Latest Educational News

What role should teachers play in career guidance?

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Since the Education Act 2011, schools have been required to offer career guidance to their students. Some of this responsibility has inevitably landed at the door of teachers, but their exact role remains a bone of contention.

My colleagues and I at the University of Derby have just published a paper for Teach First exploring this question. What became clear was that teachers shouldn’t be expected to be careers guidance professionals. Instead, it’s about a partnership. Career guidance professionals bring expertise in theory and knowledge of the labour market and links with employers to the table, while teachers bring pedagogic knowledge and have sustained relationships with their students. Other key stakeholders – such as employers and post-secondary learning providers – are also important. Together all of these different people help young people to explore the opportunities open to them and make purposeful steps towards their future.

Top Catholic school takes fight for admissions policy to court

by The Guardian, March 26, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

The religious ethos of one of England’s oldest state-funded Catholic boys’ schools is at risk after an education watchdog attacked its admissions code, the high court has heard.

The London Oratory, which has attracted the sons of top politicians, is challenging findings by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) that many aspects of its admission arrangements for 2014 and 2015 breached the schools admissions code.

The OSA investigation was triggered by a complaint from the British Humanist Association about the faith-based criteria used to select pupils for places at the heavily oversubscribed Catholic academy, founded in 1863.

Schools scoop cash prizes in London ceremony

by Hartlepool Mail, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

A SCHOOL criticised by Michael Gove for its ‘lack of ambition’ has won £100,000 for being among the best in the country.

Easington Academy picked up the prize as a national finalist in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards and Hartlepool’s West View Primary School won £25,000 for being a regional finalist.

The former Education Secretary caused controversy when he said Easington Academy and fellow East Durham Schools were places where it was possible to ‘smell the sense of defeatism’.

Vital modern languages could be lost, warns Labour

by BBC News, March 26, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Some modern languages vital to the UK's economic future could be lost from schools in England, Labour has warned.
Exam boards have announced plans to drop qualifications in languages such as Portuguese and Turkish.
Ministers should take urgent action to ensure they are not lost from the curriculum, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said.
The government said its reforms did not stop boards developing qualifications in any language they chose.

School budgets 'facing significant cuts'

by BBC News, March 26, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Schools in England will have less to spend per pupil over the next five years, no matter who wins the election, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says.
The think tank's pre-election report, based on parties' spending pledges, says schools face up to 12% in real-terms cuts over the next parliament.
It says increasing pupil numbers and staff wages are adding to the pressure.
The Association of School and College Leaders said it presented a "bleak picture for education funding".
The IFS says day-to-day spending on schools has been relatively well-protected by the coalition government compared with other public service areas, but after the election that will change whoever is in government.
Analysing the spending pledges of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, the IFS said they all suggest a real-terms reduction of 7% per child by 2020.

Grammar schools set lower pass mark for poorer children

by The Independent, March 26, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

A group of grammar schools have doubled their admission of disadvantaged pupils in a single year – by quietly setting a lower 11-plus qualification score for children from disadvantaged homes. The new two-tier pass mark – the first results of which are revealed by The Independent today – appears to represent one of the most radical and effective ever attempts to reduce the middle-class strangehold on good grammars.

Birmingham’s five state grammar schools have offered 20 per cent of their places this September to pupils from poorer homes.

This was achieved after the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI, which runs the five schools, set a lower qualifying score in its 11-plus test for children entitled to the “pupil premium” - ie those who have been entitled to a free school meal at some time in the past six years.

Education Does Not Make You a Happier Person

by Time, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

A new study finds that the chance of happiness is the same, whether you went to college or not

There is no link between your education level and your personal happiness, says a new mental-health research study published by the British Journal of Psychiatry.

According to a press release, researchers from Warwick Medical School were inspired by the strong association between poor education and mental illness and wanted to investigate if the opposite was true: Does being educated lead to happiness?

Schools could face cuts of 12 per cent, says Institute for Fiscal Studies

by TES Connect, March 26, 2015

Classified as General.

Schools should brace themselves for cuts of up to 12 per cent over the next Parliament, according to a highly influential thinktank.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said commitments made by all three of the main parties were “much less generous” than suggested and could mean that spending would fall by 7 per cent in real terms between 2014-15 to 2019-20.

But the cuts could rise to 12 per cent once increases in National Insurance and pension contributions and the likely growth in public sector earnings were taken into account.

Schools have been “remarkably well protected” under the coalition government, the IFS says in its Election Briefing Note, but it predicts that they could soon be “squeezed harder”.

Birmingham's two-tier grammar schools entrance plan wins support

by The Independent, March 25, 2015

Classified as Grammar Schools.

A radical plan which has seen a city’s grammar schools double the number of disadvantaged pupils they take in won support from education campaigners today.

Five state grammar schools in Birmingham run by the Schools of King Edward VI foundation have set a lower qualification score in their 11-plus tests for children entitled to the pupil premium - those who have been in receipt of free school meals during the past six years.

The decision has won support from the highly respected Sutton Trust education charity, which campaigns for equal access to education for all pupils.

Stoke-on-Trent schools are 'not good enough'

by The Sentinel, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

THOUSANDS of pupils across the city are being educated in schools that are 'not good enough' and are underachieving at most key stages of their education.

This is the worrying verdict of an Ofsted report published today, which tracks the school improvement work overseen by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Despite tangible improvements in SATs results, the Potteries is still one of the 10 worst-performing areas in England for the proportion of youngsters attending good or outstanding primary schools.

But the report says there is 'cause for optimism' because the local authority has begun to develop a more 'ambitious' and 'rigorous' approach to transforming children's education.

Ministers call on exam boards to save minority language qualifications

by TES Connect, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

Ministers are calling on exam boards to re-consider their decision to axe a series of GCSEs and A-levels covering “non-traditional” languages.

The AQA board has said it will scrap A-levels in Bengali, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi and Polish. OCR is to stop offering the A-level in Biblical Hebrew, and both GCSEs and A-levels in Dutch, Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese and Turkish.

The boards say they have to make the cuts, due by 2017, because of low or declining entry levels and a shortage of the experienced examiners needed to set and mark papers.

This evening the Department for Education denied suggestions that its exam reform programme was to blame and called on the exam boards to think again.

A spokesperson said: “Our reforms do not stop exam boards developing robust language qualifications in any language they choose as long as they are high-quality, demanding and academically rigorous.

If only every state grammar school would try to level their admissions playing field

by The Independent, March 25, 2015

Classified as Grammar Schools.

The ability of the middle classes to get their way is legendary. But even though I was once described on TV as “so middle class that my taps run with Balsamic vinegar”, I cheered when I read that five state grammar schools in Birmingham have set a lower 11-plus entry demand for children from poorer homes. Almost overnight, this has resulted in 20 per cent of highly sought-after places going to children entitled to the “pupil premium” (a government initiative which gives extra funding to disadvantaged children).

The children weren’t given a massive leg-up; their qualifying score was only 7 per cent lower than required from better-off children. But it was enough. The five schools have significantly changed what has become a shameful malaise.

Government must do more to explain functional skills, report warns

by TES Connect, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

More must be done to improve employers’ awareness and understanding of functional skills if the qualifications are to be respected, according to a new report.

The Education and Training Foundation found that although functional skills in maths and English are gaining widespread recognition with employers, their purpose and value need to be better explained.

Its report, Making maths and English work for all, says a publicity campaign should help put the qualifications in context and make sure they are not seen as a “consolation prize” awarded by a GCSE-focused system.

Functional skills are not “broken”, it says, but do need improving.

It also says their standards should be aligned to employability and their content should be based on what employers need for their workforce. They also need flexible but more standardised and rigorous assessment to give employers confidence in them, it adds.

Adult education could disappear by 2020, colleges warn

by TES Connect, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

Adult education and training in England could cease to exist within five years if government funding cuts continue, it has been claimed.

The stark warning comes from the Association of Colleges, which estimates that 190,000 adult learning places could be lost in the next year alone.

The AoC claims new research, published today, shows 40,000 places could be lost on courses in health, public services and care, with 10,500 more places on ITC programmes also at risk in the next 12 months.

Last month it was revealed that funding through the Skills Funding Agency for adult skills in 2015-16 will be reduced by more than £249 million, an 11 per cent cut on 2014-15.

However, the SFA has set an apprenticeships budget of £770 million, and has estimated that funds available for other non-apprenticeship adult skills will be reduced by almost a quarter (24 per cent) as a result.

Grammar schools set lower pass mark for poorer children

by The Independent, March 25, 2015

Classified as General.

A group of grammar schools have doubled their admission of disadvantaged pupils in a single year – by quietly setting a lower 11-plus qualification score for children from disadvantaged homes. The new two-tier pass mark – the first results of which are revealed by The Independent today – appears to represent one of the most radical and effective ever attempts to reduce the middle-class strangehold on good grammars.

Birmingham’s five state grammar schools have offered 20 per cent of their places this September to pupils from poorer homes.

Tendring: Top A-level students will be able to use state-of-the-art uni facilities in innovative scheme

by Gazette News, March 24, 2015

Classified as General.

SIXTH-FORMERS at schools across the Tendring district will be invited to study specialist subjects at the University of Essex for the first time in its 50-year history.

The university is inviting teenagers studying A-level at four schools in Tendring to spend one day a week at the Wivenhoe Park campus.

The schools are Clacton County High School, Clacton Coastal Academy, Brightlingsea’s Colne Community College and Harwich and Dovercourt High School.

There will be spaces for about 200 pupils, with the first intake starting in September.

Students taking four A-levels will continue to study three subjects at their school sixth-form and the fourth at university, on Tuesdays.

Full marks: An enlightened approach to grammar school admissions in Birmingham has the potential to be of national benefit

by The Independent, March 24, 2015

Classified as Grammar Schools.

Thanks to the so-called Trojan horse affair, Birmingham’s schools have recently become a focus of attention for all the wrong reasons.

But an experiment undertaken by their distinguished King Edward VI group of grammar schools contains much more promise for the children of the city – and nationally too.

Among the too-few survivors of the fine grammar school tradition in the North and Midlands, the King Edward VI schools have long enjoyed a justified reputation for academic excellence and as a ladder of opportunity for at least some disadvantaged children. Yet those life chances have sometimes been exaggerated. When the schools minister, David Laws, scanned the statistics on the social background of grammar school entrants he found himself “genuinely shocked” by their narrowness.

Bradford schools sign up to innovative training scheme for new teachers

by The Telegraph and Argus, March 24, 2015

Classified as General.

EFFORTS to improve the performance of Bradford's schools are being boosted by the success of an alliance of schools working together to train teachers.

St Edmund's Nursery and Children's Centre is the lead school of an alliance of nursery, primary, secondary and special schools that allow new teachers to train on the job.

The alliance is going from strength to strength, and from September bosses expect to be offering over 100 training places, and hope to soon be involved in every school in the district.

RE teacher recruitment drive backed with cash offer

by BBC News, March 24, 2015

Classified as General.

A campaign to persuade more graduates to become religious education (RE) teachers has been launched.

The Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) wants to raise awareness of bursaries of up to £9,000 available to cover training costs.

RE has grown in popularity, with entries to the full course GSCE rising 19% since 2012.

A-level entries have also increased more than any arts, humanity or social science subject over the past 10 years.

The Beyond the Ordinary campaign is the first to specifically target potential trainee RE teachers and is being funded by donations from charitable trusts.

'Give children time to really learn'

by BBC News, March 24, 2015

Classified as General.

It appealed for people to reconnect with authenticity through local produce and move away from an experience that had become highly processed and industrialised. More wonky carrots, less air freighting from the other side of the world.

Now Slow Education is here, with a similar hope of recapturing a learning experience that is somehow more personal and authentic.

Its advocates argue something crucial has been mislaid in schools.

They blame a culture of continuous testing, a push to improve exam results and standardise performance, and a large dose of inspection to ensure that all happens.

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