Latest Educational News

Secondary modern education was no barrier to success

by The Yorkshire Post, March 7, 2015

Classified as General.

IF education policy was utilitarian rather than doctrinaire, then Neil McNicholas’s argument for reversion of a system of selective schools might prevail (The Yorkshire Post, February 20). His well-informed article evoked wistful memories.

I attended my first college tutorial to find the tutor indulging in fulsome flattery: “You are the crème de la crème” he opined. “The scholastic elite of the country.” Addressing me, he surmised: “You went to...grammar school?”

“No, a secondary modern” I replied blithely, to his bemusement and the barely suppressed titters of my peer group.

Maths GCSE standards row prompts call to postpone new exam

by TES Connect, March 7, 2015

Classified as General.

Maths teachers are calling for the introduction of a tough new GCSE to be delayed for a year, so they can properly prepare their pupils.

The reformed maths exam – dubbed the “big fat GCSE” because of its extra content – is supposed to be taught from September. But schools have not been given the sample material they need because exam boards have been told not to release any more until a row over standards has been resolved by Ofqual.

A decision by the regulator is not expected until the end of April at the earliest, prompting teachers to demand that the new GCSE be put back to give their students a fair chance.

Homework around the world: how much is too much?

by The Telegraph, March 6, 2015

Classified as General.

Every child’s dream is, it turns out, many New York parents’ nightmare. A public school for primary-aged children in New York has decided to end all homework assignments, but angry parents have responded by threatening to pull their kids out of the school.

Teachers at P.S. 116 on East 33rd Street, Manhattan, have stopped asking children to work on maths problems and English essays at home, and are instead telling kids to play outside.

The head teacher, Jane Hsu, wrote to parents telling them that studies on the effects of homework in primary school “could not provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.”

Ofsted should inspect how well schools collaborate, report says

by TES Connect, March 6, 2015

Classified as General.

Ofsted should start inspecting how well schools collaborate with one another, a new report has claimed.

All schools should be expected to work with their neighbours, it says, adding that Ofsted should inspect how successfully they do so.

The call comes in a policy paper published by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services today.

It argues that “school-to-school collaboration” is an “effective means of challenge and improvement” and could improve achievement by “drawing on the strengths within and between local systems”.

Creative subjects sidelined in response to new league table measure

by TES Connect, March 6, 2015

Classified as General.

Creative subjects are being squeezed out as schools are urging students to “double up” on academic GCSEs in response to the government’s new league table measure, it has been claimed.

Headteachers “nervous” about their performance on the measure are requesting that students take more GCSEs in English Baccalaureate subjects, according to subject associations.

School leaders and campaigners fear that the trend could have a significant impact on creative subjects, which are not included in the EBac, such as art, music, and design and technology.

Science 'squeezed out of primary schools'

by BBC News, March 6, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Science is being squeezed out of English primary schools, with a third not providing the recommended two hours of teaching a week, research suggests.

The Confederation of British Industry study also suggests science has become less of a priority in many schools.

A third of 260 teachers surveyed said they lacked confidence teaching science.

The government said the report was "nonsense" , and its new curriculum "rivals the best in the world".

In the report, Tomorrow's World, 53% of the teachers surveyed by YouGov for the CBI said science teaching had become less of a priority over the past five years.

Clever girls, stupid boys?

by BBC News, March 6, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Clever girls, stupid boys. That's become something of a modern educational orthodoxy, as girls across the developed world are more likely to get top exam grades and university places.

The gap is so great that the UK's university admissions authority has warned that being male could soon be seen as a new form of social disadvantage.

In the UK, the gender gap between men and women entering university has never been wider. In a remarkable statistic from the Ucas admissions service, the gap is more than 50% in a quarter of parliamentary constituencies. And no doubt this disparity will play out over future generations.

But hold that bandwagon there.

Boys outperform girls in maths – weekly news review

by The Guardian, March 6, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

The most able students in state secondary schools in England are not being stretched, according to Ofsted. The watchdog found that gifted pupils are not keeping up with their clever counterparts in independent and grammar schools.
The Communities Empowerment Network charity has claimed that a significant number of schools illegally expel students, using discriminatory practices that disproportionately affect the most vulnerable children.
Impending changes to the exam system could cause problems in schools, according to headteachers. The National Association of Head Teachers fears a period of volatility could follow reforms, with students unsure of which exams and subjects to take.

Teachers, not Nobel laureates, are the experts in how to teach science

by The Guardian, March 6, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

“Ofqual sounds the death knell for UK science education” declared the Physiological Society last year when Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Exam Regulations, proposed changes to the way practical work in science GCSEs and A-levels will be assessed. The Wellcome Trust was also “deeply concerned”, stating that the proposals jeopardised “the progression of the next generation of scientists”. Individual scientists joined in, tweeting things like “UK government to remove practical experiments from science exams. What a totally, unequivocally shit idea”.

By January of this year, the “scientific community” had succeeded in convincing the education secretary Nicky Morgan to parrot their arguments, so that she also said that she was “concerned that a decision to remove practical assessment from science qualifications is in danger of holding back the next generation of scientists”.

University spends £100k taking staff for night in hotel

by The Times, March 6, 2015

Classified as General.

A university is paying staff to stay at a luxury hotel overlooking a lake where its vice-chancellor moors his private yacht.

Academics and administrators at the University of Bolton will spend a night at a four-star hotel by Windermere in the Lake District as part of a staff development programme.

Science is being ignored in primaries, half of teachers say

by TES Connect, March 6, 2015

Classified as General.

More than half of primary teachers believe science is being squeezed out, with a third revealing their school provides less than the recommended two hours a week, research has shown.

One in three teachers also lack confidence when it comes to teaching the sciences, a joint study by the CBI and Brunel University London finds.

In the survey of 260 teachers, 53 per cent of respondents voiced concerns that science had become less of a priority, while 36 per cent said their schools were not devoting enough curriculum time to the subject.

Clever girls lack confidence in science and maths

by BBC News, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

Girls still lack confidence in pursuing high-paid careers in science and technology, even when their school results are as good or better than boys, says an international study.

The OECD has examined why girls' academic success does not translate into an economic advantage in work.

It found that career choices explain why women in developed countries are on average earning 15% less than men.

The OECD's Andreas Schleicher called for schools to raise girls' confidence.

Minister's cuts affect all areas of education

by Belfast Telegraph, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

Education Minister John O'Dowd has unveiled a raft of cuts that affect everyone from pre-school children to staff at a new education body that has yet to start work.
While bad, the situation is less bleak than in December following a £64m shot in the arm by Finance Minister Simon Hamilton - although the Department of Education still faces a huge funding gap of £97.6m in 2015/16.
In revealing to the Education Committee where he plans to make his cuts, Mr O'Dowd said he had managed to find an additional £28m savings in his department.

Parents back apprenticeships - but not for their own children

by TES Connect, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

More than nine out of 10 parents think apprenticeships are a good option for young people – but only a third think they would be best for their own child, according to a new survey.

The report by the cross-party thinktank Demos, published today, also reveals that just a fifth (19 per cent) of parents have been spoken to by their child’s school about apprenticeships – less than half the proportion (45 per cent) who have been given information about universities.

Demos polled 1,000 parents of 15- and 16-year-olds as part of its year-long Commission on Apprenticeships, which brought together politicians, academics and industry experts to suggest ways to increase the number of high-quality work placements and improve awareness.

Review warns of 'increasing disruption' in school admissions

by TES Connect, March 5, 2015

Parents and pupils are facing “increasing disruption” when applying for school places, especially when they move during the school year, a research review has found.

The report, published today by the Research and Information on State Education, says that the removal of councils’ duty to coordinate in-year admissions has made it more difficult for children to get school places.

“Close monitoring of how admissions are working across a local area will be needed,” it says, adding that children moving schools during the academic year tend to be more vulnerable than others. In 2011-12 there were 300,000 in-year admissions.

Teacher stereotyping means higher marks for girls, says OECD

by TES Connect, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

Teachers are awarding girls higher marks than boys who have the same ability, partly because they “hold stereotypical views” about pupils’ academic strengths, a new report on the gender gap in global education has found.

The study, published today by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), analysed students’ marks in reading and maths.

After taking into account their performance in the organisation’s Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, it found that, across the OECD, teachers "generally reward girls with higher marks in both mathematics and language-of-instruction courses”.

Girls lack self-confidence in maths and science problems, study finds

by The Guardian, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

Girls “lack self-confidence” in their ability to solve mathematics and science problems and achieve worse results than they otherwise would, despite outperforming boys overall, according to an international study of gender equality in schools by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The study – based on the OECD’s international tests and surveys – suggests school performance both worldwide and in the UK could be boosted by improving attitudes among girls towards tackling maths and science, and by parents encouraging girls to consider careers involving subjects such as engineering.

First university in 40 years planned for Herefordshire

by The Times, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

A consortium of business people and academics is trying to raise the money to create Britain’s first new university for 40 years to address a shortage of engineering graduates.

It needs to find £20 million to recruit staff and develop its first teaching building and hall of residence for students.

Doubt cast over 11-plus exams

by The Times, March 5, 2015

Classified as 11 Plus.

Children who scrape a pass in the 11-plus grammar school test achieve worse exam results than bright pupils who go to comprehensives.

A study found the brightest pupils who did not go to grammar schools got higher GCSE grades in English and maths and in broader measures such as their best eight subjects and total GCSE points.

New university aims to attract women into engineering

by The Independent, March 5, 2015

Classified as General.

Plans for the UK’s first newly built university for three decades will be unveiled today – specialising in engineering and aiming for women to comprise half of all its students and teaching staff.

The private but not-for-profit New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMITE) aims to attract 5,000 students when it is fully operational.

The new university will model itself on the Olin College of Engineering in the US city of Boston, and aims to be the first higher education institution in the country to match the American college’s unique record of achieving equal numbers of men and women among both lecturers and students.

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