Latest Educational News

'Grammar schools won't make it happen for the more able,' says former St Paul's head

by TES, August 8, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

A leading educationist – and former high master of a top independent school – insists that a revolution in teaching practice is needed to develop the most able students, not a return to selection at 11
Theresa May seems set on opening old wounds by reintroducing grammar schools. All the old arguments will resurface – yes, maybe they were brilliant agents for social mobility and this has slumped in the comprehensive era, and no, if you condemn 70 per cent of the school populace to sump schools you create a vehicle not for social mobility but rather a mass uprising. The one point that will not be raised is that it is perfectly possible to educate your more able students to realise their full potential without the need for grammar schools.

Grammar schools like the one I went to are good for social mobility – the public schools most politicians attend are not

by Independent, August 8, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

I get angry sometimes because I know there were children born after me whose life chances were blighted, irretrievably, by being deprived of the chances I had through the grammar school. That is just too sad to bear

Like hanging and steam engines, the whole idea of state-funded grammar schools is a distinctly atavistic cause, the enthusiasts for it usually on the right of politics, and old enough to be able, from personal experience, to want to return to a better yesterday. Like me. Leaving old trains and capital punishment to one side (I am sentimental about neither of those), I do wonder if the time might not have come for a sensible, rational discussion about secondary education for the academically gifted. Theresa May (ex-Holton Park Girls' Grammar School) and Education Secretary Justine Greening (ex-Oakwood Comprehensive School) certainly think so, if the reports are to be believed.

Universities offer 'buy-one-get-one-free' degrees

by Telegraph, August 7, 2016

Classified as General.

Elite universities are offering ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ degrees to lure in A-grade students, it has emerged, as they ramp up their efforts to attract top-flight students.

Universities hope that by offering a free master’s degree on top of a £9,000-a-year- undergraduate courses they will be able to attract the brightest students.

The new incentive followed a range of new novel ways of luring smart pupils – from free tickets to watch Premier League champions, Leicester City to free airport courses, iPads and discounted courses.

Labour and Lib Dems 'would fight grammar school plans'

by BBC, August 7, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Labour and Liberal Democrats MPs have vowed to fight any move to allow new grammar schools to be created.
Senior figures from both parties reacted to reports PM Theresa May may be considering lifting the existing ban in England to boost "social mobility", calling it a backwards step.
The Sunday Telegraph said a new wave of selective schools could be announced as soon as the Tory conference in October.

Campaigners pledge to battle "Tory plans for new grammar schools"

by Mirror, August 7, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

New selective schools could be given the green light at the Tory Party conference

Campaigners have vowed to fight fresh Tory attempts to open a wave of new grammar schools .

Opposition parties reacted with fury to claims selective education may be back on the agenda in England.

Prime Minister Theresa May is reportedly poised to scrap a ban on new selective schools being set up.

Theresa May accused of ‘incredibly backward step’ over reversal of ban on grammar schools

by Independent, August 7, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

'Selection belongs in the dustbin of history and has no place in modern society'

Theresa May will make an “incredibly backward step” if she, as reported, reverses an 18-year ban on grammar schools in Britain as part of her social mobility agenda.

It comes after the Sunday Telegraph claimed that Ms May could announce a new wave of selective schools as early as the Conservative party conference in two months’ time. The move, which would reverse Tony Blair’s 1998 ban, marks a significant shift from her predecessor and is likely to be greeted warmly by the Tory grassroots who have long campaigned on the issue.

Future of private schools 'at risk' as loyalty among parents and teachers declines

by Telegraph, August 7, 2016

Classified as General.

The future of private schools is at risk because loyalty among parents and teachers is declining, an educational expert has warned.

Charles Bonas has argued middle class families now have equally better schooling options in the state system as parents look for the ‘right, convenient, and affordable’ school.

The co-organiser of the Independent Schools Show, the world’s largest exhibition for British private schools to be held later this year, said parents are now more willing to shop around and move away from old ties.

How pushy should parents be?

by Guardian, August 6, 2016

I don’t want to be an ordinary kid,” says 10-year-old Rhea, in the TV show Child Genius. And it’s clear she’s not. She knows how to spell “eleemosynary” – the answer to the question that earned her the title of Child Genius 2016. The runner-up, nine-year-old Saffy, is also clearly not ordinary. This week, in the Channel 4 programme – essentially a show that poses graduate-level questions to mostly primary school-age children – her specialist subject was “The premiership of Margaret Thatcher: monetary policy and tax reform, 1979-1990.” Saffy wants to be prime minister.

Elite universities cut place offer by two grades for pupils from poorer backgrounds as they try to meet diversity targets

by Daily Mail, August 6, 2016

Classified as General.

Some aiming to fill a quarter of places with students whose parents don't have degrees
Parental background increasingly becoming important factor in selection
Institutions must submit their annual plans for boosting social mobility

Elite universities are lowering place offers by up to two grades for pupils whose parents have no degree as part of efforts to fulfil Government diversity targets.
Some are aiming to fill a quarter of new undergraduate places with students who are the 'first in their family to go to university' by the academic year 2019-20.

The summer school raising aspirations in disadvantaged children

by Telegraph, August 6, 2016

Classified as General.

Usman Raja still recalls when his smart new secondary school uniform provoked a lot of comment – not all of it positive – on the streets of Aston in Birmingham, where he lives. “People were pointing at me and saying: 'Is he from around here?’ ”

Aston is one of the city’s more down-at-heel areas and many of Usman’s contemporaries from the local primary hadn’t looked further than the local secondary. But he had aspirations, and was the only one in his year to win an assisted place at King Edward’s, a high-achieving independent boys’ school in Edgbaston, on the other side of city.

Michaela School head: In defence of 'lunch isolation' for pupils whose parents don't pay

by Telegraph, August 5, 2016

Classified as General.

It has been very difficult to read what people are saying about our wonderful school and its incredible staff. People who have never crossed our gates have vilified our school by suggesting that our policies are designed to punish pupils for being poor when they know nothing about our school.

I have to set the record straight, because nothing could be further from the truth.

'Young adult fiction is integral to helping students develop empathy'

by TES, August 4, 2016

Classified as General.

Professor Maria Nikolajeva, an expert on children's literature, discusses the important role played by young adult fiction in our society
What does it mean to be a young adult in the Western world today? It means wanting independence, but needing reassurance; it means strange things happening to your body and mind; it means taking risks and breaking rules. It means total chaos.

This is what young adult (YA) fiction is trying to capture. I say “trying” because it is, of course, a mission impossible: if a young person's life is a pandemonium of emotions, impressions, contradictions and indescribable mental states, how can a writer − usually an adult − possibly convey this turmoil with words and create protagonists that young people can relate to?

And yet, generations of young people have grown up sharing the joys, sorrows, fears and anxieties of fictional characters. This is possible not merely because of recognisable themes and issues, but because writers have managed, against all odds, to circumvent the impossible and employ the available artistic devices to reflect the enigmatic teenage mind.

It may be through giving Ponyboy in The Outsiders a voice to describe class conflict rather than relying on didactic preaching. Or through making Helen in Dear Nobody write letters to her unborn child and having her boyfriend Chris read and reflect upon them. Or through alternating between past and present in Postcards from No Man's Land.

Helping us to understand others
Recent studies based on brain research show that emotional engagement with fiction is not a romantic idea, but a measurable fact. Although we know that fictional characters do not exist, our brains react to their non-existing feelings, perceptions and beliefs as if they were real.

Private schools extend lead in entrants to university

by BBC, August 4, 2016

Classified as General.

Private schools extended their lead over state schools in getting pupils into England's universities after higher fees were introduced, data shows.
Government figures show 85% of private school pupils went to higher education, compared with 62% of those from state schools by the age of 19 in 2013-14.
The figures for entrance to the most selective universities were even starker at 64% and 23% respectively.
Tuition fees, funded by state-sponsored loans, had just been raised to £9,000.

Teachers are over-estimating the A Level grades of ethnic minority students by two or more grades, research finds

by Telegraph, August 4, 2016

Classified as General.

Teachers are over-estimating the A Level grades of ethnic minority students by two or more grades because they want to boost their chances of going to university, a new UCAS study has suggested.

The disclosure emerged after new data showed the proportion of applicants achieving their best three predicted grades has been declining in recent years.

It also followed pressure from ministers to hold teachers to account to get their pupils to the best universities.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls ranked first out of over 3,000 state schools in England

by Altrincham today, August 4, 2016

Classified as 11plus.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls has been ranked first out of 3,109 state schools in England in a new schools guide.

The Real Schools Guide 2016, compiled by publisher Trinity Mirror, takes 25 different sets of data into account and seeks to give a “far more comprehensive picture than traditional league tables”.

As well as exam results, other factors include value­-added scores, pupil­-teacher ratios and absence rates.

Altrincham Grammar, on Cavendish Road in Bowdon, achieves an overall rating of 93.9 out of 100, with separate five-star ratings for attainment, teaching, attendance and outcomes.

Tim Farron pledges to block any Tory attempt to create grammar schools

by The Guardian, August 3, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Party leader says it is likely Lib Dem peers would have sufficient crossbench support to see off any effort to overturn 1998 law

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has promised that his party will seek to block any government attempt to create new grammar schools, arguing that these are “not the drivers of social mobility” their proponents claim.

Amid speculation that Theresa May’s government might attempt to overturn a 1998 law preventing new grammar schools in England, Farron pledged that Lib Dem peers would block any such attempt in the Lords.

'Losing my maintenance grant means £80,000 of debt. It's daunting'

by The Guardian, August 3, 2016

How will UK students cope now that living costs are no longer covered by grants? Guardian readers share their thoughts

As of 1 August, the government’s maintenance grants for poorer students – worth up to £3,500 a year – have been replaced with additional loans. We asked prospective students and current undergraduates about how the change could affect their studies and future plans.

Fall in state-school university entrants since tuition fees hit £9,000

by The Guardian, August 3, 2016

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner says government ‘slamming the doors’ on talented students on low incomes

The government is facing calls for an urgent review of student financing after official figures showed that the number of state school pupils going on to higher education had dropped the year tuition fees soared to £9,000.

A report by the Department for Education showed that the percentage of state-educated pupils going on to universities and colleges in 2013/14 fell to 62%, from 66% in the previous year.

Child Genius: 10-year-old Rhea named winner after mother's intervention

by BBC, August 3, 2016

Ten-year-old Rhea has been named Child Genius 2016 after her mother intervened to dispute one of the answers in the Channel 4 show's final.
The west London schoolgirl beat nine-year-old Saffy by spelling the word "eleemosynary", meaning charitable.
Rhea got through to the head-to-head after her mother contested an incorrect answer during her earlier specialist round about Florence Nightingale.
Independent adjudicator Olivia van der Werff later ruled it was acceptable.

Outstanding schools take too few poor pupils, study says

by BBC, August 3, 2016

Classified as General.

Poor children in England are less likely to attend the best schools, even if they live nearby, suggests a new analysis of official figures.
The Schooldash blog compared the proportion of poor pupils in every school in England with the proportion in their local areas.
Poor pupils were notably under-represented at schools rated outstanding by Ofsted, says the report.
The government says all pupils deserve a world-class education.
The bloggers looked at the proportion of pupils on free school meals in every mainstream state school in England at both primary and secondary level.