Latest Educational News

UK universities putting finances above student safety, expert warns

by The Guardian, August 3, 2020

One of the UK’s top higher education experts has warned that by promising young people they can return to campuses this autumn, universities are putting their financial survival in the pandemic above the welfare of students, staff and local communities.

With less than two weeks to go until sixth-formers receive their teacher-assessed A-level grades, a clearer picture is starting to emerge of what they can expect when they arrive at university. Although almost all institutions are offering some face-to-face learning, it will be a very different university experience, with visitors and parties likely to be banned in many halls of residence.

However, Simon Marginson, professor of higher education at Oxford University, told the Guardian: “The current position will be very difficult to manage. Students want to be together and they will bend the rules. Eighteen-year-olds throw off constraints – it’s what they do.”

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He warned: “There is inevitably going to be a surge somewhere triggered by a university. This is all very high risk for universities.” He predicted that parents could take legal action against a university if their child died of the virus while on campus.

'Generation Covid': children have been hit from all sides, and they need help now

by The Guardian, August 3, 2020

Jayla was a standout student in her Georgia grade school when it shut down. The school offered students laptops, but by the time her mom got a ride to school, the laptops were gone. Instead, Jayla was left with a photocopied work packet – without any of the material from her advanced classes.

But the family’s bigger problems are financial: Jayla’s mom lost her job due to the lockdown. She’s applied for job after job; so far, no luck.

America is not prepared for schools opening this fall. This will be bad
Siva Vaidhyanathan
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It’s hard to overstate the scope of the crisis, or, more accurately, crises, facing Jayla and all the other kids living through Covid-19 – let’s call them Generation C. For millions of members of Gen C – especially children in low-income families, kids with learning challenges, and Black and brown children hampered by systematic oppression – the pandemic has meant a food security crisis, piled on top of an educational equity crisis, piled on top of a school funding crisis, piled on top of a mental health crisis. Unless Congress acts quickly to rescue Gen C, a generation of kids and, with them, our nation’s future, could be lost.

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Right now, one in six US children are going to bed hungry and roughly one-third of families couldn’t pay their rent last month. This kind of deprivation causes lifelong harm. And in just a few weeks, things will get worse as extra unemployment benefits expire and eviction moratoriums lift.

Add to that the weight of anxiety, social isolation and grief, which doctors say are leading to a mental health crisis among children (this after rates of depression and suicide attempts among young adults already doubled between 2009 and 2017).

Coronavirus: Labour warns of 'perfect storm' for working parents

by BBC News, August 3, 2020

A "perfect storm" of rising childcare costs and providers closing down could make it "impossible" for some parents to return to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, Labour says.

The party says childcare costs in England have risen up to three times as fast as wages since 2010.

And it is calling on the government to "urgently provide targeted support" to the childcare sector.

The government said the sector had received "significant" support.

Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders have been allowed to open to all children since 1 June following the coronavirus lockdown.

And as part of easing lockdown restrictions, the government has said people who can, no longer have to work from home.

However, Labour warns that many parents will struggle to return to workplaces without adequate childcare, particularly if families cannot rely on grandparents for help due to the virus.

Black pupils face trebled exclusion rate in some areas of England

by BBC News, August 3, 2020

Black pupils are disproportionately hit with fixed-term exclusions in England - by three times as many in some places, data shows.

Pupils with black ethnicity have higher temporary exclusion rates in two-thirds of local authority areas, new analysis from the House of Commons library says.

Discipline policies banning black hairstyles, kissing teeth and fist-bumping are being blamed in part.

Schools have a statutory duty not to discriminate against pupils over race.

Rates for fixed-term exclusions - disciplinary measures that may last a day or several weeks - were around three times higher for black pupils in four areas.

And in another seven local authorities, black pupils had double the local rate for all pupils, according to 2017-18 data.

The revelation comes as the Department for Education publishes new national data on exclusions, which shows black pupils from a Caribbean background had almost twice the England average rate of short term exclusions at 10.37% in 2018-19.

New competition for teachers looking to inspire their students in the world of food and farming

by Education Today, August 3, 2020

Leading farm education charity, LEAF Education in partnership with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi have launched the annual National Competition in Food, Farming and Environment. The competition, which is open to all secondary schools across the UK, is quick and easy to enter and asks teachers to explain why their students and school would benefit from winning an exclusive weekend experience on a real working farm at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi in October. Teachers can enter the competition between 8 June – 3 July by visiting www.leafuk.org/education/the-national-food-farming-and-environment-competition

The competition, supported by Waitrose & Partners, looks to engage young people with farming, food production and the natural environment. Selected schools will go through to the final prize weekend in October at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd, North Wales.

Why The Education Sector Is Choosing Modular Construction For Schools

by Education Today, August 3, 2020

Preparing for the new school year isn’t just about setting lesson plans. Ensuring that the school is capable of accommodating the new influx of pupils is paramount to ensuring a safe and comfortable training environment for all.

Schools that are looking to improve, extend or build new classrooms and educational facilities are turning, more and more, to modular construction; not just for temporary classroom use, whilst the facility is being built, but for the actual permanent building too.

Modular buildings have recently hit the headlines as hospitals around the UK have utilised this method of off-site construction to quickly erect safe and secure centres for hospital staff to work in and test for Covid-19. The method of building inside a facility before erecting the building on-site cuts down on-site construction time considerably which is why the healthcare industry is actively looking at modular construction over its traditional brick-built counterpart.

Alexandra Palace and Little Inventors launch The Wildlife Challenge

by Education Today, August 3, 2020

Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust and Little Inventors have today launched The Wildlife Challenge where budding young inventors aged up to 16 years old from the greater London area will be tasked with letting their imaginations run wild.

One of the biggest green spaces in London, Alexandra Park is home to over 319 different species – including 38 rare or protected species. The Wildlife Challenge will look to celebrate the space and the natural world by inviting young people to design a new invention to help one of the creatures found in the park. The winning inventions chosen by Alexandra Palace and Little Inventors, will be made into installations and displayed in the park later this year.

The young inventors taking part will be asked to research their chosen animal considering where they live, what they eat, what dangers they might face, how they move and what they need to stay healthy before they start their designs. The inventions, which could be anything from an animal’s dream home to a state-of-the-art feeding station, should be submitted as drawings using the upload page on the Alexandra Palace website. The deadline for all inventions is the 31st July 2020.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway announces children’s drawing competition to honour Railway in Wartime

by Education Today, August 3, 2020

Following the announcement that this year’s Railway in Wartime event has been cancelled, North Yorkshire Moors Railways (NYMR) has launched a specially themed drawing competition, with the winner receiving a trip to the railway for their entire class, a personalised headboard and a Pullman Dining Experience for their favourite teacher and a guest.

The competition is a drawing contest for children, aged between four and eleven. NYMR is inviting parents who are home schooling due to the current pandemic to encourage their children to think about what the railway might have looked like during wartime and put pen to paper to draw their interpretation of it.

During the second world war, Britain’s railways were used more heavily than at any time in their history and played a pivotal role in evacuating thousands of children and transporting them to safety, as well as delivering vital supplies across the breadth of the country.

Association of Colleges responds to government guidance on reopening colleges and schools in September

by Education Today, August 3, 2020

Today the Department for Education has published guidance to support colleges to fully reopen in September. Responding to the announcement by the Education Secretary, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, David Hughes said: “Since the outbreak of COVID19, colleges have been pragmatic and acted swiftly to protect student safety, whilst also protecting their continued access to learning and training. Students should be confident that they will continue to receive a high quality education with great pastoral support as colleges continue to increase the numbers of students able to return to their sites.

“This guidance offers some clarity to college leaders and staff planning for the safe reopening of their building and campuses in September, but they should continue to make their decisions based on health and safety advice and their local context.

Innovating Minds teams with childhood trauma expert to help children impacted by domestic violence during lockdown

by Education Today, August 3, 2020

linical psychologist Dr Asha Patel (left) of the multi award-winning social enterprise Innovating Minds is running a series of webinars on essential mental health topics and is partnering with author Jane Evans to create The Healing Together Facilitator Programme.

The course is aimed at those who work with children at both primary and secondary schools or in other community settings. It will help individuals become trauma aware and give them the skills and understanding to help children who have been impacted by domestic abuse and violence.

The United Nations has called domestic abuse the ‘shadow pandemic’ as it estimates incidents globally have increased by at least 20 per cent.

Coronavirus: Schools will be ready for September

by BBC News, August 3, 2020

eopening schools in September is an "absolute priority" for the government and it will be safe, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

It comes after teaching unions called for clarity amid a rise in the number of coronavirus cases and the decision to pause lockdown easing in England.

"We have to get children back to school in September," said Mr Jenrick.

Schools are due to open in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to all pupils at the start of next term.

They closed in March, except to the children of key workers, but some reopened to certain year groups before the summer holiday.

Coronavirus: Where was the national effort to help our schools?

by Sky News, June 27, 2020

Some extraordinary things have been achieved since the coronavirus changed our lives earlier this year - things that some never thought possible.

Seven new hospitals were created at record speed to ramp up capacity in the NHS.

More than one in four workers are now supported by the government's furlough scheme in an unprecedented move to protect jobs.

Inside story: as schools stay shut, is a generation being lost to lockdown?

by Telegraph, June 27, 2020

Prior to the coronavirus lockdown, nine-year-old Junior Tams was thriving at his local primary school on Newcastle’s Byker estate. He was in the top set and particularly enjoyed science classes. Since then, says his mum Mary-Jane, who lives alone with him on the sprawling estate, his education has regressed to a worrying degree.

Over the past three months Junior has grown increasingly obsessed with the online computer game, Fortnite, shutting himself off in his bedroom for hours each day and piling on a lot of weight in the process. Whenever Mary-Jane, 34, who works in a part-time administration job at the local marina, has attempted any home schooling, they have clashed. “He’s got himself stuck into a little rut,” she says....

Time to stop the infighting and put our children's education first - the YEP says

by Yorkshire Evening Post, June 27, 2020

It was just a matter of weeks ago that the Children’s Commissioner warned in this newspaper that keeping children out of school - especially those among the most disadvantaged - for a prolonged period could damage their prospects.

And now today we report on a row breaking out between Leeds councillors over the cost of providing extra school places.

This is against the backdrop of a rising population and the need to ensure that extra space is created to accommodate the new cohorts of children in the classroom.

Some assessment could be moved to earlier in 2021, suggests heads’ union

by Schools Week, June 27, 2020

Some assessment in 2021 should be moved to earlier in the year rather than delay exams, a leadership union has said.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he had asked the government to consider whether pupils could get some elements of assessment “under the belt” before the summer exams.

Is this how secondary schools will reopen?

by TES, June 27, 2020

“Intelligent lockdown”: this was the phrase that the Dutch government used when it decided to shut down most of the country on 15 March 2020. School, childcare, restaurants – all were to be closed until at least 6 April.

Immediately, teachers were supposed to deliver online lessons. We were expected to be ready to go with distance learning in an instant.

Luckily, our school already worked with the online tools Somtoday and It’s Learning, so handing in, marking and homework were covered. We now also began to use Microsoft Teams to teach online.

University reforms 'must level playing field' for disadvantaged students

by Sky News, June 27, 2020

The body that manages university admissions says it is "ready to change and challenge" the current system, after reports the government is set to overhaul how pupils apply for courses.

UCAS says disadvantaged students should be "the paramount consideration" in reforms to the admissions process that are expected in the coming months.

It comes after The Guardian reported that the Department for Education was planning changes in England that would allow students to apply for universities after A-level results are published.

When will schools fully reopen, and should I send my child back to school?

by Telegraph, June 27, 2020

Boris Johnson has announced that all school children will be able to go back to school in September – although some should be able to go back beforehand.

Speaking in the Commons today (23 June), the Prime Minister said: “Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance. Those children who can already go to school should do so because it is safe.”

This follows measures earlier this month, June 15, which reopened secondary schools to Year 10 and 12 pupils, and the reopening of primary schools to Reception, Year One and Year Six pupils from June 1.

The government will be publishing new guidelines for schools this week.

City grammar schools to press ahead with 11-plus exams

by The Irish News , June 26, 2020

Classified as 11 Plus.

Catholic grammar schools in Belfast and Derry have, as expected, confirmed they will ask children to sit entrance tests this winter.

Amid calls for clarity from parents, several schools said they would operate the unregulated system of academic selection.

Children will face different papers over consecutive weekends in November and December.

Vulnerable children to get better support when moving school

by GOV UK, June 26, 2020

Vulnerable children are to receive improved support when moving school during term time, in new measures to reduce time spent out of the classroom.

Proposed changes to the School Admissions Code outlined today (26 June) include a new turnaround of 10 school days for a decision on an in-year application and clearly defined timescales for each stage of the process.

While these measures will apply to all children moving school during the academic year, including those of Armed Forces Personnel, vulnerable children and those in care are much more likely to move school outside of the usual timeframes.

There will also be greater clarity for parents or carers on how applications can be made during term time, how the council or admissions authority will handle requests and how decisions can be appealed.