Latest Educational News

Labour to promise councils new powers over academies and free schools

by Independent, September 26, 2016

It comes as the party prepares for a major fight with the government over grammar schools and education policy

Labour is preparing proposals to give councils new powers over academies and free schools in their area.

Key figures in the party believe there is not enough scrutiny over spending, too much wastage and a lack of joined-up planning over how education is provided within boroughs.

It comes as schooling is set to be a major battle-ground with the Conservatives following Theresa May’s plan to allow new selective grammar schools to open.

Parents 'expected to pay up to £5,372 a year' towards university costs

by Telegraph, September 26, 2016

As students across the country prepare to start university, analysis of student loan data has revealed that many parents may be feeling the pinch this year.

According to figures obtained from the Student Loans Company (SLC), there has been a "hidden" rise in the amount that parents are expected to contribute towards their child's education.

In some cases, parents are facing a 27 per cent increase on last year, meaning many families could be expected to pay hundreds more a year, following changes to the way student loans are allocated.

Parents urged to boycott requests for children's country of birth information

by Guardian, September 26, 2016

Human rights groups fear schools census data could be used against families by Home Office immigration enforcement

Parents are being urged to boycott requests to disclose their child’s nationality and country of birth over fears it could turn teachers into de facto border guards and stoke divisions in the classroom.

Human rights groups are concerned that the data, collected for the first time this year from pupils aged two to 19 as part of the schools census, could be used against children and their families by immigration enforcement.

The Department for Education (DfE) insists that the information will not be handed to the Home Office and that the data is being collected and input to the national pupil database (NPD) to ensure children “receive the best possible education”.

I worked as a teacher – so I can tell you how regressive grammar schools are

by NewStatesman, September 26, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

The grammars and "comprehensives" of Kent make for an unequal system. So why does Theresa May consider the county a model for the future?

In 1959 my parents moved me from a Roman Catholic primary school to the junior branch of King Henry VIII, Coventry’s most high-profile grammar. The head teacher berated my mother for betraying the one true faith, but although she was born in Galway, my mum was as relaxed about her religion as she was about her native roots. Any strong feelings about the English Reformation had disappeared around the same time as her Irish accent. Her voice gave no clue to where she was from and – as a result of a wartime commission – the same was true of my father. Together, Mrs and Mr Smith embodied postwar Britain’s first-generation upwardly mobile middle class.

St Andrews University ‘best in UK for teaching quality’

by The Scotsman, September 26, 2016

Classified as General.

Scotland’s oldest university has been ranked the best in the UK for quality of teaching.

St Andrews University has been named as the UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality in the latest university guide from The Times and Sunday Times.

The institution, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met as students, has also been ranked as the third in the UK overall – up from fourth in the previous guide and putting the university behind only Oxford and Cambridge.

Schools 'faced teacher shortage ahead of school year'

by STV, September 25, 2016

New figures showed there were 729 teacher vacancies across Scotland as of August 9.

Scottish schools faced a shortage of hundreds of teachers in the week before the new school year started, figures show.

The figures, released to the Liberal Democrats through freedom of information laws, reveal there were 729 teacher vacancies across Scotland as of August 9.

Of these 388 were for primary teachers, while 341 vacancies were in secondary schools.

Argyll and Bute was the local authority area with the highest number of vacancies (200), followed by Aberdeen (86) and the Borders (47).

How to complain about a school

by Mirror, September 25, 2016

Now and again you can't sort something out with a quiet word - if that ever happens to you, this is what to do next and who you can go to

Education is such a big part of any child’s life that it is crucial they have the best experience possible.

Sadly, that sometimes doesn’t happen – and that’s when you might need to make a complaint.
But how do you go about it? Well, with a new academic year just starting, I thought I’d go through the minefield that is complaining about your child’s school or university.

Brexit fears may see 15% of UK university staff leave, group warns

by Guardian, September 25, 2016

German academics’ body points to growing evidence that EU employees are turning down posts and considering their futures

The government must maintain free movement for EU academics or risk losing up to 15% of staff at British universities, a leading German academics’ body has warned.

It comes as evidence mounts that European researchers and lecturers are leaving or rejecting UK higher education posts because of Brexit fears.

A damning report on grammar schools pits Theresa May against the experts

by NewStatesman, September 24, 2016

Classified as 11plus.

Grammar schools are not just unrepresentative, they do nothing to change educational standards.

Theresa May’s plans to introduce grammar schools will have no difference on national attainment – and may squeeze out places for the poorest children.

That’s the findings of the Education Policy Institute, after an intensive study of grammar school demographics, and achievement levels.

It concluded: “This result suggests that additional grammar schools are not a good intervention for raising average standards across a schools system.”

Non-white schoolchildren asked to provide proof they are not asylum seekers

by Independent, September 24, 2016

Government guidance has been misinterpreted by a number of schools, reports claim, with several demanding passport details from ethnic minority students

School children are being 'singled out' and asked to provide proof of their birthplace purely as a result of their skin colour, it has been revealed.

New rules laid out by the Department for Education this year mean schools must collect a greater degree of census details from pupils starting school.

Academies encouraged to open selective schools

by BBC, September 24, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Academy chains are being encouraged to set up selective schools under government plans that include expanding grammar schools in England.
Separate units for high-ability pupils are also being encouraged within their existing chains of schools.
Schools standards minister Nick Gibb told academy bosses new selective schools would bring more choice and flexibility to the education system.
The National Union of Teachers said the majority of children would lose out.

Secret Teacher: becoming an academy destroyed my school

by Guardian, September 24, 2016

The government wants schools to join multi-academy trusts, but I’ve seen the dark side: a culture of fear, failure and back-stabbing. I won’t work in one again

There is a scene in Star Wars where Darth Vader and his entourage sweep through a corridor of the Death Star. As they pass, uniformed underlings step back against the wall and avert their gaze. Others busy themselves, prodding at terminals and frowning until the caravan of evil has gone. This is how I felt working in a multi-academy trust (a group of academies governed by a single set of directors, otherwise known as a Mat).

Grammar schools could lead to 'bigger gap between rich & poor' in North West

by ITV, September 24, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Creating more grammar schools could lead to a bigger gap between rich and poor, according to a new report.

The warnings come ahead of the Government's controversial plans to expand the current grammar school system.

The findings suggest rather than aiding social mobility, current grammars are widening division.

In a special report our correspondent Mel Barham has been hearing from headteachers, parents and pupils from across the North West on both sides of a rather heated debate.

BARBARA DAVIES: What hope when parents turn up to watch a pitched battle between three schools - and hand out weapons?

by Daily Mail, September 24, 2016

.Parents are said to have arrived at the outburst of street violence in Bexley
.Riot vans were called to the clash which involved hundreds of children
.'Who is raising them to be like this?' asks a resident living near the scene

A mass of legs and arms, some clutching bats, sticks and metal poles, many wearing school jumpers, swarms around a barely visible form on the ground. The appalling footage of the brawl that brought terror to the streets of London this week shocked many.
Witnesses told of armed boys being cheered on by foul-mouthed girls filming the violence on their phones.
‘It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,’ says Jeanne Asquith, a company administrator who watched in horror as the violence erupted outside her house.

Making all schools academies 'will cost taxpayers £320m', Local Government Association warns

by Evening Standard, September 24, 2016

Making all schools academies 'will cost taxpayers £320m', Local Government Association warns

The body has called on the government to spell out its controversial plans in greater detail.

Chairman of the LGA's children and young people board, Councillor Richard Watts, said forcing schools to become academies would be bad for pupils.

"If all schools are encouraged to become academies at some point, this will have significant financial implications for councils," he said,

Theresa May’s grammar schools plan based on ‘no evidence’, warns biggest study of existing schools

by Independent, September 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Exclusive: Former schools minister David Laws says the Prime Minister needs to go ‘back to the drawing board’ with proposals

Theresa May has been warned that her controversial plans to create more grammar schools will backfire because children from poor families will fall further behind those who secure places in them.

Primary school forced to back down on controversial rule ordering children to walk with hands behind back

by Telegraph, September 23, 2016

An ‘outstanding’ primary school has been forced to back down on a rule ordering children to walk with their hands clasped behind their backs 'at all times' after a revolt from parents, it has emerged.

Last year pupils at St George the Martyr Primary School in Camden, north London, were told they must walk in the 'correct way' in school corridors, which school bosses called the 'University Walk'.

The term is believed to derive from how students at elite universities - such as Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews - were told to walk in bygone years.

Brexit: UK universities consider EU branches

by BBC, September 23, 2016

UK universities could open campuses in Europe to offset the effect of Brexit, some vice-chancellors have suggested.
The higher education sector largely supported remaining in the UK and since the vote, has voiced concerns about the financial implications of leaving.
Universities fear losing research funding, students and staff in the event of a "hard" Brexit.
But some universities are considering expanding into Europe as a way round the problem.

Grammar schools expansion 'could dumb them down'

by BBC, September 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools could be dumbed down by expanding them in areas where parents want them, analysis of plans to increase selection in England suggests.
An Education Policy Institute study says as grammars expand, they will take more lower ability pupils - diluting their high achieving potential.
It also argues the negative impact on nearby schools is greater because more lower ability pupils are left behind.
The Department for Education said they want the plan to help local schools.

SATS probe after concerns over tougher tests for primary school pupils

by Sky News, September 23, 2016

The introduction of a new set of rigorous exams will be the focus of a Westminster inquiry, as some schools threaten to shun them.
Tough new exams for primary school children are to be investigated by MPs amid threatened boycotts.

The review of SATs by the Commons Education Select Committee will take an in-depth look at the tests, taken by primary school pupils at the end of Key Stage One and Key Stage Two.

Some schools have threatened to shun the exams after a new set of rigorous tests were introduced.

Almost half of pupils in England failed to meet tough new standards in reading, writing and maths, with huge differences between different areas of the country.