Latest Educational News

Fewer than half of university applicants believe ‘predicted grades are accurate’

by Express and Star, April 8, 2020

Fewer than half of university applicants believe their predicted grades accurately reflect what they would have received if they had sat the exams as planned this summer, a survey suggests.

Nearly a third of applicants say they now feel less confident that they will get a place at their chosen university amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll by a think tank.

The findings, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), came after this summer’s GCSE and A-level exams were cancelled in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

How exam grades in Preston and Lancashire will be decided this summer

by Blog Preston , April 8, 2020

Students in Preston studying for GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels will be marked on mock exam grades, coursework and teacher assessment this year.

Students in years 11 and 13 had their formal exams cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Lancashire County Council has now confirmed schools and colleges will look at a number of factors to provide an accurate grade for every student due to sit exams this summer.

County councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: ” Following the recent guidance from Ofqual, our Lancashire schools and colleges will be working hard to ensure that GCSE, AS and A-Level students receive an accurate assessment of the grades they were expected to achieve, following the cancellation of formal exams this year.

“During this extraordinary time, results will be assessed using classwork, coursework, mocks and other internal assessments, to assess what grade it is believed that students would have got, if they had sat a formal exam.

GCSEs and A-levels: Concern for student motivation as teens who think they've passed seek jobs in supermarkets and 'gig economy'

by iNews, April 8, 2020

Teenagers who think they have already passed their GCSEs and A-levels have been trying to get supermarket and “gig economy” jobs before the school year ends.

The revelation will reinforce fears that the fallout from the coronavirus crisis has badly hit students’ motivation and engagement in learning.

Across the UK, schools closed indefinitely last month in a bid to delay the spread of Covid-19.

GCSEs and A levels exams have been cancelled, with students set to receive their grades based on predictions from their teachers.

UK school unleashes smartphones to seek virus treatment

by AA.com.tr, April 8, 2020

A new project will use the power of smartphones to search for COVID-19 treatments, Imperial College London announced on Wednesday.

Collaborating with the Vodafone Foundation, the Corona-AI (artificial intelligence) project will use the free DreamLab app, which crunches calculations using a smartphone’s computing power while its user sleeps.

"The app has already helped find potential new cancer drugs and is now aiming to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic," according to the college's website.

DreamLab uses machine learning on a mobile supercomputing network to analyze billions of combinations of existing drug, food-based molecules, and genetic interactions, slashing the time needed to make discoveries.

Data generated from the calculations will help scientists at the college identify existing drugs and food-based molecules with antiviral properties.

Free online text books for schools

by Rhine Gold , April 8, 2020

To support teaching and learning through the COVID-19 lockdown UK Education Publishers and Classoos have come together to offer free online textbooks to schools.

Total UK school closures came along so quickly that many schools didn’t have a complete suite of online resources available to offer continued and complete online learning for their students. To address this Classoos, the enhanced mobile education platform, and its publisher partners including Oxford University Press, Hodder Education, Cambridge University Press, Bloomsbury, PG Online, Elmwood, Taylor & Francis, and Routledge have offered their books for free.

To ensure continuity of teaching and learning Classoos and its publisher partners are now able to offer their textbooks, all on the same platform, completely free of charge to any UK school for 90 days.

Oldham teacher shortlisted for education's Oscars

by Oldham Chronicle, April 8, 2020

Selected from thousands of nominations, an Oldham teacher has been shortlisted for the prestigious Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Kate Woodward has been nominated for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year.

Kate, from Lyndhurst Primary and Nursery School, has quickly become a fantastic teacher, to the point where she is already delivering training to more experienced colleagues.

She is more than able to learn from others as well, and has organised visits to other local schools for her team so that they can all improve their practice.

She has even organised an after school club where pupils can discuss social issues in a supportive, encouraging, atmosphere.

Her entry is on the 87-strong shortlist to be Silver Award winners.

UK government to tackle foreign interference at universities

by The Pie News, April 8, 2020

The UK government will tackle foreign interference at British universities by working with Universities UK and by promoting the diversification of international students, according to a document obtained by The PIE News.
The UK government will tackle foreign interference at British universities by working with Universities UK and by promoting the diversification of international students, according to a document obtained by The PIE News.
It also claimed that the UK government had not engaged sufficiently with other departments to develop a coordinated response.

Now the FCO has responded to the inquiry, acknowledging that academic research and innovation could be exploited by state or state-linked actors which do not respect fundamental rights and freedoms or who are hostile to UK interests.

Costs of school closures could outweigh benefits, study finds

by Financial Times, April 8, 2020

Closing schools does little to slow the spread of coronavirus and imposes heavy economic costs that could outweigh the benefits, according to a study that raises questions over the widespread application of the policy around the world.

“The evidence to support national closure of schools to combat Covid-19 is very weak,” said the research led by Russell Viner, a professor at Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, part of University College London.

“The economic costs and potential harms of school closure are undoubtedly very high,” concluded the study published on Tuesday in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

Online science activities for Oxfordshire schoolchildren

by Oxford Mail, April 8, 2020

TEACHERS across Oxfordshire confronted with the government-enforced lockdown have risen to the challenge and come up with new and inventive ways to keep pupils engaged in school work even from their bedrooms.

Working with Abingdon School and its science outreach organisation Abingdon Science Partnership, state schools have introduced remote learning opportunities for schools supporting key workers' children and for parents and pupils at home.

Teachers from Caldecott Primary School were some of the first to share ideas for crystal creations.

ASP co-ordinator Jeremy Thomas developed a set of science lesson plans for flexible use in primary schools with the ‘invaluable’ help of teachers at Caldecott Primary School and Sunningwell Primary School.

A third of applicants feel less confident they will get into their chosen university since the Coronavirus pandemic

by FE news, April 7, 2020

University applicants need “support and safety nets” to ensure they are not further disadvantaged by the coronavirus crisis, said the University and College Union (UCU) today (Tuesday).

The union was responding to a poll from the Higher Education Policy Institute that found almost a third of applicants feel less confident they will get into their chosen university since the coronavirus pandemic.

It also revealed that under half of applicants have confidence that their predicted grades are an accurate reflection of the grades they would have received in this summer’s exams.

Coronavirus: Plans for Northern Ireland student grades to be finalised this week, says Education Minister

by Belfast Telegraph, April 7, 2020

Education Minister Peter Weir has told Northern Ireland students who were due to sit A-Level and GCSE exams this summer that he hopes to provide answers on grades by the end of the week.

This year’s summer exams and all primary assessments have been cancelled as the government fights to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Mr Weir, speaking on Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster, said that he understood this was an "immensely stressful situation" for students who were due to sit GCSEs and A Levels this summer.

Coronavirus: Peter Weir says exam grade plans are almost completed

by BBC News, April 7, 2020

Work to finalise plans for exam grades is "virtually at the point of completion", the education minister has said.

Peter Weir said that he hoped to have the detail at the end of the week.

Exams to be held in May and June were cancelled as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Weir has previously said that existing data will be used to award GCSE and A-level results this summer.

"If we are looking at those exams, they have to be compatible across the UK," he told BBC News NI's Good Morning Ulster.

Mr Weir was speaking after he had issued an appeal to retired teachers and classroom assistants to help keep schools open amid the coronavirus crisis.

Extra support for schools and parents to help cope with coronavirus

by GOV UK, April 7, 2020

The Government is to make extra funding available for schools to cover the unique challenges and financial costs of the coronavirus outbreak.

While teachers, pupils and parents would normally be beginning the Easter break, the coronavirus pandemic means that where possible, schools will continue to care for vulnerable children and those of critical workers.

The money will cover unforeseen additional costs including for cleaning and keeping schools open over Easter.

UK councils face lawsuits over access to education in lockdown

by The Guardian, April 7, 2020

The UK government must ensure pupils from poor backgrounds have computers and internet connections during the coronavirus lockdown or face legal action for depriving children of their education, according to a group of legal activists.

The Good Law Project argues that the widespread reliance on online learning during the lockdown is illegally disadvantaging state school pupils who lack access to tablets, laptops or adequate broadband. It says it will sue local authorities to try to push the government into action.

The move could lead to courts forcing the government to ensure the provision of adequate internet connections and IT equipment to hundreds of thousands of children from poor or vulnerable backgrounds while the lockdown continues and schools remain closed.

School hubs set up for key workers during Easter break - where they are in Scarborough, Ryedale and Whitby

by Whitby Gazette, April 7, 2020

North Yorkshire County Council has worked with schools and settings to set up small hubs, located close to hospitals across the county, which will care for pre-school and school-aged children of key workers from Good Friday. They will operate from 7.45am to 5.45pm and will continue to operate as long as they are needed throughout the pandemic.

The majority of schools in North Yorkshire are already remaining open over the Easter holidays for children of keyworkers, but the hubs will fill in gaps in childcare in the county.

The early years hubs for children 0 to four will begin from Good Friday and will operate seven days a week. There will be a maximum of 10 places available for pre-school children in each hub and there will be qualified early years professionals on site.

Coronavirus: Scientists question school closures impact

by BBC News, April 7, 2020

Countries like the UK that have closed schools to help stop the spread of coronavirus should ask hard questions about whether this is now the right policy, says one team of scientists.

The University College London team says keeping pupils off has little impact, even with other lockdown measures.

But a scientist whose work has informed the UK strategy insists school closures play an important role.

The government has said it will review its coronavirus policies after Easter.

While children can catch coronavirus, they rarely get severe symptoms.

But they can still spread the infection, which is why many countries have closed schools.

Government reveals when parents will hear about primary school places

by Devon Live, April 7, 2020

Parents have been reassured they are expected to hear whether their child has got their preferred primary school place this month.

The global coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on daily life, but plans are still going ahead for 2020 primary school admissions to be announced on April 16.

The date has been set by the Department for Education (DfE), and Devon County Council has confirmed it has not been advised of any changes.

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: "At the moment we are planning for the set date, subject to any national announcements."

State examinations and fairness

by The Irish News , April 6, 2020

Some students are now expressing the view that the exams should not go ahead (“Secondary students want State exams replaced with predicted grades”, News, April 3rd).This is perhaps not altogether surprising.

However, the suggestion that some cobbling together of school grades in coursework as an alternative is not acceptable. Other than the classroom-based assessments designated for some Junior Cert subjects, school-based tests have not been standardised in terms of content, timing or the conditions under which they have been undertaken. For these reasons, any application of the “predicted score” approach would be grossly unfair to students in Ireland (where our assessment systems are different to those of other countries).

Graduating students could be forced to REPEAT Year 12 or sit their final exams during the Christmas break as nation battles to contain coronavirus

by Daily Mail, April 6, 2020

Year 12 students may be forced to repeat their academic year unless an agreement is reached for them to work from home.

Schools have been closed in Victoria because of the coronavirus outbreak since March 24 - as state officials work alongside the federal government to create a robust distance learning plan for students.

But if a plan is not reached a Year 13 may be created by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, while internal assessments could be pushed back to 2021.

University of Chichester students call for exams to be scrapped amid coronavirus crisis

by Chichester Oberver, April 6, 2020

A petition has been set up which has more than 1,400 signatures at the time of writing. You can find the petition here.

It was set up by Jessica Doe who, in a statement on the petition's website, said: "With the current ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, we are in the midst of an incredibly uncertain, worrying and unprecedented time.

"We as students believe that it is now vital to seriously consider the wellbeing of everyone at the university, and what measures can reasonably be put in place in order to combat additional stress and anxiety. With the current situation, people are feeling isolated, anxious, unsupported and levels of stress are currently really high."