Latest Educational News

Out of the classroom: the ex-teachers meeting the need for private tutors

by Guardian, October 26, 2016

Around a quarter of UK pupils have had private tuition and the prospect of new grammar schools is set to pique further interest

When primary school teacher Sian Goodspeed had her daughter in 2008, she attempted to go part-time but found it didn’t give her the flexibility she needed, so she turned to tutoring. She began tutoring at her home, advertising locally and gaining customers through word-of-mouth. Based in Buckinghamshire, a grammar school area, Goodspeed found tuition for the 11-plus (the grammar school entrance exam) was in demand.

Plymouth schoolgirls receive results after 11 Plus exam shambles

by Plymouth Herald, October 25, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Hundreds of schoolgirls competing for a place at two of Plymouth's top schools have received their 11 Plus exam results, following weeks of drama and controversy over the examination process.

Yesterday, girls competing for a place at Devonport High School for Girls and Plymouth High School for Girls discovered if their hard work had paid off.

But due to a string of accusations and a blunder by the exam board, GL Assessment, the process has been far from straightforward.

YP Letters: Grammar schools can offer academic excellence to all

by Yorkshire Post, October 25, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

FOUR decades ago, we lived in Kent and our daughter was at the stage of going to a grammar school or a comprehensive. Our daughter was well above average intelligence, she could soak up information like a sponge but she was somewhat of a ‘free spirit’. At that time, Kent had a system of a substantial period of assessment and tests to determine the suitability of pupils for grammar school education. (Which is far more preferable than the one day scholarship). However our daughter found school boring due to the pace that was set and she tended to show it. As a result, the authorities decided that our daughter must go to a comprehensive. and refused to change their minds.

Special needs: Review of plans to cut nursery school hours

by BBC, October 25, 2016

The Education Authority (EA) has begun a review of its plans to cut hours for pupils at special school nurseries.
In March, the BBC revealed that the EA proposed to cut pre-school provision for pupils in special school nurseries from 22.5 hours a week to 12.5 hours.
The cut would have affected disabled children in special schools offered "full-time" places of 4.5 hours a day.
That decision was criticised by former education minister John O'Dowd who ordered the EA to review it.

Theatre applies to be first to open free school

by BBC, October 25, 2016

A theatre is applying to be the first in England to open a free school, with the aim of specialising in the arts.
Northampton's Royal and Derngate theatre announced its plans at an event celebrating a decade since its re-opening.
It will respond to concerns in creative industries over the "marginalisation" of the arts in schools.
Chief executive Martin Sutherland said the proposed free school would help young people to find jobs.

'A teacher's role is to take the restrictions of the curriculum and build within it such inspiration and fascination that students are carried with us'

by TES, October 25, 2016

Constraints inspire creativity rather than quench it, writes one sixth form head
'Our curriculum is so narrow that it bores both pupils and teachers – and crushes creativity' says Colin Harris – erroneously.

The article represents a fear that a focus on assessment, on mathematics and grammar is detrimental to the creativity of students whose imagination will thrive more readily in an environment in which they are enthused by a butterfly coming in through the window.

This fear is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of creativity (and, also the role of the teacher and the nature of mathematics but they will be only fleetingly touched upon in this article).

Creativity is the ability to make something new, to create, and there are two strands to this vitally important skill. The first is the imagination required to see something new in your mind, to formulate a new idea or to twist an existing one in a new way; the second is the skill required to turn the idea into an artefact.

Teaching is among the 'top three most stressed occupations'

by TES, October 25, 2016

Teaching is consistently among the top three most stressful professions, according to a respected academic who has studied well-being in 80 occupations.

Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at the University of Manchester's business school and a former government adviser on well-being, told TES that the profession regularly ranked among the most stressful jobs.

“Of all the occupations I’ve studied, and that’s about 80, teachers are in the top three most stressed occupations,” he said. “The hours are long and antisocial, the workload is heavy and there is change for change’s sake from various governments.”

'I hope Ofsted recognises the achievements of our school are so much broader than our KS2 data'

by TES, October 25, 2016

One headteacher fears that her school's stance as an inclusive school and the impact that this has on its data will mean Ofsted marking it down in its next inspection
My school is sitting in the pre-Ofsted anticipation phase. As any head will tell you, as much as we all dread the phone call, we also don’t want to sit in this period for too long because it is fairly unsustainable. And so I find myself willing something upon my school that will possibly be to its detriment – I am expecting issues because of our stance as a truly inclusive school.

I know my school is a good one, and in many aspects an outstanding one. I am blessed with staff who are committed to their jobs and the children, and who go above and beyond on a daily basis. I know that they are working to capacity.

'It's time for an assessment revolution: give students access to the internet in exams and scrap traditional grades'

by TES, October 25, 2016

Students should commit some facts to memory to develop their critical thinking skills, but tests need to reflect the real world
Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES USA on Twitter and like TES USA on Facebook.

If a goal of education is to make students career ready, why do we assess them in ways that have little or nothing to do with what people do on the job? If anyone at work realizes a need for information, be it isolated facts or how to do something, they probably won't wait too long to look it up on the internet.

In their book Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for The Innovation ERA, Tony Wagner and Ten Dintersmith argue that students should be able to use real-world tools as the take on any task that their teachers pose. They also point out that Denmark started doing this with some exams way back in 2009. I couldn't agree more.

Special needs: Review of plans to cut nursery school hours

by BBC, October 25, 2016

The Education Authority (EA) has begun a review of its plans to cut hours for pupils at special school nurseries.
In March, the BBC revealed that the EA proposed to cut pre-school provision for pupils in special school nurseries from 22.5 hours a week to 12.5 hours.
The cut would have affected disabled children in special schools offered "full-time" places of 4.5 hours a day.

That decision was criticised by former education minister John O'Dowd who ordered the EA to review it.
The EA subsequently postponed the plans and introduced interim arrangements in a number of special schools.

Children at a primary school that BANNED running because pupils kept 'bumping their heads' are bending the rules - by SKIPPING instead

by Daily Mail, October 25, 2016

.Children banned from running in the playground are now skipping instead
.Bristol school pupils were banned from running over 'head bumping' fears
.Anyone caught running in playground was told they face standing at a wall
.Pupils as young as six have now started skipping to get around the run ban

Children at a primary school that banned running because too many pupils were 'bumping their heads' have found a way to bend the rules – by skipping instead.
Youngsters at Summerhill Infants School in Bristol were told they must stop running in the playground over health and safety fears.
Teachers said too many children were 'bumping their heads' and warned that anyone caught running would be punished by standing against a wall for a minute.

Third of new teachers leave within five years: 7,200 staff who qualified in 2010 are no longer in the profession

by Daily Mail, October 25, 2016

.Nearly a third of UK teachers who began work in 2010 have now left
.Around one in eight new teachers leave after just one year in the job
.Lib Dems say teachers are 'feeling demoralised and under-valued'

Nearly a third of teachers who began work in England's state schools in 2010 were not in the classroom five years later, official figures show.
Around 7,200 of the 24,100 newly qualified teachers who joined schools in November 2010 had left the profession by 2015, according to figures published by schools minister Nick Gibb.
Around one in eight (13 per cent) had left after just a year.

Grammar schools cannot help 90% of children

by Guardian, October 25, 2016

The government is distorting the debate to say grammars can help weak schools – but comprehensives are our best hope
Justine Greening, the education secretary, looks set to be defined by the debate on grammar schools: four months into her job and it’s difficult to point to any other significant announcement or new idea.

The debate is a shorthand for all the inequalities and divisions that have plagued our education system for ever. It was bound to release a torrent of protest – and rightly so. The opposition to a return to the selective education of the 50s and 60s comes from all sections of society and the political spectrum.

Child kept in isolation for whole term at ‘lunch row’ school

by Guardian, October 25, 2016

In our diary: Michaela community school pupil punished over parents’ dinner payments; plus academy chain reluctant to put reputation on line
‘Why be normal … when you could be Michaela?” asks deputy head Barry Smith in his blog about the idiosyncratic institution where he works, Michaela community school in Wembley, north London. And boy, does he have a point.

Michaela, blazing a trail for supporters of a traditionalist ethos in state education and shortly to be the subject of a book edited by its head, Katharine Birbalsingh, may be many things. But “normal” it ain’t.

Vice-President wants to close Grammar School

by ITV, October 25, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Education's Vice-President has announced he wants to close Guernsey's Grammar School to merge it with the College of Further Education.

Deputy Carl Meerveld is launching his views on the education debate which is due to take place at the end of November.

Politicians will finally make a binding decision on the future of the school system.

Deputy Meerveld says he’d like to see the rebuild of La Mare De Carteret, with the Grammar and the College of FE becoming a centre for those above 14 to study.

He also wants to see selection at eleven removed.

Theresa May should ignore the privately-educated elite and press on with her grammar school plans

by Spectator, October 24, 2016

It has become customary in the great grammar school debate to declare where you went to school. I attended the boys’ grammar school in Canterbury, which was mentioned by Ysenda Maxtone Graham in her piece in this week’s magazine. Ysenda chose not to make such a declaration herself, so I will do it for her: she attended the King’s School, the poshest of the three public schools in Canterbury, which inhabits the precincts of the cathedral. I wouldn’t normally make an issue of someone’s schooling, but it is rather relevant in this case because Ysenda appears to be disturbed by what she sees as the social apartheid between Kent’s grammar school children and those who attend other state schools.

Boys being outperfomed by girls in literacy because of poor reading habits, report finds

by iNews, October 24, 2016

Boys are trailing girls in literacy because they are more likely to skim-read books than their female classmates, according to new research. In a study of more than 850,000 primary and secondary school children, University of Dundee professor Keith Topping found that boys tend to miss sections out of pages or skip some completely when reading. The habit, which was found to be less pronounced in girls, meant boys were less likely to understand the text they are reading, according to Prof Topping.

Almost a third of teachers quit state sector within five years of qualifying

by Guardian, October 24, 2016

Of 21,400 who began career in English state schools in 2010, 30% had left by 2015, government figures reveal

Almost a third of teachers who began their career in 2010 quit the classroom within five years of qualifying, according to government figures.

Of the 21,400 who began teaching in English state schools in 2010, 30% had quit by 2015, the schools minister, Nick Gibb, confirmed in a written parliamentary answer.

More than one in 10 (13%) of newly qualified teachers left after a year of teaching, meaning 87% continued to work in the classroom, a proportion the government says is largely unchanged since 1996.

The truth about boys and books: they read less – and skip pages

by Guardian, October 23, 2016

Huge academic study into reading habits shows that young males choose easy books and fail to read thoroughly or correctly

Boys might claim it’s a simple matter of preferring to read magazines or the latest musings of their friends on social media rather than the classics. But two of the largest studies ever conducted into the reading habits of children in the UK have put those excuses to bed.

Boys, of every age, no matter the nature of the literature before them, typically read less thoroughly than girls.

They take less time to process the words, lazily skipping parts with abandon. And they choose books that are too easy for them, meaning they fail to move on to tougher material, it is claimed.

The big issue: grammar school supporters rely on selective memory

by Guardian, October 23, 2016

Your interview with Sir Michael Wilshaw and the report on Lucy Powell’s research (News) provide yet further evidence of the minuscule – and probably negative – impact any expansion of grammar schools would have on social mobility.

Those who insist otherwise, often on the basis of highly selective data or individual biographies from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, seem to forget that, in the pre-comprehensive era, grammar schools formed part of a secondary system, in which not only were the schools rigidly segregated, but so too was the curriculum itself.