Latest Educational News

Parents still back boarding at state schools

by Yorkshire Post, October 7, 2014

THE vast majority of parents would recommend state boarding schools to other mothers and fathers, according to a new poll.

These schools offer high academic quality, opportunities for pupils to fulfil their potential, and practical solutions for families, it claims.

The survey, commissioned by the State Boarding Schools Association (SBSA), questioned more than 1,500 parents with children at 29 state boarding schools across the UK earlier this year.

Its findings, published yesterday, have been welcomed by the headmaster of Ripon Grammar, the only state school still offering boarding in Yorkshire.

Independent schools face tough snap inspections

by The Times, October 7, 2014

Private schools have protested at pressure for them to accept a move towards snap inspections like those carried out at state schools.
The Department for Education wants to toughen up the more collaborative inspections faced by larger independent schools. Rather than five days’ warning, as now, head teachers and governors might be warned of an inspection only the day before or even face unannounced inspections.

Future scientists encouraged to unleash creativity

by The Times, October 7, 2014

The head of Britain’s foremost specialist university will look to encourage greater creativity among undergraduates taking science-based courses.
Alice Gast, the president of Imperial College London, said that more structured teaching in maths, engineering and science degrees could sap students’ independence and curiosity.
She plans to offer more opportunities for undergraduates to work across academic disciplines on research or design projects, or to develop ideas for businesses or social enterprises.

Boys ‘easier to control in single-sex classes’

by The Times, October 7, 2014

Teachers can impose tougher discipline on boys who are in segregated classrooms, an independent school head teacher has said in defence of single-sex education.
Many experts extol the benefits for girls, but Mark Steed, principal of Berkhamsted School, said that boys thrived in a single-sex environment because teachers could be more “black and white” about discipline.
His views contradict Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, who said last week that children were best taught in mixed classes.

Let’s fight the idea that high tuition fees are inevitable

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

One big idea has arrived and another big idea has been abandoned. The big (bad) idea that has arrived is that high student fees are inevitable, and the (good) one that has been abandoned is so-called “widening participation”.

“Defeatist”, critics on the left (and the National Union of Students) will cry on the first. “Unfair”, the defenders of the government, supported by the Office for Fair Access and universities – in full equal-opportunities mode – will cry on the second.

Inside Steve Jobs schools: swapping books for iPads

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

The glimmer of screens hypnotises a group of children who swipe their hands from side to side and then up and down, captivated by what’s in front of them. This isn’t a scene from a sci-fi film or a description of the electronics floor in Hamley’s toy shop, it is life inside Netherlands’ new iPad schools.

Just over a year ago, seven schools serving 1,000 four- to 12-year-olds opened their doors in cities such as Amsterdam and Almere. Because of their focus on learning through iPads, these institutions – pioneered by market researcher and entrepreneur Maurice de Hond – became known as “Steve Jobs schools”. There are now 22 of them across the Netherlands.

Dear Ms Morgan: a reading policy isn’t just telling grandparents what to do

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

Dear Ms Morgan

What a strange job you have. You’ve been playing God, endowed with the special knowledge that enables you to sit in your office and approve yet more free schools. You change the complexion of education in England on a street-by-street basis, often dividing communities up by faith, belief and outlook even though your party leaders talked about the “failure of multiculturalism”.

School places: a guide through the minefield of admissions

by Guardian, October 7, 2014

This time next month the open days will be over, the forms dispatched and the anxious deliberations about which secondary school is best for thousands of children over until next spring’s offer day. It is over 25 years since the idea of “choice” was firmly established in the minds of parents. But in some ways the task of exercising that choice is harder than ever.

Whereas once parents had to choose between local authority schools and a minority of faith schools, each of which allocated places in broadly similar ways, now the education landscape is dotted with academies, free schools, foundation and trust schools, city technology colleges, university technology colleges and studios schools, all of which have the freedom to set and manage their own admissions criteria.

Competition could make children eat more fruit and vegetables, researchers find

by The Independent, October 6, 2014

Parents may teach their children it’s the taking part that counts – but when it comes to healthy eating, it might be better to be in it to win it.
Introducing a competitive edge in the school canteen could increase the number of children eating fruit and vegetables by up to a third, according to a new study.

Is rugby too dangerous for children to play?

by Independent, October 6, 2014

It is one of those perfect Saturday afternoons in early autumn in Edinburgh; low sun, a cool wind blows and behind the high, white goalposts, the Pentland hills form a glorious backdrop to the fine old oak and chestnut trees sheltering the pitch. Parents gather for the weekly ritual of watching their sons play rugby.

League table shake up could hit schools with poorer pupils

by Yorkshire Post, October 6, 2014

SCHOOL league tables reforms which will affect the results of pupils starting their GCSEs this year will see more than one-in-ten secondaries in Yorkshire see a significant drop in their rankings, a report has warned.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission report also says it is schools with larger numbers of poor pupils who are more likely to drop under the new system .

Schools are currently ranked on the number of pupils who achieve at least five A* to C grades including English and maths.

Officials wanted to axe FE colleges - Vince Cable

by BBC News, October 6, 2014

Government officials wanted to axe all further education colleges in England and Wales to save money, Vince Cable has claimed.

The business secretary said he blocked the move in 2010 - despite being told by civil servants in his department that "nobody will really notice".

He was speaking at a fringe meeting at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow.

He suggested the money saved could have been used to keep his party's pledge to axe student tuition fees.

"We took a big political hit for that decision," said Mr Cable, but he said it was worth it to protect "post-school" training, which he said would get a further boost with plans for more apprenticeships.

'Local schools' drive inequality

by BBC News, October 6, 2014

Deciding school admissions on distance between home and school is a major driver of educational inequality between rich and poor, say researchers.

Expecting pupils to go to their local school means poorer children are much less likely to attend high-achieving schools, says the study.

It shows that the choice of good schools expands with greater affluence.

The "size of your mortgage" should not be the way to allocate school places, say researchers.

The study examined how families made choices between state schools - and why children from deprived families were more likely to be concentrated in the worst performing schools.

Schools not doing enough to help poor pupils succeed, says report

by TES, October 6, 2014

Schools have been attacked for not doing enough to improve poorer pupils’ exam results by a critical new report on social mobility. There is a “shocking gap” in performance between schools, according to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

The report analysed the GCSE results of secondaries with similar proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals and found that in the best performing schools more than 70 per cent of disadvantaged pupils achieved five good GCSEs including English and maths. By contrast, only 20 per cent did so in the weakest.

Teachers still expect less of poorer students

by The Independent, October 6, 2014

Children from deprived backgrounds are being let down by teachers who have low expectations of poor students, leading to a “shocking gap in performance” between rich and poor, according to a new report.

Exam results for disadvantaged children remain “shockingly low”, the report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission concludes.

A poll of more than 1,100 teachers carried out for the commission found that 21 per cent believed colleagues at their school had lower expectations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In secondaries the number rose to 26 per cent.

Social mobility tsar: 60,000 children a year being failed by poor schools

by Telegraph, October 6, 2014

An estimated 60,000 children a year are missing out on good exam results because of a “massive gap in attainment” between top performing state schools and those lagging behind, the Government’s “social mobility” tsar has warned.
Research commissioned by the former Health Secretary Alan Milburn also found that up to a quarter of teachers believe that children from poorer backgrounds are being allowed to fail at school because staff have effectively given up on them.

Rise in foreign students to slow down next year

by The Times, October 6, 2014

Universities will see a slight slowdown in the growth of international postgraduate students coming to Britain in the next decade, a new report forecasts.
The drop in growth, from 4.1 to 3.5 per cent, will be due largely to students from India, the fastest expanding market, opting to study elsewhere.

Future scientists encouraged to unleash creativity

by The Times, October 6, 2014

The head of Britain’s foremost specialist university will look to encourage greater creativity among undergraduates taking science-based courses.
Alice Gast, the president of Imperial College London, said that more structured teaching in maths, engineering and science degrees could sap students’ independence and curiosity.
She plans to offer more opportunities for undergraduates to work across academic disciplines on research or design projects, or to develop ideas for businesses or social enterprises.

Does your Ucas application have the X factor?

by Guardian, October 6, 2014

Submitting your application for university can be great motivation to get you through revision or AS exams in the coming months.

But with surging demand for courses – last year the proportion of British 18-year-olds applying to university hit a record high – you need to devote a large chunk of time and effort to your university application in order to give yourself the best chance of getting into your top-choice course.

Hopefully by now you will have researched and picked a few courses that you’re passionate about and you will be ready to apply (for degrees and HNDs) through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas).

Too many schools fail pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, says report

by Guardian, October 6, 2014

Tens of thousands of children from disadvantaged backgrounds could have their lives transformed if underperforming schools matched the results achieved by similar pupils in the most progressive schools in England, a report says today.

The report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty (SMCP) commission, headed by former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn, says that schools are letting down many children from the worst-off circumstances, while others from similar backgrounds are able to excel.

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