Latest Educational News

Pupils in some areas are not offered 'vital' GCSEs

by BBC News, February 11, 2015

Pupils in some parts of England are unlikely to take exams that could be vital to their job prospects - such as sciences and languages - due to a subject "desert", a study has found.

The Open Public Services Network examined GCSE statistics from 2013 and found in some authorities a third of schools did not offer triple science.

There are concerns limited subject choices could harm social mobility.

The government said thousands more pupils were now taking core subjects.

Failing academy sends pupils home as teachers call in sick

by The Times, February 10, 2015

A secondary school sent home most of its pupils after a quarter of its teachers called in sick.
Parents with children at St Aldhelm’s Academy in Poole, Dorset, received text messages telling them that it would not open the next day due to staff illness. Nine teachers — about one in four of the teaching staff — were off, with most citing flu or viruses but “one or two” saying that they were suffering from stress.

A day in the life of Khan Academy: the school with 15 million students

by Telegraph, February 10, 2015

“If this does not blow your mind, then you have no emotion,” says Salman Khan. It’s a suitably provocative come-on from a YouTube superstar. But he’s talking about a maths equation.
Khan is on a mission to bring a world-class, customised education to anyone, anywhere, for free. To do that, he has spent a good part of the last decade in the closet - literally - making around 5,000 videos about maths and science.

Parents struggle with 'escalating costs' in state schools

by Telegraph, February 10, 2015

Escalating costs in state schools mean that many parents are having to pay increasing amounts of money towards equipment, school meals and uniforms, according to a new survey.
It could mean that access to educational opportunities is becoming increasingly dependent on parents' ability to foot the bills, with rising costs acting as a "barrier" to certain schools.

Charges for school trips 'exclude poorer pupils' from key subjects

by Independent, February 10, 2015

Schools are breaching guidelines by charging parents for field trips that are central to exam courses – leading to fears that children from poor families are opting not to study geography and biology.

A survey of 2,500 parents revealed that more than a third of those with children over the age of 11 have been required to pay for field trips that are compulsory parts of assessed courses.

Teacher workload crisis: unions join forces to criticise ministers' proposals

by TES, February 10, 2015

Leaders of five heads’ and teachers’ unions have written to the education secretary and deputy prime minister branding the government’s response to the profession’s workload crisis a “missed opportunity”.

The general secretaries from the Association of School and College Leaders, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, heads’ union the NAHT, the NUT and Voice have penned a joint letter stating that both Nick Clegg and Nicky Morgan’s plans to lighten teachers’ workload do not “get close to the root cause” of the problem.

As exclusively revealed by TES last week, both ministers published what they described as a “new deal” for teachers in response to the Workload Challenge, which pledged to put a stop to major changes to Ofsted inspections or government policy during the academic year “except when absolutely necessary”.

School science needs more money, not more practical exams

by Guardian, February 10, 2015

I can only assume that Paul Nurse and the other scientists, educators and universities trying to reverse Ofqual’s decision to remove practical science from the overall grade for GCSE and A-level science (Letters, 7 February) have not been into schools and seen what is actually going on. Trying to ensure pupils are awarded marks that represent the skills they have and are comparable with other schools is an impossible task that causes staff and students enormous stress and wastes huge amounts of time. Removing these exercises in jumping through hoops will free up schools to include more, not less, challenging and relevant practical work. Teachers know that practical work is one of the most motivating aspects of science courses and are not going to stop doing it.

Good local schools for all – even Nicky Morgan gets the point at last

by Guardian, February 10, 2015

It has been a source of some amusement to me and to many of my friends to hear the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, talk about the fundamental wish of most parents for a good local school. To witness this unassailable truth from the lips of a Conservative cabinet minister, indeed from the lips of a cabinet minister of any party, is satisfying.

Poll after poll reveals that this is a priority for the electorate. Yet the prevailing rhetoric of the past decade has been barely concealed disdain for the local offer, especially if it is a socially mixed community comprehensive school.

Birmingham Library opening hours nearly halved

by BBC News, February 10, 2015

The opening hours at Birmingham's new £189m library are to be cut by nearly half to save money, the city council has confirmed.

The authority said the library, which opened in September 2013, would open 40 hours a week - down from 73 hours.

Plans to make redundant 100 of the 188 library staff are still being discussed, but the council expects at least 90 people will lose their jobs.

Council tax will also increase by 1.99% across the city in 2015/16.

'Gap' in school governor records

by BBC News, February 10, 2015

There is no central record held by the Department for Education of governors of state schools in England.

This is despite heightened scrutiny of the role of school governing bodies following the Trojan Horse inquiries.

Head teachers' leader Russell Hobby said the lack of a register of the identities of governors was a "worrying gap" that would surprise parents.

The Department for Education said it was now considering making all schools publish details of governing bodies.

Teachers were the worst truants at ‘toxic’ school

by The Times, February 9, 2015

The headteacher who turned around a “feral and toxic” school has described how her success came after she got rid of a third of teachers in her first year and cracked down on sick days.
Dame Sally Coates, who has worked as a government adviser, bought bottles of wine or book tokens for teachers who took no sick days, in an effort to fight chronic absenteeism.

Billions more for new schools - despite doubts about speed of work

by Telegraph, February 9, 2015

Billions of pounds of extra public money will be spent on renovating schools in England despite fears that the programme is failing to deliver.
Nicky Morgan, the Education secretary, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, are setting out how another £6billion will be spent on schools in England on Monday.
The cash is the second phase of a schools building programme which was first set out by Michael Gove, the previous Education secretary, in March 2012 to spend £2.4 billion on 260 schools.
However the Government said on Sunday that only 16 school buildings are already open, 55 are under construction. The rest were described as being “well into the development or planning stages”.

Tom Bennett: it's time to tackle the myths in education

by Telegraph, February 9, 2015

Are you a visual learner or a kinaesthetic learner? Perhaps you are an auditory learner? Maybe you learn best when implementing a combination of these 'learning styles'.
Over the past 40 years, the 'learning style' theory has garnered support from professionals across the education community and has become a much-used teaching tool across the UK.
But does the longevity of 'learning styles' and its persistent presence in the classroom actually mean it has any educational value at all? The simple answer is, no one can be sure; because no one has categorically proved the theory one way or the other.

Dame Julia Cleverdon interview: 'The price we all pay if children can't read properly'

by Independent, February 9, 2015

When, seven years ago, Dame Julia Cleverdon decided to stand down from running Business in the Community she had to inform the organisation’s president, the Prince of Wales. She’d been in the job since 1992 and, according to Cleverdon, the Prince’s response to her departure was: “Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t stand down. I can’t, so why should you?” It was at that moment, she says, that he asked her “why she wasn’t a special adviser to me on responsible business?”

She soon was, and so followed The Place Strategy, the Prince’s attempt to get his relevant charities working together to improve lives in struggling communities such as Burnley in Lancashire and Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.

Schools to receive £6bn to repair crumbling buildings

by TES, February 9, 2015

Schools will receive about £6 billion to repair or rebuild crumbling buildings, ministers announced today.

Some £2 billion of that sum is being allocated to repairing or rebuilding 277 schools in the second phase of the government's Priority School Building Programme, which replaced the axed Building Schools for the Future scheme. Funding has already gone to improving facilities in 260 schools, bringing the total number helped so far to 537.

Details are also being released of how another £4 billion will be distributed between 2015 and 2018 to schools, local authorities, academy trusts and voluntary-aided partnerships for building upgrades.

Plan to tackle schools gap inspired by London Challenge

by BBC News, February 9, 2015

Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled plans designed to bridge the attainment gap between pupils from poor backgrounds and those from wealthier households.

The first minster's proposals will draw on schemes with a proven track record, including the London Challenge.

The scheme will be backed up by a new Attainment Scotland Fund which will provide £100m of investment over four years.

Scottish Labour has outlined a £25m plan to address education inequalities.

Teachers ‘too busy ticking boxes to teach’

by The Times, February 7, 2015

Teachers are browbeaten and undervalued because of their constant battle with bureaucracy, Nick Clegg admitted yesterday, as he was criticised for doing little to cut their “burdensome” workload.
The deputy prime minister and Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, announced plans to tackle excessive hours spent by teachers on marking, lesson planning, preparing for Ofsted inspections, and recording data.

iPad generation is missing human skills, head warns

by The Times, February 7, 2015

A prep school head says children are growing up unable to read people’s body language or facial expressions because they are glued to their mobile phones while in public places.
Martin Stott is holding a “digital detox” week to try to wean children, and their parents, from online devices. He wants pupils to read, look out of the window on car journeys, play cards and people watch, instead of being absorbed by technology.

Secret Teacher: exams have left my students incapable of thinking

by Guardian, February 7, 2015

“How many sentences should I write? How big should I draw the diagram? Should I write my own opinion?” These are some of the questions my students asked me this morning. Looking at that sample, you might assume they are in primary school, but you would be wrong. I teach a humanities subject in an “outstanding” sixth-form college in an affluent area. My students are bright, engaged and well-behaved, but there is something missing: they cannot think.

London comprehensive becomes first UK school to offer degrees

by TES, February 7, 2015

A London comprehensive is to become the first school in the country to offer a degree, to encourage more students to pursue higher education and a career in teaching.

The Woolwich Polytechnic School will offer a three-year BSc in maths with qualified teacher status (QTS) from this September, making it the first school to cater to 11- to 21-year-olds.

Woolwich Polytechnic may not have the usual attractions of a university student union, but it is confident that the course will attract applicants from its own and neighbouring sixth forms, as well as mature students and career-changers.

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