Latest Educational News

Schools must help students choose BTEC qualifications most valued by universities, says report

by Times Educational Supplement, February 23, 2017

Rapid growth in the number of students choosing sports science BTEC 'raises questions', says report's author
Schools and universities should do more to help students to identify which BTEC qualifications are most likely to help them progress to higher education, a thintank has recommended.

A new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) says that the increase in high-attaining pupils studying sports science has outstripped that in other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects.

University chiefs' 10% wage rise puts them on up to £450,000 a year and reignites 'fat cat' pay row

by Daily Mail, February 23, 2017

.Pay packages of dozens of uni chiefs have soared, with an average of £277,834
.The highest individual deal reached £451,000 – three times the salary of the PM
.Vice-chancellors also spending thousands of pounds on flights and hotel rooms
.Figures obtained under Freedom of Information by University and College Union

The pay packages of dozens of university chiefs have soared by more than 10 per cent within a year, research shows.
They are taking home an average of £277,834, but the highest individual deal reached £451,000 – three times the salary of the Prime Minister.
Vice-chancellors are also spending thousands on flights – mainly business and first class – and hotel rooms.
The figures have ignited a new row over ‘fat cat’ pay and perks at a time when rank-and-file staff are receiving 1 per cent increases in wages.

Pupils’ reading ages ‘plummet in secondary school’

by iNews, February 23, 2017

Too few secondary school pupils are reading challenging enough books, causing their reading ages to plummet after leaving primary school, new research suggests. A study of school pupils’ reading habits across the UK reveals that primary school children are more likely to push themselves to read more challenging books than those in secondary school. An academic from the University of Dundee studied the book choices of nearly 850,000 children and found that by the end of primary education children typically have a “reading age” that matches their own age.

GCSE pupils' reading level is three years below their actual age, study suggests

by BT Home, February 23, 2017

Secondary school pupils are reading books that are too easy for them, according to a study.

By the time students reach their GCSE year, they may have a reading age of around three years younger, while even those in their first year of senior school are around a year behind, it suggests.

The study, published by assessment service Renaissance UK, is based on an analysis of the reading habits of almost 850,00 UK children.

School days 'could be shortened' to save money at seven schools

by BBC, February 23, 2017

Pupils at seven schools could have shorter days after a trust head say he may have to cut hours to save money.
Dave Baker, of the Olympus Trust which operates near Bristol, said government cuts had left it at "crisis point".
Parents described the funding problem as "diabolical". A union said the idea was "terrible" but families deserved to know the truth about funding.
A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said new funding plans would increase the trust's budget by 2.4%.
The Olympus Trust runs one secondary, one all-through school and five primary academies in South Gloucestershire, to the north of Bristol.

Schools funding system 'must be fairer'

by BBC, February 23, 2017

The key group pushing for a fairer funding system in England's schools says government plans for a funding shake-up need to be rethought.
The F40 group, which campaigned for 20 years for the funding overhaul, is warning that some poorly funded areas, and schools within them, will lose out.
Its vice-chair, Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk, says it is important "one injustice isn't replaced with another".
The government says it is not cutting funds in low income areas.
Instead it plans to end unequal funding across the country.
Education Secretary Justine Greening has highlighted how a school in Barnsley could receive 50% less than a school facing similar challenges in Hackney, east London.

Pupils of 11 to sit specific times tables tests for the first time from 2019 as part of their Key Stage Two exams

by Daily Mail, February 23, 2017

.Eleven-year-olds will sit times tables tests from 2019 it has been revealed
.Schools minister Nick Gibb said it is a 'very important part of mathematical knowledge'
.It will be the first use of on-screen technology in national curriculum testing
.Proposals were first announced by former education secretary Nicky Morgan

Eleven-year-olds will sit online times tables tests from 2019, the Schools Minister revealed yesterday.
Nick Gibb insisted multiplication was a ‘very important part of mathematical knowledge’ and should be assessed at primary school.
It will be the first time a specific test on times tables has been introduced at Key Stage Two. The assessment, described by Mr Gibb as a ‘multiplication check’, will also be the first use of on-screen technology in national curriculum testing.

'Ofsted needs to realise that schools in poor areas can't just be judged on test scores'

by Times Educational Supplement, February 22, 2017

In some schools just getting many of the pupils through the gates is a success – but this is overlooked when the inspector calls, writes one educationist
Every school in the country is unique.

This "uniqueness" is something to be celebrated and it is created by all the individuals within that school and all the external factors that impose themselves.

Deprivation is perhaps the most important of these external factors.

I consider myself fortunate that all of my 26 years of headship were spent in a school deemed to have high levels of deprivation. However, I feel strongly that the issues associated with such schools are not fully appreciated.

Pupils to sit times tables check from 2019

by BBC, February 22, 2017

Pupils in England will sit a times tables check, from 2019, at the end of their primary years, Schools Minister Nick Gibb has confirmed.
Multiplication was a "very important" part of a child's mathematics knowledge, Mr Gibb said.
Plans for such a test were in the Conservatives' election manifesto.
Proposals to test 11-year-olds on their times tables were first announced by former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan in January 2016.
However, the move was put on hold when her successor, Justine Greening, said there would be no new national tests or assessments introduced before the academic year 2018-19.

Teacher changes accent to avoid 'village idiot' tag

by BBC, February 22, 2017

Some teachers are altering their accents in class to avoid negative reactions, a small study suggests.
One teacher, from Bristol, told researchers he did not want to be seen as "a village idiot" or "a thick yokel who lives on a farm".
Another, from the Midlands, said she was told to change her accent or to "go back" to where she came from.
But teachers and students felt they should be free to speak in their own accents, the study found.
Nine teachers and 55 students from three Manchester schools, interviewed at length for the study, did not su

Head resigns over school funding crisis

by BBC, February 22, 2017

A head teacher has resigned in protest over the school funding crisis, telling parents she had not gone into teaching to cut the number of teachers or increase class sizes.
Mary Sandell, head of the Forest School in Winnersh, Berkshire, has written to parents about "bleak" funding problems.
Head teachers across England have been warning of budget shortages - with threats of cutting school hours.
The Department for Education has said schools have record levels of funding.
In a letter sent to parents, the secondary school head teacher warned of the worsening impact of a lack of funds.

Prince Harry praises teacher 'compassion'

by BBC, February 22, 2017

Prince Harry says the best teachers should go beyond academic lessons and teach about "resilience and compassion".
His comments accompanied the announcement of the top 10 shortlist for this year's Global Teacher Prize.
"We will all face setbacks and challenges," said Prince Harry, but teachers could help to prepare people for the "ups and downs" of later life.
The top 10 includes Raymond Chambers, who teaches computing in Corby.

Government 'wastes billions' on state-of-art free schools leaving state schools in dire state of repair

by Independent, February 22, 2017

National Audit Office report says £6.7bn needed just to bring all existing school buildings up to a 'satisfactory' standard

Millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money is being wasted building state-of-the-art free schools that stand empty, while deteriorating and potentially unsafe buildings present a “looming crisis” for the local authority, MPs have warned.

In anticipation of the growing demand for school places, the Department of Education (DfE) plans to open 500 new free schools by 2020, costing an estimated £2.5bn simply to purchase the land needed to build them.

'More spent on free schools as older buildings deteriorate'

by BBC, February 22, 2017

The government has pledged billions for new free schools while existing school buildings in England are deteriorating, says the official spending watchdog.
Repairing all school buildings to a satisfactory standard will cost an estimated £6.7bn, according to a National Audit Office report.
Under government plans 833 free schools will open by 2021, costing £9.7bn.
The government said free schools were a vital part of meeting demand for new school places.

School spending on supply teacher agencies jumps by a fifth in three years

by Telegraph, February 21, 2017

School spending on supply teacher agencies has jumped by a fifth in three years, figures reveal, as MPs warn that the Government has no long term strategy to address staff shortages.

The amount that schools spend on recruitment agency fees alone has increased by almost a fifth (18.5 per cent) in the past four years, from £469 million in 2012/13 to £556 million in 2015/16.

These figures exclude the spend for academies, which means the overall cost for academies and free schools – which now represent the majority of schools - will be substantially higher.

Academic selection: Policy group criticises 'negative impact'

by BBC, February 21, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

A policy group run by the Department of Education (DE) has criticised the impact of academic selection.
The department's strategic planning and policy development forum also criticised a number of the department's policies for promoting inclusion.
Academic selection concentrated "lower-achieving pupils, often from socially deprived areas, into a small group of 11-16 schools", the report said.
It added that NI's formal school leaving age should rise from 16 to 19.
The body was set up by DE in 2011 and its membership includes a number of departmental officials, teaching employers and trade unions.

Sats-style maths exam for university applicants 'could help post-Brexit Britain compete'

by Times Educational Supplement, February 21, 2017

Basic literacy and numeracy "utterly critical" to success of technology businesses, former Downing Street adviser claims
A Sats-style maths exam for all university applicants could help give the British workforce the skills it needs to complete in a post-Brexit world, a report published today claims.

The document, A Global Britain: from local startups to international markets, also calls for all 16-19 year olds to study maths, “usually to a level above GCSE”, as in many international competitors.

Co-author Rachel Wolf, a former Downing Street policy advisor, said that while the report focused on the technology sector, its findings were “pretty applicable” to the wider economy.

'How can schools help with childhood obesity? By getting every child to sit down with their teachers for a proper lunch'

by Times Educational Supplement, February 21, 2017

Schools shouldn't waste curriculum time on explicit 'healthy eating' lessons which only reinforce the sort of guilt and fear around eating we are trying to steer kids away from, says one parent-writer
Psychologist Tara Porter wrote in TES this week that the whole approach to “healthy eating” education in schools is way off the mark.

A black-and-white stance (lettuce great, chocolate bad) had led to some children obsessing about weight and others simply ignoring over-the-top messages about the dangers of junk, she warned.

Was is possible, she suggested, that the drive for health was actually contributing to anorexia and obesity?

Britain’s first cut-price private school will charge parents just £52 a week

by Telegraph, February 21, 2017

Private schools were once thought of as the preserve of the wealthy elites, with some building Olympic size swimming pools and elaborate theaters to justify their astronomical fees.

Now Britain’s first “cut-price private school” is set to open this September will charge parents just £52 a week - but its founder says that parents should not expect any perks.

The Independent Grammar School: Durham will charge parents £2,700-a-year for a “traditional private education without the frills”.

Government has no plan to tackle ‘worsening’ teacher shortages

by Times Educational Supplement, February 21, 2017

Education select committee says government should look at "capping" teachers' work outside of school to improve retention
The government lacks a long-term plan to tackle “worsening” teacher shortages, a House of Commons committee has said.

A report by the education select committee, published today, says consistent failure to hit recruitment targets and the government’s focus on English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects are likely to exacerbate existing shortages.

The report proposes a number of radical changes, including “capping” the number of hours that teachers work outside of school to make the profession more attractive.

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