Latest Educational News

Primary schools should warn of body image dangers, say campaigners

by The Times, October 13, 2014

Children should be warned in primary schools of the dangers of wanting to look thin like models and pop singers, a new pressure group will say today.
The charities YMCA and Girlguiding, and retailers Debenhams and New Look are among organisations who have joined a campaign to challenge a “national epidemic” of low confidence among young people due to body image.

Thumbs down from teachers for Hunt’s professional oath plan

by The Times, October 13, 2014

Teachers appeared to give a swift thumbs down yesterday to a proposal by Labour to ask them to swear a professional oath like that taken by doctors.
Tristram Hunt, the party’s education spokesman, picked up the idea after returning from a visit to Singapore where teachers vow to continue to learn and pass on the love of learning to their pupils.

Cameron plans rapid intervention for failing schools

by BBC News, October 13, 2014

Wider and more rapid powers of intervention to improve failing schools in England are being proposed by the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Regional chiefs would be given stronger powers to make immediate changes in struggling schools.

There will also be a "National Teaching Service" to deploy the best staff to support weaker schools.

Mr Cameron says it will help more young people "reach their potential and succeed in life".

Prince Andrew backs young innovators

by BBC News, October 13, 2014

The Duke of York says there needs to be a "culture of enterprise" to help young people turn technology ideas into commercial products.

This meant cultivating the type of problem-solving skills not in the national curriculum, he said.

Prince Andrew was speaking at an awards ceremony for young innovators.

Young people should "recognise that science and technology are the basis of how we are going to be prosperous in the future," said the duke.

The Duke Of York, presenting this year's TeenTech awards, spoke of the importance of digital industries and encouraging young people to put their technology ideas into practice.

Labour's Hunt urges 'Hippocratic oath' for teachers

by BBC News, October 12, 2014

Teachers should take a public oath committing themselves to the values of their profession, suggests Labour's Tristram Hunt.

The shadow education secretary says it would be like the Hippocratic oath taken by some doctors.

Such a symbolic statement when teachers qualified would help to "elevate" the status of the profession, he says.

The pledge would emphasise the "moral calling and the noble profession of teaching".

Education Eye: Confused over senior school? My top 10 tips...

by Bucks Herald, October 11, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

At this time of year many parents are braving the minefield of researching senior school choices as their child approaches age 11 or 13.

Trawling websites, glossy literature and visiting open days – the plethora of information bombarding parents makes this process tricky.

As time goes on, the fog of confusion seems to thicken and the prospect of arriving at a decision seems further away. Here are my top 10 tips to help parents to come to the right decision.

‘Damaging’ A-level reform threatens to reverse maths uptake, say advisers

by Guardian, October 11, 2014

The government’s own advisers on A-level reform have warned that scrapping the AS-level could “seriously damage” the uptake of mathematics.

AS-level exams, taken in year 12 and worth half an A-level, are to be abolished under the government’s overhaul of qualifications. The move, the most controversial in former education secretary Michael Gove’s curriculum reforms, has been opposed by headteachers, teachers, academics, leading universities and subject specialists.

David Cameron considering Syria fighters’ Holland Park School for his daughter

by The Times, October 11, 2014

David Cameron is considering sending one of his children to a school from which two former pupils have been killed fighting in Syria.
The prime minister and his wife have twice visited Holland Park School in Kensington, west London, with their eldest child Nancy, who attends a state primary near by. The Camerons visited on an open day and this week made a second visit in which they toured classrooms and chatted with pupils.

Schools furious at exam markers who can’t add up

by The Times, October 11, 2014

The examinations regulator, Ofqual, has come under fire for the “endemic incompetence” of examination boards because of their inaccurate marking of GCSEs and A levels this summer.
Many leading schools told The Times that they had experienced an unprecedented number of marking and grading mistakes this year.
Examiners could be barred from adding up marks in future years because there have been so many errors in calculating results, one headmaster was told by an exam board.

Reforms are keeping achievement gap from closing, says pupil premium tsar

by TES, October 11, 2014

Efforts to help children on free school meals are being undermined by ministers' own reforms, according to the government’s pupil premium champion.

Sir John Dunford said policies including the downgrading of vocational qualifications, the English Baccalaureate accountability measure and counting only first exam entries in league tables were disproportionately affecting the most disadvantaged pupils.

Speaking at the Independent Academies Association’s autumn conference, Sir John said the pupil premium had provided a golden opportunity to close the gap between pupils on free school meals (FSM) and their more affluent peers.

Schools face post-election funding squeeze, warns minister

by TES, October 11, 2014

Schools will have to "cut their cloth" to adapt to an increasingly tough financial climate after the next election, schools minister Lord Nash has warned.

And he said one option could be a move to standard lesson plans, labelling the energy that teachers put into preparing lessons “a complete waste of time”.

Lord Nash, who also chairs the Future Academies chain of schools, said schools had been largely shielded from some of the most severe cuts.

“Given the state of the public finances we have inherited, this government has done pretty well to protect the schools budget, but I’m afraid that whichever party wins the next election there will be further cuts in the public sector,” he told the Independent Academies Association’s autumn conference.

“Education in schools has operated in a relatively benign financial climate for a long time. But a new generation of school leaders is going to have to emerge to cut their cloth to drive efficiencies.

Sophie Heawood: education? All students ever hear is money, money, money

by Guardian, October 11, 2014

I have never experienced such a rush of loving emotion towards Lower Saxony in all my life. The last German region to charge university tuition fees has just scrapped them. This makes university education, across their entire country, free. And if they can do it, why can’t we?

It’s not as if they had been charging fees for all that long – as in England and Wales, charging was a recent experiment; and as in England and Wales, it turned out to be an awful idea. They asked for only a fraction of the £9,000 a year that many British students pay (our fees are now the highest in Europe, by far), but German students protested, and in some places took their protest to the courts and won; some of the fees were not even lawful.

Secret Teacher: I may teach in a private school but I am not the enemy

by Guardian, October 11, 2014

Being inspected. It’s a concept guaranteed to bring a unifying fear to teachers across the land. We join together as we share our empathetic understanding of just how crazy life is during that week of intense scrutiny between The Call and peace being restored. Or so you would think.

After a week of very little sleep and a very lot of caffeine, a conversation the following weekend with friends – both teachers – took me by surprise. Naturally, talk turned to work and I filled them in on the inspection: “It was mentally busy, one of those things, but I survived.

Grammar schools to get grilling over 11 plus results

by Get Bucks, October 10, 2014

Classified as 11 Plus.

The Buckinghamshire Grammar School Heads group will appear before the education, skills and children’s services select committee in November to answer questions on the changes .

The meeting follows criticism levied at the group for its new test after grammar schools were able to set their own admissions criteria as academies.

The exam was created by the Centre or Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) and was introduced last year at Buckinghamshire’s 13 grammar schools to make it ‘tutor proof’.

Good schools get shorter inspections as Ofsted concentrates on the weakest

by The Times, October 10, 2014

Good schools will have shorter, lighter-touch inspections every three years as Ofsted moves away from its “cliff-edge” approach to monitoring standards.
The secondary schools will be visited by only two inspectors, who will spend one day with the head and teachers and another morning reporting their findings to governors. Primary schools will be checked by a single inspector.

League table shake-up may put 'good' schools in danger zone

by TES, October 10, 2014

Schools need to brace themselves for accountability reforms that could turn league tables upside down, an expert analysis obtained by TES reveals.

New official “floor” targets are on course to raise the number of secondaries at risk of government intervention and possible closure by nearly three-quarters.

The new regime could also place scores of previously safe schools into the danger zone, a study using the latest available GCSE results data suggests.

But the pressure would lift for a similarly large number of secondaries that would have their efforts in improving the progress of lower-attaining pupils recognised, as they would be raised above the new floor standard.

Cambridge University primary pupils 'not guinea pigs'

by TES, October 10, 2014

Pupils at the new University of Cambridge Primary School will not be treated like “guinea pigs” by academics, its founding headteacher has insisted.

The 630-place primary, which opens in September 2015, will be a hub of research for Cambridge’s education scholars. It will have a close relationship with the university’s world-famous education faculty, and it is envisaged that it will eventually host around 16 trainee teachers each year.

Academics have already had a significant impact on the school, helping to design everything from the structure of lunch breaks to the layout of classrooms.

But headteacher James Biddulph (pictured) told TES that the pupils will come first when the school opens its doors.

How much will university really cost?

by Guardian, October 10, 2014

How much you pay back for your higher education depends on how much you are earning after you leave university. If you are earning good money, you will pay back far more than if you are not. Remember that, under the new deal, you don’t pay back anything until you are earning £21,000 a year.

The good news is that you can apply for a loan to cover the tuition fees and living costs at university before you start, so you pay nothing up-front. The tuition-fee loan is not means-tested but the living costs loan is and your parents are expected to make up the difference.

Gourmet school meals, exam incentives fail and classrooms of the future

by Guardian, October 10, 2014

Good week for

School dinners. Top chefs Adam Leavy and Sukhdev Singh have swapped their jobs at one of the UK’s most prestigious restaurants to dish up gourmet grub for children at Loreto high school in Chorlton, south Manchester. So far, the pair’s kale chips and truffles are going down a treat.

East Asian education. What’s the secret of students’ success in China and South Korea? Politicians will be disappointed to read a new study by the Institute of Education which claims that culture plays a major role in their success not just curriculums

Online homework and social media pose parental dilemma

by BBC News, October 10, 2014

Parents feel unable to make children study by blocking internet access, as homework often requires online research, a survey suggests.

Some 63%, of 2,000 UK parents polled said confiscating smartphones and tablets was futile.

But 70% feared social media could distract children from their work.

The survey, for an internet blocking service, found 56% felt using parental web filters could damage their relationship with their children.

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