Latest Educational News

Students will be paying off loans into their 50s, study warns

by The Telegraph, April 10, 2014

Classified as University.

The vast majority of students will still be paying back university tuition fee loans when they are in their early fifties, and many will never repay their debt, according to new research.

A study suggests that almost three quarters of graduates will have at least some of their loan written off under the new repayment regime, with the average amount wiped out standing at around £30,000. The Sutton Trust, an educational charity which commissioned the research, said the new fee system would leave professionals, such as teachers, in the position where they have to find cash to cover loan repayments at a time when their family and living costs, such as mortgage payments, are at a peak.

£9 million 'informal learning' initiative launched

by The Telegraph, April 10, 2014

Classified as Science.

A new initiative, launched today by the Wellcome Trust, will explore how informal learning activities have the potential to make a positive impact on young people’s engagement with science.

'Lack of vision' in Welsh education

by BBC, April 10, 2014

Classified as Education System.

A major review of the schools system in Wales says the Welsh government lacks a long-term vision for education and does not do enough to support teachers.

The Welsh government asked the worldwide Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to conduct the review in 2012.

The report praised "positive" learning conditions but found many weaknesses.

Education Minister Huw Lewis said a reform programme was already tackling the issues raised.

The most recent Pisa international education tests, which are run by the OECD, ranked Wales bottom in the UK.

Students could be paying loans into their 50s - report

by BBC, April 10, 2014

Classified as University.

Most students will still be paying back loans from their university days in their 40s and 50s, and many will never clear the debt, research finds.

Almost three-quarters of graduates from England will have at least some of their loan written off, the study, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, says.

The trust says the 2012 student finance regime will leave people vulnerable at a time when family costs are at a peak.

Ministers said more students from less advantaged homes were taking up places.

The study, written by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), assessed the impact of the new student loan system for fees and maintenance, introduced in England from September 2012 to coincide with higher tuition costs of up to £9,000 a year.

The study - entitled Payback Time? - found that a typical student would now leave university with "much higher debts than before", averaging more than £44,000.

Top grammar school plans to build comprehensive for Sutton, Croydon and Epsom pupils

by Croydondon Guardian, April 9, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

A top grammar school is planning to build a comprehensive school to serve pupils from Sutton, Surrey and Croydon.

Wallington County Grammar School (WCGS) is developing plans to build a free school on the Walcountians Sports Club site in Carshalton Road near Banstead, which is already owned by the school.

Queen Elizabeth's boys' grammar has been doing its own thing since 1573 - with impressive results

by Independent, April 9, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

It could be argued that Queen Elizabeth's Boys' School in London's Barnet was the first free school in the country, way before Education Secretary Michael Gove's flagship policies. It was founded in 1573 by Elizabeth I's suitor Robert Dudley (among others), with a queen's charter that clearly states that this should be a free school operating in a meritocratic way, to offer places to young boys from all walks of life.

Pupils from large families ‘do worse at school,’ claims study

by The Independent, April 9, 2014

Classified as Family.

Those with two or more siblings suffer from an 'educational penalty' - with boys affected more than girls

Those with two or more siblings scored lower in both subjects than the average results for children from smaller families, a study found. It suggests that girls and boys from larger families suffer from an “educational penalty” – with boys affected more than girls.

The study, by researchers at the University of Melbourne, examined the results of more than 1,800 children aged eight to nine and 10 to 11.

Youngsters from families with at least three children gained reading scores about 4 per cent lower than the average results of pupils from smaller families.

More focus on British history and foreign languages: Massive changes to GCSEs and A-levels announced

by The Independent, April 9, 2014

Classified as GCSE.

Sweeping changes to GCSE and A-level exams will usher in an era of more focus on British history and the geography of the UK, it has been announced.

However, pupils studying modern languages will be encouraged to speak the language more - and all questions will be posed in the foreign language they are studying.

The shake-up, described by Education Secretary Michael Gove as making the exams “more ambitious, with greater stretch for the most able”, means pupils will start to be taught for the new syllabuses from September 2015, with subjects being phased in over the next couple of years.

English, the sciences, economics, history and sociology will start to be taught at A-level in the first tranche of changes. Most others will follow a year later.

Science community dismayed at decision to axe lab work from A-levels

by The Guardian, April 9, 2014

Classified as Science.

The British scientific community has reacted with dismay to the decision to axe practical lab work from science A-levels in England.

Ofqual, the exam regulator in England, announced that it would go ahead with its plans to end assessed coursework counting towards A-levels in biology, physics and chemistry – a move the Physiological Society, representing biologists, described as "the death knell for UK science education".

Instead, lab experiments will count towards a separate qualification – tentatively entitled "practical endorsed certificate for science" – that will be taken alongside science A-levels, consisting of a pass or fail grade assessed by teachers. The new course will be taught from 2015, with the first of the revised exams to be taken in 2017.

Glynnis Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, said that to ensure the new certificate was rigorous, examination boards would be required to send staff into schools to provide a "live check" that a list of 12 tests and experiments – such as dissecting plants or animals – were being carried out properly, and to inspect coursework.

Universities 'refuse to reveal top salaries’

by The Telegraph, April 9, 2014

Classified as University.

Universities are refusing to disclose secret details of wage rises for vice-chancellors, according to a report into the ''murky world'' of senior academic pay.

The University and College Union (UCU) said that just 27 out of 139 institutions responded to a request to see minutes of meetings of remuneration committees, which set pay rates, while half of those that did reply redacted some information.

Tougher A-levels and GCSEs for arts subjects

by BBC, April 9, 2014

Classified as GCSE.

A-levels and GCSEs in arts subjects in England, including music, drama, art and dance, are to be made more "rigorous and demanding", Education Secretary Michael Gove is to announce.

They will be taught from September 2016, alongside changes to A-levels in RE and design and technology.

Mr Gove is also expected to reveal the content of tougher, new-look GCSEs in subjects such as history and geography.

Schools should "nurture creative talent in every child," says Mr Gove.

The announcements will set out the next stages of the government's programme of exam reform, with changes being phased in over the next few years.

'Tougher' exams and separate science practical test

by BBC, April 9, 2014

Classified as Exams.

There will be a stronger emphasis on maths skills and final end-of-course exams, as tougher, new-look GCSEs and A-levels for England are revealed.

But science practicals will no longer count towards A-level grades, but will become a separate test.

Maths skills will become more important in other subjects, such as physics, geography and economics.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the changes would correct "pernicious damage" caused by "dumbing down".

"Our changes will make these qualifications more ambitious, with greater stretch for the most able; will prepare young people better for the demands of employment and further study," said the education secretary.

Multiple 11-plus exam sittings come under fire

by Stratford Herald, April 8, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

A PARENT of a student at King Edward VI School, in Stratford, thinks children can cheat on the 11-plus exam in Warwickshire because the test can be taken on three separate days. Amit Matalia, whose son got into the school after taking the test last year, reckons the exam is in danger of being compromised, but the council say the questions are difficult to remember. This year in Warwickshire the 11-plus will be held on Saturday 6th September, before supplementary test dates a week later on Saturday 13th and Tuesday 16th.

Shouting at children 'increases their behaviour problems'

by The Telegraph, April 8, 2014

Classified as Behaviour.

Mothers who angrily tell off their children when they step out of line may be making behaviour problems worse, according to research.

A study by the London School of Economics found that excessive shouting and meting out hard-line punishments was counterproductive.

Ignoring naughty children also appeared to lead to deterioration in discipline standards, it was claimed.

Researchers said that “reasoning with children” was more likely to have a positive impact on their behaviour at a young age.

But the study – presented at the Royal Economic Society's annual conference this week – warned that it was difficult to establish a direct link between one parenting style and outcomes because of the influence of other factors such social class.

Obsession with health and safety is killing science, claims James Lovelock

by The Telegraph, April 8, 2014

Classified as Science.

The ‘religious’ obsession with health and safety is putting off a generation of children from science because they are banned from taking part in experiments, one of Britain’s leading scientists has claimed.

James Lovelock, 94, who first detected CFCs in the atmosphere and proposed the Gaia hypotheses, which suggests the Earth is a self-regulating system, claims education has become a ‘tick box’ exercise which is doing nothing to inspire youngsters.

An exhibition dedicated to Lovelock will open today at The Science Museum in London.

Rising cost of living ‘forcing students to use food banks’

by The Independent, April 7, 2014

Classified as University.

Growing numbers of students are turning to food banks as they struggle to afford to feed themselves, leaders of the National Union of Students (NUS) will warn on Monday.

The call for action on student poverty comes as one institution – in Hull, where the students’ union offers food parcels to those in need with the backing of the university – said the numbers taking advantage of its service have doubled in the past 12 months to 200.

Many other universities are now considering setting up their own schemes, Brittany Tomlinson, the NUS student welfare officer at Hull University, told The Independent.

“Last year it was nearly 100,” she said of demand for food parcels. “This year it has gone up to 200. The reasons are the rise in the cost of living and also some students are getting their student loans quite late. We’re lucky here with the support we’ve got for the food-parcel service from the university,” she said.

Nurseries and schools to stay open all day for childcare

by The Independent, April 7, 2014

Classified as Schools.

Too many nurseries only offer two slots a day – either from 9am to 12 noon or from 12 noon to 3pm – an arrangement that is not always suitable for parents who are struggling to “combine childcare with work and other commitments”, she said.

Ms Truss announced that the Government was giving every school the power to open their nurseries from 8am until 6pm so that they could offer “good packages to all parents”. In addition, more talented graduates will be recruited to nurseries and pre-schools.

Her comments come at a time when early years education is under new scrutiny, following chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw’s speech last week calling for schools to admit more two-year-olds amid fears that some nurseries are failing.

Infants 'institutionalised' by overexposure to childcare

by The Telegraph, April 7, 2014

Classified as Infants.

Britain is in danger of “institutionalising” infants by forcing them into full-time childcare at an increasingly young age, a teachers’ leader has warned.

Large numbers of children aged under four spend too long away from their mothers and fathers during the week because of the pressure on parents to work long hours, it was claimed.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said overexposure to childcare had “very negative” consequences for infants, who risk failing to bond properly with their parents or develop key skills in the early years.

Children need a work-life balance just as much as adults, she said.

The comments were made as the Government made renewed calls for nurseries to open for up to 10 hours a day to provide high-quality early education and allow parents to hold down a full-time job.

Online learning: tutors at your fingertips

by The Telegraph, April 5, 2014

Classified as Tutoring.

The rich have long been able to whisk their children’s private tutors on to a yacht in Monaco, a jet over the Atlantic and into a filmset trailer. But now the less affluent among us can also have a tutor at our fingertips, wherever we happen to be in the world – thanks to the advent of virtual tuition. Now, students need only log in online to enjoy a one-to-one lesson with the tutor of their choice.

Nearly one in four young people in the UK has received private or home tuition at some point, according to recent Ipsos MORI research. But, so far, the spotlight has been on traditional face-to-face tuition.

That’s about to change, now that the Tutors’ Association – launched in October to regulate this burgeoning industry – is also turning its attention to the emerging online sector. And so, it seems, are many parents.

New universities to be built in county towns and coastal resorts

by The Telegraph, April 4, 2014

Classified as University.

The Coalition has signalled the biggest growth in universities for more than 20 years with plans to create dozens of new campuses in higher education “cold spots”.

David Willetts, the Universities Minister, told officials to investigate the possibility of establishing universities in cathedral cities, county towns and coastal communities that currently lack provision.

He named Shrewsbury, Yeovil, Hereford and parts of East Anglia as areas that could have higher education sites for the first time.

The move is designed to increase the number of school leavers taking degree-level qualifications combined with a drive to provide a boost to local economies.

Mr Willetts has written to the Higher Education Funding Council for England asking them to identify “where there is evidence of ‘cold spots’” and provide advice about how university provision could be established.

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