Latest Educational News

Bar talks: how New Yorkers quench their thirst for knowledge

by The Guardian, March 24, 2014

Classified as University.

Heard the one about the professor who walked into a bar? New Yorkers soon will: the city is preparing for a mass public education event in which 50 world-renowned academics will escape from the lecture theatre and deliver free talks to drinkers in the bars and cafes of Manhattan.

The pioneering project, Raising the Bar, is sponsored by Columbia and New York universities, with more top higher education institutions due to come on board as it expands to Boston and the West Coast in the coming months. The aim is to bring the wisdom of high profile educators such as the economist Joseph Stiglitz and Higgs Boson scientist Michael Tuts to a wider community – who must book tickets but will pay nothing (except their bar bill).

Organisers say the model is designed to address concerns that the ivory tower image of higher education pushes away many prospective students, deepening socio-economic discrimination. By "embedding education as a non-threatening pop culture", they say, access can be widened to anyone willing to walk into a bar, sit down and listen. With a social media buzz already developing for the 29 April event, that audience could number over 5,000 bar room learners.

Do you help your children with homework? Don't, says study

by The Telegraph, March 24, 2014

Classified as Homework.

Do you help your children with homework? It could be that you are actually bringing down their test scores.

A new US study, published this year, has indicated that there is no clear connection between parental involvement in homework and improved student performance.

The study, carried out by Keith Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Angel Harris, a sociology professor at Duke University, looked at how parental involvement affects academic achievement.

Looking at over 30 years’ worth of surveys of American parents, the researchers analysed over 60 different measures of parental participation, from volunteering in school, to talking about future plans and helping with homework.

Pupils to be taught English as foreign language

by The Telegraph, March 24, 2014

Classified as English.

An inner-city school with children of more than 50 nationalities will become the first in the country to give every pupil lessons in English as a foreign language.

Even British-born pupils at City of Leeds School in Yorkshire will be forced to take the lessons because their standard of English is so poor.

Fewer than one in four of pupils at the school have English as their first language and more than half have moved to the country within the past four years.

Georgiana Sale, the head teacher, admitted the school had decided to “rethink the way we do things” in an attempt to raise standards, prompting the unusual decision to teach all pupils English as a second language.

More than 90 schools in Leicester and Leicestershire to be hit by teachers' strike

by Leicester Mercury, March 24, 2014

At least 91 schools in the city and county will be hit by a teachers' strike on Wednesday in a row over pension cuts and working arrangements.

Some 40 are known to be shutting, while a further 51 will be partially closed to students.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are striking as part of the union’s campaign over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Teachers' strike over pay and pensions likely to hurt primary schools

by Guardian, March 24, 2014

A strike called by the National Union of Teachers for Wednesday is likely to affect thousands of state schools in England and Wales – but the strike's impact could be more diffused compared with previous years, thanks to fatigue and changes in school management.

Pupils from Watford Grammar School for Girls win area finals of national Target 2.0 competition

by Watford Observer, March 23, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

Five budding economists from Watford Grammar School for Girls have become South East of England Champions in the Area Finals of the national "Target 2.0" competition, run by the Bank of England and The Times.

The team has secured a place in the national finals and £1,000 for the school.

Team Captain Shamima Manzoor, Jenny Lee, Olivia Martin, Vayana Skabrin and Aliya Al-Yassin beat strong competition from schools in the south east region to be declared champions.


Universities minister refuses to rule out increase in tuition fees

by The Guardian, March 23, 2014

Classified as University.

The Conservative universities minister has refused to rule out raising tuition fees for students after the next election, amid warnings from Labour that the current system is a "financial timebomb" that will leave a big hole in higher education funding.

David Willetts, who oversaw the tripling of tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000 in 2012, said the government would "have to see how the income of universities performs" when asked whether he would consider raising fees after 2015.

The comments came after one of Willett's former political advisers, Nick Hillman, called for a rethink of the student loans system and admitted the government got its maths wrong by overestimating the amount of graduate debt that will be repaid.

Hillman on Friday called for action to address the "big funding gap" looming in the universities sector caused by mistakes in the government's modelling and the fact that graduates are earning less than expected. Some experts believe the level of default on student loans is approaching the level at which the £9,000 fee system will not save the taxpayer any money or may even be more expensive than the old regime.

40 per cent of children are at risk of developing literacy problems because they don't bond with their parents

by The Independent, March 23, 2014

Classified as Literacy.

Research by the Sutton Trust education charity, dedicated to campaign for equal opportunities in education for all pupils regardless of background, shows 40 per cent of children fail to bond with their parents.

The report concludes: “With the right early parenting, children can develop a secure attachment to their mothers and fathers - a base from which they can thrive.”

Heads being dumped like football managers, says union

by The Independent, March 23, 2014

Classified as Headmasters.

Headteachers are being treated like football managers and kicked out of their jobs at a moment's notice for poor performance, it was claimed yesterday. Figures revealed at the Association of School and College Leaders conference in Birmingham showed that 146 heads had lost their jobs during last term.

Generation of children left without vital skills

by The Telegraph, March 23, 2014

Classified as Education System.

The Government is “letting down a generation” of children by failing to equip them with the skills needed to secure a good job, a former Conservative education secretary has warned.

In a strongly worded intervention, Lord Baker insisted that every level of the education system was “dysfunctional” and struggled to meet the needs of modern business.

The peer – architect of the national curriculum under Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties – said that schools, colleges and universities were unable to produce enough young people with vital technical skills.

He said the shortage was so acute that many companies relied on migrants to fill vital roles, with estimates that almost 1.3 million highly trained scientists, engineers and technicians will be needed in Britain by 2020.

The crisis is being compounded by a school curriculum that is too “theory based”, meaning tens of thousands of children missed out on the chance to “use their hands” and make things in the classroom, he warned.

Fresh warning over student loan repayment 'time bomb'

by The Telegraph, March 23, 2014

Taxpayers are sitting on a financial “time bomb” because of significant miscalculations over the new student loans system, according to Labour.

Controversial reforms to tuition fees introduced in 2012 may blow a large hole in the public purse that could prove “catastrophic” for the Liberal Democrat vote, it was claimed.

The comments – by Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary – were made after the government estimated that the equivalent of almost half of student loans taken out under the new system will not be repaid.

It could end up costing more than the old fees regime despite claims when it was introduced that it would put higher education funding on a more “sustainable” footing and help reduce the public debt.

Two years ago, the Coalition almost tripled the cap on annual student tuition fees in England to a maximum of £9,000.

'Everyday sexism' and 'institutional racism' blocking women and ethnic minority teachers

by The Independent, March 22, 2014

Classified as Teachers.

Sexism is keeping a lid on women’s ambitions in secondary schools, according to the shadow education secretary.

Tristram Hunt warned “casual, everyday sexism” was stopping female headteachers reaching the top and claimed the number of women leading schools was falling.

Figures from 2012 suggest two thirds of state secondary schools are headed by men.

Costs of unpaid student loans could 'exceed income raised by increase in tuition fees'

by The Independent, March 22, 2014

Classified as University.

The point at which the tuition fee rises in England and Wales is cancelled out is calculated by experts to be when 48.6 per cent of graduates earn too little to repay their loans.

According to a written parliamentary answer from the Universities Minister, David Willetts, the Government believes that 45 per cent of graduates will fail to earn enough to pay back the money they were loaned.

Thousands of schools to close on Wednesday as teachers go on strike over pay and conditions

by The Independent, March 21, 2014

Classified as Teachers.

Members of the Association of School and College Leaders warned that there would be widespread disruption throughout England and Wales as a result of the 24-hour stoppage.

UK school inspection system needs 'root and branch' overhaul, insists chief inspector

by The Independent, March 21, 2014

Classified as School Inspectors.

Chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said he wanted to see a "root and branch" review of the system under which the majority of inspections are handed out to one of three private companies.

He told the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference in Birmingham that school inspections were "too important" to be "simply" handed over to a third party to carry out.

Four in 10 children missing out on good parenting

by The Telegraph, March 21, 2014

Classified as Primary.

Research by the Sutton Trust finds that children who fail to develop strong emotional bonds with their parents before the age of three are more likely to be badly behaved and struggle at school

Poor parenting is fuelling a rise in the number of young children who grow up with behaviour and educational problems, according to research.
Figures show as many as four-in-10 infants fail to properly bond with their mothers and fathers by the age of three – storing up a series of social problems in later life.
The study, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, found that strong emotional bonds between parents and children were vital to ensure youngsters develop properly in the first few years.
Parents need to reassure sons and daughters with smiles and soothing tones while acknowledging their unhappiness when they get upset to lay the foundations of children’s social skills.

Dentists call for ban on sugary drinks in schools to combat tooth decay

by The Independent, March 20, 2014

Classified as Schools.

All sugary drinks - including energy drinks - should be banned in schools to tackle tooth decay which affects one in four children starting school, leading dentists have said.

A good day to bury bad news? 14 academy chains barred from running more schools – revealed on Budget Day

by The Independent, March 20, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Fourteen academy chains have been barred from running more schools because of concerns over, among other things, the standards and financial management in the ones they run now, MPs have been told.

The 14 chains, which include the biggest – Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) – are responsible for running about 200 state schools between them.

The news, which emerged on Wednesday, Budget Day, has fuelled claims that the Coalition Government took advantage of the Chancellor’s speech to bury bad news.

Student houses: mouldy, rat-infested and expensive

by The Guardian, March 20, 2014

Classified as University.

Woodlice in the bathroom and mould on the walls – for many students this is what decorates their home.

A new report by the National Union of Students (NUS) reveals that over three quarters of students have problems with their privately rented accommodation. Over half have condensation, almost half have mould and a quarter have vermin – from slugs to mice. Despite these problems, three quarters of students go into debt to cover the upfront costs of securing a student home, from deposits to letting agency fees.

Many students can access university-owned accommodation during their first year, but often it's up to them to find somewhere to live after that. But the conditions in which students live should still be a priority for universities, says the NUS.

"There are are a significant number of students now who live in the private rental sector so it's no longer good enough for universities to keep that arms length," says Colum McGuire, vice president for welfare at the NUS.

"They need to be taking a more proactive role in helping students source good quality accommodation with reliable landlords. They should also be stepping in where there are issues.

Project brings healthy eating and nutrition to the classroom

by The Telegraph, March 20, 2014

Classified as Nutrition.

This week, Leicester City Council have teamed up with the Start Smart initiative in an attempt to promote healthy eating in under fives, following a report last year which found that 72 per cent of teachers see children coming to school having skipped breakfast


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