Latest Educational News

School receptionists 'giving careers advice', MPs warn

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

econdary schools in England are using teaching assistants and receptionists to give pupils careers advice, MPs have warned.

The warning came as members of the Commons Education Committee questioned Education Secretary Nicky Morgan over a lack of adequate advice for youngsters.

The MPs said the minister's failure to have mandatory standards for careers advice was to blame for poor provision.

Schools must secure independent careers guidance for secondary pupils.

But the quality and suitability of this provision has been a cause of concern for some time.

First UK private medical school opens with £36,000 fees

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

The UK's first private medical school has opened, with students paying annual tuition fees of £36,000.

The first intake of 67 students is beginning this term at the University of Buckingham.

Although the medical school was expected to particularly appeal to overseas students, most of the students are from the UK.

John Clapham, the school's chief operating officer, said he was "staggered" by the demand.

Ofsted 'positive discrimination' call

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has said head teachers faced with equal candidates for a teaching post should consider "positive discrimination".

The head of the education watchdog told LBC Radio that the teaching staff of schools should reflect the ethnic diversity of their pupils.

"There needs to be a fair representation," said Sir Michael.

But the government said positive discrimination was "not permitted" under equality legislation.

Sir Michael said if the "ethnic mix" of pupils is very diverse, "it's important to have a staff which reflects that".

School collaboration could help close achievement gap

by The Telegraph, January 7, 2015

Secondary schools in England will be able to compare their performance with similar schools in an attempt to close the achievement gap between rich and poor students.
The interactive database will group schools together in “families” of 50 based on factors including prior attainment, percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals and the number of pupils with English as an additional language.

Healthy meals loophole affects millions of pupils, councils warn

by TES, January 7, 2015

A loophole that exempts thousands of schools from following new healthy food standards for school meals must be closed, town hall leaders have said.

More than two million pupils attend schools that do not have to comply with new standards designed to restrict the amount of fried or pastry-based food served to children, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

New tougher rules for school meals come into force this week, but do not apply to about 4,000 schools that became academies between September 2010 and 2014.

Schools 'escaping food standards'

by The Courier, January 7, 2015

A "loophole" which exempts thousands of academies from signing up to strict new food standards must be closed to ensure all youngsters are eating healthy school dinners, town hall chiefs have warned.

Tough new rules for school meals came into force in England this week for council-run schools, free schools, and those that convert to academy status.

Children's mental health is parents' greatest concern

by BBC News, January 7, 2015

Parents in the UK are more likely to worry about their children's mental well-being than any other health issue, suggests research.

Some 40% of 2,267 parents surveyed by Action for Children said their children's emotional well-being was a primary concern.

Among mothers, this rose to 47%, according to the charity's analysis of data collected by YouGov last year.

The charity wants more early support for families to prevent major problems.

Miliband woos youth vote with reduced tuition fees

by The Times, January 6, 2015

Labour intends to cut thousands of pounds a year from the cost of tuition fees in an attempt to secure the student vote, Ed Miliband indicated yesterday.
The Labour leader used his first speech of this year’s election campaign to vow that his party would combat voter cynicism by holding four million “doorstep conversations” across Britain.
He said that he would “offer hope, not falsehoods” as he vowed to tackle the cost of living and protect the NHS.

Charity offers subsidised housing for teachers

by The Times, January 6, 2015

A charity that sponsors schools in undesirable areas is planning to extend offers of subsidised housing to teachers to boost its recruitment.
Ormiston Academies Trust, a group of 30 primary and secondary schools, says that providing cheaper housing should make it more attractive for teachers to work in its schools. The scheme follows experiments by the trust at two schools in Grimsby and on the Isle of Wight.

Pupils’ lawyers challenge lower threshold for school exclusions

by Guardian, January 6, 2015

Many more children could be expelled from school under new guidance which comes into force this week, according to lawyers who represent pupils at appeal panels.

A child whose conduct is deemed to be merely detrimental to the education or welfare of others in class can be removed by a headteacher. The previous threshold required schools to establish that serious harm was being caused to others.

The changes have been introduced without consultation, it is claimed, and have prompted a judicial review challenge against the education secretary, Nicky Morgan.

Free school meals project hailed a success in Bristol primaries despite teething problems in first term

by Bristol Post, January 5, 2015

Free cooked lunches have been offered to children aged between four to seven in primary schools since September under the Government’s universal infant free school meals programme.

After the first term of the academic year, the city council say the take-up of hot meals has been good.

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There have been teething problems, with some building work to upgrade school kitchen and dining facilities not being completed in time.

But in those cases, meals have been cooked at other schools and transported in every day while work has been finalised.

Double act proves that two heads are better than one

by The Telegraph, January 5, 2015

Browse the websites of two of the country’s leading independent girls’ schools and you might find yourself doing a double-take: surely that’s the same head on both front pages? And, indeed, they do look similar for the simple reason that they’re identical twins.
Jenny Brown was appointed to her headship, at St Albans School for Girls, a few months before her sister, Jane Lunnon, got hers, at Wimbledon High School.

Children are captivated by science but teachers fail them, says Sir Martin Rees

by The Telegraph, January 5, 2015

Children’s enthusiasm for dinosaurs and space rockets could lead them into eminent careers if only Britain had more decent science teachers, the astronomer royal has said.
Sir Martin Rees, a cosmologist, astrophysicist and Cambridge academic, said generations of children were being failed and schools must do better.
“Today, children are captivated by science, whether it’s dinosaurs, tadpoles or space. But then that spark is often lost, rather than nourished, because many schools don’t have a single teacher who is passionate about physics or maths.

State school Grey Coat Hospital ‘offers place to Cameron’s daughter’

by The Times, January 5, 2015

David Cameron’s eldest daughter is to be offered a place at a sought-after state school within walking distance of Downing Street, it has been reported.
The Sunday Times said the prime minister and his wife, Samantha, had been told that Nancy, 10, had a place at Grey Coat Hospital in Westminster.
Should he remain in office after May, he would be the first serving Conservative premier to send a child to a state secondary school.

Universities refuse to reveal how they spend students’ £9,000 fees

by The Times, January 5, 2015

Leading universities have been accused of hiding the costs behind their £9,000 tuition fees almost four years after ministers challenged them to be more open.

Gadgets have their place in education, but they’re no substitute for knowledge

by Guardian, January 5, 2015

The children returning to school this week with their new Christmas gadgets don’t remember a world without smartphones, tablets, e-readers and laptops. For some, this generation of digital natives are using technology in collaborative and social ways that will revolutionise learning. Others worry about the damage these devices are doing to their concentration spans and their ability to think deeply.

So what is the truth about technology and education? Is it better to read War and Peace on a Kindle or on paper? Or should we forgo 19th-century novels completely in favour of co-creating our own stories on Facebook? As a recent New Scientist article acknowledged, the rapid pace of technological change means large-scale studies of many of these issues are lacking. However, there is some reliable research.

Cut back amount of sugar children consume, parents told

by BBC News, January 5, 2015

Parents are being encouraged to cut back on the amount of sugar they feed children in a new health campaign.

The Public Health England (PHE) Change4Life campaign offers "sugar swap" tips, including swapping ice cream for yogurt and sugary drinks for sugar-free alternatives.

Health guidelines advise that 10% of a person's energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar.

But officials fear children between four and 10 are consuming far more.

Free school meals for primary one to three pupils in Scotland

by BBC News, January 5, 2015

All school children from primary one to three are now entitled to a free school meal, the Scottish government has announced.

The £95m initiative covering state schools is expected to save families at least £330 a year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the policy at her old primary school in Ayrshire.

She said making free school meals available on a universal basis was the "right thing to do".

The policy has been supported by unions and poverty campaigners.

The Scottish government said the policy - for 135,000 children - would benefit pupils and their families alike.

Tories misled Parliament over tuition fees, says shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna

by The Independent, January 4, 2015

Government ministers have been accused of misleading both the Commons and the Lords over supposed international praise for Britain's university tuition fees system.

The Universities minister, Greg Clark, and the Conservative whip, Baroness Williams of Trafford, have separately cited a report published in September by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in recent Parliamentary debates.They said that the OECD, at the publication of its annual Education at a Glance, highlighted the UK as being "one of the few" countries to have introduced a "sustainable" system of higher education financing.

Young people are neglected by politicians – and this is why

by The Independent, January 4, 2015

Political parties are being incentivised to govern Britain only in the interests of the elderly – because they are the one generation who reliably vote, a leading Labour politician warns today.

As all three main parties kick off what is likely to be the longest “proxy” election campaign in years, Sadiq Khan told The Independent he is concerned that politicians are now in a vicious circle where they court “silver voters” and neglect the young simply because they were less likely to vote.

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