouts cost £800 million a year

by Telegraph, February 2, 2015

Teenagers who drop out of school or fail to get good enough grades are costing the taxpayer £800 million a year, according to a new report.
In a stark warning to central government, councils claim that thousands of youngsters are being failed by the government's "bums-on-seats" approach to school funding.
Cash for post-16 schools and colleges is given out based on student numbers - but councils say the current arrangements don't give them enough money or power to offer apprenticeships and careers advice to struggling pupils.

Labour's tuition fees cut risks 'colossal damage' to universities

by Telegraph, February 2, 2015

Labour's plan to cut tuition fees by a third risks "colossal damage" to universities and will leave a £10billion black hole in revenues, Britain's top academics are warning.
Mr Miliband is facing calls to abandon the policy by academics, who said in a letter to The Times that the policy is "implausible".
Sir Christopher Snowden, vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey and President of Universities UK, said: "This is purely a pragmatic issue, that a policy is evolving on the hoof which is not really a practical policy going forward and the potential damage is colossal."

Benedict Cumberbatch's Harrow education? It's a hindrance not a help, says his drama teacher

by Telegraph, February 2, 2015

Benedict Cumberbatch has been at pains to insist his public school education has not helped his career.
His drama teacher at Harrow has gone further, claiming that an expensive education is a hindrance when it comes to making it in the acting business.
Martin Tyrell said it was unfair to pigeonhole actors simply because their parents had decided to send them private.

David Cameron: School spending per pupil will fall in real terms

by Telegraph, February 2, 2015

David Cameron has admitted that school spending per pupil will fall in real terms under a future Conservative government.
Mr Cameron said that while the overall amount spent on schools will rise, it will not increase in line with inflation.
He said that the decision to freeze funding over the next five years under a future Conservative government has been "very difficult".

Ed Miliband delays outlining tuition fee policy as pressure builds

by Guardian, February 2, 2015

Ed Miliband is to try to resist setting out his policy to reduce university tuition fees until the end of the month despite pressure from critics – including university vice-chancellors, the business secretary Vince Cable and some former Labour policy advisers.

After years on the back foot over the Liberal Democrat decision to raise the fees cap, Cable said any Labour plan to reduce tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 would mean redundancies, larger class sizes and an end to record levels of university applications.

Cameron challenged on 'no cuts' school funding promise

by BBC News, February 2, 2015

David Cameron has promised a future Conservative government would protect England's schools budget in cash terms, but per pupil funding would not keep pace with inflation.

The prime minister said the government would provide a further £7bn for extra places for rising numbers of pupils.

Mr Cameron said hundreds more secondary schools would become academies.

Labour's Tristram Hunt said Tory claims to protect funding were "unravelling" and represented a "real-terms cut".

Transfer test: Warning letters to Northern Ireland schools over coaching sparks new row

by Belfast Telegraph, January 31, 2015

Head teachers and parents across Northern Ireland have been left in an impossible position over the political deadlock caused by the vacuum left by the abolition of the 11-plus, it has been claimed.

The Department of Education has been blasted for writing to 11 primary schools after it emerged teachers had been preparing children for unregulated transfer tests.

SNP 'must delay new Advanced Higher for a year'

by Telegraph, January 31, 2015

Scottish pupils’ chances of passing a new version of the Advanced Higher will be harmed unless its introduction is delayed a year, teachers have warned as an SNP decision to scrap other formal exams was denounced as a “complete disaster”.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, said pressing ahead with the new version next year would place “intolerable” pressure on staff and children.

Funding concern for universities

by The Courier, January 31, 2015

Courier country universities remain in the dark as to how a £21.5 million Holyrood funding cut will affect them.

The indicative budget for universities is £1.041 billion, 2% down on the figure announced last year.

Money has been saved with the suspension of the global excellence initiative, provoking concern that Scotland’s universities might not be able to compete so effectively.

Primaries, don't ban young adult fiction – embrace it to boost reading

by TES, January 31, 2015

“When my daughter first started reading The Hunger Games, I did not expect her to end up, some time later, dressed as the central character Katniss Everdeen and leading her very own rebellion against a repressive regime,” explains primary teacher Sally Ashworth. “Nor that the regime in question would be her school.”

The problem was young adult (YA) fiction, as Ashworth explains in the 30 January issue of TES.

“My daughter and her friends had worked their way through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the complete works of Jacqueline Wilson and were ready for something new and exciting,” Ashworth writes. “They found what they were looking for in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, as well as Veronica Roth’s Divergent and anything by John Green. I was delighted that they had shown the initiative to take their reading to the next level.”

Secondary moderns fight back as clamour for grammars grows

by TES, January 31, 2015

With grammar schools back on the political agenda, their secondary modern counterparts have begun a campaign to gain greater recognition.

The schools, which take pupils who have failed to pass the 11-plus exam in selective areas, want to raise awareness of the tougher jobs they face because of their lower-ability intakes.

Their numbers could increase if Conservatives pushing for more grammar schools are successful, and secondary modern leaders want to make sure people know they are there.

The newly formed National Association of Secondary Moderns has begun a petition for “more secondary moderns”, which mirrors one calling for more grammars that is backed by 80 Tory MPs.

Religious education classes 'needed' in schools

by BBC News, January 31, 2015

Developing young people's "religious literacy" would help to make them less vulnerable to radicalisation, a conference will hear later.

"Good religious education has never been more needed," Ed Pawson, chairman of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, will say.

But pupils will miss out unless the government addresses a shortage of RE teachers, he will warn.

The government said training bursaries would help to recruit more RE staff.

Schools damaged by lack of oversight, say MPs

by BBC News, January 30, 2015

Problems in some schools in England are going undetected "until serious damage has been done", MPs say.

The Public Accounts Committee says a lack of oversight has "allowed some schools to fall through the gap" and failure to go "unnoticed".

The academy programme and fewer inspections for better schools have increased school autonomy.

The government has disagreed with the report, saying it "does not reflect the real picture in England's classrooms".

Student fury over 'impossible' economics exam

by BBC News, January 30, 2015

Final year economics students at Sheffield University are furious after an exam this week contained questions they found "impossible".

The paper, on the economics of cities, contained compulsory questions on topics they had never been taught, say the students.

More than 90% of those who took the exam have now signed an online petition demanding the university investigate.

Dundee students take part in ‘Hack the University’ to improve it

by The Courier, January 30, 2015

Students from all disciplines within Dundee University took part in the first ever ‘Hack the University’ session.

Taking place on Thursday and Friday, the students pooled their different skills and perspectives in an effort to develop and build services and rethink the way the curriculum is developed and delivered.

Hack days derive from events in which computer programmers will hack their own system to find flaws and improve it.

The concept has been widened to include all kinds of systems.

Dundee University’s writers, coders, filmmakers, engineers, historians, scientists and others will have the chance to tackle challenges to the university.

University considers refund plans

by The Courier, January 30, 2015

Students who fail their degrees could have their fees refunded under plans being considered by one of Scotland's largest modern universities.

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is looking at introducing a rebate system for fee-paying students who fail to complete their degrees despite full engagement and participation.

UWS principal Professor Craig Mahoney said the UK's publicly-funded universities must embrace "radical change" in the face of increasing competition from private providers.

UCAS reveals record demand for UK HE courses

by TES, January 30, 2015

New figures reveal a record demand for higher education courses in the UK, with the rate of disadvantaged students from England applying to university also at an all-time high.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows that the number of applications to full-time undergraduate courses at university and other HE institutions for 2015-16 increased by 2 per cent compared to the same point last year, to 592,290.

However, UCAS said that although it is the highest number ever recorded at this stage, the increase is smaller than in recent years.

Record number of students applying to university

by The Telegraph, January 30, 2015

The number of university applicants has reached a record high as demand for higher education courses continues to rise.
Figures published today by the University and College Admissions Service (Ucas) have revealed that, overall, there has been a 2 per cent increase in the number of applications compared with the same point last year.
In total, 592,290 applications were submitted to the January 15th Ucas deadline, almost 10,000 more than the previous record, set in 2011, just before the rise in tuition fees.

League table woes, no proof academies raise standards and Ofsted on religion

by Guardian, January 30, 2015

Good week for
Science practicals. Education secretary, Nicky Morgan, called for a U-turn on Ofqual plans to scrap science practicals for GCSE and A-level qualifications.

Christian schools. Chief inspector Michael Wilshaw has denied that Ofsted had a political agenda against Christian schools after he came under fire from MPs following damning inspections for two free schools in north east England.

University applications hit record high

by BBC News, January 30, 2015

University applications have reached record levels, according to the Ucas admissions service.

These figures, showing applications for full-time courses starting in autumn 2015, show increases in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

More than 592,000 people have applied so far, up 2% compared with the same point last year.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said it showed the progress made "to break down barriers to higher education".

The figures show the numbers of applications submitted by the mid-January deadline - and they show rising numbers of 18- and 19-year-olds seeking places.

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