Latest Educational News

Individual children's details passed to Home Office for immigration purposes

by The Guardian, October 12, 2016

Details of individual children on the national pupil database in England and Wales were passed to the Home Office for immigration purposes 18 times in four years, the Department for Education has disclosed.

The revelation was made in a freedom of information response and comes as the Department for Education is trying to reassure parents in England and Wales that new school census questions asking them to list their children’s nationality and country of birth, sent out in the last few weeks, will not be passed to immigration enforcement teams.

The individual details of children’s schools and home addresses were supplied in response to requests from the Home Office’s absconder tracing team looking for parents who had disappeared after being told they faced deportation or trying to find unaccompanied child asylum seekers who have gone missing.

Welsh education ranked bottom among home nations

by BBC News, October 12, 2016

The education system in Wales is lagging behind the rest of the home nations, according to an EU study.
The findings are based on the number of people who finish secondary education, pursue further education, or leave school early.
Wales is in the bottom five percent of EU regions for the number of 12 to 18-year olds in post-secondary education.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We have a range of reforms and policies in place to continue to raise standards."
"This year's summer GCSE results showed the gap between England and Wales has closed."
"We will build on this progress, learning from the best practice from around the world to continue to raise standards in our schools."
The study scored EU regions from 0-100 for various aspects of social progress including health, safety, access to education and personal rights.
Wales scored 59.91 for access to basic knowledge, compared to 67.51 for Scotland, 67.33 for Northern Ireland, and 63.44 for England.

Primary pupils travel the world using virtual reality

by BBC News, October 12, 2016

Google is testing virtual-reality technology with the help of some tough critics: primary schoolchildren
When two classes of Year 3 students gathered in their school hall on Tuesday morning, they didn't expect their teachers to tell them they were about to travel to Barcelona.

Or that the next stop would be Madrid. And then the Great Wall of China. And then a shark cage under the sea.

These pupils, from Henwick Primary School in Greenwich, were taking part in a session to showcase the free Google Expeditions app, which uses an ordinary smartphone and the Google Cardboard device to create virtual-reality (VR) learning experiences.

Google Cardboard is a cardboard viewer that was designed to be a low-cost platform for engaging with VR apps, such as Google Expeditions – which provides students with a 360-degree view of a location.

Led by their teacher, and while wearing their viewer, students can look around images of locations including the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal and the Great Barrier Reef.

Though this is an exciting prospect, the options for how you might practically use the app in class are fairly limited at present.

“I think it would work as a starter activity to get children talking – in the same way as we would use an image or a video clip,” said Claire Lotriet, assistant head at Henwick Primary School and ed tech blogger for TES.

“The way we do topics is we do them as ‘learning journeys’, so this would really lend itself to that.”

Failing academies 'not being taken over fast enough'

by BBC News, October 12, 2016

Failing academies are not being helped to improve fast enough in England by the government officials overseeing them, a committee of MPs has heard.
Just 84 of the 277 academies rated as inadequate between 2010 and 2015, had been found new academy sponsors, the Commons Education Committee heard.
Ian Mearns MP also said the oversight of failing academies was "not working".
The government says failing academies face swifter action than struggling schools linked to local authorities.
Regional school commissioner for East Midlands and the Humber Janet Bexon Smith told the committee: "Re-brokerage does sometimes take time, and that is about finding the right match.
"We have got to persuade another trust to take on a school that has already been brokered once [converted to academy status].
"And we often find they will look at it, they have to do their due diligence, and say, 'It is too broken, we would not be able to take it on,'" she said.
Another school commissioner, Rebecca Clark, who oversees the academies programme in the South West, told the committee the need to get new potential academy sponsors on board was a "very real priority" for her and her colleagues.
"Five to 10 to 15 years from now, we should have a system where we can catch schools before they go into decline," she said.

How do you get into Oxford University? Answer questions like this: What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?

by Telegraph, October 12, 2016

Oxford University released on Wednesday a set of sample interview questions, and answers, in an attempt to debunk "myths” surrounding the process as the application deadline looms.

The prestigious university has released its annual sample of questions as part of a continuing bid to demystify its admissions process.

Why do older siblings do better on IQ tests than their younger counterparts? What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone? These are among the questions that candidates may face in an Oxford interview.

Protection for at-risk children 'unsatisfactory'

by BBC, October 12, 2016

Government attempts to improve protection for at-risk children in England have been criticised by the National Audit Office.
The spending watchdog says help for at-risk children is "unsatisfactory and inconsistent".
It urges the Department for Education (DfE) to "show a sense of urgency and determination" in delivering change by a promised target date of 2020.
The DfE says children's safety is an "absolute priority" for government.

Grammar schools are unfair. Principled parents must refuse to encourage them

by Guardian, October 12, 2016

When my son was six months old, I agreed to move to Gloucestershire. It’s lovely here in the Stroud Valleys – or it is until your child reaches the second half of primary school, and everyday chats about school stuff with friends suddenly start to veer off into shamefaced mumbles about tutoring, and how if Charlie or Clara want to take the 11-plus with their mates, “then who are we to stop them?”

You’re their parents, who make a heap of choices about your children’s lives based on your political beliefs, is my answer. So why crumble now?

Schools not preparing children to succeed in an AI future, MPs warn

by Guardian, October 12, 2016

Cross-party report suggests the education system must be adapted to “focus on things that machines will be less good at for longer”

Schools are not preparing children to succeed in a world where intelligent robots have transformed the workforce, MPs have warned.

A report by the cross-party Science and Technology Committee suggests that the education system should be adapted to “focus on things that machines will be less good at for longer,” rather than skills that are rapidly becoming obsolete.

The problem of perfectionism: five tips to help your students

by The Guardian, October 12, 2016

Striving for perfection doesn’t only make young people unhappy – it also affects their development. Here are some ways to get your pupils to think differently

We’ve all felt it: the desire to be perfect. Teenagers seem to experience this more keenly than most, seeking an imagined ideal in their looks, social status, friendship group or achievements.

Is China’s gaokao the world’s toughest school exam?

by Guardian, October 12, 2016

For two days in early June every year, China comes to a standstill as high school students who are about to graduate take their college entrance exams. Literally the “higher examination”, the gaokao is a national event on a par with a public holiday, but much less fun. Construction work is halted near examination halls, so as not to disturb the students, and traffic is diverted. Ambulances are on call outside in case of nervous collapses, and police cars patrol to keep the streets quiet. Radio talkshow hosts discuss the format and questions in painstaking detail, and when the results come out, the top scorers are feted nationally. A high or low mark determines life opportunities and earning potential. That score is the most important number of any Chinese child’s life, the culmination of years of schooling, memorisation and constant stress.

One in 10 Primary one pupils 'overweight or obese'

by BBC, October 12, 2016

More than one in 10 children in Scotland have started primary school overweight or obese since 2005, a study by Cancer Research UK shows.
It said almost 83,000 four to five-year-olds entered P1 carrying excess weight between 2005-2006 and 2014-2015.
The charity warned obesity could become a "crippling burden on society and the NHS" if action was not taken.
The Scottish government said it encouraged people to be more active, eat less and eat better.

Our obsession with hierarchy means primary schools often struggle to be heard

by Telegraph, October 11, 2016

When we consider our nation’s peculiar obsession with hierarchy, and the social stratification of society, it is not surprising that the same malaise of looking at everything from top down affects education as well.

Whether it be our obsession with Oxbridge or the opinions of a small group of elite senior schools, the views of the various sectors of our education system are often seen in inverse proportion to their representation of the country as a whole.

It is hardly their fault that influence and views are more often courted from the most selective and the least broad church of schools, whose tradition and history gives them a national voice, while whole areas of education remain mute. It is, after all, no different than happens elsewhere.

‘I keep hearing of new teachers being used as cannon fodder – it has to stop’

by TES, October 11, 2016

Heads and ministers alike need to understand that educational standards will not rise if we have an under-trained, overworked and hollowed-out teacher workforce, writes one union leader
"How can we stop young teachers being used as cannon fodder?"

This was the question put to me recently by a young man who is in his third year of teaching. He told me about the excessive demands being placed on beginning teachers – being asked to take on responsibilities for which they have neither the experience nor training.

I am hearing more and more tales, told by teachers setting out on their careers, about the weight of responsibilities being placed on their shoulders right at the start of their career when, quite frankly, they have more than enough to do planning lessons, developing their teaching and assessing their pupils’ work.

South London state school to be stripped of management

by Guardian, October 11, 2016

Durand academy school, which charged pupils to use its own swimming pool, told funding will be ended after ‘breaches’

A state school in south London lauded by politicians is likely to be stripped of its management after refusing to repay £2m in government funds and charging pupils to use its own swimming pool through a tangled network of payments and companies.

We can't afford to not educate girls, Michelle Obama tells pupils

by BT News, October 11, 2016

The world cannot afford not to educate girls, Michelle Obama has said, as she credited education with putting her in the position she holds today.

The world cannot afford not to educate girls, Michelle Obama has said, as she credited education with putting her in the position she holds today.

The First Lady was speaking during a Skype conversation with young females around the world to mark International Day of the Girl.

Mrs Obama has been a strong advocate of education rights for women, having launched the Let Girls Learn initiative aiming to help more than 62 million girls not in school across the globe.

Rank schools by pupil wellbeing to tackle mental health 'crisis', says former leading head

by Telegraph, October 11, 2016

The Government must introduce a wellbeing league table for schools, in order to tackle the current mental health “crisis” in young people, a former leading head teacher has said.

Speaking to the Telegraph at the Tatler Schools Live conference, Sir Anthony Seldon, former Master of Wellington College, said that the Government was being “criminally negligent” in its failure to take wellbeing seriously.

Sir Anthony, who is currently vice-chancellor at the University of Buckingham, argued that schools which prioritise wellbeing help students to "perform better” academically compared with schools that are simply “exam factories".

Plan for summer-born children to start school a year later delayed by fears their parents might play the system at best schools

by Telegraph, October 11, 2016

A plan to allow summer-born children to start school a year later has been held up by worries it will give unfair advantages to parents to win places at popular schools.

The Government last year said it would changed the rules to allow children born between April 1 and August 31 to start primary school a year later.

This was to stop these so-called summer born children from feeling left behind in class because they are not as emotionally mature or developed as their peers.

Huge increase in number of graduates 'bad for UK economy'

by Guardian, October 11, 2016

Mismatch of skills and labour market as university education keeps growing is bad for students and employers, suggests CIPD

The government is being urged to end the political drive to get more people into university after new research showed that graduates are “colonising” jobs in banking, education, the police and estate agency that were the preserve of school-leavers in the past.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – which represents people working in human resources – said the all-party consensus to get more young people into higher education was no longer justified given student debt and the careers many ended up pursuing.

Long hours and low pay: why England’s teachers face burnout

by Guardian, October 11, 2016

Peter Sellen, author of a report on teacher workload, explores how the hours worked by teachers compare internationally – and why policy makers must act

For years teachers have warned that their workloads are unsustainable. Many say their mental health has suffered as a result of work pressures, while others cite workload as a reason for leaving the profession. So far, politicians have done little to tackle the issue. Our analysis, published this week, provides yet further evidence that policymakers must act.

South London state school to be stripped of management

by Guardian, October 11, 2016

Durand academy school, which charged pupils to use its own swimming pool, told funding will be ended after ‘breaches’

A state school in south London lauded by politicians is likely to be stripped of its management after refusing to repay £2m in government funds and charging pupils to use its own swimming pool through a tangled network of payments and companies.

The Department for Education said that the Durand Academy Trust, which runs the school in Lambeth, has been told its funding would be ended after “repeated and significant breaches” of its agreement, and the school’s inability to cut ties with Sir Greg Martin, its former head teacher.