Latest Educational News

Performance tables: 'handle with care'

by The Telegraph, January 29, 2015

Without a doubt, performance tables are interesting and useful when helping to form a bigger picture but, this year, it is not possible use them to make accurate comparisons with previous tables in order to track progress.
No lines can and should be drawn between data in 2013 and 2014. This was a period of unbridled change; in this period alone we saw rules on only counting the first GCSE entry introduced, the English speaking and listening grade was removed, there were changes to the way vocational qualifications were counted, and some English GCSEs were not included.

Top 100 secondary schools by GCSE results 2014

by Telegraph, January 29, 2015

Our searchable league table reveals the top 100 secondary schools in England according to GCSE results for qualifications sat in summer 2014.
Released today by the Department for Education, the league tables reveal GCSE and equivalent results for examinations taken at all schools in England in summer 2014.
Schools have been ranked according to the percentage of pupils obtaining at least 5 A*-C grades (or equivalent) including English and maths, and then by the average GCSE points score per pupil.

Does competitive sport in school do more harm than good?

by Guardian, January 29, 2015

Double Olympic champion Mo Farah’s athletic talent was spotted at an early age by his physical education teacher at Feltham community college in west London. Alan Watkinson was instrumental in channelling Farah’s energies into athletics and says this also helped the young athlete focus on his studies.

But not everyone shares Watkinson’s enthusiasm for competitive sports, least of all students. According to a survey by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Chance to Shine charity, almost two thirds (64%) of eight to 16-year-olds said they would be “relieved, not bothered or happier” if winning or losing were not a factor.

Number of English schools failing on GCSE targets doubles in a year

by Guardian, January 29, 2015

The headline measure of school performance in England has plunged dramatically in the wake of changes to exam rules and league tables, according to official figures for school GCSE results published by the Department for Education.

Visit the Department for Education school and college performance tables for 2014
The impact of the changes, along with a slight fall in GCSE grades awarded last summer, saw a doubling in the number of schools that failed to reach the government’s floor target of 40% of pupils attaining five GCSE grades between A* and C, including passes in English and maths.

School league tables: More schools fail to make grade

by BBC News, January 29, 2015

The number of state secondary schools in England deemed to be underperforming has more than doubled in a year.

This year 330 - up from 154 - failed to both reach 40% of pupils attaining five good GCSEs including maths and English and make the expected progress.

This rise comes after ministers toughened exams and banned re-sits and some vocational qualifications from school performance tables.

Meanwhile scores of top private schools have ended up bottom of the tables.

How I teach students about equality: only Smarties have the answer

by Guardian, January 28, 2015

Anyone with experience of working or living with children will know their ability to detect injustice is highly developed – “but it’s not fair” is a regular refrain. However we rarely ask them to channel this natural flair for fairness into productive and critical discussion about the nature of equality, what constitutes fair treatment, and who gets to define such standards.

I recently taught four small groups of year 5 and 6 pupils from two schools in Romford as part of the Brilliant Club, a non-profit organisation that trains and places PhD students in non-selective state schools and sixth-form colleges to deliver university-style tutorials to small groups of outstanding pupils. The aim is to widen access to top universities, increase aspiration and address educational disadvantages. As a PhD student, I had some experience of teaching 20-year-olds – who pose their own set of unique challenges – but none at all of attempting to engage nine- and 10-year-olds.

Birmingham school unites faiths: not through grand gestures but hard work

by Guardian, January 28, 2015

It is Friday morning at St Alban’s Church of England academy in Highgate, a gleaming new £17.6m building whose colourful exterior spreads a warm glow over this deprived corner of Birmingham.

The school, where the vast majority of students are Muslim, is a stone’s throw from Birmingham central mosque, one of the largest Islamic centres in western Europe, and a short bus ride from the schools thrown into turmoil last year by allegations of a hardline Islamist takeover – the so-called Trojan horse affair.

Trojan Horse schools struggle to recruit staff: Wilshaw

by BBC News, January 28, 2015

Schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations in Birmingham are struggling to recruit staff, the Chief Inspector of Schools has told MPs.

Claims that hard-line Muslims tried to gain control of the schools have led to "big problems about leadership and staffing", said Sir Michael Wilshaw.

The government should help the schools recruit good staff, Sir Michael told the Commons Education Committee.

The government said it had not been approached by the schools themselves.

'Staying in the same school from age 5 to 18 offers children the best chance in life'

by Telegraph, January 28, 2015

If you exclude free schools, there are just 88 all-through state schools in England – that means fewer than one in 200 of our schools offers a chance for pupils to access a seamless education from four to 18.
This is changing though. Now that schools and teachers are being given the chance to start with a blank slate and create their ideal school, it is becoming clear that offering an all-through education is high on their list.
Since 2011, 26 new all-through schools have been opened and from September 2015 another 15 are due to join them. That means nearly one-in-six mainstream free schools have opted for an all-through structure – when you add in special schools that number rises even higher.

Top university 'not a destination for many schools'

by BBC News, January 28, 2015

Hundreds of schools and colleges in England do not send any students on to the UK's top universities, data shows.

Figures suggest more than 1,600 did not have any pupils going to Oxford or Cambridge and about 335 sent none to a Russell Group university.

Students from private schools were more likely to go to a leading university.

The Department for Education data shows the "destinations" of pupils at more than 2,000 state and fee-paying schools and colleges for the year 2012-13.

The figures also indicate 185 did not have any pupils who went on to what the DfE calls a "top third" university - those institutions that demand the highest A-level or equivalent grades.

Just under half of students from state-funded schools and colleges went to university, the DfE's figures show, down from 53% the year before.

Hundreds of schools send no pupils to top universities, new figures reveal

by TES, January 27, 2015

Hundreds of schools and colleges in England are not sending any of their pupils to the UK‘s top universities, new figures suggest.

More than 1,600 institutions do not have any sixth-formers going on to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, according to statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE).

The figures, for 2012/13, show the destinations of pupils at every state and fee-paying school and college in England. They show that teenagers are considerably more likely to go on to a leading university if they have been educated at a private school.

Schoolchildren lack basic Holocaust knowledge, report finds

by TES, January 27, 2015

Large numbers of schoolchildren have no idea how many people were killed during the Holocaust, who carried out the killings or where they took place, a government report has found.

One in 10 secondary pupils thinks that fewer than 100,000 Jews were killed in the concentration camps. And three-quarters believe that the Holocaust was exclusively carried out by Hitler and the Nazis, with no acknowledgment of the hundreds of thousands of European citizens complicit in the genocide.

Black and Asian school-leavers more likely to go to university than their white peers

by Guardian, January 27, 2015

Black and Asian young people leaving school are more likely to go to university than their white counterparts, according to new government figures that will raise fresh concerns about educational underachievement among white pupils.

Of youngsters educated in the state sector, 64% of Asian students and 62% of black students went on to higher education in 2012-13, compared to just 45% of white students.

Asian students are the most likely to study at a top-flight university, with 12% going on to a Russell Group university – including Oxford and Cambridge – compared with 11% of white students and 6% of black students.

A similar picture can be seen post-GCSE, with 93% of Asian and black students continuing their education, compared to 87% of white students.

Norfolk academies 'had no unfair advance Ofsted warning'

by BBC News, January 27, 2015

There is no evidence that three Norfolk academies had unfair advance warning of the dates of Ofsted inspections, an independent review has concluded.

The review upholds the findings of the original investigation into alleged inspection irregularities in 2013.

Ofsted appointed independent lawyer Julian Gizzi to review the case when emails emerged suggesting some teachers knew the dates of the visit in advance.

The original investigation was "overall appropriate", concludes Mr Gizzi.

Mr Gizzi, a senior lawyer, was asked to examine all the evidence available to the original investigation along with the additional material that came to light later.

Graduate vacancies set to increase but 'tensions persist'

by Telegraph, January 27, 2015

The number of graduate vacancies is predicted to rise this year, reflecting an increased confidence in the economy among employers, according to a new survey.
Available graduate positions are expected to increase by 11.9 per cent, double that of the previous two years, which saw roles increase for university leavers by 4.3 per cent in 2013 and 2014.
It represents the largest increase in graduate jobs since 2007, and follows two years of economic growth in the UK, in which GDP passed pre-recession levels.

Jobs market for graduates bounces back

by The Times, January 27, 2015

The number of graduates has recovered to reach a record high, with employers facing increasing competition to hire university leavers. Employers expect to raise their recruitment budgets in the coming year and create almost 12 per cent more fast-track jobs for graduates.
Recruitment figures for the fiercely competitive graduate jobs market have bounced back to levels comparable with 2007 — before the financial crash — with posts remaining unfilled.

Academy head defends £360,000 pay

by The Times, January 27, 2015

A head teacher earned £360,000 in one year from managing a sports centre on the site at the same time as running his school.
Sir Greg Martin, executive head of Durand Academy in Stockwell, south London, earned £161,000 from the leisure centre on top of his salary of £200,822. MPs expressed anger at the scale of his private earnings and accused him of failing to understand the concept of public service.

Three-quarters of new teachers have considered quitting, survey reveals

by TES, January 27, 2015

Three-quarters of trainee, student and newly qualified teachers have already considered leaving the profession, a survey reveals.

Among almost 900 teachers embarking on their classroom careers who were questioned by the ATL teaching union, 73 per cent admitted having thought about quitting.

Of these, three-quarters (76 per cent) said that high workload was the reason, while 26 per cent blamed the expectation to take part in activities outside school hours.

Thirty per cent said they had considered quitting because of “teacher bashing” in the press and a lack of respect for the profession, while a quarter said challenging pupil behaviour had made them consider leaving.

'No evidence' academies and free schools raise standards, say MPs

by TES, January 27, 2015

There is no evidence that academies and free schools, two central pillars of the coalition's school reforms, have had any effect on raising standards across the system, according to a cross-party panel of MPs.

A report, published today by the Commons Education Select Committee, says it is too early to know whether academies and free schools will be a “positive force for change”.

The report will be a concern for both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, coming just months ahead of the general election, although the MPs did say the overall standard of schools has improved during the process of converting schools into academies.

Five top reasons people become teachers – and why they quit

by Guardian, January 27, 2015

The statistic that two-fifths of teachers quit within the first five years is often bandied about, even though no one seems quite sure where it comes from. But new research suggests there’s some truth it – many of those training to be teachers have considered leaving and don’t expect to see out their careers in the profession.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) union surveyed its trainee and newly qualified teacher members and found that of those who have considered resigning, 76% cited heavy workloads as the reason. More than 54% said that they did not think they’d be teaching in 10 years’ time and almost a quarter imagined they’d move on in half that time.

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