Latest Educational News

League table shake-up may put 'good' schools in danger zone

by TES, October 10, 2014

Schools need to brace themselves for accountability reforms that could turn league tables upside down, an expert analysis obtained by TES reveals.

New official “floor” targets are on course to raise the number of secondaries at risk of government intervention and possible closure by nearly three-quarters.

The new regime could also place scores of previously safe schools into the danger zone, a study using the latest available GCSE results data suggests.

But the pressure would lift for a similarly large number of secondaries that would have their efforts in improving the progress of lower-attaining pupils recognised, as they would be raised above the new floor standard.

Cambridge University primary pupils 'not guinea pigs'

by TES, October 10, 2014

Pupils at the new University of Cambridge Primary School will not be treated like “guinea pigs” by academics, its founding headteacher has insisted.

The 630-place primary, which opens in September 2015, will be a hub of research for Cambridge’s education scholars. It will have a close relationship with the university’s world-famous education faculty, and it is envisaged that it will eventually host around 16 trainee teachers each year.

Academics have already had a significant impact on the school, helping to design everything from the structure of lunch breaks to the layout of classrooms.

But headteacher James Biddulph (pictured) told TES that the pupils will come first when the school opens its doors.

How much will university really cost?

by Guardian, October 10, 2014

How much you pay back for your higher education depends on how much you are earning after you leave university. If you are earning good money, you will pay back far more than if you are not. Remember that, under the new deal, you don’t pay back anything until you are earning £21,000 a year.

The good news is that you can apply for a loan to cover the tuition fees and living costs at university before you start, so you pay nothing up-front. The tuition-fee loan is not means-tested but the living costs loan is and your parents are expected to make up the difference.

Gourmet school meals, exam incentives fail and classrooms of the future

by Guardian, October 10, 2014

Good week for

School dinners. Top chefs Adam Leavy and Sukhdev Singh have swapped their jobs at one of the UK’s most prestigious restaurants to dish up gourmet grub for children at Loreto high school in Chorlton, south Manchester. So far, the pair’s kale chips and truffles are going down a treat.

East Asian education. What’s the secret of students’ success in China and South Korea? Politicians will be disappointed to read a new study by the Institute of Education which claims that culture plays a major role in their success not just curriculums

Online homework and social media pose parental dilemma

by BBC News, October 10, 2014

Parents feel unable to make children study by blocking internet access, as homework often requires online research, a survey suggests.

Some 63%, of 2,000 UK parents polled said confiscating smartphones and tablets was futile.

But 70% feared social media could distract children from their work.

The survey, for an internet blocking service, found 56% felt using parental web filters could damage their relationship with their children.

Tablets 'replacing TVs in children's bedrooms'

by BBC News, October 10, 2014

Tablets appear to be replacing televisions in children's bedrooms, statistics from Ofcom suggest.

The communications regulator says one in three children now has their own tablet while the proportion with a TV in their bedroom has dropped to 46% from 66% since 2009.

There has also been a rise from 15% to 20% in the share of children watching television on a tablet.

Snap Ofsted inspections for three Islamic schools in London

by BBC News, October 10, 2014

England schools watchdog Ofsted has carried out snap inspections of three independent Islamic schools in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

The no-notice inspections were carried out at the request of the Department for Education and are not part of the standard inspection regime.

The DfE had asked for a number of independent schools to be inspected.

Children will get extra hour in bed as schools sign up to performance tests

by The Times, October 9, 2014

Tens of thousands of schoolchildren are to take part in classroom trials to test whether findings in neuroscience can boost standards in education.
The studies, the first of their kind in the world, aim to create a firm evidence base for simple, low-cost practices that could be adopted by teachers to improve learning.

Ofsted inspections: More frequent but shorter

by BBC News, October 9, 2014

Schools in England will face more frequent, shorter inspections, but unannounced inspections will not become standard, says Ofsted.

Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said schools rated good will be inspected at least every three years, rather than up to seven at present.

But no-warning inspections, proposed after the so-called Trojan Horse scandal, would not become the norm.

The Ofsted chief said he was determined to challenge "mediocre schools".

Later school start time 'may boost GCSE results'

by BBC News, October 9, 2014

Thousands of teenagers are to get an extra hour in bed in a trial to see whether later school start times can boost GCSE results.

University of Oxford researchers say teenagers start functioning properly two hours later than older adults.

A trial tracking nearly 32,000 GCSE pupils in more than 100 schools will assess whether a later school start leads to higher grades.

Improved mental health and wellbeing could also result, the scientists say.

'Hold lotteries for places at best schools'

by Daily Mail, October 7, 2014

Lotteries should be used to allocate school places to children as young as four to end widespread selection by ‘mortgage size’, a report said yesterday.
Popular primary schools as well as secondaries should ditch the requirement for parents to live nearby because it favours wealthy parents who can afford to live where they choose.
Poorer pupils are doomed to the worst-performing schools because their parents’ choices over education are constrained by their finances, according to the report.

Parents still back boarding at state schools

by Yorkshire Post, October 7, 2014

THE vast majority of parents would recommend state boarding schools to other mothers and fathers, according to a new poll.

These schools offer high academic quality, opportunities for pupils to fulfil their potential, and practical solutions for families, it claims.

The survey, commissioned by the State Boarding Schools Association (SBSA), questioned more than 1,500 parents with children at 29 state boarding schools across the UK earlier this year.

Its findings, published yesterday, have been welcomed by the headmaster of Ripon Grammar, the only state school still offering boarding in Yorkshire.

Independent schools face tough snap inspections

by The Times, October 7, 2014

Private schools have protested at pressure for them to accept a move towards snap inspections like those carried out at state schools.
The Department for Education wants to toughen up the more collaborative inspections faced by larger independent schools. Rather than five days’ warning, as now, head teachers and governors might be warned of an inspection only the day before or even face unannounced inspections.

Future scientists encouraged to unleash creativity

by The Times, October 7, 2014

The head of Britain’s foremost specialist university will look to encourage greater creativity among undergraduates taking science-based courses.
Alice Gast, the president of Imperial College London, said that more structured teaching in maths, engineering and science degrees could sap students’ independence and curiosity.
She plans to offer more opportunities for undergraduates to work across academic disciplines on research or design projects, or to develop ideas for businesses or social enterprises.

Boys ‘easier to control in single-sex classes’

by The Times, October 7, 2014

Teachers can impose tougher discipline on boys who are in segregated classrooms, an independent school head teacher has said in defence of single-sex education.
Many experts extol the benefits for girls, but Mark Steed, principal of Berkhamsted School, said that boys thrived in a single-sex environment because teachers could be more “black and white” about discipline.
His views contradict Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, who said last week that children were best taught in mixed classes.

Let’s fight the idea that high tuition fees are inevitable

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

One big idea has arrived and another big idea has been abandoned. The big (bad) idea that has arrived is that high student fees are inevitable, and the (good) one that has been abandoned is so-called “widening participation”.

“Defeatist”, critics on the left (and the National Union of Students) will cry on the first. “Unfair”, the defenders of the government, supported by the Office for Fair Access and universities – in full equal-opportunities mode – will cry on the second.

Inside Steve Jobs schools: swapping books for iPads

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

The glimmer of screens hypnotises a group of children who swipe their hands from side to side and then up and down, captivated by what’s in front of them. This isn’t a scene from a sci-fi film or a description of the electronics floor in Hamley’s toy shop, it is life inside Netherlands’ new iPad schools.

Just over a year ago, seven schools serving 1,000 four- to 12-year-olds opened their doors in cities such as Amsterdam and Almere. Because of their focus on learning through iPads, these institutions – pioneered by market researcher and entrepreneur Maurice de Hond – became known as “Steve Jobs schools”. There are now 22 of them across the Netherlands.

Dear Ms Morgan: a reading policy isn’t just telling grandparents what to do

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

Dear Ms Morgan

What a strange job you have. You’ve been playing God, endowed with the special knowledge that enables you to sit in your office and approve yet more free schools. You change the complexion of education in England on a street-by-street basis, often dividing communities up by faith, belief and outlook even though your party leaders talked about the “failure of multiculturalism”.

School places: a guide through the minefield of admissions

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

This time next month the open days will be over, the forms dispatched and the anxious deliberations about which secondary school is best for thousands of children over until next spring’s offer day. It is over 25 years since the idea of “choice” was firmly established in the minds of parents. But in some ways the task of exercising that choice is harder than ever.

Whereas once parents had to choose between local authority schools and a minority of faith schools, each of which allocated places in broadly similar ways, now the education landscape is dotted with academies, free schools, foundation and trust schools, city technology colleges, university technology colleges and studios schools, all of which have the freedom to set and manage their own admissions criteria.

Competition could make children eat more fruit and vegetables, researchers find

by The Independent, October 6, 2014

Parents may teach their children it’s the taking part that counts – but when it comes to healthy eating, it might be better to be in it to win it.
Introducing a competitive edge in the school canteen could increase the number of children eating fruit and vegetables by up to a third, according to a new study.

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