Latest Educational News

GCSE shake-up means fewer subjects for pupils to take

by Independent, August 10, 2014

A revolutionary shake-up of the secondary school timetable will mean pupils spend three years, instead of the current two, studying for GCSEs in crucial subjects such as maths and English.

Many schools are expected to begin GCSE studies when pupils are 13, in response to government education reforms that have made exams harder.

International A-level exam is a star performer

by Independent, August 10, 2014

A-levels may have their detractors in the UK but the international version of the exam is proving popular abroad.
Many countries, including the United States and China in particular, are turning to them to help their examination system out of difficulties, believing they still represent the “gold standard” of the international exam world.

School holiday fines: parents deserve a break

by Telegraph, August 9, 2014

Cui bono? I keep asking myself about the new regulations on school attendance. Who gets the benefit from the “Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013”? Especially the part of it that says parents should be fined £60 for taking children out of school during term-time unless there are “exceptional circumstances” (which is a step up from the “special circumstances” of heretofore).
Fined. For heaven’s sake! And the fine doubled to £120 if the parent doesn’t pay up promptly? Stop it! This is the Department for Education we’re talking about, not a council car park. The more the radio burbled on, the crazier it became.

Once it was ‘wow’, now it’s ‘whatever’

by TES, August 9, 2014

Study finds that pupils’ interest in tablet computers is waning

The novelty value of the tablet computer may no longer be enough to hold pupils’ interest in lessons, according to research that shows teenagers are becoming indifferent to the devices.

A survey conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) reveals that although primary-school pupils are still in thrall to the wizardry of tablet technology, their older peers are showing signs of boredom.

The results come at a time when many schools are investing heavily in tablet computers, regarding them as a way to transform student engagement. But according to the BESA study, teachers are reporting that secondary students no longer see the devices as “new, bold or inherently interesting”.

GCSE reforms causing 'burnout' and stress for school staff

by TES, August 9, 2014

Exam officers have warned of “burnout” among school staff struggling to contend with soaring stress levels and logistical difficulties triggered by the barrage of changes affecting this year’s GCSEs.

Regulator Ofqual has already revealed that the reforms coming into effect this year, designed to crack down on early and multiple GCSE entries, are likely to create volatility in this year’s results, prompting widespread concern among school leaders.

‘Forget elite sport – it’s getting kids active and having fun that counts’

by TES, August 9, 2014

MPs, the NHS and the media are constantly getting their knickers in a major twist about girls’ reluctance to get involved in sport – not to mention the health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. But, in my opinion, they’re looking in the wrong place for solutions.

Much of girls’ reluctance to do sport is to do with body image: they don’t like their bodies being scrutinised by teenage boys ("I don’t want them looking at my legs") – who can blame them? – and they don’t like messing up their hair and make-up.

A resourceful approach to the new national curriculum

by TES, August 9, 2014

Of all the myths about teaching, this is one of the biggest. Those people who believe in it don’t see you standing on a chair in your classroom with staple gun in hand, trimming each display board with a wavy border. They don’t bear witness to you sweating over medium-term plans at your kitchen table while, somewhere out there, your students are off playing in the sun.

New blow for Al-Madinah free school over 'confusing' admissions rules

by TES, August 9, 2014

The troubled Al-Madinah free school has been dealt a fresh blow after it was found to be in breach of the admissions code.

This summer, the country’s first Islamic free school was forced to close down its secondary provision following criticism of the “poor quality” of teaching. It was also accused of discriminating against female pupils and staff, and failing in its duty to keep its pupils safe.

Now the Derby primary has been censured by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) for four breaches of the school admissions code.

Nurseries to teach British values

by The Times, August 9, 2014

Nursery children are to be taught about “fundamental British values” to protect them from religious extremism. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is said to be planning the shift as her first important policy announcement since securing the job in the coalition reshuffle last month.
Under the plan, to be announced today, local authorities will be forced to strip nurseries of their funding if they promote extremist views.

Secret Teacher: jargon is ruining our children's education

by Guardian, August 9, 2014

"What do you do when you get to school in the morning?" a colleague asked a younger member of my family recently. "Well, when we get to class, we get out our books and start on our non-negotiables," replied the child, who is in year 2. "What are they?" the colleague inquired. "Don't know" was the answer.

This is a perfect example of what is bothering me as a primary school teacher – educational jargon that is passed on to our children. At no point during my own education was I ever aware of non-negotiables, targets, levels, learning objectives or success criteria. But my teachers still taught me a great deal and it was pretty obvious that I was learning. Where I stood in the academic pecking order was the teacher's business, not mine.

Move over Barbie: the cool kids are playing with Lego paleontologists

by Guardian, August 9, 2014

We've had this problem with gender-stereotyped toys, and it's gone on for years, and it seemed to be getting worse, and then, wham! – Lego saw the light. This week, they unveiled their team of female scientists: a paleontologist, a chemist and an astronomer. They were all, properly, female. People have pointed out that one of them looks like Caitlin Moran.

Planning permission approved for Sevenoaks Grammar annexe on former Wilderness site

by Kent Online, August 8, 2014

Plans for new grammar school education in Sevenoaks have moved one step closer with planning permission now in place to develop the former Wilderness site.

Proposals for the site off Seal Hollow Road won’t be called in by central government meaning developers can begin to refurbish the area.

This is the latest step in the council’s bid for a new grammar school in response to strong request and demand from local parents.

Holiday fines for parents number 64,000 in less than a year

by Independent, August 8, 2014

Parents being fined for taking their children out of school during term-time has risen sharply in England since the Government’s ban was introduced in September last year.
Nearly 64,000 fines have been issued in the past 11 months, steep rise of 70 per cent, according to local Government data acquired by the BBC from more than 118 councils.

Term-time holiday fines up 70% after ban

by Independent, August 8, 2014

The number of fines issued to parents for their children’s absence from school has risen by around 70 per cent since term-time holidays were banned last year, a BBC survey has found.
Just under 64,000 fines were handed out between September and July, compared to 37,650 in the previous academic year, the research found. A ban on taking children out of school for holidays during term-time was introduced by the Government in September last year and fines are issued by the local authorities.

Without a pilot, exams will crash and burn

by TES Connect, August 8, 2014

Trials of new qualifications are essential, as the disaster in 2000 proved. So why are we making the same mistake again?

That the school exam reforms planned to take effect from September 2015 will suffer major problems, and that an urgent public debate is needed about them, seems obvious to us. In failing to adopt a consensual approach to changes such as the radically remodelled GCSE, the government has undertaken no real discussion with universities, schools and exam boards.

The case for the revolutionary alterations demanded by ministers is weak. The claim is made, with little clear evidence, that rapid and fundamental change is needed to remedy public concern over exams and international failure as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

Teach team spirit, character and the meaning of work, business urges

by The Times, August 8, 2014

Schools need to teach character to children and be judged on this by Ofsted, the head of British business has insisted in a hard-hitting report.
John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, told The Times that schools were too focused on exam results and should teach pupils resilience and how to be “rounded and grounded”.
Any school failing to do this should not be rated outstanding, even if it achieved impressive results, he said.

64,000 are fined for taking their children out of school

by The Times, August 8, 2014

The number of fines issued to parents for their children’s absence from school has risen by about 70 per cent since term-time holidays were banned last year, a BBC survey of local councils in England has found.
Just under 64,000 fines were handed out between September and July, compared with 37,650 in the previous academic year, the research found.

Nicky Morgan: toddlers must learn 'British values'

by Guardian, August 8, 2014

Children still in nappies will be taught "fundamental British values," according to a policy announcement to be made by the new education secretary, Nicky Morgan.

In her first pronouncement since taking over following the demotion of Michael Gove, Morgan is to say she will allow local authorities to cut off state funding to nurseries that "promote extremist views" – including the teaching of creationism – and add the promotion of British values to the early years curriculum in England, covering pre-school education.

Troops to teachers fails, English exams unimaginative and tech-savvy students

by Guardian, August 8, 2014

Tech savvy six-year olds. The average six-year-old in your class know more about the web than most 45-year-old adults, according to research by Ofcom. Broadband has bred a generation of mini digital natives.

Outspoken teachers. Former teacher Liz Palmer took target at ex-education secretary Michael Gove this week. Intellectual snobbery and lack of trust in the profession is to blame for so many teachers quitting, she wrote – a sentiment applauded in the comments.

Academics Anonymous: an open letter to university 'leaders'

by Guardian, August 8, 2014

Dear leaders,

I address you as "leaders" because, for some reason (perhaps manager comes too close to rhyming with janitor for your liking), you've increasingly taken to styling yourselves in this way. How grand. How imposing. How spurious.

Leaders are followed. The capacity and willingness to drive people along with the use of the pitchfork of threatened redundancy or the flaming torch of disciplinary action does not make a leader and the mere fact that you so brazenly call yourselves leaders is evidence of the malaise that prompts me to write.


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