Latest Educational News

Girls taking more vocational GCSEs 'have much lower chance of doing A-levels'

by Times Educational Supplement, August 22, 2017

Research suggests that teenagers who study an 'applied subject' could be putting themselves at a disadvantage
Teenage girls who study vocational GCSEs instead of traditional academic courses may be putting themselves at a disadvantage, research suggests.

A new survey concludes that young girls who study an "applied" subject, such as health and social care, had a "significantly lower" chance of studying A levels.

The findings come in the week that teenagers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their GCSE results.

National Audit Office to investigate Ofsted

by Times Educational Supplement, August 22, 2017

NAO will assess whether the schools' inspectorate provides value for money
The National Audit Office (NAO) is conducting an investigation into Ofsted, to assess whether the watchdog inspects schools efficiently and effectively.

The investigation, which will conclude in spring next year, will also examine the extent to which Ofsted’s approach to school inspection is providing taxpayers with value for money.

Specifically, the NAO will assess:

If Ofsted is well-placed to inspect schools efficiently and effectively.
Whether Ofsted is inspects its schools in an efficient and effective manner.
Whether the watchdog knows whether its inspections are having a positive impact.

GCSE Results: Why A-levels are not the be all and end all

by Telegraph, August 22, 2017

As GCSE Results Day looms, thousands of students will be nervously awaiting their grades and considering their options for the future.

A-levels remain the traditional route for post-16 education, with many students continuing with their preferred academic subjects until the age of 18.

However, there are plenty of alternatives for students to consider. Apprenticeship schemes, traineeships and BTECs are all great routes for those who wish to increase their employability and at the same time avoid costly university tuition fees.

Exclusive: Exam watchdog warned that new GCSE grading system will lead to more children getting incorrect marks

by Telegraph, August 22, 2017

The exam watchdog warned that the new GCSE grading system will lead to more children getting the wrong marks, it has emerged.

A technical report published by Ofqual last year told of the “profound effect” that introducing more grade boundaries will have on students being awarded the correct mark.

It comes after a series of experts spoke of the “alarming” consequences of the numerical system, as they predicted that thousands of students are set to receive the wrong GCSE mark this week.

The revelation that even the exam regulator has highlighted the potentially disastrous implications of the new system will come as an embarrassment for the Department for Education, which insists that the changes are part of our drive to raise school standards.

Girls who study vocational GCSEs 'significantly less likely to do A-levels or go to university'

by Independent, August 22, 2017

Research suggests girls are being held back by schools that encourage them to take 'applied' GCSEs such as health and social care

Teenage girls who study vocational GCSE subjects rather than traditional academic courses are "significantly" less likely to go on to do A levels, according to research.

A new survey shows that young girls who studied an "applied" subject, such as health and social care, were less likely to stay on at A level and take the "facilitating" subjects, such as the sciences and maths, which are favoured by prestigious universities in the UK.

The study, carried out by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and UCL's Institute of Education, found that vocational subjects appeared to put both boys and girls at a disadvantage – but this disadvantage linked to applied GCSEs was particularly strong for girls.

New GCSEs 'hardest since O-levels'

by BBC, August 22, 2017

The new-style GCSE exams in England are the most difficult since the end of O-levels in the 1980s, according to an independent school leader.
The first results of revised GCSEs in English and maths will be published this week, with a grading system using numbers from 9 to 1.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, says they will stretch the most able students.
But he urges universities to be cautious about using the top grade 9.

Exam boards told to expect surge in requests for GCSE re-marks

by Guardian, August 22, 2017

Pupils will find out on Thursday how they fared in reformed exams as teachers complain of working in the dark

Examination boards are being warned to expect a surge in the number of requests for re-marks following the publication later this week of GCSE results that are predicted to be the most volatile in years.

More than 600,000 pupils in England will find out on Thursday how they fared in reformed GCSEs in maths, English literature and English language. The exams are being assessed using the new scale of 9 to 1, which replaces the old A* to G grades.

Bringing literature to life: the new GCSE syllabus has reinvigorated my students

by Guardian, August 22, 2017

Moving to a closed-book, exam-only system filled me with dread – but my students have worked harder than ever

Every year, I find myself in the strangest of situations as students filter out of the exam hall. For their entire school careers, teachers have been the ones to impart knowledge, guide them through tricky questions, and set those tricky questions ourselves. But all of a sudden, the students are the experts: experts in the paper they’ve just taken. So we stand at the doors, anxiously awaiting their impressions of the exam, trying to decipher for ourselves whether the paper was “so easy” or was, in fact, “well hard”.

Teachers in elite universities not feeling benefit of £9k tuition fees

by Guardian, August 22, 2017

Teachers in elite universities not feeling benefit of £9k tuition fees

It took Susanna 10 years before she was promoted to senior teaching fellow, and she says she was one of the lucky ones. Many new teaching-only contracts awarded in her department at a leading research university are “non progressable” – there is no expectation that teaching staff will go any further within the institution.

“It’s demoralising. You feel, ‘why should I do the extra mile if my mile isn’t being recognised?’” she says. “It doesn’t give promotion, and it doesn’t even give praise.”

She is not alone. New research carried out by John McCormack, lecturer in management at Cranfield University, has found that university teaching staff resent the way they are made to feel second-class citizens, inferior to researchers. With Matthew Bamber, of the University of Toronto, and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, of the University of Lincoln, McCormack interviewed 51 teaching staff at 20 research-intensive universities in Britain. Many reported feeling “locked in” by structural and social barriers they felt were insurmountable, and unable to become “proper academics”.

Too elite? Independent school myths debunked

by Scotsman, August 22, 2017

Forget what you think you know about independent schools – you could be mis-informed. Here we sort the fact from the fiction.

From the elite and imperious Hogwarts, to frivolous frolics of St Trinian’s, popular culture has done a great deal to help people form a peculiar and distinctly coloured idea of what an independent school is like. Elite, exclusive, unwelcoming… with some the image of independent schools as crusty old insular institutions endures to this day.

According to the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, behind Scottish Council of Independent Schools) independent schools are far more accessible and inclusive than many might think.

What to do if you fail your GCSEs

by The Conversation , August 22, 2017

GCSE time is here again, with the annual focus on the success stories: the young person who passed all their subjects despite tragedy or illness, as well as the young people who have gained ten or 11 A* grades.

I don’t want to undermine those achievements – as they are often remarkable. But there is very rarely any mention of the young people who do less well – those who fail to gain the benchmark five A to C grades, and who will not, or cannot, go on to do A-levels and progress to university.

This is the reality for a significant number of young people, with findings from Schools Week showing that more young people gained an E grade than an A* in 2016 – it was the same story in the previous two years as well.

GCSE results day 2017 anxiety: How to help your kids cope with the stress

by Evening Standard, August 22, 2017

What to do and what not to do, according to an expert

Teenagers around the UK are anxiously waiting to receive their GCSE results this Thursdsay August 24 - but it's not just school pupils who are feeling the strain. It's a tense time for parents too as stress and pressure mount.

Here, we asked Bupa expert Stuart Haydock to share his tips for parents to support their children during this exam results period.

“Ask any teenager about the most stressful time in their life and many would say the anticipation of waiting for GCSE results day,” said Haydock.

“But it’s not just a testing time for the students, for some family members, particularly those who haven’t gone through the stress of exams before, it can be difficult to know the right words to say or the level of support to give.

What are the new GCSEs and what do the changes mean?

by Independent, August 22, 2017

This year's GCSE candidates were the first to sit 'tough' new exams under a reformed curriculum - here's what the new grading system means

This summer’s GCSE candidates are the first to sit new, more rigorous exams as part of a shakeup to secondary school teaching and qualifications.

Thousands of teenagers across England can expect to receive their results on Thursday – but English and maths scores will come in the form of a new numbered grading system, rather than the traditional A*-U grades.

The dramatic reforms come as part of a government drive to improve schools’, pupils’ and employers’ confidence in the qualifications, ensuring that young people have the knowledge and skills needed to go on to work and further study.

Exclusive: Confused about new GCSE grades? You've 'not thought about it hard enough', says Ofqual board member

by Times Educational Supplement, August 21, 2017

But a teachers' leader blames Ofqual for introducing an "inherently ridiculous" system
Anyone confused by the new numerical GCSE grades being introduced this week has “not thought about it hard enough”, according to an Ofqual board member.

There have been warnings that employers will view the 9-1 grades as "gibberish" and many parents are confused about what they mean.

But Barnaby Lenon, who is chair of the Independent Schools Council as well as sitting on the exam regulator's board, told Tes: “There is no reason for anyone to say it’s confusing.

New GCSEs 'could favour boys'

by Times Educational Supplement, August 21, 2017

Reformed GCSEs could lead to boys pulling further ahead in maths and closing the gap with girls in English, according to leading academic
Boys could pull further ahead of their female peers in the new "tougher" maths GCSE, an expert has suggested.

And the gap between girls and boys could narrow in the reformed English GCSE, according to Professor Alan Smithers.

Professor Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, believes the new maths and English GCSEs could favour boys.

Students 'disempowered' by not being told their GCSE marks

by Times Educational Supplement, August 21, 2017

As AQA reveals it will not include students' exam marks on result slips for the reformed GCSEs, one English teacher's open letter argues the move will 'disempower students who need empowerment the most'
Dear AQA,

Ahead of GCSE results day, it has come to my attention that the decision has been taken to remove students’ exam marks from results slips for the new GCSEs. I have a number of concerns about this and I am writing to ask you to reconsider.

First of all, let me clarify my understanding of what will happen on results day with candidates’ results slips. Slips will contain a mix of the new GCSE grades and the old GCSE grades. The results of the old GCSE grades will be given alongside uniform mark scale (UMS) scores and grade boundaries will be shared. The results of the new GCSE grades will be given only as a grade, without the raw mark attached. There is no longer a need for UMS scores with the new GCSEs, because they are linear, but without knowing your own mark, grade boundaries are pointless. If students would like to know how close they were to the next grade – if it’s reasonable to request a remark, if they were close enough to resit in November – they will need to form an orderly queue at the exam officer’s desk. This is the only way they will be able to access the mark they achieved in their exams.

Top marks for 'gromps' - the comprehensive schools that behave like grammars: Children in these institutions found to make the most academic progress

by Daily Mail, August 21, 2017

Children make the most academic progress in comprehensives with a grammar-school culture, a study reveals today.

Referred to as ‘gromps’, schools which have strict discipline, smart uniforms, longer school days, competitive sports, classics and all three sciences, are more likely to have pupils do well, it found.

By contrast, pupils fall behind in schools with a ‘progressive’ ethos, which is defined as those with a casual uniform or no uniform at all.

Other markers include a relaxed attitude to low-level disruption in the classroom and lessons that are led by students rather than teachers, it was claimed.

The New Schools Network (NSN) used official data measuring the academic progress children make between sitting national tests aged 11 and taking eight GCSEs at the age of 16.

Exclusion from school can lead to long-term mental-health problems, study shows

by Times Educational Supplement, August 20, 2017

Large-scale research also shows that excluded pupils can develop a range of disorders, including anxiety, depression and behavioural problems
Excluding children from school can lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a large-scale new study has shown.

The research, from the University of Exeter, also showed that poor mental health can lead to exclusion from school.

Professor Tamsin Ford, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and lead author of the study, said that excluded children can develop a range of mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and behaviour-related problems. Even temporary exclusions can amplify psychological distress.

Exclusive: Less than a fifth of parents think new GCSE grading system is a 'good idea'

by Times Educational Supplement, August 18, 2017

A Tes and Mumsnet poll reveals widespread anxiety and confusion among parents about the exam reforms
Less a than a fifth of parents think this year’s new GCSE grading system is a “good idea”, and 44 per cent of those with children studying for the new exams think they will hinder their prospects.

The findings come in a Tes and Mumsnet survey of more than 1,000 parents in England.

The 9-1 numerical grades – replacing A* to G – have been introduced to signal that GCSEs had been reformed and toughened, and to offer better differentiation between pupils.

But the poll reveals that nearly two-thirds of those with children studying GCSEs do not support the numerical system coming into effect next week.

Exclusive: Pupils with 'gibberish' new GCSE grades could miss out on jobs, say employers

by Times Educational Supplement, August 18, 2017

Institute of Directors fears pupils with reformed qualifications could lose out when time-poor employers are faced with CVs they don't understand
The Institute of Directors has warned that its members may view the new numerical grading system as “gibberish” and instead favour job candidates with old-style lettered GCSE grades.

On Thursday, pupils in England will be awarded numerical grades (from 9 to 1) in the new English literature, English language and maths GCSEs for the first time, rather than A* to G grades.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, believes many employers will only discover that the GCSE grades have changed once they begin receiving CVs from pupils.

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