Latest Educational News

Four-in-10 children 'not ready for school' at the age of five

by Telegraph, October 16, 2014

Too many children are starting school unable to write simple sentences, count to 20 and even use the toilet because of poor standards of early education, it was claimed today.
Sam Gyimah, the Childcare Minister, said “more must be done” to ensure five-year-olds are fully prepared for the demands of compulsory schooling.
The comments were made as figures showed four-in-10 infants were not properly developed at the end of the reception year this summer – just before entering the first full year of primary education.

School buys double-decker bus on Ebay to ease overcrowding

by The Telegraph, October 16, 2014

A school has relieved pressure on its overcrowded classrooms by purchasing an old double-decker bus on Ebay and kitting it out for teaching.
Central First School, a primary in Ashington, Northumberland, bought the bus for £5,000 on the auction site rather than stump up “astronomical” funds of up to £150,000 to expand the main school building.
The vehicle cost a further £3,000 to convert into a classroom, complete with internet, electricity, and central heating, although pupils still have to go into the main school to go to the toilet.

Teach British values to combat ‘Trojan horse’ extremism, says Nicky Morgan

by The Times, October 16, 2014

British values need to be “woven” into the school curriculum to prevent extremists filling the vacuum, the education secretary told MPs yesterday.
Nicky Morgan, who replaced Michael Gove this summer, faced the Commons education select committee for the first time over the “Trojan horse” plot, in which radical Muslims planned to take over schools in Birmingham.

The answer to University of Oxford interviews

by The Times, October 16, 2014

The Oxford interview, renowned for stumping candidates with bizarre questions, has been laid bare by academics keen to debunk apocryphal anecdotes.
One unfortunate side-effect, however, may be to upset the Welsh, who are already poorly represented at the university and now appear to suffer the indignity of having their short-term memories called into question.
The university released a series of questions yesterday, to mark the deadline for students to apply to study at Oxford next year.

Pupil absence hits record low

by The Times, October 16, 2014

The number of pupils missing school dropped sharply in the past year after a crackdown on families taking children on holiday in term time.
Pupil absence rates fell from 5.3 per cent of sessions missed in the terms from autumn 2012 to spring 2013, to 4.4 per cent in the same terms of 2013-14, latest figures showed. This is the lowest figure since records began in their current form in 2006.

Careers advice is a 'postcode lottery', warns Sutton Trust

by TES, October 16, 2014

The careers guidance available to young people has become a “postcode lottery” that hinders social mobility, a leading charity has said.

The Sutton Trust says the National Careers Service – which offers telephone and web-based advice to schools – should also provide students with face-to-face advice from specialist careers advisers.

The call comes as a new report for the trust shows that where schools provide guidance of a high quality, there are improvements to GCSE results, attendance and access to leading universities.

Sharp rise in number of five-year-olds developing well at school

by TES, October 16, 2014

The number of five-year-olds reaching a good level of development has risen sharply from 52 per cent to 60 per cent this year.

Children are assessed by their teachers on 17 different areas of learning, including reading, writing, numbers and self-confidence. They are considered to be at a good level of development if they reach expectations in 12 of them, including being able to read simple sentences and count to 20.

The results of the early years foundation stage profile assessments, published by the government today, show that while 90 per cent of children can dress themselves by the end of Reception, only 67 per cent can write sentences with some correct and some plausible spellings.

Why your advice on universities may be out of date

by TES, October 16, 2014

When guiding students through the fraught filling-in of Ucas forms this year, Sir David Bell wants teachers to remember one crucial thing: “Many criticisms once levelled at the higher education sector are simply no longer true”.

Sir David is the current vice-chancellor of the University of Reading and former Ofsted chief inspector of schools. He writes in the 17 October issue of TES that while many of the criticisms aimed at the sector in the past – limited contact time, outdated facilities and disinterested teachers – once held some degree of truth in certain places, these issues have now been addressed as part of wholesale changes introduced across all universities.

Students forced to share single rooms at some universities

by BBC News, October 16, 2014

Students at some universities are having to share single rooms, the BBC has learned.

Thousands of extra places, offered this year, have meant some universities have been unable to house all their first-year students in halls of residence.

BBC research found the universities of Bristol, Aberdeen and Winchester were particularly badly affected.

Bristol University said the situation was "not ideal" and it was working to resolve it as soon as possible.

Boys of five lag behind girls in literacy and numeracy

by BBC News, October 16, 2014

Five-year-old boys lag behind girls of the same age in reading, writing and maths, official statistics suggest.

Overall, 60% of five-year-olds in England were considered to be achieving a good level of development - eight percentage points up on last year.

The figures are based on teachers' assessment of children's progress at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage last year.

Ministers said too few young children were ready to start school.

Third of FE colleges offering degrees fail inspection

by BBC News, October 16, 2014

Inspectors failed almost a third of further education colleges offering higher education courses that were reviewed this year.

The higher education watchdog, the Quality Assurance Agency, says 14 out of 45 colleges inspected received "failing judgements".

Not all of the inspection reports have been published yet.

The quality watchdog oversees the more than 200 FE colleges that are allowed to provide higher education courses.

Tens of thousands of lower-cost degree places - with fees of £7,500 or less - have been allocated to colleges rather than universities.

Youngsters find out if they have passed Kent Test and got place in grammar school

by Kent Online, October 15, 2014

Thousands of children are set to find out today if they have secured a place at one of Kent's 33 grammar schools.

Families will be able to find out whether their child has passed the new format of the eleven plus, which has been designed to make it less coachable in a bid to limit the amount of private tutoring that takes place.

Figures released by the county council indicate that this year, more children sat the test than did the previous year.

Parental opinion holds sway over university choice

by The Telegraph, October 15, 2014

They may be planning to swap home for the independent life of university, but for nearly a quarter of sixth formers, parental advice is one of the most important factors when selecting a higher education institution.
As the first UCAS deadline for Oxbridge and medical applicants looms today, research by Coventry University also suggests that one in seven students value the advice of parents over their own views.
The study suggests that a lack of advice from schools and colleges could be leading students to seek alternative opinions. Three-quarters of students admitted that they didn’t feel they had been given enough information on which to base their university decision.

Dundee University academic helps discover new form of solar cloud

by The Courier, October 15, 2014

A Dundee University academic has helped identify a new form of solar cloud by leading research into space weather.

Dr Miho Janvier collaborated with colleagues in Paris and Buenos Aires to study a new kind of magnetic cloud emanating from the sun.

The cloud is a smaller version of those caused by solar flares that produce aurora borealis.

Call for graduates to 'stay local'

by The Courier, October 15, 2014

Graduates should be offered "golden handcuff" deals to stay and work in an area after they leave university, according to a report.

It also suggests establishing campaigns to offer university leavers advice on jobs and housing and to match them with local employment prospects.

The study, published by the RSA think-tank, examines how higher education can play a bigger role in boosting the economy of local areas.

Force schools to publish number of girls taking sciences, report says

by TES, October 15, 2014

Schools should be forced to publish the number of girls that study the sciences up to and beyond GCSEs in a bid to increase the take up of the subjects, a report released today says.

The study, published by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), which lobbies on behalf of some of the biggest science bodies and universities in the country, said the progress and success of girls in the sciences should be accountable to Ofsted.

The decline in the number of girls taking the sciences has been a challenge faced by successive governments and CaSE has said it was time for the government to “put its money where its mouth is”.

Primary schools sign up for 'inspiring' talks to boost pupil aspirations

by TES, October 15, 2014

Want to know how to run the country? Primary pupils in one school will get to ask David Cameron what his job involves when he visits their classroom this term.

The prime minister, along with Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, are among high-profile figures who have signed up to visit primary schools under the new Primary Futures programme set up by heads' union the NAHT.

Other people, from MPs to illustrators, and tax inspectors to archaeologists are available to give children a glimpse into their world. It comes after the success of Speakers for Schools, an initiative founded by BBC journalist Robert Peston to provide inspirational speakers for secondary schools from industry leaders and academies.

Trojan horse schools haven’t fixed problems, says Ofsted

by The Times, October 15, 2014

Schools at the heart of the Trojan horse scandal have done little to fix problems since they were exposed, Ofsted said today, with pupils still segregated and non-Muslim pupils teaching themselves religious education.
In a letter to Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, it criticised Birmingham council leaders for failing to act in response to three in-depth investigations conducted into the city’s schools.

Repay loans to graduates who get a local job

by The Times, October 15, 2014

Graduates of big city universities who stay and work in a key sector within its local economy should have part of their student loans repaid, a prominent economist says.
Student loan bonuses should be used to encourage much higher numbers of students at civic universities to find jobs in industries with skills shortages or with growth potential, or who start their own local business.

Primary pupils to learn about work

by BBC News, October 15, 2014

Head teachers want primary school pupils to learn more about the links between learning and the world of work.

More than 1,000 schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have signed up to a project putting them in touch with local employers.

The National Association of Head Teachers says it wants to raise the aspirations of children.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says the project will "inspire children" to think about different opportunities.

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