Latest Educational News

Minister wants a ‘culture change’ in maths

by Yorkshire Post, July 7, 2014

FOUR high performing Yorkshire schools could help play a role in changing the country’s attitude towards maths, according to a Government minister who says it should not be acceptable for people to say “they are rubbish” at the subject.

Outwood Grange Academy, in Wakefield, Harrogate Grammar School, Notre Dame High School in Sheffield and Trinity Academy Halifax have been chosen to be part of a network of national maths hubs which will seek to emulate the success enjoyed in the subject in top performing East Asian countries – including Japan, Singapore and Shanghai.

Links with China: why Australian universities are leading the way

by Guardian, July 7, 2014

Terra Australis was first sighted by European ships in the early 17th century, settled by England in 1788, and morphed into the self-governing dominion of Australia in 1901.

The nation became more independent of Britain after the second world war when, together with the US, it blocked invasion from Japan. Yet Australian higher education continues to look remarkably like that of the UK.

There is just one difference, but in the long run it will be very important.

In the last generation both the UK and Australia have doubled the proportion of the population entering higher education. Both have moved from near free tuition to high tuition, funded by loans repaid through taxation on an income-contingent basis.

Graduate jobs recover to 'pre-recession peak'

by BBC News, July 7, 2014

The graduate job market has recovered to its pre-recession peak, with a 12% rise in the number of jobs for university leavers, a report says.

The UK's top employers recruited more graduates this year than they expected, says the High Fliers report, based on a poll of 18,000 final-year students.

The increase is the biggest for four years and follows an unprecedented 23.3% dip between 2007 and 2009.

But graduate numbers have increased by 85,000 to 365,000 since 2007.

This suggests a further increase in graduate-level jobs will be required to keep pace with the higher number of graduates looking for work.

The report says the average number of entry-level graduate roles on offer at the UK's top companies is now 190 per employer.

Labour wants 'super teachers' in every school

by BBC News, July 6, 2014

Labour plans to place "super teachers" in every British school in order to improve education standards, Tristram Hunt has said.

The shadow education secretary said he wanted emulate the Singaporean system, which allows teachers to focus on careers in management, become subject specialists or train as "master teachers".

He told the Andrew Marr Show: "It's about having a career path way... because at the moment too many good teachers are moving out of the classroom and becoming heads."

Heads slam council's "farcical and dangerous" school bus plan

by Bucks Free Press, July 6, 2014

A COUNCIL has frozen its plans to overhaul the school transport set-up this week as fury grows among parents, headteachers and politicians.

The headteachers of Wycombe High, the Royal Grammar School and John Hampden Grammar School were united in their anger at the lack of consultation and clarity over the proposed amalgamation of school transport.

And there have been calls for Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Mike Appleyard to resign - with rival politicians calling the plans "incompetent".

Michael Gove pledges more free schools if Conservatives win election

by Telegraph, July 6, 2014

Michael Gove today promises that he would launch a new wave of free schools within 24 hours of the Conservatives winning next year’s general election.
The Education Secretary publishes new figures showing that 20,000 school children are to be taught in free schools set up by parents, charities, and teachers’ groups which inspectors have now rated good or outstanding.
Compared with 2010, 800,000 more children are now taught in state schools of all kinds judged to be good or outstanding by Ofsted, he says.
The new free schools, which are funded by central government and are free from local council control, must be given a secure future, the minister says, as he challenges Labour to back the plans.

The primary getting kids into binary

by Telegraph, July 6, 2014

Salim and Hazal have hit something of a stumbling block. Having created a character and set it against their chosen background, they are now trying to get it to move across the screen.
So far it is stubbornly refusing to budge. “We’re learning how to program it to make it do whatever we want,” says Salim. “But we need to work out what we’ve done wrong.”
Salim and Hazal are both nine, and at the forefront of a revolution in ICT (information and communications technology) teaching.

Middle-classes 'forced out of private schools' as fees soar

by Telegraph, July 6, 2014

Private education is becoming “increasingly unaffordable” for the middle-classes following a four-fold rise in school fees in little over 20 years, according to a major study.
Parents in traditionally well-paid careers such as accountancy, law, finance and academia are now less likely to afford an independent education than plumbers were in the early 90s, it emerged.
In a report, it was claimed that the rise in school fees had outstripped wages by such an extent that private schools were increasingly becoming the preserve of super-rich foreigners.

Push to keep incoming college students on track

by Daily Mail, July 6, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The excitement of acceptance into that dream college has passed. The first day of classes is still weeks away. But the resources provided by high school teachers and computer labs are no longer available for graduates.
Education researchers and academic counselors call it "summer melt," the precarious time when some college-bound students fall through the cracks, at risk of abandoning their higher education plans entirely. Studies show that first-generation college students and those from low-income families are particularly vulnerable.
In St. Louis, a drop-in counseling center helps such students negotiate financial aid agreements, housing contracts and the other many details of college enrollment. School districts in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Minnesota and West Virginia are among those using text messages to keep aspiring college students on track.

Playing politics with university education is bad for society as a whole

by Daily Mail, July 6, 2014

Events have a way of disappearing from newspapers. Facts or concerns in one week are erased in the next. Memory becomes a casualty but more critically the public loses an opportunity to debate key issues, raise questions and receive answers.The recent FYUP crisis was one such example.
Newspapers also reduce an event to heroes and villains. Depending on perspective the two villains are Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh and the University Grants Commission.

Elite 'master teachers' to be put in schools by Labour

by ITV News, July 6, 2014

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has also announced that teachers would have to choose one of three new career routes, specialising either in classroom teaching methods, curriculum development in chosen subjects, or pursuit of eventual leadership roles.

The Observer newspaper reported that the idea of master teachers as models of best practice – a system operating in Singapore – was recommended to Gove in a review on standards for the coalition government in 2011, but the policy was not taken up

According to the newspaper, the title would be awarded to those who met standards to be set by an independent body.

'If Gove wants progress he must allow our best teachers to fail'

by TES, July 6, 2014

At a training day late last year, the question was posed to the staff assembled in the theatre of the academy where I work: “What is the most important part of teaching an outstanding lesson?”

The answer, given by the majority of teachers in the room, was “progress” – a word which in education has come to be accompanied by images of students hunched over exam papers in wooden-floored sports halls, Sir Michael Wilshaw nodding sagely behind his desk or Michael Gove’s hand thumping on to a lectern as he delivers his vision to yet another crowd of disgruntled union members.

Arts lessons cut as due to government focus on English and maths

by TES, July 6, 2014

Half of schools say that arts provision in their school has been cut due to the government’s focus on "core subjects", according to a new poll.

A survey of 172 heads of department and teachers by the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) found that in 52 per cent of secondary schools, the introduction of the English Baccalaureate had affected timetabling for art, design and craft subjects.

Comments from teachers taking part in the survey revealed that in some schools pupils in high ability sets for academic subjects were unable to take art as a GCSE option.

The new Progress 8 measure, which comes in for all schools from 2016, gives credit for progress students have made since primary school based on their scores in eight subjects which can include up to three arts subjects.

Private Schools are Booming in the UK–But What do You Really Get for Your Money?

by The Epoch Times, July 5, 2014

Half a century ago, the world of private education was under serious pressure. Threatened by an emboldened political left keen to abolish private schools or incorporate them into the state sector, and confronted by a changing economic environment, the leading so-called “public” schools and others after them began to care a lot more about academic success. The next few decades saw a transformation in these schools’ achievements, with many becoming nation-beating academic powerhouses.

Fee rises (threefold in real terms since 1980) have enabled this, while at the same time both maintaining and expanding the schools’ educational aims: a broad cultural education, with exposure to sports, music, theatre and so on in ways that dwarf the typical state school student’s experience.

Ending re-sit culture 'will put teenagers off studying maths': Move away from modules to end-of-course exams could backfire, warns new report

by Daily Mail, July 5, 2014

Major reforms to GCSE and A-level maths might not boost the numbers of teenagers studying the subject and could instead turn youngsters off, a new report claims.
The changes risk undermining Government efforts to improve numeracy levels amid fears that Britain is lagging behind other developed nations.
Research by the Nuffield Foundation found the attempt to end the so-called ‘re-sit culture’ by moving away from modules to end-of-course exams could end up discouraging young people from taking A-level maths.

Wealthy Tory donor David Ross in line for top Ofsted job

by BBC News, July 5, 2014

A multimillionaire Tory party donor and friend of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, is in the frame to become chair of Ofsted, a move that would plunge the schools regulator into a further row over its politicisation.

David Ross, the playboy co-founder of Carphone Warehouse whose charitable foundation supports more than 20 academy schools, is understood to be in serious contention to take over the Ofsted role from Labour peer Sally Morgan, who is waiting for the education secretary, Michael Gove, to make a fresh appointment.

'Master teachers' set to be new classroom elite

by BBC News, July 5, 2014

A new elite grade of "master teachers" would be established in state schools under a Labour government as part of a drive to raise standards and ensure that top performers remain in the classroom.

Under the plans the new top tier of teachers could be awarded higher salaries by headteachers and would be regarded as the "gold standard" in the profession.

The policy, announced on Sunday by shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, highlights the gulf between Labour's emphasis on the need for qualifications and experience, and education secretary Michael Gove's willingness to allow unqualified teachers to operate in free schools and academies.

Labour has already announced that all teachers in state schools would have to be qualified if Labour were to win the next election. Hunt also announces on Sunday that they would have to choose one of three new career routes, specialising either in classroom teaching methods, curriculum development in chosen subjects, or pursuit of eventual leadership roles.

‘Guinea pig’ pupils may not make the grade

by TES, July 4, 2014

The complete switch to end-of-course exams for GCSE and A-level students in England this summer has put severe pressure on schools and could damage results, experts have warned.

Radical changes to an “already creaking” system – which include the end of modular courses examined during the year – have caused a series of problems, according to Andrew Harland, chief executive of the Examination Officers’ Association.

Timetable clashes, difficulties in finding locations in which to sit exams and added pressure on staff and students could result in lower grades, he claimed.

“Very experienced exam officers are saying, ‘This is the hardest year we have ever had,’ ” Mr Harland told TES. “Everybody feels under stress – the teaching staff, the [school] senior management, the awarding bodies – and at the bottom of the pile are the students. You can’t treat them as guinea pigs.

CBI: too many school leavers 'underequipped for life'

by Telegraph, July 4, 2014

The British economy is being put at risk because large numbers of teenagers are leaving school and college “underequipped for life”, according to the UK’s biggest business group.
Too many school leavers are entering the workplace lacking basic literacy, numeracy and communication skills, poor self-management and low levels of customer awareness, said the the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
In a damning report, it was claimed that an overemphasis on passing exams meant large numbers of teenagers were unable to function in real life, leaving companies with a shortage of decent employees.

University schools ‘told to improve’

by Times Higher Education, July 4, 2014

Among them is University College London, which opened its first academy last year and was described by former schools minister Lord Adonis as “the future of education”.

However, last month Ofsted inspectors judged the school as “requiring improvement”, listing the quality of teaching as an area of concern, while stating that pupils were not making expected progress. The school responded in a statement saying it was “deeply disappointed” by the verdict.

Speaking to TES, David Price, UCL’s vice-provost and chair of governors at the university’s academy, said the school suffered as a result of its building not being ready in time.

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