Latest Educational News

UK class sizes above OECD average, teacher talent and boost for languages

by Guardian, September 12, 2014

Talented teachers - Could you help turn things around in a tough school? A government scheme is looking to recruit 100 talented leaders to go into challenging schools over the next few years. The best and brightest will be sought to help improve schools across the country.

Languages - Bonjour new curriculum: foreign language teaching is now compulsory for children over seven in primary school. Teaching hubs will be set up across England to boost the language skills of teachers. Alegría!

Setting off for uni? Here’s how to make it on a £170 budget

by Guardian, September 12, 2014

This weekend and next Britain’s motorways and trains will be packed with parents and students hauling their belongings to university. But what do you really need to take? And how much will it cost? A Money survey reckons the bill needs be no more than £170 – and less if you already have some of the goods. But we also found companies selling removal services to the rich, starting at £10,000, through to £25,000 for delivering your loved one by private jet.

For the rest of us, the main message is to buy the minimum and to buy cheap.

Changes to GCSEs may cut number of students receiving top grades

by Guardian, September 12, 2014

Changes to the marking of GCSEs as part of an overhaul to tighten up England's exam system are likely to result in a reduction in the number of students receiving the highest grades, it was announced on Friday.

New GCSEs in maths, English language and English literature, which will be taught in schools from September next year, will be graded 1 to 9, with 9 being the top grade. However, fewer pupils sitting the new exams may be awarded the highest grade than currently get an A*, exams regulator Ofqual revealed.

Mum's fears over 11+ exam cheating potential

by Get Reading, September 12, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

A mother has raised concerns about the potential for cheating in the 11+ exam being taken by thousands of pupils across Berkshire tomorrow.

Sheena Ager has a 10-year-old daughter sitting the exam hoping to get a place at Kendrick School in Central Reading.

Mrs Ager discovered on Monday that all the pupils hoping to get into the six selective schools in the Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools will be sitting exactly the same exam on the same day – but there are sessions in the morning and in the afternoon.

Father warned Ofsted of 'tip-off' a year before inquiry

by BBC News, September 12, 2014

The father of a pupil at an academy being investigated over claims it was tipped off about an Ofsted inspection says he warned authorities a year before an inquiry was launched.

Ian Harris, whose daughter attended Ormiston Victory Academy, Norwich, told Ofsted that pupils had been told about the inspection the previous week.

Top GCSE grade to be given to just 3% in English and maths

by BBC News, September 12, 2014

Just 3% of England's GCSE papers will be awarded the new ultra-high grade when new-style GCSE exams for English and maths are first sat in 2017.

The shake-up will see a shift to a numerical system from the highest Grade 9 to Grade 1, with the three top grades replacing the present A and A*.

Exam regulator Ofqual said the move was in response to calls for greater differentiation at the top end.

Head teachers say students must not be disadvantaged by the change in grading.

Online English course attracts 100,000 students

by BBC News, September 11, 2014

More than 100,000 people have signed up for a single online course providing English language lessons.

It is the British Council's first experiment with so-called Moocs, or massive open online courses, which deliver tuition free of charge.

Spain, Burma and Russia are among the countries with the biggest number of students taking the six-week course.

The British Council is claiming this as one of the biggest English language learning classes in the world.

More than a third of these language students are following the course through their mobile phones.

Scottish independence: Tuition fees is key issue to young voters, research finds

by BBC News, September 11, 2014

Tuition fees is a key issue for 16 and 17-year-olds as they consider what way they should vote in next week's Scottish independence referendum.

A questionnaire filled in by 1,048 young people attending a TV debate in Glasgow found 97% of them thought fees was the most important issue to them.

But the economy (94%), currency (88%), welfare (88%) and pensions (84%) also scored highly.

Students with poor GCSEs at 16, 'rarely improve by 18'

by BBC News, September 11, 2014

Most students who fail to get good GCSEs in English and maths at 16, also fail to get them by 18, figures for 2013 suggest.

Government researchers tracked the progress of students in England who did not get the benchmark A* to C in the subjects in 2011.

Just over half continued to study the subjects but only 6.5% eventually got the grades in English and 7% in maths.

Experts Say Relax Over The 11+

by Mix 96, September 11, 2014

Some parents see it as the 'holy grail' of Buckinghamshire education- today's the day our children sit their eleven plus.

It's the test that decides if children get into grammar school, but local education consultant, Catherine Stoker says with free-schools and the UTC, there are more options than ever before so children don't need to be pressured:

Bring back assisted places for poor pupils: Parents want return of scheme to help brightest

by Daily Mail, September 11, 2014

Parents want a return of taxpayer-funded schemes to pay for bright children from poorer backgrounds to go to independent schools, a report says.
Some 75,000 youngsters took part in the Assisted Places Scheme, which ran for 17 years from 1980 before it was abolished by Tony Blair.
A report today on education and social mobility by the Sutton Trust campaign group says more parents now support rather than oppose schemes for the state to pay for able children to go to high-quality private schools.

Call for private schooling for all

by The Courier, September 11, 2014

Two in five parents think every child should have the chance to go to private school, regardless of their family's income, it has been suggested.

Many other mums and dads are in favour of at least some state school places being allocated randomly, or by ballot.

The findings are part of a survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust, for its new "mobility manifesto", which sets out a series of recommendations ahead of next year's General Election on how to make sure all children have the same opportunities, regardless of background.

Too much teaching 'based on guesswork and hunches'

by The Telegraph, September 11, 2014

Too much teaching is based on “guesswork and hunches” because of a lack of understanding of how children learn, according to a leading private school.

Many traditional “chalk and talk” methods employed in British classrooma may be failing to stretch pupils’ knowledge and skill levels, it was claimed.

Carl Hendrick, head of research at Wellington College, Berkshire, said teaching should be “more like medicine”, with proper evidence being used to inform teaching styles.

Offer all children chance of private school, parents say

by The Telegraph, September 11, 2014

Two in five parents think every child should have the chance to go to private school, regardless of their family's income, it has been suggested.

Many other mothers and fathers are in favour of at least some state school places being allocated randomly, or by ballot.

The findings are part of a survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust, for its new ''mobility manifesto'', which sets out a series of recommendations ahead of next year's General Election on how to make sure all children have the same opportunities, regardless of background.

Professors fear for education in Scotland

by The Times, September 11, 2014

University scholars in Scotland are more likely to oppose independence, believing that separating from the United Kingdom would damage the country’s higher education sector, according to a poll.
The survey of 1,058 academics from Scotland’s 19 universities found that 54.8 per cent said they would vote against independence in next week’s referendum, while 41.2 per cent were in favour, giving the No campaign a lead of 13.6 percentage points.

Students who cut it fine get lower grades

by The Times, September 11, 2014

Every student knows the drill: as the essay deadline approaches, you delay until the dreaded day is nigh, then pull an all-nighter and hand it in with moments to spare. Yet new research suggests that this time-honoured practice is a guaranteed route to lower grades.
Assignments submitted moments before the cut-off point were awarded up to five marks fewer than those handed in with at least a day to spare.

Schools turn out teenagers who are ‘sloppy, lazy and not up to the job’

by The Times, September 11, 2014

Too many teenagers leave school without having learnt how to dress smartly, speak politely, and turn up for work on time, Ofsted’s chief inspector said yesterday. Sir Michael Wilshaw said young people were not well enough prepared for work, contributing to high levels of youth unemployment.

Lotteries should decide secondary school admissions, parents say

by TES, September 11, 2014

Nearly half of parents say they would support lotteries to allocate at least some places in secondary schools, according to a new poll.

The research by social-mobility charity the Sutton Trust found that, given the case of an oversubscribed comprehensive school, 28 per cent of parents wanted all places to be allocated by ballot and 19 per cent thought half should be allocated by a ballot and half by distance.

Forty-one per cent thought all places should be allocated by distance and the remaining 12 per cent did not know.

London's GCSE lessons for rest of England

by BBC News, September 10, 2014

The government is to start shipping head teachers to Grimsby.

That's the result of an announcement that the Department for Education is to try to get good heads to go to areas that lack good schools.

This is an unglamorous idea, but might mark the first serious attempt to overcome one of the biggest questions in English education - why there is such little progress in school improvement outside London?

Some years ago, when I worked at the Financial Times, I started to publish what one civil servant dubbed the "graph of doom".

'The biggest prize for the pupil premium is to close the attainment gap'

by TES, September 10, 2014

Closing the gap between the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and others is the biggest challenge faced by our generation of teachers and school leaders.

The persistent gap in the UK, which is wider than in most other countries and has existed for generations, is commonly attributed to our class-based society, with its greater inequalities than, say, those in Scandinavian countries or the tiger economies of the Far East. Tough as it is, schools are already making great strides, but there is much more to be done to meet this challenge.

The 2015 Pupil Premium Awards will recognise the importance of this challenge by rewarding the work of up to 500 schools across England in helping the most disadvantaged young people.

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