Latest Educational News

Outstanding schools take too few poor pupils, study says

by BBC, August 2, 2016

Poor children in England are less likely to attend the best schools, even if they live nearby, suggests a new analysis of official figures.
The Schooldash blog compared the proportion of poor pupils in every school in England with the proportion in their local areas.
Poor pupils were notably under-represented at schools rated outstanding by Ofsted, says the report.
The government says all pupils deserve a world-class education.

What is the simplest and most effective way of developing problem solving skills at KS3?

by The Schools News Service, August 2, 2016

Classified as General.

The answer has to be one that involves giving the students a chance to practice their maths problem solving skills by working through hundreds of tried and tested activities.

And that is exactly what Mind Maths offers: hundreds of problems to solve in a copiable worksheet format complete with comprehensive teaching notes and advice on preparation, planning, plenaries and extension work.

The topics are broken down into four sections: number logic, rules, combinations and sequences, all within a CD containing over 400 pages of activities.

When students start a business in university

by BBC, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

It's little more than a decade since Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard at the age of 19 to launch Facebook.
The social network has made him the fourth-richest man in America and a hero to any aspiring college entrepreneur.
Of course Zuckerberg was already something of a prodigy when he started his global empire. But for those with more modest abilities, there are now thousands of schools across the country offering courses in entrepreneurship.
The days seem long gone when students sought skills that would secure them a job for life working for somebody else.

Student grants replaced by loans

by BBC News, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

Students starting university courses in England will no longer be able to apply for grants towards living costs.
Under changes that came into effect on Monday, grants for students from low-income homes are replaced by loans.
Previously, students from families with annual incomes of £25,000 or less received a full grant of £3,387 a year.
The National Union of Students said the move was "disgraceful" and meant poorer students would be saddled with a lifetime of debt.

Student debts wipe out most graduate pay premiums - report

by BBC News, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

Politicians should stop using a "carrot of higher graduate earnings" to justify raising student fees or freezing repayment thresholds, say campaigners.
Those who do "should be charged with gross mis-selling", says Angus Hanton, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) lobby group.
Having to pay back student debts will wipe out any graduate premium for most professions, claims the IF in a report.
The government says higher education boosts employability and earnings.

Bradford Kings Science academy staff convicted of fraud

by BBC, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

The founder of a flagship academy and two members of staff have been found guilty of defrauding the government out of £150,000.
Sajid Raza, 43, Shabana Hussain, 40, and Daud Khan, 44, made payments from Department for Education (DfE) grants into their own bank accounts.
The grants were given to set up Kings Science Academy in Bradford in 2011. It opened in 2012.

Student grants replaced by loans

by BBC, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

Students starting university courses in England will no longer be able to apply for grants towards living costs.
Under changes that came into effect on Monday, grants for students from low-income homes are replaced by loans.
Previously, students from families with annual incomes of £25,000 or less received a full grant of £3,387 a year.
The National Union of Students said the move was "disgraceful" and meant poorer students would be saddled with a lifetime of debt.

University grants for poorest students axed and replaced with loans

by Independent, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

Around 500,000 of England's poorest students are set to be saddled with more debt now that tuition fees have been increased to £9,250

The Government has faced heavy criticism on the day university maintenance grants were replaced with loans for half a million of England’s poorest students.

Sorana Vieru, National Union of Students vice president, labelled the move “disgraceful” and said it “basically punishes poorer students simply for being poor".

“So they have to take a bigger loan than those students from privileged backgrounds," she told BBC Breakfast on Monday.

Graduate salaries do not justify tuition fee increase unless students went to Oxbridge or are doctors, report finds

by Independent, August 1, 2016

Classified as General.

Politicians who 'dangle the carrot' of an average lifetime earnings premium should be 'challenged for gross mis-selling'

The Government must stop using the £100,000 average lifetime graduate earnings premium to justify increasing tuition fees because it applies only to a select group of Oxbridge graduates, says a new report.

By using the amount to defend changing student loan repayment thresholds also, the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) report says “there is no such thing,” except for those with medicine or dentistry degrees.

Schools must follow 'simple rules' to 'crack the code' of social mobility, says tsar

by TES Connect, July 28, 2016

Social mobility should be the 'holy grail of public policy', former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn has said
If some schools can crack the code of helping disadvantaged children to excel then it isn't "unreasonable" to ask others to do the same, the country’s social mobility tsar has said.

Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, has said there are “simple rules" that schools can emulate to ensure that "deprivation needn’t be destiny".

Speaking at the Teach First Impact Conference, where TES is an exclusive media partner, Mr Milburn said schools that had "cracked the code" on social mobility use the pupil premium strategically, build a high-expectations culture, focus on the quality of teaching and engage parents effectively.

He added: "Critically, they seek to prepare students for life, not just exams. If some schools can do these things, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask why others cannot do likewise."

The former Labour cabinet minister said there should be a "zero tolerance approach" to schools whose results remain below floor standards for a five-year period – and he called for "wholesale changes" in leadership of these schools if progress is not made.

During the event, Mr Milburn also called for the end of the "education lottery" – where schools with similar intakes of poorer pupils achieve vastly different outcomes.

Addressing the Teach First participants, Mr Milburn criticised the recruitment system as being "chaotic", claiming that teachers are drawn to schools where performance is good and student intake is less challenging.

Edinburgh is the UK's most expensive city for students

by BBC News, July 28, 2016

Edinburgh is the most expensive city in the UK for students to live and work in, according to a Royal Bank of Scotland survey.
Above average rent costs plus lower than average term-time income made it the least affordable.
However, Edinburgh students are still the highest social spenders and spend above the weekly average on alcohol.
The cheapest Scottish city on the RBS Student Living Index was Dundee in 10th place, with Glasgow in 16th.
Portsmouth topped the list of 25 as the most cost-effective city in the UK.
The survey of 2,500 students across the UK took into account a range of factors including how much students spend on going out to how much time they spend studying.
Edinburgh students pay an average of £112.05 on rent per week, compared to around £110 across the UK.

Are grammar schools about to make a comeback?

by BBC News, July 26, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools are back on the agenda with a grassroots Conservative group about to launch a campaign for their return.
But if Theresa May's government gave a political green light to such a controversial proposal, how might it happen?
The first step would be the removal of the current ban on opening new grammar schools in England.
This was introduced in the early years of Tony Blair's government in the vain hope of drawing a line under the debate about grammars.
In the Blair compromise deal, the remaining grammars were allowed to continue, unless a ballot of the local community chose to abolish them. But there would be a ban on the creation of any new grammars.
The repeal of this legislation is the first target of grammar campaigners.
But there is also a requirement, created by David Cameron's government, that all new state schools should be free schools, a type of academy set up by community groups or academy chains.

Student fees: Universities could charge £6,300 a year, Queen's says

by BBC News, July 26, 2016

Student tuition fees in Northern Ireland could rise to £6,300 a year, Queen's University in Belfast has said.
It said students should pay between £5,200 and £6,300 depending on the level of government funding available.
Students currently pay £3,925 to study at Northern Ireland universities.
The figures are contained in an internal university document in response to the NI Executive's programme for government (PfG) 2016-21, which has been obtained by the BBC.
In the document, Queen's said the money higher education institutions had received from the executive had reduced from £214m in 2009-10 to £185m in 2014-15.
"This equates to some 13% in cash terms and 24% in real terms," it said.
"The 2015-16 academic year saw a further 10.8% reduction in the higher education budget, totalling £16.1m.
"The impact of this funding reduction has required the university to substantially reduce its undergraduate intake."

100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school – according to teachers

by TES, July 24, 2016

Classified as General.

TES and the National Association for the Teaching of English ran a survey to find teachers' top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school. Here are the results.
1 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

2 Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

3 Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4 Matilda by Roald Dahl

5 The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

6 The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis

7 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

8 We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

9 Dogger by Shirley Hughes

10 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

11 Stig of the Dump by Clive King

12= Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

12= The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

14 Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

15 Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne

The best way to bring back grammar schools

by The Spectator, July 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

Could grammar schools be about to make a comeback? That Theresa May went to one, and that the number of grammar-school-educated members of the cabinet has increased from three to eight since she took over, has fuelled speculation about a shift in education policy.

There are various forms this could take. The least politically difficult would be for Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary, to let England’s 164 grammar schools expand. Her predecessor, Nicky Morgan, approved an application by a selective girls’ school in Tonbridge to set up an annexe in Sevenoaks; it’s due to open next year. Greening could approve several more. The school in Sevenoaks has been described as England’s first new grammar in 50 years, but because it’s a branch of an older school it doesn’t run afoul of the 1998 School Standards and Frameworks Act, which prohibited the creation of any more selective schools. If May and her Education Secretary want more grammar-school places, this would be the easiest way to get them.

100 Tory MPs back scrapping the ban on new grammar schools

by The Telegraph, July 23, 2016

Classified as 11 Plus.

More than 100 Tory MPs are expected to back scrapping the ban on new grammar schools as a campaign launches this week to secure the change now Theresa May is in Number 10.

Conservative Voice, a Tory activist group launched by David Davis and Liam Fox in 2012, will formally restart its grammar schools campaign on Tuesday.

They will be writing to Mrs May and her new Education Secretary Justine Greening, holding events in Parliament and across the country and launching a social media drive to build up pressure.

The move comes after Ms Greening said she is “open minded” about allowing new grammar schools to open in England in a marked change in tone from David Cameron’s government.

Senior backers of grammar schools including Mr Davis and Mr Fox are now sat around the cabinet table while other frontbenchers have expressed support for expansions in their constituencies.

Campaigners believe now is their best chance for a generation of overturning Tony Blair’s block on the creation of new English grammar schools, enshrined in a law created in 1998.

You’ve graduated – so what happens to your bank account?

by The Guardian, July 23, 2016

With summer graduation ceremonies now taking place across the country, thousands of twentysomethings are contemplating their post-university futures. One of the many things they will have to get to grips with is changes to their banking. We look at what this entails.

Do I have to change account?
Ultimately, yes. Unfortunately, the joys of the interest-free student overdraft will come to an end, and you can’t stay on your student account without a current letter of attendance from a higher learning institution.

So what happens?
In stark contrast to the scramble of high street banks attempting to seduce freshers with the promise of free railcards and gift vouchers, the transition to a graduate account is usually far more sedate. You will probably get a letter from your bank stating when your student account will be automatically converted into a graduate one. These accounts are better than conventional accounts, but not as good as student accounts. For example, NatWest’s graduate account allows an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000 in the first year after university, but it reduces each year after.

New schools funding scheme to be delayed by a year

by BBC News, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

The implementation of a new national funding formula for schools will be delayed by a year, Education Secretary Justine Greening has told MPs.
The government had been planning to bring in the new funding scheme in England from 2017-18 - but it will now apply from 2018-19, she said.
"We must get our approach right," Ms Greening told the Commons.
Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticised the delay as "woeful".
And Neil Carmichael, chairman of Parliament's education select committee, who raised the issue in an urgent Commons question, asked why more delay was necessary.
"When does she really expect this programme to be fulfilled?" he asked.
He pointed out that the plan had already gone out to consultation earlier this year.
'Historic change'
The government says the new formula is needed to tackle uneven levels of funding across England, with the best funded areas getting more than £6,300 per pupil per year, while the worst-funded averaging just £4,200 - but there are concerns that while some schools will benefit, a new formula could mean some schools in areas of need facing budget cuts.
Ms Greening told MPs she did not want to rush into changes without being sure of their ramifications.
In a written parliamentary statement, she said the first stage consultations on the new national funding formulae for schools and high needs, published in March, "have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from head teachers, teachers, governors and parents".
"There is also a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right."

Deal fairly with students, universities told

by BBC News, July 22, 2016

Classified as General.

Universities have been told to deal more fairly with students by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Some "still have work to do" to fully comply with consumer protection law, says CMA senior consumer director Nisha Arora in an open letter.
The CMA has already "taken targeted action" to improve practices at three universities, the letter to all higher education providers says.
The government must "hold universities to account", said consumer group Which?
In March last year, the CMA set out how universities should comply with consumer law.
This included providing information to allow students to compare courses, and some institutions were asked to amend their practices accordingly.
In October, the CMA began a review of institutions to check their compliance with the rules.
After taking soundings within the sector, the review focused on 25 for closer study.
Of these, three were singled out for improvements, says the CMA.
For example:
University of Buckingham will no longer threaten, apply or rely upon academic sanctions to recover accommodation fees, library fines or other non tuition fee debts
Bucks New University will drop a contract rule which invalidates student complaints if they attend a graduation event
Birkbeck University London will no longer apply a rule which stops students using the complaints procedure if they have tuition fees debt.
There were many examples of positive changes, the review found, including:
updated policies and terms to end academic sanctions when students are in non-academic debt

Communities to provide free lunches for children during school holidays

by The Guardian, July 22, 2016

To ease burden on poor families, churches and community groups around UK are making thousands of meals available

As school holidays begin, churches and community groups are launching schemes to provide children with free lunches to alleviate the burden on poor families through the summer.

Families whose children get free school meals in term time face extra costs during holidays. “When people are living on a very marginal income, it doesn’t take much to knock them over,” said Dominic Black, the vicar of North Ormesby in Middlesbrough.