Latest Educational News

Conservatives plan to pay students up to £15,000 to take maths and physics degrees

by The Independent, March 11, 2015

Classified as General.

Students who opt for mathematics or physics degrees could be given £15,000 towards their university costs if they become teachers under Conservative plans to be set out today by David Cameron.

The Prime Minister will call for a drive to transform teaching in the two subjects as the number of employees in science and engineering companies continues to grow in Britain.

Under the plans, high-performing A-level students will be eligible for a bursary to help cover their student costs while they study maths or physics.

Teenagers offered £15,000 to become maths and science teachers

by TES Connect, March 11, 2015

Classified as General.

A-level maths and science students will be given up to £15,000 if they agree to become teachers after graduating from university, prime minister David Cameron has announced.

Under new government plans, high-performing teenagers will be given grants towards their university costs if they agree to spend at least three years as a teacher once they have graduated.

The move is part of a £67 million package of measures designed to bring an extra 17,500 maths and physics teachers into the classroom. It comes after Ofsted warned in December that a shortage of new teachers was a “pressing” problem, and that the shortfall in maths and physics was particularly acute.

Teaching revealed as top career choice for teenagers

by The Telegraph, March 10, 2015

Classified as General.

Education has been revealed as the career path of choice for UK teenagers, despite Department for Education figures which suggest that one in four newly qualified teachers leave the profession within the first five years.

According to the new study by the Edge Foundation, 12 per cent of 14 to 18-year-olds name teaching or lecturing as their ideal job, beating finance, real estate, and entertainment to the top spot.

It comes as more than 2,000 teacher training places were left unfilled last year, with head teachers’ leaders warning of a “major shortage” in the industry.

Funding cuts could hit teaching hours for college students, report claims

by TES Connect, March 10, 2015

Classified as General.

Sixth-form students in England could be taught for just 15 hours a week from next year because of funding cuts, a new report claims.

The report, Costing the sixth-form curriculum, published by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), looks at the true cost of providing a post-16 curriculum.

It says sixth form colleges reduced the teaching workforce by 13 per cent between 2010 and 2012, while seeing an increase in students of 1.5 per cent.

Since 2010, teacher contact time has increased, while teacher salaries have remained static and class sizes have increased.

Boarding school that cost £29,000 a year goes free

by The Times, March 10, 2015

Classified as General.

An independent boarding school with fees of almost £29,000 a year is among 49 new free schools announced by David Cameron yesterday.

The Royal School Wolverhampton, whose alumni include the Monty Python member Eric Idle, will scrap its fees and be funded as a state school from September.

Grammar schools can expand, says David Cameron

by The Telegraph, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools should be able to expand if there is demand from parents, David Cameron has said.
The Prime Minister spoke out amid claims that a decision over whether to open Britain’s first ‘new’ grammar school in 50 years has been shelved until after the election..
The proposal for an ‘annexe’ to an existing grammar school in Sevenoaks, Kent, is currently being considered by the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.
She is awaiting legal advice and has been expected to rule on the matter before the election.
However, Mr Cameron said he said existing grammar schools should be allowed to expand.

Should the free schools programme be extended?

by The Guardian, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

The prime minister’s announcement that, if re-elected, he will open 500 new free schools in the next five years, has catapulted this dismal policy initiative back into the headlines. Most commentators had assumed that David Cameron would keep quiet about free schools because it is generally acknowledged that they’ve been a bit of a disaster and one of things that contributed towards the previous education secretary, Michael Gove, being sacked.

Indeed, most publicity around free schools has been negative; last year, it was revealed that Ofsted failed free schools at a much higher rate than other types of school. Possibly the most high-profile of these was the Al-Madinah free school, which was closed because Ofsted called it “chaotic, dysfunctional and inadequate”; this school also raised concerns that the free school movement was nurturing religious and social segregation. Roughly a third of them of them are “faith-based”.

Teaching revealed as top career choice for teenagers

by The Telegraph, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Education has been revealed as the career path of choice for UK teenagers, despite Department for Education figures which suggest that one in four newly qualified teachers leave the profession within the first five years.
According to the new study by the Edge Foundation, 12 per cent of 14 to 18-year-olds name teaching or lecturing as their ideal job, beating finance, real estate, and entertainment to the top spot.
It comes as more than 2,000 teacher training places were left unfilled last year, with head teachers’ leaders warning of a “major shortage” in the industry.
The research found that, of the 1,100 teenagers surveyed, only 2.6 per cent wanted to enter the real estate sector. Water supply and waste management didn't fare much better, with only 2.7 per cent saying this was their preferred career.
Construction also featured low on the list, with only 5.3 per cent of young people considering this sector, prompting renewed concerns that not enough school leavers are entering the industry to plug the shortage in skilled workers.

Teaching homeless people gives photography students a new perspective

by The Guardian, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

“I live with my parents in a three-bedroom house in a nice area, so compared to what these guys have been through, I’m a freakin’ princess,” says Robyn Slator, 21, a digital photography student who spent much of last year teaching homeless people to take pictures.

For fellow student Sam Goodridge, 20, one of the current teachers, it’s been eye-opening. “I come from Surrey where it’s mainly middle class white people, so it’s nice to see what the other half get up to, and make friends.”

They’re part of a project where university students have been sharing their creative skills with homeless men living in a YMCA hostel in north London. The hostel residents, who are also benefitting from the involvement of a professional photographer, say they are discovering their own creativity and developing job skills.

“Initially, I liked that it got me involved in something outside the YMCA,” says Stuart Moore (not his real name), 31, a hostel resident and workshop participant.

“But having taken part for a number for weeks now, I’ve enjoyed learning more about photography and the technical aspects of the camera itself. And it’s been good to get to know my fellow residents a little better.”

Cambridge students getting firsts more than double in 50 years

by The Independent, March 10, 2015

Classified as General.

The proportion of Cambridge undergraduates getting first class degrees has more than doubled in the last 50 years, according to a new analysis which highlights concerns over “grade inflation.”

The study, which will fuel fears of falling standards in Britain’s higher education system, reveals the proportion of first class degrees handed out by the university each year has risen from 10 per cent in 1960 to 24 per cent in 2014.

And recent years have seen a growing gulf between the arts and sciences, with the growth in first class degrees “most marked” in the arts between 2000 and 2014, rising from 17 to 30 per cent of students.

Ofsted finds authorities wanting on child social care

by BBC News, March 10, 2015

Classified as General.

Child social care is "inadequate" or "requires improvement" in three-quarters of the local authorities in England inspected by Ofsted last year.

Ofsted made more than 5,000 inspections of children's homes and other social-care provisions run by 43 councils.

The watchdog says demand for children's services has been rising continually for the past seven years.

Local authorities called for better funding for children's services but also raised concerns about Ofsted.

'Teacher-led commission' on levels will contain no classroom teachers

by TES Connect, March 10, 2015

Concerns have been raised that a "teacher-led" commission set up to help schools move away from national levels used to assess pupils does not include any classroom teachers.

The Department for Education today unveiled the members of the panel, but faced criticism from unions over the lack of front-line teaching staff.

The commission will be led by John McIntosh CBE, a former headmaster of the London Oratory School, and has been created to identify and share best practice in assessment in primary and secondary schools across the country.

But there is concern about the lack of teacher input to the commission.

A nod towards ‘character education’ is welcome – just don’t start measuring it

by The Guardian, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

What is character education? Now is a good time to ask. The shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, has been talking about it for the last year and the Department for Education has announced a character innovation fund, which makes character “awards” to schools and other bodies.

This idea could appear to be verging on parody, but I think we should take it in good faith if it demonstrates a growing recognition that children cannot live by drilling and exams results alone, and that fostering good social and emotional development is far from a wishy-washy “Blob”-like pursuit.

There is nothing new in this. The state school my sons went to, where I now chair the governing body, was one of a number founded by a 19th-century social reformer called William Ellis, who pioneered education for good character. Ellis wanted to offer children a broad academic education, the ability to learn independently and the motivation to be happy, useful members of society who could mix intelligence and application with “sympathy, kindliness and humility” – ideas that still preoccupy us today.

Parents can boost preschool children's progress by five months, toolkit reveals

by TES Connect, March 10, 2015

Classified as General.

Children whose parents take an active interest in their education from an early age are likely to make more progress than their peers, according to a new report.

An early years toolkit published today by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) reveals that a child's progress can be boosted by five months over a year if their parents get involved in their education – by reading and talking with them at home, for example.

The toolkit analyses evidence about methods of boosting achievement among young children in a bid to help nurseries and preschools improve the learning of disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds.

Teachers' pay dispute sparks coalition row say Lib Dems

by BBC News, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

The Liberal Democrats say they and the Conservatives are involved in a dispute over proposed pay rises for teachers.

The Lib Dems argue that schools should have flexibility to offer individual teachers a rise of up to 2% next year.

Party sources said their partners were refusing to accept the recommendations of an independent review endorsing an increase and a settlement could be delayed until after May's election.

But a Tory spokesperson said there was no coalition disagreement on the issue.

Details of the majority of public sector pay reviews, including for the military, doctors and the prison service, could be published as early as this week.

But the Lib Dems say there is a dispute over recommendations for the main rates of pay for teachers proposed by the School Teachers Review Body (STRB).

How can we improve schools? It’s simple. Leave it to teachers

by The Guardian, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

The English school system is not underachieving. Among its 23,000 schools are examples of excellence to compare with any in the world – and standards today are incomparably higher than 40 years ago. A far wider section of society now benefits from a good education than would have been true in the immediate postwar period. As acknowledged in the 2014 report from the chief inspector of schools, there is much to applaud.

Unfortunately the success of the majority is not the complete picture. If most children succeed in realising their potential, some do not. If most schools continue to improve, a minority appear stuck in mediocrity. What is especially worrying is that the underperformance of children has a tendency to affect specific groups, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Explanations offered for this rarely survive close examination.

Free schools teach the tories a valuable lesson

by The Telegraph, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Free schools have been one of the most innovative and successful of the Coalition’s policies. In truth, they are really a Conservative initiative: the Lib Dems have never warmed to them. Most of all, they are the legacy of Michael Gove, who as Education Secretary fought tooth and nail against the profession’s sectional interests to get the scheme going.
There are now just over 400 free schools either opened or approved across England and David Cameron has announced plans for a further 500 if the Tories win the election in May. Were this to happen, more than 500,000 children would be attending these state-funded but self-standing establishments by 2020. This can only be good for parents and pupils, especially those living in areas where schools have been found wanting.

Fixing our schools: 'it's not the policy, it's the people'

by The Telegraph, March 10, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

There is an election coming and education is bound to be a key issue because there are still too many schools where students aren’t doing well enough. We’ll have to spend the next few months listening to prospective Education Secretaries explain how they will fix this. But the truth is we don’t need more policy: we need a revolution. And it has already started, quietly.
This ‘Quiet Revolution’ is how school improvement really works. It’s not about top-down decisions made in Westminster; it’s about exceptional school leaders and great teachers transforming their schools through hard work and expertise.
Over the past decades successive governments have used policy to reconfigure curricula, tighten accountability and shake up governance. I’ve worked in the Department for Education alongside the people who made some of these changes and, without a doubt, they are genuinely motivated by the desire to make a positive change.

Free schools have mixed effect on nearby schools, research shows

by TES Connect, March 9, 2015

Classified as General.

Free schools lead to a decline in standards among nearby high-performing schools, but boost attainment among their poorest-performing neighbours, research shows.

The study, published by the right-leaning thinktank Policy Exchange, claims that competition leads to “substantial” gains at both primary and secondary level, and argues that the policy is most effective in areas where there are surplus school places.

The controversial paper also says the opening of free schools should not be limited to parts of the country that are facing the greatest pressure on school places.

Free schools: David Cameron pledges 500 more by 2020

by BBC News, March 9, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

At least a further 500 free schools would be opened in England in the next five years under a Conservative government, David Cameron has pledged.

He committed his party to creating an extra 270,000 school places in free schools, if re-elected, by 2020.

The prime minister says these state-funded, start-up schools are "raising standards and restoring discipline".

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt says free schools lead to school places where they are not needed.

Speaking in west London, Mr Cameron announced that 49 more free schools had been approved and promised a further expansion if re-elected in May's general election.

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