Latest Educational News

Rundown Muslim school ‘spent £1m of state funds in Pakistan’

by The Times, December 2, 2014

Up to £1 million intended for a state-funded Muslim school in Birmingham was instead used to fund a boarding school in Pakistan, according to claims being investigated by the city council.
Al-Hijrah School, one of only 14 state-funded Islamic schools in England, has a deficit of almost £900,000 and its governing body was removed after it failed an Ofsted inspection.

Immigration finds a home on GCSE syllabus

by The Times, December 2, 2014

Immigration is to find its way into the syllabus after a leading exam board announced plans for a GCSE topic on migration into Britain.
Pupils who take the history course would look at why people have migrated to Britain across centuries, their experience as minority communities and how they helped to shape the country.

School nativity plays 'pushed aside'

by BBC News, December 2, 2014

The traditional school nativity play is under pressure to modernise the story and remove religious figures, according to users of a parenting website.

Parents on Netmums have given examples of characters such as spacemen, Elvis Presley and footballers being introduced to the nativity story.

There are also claims Christmas plays are being called "winter celebrations".

Netmums co-founder Siobhan Freegard said parents were concerned Christmas traditions were being "pushed aside".

More support urged for gifted pupils

by BBC News, December 2, 2014

The most able pupils in English state schools need more help to reach their potential, says an education charity.

Too many bright 11-year-olds fail to maintain their early advantage or progress to higher education, says the Sutton Trust.

The trust wants a national support programme for able pupils to replace the "gifted and talented" programme, which ended in 2011.

The government said higher standards in all schools would benefit every child.

The charity says since the gifted and talented programme there has been "very little activity to support highly able pupils from low and middle income backgrounds in the early stages of secondary education".

New maths A-level to be delayed by a year

by BBC News, December 2, 2014

The introduction of new maths AS and A-levels will be delayed by a year until September 2017, the government says.

The move follows fears students would struggle to bridge the gap between the current GCSE and the new A-levels.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the delay would give students the benefit of having studied the new GCSE maths syllabus which starts next year.

The head teachers' union ASCL said the decision was logical but should have been made "in the first instance".

Private colleges' £5m overseas students 'funding error'

by BBC News, December 2, 2014

The public spending watchdog has warned of a lack of funding controls for overseas students at private colleges, with £5m paid to ineligible students.

The National Audit Office investigated a surge in claims for loans and grants, many from Romanian students.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has already stopped recruitment at 23 colleges.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said such funding should not go for "private gain".

She said the drive to expand the number of private colleges in higher education was not accompanied by adequate checks to protect public funds.

Parents told: use iPads to get reluctant boys to read

by The Telegraph, December 1, 2014

Parents are being told to turn to iPads and Kindles to get boys interested in reading amid fears large numbers of children are shunning books at a young age.
A report from the National Literacy Trust found that children aged three to five often read for longer and had a better grasp of vocabulary when accessing touch-screen technology.
The study found that tablet computers had a particular impact on groups that are traditionally most resistant to reading – particularly boys and infants from poor families.

Privately educated students ‘can asphyxiate society’

by The Times, December 1, 2014

Some privately educated pupils have a bullish and charmless confidence and can “asphyxiate the society they move in”, the head of a leading independent school has said.
There are downsides to the overconfidence instilled by an independent education that can repel people, according to Andrew Halls, the headmaster of King’s College School in London.

Head to offer middle-class families a bursary

by The Times, December 1, 2014

A headmaster is planning bursaries to help some of the many professional people that he says can no longer afford to send their children to his independent school.
King’s College School in Wimbledon, south London, aims to mimic Harvard in the United States, which has a sliding scale of financial help for even those families with a household income equivalent to £100,000.

Migration added to GCSE history syllabus

by Guardian, December 1, 2014

Schoolchildren studying GCSE history are to learn about 2,000 years of migration and its impact on Britain in a new syllabus unveiled on Monday.

Pupils will study the arrival of different groups of immigrants, from empire builders such as the Romans to those fleeing persecution such as the Hugenots, Jews and, most recently, Syrians. They will have to show that they understand the reasons why people migrate to the UK, the experience of being a migrant, and the impact of migrants on the UK.

Maths A-level changes delayed to allow more time to prepare

by Guardian, December 1, 2014

The government is to delay changes to A-level mathematics and further mathematics amid concerns that pupils will not be sufficiently well prepared for the new exam.

The changes will be put back a year and teaching will now start in 2017, following advice from the exams regulator Ofqual. The delay was confirmed in a letter from the school reform minister, Nick Gibb, to Ofqual’s chief regulator, Glenys Stacey.

Schools are struggling to get to grips with planned radical changes to A-levels. From next year AS-levels are being separated from A-levels, which will become two-year courses with grades decided by a final exam.

Scottish childcare costs 'a route to poverty'

by BBC News, December 1, 2014

The cost of childcare in Scotland is a "route to in-work poverty" for many parents, according to a report.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said the average cost of putting a child aged between two and five in nursery for 25 hours a week was £5,307 a year.

This represented a rise of 8.2% in the past year, it said.

CAS called on the Scottish government to help working families by ensuring affordable childcare was available across the country.

The Scottish Parliament passed legislation earlier this year to increase the amount of free childcare from 475 hours a year to 600 hours a year for three and four-year-olds, as well as for disadvantaged two-year-olds.

Student vote could swing 2015 election, suggests study

by BBC News, December 1, 2014

Students could tip the balance of power at the next general election, according to analysis of their voting patterns from 1997 to the present day.

They could affect the outcome in about 10 constituencies, the study says.

The allegiance of students vote is generally most affected by changes to student finance, says the Higher Education Policy Institute.

This time Labour could be the main beneficiary - but many students are not registered to vote, says HEPI.

'Special measures' is medieval and ineffective, says chair of governors

by TES, November 29, 2014

Being placed in ‘special measures’ by Ofsted is a “medieval” punishment that does nothing to improve school performance, according to one primary school chair of governors.

Writing in the 28 November issue of TES under the pseudonym John C Hare, the governor explains that just as education abandoned the idea that humiliation was an effective spur to learning, theories about school improvement should soon follow suit.

“Perhaps placing petty criminals in the stocks was a successful aid to medieval law enforcement, but if employed today the collateral damage would quickly be seen to outweigh the benefits,” says Hare. “And so it is with schools and Ofsted.”

Doug Lemov: 'Great teachers experience the classroom through students' eyes'

by TES, November 29, 2014

He is a cult celebrity among the teaching profession, but author and educator Doug Lemov believes the real heroes are the teachers working hard in every classroom.

In an interview in this week’s TES, the US teacher-turned-writer talks about the follow-up to his bestselling book Teach Like a Champion, and gives an insight into what he thinks makes a great teacher.

“I think that one of the things that great teachers have is that they’re constantly thinking about the experience of the classroom through their students’ eyes,” Lemov says. “One of the techniques I understand much better now than I did in the first book is ‘double plan’. What great teachers do is plan what they’ll be doing but also what their kids will be doing.”

'Snowplough' parents risk children unable to cope with failure, says head

by Guardian, November 29, 2014

“Snowplough” parents are so over-protective of their offspring that the children end up unable to deal with failure, a headteacher at a leading London all-girls school has reportedly warned.

There are parents who have such high aspirations that they are frightened of an occasion when their child may come second, Clarissa Farr, headmistress of St Paul’s girls’ school in London is said to have told a workshop at the Girls’ Schools Association conference this week.

Labour threatening the future of 'Rolls Royce' schools

by The Telegraph, November 28, 2014

Labour’s plan to penalise private schools is similar to an attack on “Rolls Royce or Bentley for making luxury cars”, an education leader has warned.
Robin Fletcher, national director of the Boarding Schools' Association, said proposals to strip the fee-paying sector of millions of pounds worth of tax breaks were “manifestly unfair”.
He suggested schools were being hit simply because they were successful institutions that provided a good level of service.

Stop using the word 'punishment' if you want to improve behaviour

by TES, November 28, 2014

If the word "punishment" pops up in your behaviour management terminology, you could be doing more harm than good, according to education guru Dr Bill Rogers.

“Most of our students are not criminals. Most challenging behaviours in schools are not crimes. We need to have a fundamental educational purpose in any behaviour consequence, which should be distinct from punishment,” says the education consultant and author of several behaviour management books.

Writing in the 28 November issue of TES, Rogers says that the use of "punishment" harks back to his own schooldays in the 1960s. “I suspect that some of my teachers thought they were running a kind of benign Château d’If,” he adds.

Teachers clocking up 'half a week' in overtime, survey reveals

by TES, November 28, 2014

Almost half of heads and a quarter of teachers are regularly clocking up over 18 hours of overtime each week, new figures reveal.

An exclusive YouGov survey for TES reveals 48 per cent of headteachers, and 26 per cent of classroom teachers, routinely work significantly more hours outside the normal school day.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said the survey “reinforces why it’s so important that we tackle excessive teacher workload”, while NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney described the findings as “deeply disturbing”. Many teachers are working "an extra half a working week" in overtime during their evenings and weekends, he added.

Family 'key to children's progress'

by The Courier, November 28, 2014

The family background of children born at the turn of the century is still the most powerful factor in determining their development in school, the latest evidence from a long-term study has suggested.

The fifth Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), published by the Institute of Education today, also found that four times as many children experienced a crucial change in their family structure by the age of 11 than 45 years ago.


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