Latest Educational News

Gove’s changes lead to fall in GCSE English pass rates

by The Times, August 22, 2014

Results for GCSE English suffered their biggest fall in more than 20 years yesterday after a tougher marking regime came into force.
While pass rates in English dropped, those for maths, previously the most popular subject for early entry and resits, were significantly higher. Overall, the pass rate for all GCSE subjects was slightly up, with a marginal drop in A* grades and no change in awards of A grades.

GCSE results, Ofsted warning for superhead and back-to-school fever

by Guardian, August 22, 2014

GCSE results. Figures show an overall increase in GCSE pass rates. The number of students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland getting a C grade or higher rose by 0.7 percentage points to 68.8%.

Maths. The proportion of teenagers getting at least a grade C in maths rose by almost five percentage points, to 62.4% this year. More students also got the top grades.

GCSE results: pain for pupils as ghost of Gove haunts grades

by Guardian, August 22, 2014

The proportion of pupils getting at least grade C in English fell markedly on Thursday as 500,000 pupils received their results for the first time since Michael Gove overhauled GCSEs to make them more rigorous.

Overall the pass rate in English fell by almost two percentage points – from 63.6% in 2013 to 61.7% – but some schools saw their success rates at English collapsing by as much as 20 percentage points, leading one teachers' leader to brand the outcome "a disgrace".

Scottish independence: Councils bar 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns from schools

by BBC News, August 22, 2014

he official referendum campaigns are being barred from the majority of schools in Scotland ahead of polling day, BBC research has found.

Twenty-seven of the country's 32 councils will restrict access to Yes Scotland and Better Together.

However, most councils said pupils would be able to talk about the referendum in school.

Exam candidates forget basic grammar

by The Times, August 21, 2014

Teenagers were so enthusiastic during GCSE exams this year that some dispensed with punctuation altogether, in addition to having abandoned good grammar and spelling.
Some candidates’ work bore more resemblance to James Joyce in full stream-of-consciousness flow than a concise exam answer. Examiners from the OCR board complained that in one English literature paper, several candidates had presented a one-paragraph answer that ran to three pages.

Boys expected to narrow the gap at GCSE as English grades fall

by The Times, August 21, 2014

Parents are braced for sharp falls in their children’s GCSE English exam results after a warning from head teachers last night. English pass rates at some schools were said to have dropped by 18 or 20 points compared with their results last year.
This summer is the first time that teenagers sat all written GCSE exams at the end of the course, rather than after each module.

'The arrogant refusal to listen to warnings from school leaders about rushed GCSE reform is a disgrace'

by TES, August 21, 2014

Recent years have seen an ever increasing amount of speculation ahead of the publication of GCSE results. This year more than ever before, there were grounds for this. This is the year in which all GCSE examinations have become linear. We have also had the removal of speaking and listening assessments from the GCSE English and English language grades, and the geography GCSE has been ‘strengthened’ by Ofqual. There has been a substantial increase in the number of entries for iGCSE in English and maths, and fewer students were entered early for exams, meaning that the student cohort will look different from previous years. The outcome of all of these changes is the kind of ‘volatility’ that Ofqual forecast in the unprecedented but informative letter it sent to schools in June.

GCSE results: Spanish to become 'dominant' language in schools

by TES, August 21, 2014

Spanish will soon become the most commonly-taught foreign language in UK schools, the head of one of the country’s biggest exam boards has said.

The prediction by Andrew Hall, chief of executive of AQA, comes after the subject bucked the national drop in GCSEs taken this summer to record a record number of entries.

While French and German declined in line with the overall cohort, there were 93,028 Spanish entries, up almost 2,000 from last year and more than 20,000 from 2012.

GCSE results: more A*-C grades awarded but English pass rate falls

by Guardian, August 21, 2014

Ministers glossed over a marked drop in the proportion of pupils passing English on Thursday as they welcomed figures showing an overall increase in the GCSE pass rate.

Nick Gibb, the schools minster, said the rise in the number of pupils from England, Wales and Northern Ireland getting a C grade or higher – up 0.7 percentage points to 68.8% – was a tribute to coalition changes that mean more pupils were taking their exams "at the right time".

GCSEs at school of last resort: no grins, just pride and KFC for star pupil

by Guardian, August 21, 2014

Kai Coates was five when he was excluded from his first school. He spent a year and a half at home with his mum and then, aged seven, was sent to a boarding school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. He did not thrive, and was diagnosed with autism, Asperger's and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Another residential institution followed. He didn't like it. After refusing to go to school two years ago, he was sent to Roman Fields pupil referral unit in Hemel Hempstead, a school of last resort for children no one else will teach. A few months in, he was taken into care, to live with foster parents Penny and Winston Shakespeare, in Luton.

GCSE results tipped to improve but schools reliant on resits may suffer

by Guardian, August 21, 2014

Schools with a challenging intake are likely to fare particularly badly on Thursday when 500,000 pupils receive the results of GCSEs taken for the first time under reforms championed by Michael Gove, a leading academic has said.

Professor Alan Smithers said Gove's decision to force pupils to take all the exams at the end of their course, instead of letting them sit exams for some course units early, would disadvantage those schools that relied on resits to push pupils over the crucial grade C barrier.

GCSE results: how good is your spelling?

by Guardian, August 21, 2014

Last week we tested whether your vocabulary would impress an A-level examiner. Spelling correctly is crucial if you do not want to needlessly drop marks. See how you would fare if deploying these terms on a GCSE paper

GCSE results: English pass rate drops for first time in 20 years

by Guardian, August 21, 2014

The pass rate for students sitting GCSE English has fallen for the first time in 20 years, after the removal of the "speaking and listening" element of the exam.

The proportion of A*-C grades awarded to pupils taking the subject dropped by 1.9 percentage points to 61.7%, though slightly more students got the top grades.

But in maths grades rose across the board, with more students getting the vital C grade (up 4.8 percentage points). A greater proportion of students also gained A*s and As – up 0.9 and 0.5 percentage points respectively.

How important are GCSE grades when applying to university?

by Guardian, August 21, 2014

Each year, as results day approaches, so too do reports that admissions tutors are using GCSE grades (or their equivalent) as a cut off point to cherry-pick the best applicants.

Not all institutions currently do so, but plans to decouple AS-levels from A-levels – meaning sixth formers may not sit AS exams at the end of year 12 – could cause GCSEs to carry more weight in future years.

GCSE grades rise, but sharp fall in English

by BBC News, August 21, 2014

There has been a sharp fall in English GCSE grades, but on average across all GCSE subjects this year's results show a rise in A* to C grades.

Hundreds of thousands of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been receiving their GCSE results.

Exam officials revealed that 68.8% of entries scored A*-C, up 0.7 percentage points on last summer.

There have been warnings of "volatility" in results following an overhaul of the exam system.

Free-meal schools may have too many mouths to feed

by The Times, August 20, 2014

Schools being forced to install kitchens to provide free school meals for infants could find themselves unable to cope in a few years, experts have warned.
A booming pre-school population in England will put the new facilities under strain almost immediately in some areas, as schools could be forced to create extra classes.

Norfolk schools tip-off claims: Ofsted to investigate

by BBC News, August 20, 2014

Ofsted is to investigate claims three schools in Norfolk had advance warning of inspections.

It follows a report in The Observer that academy schools in Norwich, Thetford and Great Yarmouth were given more than the usual half-day notice.

Ofsted said it would review the three specific inspections and, if necessary, take the "strongest possible action".

Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of Ofsted, said: "I am determined to protect our integrity in this area."

Hundreds of children taught in classrooms with over 70 pupils

by Telegraph, August 18, 2014

Hundreds of children are being taught in classes with more than 70 pupils amid a growing crisis over primary school places, according to official figures.
Rising immigration and a baby boom has seen the number of children in classes with more than 30 pupils treble to 93,665 over the past four years.
Figures obtained by Labour from the Department for Education reveal that six primary schools have classes with just one teacher to 70 children, while nearly 100 have classes with at least 50 pupils

Must try harder: Ofsted fails elementary spelling test

by The Times, August 18, 2014

As the guardian of England’s education standards, Ofsted has the power to make or break the careers of teachers. However, the spelling of some of its inspectors is less than perfect.
Some of the misspelt words found in inspection reports have included “knifes”, and “scool”, while there was also misuse of “it’s”, and confusion over “pedalling” and “peddling”.

‘Make after-school clubs compulsory’

by The Times, August 18, 2014

Children in schools serving poor communities should be forced to stay on after lessons to take part in clubs or play in sports teams, a report says.
A longer school day will raise standards only if head teachers make activities compulsory for their pupils, a study by the think-tank Policy Exchange concluded.

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