Latest Educational News

School computer tablets: Who foots the bill?

by BBC News, September 5, 2014

More and more schools in Northern Ireland are telling parents computer tablets are essential for their children's education, but who has to pay for them?

Education authorities say they are not in favour of schools passing on large bills to parents already finding it difficult to pay for stationery, uniforms and PE gear.

However, some schools insist the computer tablets, including iPads, are essential for learning.

Apprenticeships: How to earn £32k while studying for a degree

by Telegraph, September 5, 2014

It is hard to imagine, looking around Mulberry’s factory in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, at young people on sewing machines, pattern cutting stations and leather stores, that seven years ago half of its 100 workforce was over 50 years old and 13 per cent were over retirement age. Now the average age of the 240 craftsmen and women is 34.

In 2006 Ian Scott, the group supply director, realised how badly the luxury bag-making business needed to attract young people to revitalise its workforce. The problem was that ‘no one wanted to come into manufacturing’, Scott said. So he worked with local schools and colleges to devise a programme to encourage them into the industry. ‘They said, thank God someone’s doing something to help the young people in this area. Previously they had to tick a box to show they were sending them off to higher education of some kind, and as there were no other options they were packing them off to university, knowing they could well fail. Now they can send them to us.’

Education system in UK 'more efficient than effective'

by Telegraph, September 5, 2014

The UK's education system is providing good value for money compared to other countries, but could be producing better academic results, new research suggests.
It concludes that the UK is "more efficient than educationally effective".
The international study, commissioned by Gems Education Solutions, compared education systems across 30 nations, based on how much they spend on teacher costs and the pupil outcomes achieved, to examine how cost-efficient the systems are.

Private school fees 'have soared by a fifth in just five years'

by Telegraph, September 5, 2014

Rising numbers of families face being squeezed out of private education after school fees increased by a fifth in just five years, according to research.
Figures show the cost of sending children to fee-paying schools has soared around four times faster than the rise in wages since 2009.
In all, the average fee for a day school this year – £12,345 – is equivalent to 37 per cent of typical earnings. This compares with the equivalent of 32 per cent five years ago when average fees stood at £10,176.
The rise comes despite a squeeze on family finances during the economic downturn and will fuel concerns that independent schooling is now becoming unaffordable to all but the wealthiest parents.

British schools come 11th in world efficiency league

by The Times, September 5, 2014

Britain has the 11th most efficient school system in the world but could boost its effectiveness by deploying resources better, a new analysis says.
Britain was among a group of countries that were either spending too little on schools to improve standards or under-performing in relation to the scale of existing education budgets, it said.

Universities’ right to recruit foreign students at risk

by The Times, September 5, 2014

Up to 40 universities, including several of the most highly regarded, could be stripped of their right to recruit foreign students when tough new immigration controls take effect in the autumn.
From November, a university will lose its licence to sponsor international students if 10 per cent or more of those to whom it offers places are refused student visas.
The present threshold is 20 per cent, and there will be a three-month transition period.

Splitting pupils into sets ‘must be left to teachers’

by The Times, September 5, 2014

Experts questioned the wisdom yesterday of plans being considered by the Conservatives to force all schools to teach children separately in ability groups or classes.
Evidence on the benefits of dividing pupils into “sets” is inconclusive but educationists said that such classroom practice should be left to teachers.
Controversy over compulsory setting threatened to damage efforts by Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, to be seen to listen to the teaching profession.

Pioneer green school has to rebuild after springing a £7m leak

by The Times, September 5, 2014

One of the first schools opened under rules requiring new classrooms to be “environmentally friendly” is being partially demolished after only four years because of leaks.
The £6.5 million Dartington C of E Primary School was one of the country’s first “carbon neutral” education buildings when it replaced its original Victorian home.

Schools’ closed attitude to widening access is holding pupils back

by Guardian, September 5, 2014

Last term, I emailed a school and asked if they would like me to visit and talk to their pupils about applying to university. They emailed me back and said, “No, all of our pupils want to do dentistry at their local university this year and they’re not interested in hearing about your university.”

I am struggling to believe this is the whole truth.

Bigger classes for budget efficiency

by BBC News, September 5, 2014

Increasing class sizes in UK schools could make the education budget stretch further without damaging standards, according to an international analysis of the "efficiency" in education spending.

An efficiency league table puts the UK in 11th place out of 30 countries.

Finland is rated most efficient, in terms of results and spending.

The study highlights that smaller class sizes or teachers' pay are not necessarily linked to better results.

This international study has produced an "efficiency index", which compares how developed countries allocate spending on education and how well they perform in the international Pisa tests.

Parents forced to 'pay twice' for expensive school uniforms

by Telegraph, September 4, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of parents are being forced to pay twice for school uniforms because of the government’s academies programme, according to council leaders.
Mothers and fathers face spending up to £161 per pupil – rising to more than £200 in some cases – as schools seek to “rebrand” when they win academy status, it was claimed.

Nick Clegg left squirming over free school meals by 9-year-old boy

by Telegraph, September 4, 2014

Nick Clegg has been confronted over his flagship £1billion school meals scheme by a nine-year-old boy who told him that they are "unhealthy" and "very expensive".
Rohan, who said he was ringing from school, phoned Mr Clegg's programme on LBC radio and suggested that the scheme is wasting money on many parents who can afford to buy their own meals.

Fresher look at first impressions could help universities to cut dropout rate

by The Times, September 4, 2014

Gloomy academics, disappointing timetables for lectures and shabby student digs may not just make freshers’ week more daunting for new undergraduates, they are also more likely to lead to students dropping out of university later in their course.
Evidence shows a strong link between students’ experience in the first month on campus and the university’s retention rate. First impressions, it seems, have a disproportionally powerful impact on whether students complete their course.

Schools should use pupil premium to give disadvantaged children's private tuition, charity says

by The Independent, September 4, 2014

Schools should use the extra cash they get for taking in disadvantaged children to pay for private tuition, a leading charity says.

Research by the Sutton Trust, set up to campaign for equal access for all children to education, shows parents who send their children to private schools are twice as likely to pay for extra private tuition as those who send them to state schools.

Morgan open to profits for schools

by The Courier, September 4, 2014

The new Education Secretary has revealed she is open to the possibility of allowing schools to make a profit.

Nicky Morgan said any policy would need to be thought about "very carefully" but she is "happy to have lots of further advice" on the issue.

Labour claimed the Conservative Cabinet minister had "let the cat out of the bag" and said parents would be "alarmed" by the comments.

Give poorest pupils vouchers to pay for private tuition, report says

by TES, September 4, 2014

Low-income families should get vouchers for private tuition to help them catch up with wealthier classmates, a think tank said today.

The Sutton Trust has found 23 per cent of secondary school pupils nationally and 37 per cent in London received private tuition in 2014, according to a poll of 2,700 pupils.

Previous research has found that even parents who are already paying for private education are willing to fork out more for private tutors – 27 per cent of children at private school have extra tuition compared to 14 per cent in state schools.

Labour’s plans for UK universities are not new or revolutionary, says VC

by Guardian, September 4, 2014

Plans for new technical degrees and technical universities unveiled by shadow universities minister Liam Byrne last week have been hailed by Labour as a “pioneering concept”. But we must look beyond the hyperbole of politics and recognise that some of these initiatives bear a striking resemblance to existing provision – rebadged and rebranded.

Coding at school: a parent's guide to England's new computing curriculum

by Guardian, September 4, 2014

Getting more kids to code has been a cause célèbre for the technology industry for some time. Teaching programming skills to children is seen as a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and the people qualified to fill them.

From this month, the UK is the guinea pig for the most ambitious attempt yet to get kids coding, with changes to the national curriculum. ICT – Information and Communications Technology – is out, replaced by a new “Computing” curriculum including coding lessons for children as young as five years old.

Scottish independence: No tuition fees ever, says Sturgeon

by BBC News, September 4, 2014

Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will never support bringing in tuition fees for Scottish university students.

The SNP politician said her party would "always protect free education because it is one of the most important things any government can ever protect".

Labour MP Jim Murphy told the BBC's independence referendum debate education policy was already devolved.

He said Scotland already had free higher education.

However, Mr Murphy could not say what his own party's position would be in the future.

Tuition and hobbies helping richer children

by BBC News, September 4, 2014

Children from wealthier families gain a "substantial advantage" from tuition and extra-curricular activities, say researchers.

Lessons in dancing, sport and languages give children "another edge", says the Sutton Trust education charity.

Almost one in four young people have extra tuition, but it is least likely to be available among poor families.

"Inequalities in education do not stop after the school bell has sounded," said researcher Conor Ryan.

The study found that the richest families are much more likely to pay for extra lessons than the poorest - and the Sutton Trust wants poorer families to be given vouchers for tutors and after-school hobbies.

It suggests that part of the pupil premium, that is targeted at supporting poorer pupils, could be diverted to funding tuition.

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