Latest Educational News

Rise in the number of full and over-capacity primary and secondary schools

by TES, March 15, 2018

Union calls for careful planning for extra capacity as the bulge in the number of primary school pupils starts to hit secondary schools
A growing number of schools are full or have more pupils than they have capacity for, according to new government statistics.

Today’s data shows that the number of primaries that were full, or where pupil numbers exceeded capacity, increased from 3,781 in May 2016 to 3,826 last May.

Parents fined £24m for children's truancy and term time holidays

by BBC, March 15, 2018

Parents across England and Wales have been fined about £24m for failing to send their children to school during the past three years, it has emerged.

A BBC investigation also shows some councils are issuing penalties at rates five times higher than the average.

Some parents say they now actively budget for the cost of fines when planning holidays.

While some councils admit they have become "stricter", they say they are protecting the education of children.

Between them, 155 local authorities in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland do not issue fines) issued about 400,000 penalties over three years. A further 19 did not supply data.

On average, 12 penalties were issued per 1,000 children - whether for truancy or for parents taking children away on holiday during term time - during 2016-17.

University place demand to grow by 300,000 by 2030

by BBC, March 15, 2018

About 300,000 new places will be needed at universities over the next 12 years, experts predict, making the higher education funding model unsustainable.

A rise in the number of 18-year-olds by 2030 will push demand up by 50,000, the Higher Education Policy Institute says.

A further 350,000 places will be needed to keep pace with the existing growing participation rate, it adds, but other factors may reduce that by 50,000.

The government has set up a review of university fees and funding.

Last year, 534,000 students were accepted on to the hundreds of mainly three-year degree courses on offer in England.

The Hepi report examines the impact of policy changes on university entrant rates, feeding a number of scenarios into the calculations to arrive at the 300,000 figure.

The 18-year-old population has been declining steadily for a number of years, but from 2020 it will increase again, rising by nearly 23% by 2030, says Hepi.

Scottish secondary school teacher numbers rise in most subjects, after years of decline

by TES, March 14, 2018

But recruitment problems in some subjects, including maths, computing and home economics, continue to cause concern in schools
Most subjects studied in Scottish secondary schools have had a rise in teacher numbers after years of decline, according to official figures.

It had already emerged in December that overall teacher numbers in Scotland were at their highest level since 2010 – up from 50,970 in 2016 to 51,513 in 2017. But new data shows how this has played out in individual subjects.

Most subjects have had a modest increase in teachers – who are measured “by main subject taught” – after successive years in which numbers have fallen.

'We need an education secretary who prioritises the needs of children over politics'

by TES, March 14, 2018

Damian Hinds' promise to halt curriculum and exams reform may sound good, but what we really need is a root-and-branch review of the education system by the people in the heart of it – the teachers
So the education secretary, Damian Hinds, has promised a moratorium on all new curriculum and exams reforms for the length of this Parliament.

At first glance, it's all very laudable, but haven't we heard this kind of thing before? And, more to the point, is this really a good idea?

Calling a halt to all new reforms, as Mr Hinds has promised, should be brilliant news, but, in truth, I can only take it seriously if it is linked with a root-and-branch review of what we do now, conducted not by politicians but by the people at the very heart of the system.

‘Want pupils to score more highly in GCSE English? Focus on creative writing’

by TES, March 14, 2018

One teacher explains how focusing your teaching on the creative elements of the new English GCSE could help struggling students to achieve more highly
The new English language GCSE has plenty of critics. Research has even suggested that the new course could be putting pupils off reading.

But I disagree. I think that the new GCSE gives real scope for creativity and for us to make the qualification more accessible to those learners who have had a negative experience of studying English.

Last year I secured funding through Shine’s Let Teachers Shine competition to support a project I’ve been working on called Write On!, which is an approach to the GCSE resits that maximises progress by focussing mainly on written literacy and creative-writing skills.

Almost one in six Reception staff 'are unpaid volunteers'

by TES, March 14, 2018

New study highlights a downward trend in qualification levels among staff working with the country's youngest children
Unpaid volunteers make up more than one in seven staff in Reception classes, according to new analysis out today.

The report from the Education Policy Institute into the qualifications and pay of people working in early years shows that 15.5 per cent of staff working in Reception classes are unpaid (including placement students), and 6.3 per cent are temporary staff.

This compared with 10.8 per cent of staff in nursery classes being unpaid, although there are more temporary staff in nursery classes – making up 8.9 per cent of the workforce.

Textbooks 'pay for themselves' in four and a half minutes

by TES, March 14, 2018

Cutting back on textbooks is a 'false economy' because they save teachers valuable time in planning lessons, says study
Textbooks "pay for themselves" if they save teachers more than four and a half minutes a day, a new study shows.

The study from Frontier Economics, commissioned by the Publishers' Association, estimates that the time UK teachers spend on preparing lessons is worth £4.8 billion a year.

With schools shelling out about £196 million per year on printed resources, the researchers calculated that the amount of money spent on textbooks was equivalent to around four and a half minutes of teachers’ weekly preparation time.

“This research shows that cutting spend on textbooks is a false economy and demonstrates the important role that good quality textbooks can play in saving teacher time,” Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers' Association, said.

“When teachers are struggling under heavy and sometimes unmanageable workloads, quality textbooks not only offer a way to reduce the amount of time spent planning lessons, but they have also been shown to improve pupil attainment and education standards.”

Budgets for textbooks cut
The report comes after a thinktank said last week that the lack of textbooks in classrooms was putting the national curriculum at risk.

Policy Exchange argued that there is no guarantee that all children will receive a broad and balanced education without better curriculum materials – and it wants to see all schools judged to be “coasting” or “requires improvement” compelled to use externally provided resources.

Last year, in a survey carried out jointly by the NUT and ATL teaching unions, 73 per cent of teachers said their budget for books and equipment had been cut.

And a Tes-YouGov survey in September 2017 found that only one in 10 teachers said they used textbooks in more than half of their lessons – and just 8 per cent thought they would use textbooks that often by 2020.

Reducing teachers' workload is a key aim for education secretary Damian Hinds, who told the Association of School and College Leaders’ conference this weekend that he wanted to “give teachers the time and space to focus on what actually matters”.

Schools could be forced to ensure pupils mix with children from different backgrounds

by TES, March 14, 2018

Government also wants 'British values' to be promoted across the national curriculum
Schools where pupils come from a single ethnic or religious community could be required to ensure they mix with children from other backgrounds, under government proposals to encourage social integration.

The proposed Integrated Communities Strategy also calls on schools to teach "British values", and sets out plans to boost English language skills and encourage women from minority communities to find jobs.

A consultation paper on the plans - launched by communities secretary Sajid Javid with the backing of £50 million of government money - follows the 2016 Casey Review, which warned that social cohesion cannot be taken for granted in the multicultural UK.

'Men can be nursery teachers too'

by BBC, March 14, 2018

Two in three councils providing nursery services do not employ any men, the Victoria Derbyshire programme has learned. How can diversity in the profession be improved?

"A lot of men don't see it as a man's job and a lot of men are not aware that the role even exists," says Jamel Campbell, who started teaching the under-fives 16 years ago.

He is still frustrated by how little status is given to his job.

"People are entrusting their precious babies to us, to care for them and to teach them," he says. "There is a lot of stigma based on negative stories - children being at harm... men not being nurturing, men not being able to work with children that small."

Early years education runs from birth until children are five, including preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

Of 400,000 early years educators, 98% are female. The starting salary for nursery practitioners is about £18k.

In England, a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification is needed, which takes one to two years to complete, depending on experience.

Tuition fee value for money: 'I feel ripped off'

by BBC, March 14, 2018

"I feel ripped off. They do the bare minimum and I honestly don't see where my money is going."

"I am in nearly £40,000 worth of debt and often wonder why I went to uni."

These students, asked by the new Office for Students if university tuition fees represent good value, are among a significant majority - 62% - who say they don't think it's worth it.

The OfS finds only 38% of students in England think the tuition fees for their course are good value for money.

Course subject is a major factor which influences students' perception of tuition fees, with computer science students, those doing physical sciences and law students the most likely to say that the tuition fees represented good value for money.

Those doing historical and philosophical studies, languages and creative arts and design are least satisfied with the value they have received.

'Wasted potential' of mature students

by BBC, March 14, 2018

A university group says that the government's review of tuition fees in England should make a priority of finding ways to attract more mature and part-time students.

The Million Plus group says there is a "huge pool of untapped potential" among adults who missed out on university.

After fees increased in 2012, mature student numbers fell by 20%.

Les Ebdon, head of the university access watchdog, backed calls to reverse this "very worrying trend".

Mature students - counted as people starting courses at the age of 21 or over - were among the most likely to be deterred by the raising of tuition fees to £9,000 in 2012, which have since risen again to £9,250.

Almost half of recent graduates believe they will never be able to pay back their student loan in full

by The Telegraph, March 13, 2018

Almost half of recent graduates believe they will never be able to pay back their student loan, as experts warn that they would be better off without university.

A major report, commissioned by the new universities regulator, The Office for Students, analysed the views of 6,000 young people about value for money in higher education.

Just ten per cent of school leavers thought they would be unable to pay back their loan within 30 years, which rose to 28 per cent of university students. Among recent graduates, 42 per cent said they do not expect to repay their loans in full.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), said it is “telling” that the proportion of youngsters who believe they will never earn enough to pay back their student loan rises sharply after they graduate.

Call for teachers to be freed from administrative tasks

by TES, March 13, 2018

A definitive list of non-teaching tasks, like photocopying and collecting dinner money, must be reinstated in Scotland, says union
A teaching union is demanding that teachers are freed from administrative tasks in Scotland, following the exodus of school support staff.

The so-called “Annex E” policy was agreed as part of the 2001 McCrone deal, designed to bring Scottish teachers’ pay in line with that of other professionals.

It listed the jobs that Scottish teachers should not have to do – from filing and photocopying to inputting assessment data.

'We need to stop labelling pupils as "attention seekers" – and instead, talk about them about the cause of their behaviour'

by TES, March 13, 2018

The label 'attention seeker' has an impact on the girls who are unfairly dismissed as simply seeking attention and the boys who witness it. We must drop the phrase from our vocabulary, writes Tes' mental health expert
Last Thursday was international women's day and – in a bid to avoid the tedious situation whereby I spend the entire day explaining to whining bigots when international men's day is (19 November) – I orchestrated a social media led discussion about the intersection between mental ill health and the experience of being a woman in 2018.

Fewer schools applying to be academies

by TES, March 13, 2018

Parliamentary question reveals steady month-on-month fall in applications
The number of schools applying to become academies has fallen, year-on-year, in each of the past six months, official statistics reveal.

There were 88 applications last month – the lowest number for February in any of the four years for which figures were provided.

And in January, just 63 applications were received by the Department for Education – compared with 102 last January.

The five 'P's of positive behaviour

by TES, March 13, 2018

One teaching assistant explains how using more positive language in the classroom has helped to improve pupil behaviour
When I was approached by my line manager about an upcoming course, I was sceptical. In my experience, courses are often packed with theoretical concepts but very little practical application. However, as the topic was behaviour management — a personal area of weakness — I decided to give it a go.

As a higher-level teaching assistant (HTLA), I am either responsible for small groups or assist in the management of full classes. This role is varied and can involve quite an impromptu approach to discipline. Rather than formal behaviour-management strategies, I needed quick and simple tricks that I could try in the classroom and, to my amazement, that is exactly what I got.

What does an inclusive classroom really look like?

by TES, March 13, 2018

Making learning accessible to all pupils needn't be complicated, says Gemma Corby, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the basic adjustments that will make our classrooms more inclusive
A lot has been written and debated about the best ways to support students with learning difficulties – so much so that it can be hard to sift through all the information that is out there. I think we need to go back to the basics and remind ourselves of just what an inclusive classroom looks like in practice. So, here’s a reminder of some adjustments we can all make.

University strikers reject pension deal

by BBC, March 13, 2018

University strikers have turned down an agreement reached by university union leaders and employers to end the pensions dispute.

It means the strike will continue - with threats to disrupt final exams and assessments in the summer term.

University staff rejected the deal as failing to address their concerns over threats to their pensions.

The university strike is in its fourth week and has meant classes being cancelled in over 60 universities.

It began over planned changes to the pension, which the University and College Union said could mean a £10,000 per year reduction in retirement income.

An agreement between the UCU and Universities UK, announced after days of negotiations, had offered a deal - but this failed to convince a meeting of university representatives on Tuesday.

'Pre-exam warm-ups were helpful, supportive and worthwhile for pupils. Naturally, they've been banned'

by TES, March 12, 2018

JCQ has banned teachers from holding pre-exam warm-up sessions for pupils – this absurd and extreme move will benefit no one, writes one head of humanities
Thank goodness those people at examination HQ have their finger on the pulse and know what is in everyone's best interests.

This year a new exam regulation from the JCQ insists that "prior to the examination commencing, centres cannot hold revision sessions or coach candidates in the designated examination room(s)".


CALL 020 8204 5060