Latest Educational News

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.

Childcare experts dismayed by plans to cut funding for childcare that does not promote "fundamental British values"

by Guardian, August 8, 2014

Childcare experts have reacted with dismay to new measures announced by the education secretary to withhold state funding for nurseries that fail to promote "fundamental British values".

Nicky Morgan's first policy announcement since taking over the role of education secretary was that young children should be protected from extremist views.

Universities spend more to attract clearing students

by Guardian, August 8, 2014

Britain's universities are gearing up for a cut-throat battle to attract and recruit students – by making more unconditional offers of places, using sophisticated marketing, and building prestigious campus developments – spurred by government changes that are transforming university admissions policies.

As sixth-formers prepare to open their A-level results on Thursday, university admissions officers are predicting that this year's clearing round – when students who do not attain their expected grades go hunting for places – could be the last of its type.

'Extremist' nurseries to lose funding - Nicky Morgan

by BBC News, August 8, 2014

Councils are to be given powers to stop funding early-years providers with links to extremism, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced.

The move, in England, follows a letter-writing campaign by the British Humanist Association.

Members wrote to MPs and responded to a nursery funding consultation, raising concerns about extremist links and creationist teaching in some nurseries.

Students complain of bad A-level advice for degree path

by BBC News, August 8, 2014

Thousands of pupils in the UK are being given scant or wrong advice about the best A-level subjects to study to gain a degree place, a survey has found.

The study by the Student Room online forum suggests many students have poor guidance on what to take at A level.

Of more than 6,000 students in the study, hundreds said they found they had taken the wrong subjects to access a chosen university course or career.

The Student Room called it a "black hole" in school careers advice

'Sharp rise' in parental fines for term-time holidays

by BBC News, August 8, 2014

The number of parental fines in England for children's poor school attendance has risen sharply since the government ban on term-time holidays was introduced, BBC research suggests.

Almost 64,000 fines have been issued since the law changed in September 2013, a rise of about 70%, according to local authority data.

More than three-quarters of councils, 118, responded to a BBC survey.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said fewer pupils were now missing lessons.

Number of university entrants falls by 20%

by The Times, August 7, 2014

The number of British and other European students starting at universities in England has fallen by a fifth in the past three years, according to figures published today.
The finding comes as two separate reports raise concerns about the government’s decision to lift the cap on student numbers, warning that the cost of a demand-driven system could be greater than predicted.

Free schools are failing to serve neediest

by The Times, August 7, 2014

Free schools are opening in disadvantaged areas but taking in fewer poor children than other local schools, according to a report by education experts.
It found that, while the state schools set up by parent, teacher or community groups were likely to open in places of deprivation, their intake was better off than the average local child.

Top universities urge scrapping of free-for-all student recruitment plan

by Guardian, August 7, 2014

The Russell Group of leading universities has called on the government to drop plans for a free-for-all in undergraduate recruitment next year, following publication of a report that suggests the policy could have disastrous financial consequences.

Although the government expects undergraduate enrolments to rise in 2015 once existing caps on student recruitment are removed, the report said evidence from the same policy in Australia saw student numbers balloon well beyond official forecasts, forcing the government there to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on higher education.

Free schools 'popular with non-white families'

by Guardian, August 7, 2014

The government's free schools programme has proved to be popular with non-white families, according to the first academic analysis of the policy, which also found free schools attracted brighter and slightly better-off primary-aged pupils compared with the national average.

"Free schools have emerged most strongly in neighbourhoods with high proportions of non-white children, compared with the national average, and that within those neighbourhoods they have admitted even higher proportions of non-whites," the report's authors, led by Prof Francis Green of the Institute for Education (IoE), said.

A-level and GCSE exam grades will not be 'fiddled', watchdog tells parents

by Guardian, August 7, 2014

Ofqual has sought to reassure parents in an open letter that A-level and GCSE results will not be "fiddled" to iron out the effects of changes to the exams brought in this year.

The exams watchdog reiterated earlier warnings that results could vary from school to school, due to changes to the way courses were run, but said claims that Ofqual was prepared to tinker with exam grades were "simply not true." "I was disappointed to read in the Sunday Times this weekend a reference to grade boundaries being 'fiddled'. Quite frankly, such a comment is unhelpful, unwelcome and simply not true," Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, said in the letter to parents, posted on the body's website.

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