Latest Educational News

Raising tuition fees is paying off for everyone - except Nick Clegg

by Telegraph, February 25, 2015

The trebling of university tuition fees is regarded as one of the great cruelties of this Coalition, one of the harshest blows dealt by the austerity era. Nick Clegg had hoped that voters might forgive him for his part in all this, but if anything, the voters’ desire for vengeance seems to harden as polling day approaches. And understandably so: he explicitly promised not to hike fees, then broke his word. So it’s a shame that no one would believe him if he pointed out that the reform has been a great success.
Across the country, universities are finding that something strange is happening. The predicted effect of the £9,000 annual fees – a permanent slump in applications from discouraged students – has failed to materialise. Now we are seeing more applications than ever, and a record number are from people with disadvantaged backgrounds. There’s more competition, with new universities and sixth-form colleges offering robust, no-frills degrees. The Scottish government, which abolished tuition fees, now has an embarrassing admission to make: if you’re gifted, poor and set on university, then England is the best place to be.

Labour's back is against the wall over university fees

by telegragh , February 25, 2015

Waiting for the Labour Party to announce their position on student fees has been like waiting for a polar bear in the desert. They have had five years to come up with a policy, and yet, with less than five weeks to go until the dissolution of Parliament, we are still waiting.
The man with ultimate responsibility for coming up with a plan is Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Yet even he has recently described the process as “tortuous and difficult”. He is right. It is a sorry tale.
There is something about higher education funding which brings out the worst in opposition politicians. Michael Howard was unconvincing when he promised to abolish tuition fees in the 2005 election. Five years later, the Lib Dems promised to abolish fees even though both their Universities spokesperson, Stephen Williams, and their Leader, Nick Clegg, regarded their own policy as unsustainable.

Well designed school classrooms 'boost academic success'

by BBC News, February 25, 2015

Well designed classrooms boost the academic performance of primary school children, a study suggests.

Researchers from Salford University said the layout, construction and decoration of classes had a significant impact on reading, writing and maths.

Natural light, temperature, air quality and individualised classroom design were especially important, they said.

And whole-school factors, such as facilities and size, had less impact than the design of individual rooms.

Researchers funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council carried out detailed surveys of 153 classrooms in 27 "very diverse" schools over a three-year period.

New commission on primary assessment

by BBC News, February 25, 2015

A teacher-led commission is being set up to help primary schools in England find new ways of assessing their pupils' progress.

The previous system of levels, where pupils' progress was assessed against standards set by the national curriculum, has been scrapped.

Ministers argued this system was too "vague" and "misleading".

National tests for seven- and 11-year-olds based on the new national curriculum are also being drawn up.

Making learning visible: First 'Technology in Education' evaluation published - See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/making-learning-visible-first-technology-education-evaluation-published#sthash.YkC6l05i.dpuf

by Nesta.org.uk, February 24, 2015

As part of our technology in education programme we have been trialing different types of digital technology in schools and exploring its potential for learning. After many months working with teachers and schools across the UK our first independent evaluation report has now been published.

The Visible Classroom project explored the use of real time speech to text transcription for teacher professional development and student learning. This was a collaboration with Ai-Media UK and the University of Melbourne, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation as part of their work on evidence in education. The independent evaluation was carried out by NatCen.

The report has found that this approach has potential to benefit teaching and learning in schools, with teachers reporting they found the feedback a valuable part of professional development. During lessons, teachers’ speech was turned into live captions or subtitles, allowing their students to read as well as hear their explanations and instructions.

- See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/making-learning-visible-first-technology-education-evaluation-published#sthash.YkC6l05i.dpuf

Google Targeting UK Schools with Launch of Play for Education

by Lifehacker.uk, February 24, 2015

Google is targeting the UK education sector and chief rivals Apple and Microsoft with the launch of a new service, Google Play for Education.

The customised app store will feature programs designed specifically for the UK curriculum, as well as hoping to tempt schools away from devices like the iPad. Instead, it will offer a range of affordable tablets like the Nexus 7 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 Education, plus Chromebook laptops.

In addition, Google Play for Education will come with a management console for teachers and administrators, letting them set policies and distribute content to students, as well as collaborate with other educators.

Ofsted to judge schools on creative subjects, Labour pledges

by TES, February 24, 2015

Schools will only be judged "outstanding" by Ofsted if they offer creative subjects and cultural opportunities to their students, should Labour come to power after May's general election.

Under plans unveiled by the party’s leader Ed Miliband, schools will be asked to appoint a “local culture champion” to forge links with arts organisations and after-school clubs will be encouraged to offer music, drama, dance and other creative activities.

And as part of Labour’s intention to demand that Ofsted inspectors judge schools on their "broad and balanced” curriculums, schools will only be rated "outstanding" if they are providing sufficient access to the arts.

Universities losing race to lure foreign students

by The Times, February 24, 2015

Britain risks losing its dominant position as one of the world’s most popular destinations for foreign students as rival higher education systems catch up, a study has warned.

Make classes less boring to save trees

by The Times, February 24, 2015

“Boring” lessons about plant biology in schools have left Britain with an acute shortage of scientists qualified to combat tree diseases, according to the head of science at Kew.
Britain’s forests face threats from a range of infections, including ash dieback, which threatens to wipe out as many as 90 per cent of the country’s ash trees. Several reports, though, have pointed to a dearth of plant pathologists who can help to fight the diseases.

Drive to get parents to work could set back children’s development – peers

by Telegraph, February 24, 2015

A Government drive to get more parents out to work by offering subsidised childcare could be harming children's development, a House of Lords report suggests.
A committee of peers said there was an “inherent tension” between the aims of helping mothers in particular pursue a career and improving their children’s development but that ministers did not appear to recognise the problem.
They also warned that, despite a rise of almost a quarter in planned spending on childcare and early education, the current system could be based on a “false economy” which fails to improve children’s chances in life.
And they called for more effort to support parents teaching young children at home rather than relying on nurseries.
The House of Lords Committee on Affordable Childcare also warned that privately run nurseries and day-care centres – on whom most parents rely – are being significantly underfunded in comparison with state nurseries, which are often attached to a school.

Free childcare places 'must not mean extra costs for parents'

by BBC News, February 24, 2015

The next government must ensure that free childcare places in England are delivered without any extra costs to parents, peers have said.

The Lords Committee on Affordable Childcare said the budget for providing free nursery places does not cover the cost of delivering them.

It said parents were often being forced to subsidise the free places.

The Department for Education said any parents being forced to pay should contact their local authority.

Labour promises more arts in school

by BBC News, February 24, 2015

Labour would use Ofsted inspections to put a greater emphasis on art in schools in England, says the party's leader Ed Miliband.

A future Labour government would widen access to the arts, says Mr Miliband.

Schools would not be graded as "outstanding" unless offering a wide range of arts subjects and "cultural opportunities", says Mr Miliband.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that arts subjects have already been made more "rigorous".

Alternative HE provision 'an abuse of public money'

by BBC News, February 24, 2015

The government ignored "repeated warnings" about wasting money on alternative higher education providers, according to a report by MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee says the sector was expanded "without sufficient regulation".

The PAC says that almost £4m went to ineligible foreign students.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) says alternative providers play a "significant role in widening access to education".

Latin under threat in state schools

by The Times, February 23, 2015

Growing popularity of Latin and Greek in state schools is under threat from reforms to GCSEs and A levels, academics say.
Leading classicists warn that changes to the exam system, in particular making GCSE exams more “rigorous”, run the risk of making ancient languages the preserve of elite schools. The number of comprehensive state schools currently offering Latin is thought have risen from 100 a decade ago to more than 600 last year.

Term-time holidays wreck GCSE grades

by The Times, February 23, 2015

Taking week-long holidays during term time can lead to poorer GCSE grades, the education secretary said yesterday.
New research “busted the myth” that missing a few days of school was harmless, and vindicated the government’s decision to clamp down on unauthorised absence, Nicky Morgan claimed.
Families face fines of £60 per child, per parent, for taking breaks outside the school holidays.

Head teachers forced to take masters qualification

by Telegraph, February 23, 2015

Head teachers will be forced to take a new masters qualification to improve leadership at Scotland’s schools, Nicola Sturgeon has announced as she viewed successful education reforms in London.
The First Minister said teachers will be able to start studying for the qualification from August this year and by 2018-19 it will become mandatory for all new head teachers.
She argued that “strong leadership” was required if her new drive to close the gulf in performance between state schools in the richest and poorest areas is to be successful.
The Scottish Government recently announced a £100 million Attainment Scotland Fund to be spent improving primary schools in the seven local authority areas with the highest poverty levels.

A thousand years (or more) of lessons

by Telegraph, February 21, 2015

It is not unusual for a grand English school to have a long and interesting history. Some date to Tudor England and Henry VIII, others Victorian England and a time that can seem black and white to our technicolour lives in 2015.
But a handful of not-so-grand schools are more ancient still – foundations that predate Wolf Hall and the dissolution of the monasteries, and even the Battle of Agincourt. Some were established before the first millennium.
“Brown is good,” is the term that Leo Winkley, headmaster of St Peter’s School, York, the third oldest school in the country, coined by accident. It has become something of a catchphrase within the school “for whatever it is that we are”.
Brown is in reference to the unusually coloured uniform. “There used to be brown caps and brown blazers. As far as I know it’s always been the uniform. It may go back to monastic browns, monkish sort of browns.”

A thousand years (or more) of lessons

by Telegraph, February 21, 2015

It is not unusual for a grand English school to have a long and interesting history. Some date to Tudor England and Henry VIII, others Victorian England and a time that can seem black and white to our technicolour lives in 2015.

But a handful of not-so-grand schools are more ancient still – foundations that predate Wolf Hall and the dissolution of the monasteries, and even the Battle of Agincourt. Some were established before the first millennium.

11-plus results: how did Telegraph readers fare?

by Telegraph, February 21, 2015

With over 25,000 people having taken our 11-plus quiz so far, it’s time to take a look at how well you all coped when under a small fraction of the pressure that many 10-year-olds face each year.

The 11-plus is notoriously difficult to prepare for, especially with the advent of so called (and debatably) ‘tutor proof’ questions. In general, the variety of question types and tight time limits mean that pupils have to think on their feet whilst maintaining their cool, in order to secure a coveted grammar school place.

Labour plans pension raid to fund lower student fees

by The Times, February 21, 2015

tax raid on pensions is being drawn up by Labour to pay for a controversial cut in university tuition fees, The Times has learnt.
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, is considering cutting some of the tax breaks handed to those saving for a pension as he tries to find the £2 billion needed each year to reduce the fees.

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