Latest Educational News

Labour: 'Toxic mix of workload and reform causing recruitment crisis'

by TES, February 4, 2016

A “toxic mix” of excessive workload and government reform has played a key role in the recruitment and retention crisis in teaching, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said today.

Ms Powell has urgently called for stability in the system in the wake of the “genuine workload issue” and “an unprecedented exodus of great teachers from the profession”.

At the Education Foundation’s Education Reform Summit in Sheffield, Ms Powell accused ministers of being “blind” to the problem of recruitment facing many schools.

The government is yet to formally acknowledge that there is a crisis in recruitment in the profession. But education secretary Nicky Morgan told TES last month that getting teachers in front of classrooms was her top priority.

Heads hit out over English Bacc 'league tables'

by BBC, February 4, 2016

Ministers have been accused of shelving a new measure of school accountability in England before it is introduced. Heads fear a new, broader measure of progress, Progress 8, will be superseded by school data on English Baccalaureate entries and results. In a consultation, the government proposes to use the percentage of pupils entered for the EBacc as a headline school league table measure.

Labour warns on curriculum 'diktat'

by BBC, February 4, 2016

Labour is calling for England's school curriculum to be based on the needs of a modern economy, rather than the political "pet projects" of ministers.
Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell says the "ministerial diktat on the curriculum has gone too far".
Ms Powell is calling for a wider range of interests, including business, to be involved in deciding what pupils learn.

England's largest academy chain 'failing too many pupils'

by BBC, February 4, 2016

The biggest academy chain in England has been accused by Ofsted of "failing too many pupils".
Inspectors say that almost half of pupils at secondary schools run by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) are in schools that are "less than good".
Ofsted warns that poorer pupils do "particularly badly" in AET schools.
In response the trust said it was disappointed that its "significant achievements" had "not been sufficiently recognised".

Teachers are bumping up students' predicted grades, warns Ucas chief

by TES, February 4, 2016

Teachers are intentionally bumping up students' predicted A-level grades to help them win places at top universities, the chief executive of Ucas has suggested.

The claim comes as universities are now "more flexible" with grade requirements amid intense competition to attract students, Mary Curnock Cook said.

She said some teachers had told her they were "over-predicting" sixth-formers' results to help them secure initial offers from universities that may be asking for high grades.

Why performance art should be central to the teaching of economics

by TES, February 4, 2016

Have you ever used performance art to teach the intricacies of economics? If not, a group of East London artists think this is something you need to address.
In recent years, East London has become a prime example of the divide between the UK’s richest and poorest. It’s also where a group of artists are teaching people about income inequality using interactive approaches that could easily be transferred to the classroom.

Oxbridge admissions are 'intimidating and complex', says social mobility charity

by TES, February 4, 2016

Admissions processes for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are "intimidating and complex", and should be made simpler to avoid deterring students from poor homes, according to the leader of a social mobility charity.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said that "many bright students are put off the application process" by confusing arrangements for applying to the elite institutions.

Ofsted: England's biggest academy chain is 'failing too many pupils'

by TES, February 4, 2016

The country’s largest academy chain is “failing too many pupils”, Ofsted has concluded. In a letter published this morning, the watchdog said almost half of the Academies Enterprise Trust’s (AET) secondary pupils attended schools rated “inadequate” or “requires improvement”, and that the performance of the trust’s secondary schools was “mediocre”. Four in 10 of its primary pupils attended schools rated less than good, Ofsted said. The regulator added that children from poor backgrounds did “particularly badly” in the trust – which runs 67 schools - and that attendance levels were “unacceptably low”.

11 plus could be scrapped in education overhaul

by ITV News, February 3, 2016

Guernsey's 11 plus selective process for pupils entering secondary school could soon be scrapped, in a major overhaul of the island's education system.
Currently pupils are assessed in the '11+' examination to decide if they will attend the Grammar school, secure a 'special place-holders' place at one of the grant-funded Colleges, or attend one of the island's 3 high schools. But radical new proposals from the Education Department would see a fundamentally new system, without a Grammar school

Countdown to astronaut Tim Peake's #CosmicClassroom

by TES, February 3, 2016

More than 380,000 pupils are getting ready to do some stellar learning this afternoon – when astronaut Tim Peake links up with TES to lead a lesson from the International Space Station. Major Peake is the first British astronaut to be selected by the European Space Agency to work on the ISS. The TES Cosmic Classroom event has sparked a huge amount of interest with more than 10,000 schools registered to watch the live stream of the event on the TES website.

What gets me up in the morning: amazing pupils who inspire me to reflect on my own character

by TES, February 3, 2016

Every teacher has their own ideal of a model pupil but I imagine there are some common traits that would feature in any definition: hard work and a genuine desire to progress; the willingness to take on feedback and meet deadlines; good manners and a pleasant disposition.
For me it is all of the above plus the opportunity for introspection it provides. A pupil whose approach to school and life inspires me to reflect on my own character – whether it be how I seek to improve as a teacher, parent or member of society. Grand terms indeed, but all too often I feel I am so busy planning, teaching and striving to be a role model for these young minds, that I do not immediately realise there is something to be learnt from pupils too. How they conduct themselves with others, how they learn, assimilate new information, push themselves out of their comfort zones in trying new things, always with a smile on their face and a thank you as they leave the room – we could all learn from them.

Does counselling for pupils work? New research project seeks schools to help find the answer

by TES, February 3, 2016

Researchers are looking for secondary schools to volunteer to take part in a major new study into whether professional counselling helps young people to cope with anxieties.
The £835,000 project will provide 18 schools with professional and experienced school-based counsellors at no cost for two years.
School staff will assist to identify pupils who may be helped by counselling and want to take part in the research. Students will then be divided into two groups, with half receiving up to 10 weeks of counselling and the other half being helped by the school’s existing support system.

Cambridge applicants will have to sit written test, university announces

by TES, February 2, 2016

Potential University of Cambridge students will have to sit written tests as part of their applications in future, the institution announced today. In a change to its admission system, the prestigious university confirmed that it is introducing "common format written assessments", tailored to each subject, which will be taken by candidates either before or at their interview.

'Tim Peake’s space mission is one giant leap in creating a culture shift around Stem. This precious momentum must not be lost'

by TES, February 2, 2016

Advocates of science and maths must get behind tomorrow's TES Cosmic Classroom broadcast, writes a leading advocate of the space industries
It may surprise you that the UK is an industry leader in space technology, supplying vital research to international programmes, to the likes of Nasa and the European Space Agency. UK scientists and businesses are creating new technologies that enhance global communications and the way we interact with the world around us. However, this leading status is at risk. Jobs are increasingly being created without the talent and academic background to fill them. We are facing a looming national skills shortage.

Music and drama could become ‘preserve of the elite’ if Ebac proposals go ahead, union warns

by TES, February 2, 2016

Music and drama could be squeezed out of the timetable if the government’s proposals around the English Baccalaureate (Ebac) go ahead, a headteachers’ union has warned.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is concerned that the number of students taking courses like music and drama will drop if the government requires most pupils to study the Ebac subjects.

In a world where school staff are treated with suspicion, we should remember that teachers transform lives

by TES, February 2, 2016

Teachers are some of the most influential members of society, writes the government’s mental health champion, and I'll never forget my favourites
This time last week, I was at a swanky hotel drinking champagne being poured out of gigantic magnums proffered by men and women in white waistcoats. I has just been named one of the 500 most influential people in the UK (and specifically one of 20 most influential people in education, alongside my hero Sir Ken Robinson) by the Sunday Times and Debrett's. Debrett's also has a foundation, whose key aim is to encourage more social mobility. Which made me think.

'Dear minister…For the first time in 21 years as a teacher I am contemplating quitting the profession. Here’s why'

by TES, February 2, 2016

One demoralised deputy head has written an open letter to the education secretary Nicky Morgan and schools minister Nick Gibb
Dear ministers, After 21 years of teaching I am now at the point where I am considering my future as a teacher. I never believed that I would get to this point in my career. The tipping point came for me after the announcement by Nicky Morgan of yet more testing of Year 6 pupils – this time of times tables. What a lovely welcome back to the new term and 2016.

Divert more university students into further education, report says

by The Guardian, January 30, 2016

English universities are failing to develop “quite basic” skills among students, according to a new report commissioned by the government, which says many young people would be better off taking further education (FE) courses than studying for a degree.

Watch these pupils praise their best teachers: but can they solve the recruitment crisis?

by TES, January 30, 2016

A series of films starring school pupils talking about their favourite teachers has been launched to tackle the teacher recruitment crisis in Scotland. The films come shortly after English charity Teach First launched its first recruitment campaign to attract career changers into teaching, rather than graduates fresh from college. The latest move is part of the Scottish government's #inspiringteachers campaign and focuses on Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
The videos feature young people sharing stories about outstanding teachers. One girl, Katie, talks about “the most positive person I’ve ever met” who reassures pupils that “no question’s a stupid question”.

Welcome to the future of teaching: are you ready?

by TES, January 30, 2016

By 2030 the idea of teachers suffering from a problem with work-life balance has become a footnote in histories of the Era of Industrial Education
Fresh from a few days at the Bett 2016 conference in London, one teacher firmly located in 2015’s educational firmament imagines a brave new world where technology has transformed teaching. Jimmy is a GCSE student. It's Monday morning and he arrives at school to begin his three hours of “normal” lessons. The night before, Jimmy has completed one hour of his compulsory, personalised online learning course for maths, which has been put together by the maths department at the start of the term. When I say “put together”, the teachers have simply dragged and dropped the relevant, pre-made “national standard” resources into Jimmy’s course space applicable to his ability level and the progress he is expected to make. He spends his hour engaging with video content, completing diagnostic quizzing and submitting answers. While working, he accessed live chat support from the maths “master teacher” who was on call for all students between 8pm and 9pm in a virtual chat room. The master teacher rotates every week and every chat session is recorded live and uploaded on to the school cloud instantly for future reference.