Latest Educational News

Marking shake-up needed to stop exam ‘inflation’, academic says

by Halifax Courier, August 11, 2014

An exams expert has claimed the country should move to a system where a set number of students are awarded top marks each year to avoid rows about grade inflation or the fairness of marking.

Professor Alan Smithers has suggested a “norm referenced” system where a certain percentage of pupils are awarded As, Bs and Cs as a way forward.

The Buckingham University academic was speaking ahead of the A-levels results announcement on Thursday.

Prof Smithers said the increase in students’ A-level results over more than 30 years showed it had not been possible to avoid grade inflation with exams getting easier using a marking system based on a set of criteria.

Beaconsfield school named as the best in the world

by Bucks Free Press, August 11, 2014

THE National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield has been named as the best international film school.

In a recent list published by the Hollywood Reporter, the school in Station Road came top in a list of the best 15 schools across the world.

NFTS Director, Nik Powell, said: “This is a massive credit to everybody at the NFTS - our staff, tutors and of course our brilliant students!

“Let me say a massive thank you to everyone including our film and television industry supporters without whom this would not be possible.”

One in seven students have full-time jobs during degree course

by Independent, August 11, 2014

One in seven students now holds down a full-time job whilst they study at university, according to a survey out today.

The figures show how the rising cost of higher education could be undermining the university experience, as more students have to juggle their studies with precarious finances.

A survey of 2,128 students by Endsleigh, the student insurance agency, reveals 13 per cent have a full-time job – either in the holidays, term-time or both. It also shows that 59 per cent are at least working part-time to see them through the studies.

How to make the most of university work placements

by Guardian, August 11, 2014

There's only so much you can learn in a classroom – if you want to be ready for a job after university you need to have some experience of a real work place. Many university degrees include work placements as part of the course, and they can be a great way to gain industry skills and understanding.

Here's what you need to know about finding a placement and making it work for you, as well as some pitfalls to avoid.

Apple University: where employees are not born, but made

by Guardian, August 11, 2014

Many companies have internal training programmes, but Apple’s goes far further than most teaching employees how to think like Steve Jobs.

The highly secretive Apple University, profiled in detail by the New York Times, was established by Jobs in 2008 to teach what it meant to be an Apple employee, educating them about the company’s culture and history.

Some are tailored to different topics like how to integrate your recently purchased company into Apple, which could be useful for Jimmy Iovine, Dr Dre and their recently acquired Beats team.

University funding cuts will hit less prestigious campuses harder – union

by Guardian, August 11, 2014

Universities outside the prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) stand to lose a larger share of their total revenue through government funding cuts because of their greater reliance on the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS), new analysis shows.

A union briefing paper suggests regional and outer suburban universities could lose between 5.4% (University of Wollongong) and 8.9% (University of the Sunshine Coast) of their total revenue, but the impact on the Go8 universities ranged from 1.4% (Australian National University) to 4.1% (University of Adelaide).

Complaints over Vale of Glamorgan Nato schools disruption

by BBC News, August 11, 2014

Plans to disrupt opening times of schools in the Vale of Glamorgan during the Nato summit, despite it being held 25 miles away in Newport, have been criticised.

Schools in the county have been advised to close early on 3 and 5 September and open late on 4 September.

The council said this would minimise traffic disruption caused by delegates flying into Cardiff Airport.

But MP Alun Cairns said closing schools was a "huge over-reaction".

'Our reforms will boost confidence in the exams system'

by Telegraph, August 10, 2014

My number one priority as Secretary of State for Education is ensuring that we give every young person the best preparation for life in modern Britain.
Education should open up doors for young people, allow them to develop their own unique talents and give them the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century workplace.
A good quality education system doesn’t just matter to the young people who go through it - it benefits the whole country, making us more prosperous and competitive in the global economy.

Why don’t state school pupils apply to Oxbridge? I’ve got an inkling…

by Independent, August 10, 2014

State school rates of entry to Oxbridge are still far too low for comfort. Cambridge, with 61 per cent of its graduates coming from the state sector, and Oxford, with only 57 per cent, say they both bend over backwards to dispel the idea that their portals are thronged with members of the Bullingdon Club carrying teddy bears and an overweening sense of entitlement, but these figures show that state schools remain years away from being proportionately represented.
Now the Sutton Trust, which campaigns for improved social mobility in education, suggests that state school teachers are at fault, with more than 40 per cent “rarely or never” advising academically gifted children to apply to Oxbridge.

GCSE shake-up means fewer subjects for pupils to take

by Independent, August 10, 2014

A revolutionary shake-up of the secondary school timetable will mean pupils spend three years, instead of the current two, studying for GCSEs in crucial subjects such as maths and English.

Many schools are expected to begin GCSE studies when pupils are 13, in response to government education reforms that have made exams harder.

International A-level exam is a star performer

by Independent, August 10, 2014

A-levels may have their detractors in the UK but the international version of the exam is proving popular abroad.
Many countries, including the United States and China in particular, are turning to them to help their examination system out of difficulties, believing they still represent the “gold standard” of the international exam world.

School holiday fines: parents deserve a break

by Telegraph, August 9, 2014

Cui bono? I keep asking myself about the new regulations on school attendance. Who gets the benefit from the “Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013”? Especially the part of it that says parents should be fined £60 for taking children out of school during term-time unless there are “exceptional circumstances” (which is a step up from the “special circumstances” of heretofore).
Fined. For heaven’s sake! And the fine doubled to £120 if the parent doesn’t pay up promptly? Stop it! This is the Department for Education we’re talking about, not a council car park. The more the radio burbled on, the crazier it became.

Once it was ‘wow’, now it’s ‘whatever’

by TES, August 9, 2014

Study finds that pupils’ interest in tablet computers is waning

The novelty value of the tablet computer may no longer be enough to hold pupils’ interest in lessons, according to research that shows teenagers are becoming indifferent to the devices.

A survey conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) reveals that although primary-school pupils are still in thrall to the wizardry of tablet technology, their older peers are showing signs of boredom.

The results come at a time when many schools are investing heavily in tablet computers, regarding them as a way to transform student engagement. But according to the BESA study, teachers are reporting that secondary students no longer see the devices as “new, bold or inherently interesting”.

GCSE reforms causing 'burnout' and stress for school staff

by TES, August 9, 2014

Exam officers have warned of “burnout” among school staff struggling to contend with soaring stress levels and logistical difficulties triggered by the barrage of changes affecting this year’s GCSEs.

Regulator Ofqual has already revealed that the reforms coming into effect this year, designed to crack down on early and multiple GCSE entries, are likely to create volatility in this year’s results, prompting widespread concern among school leaders.

‘Forget elite sport – it’s getting kids active and having fun that counts’

by TES, August 9, 2014

MPs, the NHS and the media are constantly getting their knickers in a major twist about girls’ reluctance to get involved in sport – not to mention the health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. But, in my opinion, they’re looking in the wrong place for solutions.

Much of girls’ reluctance to do sport is to do with body image: they don’t like their bodies being scrutinised by teenage boys ("I don’t want them looking at my legs") – who can blame them? – and they don’t like messing up their hair and make-up.

A resourceful approach to the new national curriculum

by TES, August 9, 2014

Of all the myths about teaching, this is one of the biggest. Those people who believe in it don’t see you standing on a chair in your classroom with staple gun in hand, trimming each display board with a wavy border. They don’t bear witness to you sweating over medium-term plans at your kitchen table while, somewhere out there, your students are off playing in the sun.

New blow for Al-Madinah free school over 'confusing' admissions rules

by TES, August 9, 2014

The troubled Al-Madinah free school has been dealt a fresh blow after it was found to be in breach of the admissions code.

This summer, the country’s first Islamic free school was forced to close down its secondary provision following criticism of the “poor quality” of teaching. It was also accused of discriminating against female pupils and staff, and failing in its duty to keep its pupils safe.

Now the Derby primary has been censured by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) for four breaches of the school admissions code.

Nurseries to teach British values

by The Times, August 9, 2014

Nursery children are to be taught about “fundamental British values” to protect them from religious extremism. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is said to be planning the shift as her first important policy announcement since securing the job in the coalition reshuffle last month.
Under the plan, to be announced today, local authorities will be forced to strip nurseries of their funding if they promote extremist views.

Secret Teacher: jargon is ruining our children's education

by Guardian, August 9, 2014

"What do you do when you get to school in the morning?" a colleague asked a younger member of my family recently. "Well, when we get to class, we get out our books and start on our non-negotiables," replied the child, who is in year 2. "What are they?" the colleague inquired. "Don't know" was the answer.

This is a perfect example of what is bothering me as a primary school teacher – educational jargon that is passed on to our children. At no point during my own education was I ever aware of non-negotiables, targets, levels, learning objectives or success criteria. But my teachers still taught me a great deal and it was pretty obvious that I was learning. Where I stood in the academic pecking order was the teacher's business, not mine.

Move over Barbie: the cool kids are playing with Lego paleontologists

by Guardian, August 9, 2014

We've had this problem with gender-stereotyped toys, and it's gone on for years, and it seemed to be getting worse, and then, wham! – Lego saw the light. This week, they unveiled their team of female scientists: a paleontologist, a chemist and an astronomer. They were all, properly, female. People have pointed out that one of them looks like Caitlin Moran.

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