Latest Educational News

England comes last for teacher job satisfaction

by TES, September 19, 2018

Nowhere has worse teacher job satisfaction than England, according to new research from the UCL Institute of Education.

The researchers looked at job satisfaction among 22 countries which had data comparable to England – and found that only Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had similarly dissatisfied teachers – while those in Australia, New Zealand and the USA were much happier.

Primary teachers get ‘too much stick’ over maths

by TES, September 18, 2018

A maths education professor keen to transform the way the subject is taught in schools has dismissed the idea that primary teachers need to hold more advanced maths qualifications in order to improve pupil performance.

In the past it has been suggested that to help raise standards in maths, primary teachers in Scotland should be required to have a Higher in the subject, placing it on an equal footing with English.

However, ahead of delivering a keynote address to the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow tomorrow, Jo Boaler – professor of mathematics education at Stanford University in the US – has said she believes primary teachers are too often berated for their lack of subject knowledge, given that international evidence shows pupils’ performance in maths dipping in early secondary.

The issue was not about upping the qualifications of primary staff, rather it was about changing the way maths was taught in school, said Professor Boaler.

Share test results with parents, says government

by TES, September 18, 2018

The Scottish government has revealed that it is advising schools to share the results of the new national tests in literacy and numeracy with parents.

Government officials said they did not dictate to schools how they should report back to parents but that the results of the national tests – sat for the first time in 2017-18 – were “part of the evidence schools have” and they should provide that to parents along with other information about how their child is progressing.

David Leng, the official in charge of the tests, said: “We don’t specify how schools report to parents, but we are suggesting this is information we have and it should be fed back.”

However, Mr Leng – whose official title is Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) product owner – warned that if schools were to provide national assessment results alone that would give a misleading picture, because they focused on a “small sample of ability”.

Colleges Week 2018: Everything you need to know

by TES, September 18, 2018

The inaugural Colleges Week will take place next month, with the aim of getting the government to boost FE funding.

Here is everything you need to know about the week of action.

What is Colleges Week?
Colleges Week will see colleges across the country, along with education unions and students, hosting events to showcase all they do and raise awareness of the funding challenges that colleges face.

It is part of the Love Our Colleges campaign, a link-up between college staff, students and supporters and the education unions to promote colleges on the national stage.

When does it take place?
Colleges Week runs from Monday 15 October to Friday 19 October 2018.

The week is focused around a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17 October, which will involve principals lobbying MPs and education trade unionists marching and then rallying in Parliament Square.

School open days: Eight things to look for

by BBC, September 18, 2018

It's that time of the year when secondary schools freshen up their display boards, pick out their best-behaved kids and prepare for open evenings.

But how can parents get beyond the glossy prospectuses and slick presentations and decide whether this is the school for their child?

1. Quiz those hand-picked pupils who show you around
As Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, admits, schools will always wheel out their star pupils for the open evening: "They'll choose the pupils who are their ambassadors."

And who can blame them? It would be rather worrying if a school gave the responsibility of showing prospective parents around to the naughty, often-caught-having-a-smoke-behind-the-bike-sheds boys and girls.

'Should colleges be more like schools?'

by TES, September 7, 2018

As a teacher, I was always told that one of the biggest selling points when flogging the glittering highlights of college to 16-year-old students straight out of secondary, was that it is not like school. "College is a professional environment. You’re being prepared for work. Hey, you even get to call us by out first names!" Like many colleagues I dutifully took my role in this concept pyramid scheme and without question sold it to my students.

And it’s true that we are a bit different - campuses are often sprawling hamlets housing far more people than their old place, there’s a different type of timetable, often comparatively reduced and centred on a single subject or vocation. It’s also true that colleges have less funding than the place they’ve just come from and despite how hard we work and the effort we put in, the results of those cash shortfalls may occasionally peep through the razzle dazzle. But we won't tell ‘em that bit. Sell! Sell! Sell!

Drop in pupils who say they are bullied

by TES, September 7, 2018

The percentage of secondary school pupils reporting they are bullied each month has dropped – but parents say it is on the rise – the Department for Education’s annual omnibus survey has found.

The proportion of pupils who reported in the survey that they were bullied at school at least once a month was 20 per cent, down from the 33 per cent recorded in the survey during the winter of 2016-17.

But among parents, 16 per cent said their child had been a victim of bullying, up from 9 per cent in the earlier survey. Among college students, 12 per cent said they had been bullied.

Overall, 9 per cent of school pupils and 14 per cent of college students said another pupil or student had "said something sexist or sexual" to them at least once a month in the last year, while 2 per cent of school pupils and 1 per cent of college students complained of having been touched inappropriately and without permission at least once a month.

Both pupils and parents thought schools were likely to take action over inappropriate touching, but not over sexist or sexual remarks.

Top universities to face pressure over admissions

by BBC, September 7, 2018

The most competitive universities in England are to face greater scrutiny of their efforts to recruit disadvantaged students under a new draft plan.

Regulator the Office for Students plans to focus on institutions it thinks less likely to meet targets on attracting more students from poorer homes.

These are likely to be for courses with higher grade requirements, often leading to better jobs, OFS says.

The regulator wants to bring in new ways to open up opportunities for all.

The OFS intends to bring in tougher targets for the recruitment of disadvantaged students, their progress on courses and moving into work after they graduate.

Ofsted cuts leave parents guessing, say MPs

by BBC, September 7, 2018

Parents in England are not getting the assurance they need about the quality of education their children are receiving, a committee of MPs warns.

It is unacceptable that so many schools - previously rated outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted - are exempt from being reinspected, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says.

PAC says cuts to Ofsted's budget mean families cannot make informed choices.

Ofsted says it is confident inspections offer parents the assurance they need.

Ofsted's chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, said it was maintaining "excellent levels of assurance" despite its budget being more than halved.

"One might think that a parliamentary committee that was responsible for public money would be pleased that we had put so much effort into staying within our means. It would certainly be the first to roast us if we didn't," she said.

New GCSEs require teaching time that we do not have

by BBC, September 6, 2018

Ahead of results days, the blizzard of gloomy predictions was a bit like the media storm around the budget. Endless assertions by politicians that the exams were tougher would surely have led us to expect a dramatic fall in grades. Instead, though the hamster wheel whirled faster, the outcomes remained pretty much static.

On GCSE results day there were the usual happy smiles for the camera. It’s always uplifting to feel the sense of achievement from the teachers and students. They always put in a lot of extra effort over the year, but especially so last year as numerical grades became the dominant measure.

Some escalation of time and effort is only to be expected as revision sets in. But what was particularly striking was one interview on breakfast TV with a senior leader. The leader was proud of her school’s achievements and the extra work that had gone into them – to the tune of an extra 45 minutes a day.

Early years should get more music, says arts chief

by TES, September 6, 2018

Early years should no longer be overlooked when it comes to music education, arts chief Darren Henley said today.

Mr Henley, chief executive of the Arts Council, told teachers and music educators at an event in London that the more he looked into early years, the more he was convinced of its "vital importance".

He pointed out that some children were born into families that were culturally aware and were given opportunities to take part in the creative arts from the start, whereas other children were not – simply because their families did not know what opportunities were available.

And he said he would like to see the government recognise the value of music for very young children in its national plan.

“We’re currently talking to the government about the next iteration of the National Plan for Music Education, which will take us from 2020,” he said.

Quarter of new teachers surprised by workload

by TES, September 5, 2018

More than a quarter of newly qualified teachers were surprised by a larger-than-expected workload in their first year, despite efforts to prepare them.

About 65 per cent of NQTs had discussed workload with their training provider or school before their induction year, pollster Ipsos Mori revealed, but 28 per cent still reported a bigger workload than expected. The survey found that 62 per cent believed the workload was the same as they had anticipated.

When asked about the help they had received to cut down their workload, 52 per cent said they had been encouraged to eliminate unnecessary workload around planning and teaching resources, while 47 per cent were encouraged to eliminate unnecessary workload related to marking.

The survey, which was commissioned by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, also found that NQTs were largely positive about their induction year with 76 per cent rating it between 7 and 10 out of 10.

Sats results: Gap between authorities widens

by TES, September 4, 2018

The local authority Sats results published today show that the difference between the lowest- and highest-performing areas has widened.

In the lowest-performing authority, 52 per cent of 10- and 11-year-olds reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths compared with 80 per cent in the highest-performing authority – a gap of 28 percentage points, up from 25 percentage points last year.

The provisional results also show the difference in reading scores has narrowed, with results ranging from 65 per cent of pupils reaching the expected standard to 87 per cent reaching the expected standard. This is a gap of 22 percentage points – down from 25 percentage points last year.

The percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in writing, which is teacher-assessed, ranged from 69 per cent to 87 per cent, a gap of 18 percentage points – the same as last year.

And in maths, the range was from 66 per cent to 88 per cent, a gap of 22 percentage points – slightly higher than 21 percentage points last year.

Why all pupils should learn migration history

by TES, September 4, 2018

"How is it possible we don’t have our own migration museum in the UK?" I asked, as I descended the steps of France’s immigration museum in Paris in 2012. "When we do, I want to run its education programme…"

Never before had I sent such a frank statement into the universe (or been listened to).

As a former citizenship teacher, I was struck by how relevant the exhibition's themes of migration and identity were to so many of the young people I was teaching, yet how few cultural spaces we had in the UK to explore themes at the heart of who we are – as individuals, as communities and as a nation.

Six years on and still sporting my citizenship-teacher’s hat – for when does a teacher ever really lose that hat? – I am part of a team establishing a national migration museum for Britain, with an active education programme at its core. We are also helping to shape the revised national curriculum, which, for all its challenges, is providing exciting opportunities for pupils to learn about how immigration and emigration have shaped the UK over time.

Independent schools shun KS2 Sats tests

by TES, September 4, 2018

The number of independent schools choosing to enter pupils for key stage 2 Sats has dropped by 25 per cent since the tests were reformed.

Department for Education provisional statistics, published today, show that 253 out of approximately 1,400 eligible independent schools took part in the assessments this summer – a drop of 25 per cent since 2015, when the total stood at 338.

It is compulsory for state-funded schools to administer the Sats at the end of both KS1 and KS2, but independent schools can choose whether to take part or not.

The Sats involve tests in reading, maths and spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag), and a writing assessment carried out by teachers, which follows nationally set criteria.

The test were reformed in 2016 to match the new “tougher” national curriculum. In their first year, 53 per cent of pupils reached the new expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths; in the previous year, 80 per cent achieved what was then the expected level 4 in the 3Rs.

Stark gender gap in pupils’ favourite subjects

by TES, September 4, 2018

The subjects that boys and girls most enjoy are still defined by a stark gender gap, a new poll shows.

A survey by YouGov asked more than 4,000 children aged 6 to 15 how much they enjoyed a list of subjects.

The biggest difference of opinion between the sexes was in art: 62 per cent of girls studying the subject said they enjoyed it, compared with only 34 per cent of boys – a difference of 28 percentage points.

Girls were also much more likely than boys to say they enjoyed English (42 per cent compared with 25 per cent of boys), music (48 per cent against 34 per cent) and languages (28 per cent against 18 per cent).

Subject preferences 'down to gender stereotyping'
By contrast, boys were much more likely to say they enjoyed computing (64 per cent compared with 46 per cent of girls), maths (42 per cent against 32 per cent), science (48 per cent against 39 per cent) and physical education (51 per cent against 42 per cent).

'Super-selective' grammar school must change rules

by TES, September 4, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

A ”super-selective” grammar school has been ordered to change its admission policy after it was found to be in breach of admissions laws.

The Rochester Grammar School, a “popular and oversubscribed” girls’ school in Medway, Kent, was found to give priority to pupils with siblings in other secondary schools within its multi-academy trust, including a selective school for boys.

In a report published today, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) says it considered the views of the local authority as well as those of a legal adviser for the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which runs the grammar, and those of “an objector,” among other documents, in reaching its decision that the school breached the admissions code.

The report quotes claims by the objector that the school was "super-selective" and that it favoured pupils from primary feeder schools within its multi-academy trust, although schools adjudicator David Lennard Jones did not uphold this claim.

UK 'missing out' on overseas students

by BBC, September 4, 2018

University leaders are calling for changes to the UK visa system to allow international students to stay and work for two years after they graduate.

Universities UK says otherwise overseas students, worth £26bn to the UK economy, will opt for countries such as the US, Canada and Australia.

Research has shown Australia is already overtaking the UK as the second biggest destination for overseas students.

The government has said there is no cap on legitimate overseas student numbers.

This month, the Migration Advisory Committee, which gives the government independent advice on immigration, is to report on the impact of international students - currently counted as those from outside the UK and the European Union.

The government has previously rejected calls to take international students out of migration targets.

Class sizes rise as recruitment crisis bites

by TES, August 30, 2018

Pupil-teacher ratios have risen since 2010 because student numbers have grown and teacher recruitment has failed to keep up, new figures show.

Research from the Education Policy Institute thinktank lays bare the severity of England’s teacher recruitment crisis, with just one in five physics teachers holding a relevant degree in some parts of the country.

According to the EPI’s analysis, pupil numbers have risen by around 10 per cent since 2010, while teacher numbers have remained steady.

This has resulted in pupil-to-teacher ratios increasing from around 15.5 in 2010 to nearly 17 in 2018.

Teacher training applications were down by around 5 per cent compared with the same time in 2017, with training targets persistently missed in maths and science.

England's schools face 'severe' teacher shortage

by BBC, August 30, 2018

England's schools are facing a "severe shortage" of teachers, with bigger class sizes and more subjects taught by staff without a relevant degree, says the Education Policy Institute (EPI).

The independent think tank says that as schools prepare to return after the summer break, the problems of teacher recruitment remain unresolved.

The think tank says targeted pay increases could reduce shortages.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has made staff recruitment a top priority.

Specialist teachers
Former education minister, David Laws, now chairman of the EPI, says the "government faces a significant challenge to recruit enough teachers - particularly in subjects such as maths and sciences".

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