Latest Educational News

‘The best test of a school is to find out what goes on when no-one is looking’

by TES, October 11, 2016

In the latest in our 'Talking Heads' series of blogs about school leadership, John Tomsett argues the best way to see a school is when it is at its most unguarded
It’s the (early) morning after the night before and I am shattered. After days of build up, our Year 6 open evening finally arrived. It went well, but we have to be honest: how much can you really tell about a school from looking around it one evening when everything is staged for your benefit?

We are blessed in York with great state schools. You can choose any of our secondaries and be sure that your child will receive a decent education.

We were the final Open Evening of the cycle in York this year. You may believe that is a good thing, you may think the opposite.

Parents of summer-born children face 'postcode lottery' over delayed school starts

by TES, October 11, 2016

Some local authorities are paying 'absolutely no notice' to letter from Nick Gibb, MPs warn
Parents hoping to delay when their children are sent to school are subject to a "postcode lottery" because of a lack of government action, former ministers have warned.

Conservative MP and former transport minister Stephen Hammond said that some schools had taken "absolutely no notice" of a letter from education minister Nick Gibb advising that there would be a consultation over when summer-born children could start school.

Others, he added, had taken this as a sign to offer greater flexibility.

Mr Gibb announced in September last year that the government intended to change admissions rules to prevent summer-born children from being forced to go straight into Year 1, providing greater flexibility for parents and teachers.

'Unless proper oversight of all state schools is restored, there will be many more cases like Durand Academy'

by TES, October 11, 2016

Give local authorities the responsibility and powers to oversee all local state schools, allowing them to scrutinise their financial dealings, argues the general secretary of the NUT
Increasingly, schools in England are run as if they were businesses, so it should perhaps come as no surprise that some of the worst practices of the corporate sector have infiltrated education. But the real failure lies with government which has established and expanded the corporatisation of our school system since 2010 through its academies and free school programme.

This has resulted in more than 5,000 schools in England being removed from the oversight formerly provided by their local authority.

The latest sorry saga is the fall from grace of the "superhead" once named by former education secretary Michael Gove as his “favourite headteacher” and who was knighted for his services to education in 2013.

EU-student funding guarantee extended

by BBC News, October 11, 2016

EU students applying for a place at English universities for the next academic year will be eligible for loans and grants, ministers have said.
And these students' loans and grants will be available for the duration of their degree course.
The arrangement will be honoured even if the UK exits the EU in that period.
The government's announcement means European students applying to study from 2017-18 will be able to access the same funding and support they are now.
Ministers say the move will help give universities and colleges certainty over future funding.
Shortly after the EU referendum result in June, the government gave a guarantee that students currently in higher or further education - and those applying for a place this academic year (2016-17) - would continue to be able to access student funding support.
Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: "We know that the result of the referendum brought with it some uncertainties for our higher education sector.
"International students make an important contribution to our world class universities, and we want that to continue.
"This latest assurance that students applying to study next year will not only be eligible to apply for student funding under current terms, but will have their eligibility maintained throughout the duration of their course, will provide important stability for both universities and students."

Call to crack down on 11 plus coaching in Kent's prep schools Read more at

by Kent Llive, October 10, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Anti-grammar school campaigners are calling on education chiefs to ban private schools from the Kent test who flout 11 plus rules by coaching pupils

The action group, Kent Education Network (KEN) says prep schools across the county openly boast about 11 plus coaching while state schools are prevented from teaching to the test. And it says the discrepancy is unfair, creating a disadvantage for poorer pupils.

Teenagers face stigma in school for mental-health difficulties, survey finds

by TES, October 10, 2016

Almost two-thirds of young people who are stigmatised for their mental-health difficulties say that this happens in school, a new survey reveals
And many said that this stigma – which includes verbal abuse and being left out of activities – originated from teachers.

More than 2,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 24 were questioned by the youth charity YMCA. The survey – which is being published to coincide with World Mental Health Day, today – revealed that 38 per cent of those with mental-health difficulties felt that they were stigmatised for them.

In the majority of cases, this stigma came from friends. But a significant number of teenagers also said that they were stigmatised by teachers or lecturers.

They added that this attitude damaged their relationships with teachers, affected their academic performance, school attendance and confidence.

How teachers can make a difference to children's mental health

by TES, October 10, 2016

On World Mental Health Day, one psychologist explains why the evaluation of mental health in schools is critical – and how we can give teachers the tools to do it
As we mark another World Mental Health Day, the time has never been more right to shine a light on the issue of children’s mental health.

The picture is worrying. On average, two or more children in every primary school class will have a diagnosable mental health condition – and one child in eight will have one or more mental health conditions at any time.

Allow students into universities with lower grades if they have been 'held back by poverty', says official review

by Telegraph, October 10, 2016

Bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds should be accepted into universities with lower grades on the basis they have been "held back by poverty", a government review has suggested.

The Social Mobility Advisory Group, which was set up to advise ministers on how to improve access for underrepresented groups at university, has argued smart students from poorly-performing schools in disadvantaged areas should be given offers that require lower A-level grades.

It has also recommended that British institutions should increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds by imposing more "positive discrimination".

Universities urged to work harder to recruit disadvantaged students

by Guardian, October 10, 2016

Report from Universities UK says access rates among white working-class men also need improving to boost social mobility
Universities should make greater efforts to spot talent among disadvantaged students and place special emphasis on encouraging white working-class men in order to widen access to higher education, according to a new report backed by British universities.

The report – produced by the sector at the request of the government – found that “socio-economic disadvantage has more persistent and far-reaching impact on access to and outcomes from higher education” than any other single cause.

I'm not a hypocrite: Shami Chakrabarti opposes grammars despite sending son to £19k school

by, October 10, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

SHAMI CHAKRABARTI has denied being a hypocrite despite opposing the reintroduction of state grammar schools while sending her son to a selective school.

Jeremy Corbyn recently appointed Baroness Chakrabarti as shadow attorney general and she said there was not conflict between her position on education but did admit to leading a “charmed and privileged life”.

Speaking to ITV’s Peston on Sunday she said she was against expanding grammar schools because they allow for “segregation” of children at an early age.

Last week Baroness Chakrabati’s son passed the entrance exam and won a place at Dulwich College in south London – which charges around £18,000-a-year.

Teachers in England work longer hours than almost anywhere else in the world

by Independent, October 10, 2016

‘There is no excuse for this desperate situation’ says union

Teachers in England work longer hours than almost anywhere else in the world, according to new analysis.

The study found secondary school teachers work an average of 48.2 hours per week, with one in five working 60 hours or more – 12 hours above legal limits set by the European Union.

Many teachers 'working 60-hour week'

by BBC, October 10, 2016

Teacher Megan Quinn says she works a minimum of 56 hours per week - not to mention a few more on marking and lesson preparation.
She is just one of many thousands of teachers in England said to be burning the professional candle at both ends.
According to the Education Policy Institute, most full-time teachers work an average of 48.2 hours per week.
But one in five works 60 hours or more - 12 hours above the limit set by the European working time directive.

It’s Time For Universities To Face Up To Our Student Mental Health Crisis

by Huffington Post, October 10, 2016

As education embarks on yet another fundamental shake-up, students’ mental health is in crisis.

Universities have reported a 50% increase in suicides, and a report from the National Union Students showed that 80% of students faces bouts of mental ill health. It is no secret that these statistics have shot up at a similar rate to the cost of living crisis and debt level. Marketisation has meant universities compete for students; what they are forgetting to do is to care for them, too.

Bullying victim, 10, is refused a place back at his old school because there aren’t enough COAT-HOOKS

by Daily Mail, October 10, 2016

.Max Knowles, 10, was refused a place at school over 'lack of coat-hooks'
.He attended Hill West Primary in Birmingham until family moved abroad
.But on their return he was told he could not rejoin his old friends
.Max has been bullied and doctors said he needed familiar surroundings
.But School Admissions Authority dismissed his family's appeal

Education chiefs have refused a ten-year-old boy a place at his former school because there were not enough coat-hooks.
Chris and Joanne Knowles were also told son Max could not rejoin Hill West Primary School in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, because its playground was at full capacity.

Teachers spend 'eight days off sick a year with the common cold'

by, October 10, 2016

TEACHERS are off sick eight days a year due to the common cold on average, says a study.

School workers catch twice as many colds as other professionals, losing 3.5 million teaching days a year.

This costs the education system about £380million but 78 per cent say they often work while ill - affecting the quality of their lessons.

Almost half (46 per cent) found it difficult to teach when sick, and 27 per cent admit being less patient with pupils.

A third of school workers told a survey that they get six or more colds a year.

Grammar plans 'absolutely not' a return to the 11-plus, says Justine Greening

by TES, October 9, 2016

Education secretary says more grammars will reflect education system in the 21st century
The government’s plans to expand the number of grammar schools will “absolutely not” be a return to the 11-plus entrance exams, Justine Greening said today.

The education secretary also refused to be drawn on how many of the selective schools would be created, stating it would be decided locally.

Her appearance on ITV’s Peston on Sunday comes just days after prime minister Theresa May vowed to establish the first grammar school in 50 years at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Wednesday.

The children being bullied to death... and what can be done to save them

by Telegraph, October 9, 2016

Just over a fortnight ago, on one of those surprisingly warm, late September days, it was Natasha MacBryde’s 21st birthday. Her mother Jane should have been filling the family home in Worcester with presents and popping open the champagne. Instead, she went to work. “I kept my head down,” she says. “It was just a question of trying to get through the day.”

Tasha (as the family called her) was a beautiful, clever girl hoping to be a vet or paediatrician, who seemed perfectly happy at school – the fee-paying Worcester Royal Grammar – until a few months after she turned 15, when she suddenly said she wanted to dye her hair brown.

Shami Chakrabarti says grammar schools enforce segregation

by Guardian, October 9, 2016

Shadow attorney general opposes Theresa May’s plans, saying many successful adults carry emotional scars of failing 11-plus
The shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti, has said she opposes grammar schools because they enforce segregation, as she defended her decision to send her son to a private school.

Lady Chakrabarti, the former head of civil rights organisation Liberty, said she absolutely supported Labour’s opposition to Theresa May’s plans to open new grammar schools.

England's academy trusts 'run up debts of £25m'

by BBC, October 9, 2016

Debts run up by 113 academy trusts in England amount to almost £25m, figures obtained by the BBC suggest.
The numbers raise "serious concerns about the accountability" of the system, said Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
More than half of England's secondary schools are run by self-governing academy trusts.
The government said financial oversight of academies was "more robust than in council-run schools".

UK universities issue ‘trigger warnings’ to warn students of potentially ‘upsetting’ material

by Independent, October 9, 2016

Universities including Edinburgh, the London School of Economics (LSE), Goldsmiths, Stirling and Central Lancashire are pre-warning students of lecture material they think could be ‘disturbing’

A growing number of UK universities have introduced “trigger warnings” to give students advance notice of any potentially “upsetting” material in lectures, in a move that echoes a fast-growing trend in colleges in the US.