Latest Educational News

Poll: Should primary school children be made to sit exams?

by Shropshire Star, February 28, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Children are failing to develop important values like courage, fairness and gratitude at school due to a relentless focus on exams and results, according to a report.
It argues that "moral character" is being squeezed out of modern day education, leaving youngsters without key qualities they will need for the future.
Teachers need more time in the school day to teach youngsters the difference between right and wrong, the study argues.
The findings come amid growing calls from politicians and education experts for youngsters to be taught skills and abilities outside of the classroom, like character and grit, that would help them later in life.

Paying for education

by The Economist, February 28, 2015

Classified as General.

UNIVERSITY tuition fees separate politicians’ heads from their hearts. A broken pledge by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, not to raise them is widely credited with costing the Liberal Democrats legions of student voters. Both the Labour and Conservative parties have, in the past, reversed similar pledges. But as The Economist went to press, Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, was set to promise to reduce the cap on annual fees from £9,000 ($14,000) to £6,000 if he becomes prime minister. This proposed cut is less good than it sounds.

'Apprenticeships are in the spotlight – let's make sure they remain there'

by The Telegraph, February 27, 2015

Classified as General.

While apprenticeships might be the topic du jour, it makes good business sense to put as much effort as possible into stimulating their growth, says Mark Farrar .

Disregard the latest fashions that you may have seen on the catwalk during London Fashion week. Apprenticeships are 'the new black'. Everyone who is anyone is fighting to prove their expertise on the topic.

Just this month there have been a plethora of announcements from political parties and organisations, including mine, on the positive benefits of apprenticeships.

D-Day for parents: does it pay to game the secondary school system?

by The Telegraph, February 27, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

More than half a million children are due to find out where they have a secondary school place. Some parents have gone to extreme lengths to get their children into the best schools.
Monday is not just a regular weekday for parents of 10- to 11-year-olds across the country. Anxious mothers have circled March 2 in red, are counting down the days, and plan to wake at 6am to finally receive an answer to their prayers. While those without children are blissfully unaware, D-Day is looming for those parents with an eye on the secondary school prize.

Grammar schools call for better funding

by Bucks Herald, February 27, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

An alliance of grammar schools is fighting formore funding to relieve pressure on their teachers.

Aylesbury High, Aylesbury Grammar, the Royal Latin and Sir Henry Floyd grammar schools have jointly written to the government’s Education Funding Agency and to parents of the four schools, pointing out that 19 of the lowest-funded schools in England are in Bucks.

It also says our schools are set to receive 15 per cent lower than the minimum funding level across the country – which is causing ‘equal pain’.

Guide for parents to help girls consider male-dominated careers

by The Guardian, February 27, 2015

Girls should be encouraged to embrace subjects that open doors to traditionally male-dominated sectors, according to a new guide from the Government Equalities Office.

Your Daughter’s Future, developed with the help of girls aged 12 to 16, sets out what support girls want from their parents as they weigh up exam and career options. It offers parents information on which GCSEs and A-levels to consider for different careers and contains tips on organising workplace visits to gain experience, managing exam stress and boosting confidence, with tailored information for different ages.

The guide encourages parents to inspire their daughters with role models and case studies. “The most effective role models are ordinary people who you know in your day-to-day life – who your daughter can talk to and may aspire to be like,” says the guide, directing parents to websites such as Sciencegrrl and organisations such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

'Significant' rise in Scottish school meals uptake

by BBC, February 27, 2015

About three quarters of children in the early years of primary school are now taking school dinners, according to figures seen by BBC Scotland.

Since January, all children in Primaries 1, 2 and 3 have been entitled to a free school lunch.

As expected, in most places the number of children eating a school meal has increased significantly.

But some councils are disappointed the rise has not been even greater.

BBC Scotland asked Scotland's 32 councils how many Primary 1, 2 and 3 pupils were now taking advantage of free school meals and how this compared to the situation beforehand when most parents had to pay.

Not all councils were able to provide information publicly or give direct comparisons with previous years.

But the replies indicate that the take-up of free school dinners varies widely from area to area.

Tougher inspections prompt a quarter of headteachers to leave academies in 2014

by The Independent, February 27, 2015

One in four academies have seen their headteachers depart during the past year – prompting fears of a leadership recruitment crisis, according to finance experts.

The research – by UHY Hacker Young, which is involved in auditing academy accounts – shows the figures are higher when it comes to secondary schools alone with nearly one in three heads leaving.

The survey of 100 academies showed that – while some of the departures were due to retirement – a tougher inspection regime had led governing bodies to remove existing heads.
A trial of “no-notice” inspections resulted in 23 of the 40 schools inspected by education standards watchdog Ofsted being downgraded.

UHY Hacker Young said the situation was putting potential heads off from applying for the top job – and could cause an imminent recruitment crisis.

Ed Miliband: Labour will put arts at 'the heart' of government

by The Independent, February 27, 2015

Ed Miliband has pledged to move the arts “to the heart” of a Labour government with the creation of a permanent committee overseen by the Prime Minister himself and a guarantee that all young people will have access to a creative education.

The Labour leader this evening told the Creative Industries Federation, gathered at London’s Battersea Arts Centre, that the arts was a “core part” of the party’s plan for Britain, and he wanted to increase access for young people and boost provision around the country. He also took aim at the current Government as undermining Britain’s cultural sector with “backward-looking” policies.

Labour will establish a committee on the arts, culture and creative industries if the party is elected in May, which will be chaired by Mr Miliband. Members, including industry professionals from across the country, will be able to bring “key issues of concern” – from funding to diversity and education – directly to him.

White pupils improve as much as ethnic minorities

by The Independent, February 27, 2015

A claim that standards in London schools only soared as a result of the capital’s ethnic mix is dismissed in research released today.

Analysis of the dramatic rise in exam passes shows white pupils’ performance improved just as much as any other ethnic group’s.

The report, by the CfBT Education Trust, shows that a decade ago white pupils in inner London performed over four points worse that the rest of England. Now they are performing better by almost the same amount. Earlier analysis from Bristol University had concluded that lots of pupils from ethnic-minority groups was key to a successful school.

Most schools failing to use teaching assistants effectively, report says

by tes.connect, February 27, 2015

The majority of schools are failing to make the best use of teaching assistants, despite the £4.4 billion spent each year on employing them, new research argues.

When properly deployed and trained, TAs can provide a “significant” boost to learning, according to a report from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF). But using them as substitute teachers has little impact on attainment, it finds.

The report, published today, says that support staff should be used to “supplement, rather than replace, the teacher” by overseeing one-to-one and small-group work and encouraging pupils to develop independent learning skills.

The EEF is also funding a £5 million campaign in West and South Yorkshire to change how TAs are used.

Ofsted: more than 100 schools not inspected for almost a decade

by tes.connect, February 27, 2015

More than 100 schools have not had a full inspection for almost a decade, TES can reveal, prompting fears that too much time is being allowed to pass between inspectors’ visits.

According to official data from the inspectorate, 115 schools last underwent a full inspection in 2006. And more than 600 outstanding schools have not been visited by inspectors for seven years or more.

Since 2012, schools rated outstanding by the watchdog have been exempt from routine inspection. Former education secretary Michael Gove said the move would free the best schools from the “burden” of inspection.

But school leaders said the new figures were cause for concern and warned that leaving schools for too long without outside assessment put standards at risk.

Combs Infant School in Derbyshire is one of the two schools that have been waiting the longest for a section 5 inspection. Its last full inspection took place in September 2006, and headteacher Rosemary Cook said the situation was a “double-edged sword”.

Call for schools to have a more active role in teaching character and morality

by The Guardian, February 27, 2015

School-age children who attend church, do charity work or sing in choirs are likely to display more sophisticated moral judgments than their peers who play sport, according to a large-scale national survey conducted by Birmingham University.

The survey of 10,000 pupils aged 14 and 15 in secondary schools across the UK found that more than half failed to identify what researchers described as good judgments when responding to a series of moral dilemmas, leading researchers to call for schools to have a more active role in teaching character and morality.

“A good grasp of moral virtues, such as kindness, honesty and courage can help children to flourish as human beings, and can also lead to improvements in the classroom. And that level of understanding doesn’t just happen – it needs to be nurtured and encouraged,” said Prof James Arthur, director of Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, which conducted the research.

London Festival of Education 2015: The conference that thinks it's a rock show

by The Independent, February 26, 2015

Chris Husbands has high ambitions for the festival that London University's Institute of Education is hosting this weekend.

"We want this to be seen as part and parcel of the education scene, in the same way that Edinburgh is for the arts and Glastonbury is for music," he says in advance of the event.

I call it an event because it is more than just a conference and – if the first London Festival of Education in 2012 is anything to go by – this weekend's will be a sell-out.OK, it has the traditional features of an education conference – with contributions from Government minister Sam Gyimah and Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt – but there are also screenings of the documentary Irons in the Fire, a contribution from Brit-Award nominee George the Poet and appearances by TV "celebrities" Jenny Smith of Educating the East End and Vic Goddard of Educating Essex.

"Having talked to people in the business, it's been a bit like rock concerts," says Professor Husbands. "Ticket sales are slow at first but then really take off in the last couple of weeks.

Durham free school to close, says education secretary

by The Guardian, February 26, 2015

Education secretary Nicky Morgan confirmed that the troubled Durham free school is to close, a month after Ofsted inspectors revealed the school was beset by weak leadership and bullying.

A letter from the Department for Education (DfE ) said the school had failed to show enough evidence of improvement, and gave formal notice that the school’s funding would be terminated and should close before Easter.

Morgan said in a statement: “It is clear that the school is not delivering the high standard of education that parents and I expect. It is also clear that there is no imminent prospect of improvement and I am not prepared to let any child remain in a failing school.”

COLLINGWOOD COLLEGE, CAMBERLEY, SURREY CELEBRATES ASIAN CULTURE

by UK Education News, February 26, 2015

Collingwood’s large student population comprises some 10% who have some Asian background, and has recently celebrated the culture of these students in ‘Asian Week’.

This involved both major College assembly and lunchtime events, and some re-arranging of the curriculum to demonstrate to the student population the effect that Asian culture has on the College community. Frequent visitors to the College in the week were Sgt Khobindra and soldiers from the Gurkha regiment at RMAS, who talked about life as a Gurkha soldier in the British Army, and demonstrated the terrific Kukri Dance. Other assembly performances came from student dance groups performing Nepalese, Indian and Korean pieces to warm applause from staff and students alike.

Meanwhile World-Cup style cricket sessions took place in the Sports Hall, and the Food Technology staff fed tasters of Asian food to over 100 students one lunchtime.

In lessons, the theme continued. Geography took a look at the Everest trail, History studied India as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’, in Drama, the ‘Gurkha Prayer’ was said in class. There were Chinese dragons in Art and, in the Languages Department, Asian students were successfully taught words of Urdu, Bengali, Nepalese and other languages to their classmates. The Asian Week Prize Quiz was also a great hit with students.

EDUCATION MINISTER LAUNCHES ACCREDITED QUALIFICATIONS GUIDE FOR SPECIAL SCHOOLS

by UK Education News, February 26, 2015

The guide has been developed by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to support special schools and learning support centres in selecting appropriate accredited qualifications to support young people’s learning programmes.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said: “It is my priority to create an education service that ensures all our young people receive a high quality education which both enriches their lives and grows the economy. The children and young people you teach in your schools and learning support centres face great challenges every day. They require higher levels of intervention and support to access school; to access learning; to access the world of work.

Students 'seriously under-challenged' by the books they are given at school, study claims

by Independent, February 26, 2015

Secondary school pupils are being “seriously under-challenged” by the difficulty of the books they are given to read and teachers must do more to encourage students to read demanding literature, according to a study.

A nationwide survey of more than 500,000 pupils at 2,200 schools found that children consistently choose texts beyond their reading age while in primary education but the trend is thrown into reverse as soon as they transfer to secondary school.

The annual What Kids Are Reading study of books read in schools found that youngsters preferred fiction that had been turned into blockbuster films such as the Hunger Games series rather than traditional favourites by authors such as Roald Dahl.

Free education should be a human right

by Telegraph, February 26, 2015

My friend Claire and I have many things in common. We’re both studying our master’s degrees in Sweden, we’re British, both born in July and we're always reminiscing about the taste of Cadbury's chocolate.
The difference is she’s never had to pay a single penny of her education. I, on the other hand, am in £25,000 of debt at 22. I am English and she is Scottish, that’s the only difference. Some would, understandably, say this is unfair.
It could be argued that there aren't many people that truly consider the financial implications of a university degree at the tender age of 18. With a student loan to cover fees and rent, the thought of paying this back, with interest, rarely crosses any school leaver’s mind.
I personally never thought anything of it and, although I was aware of my growing debt, I kept reminding myself that the re-payments would be small, almost barely noticeable when I started full time work.
However, moving away has really made me question tuition fees. In my class, as I sit amongst Swedes and Germans, I am constantly reminded that I have debt and that these students do not. Even my Scottish friend, who calls herself British, does not have anything to pay

Ucas Extra: another chance to apply to university

by Telegraph, February 26, 2015

Sometimes it’s great to be given another opportunity; another chance to make a decision you feel you should have made the first time around.
If you have applied to start university in September, you may think that your chance to change your mind has gone; passing in the blink of an eye on January 15 – the deadline Ucas gives for the majority of applications.
For those of you who applied to the January deadline and who are still waiting to hear back, universities have until May to make an offer, so don’t give up hope of receiving a reply just yet.
However, for those that have either received no offers or who have declined those that have been received, don’t despair; from February 25, Ucas Extra opens for prospective students who used all five choices in their initial round of applications – in other words, it's your opportunity to have another go.

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