Latest Educational News

Sats: Maths tests guidance changed after DfE gets sum wrong

by TES, November 22, 2016

Guidance comes after damning report on low staff morale and lack of oversight at Standards and Testing Agency
The government has had to re-issue its Sats guidance how to prepare for the Sats after it got a sum wrong in its original publication.

The guidance, from the Standards and Testing Agency, gives teachers a list of equipment needed by 7 and 11-year-olds taking maths tests next year.

‘The Chancellor is preparing to splash the cash in infrastructure. But what about the most important investment of all: schools’

by TES, November 22, 2016

With ministers preparing to set out their spending plans in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, they must not forget that heads and teachers are now really feeling the squeeze, writes one heads’ leader
The Chancellor is expected to announce an extra £1.3bn on improving Britain’s roads in his first autumn statement tomorrow, while the Prime Minister has already this week revealed plans for a £2bn annual fund for scientific research and development.

The clear message is that the government is investing in infrastructure and innovation to boost long-term economic growth. Few people would disagree with the notion that investment is vital to the future of the country – but what about education?

Ofsted's next chief inspector promises to listen to critics even when it 'hurts'

by TES, November 22, 2016

Amanda Spielman has pledged to listen to 'honest and constructive feedback' in her new role, even if it’s critical of her and her organisation
Amanda Spielman, who will succeed Sir Michael Wilshaw as Ofsted chief inspector in the new year, today described her new role as “the biggest leadership challenge” of her career.

Speaking at the launch of the new charity Ambition School Leadership this morning – which brings together the Future Leaders Trust and Teaching Leaders – the current chair of Ofqual said that she had learned the importance of listening to dissenting voices.

I know all about Oxford’s class problem. It starts in schools

by Guardian, November 22, 2016

I loved my time at the university, but I did feel the sting of the social divide. Instead of introducing ‘class liberation officers’, let’s encourage state school pupils to aim high
It was my first year at Oxford University and I had been arguing, somewhat moronically, that Hamlet was not one of Shakespeare’s best plays. But when the response came from the very well respected, internationally lauded don, it socked me with the force of a right hook. “Oh Alexandra, you’re not addressing a Labour meeting in Wigan now, you know,” he said with a slight laugh. I was silenced. I sat red-faced, fuming.

So when I heard that the Oxford college St Hilda’s was set to introduce a “class liberation officer” to protect working class students from bullying and patronising comments, my first thought was: “Good luck with that. Let me know how you get on with sensitising the tutors.”

Kirsty Williams backs 'most generous' UK student finance

by BBC, November 22, 2016

The biggest change to student finance in Wales in a generation has been announced by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams.
All students will get £1,000 a year before a means-tested grant to help with living costs.
But it will be less generous to those from better off families than Prof Sir Ian Diamond's suggested threshold.
Students from households earning more than £59,200 now - not £80,000 - will only be eligible for the basic £1,000.
The tuition fee grant of £5,100 will be scrapped and replaced with a maintenance grant of just over £8,000 for students from the most disadvantaged families.

Department for Education rapped by stats watchdog over 'misleading' grammar schools tweet

by Politics Home, November 22, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

The Department for Education has given its communications staff extra training after the UK's statistics watchdog criticised the department for a "misleading" tweet about grammar schools.

Earlier this month, the official Twitter feed of the DfE posted a message – since deleted – which said: “70% of white working class boys from grammars go to uni vs 54% from comprehensives. What do you think about grammars”.

Following complaints, the UK Statistics Authority wrote to the DfE to take issue with the claims made in the tweet, saying the post "was not a fair representation of the underlying statistics" on grammar schools and had not been based on comparable data.

Welsh students will be paid up to £10,000 per year to study

by iNews, November 22, 2016

Welsh university students will be paid up to £10,000 per year while they complete their degree following a huge shakeup in student finances. Students should receive the equivalent of the National Living Wage during term time while they study, independent proposals accepted by the Government state. Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has published plans setting out how the Welsh Government will overhaul higher education and student finance arrangements to implement “the most generous and progressive system anywhere in the UK”.

Graduate employability ranking: the best university for getting a job

by Guardian, November 22, 2016

Stem-focused institutions dominate the new ranking, which sees seven UK universities place in the top 50

Three UK universities are among the top 20 in the world for graduate employability, according to a new ranking by higher education think tank QS.

California’s Stanford University takes first place, while the University of Cambridge is the UK’s highest-ranking institution at number 5. The University of Oxford places at 8 and Imperial College London at 20.

A further four UK institutions make the top 50, with University College London at 24, the University of Manchester at 35, the University of Bristol at 39, and the University of Edinburgh at 50.

Poorer pupils lag by almost two years

by BBC, November 22, 2016

Poorer pupils in disadvantaged "opportunity areas", designated for extra help by the government, are lagging almost two years behind better off counterparts elsewhere in England.
A study for the Ambition School Leadership charity found deprived youngsters in these six areas were 20.1 months behind at GCSE level.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said it showed the importance of targeting support at areas that were "the most challenged when it comes to social mobility".
There have been six opportunity areas named by the government so far - Norwich, Blackpool, Derby, Oldham, Scarborough and West Somerset - with the promise of more to follow.

Five ways to help migrant children settle in your class

by Guardian, November 22, 2016

The issue of migration is rarely out of the news at the moment, but migration is nothing new to the UK. Despite having decades to ensure policy and practice helps migrant pupils settle and feel included, research shows that migrant pupils in our schools have varying experiences of education.

Migrant children will often have travelled a long way, possibly in difficult circumstances. They will probably be tackling language and cultural barriers, and then they have to get to grips with the expectations of a new teacher. So what can educators do to make this process as smooth as possible?

'A free place at boarding school can transform the life of a vulnerable child'

by TES, November 22, 2016

The leader of a national children's charity explains why her organisation is offering free boarding school places to vulnerable children who will start Year 7 in 2017
Offering a place at a boarding school to a child on a Child Protection Plan or assessed as a Child in Need may not seem the most obvious solution to his or her problems. But for the right child, at the right time, I believe very passionately that it can be exactly the right intervention. Indeed, it can be transformational.

Buttle UK, a national children’s charity, has been offering funding for vulnerable children to attend boarding school during their secondary education for over 60 years. We have found, time and time again, that the impact of boarding can completely change the direction of a child’s life. In many cases, it prevents them entering care.

'Charge parents £500 a year to boost school funds' says former adviser

by TES, November 22, 2016

Former government adviser Sir Andrew Carter says schools should raise money to improve education by encouraging private sector involvement and calling on parents to donate £500 a year
Financial contributions from parents to state schools could be the answer to funding cuts, a former government adviser has suggested.

Sir Andrew Carter, chief executive of the South Farnham Educational Trust, suggested that schools should be allowed to ask for around £500 a year from parents to fund additional facilities, to bring them into line with those provided in independent schools.

Allowing schools to attract private sector investment to make improvements would make it easier to ask for these donations, as parents could see they were getting something extra, he said.

Sir Andrew, who chaired a government-commissioned report into teacher training in 2014, added: “Remember this is a government searching for ways to fund a complicated system.”

Schools are expected to face cuts of up to 8 per cent over the next parliament, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Speaking to the press after his speech to the Girls' Schools Association (GSA) annual conference in Oxford yesterday, Sir Andrew said:

"If you have a school that is demonstrably adding value wouldn’t it be nice to legitimately be able to say right at the beginning we charge £500 a year and the pupil premium child will have that paid for them and the others have to pay.

“What every child should get for the state funding should be a first rate high quality education. But there are added things.

Geography Higher was worst ever, teachers claim

by BBC News, November 22, 2016

Geography teachers are claiming problems with courses could damage the subject.
In a submission to MSPs, their association claims that many thought this year's Higher exam was the worst ever.
Meanwhile, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society is warning the popularity of the subject could fall.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said this year's exam was set at the right level.
The SQA is facing questions from MSPs on Holyrood's education committee on Wednesday. The meeting is designed to scrutinise the organisation's budget but questions can come up on any legitimate topic.
A written submission to the committee by the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers highlights concerns some members have about Higher Geography.
classroom

Sir Lenny Henry: Education is a right for all

by BBC News, November 22, 2016

Education is not an "accident of birth" and is a right for everyone, comedian Sir Lenny Henry has said as he became a university chancellor.
In his first speech as Birmingham City University's new chancellor, Sir Lenny talked about how he grew up believing education was "not intended for the likes of me".
He did not start studying for qualifications until he was an adult.
Sir Lenny, 58, was awarded his first degree at the age of 46.
He first attempted to gain qualifications while working with comedy duo Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball in the early 1980s.
Sir Lenny, who received a knighthood last year, told an audience at Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday: "I grew up with the belief that education was not intended for the likes of me.
"It wasn't until I was doing a summer season with Cannon and Ball in 1981 that I was brave enough to embark on my GCSEs.
"It was tough going, but I got through it.
"I was 46 before I got my first degree, with the Open University, and, while a comparative latecomer to higher education - whose career hardly relied on securing a BA or an MA after my name - that experience changed my life.

Kirsty Williams to respond to Diamond student finance shake-up

by BBC News, November 22, 2016

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams will set out the Welsh Government's response later to a review which could change the face of student finance.
Prof Sir Ian Diamond made a series of recommendations, including that all students should get £1,000 a year before a means-tested grant.
Meanwhile, a grant to cover Welsh students' tuition fees would be replaced with help with living costs.
Ms Williams will give her views in the Senedd later.

Poorer pupils lag by almost two years

by BBC News, November 22, 2016

Poorer pupils in disadvantaged "opportunity areas", designated for extra help by the government, are lagging almost two years behind better off counterparts elsewhere in England.
A study for the Ambition School Leadership charity found deprived youngsters in these six areas were 20.1 months behind at GCSE level.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said it showed the importance of targeting support at areas that were "the most challenged when it comes to social mobility".
There have been six opportunity areas named by the government so far - Norwich, Blackpool, Derby, Oldham, Scarborough and West Somerset - with the promise of more to follow.
There will be £60m of extra spending to promote social mobility in these areas, such as linking schools to businesses, universities and careers advisers.
Falling behind
The study shows how far "persistently disadvantaged" pupils - who have been eligible for free school meals for four out of five years - have fallen behind in secondary school.

An 'eighth grammar school?' More expansion plans are underway

by Gloucestershire Live, November 21, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

The equivalent of an 'eighth grammar school' is set to open in Gloucestershire, with 1,000 more children in selective education by 2022.

Gloucester grammar school The Crypt wants to join other selective schools by expanding its intake.

Since 1998, the creation of new selective schools has been banned, but it seems that the county could have the equivalent of an 'eighth' grammar school, thanks to the expansion of the existing schools.

In 2022 there will be 1,000 more children in selective secondary school places than a decade earlier - prompting concerns about the impact on comprehensive schools across the county.

White working-class boys are ill served by UK education system

by The Guardian, November 21, 2016

Gaby Hinsliff spoke to a few people in Hull and thinks she now knows exactly why white working-class boys don’t get to university (Our boys need to be rescued, and it’ll take a new kind of role model, 18 November). It’s all their fault, of course, for not valuing education and “our” fault for colluding with them. She feels no shame in casually labelling physically active four-year-olds in reception as “at risk”.

As a teacher I taught lots of lovely exuberant boys – and girls – the social skills needed to learn successfully in a classroom. I also taught lots of quiet compliant children that being first at the top of the climbing frame can be fun – and useful – too.

Schools now value more the things learned while sitting still. Perhaps that’s why we have shortages of engineers and scientists who begin with practical activities and observation, before turning to theory.

Academy conversion does not improve primary Sats scores

by TES, November 21, 2016

Pupils in primary academies do no better in key stage 2 tests than comparable local authority schools, study finds
Converting primary schools into academies does not improve pupils’ scores in key stage 2 tests, a new study has found.

The report shows that pupils in primary academies do no better in key stage 2 Sats than those at comparable local authority schools.

Academics believe the research casts doubts over the government’s belief that turning schools into academies will improve results.

Researchers from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics looked at the test performance of 270 primaries, which had converted between September 2010 and April 2012.

They compared pupils’ test scores in the academic years 2006/07 to 2013/14 in these schools with a control group of schools that converted in the 2014/15 or 2015/16 academic years.

The results showed pupils enrolled in a school prior to it becoming an academy did no better in their KS2 tests than those sitting the same exams at comparable schools, “irrespective of the Ofsted grade of the school before it converted”.

Researchers found that converting had no impact on performance, despite primaries making changes to their curriculum and their performance management of teachers.

While the majority of secondary schools have become academies, only around a fifth of primary schools have.

Andrew Eyles, one of the authors of the report, said that the government’s drive to convert all schools into academies would “require the conversion of large numbers of primary schools”.

“The results cast doubt on whether further expansion of the academies programme will be beneficial to English education,” Mr Eyles said.

School budgets 'beyond breaking point', says heads' union

by TES, November 21, 2016

NAHT writes to chancellor Phillip Hammond, ahead of this week's Autumn Statement, calling for more money after interim poll finds that 69 per cent of school leaders believe their deficits will be untenable by 2020
A headteachers’ union has written to the chancellor ahead of his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, to demand more school funding, warning that school budgets are “beyond breaking point”.

The NAHT has called on Phillip Hammond to ensure that the proposed national funding formula will mean an increasing in spending and that teachers’ pay keeps pace with other professions.

The letter also presses the need for greater support for the poorest pupils in the country, and improved investment in children’s mental health.

In his letter, NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby warns that “children’s education will suffer” due to insufficient funding in schools.

“It’s getting more expensive to run schools and the government needs to recognise this, including meeting the shortfalls in funding for sixth forms, early years and for services previously provided by local authorities,” he writes.

“Many school budgets are now beyond breaking point. The chancellor needs to increase education spending or the quality of education on offer in many schools will begin to suffer.”

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