Latest Educational News

Single mother whose son, four, was placed in a school 20 MILES from her home 'will be forced to give up her degree studies and go back on benefits' to get him there every day

by Daily Mail, April 22, 2017

A single mother is facing giving up her degree in social work after a council mix-up left her four-year-old son with a place in a school nearly 20 miles from their home.
Sian Hemmings is in her third year of a BA in social work with Kingston University, and having spent hours commuting for placements last year, decided to move from her Bracknell home to Guildford this spring.
Having signed for a new home in the Surrey town, she rearranged her son Corey's school application from Bracknell to Guildford, but was dismayed to find he was assigned a school near their old home despite her studious application.

Why grammar schools aren’t selective enough

by CAPX, April 22, 2017

England’s grammar school debate, with its distortions of evidence and each side’s inability to empathise with the other’s motivation, epitomises the worst of partisan political argument.

The good news is that by understanding why the debate is so polarised, and looking dispassionately at data regarding the science of intelligence and the impact of schooling, we can probably satisfy at least some of the motivations on both sides. In so doing, we can produce education reform to improve the lives of individuals and the country at large.

To first understand the polarisation, it’s helpful to consider the evolutionary and moral psychology of how people form political beliefs. Jonathan Haidt articulates and synthesises this effectively in his book The Righteous Mind. Evidence shows that we use logic only to offer supporting arguments for (mainly heritable) instinctive beliefs. These beliefs are based on what Haidt calls a moral matrix made up of six strands; the grammar school debate appears to mainly turn on two of these: care/harm and fairness/cheating.

'The new superunion is going to have its work cut out battling May’s grammar schools revolution'

by Times Educational Supplement, April 22, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

But the National Education Union will more than likely inherit some of the NUT’s more combative spirit, writes a high-profile education journalist
There was a kind of an end-of-term atmosphere at the first of the three major teacher union conferences this Easter.

As I arrived at the ATL conference in Liverpool, I soon became aware of quite a number of prominent NUT members sitting around, chatting without that sense of urgency they normally show about trying to get their motions through conference.

They were, of course, sitting in on the ATL conference – the union with which they will join up next year to form a new "superunion", the National Education Union – to see what they have let themselves in for.

"There's no real passion on the conference floor," said one. Of course, he's right: ATL conferences are not littered with earnestly sought points of order during debates and ceaseless calls for action "up to and including strike action" to further a policy.

It will be interesting to see what effect the coming together of the two unions will have – will ATL's more moderate membership act as a brake on the larger NUT or will they just get swallowed up by the bigger beast in the merger?

Primary class sizes in England and Wales

by FullFact, April 22, 2017

Mr Corbyn is correct that around were in classes of 36 or more (and taught by one teacher) in state-funded primary schools in England in 2016.

That’s around 1% of all pupils in primary schools. The proportion has remained at roughly this level over the last 10 years.

There were 4.2 million pupils in state-funded primary schools as of January 2016. That’s an increase of around 420,000 over the last ten years.

The average size of primary school classes in England has been slowly increasing. There were 27.1 pupils in the average class in 2016 compared to 26.3 in 2006.

Kids ‘Crammed In Classes Like Sardines’ Thanks To Tory Cuts

by Morning Star Online, April 22, 2017

CHILDREN are paying the price of seven years of Tory education policy and cuts as they get “crammed into classrooms like sardines,” Jeremy Corbyn warned yesterday.
The Labour leader tore into the “terrible state” of schools under the Tories as Labour accused Prime Minister Theresa May of having “no answers to the big challenges facing Britain.”
Responding to shocking new figures revealing the extent of Britain’s classroom crisis, he promised Labour would bring class sizes down and deliver a world-class education system that works for all children, irrespective of background.
Department for Education (DfE) statistics show over 40,000 primary school children were taught in classes with 36 pupils or more last year — and a staggering 16,655 were taught in class sizes of 40-plus.
The figures revealed 109 primary schools had more than 800 pupils in 2016, up from just 16 when the Tories came to power in 2010.

More than 5% of pupils missing from school

by ITV.com, April 22, 2017

New figures show that more than 5% of students are missing from schools in Jersey on any given day.

The main reasons for absences are illness, which makes up 60% and family holidays, which makes up 14%.

Overall attendance rates have been improving for the past eight years and are still better than England, where they are three times higher.

But, secondary schools locally have a slightly higher absence rate than England.

Jersey's Director of Education, Justin Donovan, says there are three areas that could improve turnout.

General election 2017: Corbyn attacks Tories over 'super-sized' classes

by BBC, April 21, 2017

Labour says children are being crammed "like sardines" into "super-sized" school classes, as it focuses its general election campaign on education.
The party said 40,000 primary age children were taught in classes of 36 or more in England in 2016, blaming "broken promises" by the government.
But the Tories said Labour's attacks were "a massive own goal".
They said the Labour-led Welsh government had overseen increases in class sizes in Wales.
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Mr Corbyn, who insisted on Thursday that he could defy the polls and "change the direction" of the election, has used Labour analysis of Department for Education figures to focus on education.

Primary assessment loophole for 'failing' pupils closed

by Times Educational Supplement, April 21, 2017

New DfE guidance means pupils who enter key stage 2 tests but fail to score will no longer be exempt from progress measures
The government has closed a primary assessment loophole that provided an incentive for schools to enter children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) for tests they were likely to fail.

New updated guidance on primary school accountability, published by the Department for Education, reveals changes to the scores given to children working below the standard of the test.

The scaled scores, introduced with the new Sats last year, meant that children’s raw marks in the reading, maths and Spag tests were converted to a score of between 80 and 120 – where 100 is the expected standard.

Exclusive: Seated breaktimes – concerns grow over cramped school buildings

by Times Educational Supplement, April 21, 2017

Union to survey members over concerns about school building programme
A union is planning to survey its members over growing concerns about schools operating in buildings that are too small for them – including one school that has been forced to introduce a regime of "seated breaktimes".

The NASUWT teaching union will question members who work in schools that have been included in the government's flagship Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP).

Wayne Bates, a national negotiating officer, says the union has heard “a lot of stories about very poor-quality rebuilding, and teachers not being happy with things like corridor width and the size of classrooms”. He adds: “It’s two issues: we have got, perhaps, rebuilds that are not big enough, but we also have these schools that are bursting at the seams.”

There have also been concerns about sites that have been found for some free schools.

Too busy to read? You're not the only one

by BBC, April 21, 2017

Work, kids, checking your phone. But reading a book? It just doesn't happen as much as it used to.
A new survey, though, suggests more than two-thirds of Brits wish they had more time to read.
The survey of 2,000 UK adults by The Reading Agency found that 67% would like to read more, but nearly half (48%) admit they are too busy.
And more than 35% said they struggle to find book they really like.

EU students to remain eligible for grants in 2018-19

by BBC, April 21, 2017

Europeans studying in the UK will continue to remain eligible for grants and loans in 2018-19, the government has announced.
This will remain the case even if their course finishes after the UK's exit from the European Union, it added.
European students on undergraduate and master's courses are presently charged the same for tuition as UK students.
Ministers said attracting talent from across the globe was key to success and vice-chancellors welcomed the news.
There has been doubt about the status of EU students in the light of the UK's departure from the European Union.
The government has already guaranteed the financial support system to those beginning courses in 2017.

West Sussex school funding crisis 'negatively affecting' pupils

by BBC, April 21, 2017

Education is being "negatively affected" as schools struggle with budget shortfalls, a survey finds.
Morale is low and stress levels high, teachers, support staff and parents in West Sussex told the Unison union.
The situation could worsen next year as staff cuts are planned at 56 out of 330 schools in the next academic year.
The Department for Education said school funding was at record levels, but it was aware many schools still faced financial pressures.
Cut back heating
Unison said the survey showed "staffing restructures leave the most vulnerable children with reduced provision" and were "often poorly managed".

Hundreds of schools held hostage over PFI contracts, as investigation reveals one paid £2,000 for a new sink

by Telegraph, April 21, 2017

Hundreds of schools across England are being held hostage to PFI contracts, with some paying up to £8,000 for items such as window blinds due to the crippling rates charged.

With schools facing their first real-terms funding cut since the 1970s, many are considering cutting back on staff, as one school revealed it had been paying £88 annually for 14 years for the installation of a new sink.

Introduced in 1997, PFI contracts were used by Tony Blair’s Labour government to finance the construction and refurbishment of more than 500 schools, with the Coalition announcing plans to rebuild an additional 100-300 in 2011.

Seen as a way to increase public sector funding without increasing taxes, PFI schools are paid for by private companies, who then lease the buildings back to the Government over a period of up to 40 years.

Ofqual rules out rationing top grades for bright pupils taking 'hard' subjects

by Times Educational Supplement, April 21, 2017

But the exams watchdog will adjust grade standards this summer to make it easier for more A-level students to achieve top grades in languages
Ofqual has ruled out making changes that could have rationed the number of A and A* grades awarded in subjects attracting the brightest pupils.

The exams watchdog's decision today follows more than a year of public discussion and debate on a series of measures proposed by Ofqual to improve the comparability of grades across GCSE and A-level subjects.

It said it will not try to align grade standards across the full range of GCSE and A-level subjects as the challenges are too great.

Primary assessment loophole for 'failing' pupils closed

by Times Educational Supplement, April 21, 2017

New DfE guidance means pupils who enter key stage 2 tests but fail to score will no longer be exempt from progress measures
The government has closed a primary assessment loophole that provided an incentive for schools to enter children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) for tests they were likely to fail.

New updated guidance on primary school accountability, published by the Department for Education, reveals changes to the scores given to children working below the standard of the test.

The scaled scores, introduced with the new Sats last year, meant that children’s raw marks in the reading, maths and Spag tests were converted to a score of between 80 and 120 – where 100 is the expected standard.

'Loophole of despair'

Pupils frisked on way into school for fizzy drinks and mobile phones to make sure they're 'ready to learn'

by Mirror, April 21, 2017

Youngsters at the Grange secondary school in Runcorn, Cheshire, are being met by staff at the gates at 'meet and great area' before the start of every school day

Pupils are being frisked for fizzy drinks and mobile phones before they start school to “ensure they are ready to learn”.

Youngsters at the Grange secondary school in Runcorn, Cheshire, are being met by staff at the gates before the start of every school day.

Telegraph Education: Selection is the wrong answer to question of improving Sheffield’s schools

by Sheffield Telegraph, April 20, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Parents with young children in Sheffield schools may be faced with a dilemma in a few years – will they try and get their children into a grammar school and possibly move house to be near one?

The Government’s Education secretary Justine Greening had a hard task last week as she attempted to sell the idea of grammar schools as a 21st century opportunity that can benefit ‘ordinary working families’.

There are a few naïve people who might buy into the idea, usually those with far too much disposable income, but most people see through it for what it is – a massive con job.

Why Kent's grammar school campaigners were given a boost by the election announcement

by Kent Live, April 20, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar school campaigners across Kent believe they have been given a boost after the announcement of a snap general election.

People battling for a mixed sex stand-alone grammar in Sevenoaks say the decision to go the polls gives Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for selective education legitimacy

The school is expected to attract interest from parents across west Kent.

Experts believe there may also be calls for a new grammar to rival Cranbrook but warned any new selective school built nearby would face opposition amid fears it could affect numbers at the county' only full comprehensive schools including Mascalls in Paddock Wood.

Last month Mrs May made grammar school expansion a key part of education policy when she announced plans to spend £320 million on new free schools.

But the move was met with claims the initiative had not been part of the Tory party manifesto in 2015.

Now, if re-elected she will have a mandate to expand selection.

Secondary schools twice as likely to be rated under-performing by Ofsted, study finds

by Telegraph, April 20, 2017

Secondary schools are almost twice as likely to be under-performing than primaries, according to new research.

More than one in four secondaries, 904 in total, could be considered to be performing below expectations, compared with just one in seven primary schools.

The research, published today by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), also reveals that there are sizable disparities according to where schools are based in the country.

More than 534 state primaries and secondaries are in need of attention in the East Midlands and Humber, around 21.2 per cent of all schools in the regions, while 16.5 per cent of schools in Lancashire and West Yorkshire are also thought to be a concern.

Increase in teacher trainees is 'too little, too late', providers complain

by Times Educational Supplement, April 20, 2017

University and school initial teacher training providers unimpressed by shock government move to allow 25 per cent more trainee teachers to be recruited for September
Universities and schools say plans to increase the number of trainee teachers they are able to recruit this summer may have come too late to tempt more quality newcomers into the profession.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership has told certain teacher training providers that they may recruit up to 25 per cent more students to start courses in September 2017.

But the reaction from teacher trainers to this week's surprise announcement has been mixed.

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