Latest Educational News

Private school refuses to readmit anorexic pupil because her presence would be 'too disruptive to the rest of the year group,' mother claims

by The Independent, March 7, 2014

Classified as Schools.

A private school refused to allow a pupil treated for anorexia in a hospital for a year to return to class, the girl and her mother have reportedly claimed.

Ofsted to introduce new 'light touch' inspection regime

by The Guardian, March 7, 2014

Classified as Schools.

Ofsted is drawing up plans for the biggest shakeup to the way it inspects schools since it was founded, as the regulator seeks to demonstrate its independence before an anticipated onslaught by rightwing critics.

Senior staff at Ofsted say the greatly improved quality of state schools will allow the organisation to use shorter, more efficient monitoring visits rather than full evaluations for most schools, and give more timely information for parents

'Give heads more time' to improve failing schools

by BBC, March 7, 2014

Classified as Teachers.

Heads who take on failing schools should be given more time to turn them around, the Association of School and College Leaders says.

This would "lessen the threat of career suicide" that discourages good leaders from taking up posts in tough schools, its general secretary Brian Lightman says.

There should be a recognition that it takes time to improve schools, he adds.

Ofsted welcomed the contribution and said it would respond in due course.

Foreigners fuelling surge in demand for private schools

by The Telegraph, March 7, 2014

Classified as Private School.

Private schools are facing a surge in applications from rich foreigners in a move that risks edging local parents out of fee-paying education, experts have warned.

The rush for places in London and the south east has reached such a level that schools could “open in a cowshed” and still be oversubscribed, it was claimed.

Rising demand has already resulted in a number of new schools being established in the capital to cater for local and international students.

Four institutions are due to open in the next two years, it emerged.

The development bucks the trend seen in other parts of the country where demand for private education has been in decline since the economic crisis struck in 2008.

University league tables: UK institutions 'losing ground'

by The Telegraph, March 6, 2014

Classified as University.

British universities are losing their international standing as American “superbrands” such as Harvard and Stanford surge ahead in global league tables.

A major study has found that the number of UK institutions ranked among the world’s best has dropped over the last two years in the face of US dominance.

New rankings – based on global reputation – show that universities in London, Oxford and Cambridge remain powerful forces in higher education across the world but institutions outside of this “golden triangle” are struggling.

Experts said the “apparent deterioration of a number of our universities” was a worrying development.

Student bursaries 'failing to cut university drop-out rates'

by The Telegraph, March 6, 2014

Classified as University.

More than £1.3 billion spent on student bursaries has failed to prevent poor teenagers dropping out of university, according to research.

A major study found that grants worth up to £4,000 a year had "no observable effect" on students’ chances of quitting their degree course.

The report – by the Government’s Office for Fair Access – found that drop-out rates remained at the same level whether or not students had been given additional cash for living expenses and course costs.

Researchers insisted that the most significant factor influencing a student’s decision to remain at university was their previous exam results rather than financial aid.

Tony Robinson: Gove's ideas 'patently absurd'

by The Telegraph, March 6, 2014

Classified as General.

Michael Gove’s insistence that British children learn about the First World War from a patriotic standpoint is the kind of teaching found in “the worst regimes in the world”, according to Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson.

The actor, presenter and author – announced today as the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award with his latest history book for children – said some of Mr Gove’s ideas were “patently absurd”.

Ministers to axe ‘bureaucratic’ rules on school dinners

by The Telegraph, March 6, 2014

Classified as School.

Strict guidelines regulating the amount of sugar in school dinners have been scrapped just as health experts raise alarm over the deteriorating standard of people’s daily diet.
The Government said nutritional guidance – setting out the levels of vitamins and minerals in lunches – would be axed because the rules are too complicated.
Reforms are being made as part of a new package of measures aimed at helping schools prepare the introduction of free meals for all infants from September.
Currently, schools must test food to ensure it contains the right amount of fibre, protein, iron and vitamin C, while also cutting down on fat and sugar.

New school meal plan aims to 'inspire' healthy eating

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as School.

New guidance which aims to teach children healthy eating habits has been published by the Scottish government.

It aims to ensure schools instil children with healthy eating habits into children which will last through adulthood.

Among the recommendations are that school meals should include fresh local produce with menus that "inspire" children to eat healthily.

The guidance was produced by an expert working group in tandem with councils.

Academies 'promising trend' says OECD

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The most successful education systems combine local autonomy for schools with strong public accountability, the OECD's education expert has told MPs.

Andreas Schleicher, in charge of the international Pisa tests, faced questions from MPs about how he thought England's academy system was working.

Mr Schleicher said the global evidence suggested local flexibility for schools was linked to higher results.

He described free-standing academies as a "promising trend".

University bursaries 'do not help students stay on'

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as University.

Offering bursaries to students from poorer backgrounds does not appear to improve their chances of completing degree courses, research finds.

A study by the Office for Fair Access says bursaries offered between 2006 and 2011 had "no observable effect" on continuation rates for undergraduates.

Offa says A-level grades were the most significant predictor of completion.

The government says bursaries, where proven to work, should be offered by universities to widen participation.

For the report, the university access watchdog examined bursary schemes offered to full-time first degree students between 2006-07 and 2010-11.

However, it did not examine the impact bursaries played in the post-2012 system of student fees - when tuition fees increased to up to £9,000 a year - as data for this period is not yet available.

DfE announces details of infant free school meal plans

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as Infant School.

The government has set out its plan to give all pupils in England free lunches for their first three years in school.

Among the measures announced is £150m to help schools expand their kitchens and dining facilities.

The education department says its £1bn package will ensure that from September "every infant sits down to a healthy meal during the day".

The DfE is also consulting on ways to simplify school food standards in an attempt to cut bureaucracy.

Last year the deputy prime minister announced £22.5m to help small schools prepare for the implementation of the scheme.

GCSE English: Low grades shock for Wales in January exams

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as GCSE.

Head teachers from across Wales have raised concerns over the "unexpectedly low" results for GCSE English language exams sat earlier this year.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said grades for the January exams in Wales were "far below what was expected".

It follows a row over GCSE English exam results in 2012 which led to thousands of papers being re-graded.

The Welsh government says comparisons with previous exams are "misleading".

US universities top reputation league table

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as University.

Universities in the United States dominate an international league table which ranks institutions by "reputation".

They take eight of the top 10 positions and 46 of the top 100 in a table published by the Times Higher Education magazine.

Cambridge and Oxford are in fourth and fifth positions respectively - two of the 10 UK institutions to feature in the list.

The table is based on academics' votes.

The World Reputation Rankings for 2014 are based on 10,500 responses from 133 countries to a survey sent out last May. Academics were asked to nominate up to 15 of the best institutions in their area of expertise.

Students with English as a second language 'outperform native speakers' in GCSEs

by The Independent, March 5, 2014

Classified as School.

Children who speak English as a second language are outperforming native speakers in GCSE exams, official figures show.

Lord Nash, the Schools Minister, said students who speak English as an additional language (EAL) scored better grades in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) than native speakers. The worst performing group was white British boys from working class families.

The figures also revealed the number of pupils who have English as their second language has risen by a fifth to 1.1 million in the past five years in England.

English is no longer the first language for most pupils in one out of nine schools.

Some special needs pupils denied education - ombudsman

by BBC, March 5, 2014

Classified as SEN.

Some children with special educational needs are being left without education for significant periods, a local government ombudsman report says.

The watchdog's report highlights cases of pupils unlawfully excluded from school and denied specialist support.

Others are having their educational opportunities limited due to long delays in providing support, it adds.

The education department says it is overhauling the SEN system as too many pupils do not get the help they need.

The ombudsman receives more complaints about education and children's services than any other area. Some 17% of its 20,186 complaints last year were in this area. And complaints about SEN provision accounted for 8.6% of these.

Some head teachers in Wales say sacking process too slow

by BBC, March 4, 2014

Classified as Teachers.

Poorly performing teachers in Wales can take too long to sack, a BBC investigation has found.

Some can take a year or more to be removed from their posts, some head teachers told the Week In Week Out programme.

They are critical of the process, as they say they are being pushed to raise standards and improve results.

One head teacher told the programme he had staff that would "never be good at their job".

When Education Minister Huw Lewis was asked if there were bad teachers who need to be sacked, he said he hoped "those sorts of measures" were not needed.

The programme, broadcast on Tuesday, contacted 215 schools and, of 50 that replied, 29 said it took a year or more to sack under-performing teachers.

Third of early years providers 'less than good'

by BBC, March 4, 2014

Classified as Childcare.

Thousands of nurseries and childminders in England are not giving youngsters a good standard of care and education, statistics suggest.

Figures from the watchdog, Ofsted, show a third (33%) were considered to be no better than satisfactory by inspectors.

Inspections of more than 17,400 providers between 1 September 2012 and 31 October 2013 rated 25% as "satisfactory" and 8% as "inadequate".

Ofsted said it had "toughened up" the way it did early years inspections.

Childcare costs in the UK are 'more than the average mortgage'

by Independent, March 4, 2014

Classified as Childcare.

A new report has revealed that families are spending more on average for part-time childcare than they spend on their mortgage each year.

Findings by the Family and Childcare Trust show parents are paying out £7,500 a year to cover the childcare costs of two children – about 4.7 per cent more than the cost of their average mortgage bill.

Some families could also be spending more on childcare than they do on their weekly shopping, it claims.

The study produced by the Trust gathered figures from local authority family or children's information services in England, Wales and Scotland.

School federations v academies: why is the government so keen on the latter?

by Guardian, March 4, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Lord Nash, the academies minister, was persistent with his questioning. "Why don't you become an academy?" he asked school governor Ian Courtney at their meeting. Then he repeated the question in a different way: "Why wouldn't you want to become an academy?"

Courtney, by his own account, replied: "Why would I?"

Courtney's report of the meeting last September at the Department for Education goes to the heart of the debate about the merits of various forms of school organisation that has been taking place since 2010. Do schools decide to take the dramatic and difficult-to-reverse step of leaving their local authority to become an academy, as ministers enthusiastically advocate? Would they be better off staying with the local authority? Or is there a third way?

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