Latest Educational News

Almost one million families to be hit by Theresa May's plan to end free school lunches, think tank warns

by Independent, May 21, 2017

The Prime Minister has been branded "the lunch snatcher" over plans which the Education Policy Institute claims could cost hard-working families up to £440 a year

Almost one million children from poor backgrounds will lose the right to free school meals if "lunch snatcher" Theresa May pushes through cuts in the Conservative manifesto, an educational think tank has warned.

The Prime Minister announced last week that universal free lunches for infants will be stopped if the Tories win the June 8 General Election, with free breakfasts on offer instead.

The move will cost families around £440 a year for each child affected and is thought likely to save around £650 million a year, according to the research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI).

‘Isolated’ poorer students more likely to drop out, study shows

by Guardian, May 21, 2017

Less affluent students in higher education are significantly more likely to experience problems with socialising and integrating than their peers from well-off families, says a major new study.

Only 33% of the students from D and E socioeconomic groups said they were well integrated with the students they lived with, compared with 50% of students from A and B socioeconomic groups. Only 34% of the group said they had friends at university whom they socialised with at least twice a week, compared with 48% of AB students.

The findings may help explain what lies behind the dropout rates of different student groups. Statistics gathered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England suggest that around one in 12 students leave higher education during their first year. More than a third consider withdrawing.

A music producer helps his son tackle his exams

by BBC, May 21, 2017

When he saw his son struggling with his GCSE Physics revision last year, George Hammond-Hagan drew on his experience as a music producer to try to help.
George made a song with information from the syllabus which he sang over a hip-hop track. Since then George has made over 600 tracks that cover the core subjects using content supplied by teachers.
The App called Study Tracks has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times since its launch in December.

Schools told to expect more Sats 'chaos' as moderators fail to mark pupils' work correctly

by Independent, May 20, 2017

Just six per cent of moderators were able to correctly assess pupils' work in one local authority during a trial run

Schools and parents have been told to expect more Sats “chaos” after it was revealed the majority of moderators trained for this summer’s marking have incorrectly assessed pupils’ work.

New data obtained by TES magazine suggests the government could fail in its promises to ensure this year’s national primary schools tests are “more consistent” and “reliable” following a host of problems raised last year.

Two-thirds of moderators trained to assess this term’s exams marked papers incorrectly when tested earlier this year.

Green party proposes scrapping all existing student debt

by Guardian, May 20, 2017

The Greens are set to unveil manifesto on Monday, when they say they will present the means by which they will pay for such plans
With Labour having promised to scrap university tuition fees if elected, the Greens are going one step further, with a pledge to write off all existing student loan debts, at a cost of more than £14bn over the next parliament.

The party, which is already committed to ending tuition fees, concedes that this cost would be significantly higher over time, given the long period during which the loans are repaid.

However, the Greens argue that as well as releasing an excessive burden on young people, writing off the debt from the government-owned Student Loans Company would be notably less than it could be, given the expectation that little more than half the sums will be repaid anyway.

Secret Teacher: we're not reading – so why do we assume children will?

by Guardian, May 20, 2017

English teachers at my school don’t have time to read whole books, and are told to rely on extracts in class. This is no way to inspire a love of literature

On the rare occasion that the staff in our English department surface from their marking pile long enough to enjoy a cup of tea together, I’ll ask everybody what they’re reading. The answer is usually the same: nothing.

Teachers only read the bits of books they have to teach – and even then it’s often one chapter ahead of their students. If there’s a bit of a text they don’t understand or think is boring, they just remove it from the photocopied version before class. It means that teachers are effectively editing texts, and some are not familiar with reading entire books.

Hundreds at education cuts protest in Bristol

by BBC, May 20, 2017

More than 1,000 people have marched through Bristol calling for an end to education cuts.
The protesters, including parents, teachers and children, set off from College Green in the city centre just after 11:00 BST.
Many chanted "No ifs, no buts - no education cuts" as they marched.
The protest was in response to fears that reduced funding will lead to fewer teaching staff, bigger classes and less subject choice for children.
William Brown, from the National Union of Teachers, said the fears were "already being realised".

May’s plan to end free school lunches ‘to hit 900,000 struggling families’

by Guardian, May 20, 2017

Move could undermine key Tory target of helping families that are ‘just about managing’, as concerns grow over social care pledge
About 900,000 children from struggling families will lose their right to free school lunches under a cut unveiled in the Conservative manifesto.

The total includes more than 600,000 young children recently defined as coming from “ordinary working families”, according to analysis for the Observer by the Education Policy Institute.

It means that the surprise measure risks undermining Theresa May’s pledge to prioritise families that are “just about managing” – those who are in work, but struggling to make ends meet.

University prospects ‘significantly worse’ for bright kids in grammar school areas

by iNews, May 19, 2017

The university prospects for bright pupils, who just miss out on a place in a grammar school, are “significantly worse” than similar children in non-selective areas, new research has shown. Higher attaining primary school children who fail to gain entry into a grammar are also more likely to drop out of university than pupils educated in comprehensive areas, the study reveals. The research from the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), University of Bristol and University of Warwick looked at the differences in higher education outcomes among similar pupils in both selective and non-selective areas.

Grammar schools fail to help middle-income families

by Edexec, May 19, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Selective education harms the university prospects of bright pupils who just miss out on a place at a grammar school, according to new research from the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), University of Bristol and University of Warwick.

Primary school children in areas with a selective education system who perform well in Key Stage 2 assessments but do not manage to get into a grammar school are three percentage points less likely to attend university and eight percentage points less likely to attend a high quality university compared to similar peers in non-selective areas. They are also less likely to get a good degree (2:1 or above), and have a greater chance of dropping out.

“By comparing higher education outcomes between those attending similar schools in selective compared to non-selective areas, we show that the outcomes for those who just miss out on attending a grammar are significantly worse than the outcomes for similar pupils attending similar schools in non-selective areas. This is a prime example of the harm a selective system can do to attainment and later life chances,” said Dr Lindsey Macmillan (IOE), co-author of the study Assessing the role of grammar schools in promoting social mobility.

Students warned against using 'essay mill' sites to write dissertations

by Guardian, May 19, 2017

Sites offering written-to-order essays may deliver poor work or none at all, say experts – and students risk failing their degrees

Students are being warned that using quick-fix “essay mill” websites puts them at risk of being scammed out of hundreds of pounds, as well as failing their degree if they are caught cheating.

Experts have warned of a spike in websites taking students’ money in exchange for bespoke essays and then disappearing, not delivering work on time, or providing poor quality papers. The National Union of Students (NUS) said they prey on the vulnerabilities and anxieties of students to make money.

There are more than 100 essay-mill websites in operation in the UK, according to a report from the independent university regulator, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). They offer written-to-order essays, charging varying amounts from hundreds to thousands of pounds based on deadline, topic and length.

'The arrogance of the grammar school proposals in the Tory manifesto is a disgrace'

by Times Educational Supplement, May 19, 2017

The lack of details about what the government will do to increase grammar schools is nothing short of disgraceful, argues one Westminster insider
The Conservative manifesto is a document of three Cs.

Firstly, change. Who would have thought we would one day see a Conservative manifesto which is so hostile to private schools, and in which universities are almost relegated to a side note – other than some equally discomfiting burdens to that of independent schools, and aggressive language on student migration – and where the much maligned FE sector assumes pride of place.

Secondly, continuity. There are some interesting threads of the past on the smaller stuff. A schools map for parent, primary schools having nurseries, a single teaching jobs portal, an emphasis on a knowledge rich curriculum, a bizarrely specific commitment on times-tables memorisation, and a watered down Ebacc target are all things that were either in the 2015 manifesto or which have been hawked around by the Cameron Department for Education and No 10.

Grammar schools fail to help 'just about managing' families, researchers conclude

by Times Educational Supplement, May 19, 2017

And bright pupils who miss out on grammar schools are less likely to go onto university, the report finds
Only a third of children from "just about managing" (JAM) families in selective areas are likely to obtain a place at a grammar school, according to new research.

The study, which is the first of its kind to examine the impact of selection on JAM families, has found that, in contrast, the very richest families in these selective areas have an 80 per cent chance.

The report, written by researchers from the UCL Institute of Education, University of Bristol and University of Warwick, comes a day after the Conservatives confirmed plans to expand selection.

The party's manifesto said: "Contrary to what some people allege, official research shows that slightly more children from ordinary, working class families attend selective schools as a percentage of the school intake compared to non-selective schools."

Exclusive: More than £500K to bring 49 teachers back to the profession

by Times Educational Supplement, May 19, 2017

The failure of a scheme that encourages former teachers to return to the classroom is being partly blamed on the high number of requests for flexible hours
A government recruitment scheme aimed at persuading more than 1,000 people back into teaching resulted in just 49 returning to the classroom, official figures reveal.

The failure of the Department for Education’s Supporting Returning Teachers pilot scheme has been blamed at least partly on requests for flexible hours.

The DfE figures, obtained through a freedom of information request, reveal that 62 schools took part in the pilot, which ran from September 2015 to the autumn term of 2016, and offered 1,062 tailored training places.

Exclusive: Schools facing surge in discrimination cases from teachers denied flexible working

by Times Educational Supplement, May 19, 2017

Teaching union sees 14-fold increase in disputes involving flexible working
Schools are facing a surge in discrimination cases from teachers whose requests for flexible working arrangements have been denied, Tes can reveal.

All three teaching unions have confirmed the growing trend, which appears to fly in the face of government calls for more flexible working in order to retain and attract staff.

In guidance issued in February, the Department for Education said “an increasing number of teachers want to work flexibly” – and that most of these are women returning from maternity leave or a career break.

But it found that the percentage of teachers working part-time is “significantly lower” than in the general population – 8.6 per cent of male and 26.4 per cent of female teachers, compared with 13 per cent and 42 per cent respectively in the national workforce.

Tackle candidates on school cuts, heads ask parents

by BBC News, May 19, 2017

Head teachers' letters warning of the "dreadful state" of school funding are being sent to parents in at least 3,000 schools across 17 counties on Friday.
The mass mailing urges parents to raise the "current financial difficulties" in schools with all prospective candidates "on the doorstep".
It comes in the week the three main parties pledged more money for schools.
Schools in England are being required to find savings worth £3bn to deal with rising cost pressures.

May's education revolution: Private schools will have to 'sponsor' the state sector to retain their charitable tax status under new 'meritocracy' - while failing schools will be BANNED from expanding

by Daily Mail, May 19, 2017

Private schools will have to sponsor the state sector as part of Tory plans to turn Britain into the ‘world’s great meritocracy’.
Headteachers of at least 100 top independent schools will be told they must help run an academy or set up a free school if they want to keep their charitable tax status.
The raft of reforms also includes a ban on councils expanding badly performing schools, and a promise to tackle ‘selection by house price’ with a review of admissions rules.
The party also confirmed its commitment to new grammar schools, which would allow bright pupils to enter at a range of ages.

Why are black children missing from the grammar school debate?

by Guardian, May 19, 2017

Theresa May’s plans for a new generation of grammar schools have been met with staunch cross-party opposition. Criticism has even come from senior members of her own party. But there is one important point that has been largely ignored: how the plans will affect racial inequality in education, and indeed society.

The argument for the reintroduction of grammar schools hinges on the idea of meritocracy, but this denies the ways race and other social factors such as class impact education and grammar school admissions. Black students are already at a disadvantage in our education system, and May’s plans will worsen this.

Jamie Oliver calls Theresa May's plan to scrap free school lunches a 'disgrace'

by Independent, May 19, 2017

'It's a fact that children perform better after eating a decent lunch,' says chef

Theresa May's plan to take away free hot lunches for schoolchildren has been labelled a "disgrace" by Jamie Oliver.

The chef and campaigner, famous for improving the quality of school meals, said the move "puts our future generations at huge risk" by ignoring the proven benefits of "a decent lunch".

Plans to replace universal lunchtime meals for pupils up to the age of 7 with free breakfasts for every primary school child were announced yesterday in the Conservative manifesto.

Two-thirds of Sats moderators failed to mark pupils work accurately

by iNews, May 19, 2017

Two-thirds of moderators used to check this year’s primary school Sats papers failed to correctly assess pupils’ work when they were tested earlier in the year. New data has revealed moderators trained to check Sats writing assessments this summer struggled to consistently mark specimen papers, sparking fears this year’s results will be inaccurate. It comes after significant concerns were raised last year over the reliability and consistency of moderating the writing assessments in Key Stage 2 tests.


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