Latest Educational News

'GCSE results will expose the UK education system's uphill struggle to reach a world class standard'

by TES Connect, August 24, 2016

Pupils and teachers should be rewarded with an education system that gives them a chance of reaching a world class standard, says a leading thinktank director
As thousands of young people open their GCSE results tomorrow, breakfast television through to the evening bulletins will cover stories of whether students have received the grades they need to go on to do their preferred A-levels, a vocational course or an apprenticeship. It is a comfortingly familiar story with viewers understanding nine A*s is great, but that a string of Es and Fs probably means retakes at your local FE college.

But, from next year all that will change with a new GCSE grading system, which will bring into sharp focus the extent to which young people in England are not yet meeting a world class standard.

So what exactly is changing? Back in 2013 the coalition government, under Michael Gove’s tenure in the Department for Education, decided that GCSEs were not challenging enough. They thought the existing A*- G grading system made it too difficult for post-16 institutions and universities to distinguish between students - especially the very highest performers.

As a result, new GCSE courses were designed (and many are still being designed), along with a new grading system of 1-9 (with 9 being the highest).

GCSE results: Exam boards spark panic by publishing grade boundaries in advance

by TES Connect, August 24, 2016

Teenagers panic as grade boundaries are released online
Exam boards have caused a Twitter storm after releasing grade boundaries ahead of GCSE results day tomorrow.

Teenagers have flocked to social media in a panic over boundaries published to help school exam officers today.

It began when exam boards, including OCR and AQA, uploaded the boundaries online this morning.

'London is most educated city in Europe'

by BBC News, August 24, 2016

Classified as General.

Where in Europe would you expect to find the highest concentration of graduates?
Would it be a particularly earnest quarter of Oslo? Or an erudite corner of Finland or Germany?
The answer - by a considerable distance - is London. In parts of London, more than two in three adults of working age, have a degree or higher education equivalent.
It is above anywhere in the European Union and unlike anywhere else in the United Kingdom.
It suggests how this mega-city, drawing talent from around the globe, has become a different type of economy. It's a city state of the digital age, trading in ideas.
And if London appears to have a different set of cultural, political and social attitudes, maybe education is part of the explanation.
Most international comparisons of education are at national level. But Eurostat, the statistics arm of the European Commission, produces figures that drill down to regions and cities.
These have been updated over the summer, showing the position in 2015, and it shows that London occupies four of the top six regions for the most graduates.
The highest concentration of graduates is 69.7% in "inner London west", an area including Camden, the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth and Westminster.
In second place is "inner London east", with 58.3%, including Haringey, Islington, Hackney, Newham, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.
Two other clusters of London boroughs to the south and west of London are in third and sixth place.
The nearest rivals are a region of Belgium to the south of Brussels and the Norwegian capital, Oslo, both about 54%.

GCSE results: Exam boards spark panic by publishing grade boundaries in advance

by TES, August 24, 2016

Exam boards have caused a Twitter storm after releasing grade boundaries ahead of GCSE results day tomorrow.

Teenagers have flocked to social media in a panic over boundaries published to help school exam officers today.

It began when exam boards, including OCR and AQA, uploaded the boundaries online this morning.

Although students will not be able to tell how many marks they have got on a paper from the release, many are fearful that the boundaries are too high:

'GCSEs put undue strain on pupils – it's time to scrap them'

by TES, August 23, 2016

Classified as General.

GCSEs are looking increasingly outdated and should be replaced with an extended A-level system similar to the International Baccalaureate, says one education policy expert
Recently, Sir Michael Wilshaw called for the reintroduction of testing at the age of 14. This received a mixed response. Some protested that children are already subjected to enough testing, arguing that expanding the current testing regime will place added strain on teachers and pupils alike.

But, as Sir Michael pointed out, pupils who perform well at the key stage 2 tests (age 11) frequently underperform at GSCEs (age 16). He believes that this is caused by the long gap during secondary school, five years from 11 to 16, during which time pupils are left to flounder; most of the attention is paid to those in the last two years of secondary before their all-important GCSEs.

The solution that would address this problem and reduce the pressures of testing is to move away from GCSEs and A-levels — and replace them with an examination at 14 or 15, followed by three or four years of schooling until the age of 18-19.

Few other countries have a system where pupils undergo a national exam at the age of 16. France, Germany and the US have systems where the only national exam is at the age of 18 or 19. GCSEs cause undue stress to pupils who have to undergo a series of exams, mock exams, resits, coursework, and so on. GCSE testing also costs up to £600 million per year, and some of this money could be saved by allowing schools, themselves, to organise the tests.

'Offer a broader education'

How to find accommodation after going through Clearing

by Guardian Education , August 23, 2016

Classified as General.

No matter which university you enrol at, you will find a range of accommodation at a variety of prices, from shared houses to studio flats.

Accommodation can be provided by the universities themselves or in partnership with private providers. And wherever you find a university, you will find a raft of private landlords and lettings agencies with houses available for students to share.

There’s a great deal of variation in price and quality – not just regionally, but also between different universities and private providers.

The NUS-Unipol accommodation costs survey of 2015 showed that Wales had the cheapest university-provided accommodation, averaging £107.73 per week, and Greater London was most expensive, at £181.62.

Yorkshire had the cheapest privately provided accommodation, averaging £119.93, while Greater London was dearest, at £250.67. The national average for university accommodation was £134.23; privately provided accommodation averaged £168.94.

But university accommodation isn’t always cheaper than private suppliers – in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, for example, private sector accommodation actually comes in at a lower cost.

University clearing 2016 'the busiest ever', says Ucas

by BBC News, August 22, 2016

Classified as General.

A record 33,000 students have found university places through clearing since last week's A-level results day, says the admissions service Ucas.
This figure is up 13% on the same period last year and brings the total number of people with higher education places this year to almost 468,000.
Overall, almost 44,000 people have had their places confirmed since midnight on Thursday, says Ucas.
A spokeswoman confirmed this year's clearing as the busiest ever.
The clearing total is made up of 27,900 people placed after applying through the main Ucas scheme as well as 5,400 who applied directly to clearing after the 30 June deadline, according to Ucas analysis.
The equivalent figures last year were 25,160 and 4,260.
'Don't panic'
Ucas says clearing got off to a flying start on results day, opening two hours earlier than usual, to cope with the removal of the cap which until this year has limited the number of places universities in England could offer.

Third of Britain's Rio medallists went to private schools

by Guardian, August 22, 2016

Sutton Trust says proportion is down on 2012 Olympics, and some from state sector benefited from private school partnerships
Private schools remain over-represented among Team GB Olympic medal winners, with about a third of medallists in Rio educated at fee-paying schools, according to the Sutton Trust.

Although six out of 10 of this year’s British medallists – including the heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, gymnast Max Whitlock and boxer Nicola Adams – went to comprehensive schools, some sports including rowing and hockey are still dominated by the privately educated.

'The legacy of Olympic glory should be a re-examining of schools sports funding – it can really work'

by TES, August 22, 2016

Classified as General.

Team GB's triumphs at the Olympics show what can be achieved with substantial funding and long-term planning, writes the chair of Whole Education
Everyone will have their favourite moment of the Olympics. Mine was a photograph (below) that appeared after Laura Trott’s great double-gold medal performance in the velodrome, showing her as a 12-year-old wearing the gold medal that Bradley Wiggins had just won in the men's individual pursuit race in Athens in 2004.

Inspired by the man who has since won more Olympic medals than any other Briton, as well as the Tour de France, Laura has now herself won four gold medals.

Like many of the competitors in the Rio games, she spoke of the enormous commitment and hard work over four years that brought her success, as well as the immense support that she had had from the big team of people in UK Cycling, famous for their strategy of marginal gains, but with fitness trainers, nutritionists and many others playing an equally important role.

Inspiration, commitment, hard work and team support have been part of the recipe for the remarkable success of the GB team, but funding has been key to making it all happen, both in terms of the amount invested and the way it has been allocated.

Third of Britain's Rio medallists went to private schools

by Guardian Education , August 22, 2016

Sutton Trust says proportion is down on 2012 Olympics, and some from state sector benefited from private school partnerships.

Private schools remain over-represented among Team GB Olympic medal winners, with about a third of medallists in Rio educated at fee-paying schools, according to the Sutton Trust.

Although six out of 10 of this year’s British medallists – including the heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, gymnast Max Whitlock and boxer Nicola Adams – went to comprehensive schools, some sports including rowing and hockey are still dominated by the privately educated.

And while some state schools have enjoyed improved support for competitive sport over the past decade, Team GB’s top Olympians are four times more likely to have been privately educated than the population as a whole, says the Sutton Trust, a charity that works to promote social mobility through education.

Well-funded private schools with their top-quality sporting facilities and highly qualified coaches have traditionally dominated elite sports. The Sutton Trust says the proportion of medallists who attended fee-paying schools was down four percentage points in Rio compared with London 2012.

According to its analysis, 32% of Britain’s 130 medallists in Rio attended fee-paying schools, compared with 36% of Team GB’s medal-winners in London. Of the 13 athletes to win more than one medal, in Rio, 10 were comprehensive educated.

What are the most effectve ways to teach current affairs and social awareness in a primary school?

by School World, August 22, 2016

Classified as General.

One of the most common observations made by teachers who have tried to improve pupils’ spiritual, moral social and cultural development is that there are too few resources and material available to help make an impact.

For them, this is not another lesson in a subject that they have experienced a number of times before. This is different – learning about what’s happening in the world right now!

Children love to learn about the world around them and about news stories unfolding right now in our changing world.

Poor handwriting 'may hinder students' chances of exam success'

by Guardian, August 22, 2016

Examiners say scanned answers often difficult to read on screen, particularly if student has failed to use black pen

Poor handwriting and use of the wrong colour pen may be hampering students’ chances of exam success, according to complaints from examiners marking this year’s papers.

As tens of thousands of pupils await their GCSE results due on Thursday, an examiners’ report for the AQA exam board has highlighted the struggles that markers face with onscreen evaluation and illegible answers.

Files reveal approved school drug trial plans in 1960s

by BBC, August 22, 2016

Classified as General.

Home Office doctors gave the go-ahead for experimental drug trials on children at two approved schools in the 1960s, National Archives files show.
Parents were not consulted and the issue of consent was left to managers.
At Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire, housing pupils aged 15 and older, the most disruptive boys were given an anticonvulsant drug to see if it would control behaviour.
The trial of a sedative on girls at a school near Leeds did not proceed.

University clearing 2016 'the busiest ever', says Ucas

by BBC, August 22, 2016

Classified as General.

A record 33,000 students have found university places through clearing since last week's A-level results day, says the admissions service Ucas.
This figure is up 13% on the same period last year and brings the total number of people with higher education places this year to almost 468,000.
Overall, almost 44,000 people have had their places confirmed since midnight on Thursday, says Ucas.
A spokeswoman confirmed this year's clearing as the busiest ever.

University graduates 'to pay £100,000 in student loans' following interest rate hike

by Independent, August 21, 2016

Classified as General.

News fuels growing criticism students are often unaware of the true cost of university before they embark on degrees

University graduates could end up paying more than £100,000 in student loans, financial analysts have warned. The sum will stand at double the fees they actually borrowed, once interest rates have been factored in.

‘Value for money’ can’t be the only measure of university

by Guardian, August 21, 2016

In the middle of the 20th century, the conservative political philosopher Michael Oakeshott gave one of the most sublime accounts of the value of a university education ever written. It is worth quoting at length from The Idea of a University, which was published in 1950. Partly because of the beauty and humanity of the prose, but also because you just don’t get thinking like this any more in Britain.

Why more isn’t always better when it comes to education

by Telegraph, August 21, 2016

Classified as General.

Last week hundreds of thousands of teenagers received their A-level results and this week hundreds of thousands of others are anxiously awaiting their GCSEs. For many, these results will seem a life-changing experience.

Their chances of acquiring a place in the next academic competition or, in some cases, an offer of employment, will indeed be affected by how well they have done.

Often, though, kids over-estimate the significance of their results. There is more to life than exams. More fundamentally, there is more to life than academic study.

University graduates 'to pay £100,000 in student loans' following interest rate hike

by Independent, August 21, 2016

Classified as General.

News fuels growing criticism students are often unaware of the true cost of university before they embark on degrees

University graduates could end up paying more than £100,000 in student loans, financial analysts have warned. The sum will stand at double the fees they actually borrowed, once interest rates have been factored in.

How grammar schools can work for everyone –including those who don't go to them

by Telegraph, August 20, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

All too rarely in the past 25 years has the Conservative Party remembered what it is really for, but one such moment came during my recent holiday. News arrived on my iPad one morning that Theresa May and her education secretary, Justine Greening, were in favour of opening more grammar schools. We should rejoice: but the key to this excellent idea will be how to deliver it.

‘Reverse clearing’ for pupils who do better than feared: Students get the chance to trade up for spot at a better university

by Daily Mail, August 20, 2016

Classified as General.

University admissions service examining number of recommendations
They want to improve students’ experience of clearing process
Youngsters could go to better universities if grades beat expectations

Sixth formers who have done better than expected in their A levels could be given the automatic right to switch their university place for a better one, under plans being considered by Ucas.
The university admissions service is examining a number of recommendations about how to improve students’ experience of clearing.

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