Latest Educational News

Teaching assistants to have new set of standards

by BBC News, October 3, 2014

A new set of standards is to be drawn up for teaching assistants in England's state schools, the government has said.

An independent review will outline "unequivocal, clear" measures to make the most of their skills and expertise, the Department of Education added.

Last year the right-wing think-tank Reform said teaching assistants were not an effective use of school budgets.

But the review was welcomed by Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

D’oh! We have to get over our fear of maths

by TES, October 3, 2014

Stretching the brightest students is crucial, argues science writer Simon Singh – and The Simpsons can help us to do just that

Work to start on new £40m 'super school' for 1,500 pupils

by Wales Online, October 3, 2014

A planned £40m new “super school” for Neath Port Talbot in Baglan Bay which has been approved this week by councillors has been designed to fit in with the imposing hill, Mynydd Dinas, which stands behind it and which towers over the M4 at Port Talbot.

The 1,500-pupil school replacing three comprehensives and a primary school will be built on the Western Avenue playing fields just off the M4 motorway adjacent to Seaway Parade in Sandfields, Port Talbot.

Schools told: cash bribes 'fail to improve GCSE grades'

by Telegraph, October 3, 2014

Schools are wasting thousands of pounds each year attempting to bribe pupils to try harder in exams, according to government-funded research.
In the biggest study of its kind, it was claimed that promising children cash rewards in exchange for higher levels of attendance, behaviour and homework led to increased effort in the classroom.

Cash bribes fail to boost teenagers’ exam results

by The Times, October 3, 2014

Parents offering teenagers cash to perform well in examinations may be wasting their money, research shows today.
A trial of 10,000 pupils found that financial incentives had no significant impact on GCSE results. Lower-performing pupils were encouraged to do better in maths by the promise of an outing or school trip.

‘Dumbed down’ exams featuring Russell Brand and Jamie Oliver approved

by The Times, October 3, 2014

English A-level students will study Russell Brand, Jamie Oliver and Dizzee Rascal, despite accusations from within government that classwork was being “dumbed down”.
Television clips of the comedian, the chef and the rapper have been approved for teaching next year. Sixth formers will also study the Twitter feed of Times columnist Caitlin Moran, an episode from the children’s TV show Horrible Historiesand a comic-style graphic story alongside conventional classic and contemporary literature.

Loughborough tops university table

by Courier, October 3, 2014

Loughborough University offers the best quality of student life, according to a poll.

The institution has topped new rankings, scoring highly in terms of student's satisfaction, employment rates and social life.

Taking second place was Bath, followed by Durham in third, then Newcastle in fourth and Glasgow in fifth place.

Lib Dems plan to make mental health and social issues part of curriculum

by Guardian, October 3, 2014

Schoolchildren would learn about the risks of sexting, cyber bullying and pro-anorexia websites under Liberal Democrat plans to educate young people about the realities of mental illness.

The junior coalition party wants an overhaul of the national curriculum in England to make personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons mandatory, including lessons about conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Anti-bullying app, new science curriculum and risk of buying essays online

by Guardian, October 3, 2014

Anti-bullying. An online app could be developed for children to safely report bullying in schools, under plans being considered by the education secretary, Nicky Morgan. Another phone app could be used to allow parents to sign permission slips for children’s school trips under the proposals, which Morgan said could make a “big difference for mums across the country”.

Student rewards such as cash and free trips fail to improve GCSE results

by Guardian, October 3, 2014

Offering rewards such as cash payments or free trips make pupils work harder in class but fail to improve their exam results, according to an intensive £1.6m study involving 10,000 children.

The project involved pupils studying for GCSE exams at 63 schools in deprived areas across England, and was aided by a team of academics that included superstar professors such as Steven Levitt, the co-author of Freakonomics, and John List of the University of Chicago.

Helping an education tech entrepreneur change how kids learn

by Guardian, October 3, 2014

We arrived in Boise, Idaho, excited to work with Rezzly (formerly Gogo Labs), a company that helps teachers turn their lesson plans into quest-based games for their students. Rezzly’s cofounder, Lisa Dawley, is a former teacher, university administrator and gaming enthusiast. Lisa not only has a clear vision for how her program would improve outcomes for both teachers and students, she also had the experience and research credentials to understand precisely where the marketing opportunity lay.

Pisa education target scrapping 'embarrassing' - Tories

by BBC News, October 3, 2014

Opposition parties have accused the education minister of lacking ambition after the target to put Wales into the 20 best-performing countries in education by next year was scrapped.

Huw Lewis now wants to achieve a target of 500 points by 2021, saying it relates better to what teachers can aim for in classrooms.

Scotland has already scored over 500 points last year.

The Welsh Conservatives called it "frankly embarrassing".

Wales was around 40th out of 68 in the last Pisa international school test results for science, maths and reading released last December.

Cash incentives 'don't boost GCSE results'

by BBC News, October 3, 2014

Parents who use financial incentives to encourage their children to do well in their GCSEs may be wasting their money, a study suggests.

But the promise of an outing for doing well at school, could help struggling pupils improve, it found.

More than 10,000 pupils were given either event tickets or money, which was deducted if targets were missed.

Researchers said cash incentives could boost classroom effort, but had little impact on learning.

Disabled children's behaviour 'deteriorates at school'

by BBC News, October 3, 2014

The behaviour of children with disabilities and learning difficulties often worsens when they start school, research suggests.

The Millennium Cohort Study analysis suggests children with disabilities can become more hyperactive and have difficulty getting on with classmates.

It urges more stringent anti-bullying strategies in schools.

Privilege: that’s the only area where private schools excel

by Guardian, October 2, 2014

While much of this week’s focus is on the Conservatives in Birmingham, over in Wales the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference is hosting its own small gathering of the (largely) male, pale and stale.

The HMC, an association of leaders from the country’s 243 independent schools, has attempted to shake things up a little, inviting the Labour peer and former Ofsted chief Lady Sally Morgan to Newport to address the gathering. This should have been an opportunity to put forward a progressive stance on private education in the UK. Sadly, what it turned into was a rehashing of a long-held misconception: that the private sector is inherently better.

St Andrews University up but Dundee down in world rankings

by The Courier, October 2, 2014

St Andrews University’s reputation as a world-class university is on the up, despite the latest international rankings suggesting that UK institutions could be losing ground amid continuing fierce competition from overseas.

St Andrews has risen from 117th to 111th in a new global league table.

Dundee University has fallen out of the list, with the nation’s key centres of excellence found in the “golden” triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, it claims.

Fall in UK universities on top list

by The Courier, October 2, 2014

The UK's reputation for world-class universities could be losing ground amid continuing fierce competition from overseas, according to international rankings.

A number of Britain's institutions have fallen down a new global league table, with the nation's key centres of excellence now found in the "golden" triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, it claims.

The latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2014/15 powered by Thomson Reuters, shows that overall, the UK is holding its position, with 29 institutions in the top 200, more than any other country except the United States.

London is world’s best city for universities

by The Times, October 2, 2014

Britain has lost three universities from the top 200 in new global rankings, but London has more first-class institutions than any city in the world.
The Times Higher Education(THE) magazine’s world university rankings recognised the capital as having the greatest concentration of elite institutions, with four in the leading 40 and seven in the top 200. This is the same as France and more than China, Japan, Sweden or Korea.

What good are three million more apprenticeships, if the quality of training suffers?

by Guardian, October 2, 2014

George Osborne used the start of the Conservative conference to announce the creation of three million apprenticeships during the next parliament. The pledge comes days after the Labour leader included a “massively expanded” apprenticeship programme as part of his six-point plan for a new government. Ed Miliband said he wanted to see as many young people doing an apprenticeship by 2025 as those going to university – a variation on David Cameron’s previous statement that all young people should have a choice between the two.

Westminster’s commitment to growing the apprenticeship programme is great, but it would be a mistake for politicians to promote apprenticeships and university as the only two options for young people, especially when there are other routes such as the traineeship scheme.

Four trends in tech that every trainee teacher should know about

by Guardian, October 2, 2014

There is more computing power in the average smartphone than the spacecraft that sent the first man to the moon, Gareth Ritter, head of creative arts at Willows high school, is fond of pointing out.

“That’s an incredible educational resource, and every student has one, but schools often try to ban them. It’s absolutely crazy,” says Ritter, who won the 2013 Pearson award for outstanding use of technology in the classroom.

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