Latest Educational News

The class of 2010: how do they feel about selective schools now?

by Guardian, July 15, 2014

It's four years since Education Guardian first met a group of children from St Saviour's primary school in Westgate-on-Sea, Kent. We have followed them on their journey into secondary school. Back in year 6, they were worried about using the bus on their own to get to "big school" and being picked on by older children.

Five books to read before starting medical school

by Guardian, July 15, 2014

I will be starting medical school in September. With a few weeks of holiday ahead, I am cramming in some reading before I start the course.

But I'm not just reading textbooks: I think there are certain types of books that help strengthen motivation, and crucially, develop a better understanding of the people we'll be caring for – because doctors deal with people, not just anatomy.

I have put together a list of five books that I am finding helpful in preparing myself for medical school.

Students more likely to own flat-screen TVs than bikes

by BBC News, July 15, 2014

Students are more likely to own their own flat-screen television than a bicycle, an annual survey suggests.

The student lifestyle tracker report, commissioned by the National Union of Students Services and Endsleigh insurance, is based on responses from more than 2,000 students across the UK.

It indicates digital technology has a pivotal place in how students study and socialise.

Laptops and smartphones are owned by an overwhelming majority of students.

The average student's possessions are worth £4,500, according to the study, with £3,000 of this in electronic gadgets.

Michael Gove moved to chief whip in cabinet reshuffle

by BBC News, July 15, 2014

Education Secretary Michael Gove is to become the new chief whip in the most wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle of David Cameron's premiership.

He has been replaced by Treasury minister Nicky Morgan, as Mr Cameron promotes more women into top jobs.

Ken Clarke is among the old guard to have stood down and Foreign Secretary William Hague has moved to a lower profile role as Commons leader.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has taken over at the foreign office.

Modern languages 'recovery programme' urged by MPs

by BBC News, July 15, 2014

All parties should make an election pledge to improve teaching and learning of modern languages in the UK, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has said.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on modern languages wants to see a "national recovery programme" to improve language skills.

It claims the UK is already losing £50bn a year over poor language skills.

But the government said its reforms were "driving a languages revival" in schools.

I failed the 11-plus, admits head of Eton-backed school

by The Times, July 14, 2014

The head of a free school sponsored by Eton has revealed that he felt “let down” by the school system as a boy.
Walter Boyle, founding headmaster of Holyport College, which opens in September, grew up in Belfast in a house with an outside lavatory.
After failing the 11-plus entrance exam for Northern Ireland’s grammar schools, Mr Boyle attended a secondary modern school.

Modern languages need 'national recovery programme', say MPs

by TES, July 14, 2014

Foreign language teaching needs to undergo a “national recovery programme” as the economy risks losing £48 billion a year due to a lack of linguistic skills, a new report says.

In its Manifesto for Languages document, a group of MPs and peers has called for all political parties to make a commitment to high-quality language learning from age 7, and for every child to have a good language qualification by the end of secondary education.

Sample questions of tougher tests for 11-year-olds released today

by TES, July 14, 2014

Sample questions for the new tougher tests which will be taken at the end of primary school from 2016 have been released by the Department for Education today.

The number of tests pupils take at age 11 will remain the same, but assessments have been overhauled to bring them in line with the new curriculum which starts this September.

There will be tests in reading, mathematics and grammar, punctuation and spelling. A sample of pupils will also take a science test every two years.Teacher assessment has been used to gauge pupils’ ability in writing since 2012.

School cooperation closes the gap

by Telegraph, July 12, 2014

Michael Gove has said he wants to break down the “Berlin Wall” between state and independent schools. He hopes for a time when a state-educated pupil being accepted to Oxbridge is not a cause for celebration, but a matter of course.

His laudable goal seems a long way off. Last year, a little more than a fifth of state-school pupils who applied to the University of Cambridge were accepted, compared to more than a third of applicants from independent schools.

The gulf is even wider when analysing entry rates to the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the UK’s most selective universities. Around 65 per cent of students from independent schools go on to these universities, compared with just 25 per cent from state schools – a 40-percentage-point gap.

London universities highlight Indian student scholarships

by Times Higher Education, July 12, 2014

The London Universities International Partnership has calculated that its 17 members award Indian students nearly £2.5 million in scholarships each year.

It has also surveyed Indian students and alumni who studied in the capital, and found that 85 per cent said that higher education in London widened their horizons and allowed them a greater choice of careers.

More than 70 per cent said that studying in London was “well worth the investment”, according to the partnership.

The push by London universities comes after the first fall on record in the number of international students studying in the UK in 2012-13.

Students can now take degree in.... GOLF

by Birmingham Mail, July 12, 2014

Students at a Birmingham university will be getting into the swing of things with a new degree course – in GOLF.

The sports coaching science degree will tee off at Newman University in September, with students combining academic studies with 10 golf tournaments per year as part of the Eagle Tour.

The course, delivered in partnership with Bournville College, is designed to help up-and-coming golfers earn a living from the game, either as professional players, coaches or in management roles. It will be taught by a team of sports science academics and elite golfers, including European Tour professionals and former Ryder Cup players.

French fear Le Bac is too easy after record pass rate

by The Times, July 12, 2014

It has been taken up by independent schools in Britain as a more rigorous alternative to A levels, but the French are calling for changes to the baccalaureate examination amid claims that it has become too easy.
The revelation that 88 per cent of pupils this year passed Le Bac in France— a record — was celebrated by supporters of President Hollande. However, some teachers claim that generous marking methods have been ordered to improve scores.

Poet raps universities for elitism

by The Times, July 12, 2014

Elite universities such as Cambridge need to work harder to create more diversity, says a black performance poet from a council estate
Elite universities need to work harder to attract working-class students, according to a black performance poet from a council estate.
George Mpanga, 23, known as George the Poet, is a recording artist and spoken word performer who graduated from Cambridge last year with a 2:1 in politics, psychology and sociology.
He grew up in Harlesden, northwest London, before winning a place at grammar school.

Ofsted chief slams local councils for not reporting failing schools

by Independent, July 12, 2014

Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, lambasted local authorities today for their “worrying” failure to keep tabs on poorly performing schools.

“The problem is far too few of you are [raising concerns about schools with the Government or Ofsted],” Sir Michael said. “My postbag is not exactly bulging with letters from concerned directors of children’s services imploring Ofsted to go in and inspect a poorly performing school within their boundaries.”

Secret Teacher: I'm caught in a performance-pay conspiracy

by Guardian, July 12, 2014

Dear Headteacher,

Thank you for the kind feedback you gave me on my lesson observation that took place two weeks before the end of the school year when I and my students are at our most exhausted.

I welcome the fact that whereas all my other observations this year have been "good to outstanding", you still deem me as "requires improvement". Although you don't intend on acting on this before the summer holiday, action will be taken in the new academic year, which presumably means you will not consider me to go through threshold as an M6 teacher which would require you to pay me more.

An ode to Birmingham: how can the UK's second city fix its image problem?

by Guardian, July 12, 2014

There was once a book called Birmingham Is Not a Boring City. On the title page, the word "Not" looked as though it had been added at the last minute in handwriting. More recently, there was a popular blog called birminghamitsnotshit.co.uk, the aim of which was to offer a counter-narrative to those who believed otherwise.

But in both cases there was a problem: each made it look like the city had a case to answer. Really, they suggested, there was more to Britain's second city than a risibly depressive adenoidal accent, a road system that Jeremy Clarkson alleged was diabolically devised to take you away from the cheerlessly brutalist post-industrial city, and a culinary speciality whose name was Urdu for bucket. But the counter-narrative often only served to highlight the original narrative. Birmingham's problem? It protests too much.

Parents prosecuted for taking children on holiday during school term

by Guardian, July 12, 2014

A couple who took their children on holiday to Australia during school term time have been given criminal records.

The pair, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of their children, were handed conditional discharges at Nuneaton magistrates court and told to pay a total of £800 towards costs after being prosecuted by Coventry city council.

Last September, the Department for Education decided to remove the discretion of headteachers in England to approve absences in "special circumstances", prompting an outcry.

Flagship University Technical College to close due to falling pupil numbers

by TES, July 11, 2014

A flagship University Technical College has been forced to announce its closure because of falling pupil numbers.

Hackney UTC in east London has said it will be close just two years after it first opened after receiving only 29 applications for September out of a target of 75. It follows a critical Ofsted report in February which said the college was underperforming in a number of areas.

The college, which has the Duke of York (pictured) as its patron, will not accept any new students this September, but all current year 10 students will continue until the end of year 11 to complete their GCSEs in 2015. The college will then close in August 2015.

Slough ranked among worst in England for pupils getting secondary school preferences

by Local Berkshire, July 11, 2014

Only 60.8% of primary school pupils in Slough were offered their preferred school for 2014/15 - making it the fourth worst local authority in England and the worst outside of London. There were 1,875 secondary school places up for grabs for the next academic year in Slough, and applications were received from 1,787 parents. Only 82.6% of pupils were offered one of their top three preferences. The figures, released by the Department for Education on June 24, revealed that of the Slough pupils offered school places, a quarter were for schools outside of the local authority.

Teacher suspended after GCSE coursework lost

by The Scunthorpe Telegraph, July 11, 2014

THE head of science at Baysgarth School in Barton has been suspended because GCSE coursework has “gone missing” for an entire class – and could face the sack.

Up to 25 year 11 students at the secondary school could be affected following the “administrative error” that came to light on the day of their prom.

Colin Byrne, a long-serving teacher at the school, was suspended with immediate effect when the error came to light last Thursday.

However, head teacher Colin Saywell has stressed students will not be “disadvantaged” in their final exams.

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