Latest Educational News

The school places police

by The BBC, August 24, 2015

Classified as General.

As demand for places at high achieving state schools across the UK continues to grow, the schools admissions process is becoming an ever tougher battleground. One local authority in outer London has deployed investigators to the "front line", sent out to catch the parents trying to get round the rules.
It's after dark, but investigators Ruth Kirkby and Leigh Stevens are still hard at work, driving round the streets of Upminster in east London.
They're on the trail of school admissions cheats - a hunt that goes on well beyond office hours.
They've been sent on a reconnaissance mission to a small flat, just down the road from one of the area's most sought-after secondary schools.
The address has been listed as the main residence by a family applying for a place at the school for their child.

A-level results 2015: Independent schools results table

by The Independent, August 24, 2015

Classified as General.

Use our searchable A-level results table above to find out the A-level results from 323 independent schools across the country, including the percentage of subject entries graded A*/A or equivalent.
The table below shows the results of 49 independent schools with fewer than 25 candidates.
The Telegraph independent school league tables are created using data supplied by the Independent Schools Council. Some schools declined to submit results, which means that not every school is listed.
Data submitted by schools to the Independent Schools Council can now be published in these independent school league tables, showing the results of 323 independent schools across the country. Only schools with 25 or more candidates sitting A-level or equivalent qualifications are included in the above table. Smaller schools are listed in the table below.
Please note that these are provisional results for exams sat this academic year and do not include re-marks. Therefore, final results may be slightly higher than the figures shown here. A-level results from 400 state schools were published on August 14.
In these A-level tables, Cardiff Sixth Form College has topped the list once again this year, as the best-performing independent school, with just a slight dip in the percentage of pupils at grades A* to A - 94.64 per cent of pupils in 2015 compared with 94.71 in 2014.
Coeducational, Westbourne School in Penarth, Wales, came top of the small schools category, with 11 candidates. At this school 69.7per cent of pupils achieved an A* to A.

'Millions' in taxpayers' money owed by foreign students

by BBC News, August 24, 2015

Classified as General.

Millions of pounds in taxpayers' money wrongly awarded to foreign students is yet to be recovered.
A total of £2.45m in loans and grants was given to individuals at alternative higher education providers, due to proper checks not being in place.
The Student Loans Company (SLC) said £280,000 had now been paid back by individuals, two years after the problem was discovered.
It said it was "focused on collecting every pound of taxpayer money" owed.
No deadline has yet been set for recovering the funds.
A SLC spokesman said: "We work with each individual customer to ascertain their personal circumstances and agree a repayment plan specific to them, ensuring that all repayments plans are affordable and sustainable for the customer and will not cause them financial hardship."

GCSEs: the great debate

by The Telegraph, August 24, 2015

Classified as General.

The week that GCSE results are released is, traditionally, the week that the qualification itself undergoes an annual performance review. This year numerous, critical voices are clamouring to be heard.
It began back in June, when the head of the CBI, John Cridland, described the GCSE as “out of date”, and implored the Government to review its effectiveness. In the past few days a triumvirate of educationalists has graded the GCSE as ''unclassified’’.
First, former chief schools inspector Sir Mike Tomlinson said that an exam in Year 11 should focus on four core subjects; then Lord Baker, the man who as education secretary introduced the GCSE in 1988, announced that it was not fit for this era and would ''wither on the vine’’; on Tuesday in this newspaper Martin Stephen, former headmaster of St Paul’s Boys’ School, wrote that we should “kill GCSEs, not let them kill our young people”.

Growing number of private school pupils ditch A-levels in favour of alternatives

by The Independent, August 22, 2015

Classified as General.

A growing number of private pupils are taking alternatives to A-levels, independent school results show today.

The figures show rises in numbers opting for the International Baccalaureate (IB), with its broader range of subjects, the Pre U, devised when it was felt by independent school heads that A-levels lacked rigour, and vocational qualifications such as BTEC.

The figures show a 31 per cent rise in BTEC to nearly 700 pupils, a 10 per cent increase in the Pre U to 2,348 entries and a seven per cent boost to IB to 2,045 pupils.

One headmaster told, in a sideswipe at political interference, how his school was offering the IB because it was devised by “professional educators”. James Priory, of the independent Portsmouth Grammar School, which offers pupils a choice between the IB and A-levels, said: “The appeal of choosing IB was in part because an increasing number of pupils were reluctant to drop subjects following GCSE.

“At 16 years old, many are unsure of what their future direction will be and the IB helps them to keep more doors open and develop a fuller range of skills. The greater breadth of the IB is particularly important in encouraging pupils to sustain their study of modern foreign languages, maths or science post-16.” The new rigorous linear A-levels would see more pupils taking just three options.

Echoing claims from other headteachers that one of the strengths of rival qualifications is that they are less susceptible to political pressures than A-levels, he added: “IB has also provided some stability within the sixth form provision in times of transition: it is reassuring for pupils and parents to know that changes will be brought through by professional educators.

Pupils use their Polish and Urdu rather than fretting over French

by The Times, August 21, 2015

The number of teenagers studying mainstream modern languages has fallen sharply as more children sit GCSEs in their mother tongue to seek top grades.

Boys narrow gender gap

by The Times, August 21, 2015

The gender gap at GCSE has narrowed for the first time in six years as boys close the gap with girls. The difference in the number of boys and girls achieving five good GCSEs shrank to 8.4 percentage points, down from 8.8 last year and 8.6 the year before.
It may become even smaller once new GCSEs are taught from this September, with no modular teaching or controlled assessments (coursework under exam conditions).

Malala celebrates string of top GCSEs

by BBC News, August 21, 2015

Classified as General.

Among those celebrating exam success is girls' education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai who gained a string of As and A*s in her GCSEs.
Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, took to Twitter to list Malala's grades which include A*s in GCSE and iGCSE maths.
"My wife Toor Pekai and I are proud of Malala getting 6A*s and 4As. #education for every child," wrote Mr Yousafzai.
Malala was shot by the Taliban after writing a diary about life under their rule in North-West Pakistan.
Last year, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Student money advice – how to find loans, grants and bursaries

by The Guardian, August 21, 2015

Classified as General.

Going to university today means a bill of up to £9,000 in tuition fees each year for three years. That may seem a lot, particularly when you add in a hefty maintenance loan, but you only have to start repaying when you begin earning £21,000 at a rate of 9% of taxable earnings.

But after 30 years, what’s left unpaid is written off, says Rob Ellis, a student finance adviser at Swansea University. “It’s seen as a tax for 30 years on getting an education.”

Student loans and grants
If you don’t yet have finance in place to support yourself at university, you should allow at least six weeks for your application to the Student Loans Company (SLC) to be processed. Apply online via the website, which will explain how to set up a student finance online account.

GCSE results 2015: pass rate rises but A* grades dip

by The Guardian, August 20, 2015

Classified as General.

The proportion of GCSE passes rose again this year, spurred by a significant jump in the numbers achieving at least a grade C in English. Nearly 700,000 pupils sat the exam this summer.

Reversing last year’s fall in the English pass rate, there was a nearly four percentage point rise in those obtaining a C or above in English language this year, coupled with a slight improvement in those awarded A grades. The rise counteracted a slight fall in those awarded passes in English literature .

Across all subjects, almost seven in 10 (68.8%) entries were awarded A*-C, up 0.2 percentage points on 2014.

But there was a 0.1 percentage point drop in A* grades – the fourth year running that there has been a fall – with 6.6% of entries given the highest mark this year.

GCSEs: Where are we up to with all the changes?

by BBC News, August 20, 2015

Classified as General.

There have been a lot of changes to exams lately. Have there been any changes to GCSEs this year?
The exam regulator, Ofqual, says there were few changes to GCSEs this summer compared with recent years.
Last year, however, saw the return to linear GCSE exams, with all pupils sitting their tests in the summer at the end of the two-year course, rather than taking exams on the various parts of the qualification at several points during their courses.
One change this year is that GCSE English literature and history syllabuses required teenagers to study the full curriculum - some previous syllabuses had allowed for a narrower range of content to be studied.

How do I know if an apprenticeship is right for me?

by Telegraph, August 20, 2015

Classified as General.

If you’re 16, chances are you'll be one of the 700,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland collecting your GCSE results today.
And the pressure is on; it can seem like your whole future depends on that envelope. At least that’s how I felt. I wanted to be one of those smiling teenagers that you see plastered across the papers on results day. And luckily, I did get the grades in the end.
• Get the Telegraph's Apprenticeship App for iPhone and Android
However, even after GCSEs and A-levels, I wasn’t convinced that university was my next step. I still wanted to keep learning, but the thought of working was more exciting to me than hours of studying. So I looked at my options besides university, and chose to do an apprenticeship.
Looking back, it was definitely the best choice for me, but it certainly wasn’t an easy decision to make. So how do you know if an apprenticeship is right for you? Here are my answers to some common questions to help you decide.

GCSE results: 'Focus on academic success is too narrow'

by Telegraph, August 20, 2015

Classified as General.

Well done to all those who received their GCSE results today. Their achievements come as the exams they have just taken begin to undergo a series of seismic reforms.
New GCSE courses are being introduced in three phases between this September and 2017. Exams will no longer be graded A* to G but will instead be graded 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest. The first of these new exams will be sat in 2017, with other subjects following suit in 2018 and 2019.
And, from 2020, all pupils will be expected to take GCSEs in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects of English, maths, science, geography or history, and a language.
All this may leave some of those who have received their results today feeling a little deflated. They should not worry, however, about the value of the GCSEs they have taken. It is an exam that has served us well over many years and it is a significant achievement.
There is, however, an important question over the future direction of GCSEs.
The Government's insistence that every student should take the "EBacc suite" of subjects puts the focus firmly on giving young people a traditional academic grounding. Its argument is that this gives every child the best opportunity to go to a top university and gain a well-paid job.

GCSE results day 2015: What to do if your grades aren't what you expecte

by Independent, August 20, 2015

Classified as General.

When you first look at your list of GCSE results, English and Maths are the key qualifications to look out for. Getting a C or above is great news, because even a C in these subjects is often requested as essential by sixth-form colleges, universities, and employers.

If you’ve missed out on the C.grade – especially if it’s by a narrow margin – you’ll want to consider applying for a re-mark or re-takes. You’re allowed to re-take English and Maths in November, but with other subjects, you’ll have to wait until the following June.

Speak immediately to the head of the sixth-form or college you wish to attend. It is often the case that colleges offer classes to prepare you to re-take these GCSEs, so it would be best to check this is available for you. If classes are not available, it may be worth checking with other local colleges to see if they offer additional classes.

Number of graduates entering low-skilled jobs ‘at saturation point’

by The Telegraph, August 19, 2015

Classified as General.

Six in ten university graduates in the UK are too qualified for the jobs they are doing because of a shortage in high-skilled vacancies, according to new research.
The report warns that graduate qualification has reached “saturation point” and it is leading to employers asking for degrees to recruit in los skilled jobs, including work at call centres, bars and coffee shops.
The research, by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which represents human resource managers, revealed one in twelve graduates now occupy jobs where their talents are not needed.
The warning came a day before thousands of youngsters are set to find out their results in the GCSEs.
The CIPD found just under 60 per cent of graduates are over-qualified in Britain, one of the highest proportions in Europe - only crisis-hit Greece and Estonia have more.

UK graduates are wasting degrees in lower-skilled jobs

by The Guardian, August 19, 2015

Classified as General.

Britain’s failure to create sufficient high-skilled jobs for its rising proportion of graduates means the money invested in education is being squandered, while young people are left crippled by student debts, warns a new report.

The mismatch between the number of university leavers and the jobs appropriate to their skills has left the UK with more than half of its graduates in non-graduate jobs, one of the highest rates in Europe, according to research commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The trade group for the human resources sector said graduate over-qualification has reached “saturation point” and is squeezing lower qualified workers out of jobs. The trend also had serious consequences for the UK’s already woeful productivity performance.

“The assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher-value, higher-skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates is proven to be flawed,” said CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese.

“Simply increasing the qualification level of individuals going into a job does not typically result in the skill required to do the job being enhanced – in many cases that skills premium, if it exists at all, is simply wasted. This situation is unsustainable given that the government estimates that 45% of university graduates will not earn enough to repay their student loans.”

Graduate over-qualification appears to be a particular problem for the UK, according to international comparisons in the report, “Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market.”

The authors said the UK has the second highest graduation rate in the OECD group of mainly advanced economies, at 54%, with only Iceland having a higher rate. By comparison, Germany has a graduation rate of just 31%, the report says.

Library card push for all eight-year-olds

by BBC News, August 19, 2015

Classified as General.

Every eight-year-old in England should be enrolled at their local library, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says.
Launching a new literacy "mission", Mrs Morgan also announced plans to create at least 200 new book clubs in England.
Mrs Morgan has enrolled children's author David Walliams to add his weight to her pledge to "make our young people the most literate in Europe".
But critics said government cuts meant many libraries had closed or had been forced to reduce their opening times.
Lauren Smith, from the group Voices for the Library, said the closure of libraries meant many services were "completely inaccessible" to children.
"Libraries have been massively underfunded for a very long time, which is the result of the government refusing to acknowledge the educational role of libraries," she said.

Most graduates 'in non-graduate jobs', says CIPD

by BBC News, August 19, 2015

Classified as General.

he majority of UK university graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree, with over-qualification at "saturation point", a report claims.
Overall, 58.8% of graduates are in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
It said the number of graduates had now "significantly outstripped" the creation of high-skilled jobs.
The CIPD said the report's findings should be a "a wake-up call".
"The assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher-value, higher-skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates is proven to be flawed," said Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for human resources managers

Library card push for all eight-year-olds

by BBC News, August 19, 2015

Classified as General.

Every eight-year-old in England should be enrolled at their local library, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says.
Launching a new literacy "mission", Mrs Morgan also announced plans to create at least 200 new book clubs in England.
Mrs Morgan has enrolled children's author David Walliams to add his weight to her pledge to "make our young people the most literate in Europe".
But critics said government cuts meant many libraries had closed or had been forced to reduce their opening times.
Lauren Smith, from the group Voices for the Library, said the closure of libraries meant many services were "completely inaccessible" to children.
"Libraries have been massively underfunded for a very long time, which is the result of the government refusing to acknowledge the educational role of libraries," she said.
"It does stagger me that politicians are placing responsibility for literacy away from themselves and local authorities and on to parents - who are trying their best for their children - and on to library services which have been trying to do this for years without enough money."

Most graduates 'in non-graduate jobs', says CIPD

by BBC News, August 19, 2015

Classified as General.

he majority of UK university graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree, with over-qualification at "saturation point", a report claims.
Overall, 58.8% of graduates are in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
It said the number of graduates had now "significantly outstripped" the creation of high-skilled jobs.
The CIPD said the report's findings should be a "a wake-up call".
"The assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher-value, higher-skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates is proven to be flawed," said Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for human resources managers.
'Simply wasted'
The report found the issue was leading to "negative consequences" including employers requesting degrees for traditionally non-graduate roles despite no change to the skills needed for the role.
As a result, it found graduates were now replacing non-graduates in roles and taking jobs where the demand for graduate skills was either non-existent or falling.
The trend was particularly prominent in construction and manufacturing sectors where apprenticeships have previously been traditional routes into the industry, the report found.

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