Latest Educational News

Covid: Self-isolation 'hitting pupils' exam assessments'

by BBC News, May 14, 2021

Pupils taking important A-level and GCSE tests are having to self-isolate due to positive Covid cases in schools.

This summer's results are being determined by teachers after exams were cancelled but many schools have scheduled assessments to collect evidence for grades.

Head teachers and pupils have spoken of the pressures of the system which sees grades decided by schools and colleges.

Qualifications Wales said it offered "flexibility" and fairness.

At the end of April, a positive Covid case meant sixth formers at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern in Cardiff were sent home in the middle of important tests.

Most pupils were able to return to school after close contacts were identified and only 18 had to isolate.

Parents question fairness of Scottish exam assessments

by BBC News, May 14, 2021

Scotland's largest independent parents group has challenged the fairness of the assessments which have replaced the Covid-hit exams diet.

Connect has warned schools are taking "different approaches" across the country due to the pandemic.

It has also expressed alarm over reports that tests and answers are being widely shared on TikTok.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority said results will be based on "demonstrated attainment".

Connect, which represents almost 2,000 parent councils, said it had understood that the system to help decide grades, after formal exams were cancelled, would be a combination of course work and teacher judgement.

Instead the group says the process "simply mimics the very worst elements of the inequitable system it replaces".

‘Hosnia had dreams’: grief in Kabul as girls’ school targeted

by The Guardian, May 14, 2021

Latifa and Hosnia had been sharing a wooden bench in their classroom at Kabul’s Sayed Al-Shuhada school for the past three years.

When Latifa transferred to Sayed Al-Shuhada, the two girls were immediately drawn to each other and became best friends, always together in their free time, studying side by side, walking home together after school. They found comfort in each other’s presence; support in a place that has never been easy for girls and women.

Last Saturday, their paths split for ever. A series of explosions near their school – in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi district; mainly home to Afghanistan’s Hazara people – killed more than 60 people and wounded at least 150 more. Many remain in a critical condition in hospital.

By chance, Latifa had skipped class that day, trying to finish a carpet she had been weaving. The 13-year-old’s part-time job, contributing to the family’s small income, probably saved her life.

Government ‘exaggerating threat to freedom of speech to push through new laws’, says university union

by The Independent, May 14, 2021

The government has been accused of “over-exaggerating” the threat to free speech on campus in order to push through new laws by a university

Helping pupils in England catch up on lost learning will cost £13.5bn – report

by The Guardian, May 14, 2021

The government will need to spend £13.5bn in England to plug gaps in pupils’ learning caused by disruption to their education over the pandemic, according to research.

The report also warns that the government’s forthcoming long-term education recovery plan will need “significant investment” more than three years beyond the existing £1.7bn in short-term catch-up funding if the government is to deliver on the prime minister’s promise that “no child is left behind”.

David Laws, executive chairman of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), which published the paper, said: “Over the last year, children have fallen badly behind in their learning, and those who are disadvantaged have suffered most acutely.

Pupils in England ‘waiting up to five years for special needs plan’

by The Guardian, May 14, 2021

Children with special educational needs and disabilities face long delays and bureaucratic hurdles before getting extra support from local authorities in England, with those from better-off families able to pay for private services, according to a report by Ofsted.

The watchdog found headteachers complaining that some pupils in mainstream schools waited up to five years for their education, health and care (EHC) plans – making them eligible for additional support – to be approved by councils.

The Ofsted report comes as official figures show rising numbers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send).

In total, 15% of children are classed as having Send, increasing for the third year in a row to 1.37 million pupils at schools in England.

Pupils in England ‘waiting up to five years for special needs plan’

by The Guardian, May 14, 2021

Children with special educational needs and disabilities face long delays and bureaucratic hurdles before getting extra support from local authorities in England, with those from better-off families able to pay for private services, according to a report by Ofsted.

The watchdog found headteachers complaining that some pupils in mainstream schools waited up to five years for their education, health and care (EHC) plans – making them eligible for additional support – to be approved by councils.

The Ofsted report comes as official figures show rising numbers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send).

In total, 15% of children are classed as having Send, increasing for the third year in a row to 1.37 million pupils at schools in England.

Cornwall ‘beach school’ aims to offer hope for vulnerable children

by The Guardian, May 14, 2021

It will not look or feel much like a conventional school. Built around a central garden, the main classroom will be the great outdoors: the surf, the dunes, the rock pools. The only uniforms will be wetsuits and, on chilly days, students will love hopping into the hot tub.

Plans for what is being billed as the world’s first purpose-built “beach school” will be presented to the public this weekend on north Cornwall’s rugged Atlantic coast.

The idea behind the Wave Project’s school at Gwithian Towans, near St Ives, is to provide an alternative place of education close to the surf for vulnerable Cornish children struggling to engage in mainstream education and at risk of being permanently excluded.

Joe Taylor, the founder and CEO of the Wave Project, said there was a growing need for different ways of reaching vulnerable children in the far south-west of Britain.

Gavin Williamson says face masks in classrooms to be scrapped

by The Independent, May 14, 2021

Gavin Williamson has said the government plans on scrapping face masks in secondary school classrooms as early as 17 May - despite opposition from scientists and unions.

The education secretary told The Daily Telegraph the measure is set to be dropped under the third stage of England’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the change in advice on Monday, according to the newspaper.

When schools fully reopened in early March after lockdown pushed much teaching online, new government advice recommended masks in secondary school classrooms in England to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Students to be taught to spot mental health issues

by TES, May 14, 2021

Secondary school students will be taught to recognise signs of mental health issues in their friends and family in a new initiative launched by a first-aid charity.

Home education among pupils with EHC plans up by a quarter in one year

by Schools Week, May 13, 2021

The number of children with education, health and care plans being educated at home has risen by almost a quarter in just one year.
Data published by the Department for Education today shows that 3,660 pupils with EHC plans were in elective home education as of January this year, up from 2,983 in January 2020.
The government only started collecting data on elective home education among EHC plan holders in 2020, so this is the first year they have published a comparison.

Students to train as peer mentors to help classmates deal with mental health challenges

by Lichfield Live, May 13, 2021

Students at a Lichfield school are to be trained to become peer mentors to help their classmates deal with wellbeing challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The pioneering scheme at Nether Stowe School is being funded by the National Lottery. Twenty pupils will be trained to become mental health champions through YMCA Heart of England, a local young people’s charity.

GCSE and A-level papers from last summer's cancelled exams that will be used by schools to predict grades 'are being sold online for £1'

by Daily Mail, May 13, 2021

GCSE and A-level papers from last summer's cancelled exams are being sold online for £1 each, it has emerged today.
Schools in England are likely to turn to the 2020 papers, which were not sat by students, to help them determine grades for this year's candidates.
Teachers will use mock exams and coursework to decide how highly a student should score in their GCSEs and A-levels following Boris Johnson's decision to axe examinations for a second year.

Children should not be going to school hungry, says Lord Lebedev

by Independent, May 13, 2021

Crossbench peer Lord Lebedev has used his maiden speech to pledge to take action to deliver more healthy food to vulnerable people, and address the “surge in hunger” during the Covid pandemic. Making his speech in the House of Lords on Wednesday, the journalist and campaigner, who is a major shareholder in The Independent and owns sister title the Evening Standard, said: “We are a rich country and children should not be going to school hungry. He went on to claim that “poor health and nutrition” is one reason why Britain had one of the worst Covid-19 death tolls.

Girls' education 'smartest' post-Covid investment, says PM

by BBC News, May 13, 2021

Boris Johnson is urging world leaders to back plans to get 40 million more girls in developing countries in school, calling it "one of the smartest investments we can make".

UK Study Suggests School Reopenings ‘Substantially’ Increased COVID-19 Spread in Texas

by uknow.uky, May 13, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2021) — Millions of students haven’t been in the classroom since March 2020, and it’s sparking a national debate. Many teachers, parents and students alike are eager to get back to in-person learning. The question is — can it be done safely?
A new study by University of Kentucky researchers estimates the return to in-person learning in Texas last fall led to at least 43,000 additional COVID-19 cases and 800 deaths within the first two months.

Boris Johnson to visit school with former Australian Prime Minister

by The Northern Echo, May 13, 2021

BORIS Johnson will take part in a live link-up with children in Kenya today to urge world leaders to invest in education, supporting the UK’s ambition to get 40 million more girls into school in the next five years.
He will visit a school with Julia Gillard, former Australian PM and Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, and speak to President Uhuru Kenyatta at a school in Nairobi as part of the Connecting Classrooms programme. It comes as the UK announces £55 million for a new programme to drive crucial research into education reforms, turbocharging efforts to get girls into school and learning.

Robert Peston Gets Schooled After Saying Teachers Did ‘Not Very Much Teaching’ In Lockdown

by Huffington Post, May 13, 2021

ITV News’ political editor Robert Peston has been told to go back to school after saying teachers did “not very much teaching” during lockdown.
The senior broadcast journalist made the eyebrow-raising claim in a series of tweets poring over official data on the economy, released on Wednesday.
He suggested that rising inflation was being driven, in part, by massive government spending to ensure the UK economy did not tank.

GCSE grade inflation ‘inevitable in English system’

by Edexec, May 13, 2021

As reported by The Guardian, school leaders warn this year’s results likely to see inflation similar to last year despite efforts to make system fairer
School leaders and education experts have warned that GCSE and A-level results this summer will see levels of grade inflation similar to last year despite onerous measures imposed on teachers to try to make the system fair.

Scots school pupils face second year of SQA exams crisis, John Swinney warned

by Daily Record, May 13, 2021

Pupils face an exam crisis in Scottish schools as concerns grow about the use of alternative assessments, it has been claimed.
Exams have been cancelled for a second year in a row as a result of lockdown with Scots youngsters forced into extended periods of learning from home.