Latest Educational News

Don't send your kids to private school! University students who went to public school perform WORSE than those who had a state education, study claims

by Daily Mail, July 18, 2014

Students who went to state school do better at university than private school graduates with the same end-of-term exam scores.
That’s the clear finding in a number of Australian studies since the 1980s, and in England since the 1990s.
And it seems the differences between graduates of state and private schools is substantial.

The most recent English research tracked all students who completed the end-of-school A-levels and went directly on to complete a full-time four-year degree course.

It’s all change at the top. Time for a fresh start?

by TES Connect, July 18, 2014

When news of a Cabinet reshuffle broke earlier this week, few believed that it would involve Michael Gove losing his job. But prime minister David Cameron told one of his closest political allies to clear his desk, bringing Mr Gove’s four-year tenure at the Department for Education to an end.

In his place, relative unknown Nicky Morgan has taken up the reins; she faces the tough task of making her predecessor’s reforms work on the ground while improving strained relations between the government and the teaching profession. But as the dust begins to settle, what will Ms Morgan’s appointment mean for schools and teachers across the country?

When schools pick happy parents over better results

by TES Connect, July 18, 2014

Independent schools that charge high fees are spending the money on reducing class sizes to keep parents happy, rather than focusing on more effective ways of improving results, new research suggests.

The schools spend their income on hiring more teachers rather than hiring better teachers, despite the fact that increasing staff numbers has not been shown to have a significant impact on attainment, according to the study.

Researchers from Birmingham and Bristol universities looked at financial and academic data for 348 independent schools, and specifically at the education provided for students aged 16-18. The sample comprises roughly two-thirds of the total number of independent schools catering for this age range.

Ofsted must scrap 'quality of teaching' from inspections

by TES, July 18, 2014

Ofsted should scrap the “quality of teaching” category from its inspection reports as it leads inspectors to “impose” their preferred teaching styles on schools, according to a report released today.

Research published by right-leaning think tank Civitas claims that Ofsted inspectors continue to ignore the pleas of their chief inspector and insist on encouraging so-called “trendy teaching” methods, such as child-led learning.

Michael Gove's exit hailed by teachers, end of term gifts and a viral letter

by Guardian, July 18, 2014

The biggest news of the week was without a doubt the shock demotion of Michael Gove to chief whip.

After a government reshuffle that saw David Cameron make sweeping changes to his cabinet to "reflect a modern Britain", he was replaced by Nicky Morgan.

But there has been little optimism about what the change might mean for education. Mike Britland, head of ICT at a comprehensive school in Bournemouth, warned that it would be naive to expect any quick policy changes.

Leaked report reveals 'aggressive Islamist agenda' in Birmingham schools

by Guardian, July 18, 2014

A damning report into extremist infiltration of Birmingham schools has uncovered evidence of "coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city".

The conclusion emerges from a leaked draft of a report, commissioned by the former education secretary Michael Gove and written by Peter Clarke, the former head of the Metropolitan police's counterterrorism command, which is due to be published in the next 24 hours.

The Trojan horse inquiry’s draft report shows Michael Gove had to go

by Guardian, July 18, 2014

A eureka moment. We spent 48 hours trying to understand why the prime minister was so easily able to abandon his friend, Michael Gove, and to park him not as party chairman, where he would have a primary role to drum up votes for the Tories, but as chief whip with internal responsibilities. We will be seeing him everywhere, in the flesh, on TV and hearing him on the radio, it was said. After today’s damning draft report on the alleged infiltration – on his watch – of Birmingham schools by ideologues and zealots, one wouldn’t bet too much on him being omnipresent.

Trojan Horse report finds 'aggressive Islamist ethos' in schools.

by BBC News, July 18, 2014

A leaked report into the so-called "Trojan Horse" plot has found evidence there was an agenda to introduce "an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos" into some Birmingham schools.

The report, revealed in The Guardian, was ordered by the government after claims some Muslim groups were trying to take control in some schools.

The Department for Education has said it will not comment on the leaks.

Birmingham City council is releasing its own report later on Friday.

Harrogate Grammar School’s prestigious role in countrywide maths scheme

by Harrogate Advertiser, July 17, 2014

Harrogate Grammar School is to take on an important role in the future of maths teaching now it has been designated one of only 32 maths ‘hubs’ in the country.

The school will be taking part in the government-led initiative, which will create regional centres for school-led improvement of maths focusing on partnerships to improve student achievement and attitudes to the subject.

Governor rejects Carlton Bolling College extremism claims

by BBC News, July 17, 2014

The chairman of governors at a Bradford school has hit back after an Ofsted report said pupils were not being protected from the risks of extremism.

The report recommended Carlton Bolling College be placed in special measures.

Faisal Khan said it was one of the few schools in Bradford working with the government's counter-terrorism initiative, Prevent.

He denied claims it only met the needs of Muslim students and restricted Religious Education to Islamic studies.

Mr Khan said: "As far we understand, we were working with Prevent and doing some good work."

England pupil numbers set to top eight million by 2023

by BBC News, July 17, 2014

The number of pupils in England's schools is expected to reach its highest level in almost half a century by 2023, figures show.

The government estimates the number of schoolchildren will top eight million in the next nine years.

There will be an estimated 4.6 million pupils in state primary schools, 9% higher than in 2014.

Secondary pupil numbers are expected to start rising from 2016 - from 2.7 million to 3.2 million in 2023.

The hike in numbers had been fuelled by the birth rate broadly rising since 2002, government statisticians said.

Private school head awarded himself pay rise of £134,000

by The Times, July 17, 2014

The head of a private school based in Charles Dickens’s former house has been accused of awarding himself pay rises that pushed his salary to £168,985 a year.
The former chairman of governors at Gad’s Hill School in Higham, Kent, accused its headmaster of “setting his own salary” over a period of 11 years.

Fewer students get aid but the share is bigger

by The Times, July 17, 2014

Fewer students are receiving financial help from universities, but those who get bursaries and fee waivers are getting bigger amounts, according to a report published yesterday.
Of the £743 million spent on widening participation in tertiary education, £464 million was spent on support for 401,500 poorer students. This was an increase of £78 million on the year before, but a drop of 40,000 students.

Students can make governments fall, but not fees

by Times Higher Education, July 17, 2014

Student activism in South Korea has toppled governments and ousted a military dictatorship, but it has been unable to curb the rapid rise in tuition fees, a study says.

Despite the perceived power of students’ unions, academics at Seoul National University have concluded that they have been ineffective at halting recent leaps in tuition fees.

In a paper in Studies in Higher Education, Jung Cheol Shin, Hoon-Ho Kim and Hong-Sam Choi, from Seoul’s department of education, examined whether having a politically active students’ union made any difference to a university’s tuition fee levels between 2000 and 2008.

'Students are learners, not consumers'

by Telegraph, July 17, 2014

With hundreds of thousands of students coming to the end of their university experience this month, many will be asking themselves whether they received value for money.

Since the introduction of fees, the White Paper explicitly positioning students as 'consumers' and the growing strength of the annual student experience surveys, the balance of power is now with students.

Unlike school education, where there is still the culture of obligations, obedience and of meeting demands in order to demonstrate ability – the nature of the role of a student in HE has become blurred. Do students need to achieve or does their institution need to provide a service that ensures they do?

Pupil numbers 'to top 8m for first time in half a century'

by Telegraph, July 17, 2014

England’s pupil population is set to exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century, placing "huge pressure" on the state education system, it emerged today.

Projections from the Department for Education show the number of children enrolled in state schools is expected to soar by almost a million over the next decade – hitting its highest total since the mid-70s.

The rise in the number of pupils seen between 2014 and 2023 will be equivalent to the addition of more than 1,900 schools, it emerged.

Top universities told: make 'faster change' to student body

by Telegraph, July 17, 2014

Leading universities must make “further, faster change” to their admissions to engineer a more socially-balanced intake, the Government’s higher education access tsar has warned.

Prof Les Ebdon, head of the Office for Fair Access, said there was “a lot further to go” to ensure poor students are properly represented in England’s most sought-after institutions.

The comments were made despite the publication of a report showing that Russell Group universities are already attempting to meet almost 350 different targets designed to create a balanced student body.

Time to reflect on reforms

by Times Higher Education, July 17, 2014

David Willetts’ controversial policies divided opinion but the former minister won respect in a role that matched his talents

What’s David Cameron’s greatest political fear? Being required to press the red button? Spotting Boris Johnson lurking behind Number 10’s bike sheds? Ed Miliband?

The answer, apparently, is none of the above. What strikes fear into the prime minister’s heart more than anything else is “hearing that David Willetts is about to make a wide-ranging speech”.

It’s a joke that stems from the now infamous speech made by Willetts when he was shadow education minister, in which he suggested that grammar schools were not the engines of social mobility that many in the Conservative Party liked to believe.

What makes a language attractive – its sound, national identity or familiarity?

by Guardian, July 17, 2014

Je t'aime, ti amo, te quiero mucho! Sounds nice doesn't it? If you swoon over sweet nothings whispered in French, Italian or Spanish, you're not alone. But while learning to speak a language famed for its romance may increase your sex appeal, the reason for your your preference of one vernacular over another may have little to do with how the sounds roll off the tip of your tongue.

Polyglot Roman emperor Charles V declared: "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse." While the 16th century ruler's views may still hold true to some today, his unflattering opinion of the latter language is more likely to be influenced not by the power and status of the country at the time than the tone of its speakers.

Students will be the losers if vocational courses are forced to include exams

by Guardian, July 17, 2014

Recently it was announced that exams are going to be a compulsory part of all level three vocational qualifications from 2016.

This might seem like a good idea – the government argues that it will improve the rigour of courses and businesses will value them more – but I feel we have to consider this carefully, and a survey we've carried out suggests that senior college and school leaders agree.

One of the major concerns raised by the 30 people we spoke to is that some students will struggle to fulfil their potential under an exam-based course. While teachers are generally happy for vocational courses to be subjected to additional scrutiny, they are concerned by the prospect of external assessment being defined only as an exam. This for many people, both providers and students, goes against the whole ethos of vocational learning, which is supposed to be assessed on practical output rather than whether someone can sit through an exam that won't necessarily reflect their true skill level.

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