Latest Educational News

London School of Economics named capital’s top university, according to new league table

by Independent, April 26, 2016

The capital’s universities are moving in the “right direction,” according to the latest Complete University Guide (CUG) rankings, with London School of Economics (LSE) taking the lead for being the city’s best institution.

Although many of London’s universities have seen little change, CUG described how there had been a few “notable exceptions” on a national scale.

With LSE at the helm, University College London (UCL) climbed back into the UK-wide top ten after a one-year absence.

Middlesex also built on last year’s success to climb eleven places to 78th, while Greenwich (98th) broke into the top 100 having risen nine positions.

SEND reforms put more pressure on parents, says study

by tes.connect, April 26, 2016

Some parents complain of a lack of support from their schools in getting their child assessed for an education, health and care (EHC) plan
Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities are having to take the lead in seeking support for their child since the system was reformed, new government research finds.

And some parents say they are not receiving enough help from their schools in the process, it says.

The study from ASK Research finds that while, overall, families were generally in favour of the new philosophy behind the reforms, which promote the child being at the heart of the process, there were concerns that some parents were having to be “excessively proactive” in order to get the support their children needed.

'We should recognise that good teachers don’t all teach in the same way'

by tes.connect, April 26, 2016

A head of humanities shares his experiences of being observed as a NQT and explains why we should not be judging all lessons by the same criteria
In my first term as a NQT, I was observed with a Year 9 class teaching about the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The children used sources to explain different interpretations of the reasons and then evaluated these interpretations to reach a substantiated judgement. The lesson was teacher-led and students sat in rows facing the front. In the 20 minutes, they wrote up their answers in a comfortable silence. Looking back, I think it was a good lesson.

The observer graded my lesson as "required improvement". I was devastated to read that “the students didn’t really enjoy the lesson because there wasn’t a wide enough range of activities". In the feedback, I was advised to “try using drama and role-play to increase student engagement”.

What gets me up in the morning: 'The sense of excitement of where my lessons may go once the creative spark is ignited'

by tes.connect, April 26, 2016

One design teacher explains why knowing that his lessons are adventures waiting to happen gets him up in the morning.
It's the creative unknown that gets me up in the morning.

That might sound slightly cryptic, or even enigmatic, but there is a reason that I was drawn towards the creative arts at school, through university and eventually back into the classroom as a teacher.

While I don't want to be accused of disrespecting academic subjects, I always found that history never changed, nor did 2+2 – yet the creative possibilities with just 12 notes, one pencil or two pieces of wood seemed almost endless.

Although I know that every workday, my school, timetable and colleagues will be the same as they were yesterday, the very nature of creative subjects means that you never know where a lesson will go once the creative spark has been ignited.

'How exactly does making key stage 2 tests harder improve standards?'

by tes.connect, April 26, 2016

Year 6 teachers up and down the country are having sleepless nights in the run-up to Sats. But shouldn't great learning be about building confidence and motivation as well as basic skills, asks this prep-school head
I have finally ploughed through the government’s recent 128-page White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere: top marks for alliteration. It is a mighty tome of highly motivational and aspirational intention, focusing on the best-possible outcomes for every child. Who can argue with that?

The White Paper recognises that the quality of teaching makes the greatest difference to how well pupils fare. Its focus on quality leaders making great decisions about educational provision is to be welcomed.

Government avoids defeat over lone child refugees call

by BBC News, April 26, 2016

MPs have voted against an attempt to force the government to allow 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees into the UK from Europe.
The Labour amendment to the Immigration Bill was rejected by 294 to 276.
Ministers argued that offering sanctuary to lone children who have already reached Europe could mean more fall into the hands of traffickers.
This was dismissed by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron as "bogus" while some Tory MPs also backed the amendment.
Following the vote, Labour peers said they would propose an alternative amendment in the Lords on Tuesday. If they are successful, the matter could return to the Commons.

India 'sedition' students suspended

by BBC News, April 26, 2016

Two Indian students accused of sedition for helping organise a protest at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University have been suspended.
Umar Khalid has been suspended for one semester and Anirban Bhattacharya has been barred from campus for five years.
Both students, and student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who was also charged with sedition, have also been fined.
The three students were involved in a protest, on 9 February, over the hanging of a Kashmiri man, Afzal Guru.
Afzal Guru was convicted of a 2001 plot to attack India's parliament, charges he always denied. The attack, in which 14 people died, was carried out by Pakistan-based militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

Tory academy rebels set their conditions

by BBC News, April 26, 2016

If the government is going to push through its plans to force all schools in England to become academies, it will need to persuade its own Conservative backbenchers, many of whom seem deeply unenthusiastic about the proposals.
The prospect of an embarrassing parliamentary defeat will have focused the minds of ministers on a compromise.
But what do the unimpressed Tory MPs dislike about the academy plans? And what will be the sticking points in negotiations with ministers?
Very well-placed Tory backbenchers have highlighted some of the main areas of concern:

The ‘bona fide’ crisis in US universities that’s coming to the UK

by The Guardian, April 26, 2016

Karen Kelsky – “Dr Karen” as she calls herself – is worried that UK academics may be shocked at her message on her tour of universities this month. “I think they are probably going to freak out,” she says. “I go to American campuses where people know me … and people are always shocked at how blunt I am. So I’m actually kind of worried about what will happen in the UK.”

Kelsky, a former professor and now job consultant for academics, is known in US academic circles for her criticisms of how higher education has changed, including the financial burden on postgraduates, and writes for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the travails of finding a secure job. The market for good academic jobs has deteriorated enormously, she believes, and her message to anyone hoping to forge an academic career, be it in the US or the UK, is: be under no illusions.

Headteachers start fightback against government policy diktat

by The Guardian, April 26, 2016

The standoff between Nicky Morgan and backbenchers over the recent white paper rumbles on. No one now knows to what extent the government is going to back track on its contentious vision for the future of the English school system.

Inevitably much of the criticism has focused on the plan to forcibly “academise” all schools. But for one group of heads, the white paper’s flaw is in the gaps. It is as much about what it fails to address as what it proposes to do.

“In a weighty paper about education, reference to children’s learning is sparse,” says Helena Marsh, principal of Linton Village college, Cambridgeshire. “The essence of schooling, its complexity and richness, appears to have been overlooked. Schools aren’t factories for results. Education shapes lives.”

St George’s, Imperial and Cambridge have the highest graduate prospects

by Independent, April 25, 2016

St George’s, University of London has been revealed as the country’s top institution for having the highest graduate prospects.

According to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, 93.4 per cent of those who graduated in 2013 and 2014 went on to be employed in a professional job or in graduate-level study.

With increasing pressure and completion to gain a good graduate job, students are scrambling to get a leg-up in the job market before they leave education.

Statistics show that 66 per cent of university applicants cited getting a better job as their primary reason for attending university in the first place, and six out of ten said that employment rates were a factor when deciding which universities to apply to.

Loughborough and UCL enter Complete University Guide’s top 10 universities for the first time

by Independent, April 25, 2016

Loughborough and University College (UCL) are among the top ten best universities in the UK for the first time, according to the latest rankings from The Complete University Guide (CUG).

On last year, Loughborough has climbed an impressive six places to enter the top ten at seventh place, while UCL has managed to move up three spots to secure tenth place.

Surrey, which was a new top ten entrant last year, slipped back from eighth place to 11th, while Exeter dropped from eighth to 13th.

Cambridge and Oxford, though, have, once again, come out as being the best universities in the country.

Local authority schools outperform academies, research suggests

by The Guardian, April 25, 2016

The government’s plan to force all schools to become academies has come under further attack with research which suggests that council-maintained schools outperform academies at inspection.

Analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that 86% of local authority schools are rated good or outstanding by the schools watchdog, Ofsted, compared with 82% of academies and 79% of free schools.

Looking only at data drawn from the new, more rigorous Ofsted inspection framework introduced in 2012, the LGA says the figures are even more pronounced, with 81% of council-maintained schools rated good or outstanding, compared with 73% of academies and 79% of free schools.

Meet the students crowdfunding their tuition

by The Guardian, April 25, 2016

Shameless e-begging, or a justified act of financial desperation? The idea of crowdfunding university fees will certainly divide opinion. But raising money on sites such as Hubbub, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo is becoming a go-to strategy for thousands of students.

Faced with unregulated and increasing tuition fees, postgraduate students are among the most desperate of these self-fundraisers. Some are ineligible for the government’s new postgraduate loan, while prospects can be just as bleak for those who are: the scheme’s repayment terms are steeper than those of undergraduate student loans, and it won’t always cover all costs.

Scholarships and bursaries are otherwise few and far between, and a part-time job could jeopardise a student’s academic work. It isn’t difficult to see why university applicants are turning to the crowd for help.

Ministers could ease way for councils to run academies

by BBC News, April 25, 2016

In an attempt to avert a backbench rebellion, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has signalled she will consider making it easier for councils to form their own multi-academy trusts.
Under draft plans published last month, all England's state schools must become academies, run by trusts rather than councils, by 2022.
Councils would have to set up non-profit companies to become trusts.
But there are hints this requirement could be waived.

NUS 'right to have no platform policy'

by BBC News, April 25, 2016

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of university students believe the National Union of Students is right to have a "no platforming" policy, a survey suggests.
The policy means people or groups on a banned list for holding racist or fascist views are not given a platform to speak on student union premises.
And 54% of 1,001 students asked thought the policy should be enforced against people who could be found intimidating.
The NUS said the policy allowed free speech without intimidation.
ComRes interviewed 1,001 UK university students online for the survey, commissioned by the Victoria Derbyshire programme, with data weighted by course year, university type and gender.
The NUS official no platform list contains six groups including the BNP and Al-Muhajiroun, but individual unions and student groups can decide their own.

Childcare recruitment 'catastrophe' looms, say campaigners

by BBC News, April 25, 2016

The requirement for new nursery staff in England to have good GCSE passes in English and maths will lead to "catastrophic" staff shortages and should be scrapped, campaigners say.
From September, new recruits must have at least GCSE C grades in the subjects, with alternative equivalent qualifications no longer accepted.
The Save our Early Years campaign says recruitment has already been hit.
But the government says numeracy and literacy skills are "essential".

Tory MPs 'challenge academy compulsion'

by BBC News, April 25, 2016

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has defended her plans for all schools in England to be required to become academies.
But unconvinced backbench Conservative MPs want the element of compulsion to be dropped before giving it their approval.
Mrs Morgan was pressed by MPs on whether good and outstanding schools would be forced to become academies.
The education secretary said she would not "leave the job half done".
The government's White Paper on schools has proved controversial with some of its own leading backbenchers - who are expecting changes before it progresses through Parliament.

'Grave risk' over academy plans, warns County Councils Network

by BBC News, April 24, 2016

There is a risk plans to turn all state schools in England into academies will not raise school standards, a group representing 37 largely Conservative local authorities has warned.
Councillor Paul Carter, from the County Councils Network, said the government was pursuing change with "undue haste".
Under draft government plans, all state schools in England will have to leave the oversight of councils by 2022.
A Department for Education spokesman said the concerns were "misplaced".

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

by BBC News, April 23, 2016

More than 30,000 non-EU students a year have had their visas curtailed by the Home Office in the past three years, figures obtained by BBC News show.
And 410 educational establishments had their licences to sponsor international students revoked in the same period.
The Home Office said it was cracking down on immigration abuse.
But the National Union of Students said international students were being "scapegoated" in order to meet targets on net migration.
The Home Office count incoming and departing international students when setting its targets on net migration, despite fears from some leading politicians that this risks harming UK universities.
The figures, released by the Home Office under Freedom of Information rules, show 99,635 students had their visas curtailed in the three years to the end of December 2015:
33,210 in 2013
34,210 in 2014
32,215 in 2015