Latest Educational News

College bans pupils from going to the toilet alone during exams to stop them cheating

by The Telegraph, January 7, 2015

A college has told its pupils they will not be allowed to go to the toilet alone or closing the cubicle door during exams in a bid to stop them cheating with their smartphones.
Solihull Sixth Form College has ordered that teenagers sitting their mock exams later this month will be accompanied by invigilators.
Students will be forced to keep cubicle doors open to stop them using phones or tablets to get the answers to questions.
Principal Paul Ashdown said the "extreme" measures were brought in after a number of students were caught with mobile phones during exams last year.

Gladiatorial culture of school rugby is too violent for small children, warns surgeon

by The Telegraph, January 7, 2015

Smaller children should not be forced to play rugby with bigger boys while those who don’t want to take part should be excused, a leading neurosurgeon has said after criticising the ‘gladitorial culture’ of school rugby.
Michael Carter, a paediatric neurosurgeon at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said too many youndsters were being injured by the boisterous sport.

New York City lifts ban on cellphones in public schools

by Guardian, January 7, 2015

The New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, is set to lift a longtime ban on cellphones in New York City public schools, fulfilling a promise he made during his 2013 mayoral campaign.

Administration officials said De Blasio planned to announce the policy change on Wednesday afternoon in a news conference at a Brooklyn school. The new policy is expected to go into effect on 2 March.

The rule requiring cellphones and electronic devices like iPads to be left at home was put in place by the former mayor Michael Bloomberg, but has never been enforced consistently.

Is a lower threshold for exclusion a good idea? Headteacher views

by Guardian, January 7, 2015

The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, has come under fire from lawyers who claim her latest guidance could result in more children being expelled from school.

Just for Kids Law has challenged Morgan’s proposals to lower the expulsion threshold. Under new statutory guidance, headteachers can remove a child from class if their conduct is deemed detrimental to the education or welfare of others in the class. The previous threshold required schools to establish that serious harm was being caused to others.

Private university gets 500 applications for £35,000-a-year medical degree

by Guardian, January 7, 2015

As the NHS struggles to retain qualified doctors in overstretched accident and emergency wards, a private university charging £150,000 for a five-year medical degree says it has been overwhelmed with applications for places from prospective students.

Buckingham University – the first private university to be granted a royal charter – will open its medical school next Monday, the first since the 1940s to be supported solely by fees.

While medical students at state universities pay £9,000 a year, those studying for a five-year MBChB degree at Buckingham will pay £35,000 annually.

School receptionists 'giving careers advice', MPs warn

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

econdary schools in England are using teaching assistants and receptionists to give pupils careers advice, MPs have warned.

The warning came as members of the Commons Education Committee questioned Education Secretary Nicky Morgan over a lack of adequate advice for youngsters.

The MPs said the minister's failure to have mandatory standards for careers advice was to blame for poor provision.

Schools must secure independent careers guidance for secondary pupils.

But the quality and suitability of this provision has been a cause of concern for some time.

First UK private medical school opens with £36,000 fees

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

The UK's first private medical school has opened, with students paying annual tuition fees of £36,000.

The first intake of 67 students is beginning this term at the University of Buckingham.

Although the medical school was expected to particularly appeal to overseas students, most of the students are from the UK.

John Clapham, the school's chief operating officer, said he was "staggered" by the demand.

Ofsted 'positive discrimination' call

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has said head teachers faced with equal candidates for a teaching post should consider "positive discrimination".

The head of the education watchdog told LBC Radio that the teaching staff of schools should reflect the ethnic diversity of their pupils.

"There needs to be a fair representation," said Sir Michael.

But the government said positive discrimination was "not permitted" under equality legislation.

Sir Michael said if the "ethnic mix" of pupils is very diverse, "it's important to have a staff which reflects that".

School collaboration could help close achievement gap

by The Telegraph, January 7, 2015

Secondary schools in England will be able to compare their performance with similar schools in an attempt to close the achievement gap between rich and poor students.
The interactive database will group schools together in “families” of 50 based on factors including prior attainment, percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals and the number of pupils with English as an additional language.

Healthy meals loophole affects millions of pupils, councils warn

by TES, January 7, 2015

A loophole that exempts thousands of schools from following new healthy food standards for school meals must be closed, town hall leaders have said.

More than two million pupils attend schools that do not have to comply with new standards designed to restrict the amount of fried or pastry-based food served to children, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

New tougher rules for school meals come into force this week, but do not apply to about 4,000 schools that became academies between September 2010 and 2014.

Schools 'escaping food standards'

by The Courier, January 7, 2015

A "loophole" which exempts thousands of academies from signing up to strict new food standards must be closed to ensure all youngsters are eating healthy school dinners, town hall chiefs have warned.

Tough new rules for school meals came into force in England this week for council-run schools, free schools, and those that convert to academy status.

Children's mental health is parents' greatest concern

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

Parents in the UK are more likely to worry about their children's mental well-being than any other health issue, suggests research.

Some 40% of 2,267 parents surveyed by Action for Children said their children's emotional well-being was a primary concern.

Among mothers, this rose to 47%, according to the charity's analysis of data collected by YouGov last year.

The charity wants more early support for families to prevent major problems.

Miliband woos youth vote with reduced tuition fees

by The Times, January 6, 2015

Labour intends to cut thousands of pounds a year from the cost of tuition fees in an attempt to secure the student vote, Ed Miliband indicated yesterday.
The Labour leader used his first speech of this year’s election campaign to vow that his party would combat voter cynicism by holding four million “doorstep conversations” across Britain.
He said that he would “offer hope, not falsehoods” as he vowed to tackle the cost of living and protect the NHS.

Charity offers subsidised housing for teachers

by The Times, January 6, 2015

A charity that sponsors schools in undesirable areas is planning to extend offers of subsidised housing to teachers to boost its recruitment.
Ormiston Academies Trust, a group of 30 primary and secondary schools, says that providing cheaper housing should make it more attractive for teachers to work in its schools. The scheme follows experiments by the trust at two schools in Grimsby and on the Isle of Wight.

Pupils’ lawyers challenge lower threshold for school exclusions

by Guardian, January 6, 2015

Many more children could be expelled from school under new guidance which comes into force this week, according to lawyers who represent pupils at appeal panels.

A child whose conduct is deemed to be merely detrimental to the education or welfare of others in class can be removed by a headteacher. The previous threshold required schools to establish that serious harm was being caused to others.

The changes have been introduced without consultation, it is claimed, and have prompted a judicial review challenge against the education secretary, Nicky Morgan.

Free school meals project hailed a success in Bristol primaries despite teething problems in first term

by Bristol Post, January 5, 2015

Free cooked lunches have been offered to children aged between four to seven in primary schools since September under the Government’s universal infant free school meals programme.

After the first term of the academic year, the city council say the take-up of hot meals has been good.

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There have been teething problems, with some building work to upgrade school kitchen and dining facilities not being completed in time.

But in those cases, meals have been cooked at other schools and transported in every day while work has been finalised.

Double act proves that two heads are better than one

by The Telegraph, January 5, 2015

Browse the websites of two of the country’s leading independent girls’ schools and you might find yourself doing a double-take: surely that’s the same head on both front pages? And, indeed, they do look similar for the simple reason that they’re identical twins.
Jenny Brown was appointed to her headship, at St Albans School for Girls, a few months before her sister, Jane Lunnon, got hers, at Wimbledon High School.

Children are captivated by science but teachers fail them, says Sir Martin Rees

by The Telegraph, January 5, 2015

Children’s enthusiasm for dinosaurs and space rockets could lead them into eminent careers if only Britain had more decent science teachers, the astronomer royal has said.
Sir Martin Rees, a cosmologist, astrophysicist and Cambridge academic, said generations of children were being failed and schools must do better.
“Today, children are captivated by science, whether it’s dinosaurs, tadpoles or space. But then that spark is often lost, rather than nourished, because many schools don’t have a single teacher who is passionate about physics or maths.

State school Grey Coat Hospital ‘offers place to Cameron’s daughter’

by The Times, January 5, 2015

David Cameron’s eldest daughter is to be offered a place at a sought-after state school within walking distance of Downing Street, it has been reported.
The Sunday Times said the prime minister and his wife, Samantha, had been told that Nancy, 10, had a place at Grey Coat Hospital in Westminster.
Should he remain in office after May, he would be the first serving Conservative premier to send a child to a state secondary school.

Universities refuse to reveal how they spend students’ £9,000 fees

by The Times, January 5, 2015

Leading universities have been accused of hiding the costs behind their £9,000 tuition fees almost four years after ministers challenged them to be more open.

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