Latest Educational News

School system 'shameful', says CBI boss

by Guardian, December 31, 2009

The education system is failing pupils from poorer homes and producing exam results which "we ought to be ashamed of", according to the head of the most powerful group representing business leaders.

In an interview with the Guardian, Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI, says that money is being wasted in English schools, which have among the most generous government funding in the world but exam results that are beginning to trail behind competitor countries

The schoolboy who never stayed home: Pupil lasted 2,660 days without a sick note

by Daily Mail, December 29, 2009

A schoolboy has been hailed as 'the perfect student' after making it through primary and secondary education without missing a single day of classes.
Johnathan Oley, now 19, has kept up a 100 per cent attendance record right from his very first day through until finishing his A-levels.
He lasted 2,660 days without taking any time off sick - even making sure to get to class after he broke his wrist snowboarding three years ago

90% of pupils miss GCSE target in some areas, Conservatives say

by Guardian, December 29, 2009

Only one in 10 pupils achieve the government benchmark of five good GCSEs in some deprived neighbourhoods, according to analysis by the Tories.

In 24 areas in England, less than 15% of students got five passes at A* to C, including maths and English.

The national average is 47.8%, while in some areas nine out of 10 children made the benchmark, the Conservatives said.

The poorest performing neighbourhood is in Grimsby, where six children out of 87 achieved five good GCSEs last year. Other low scoring zones included an area in the Wyre Forest, in the West Midlands, and parts of Bristol, Leicester, Portsmouth and Southampton

Teacher cutbacks 'short-sighted'

by BBC, December 28, 2009

Scotland's largest teaching union has attacked "short-sighted" cuts in teacher training numbers.

The EIS predicted a third of Scotland's teachers were set to retire in the next few years.

It added that cutting back on training new teachers could create "a massive problem" in the future.

Private schools swamped by 'barrage of unnecessary rules'

by Daily Mail, December 28, 2009

Private schools are being swamped by a 'barrage' of unnecessary rules and regulations that are undermining pupils' education, according to a leading headmistress.

Gillian Low, the new president of the Girls' Schools Association, warned that Whitehall 'micromanagement' was threatening academic standards and removing the need for schools to make common sense judgements.

A deluge of new rules was eroding schools' cherished independence and 'diverting attention' away from children's education, she declared

A rise in fees would make university education fairer

by Guardian, December 27, 2009

It is a curious branch of Keynesian economics that, in the midst of a recession, bails out poorly performing industries while cutting funds for improving the nation's skills. Yet that was what business secretary Lord Mandelson announced last week. Happy to subsidise the auto industry with a cash-for-clunkers scheme, he has now decreed £135m worth of cuts to higher education in England and Wales on top of existing budget savings of £180m. Just as dispiriting as this raid on university finances is the air of political dishonesty which continues to shroud the higher education debate.

11-plus dominated NI education debate

by BBC, December 25, 2009

Classified as 11 Plus.

The ending of the 11-plus and its repercussions has been virtually the only show in town this year.

The Minister for Education, Caitriona Ruane, had planned that schools would abandon academic selection and use other methods of selecting pupils when more applicants than places are available.

That would suit secondary schools but there was an outcry from grammar schools and aspiring grammar school parents.

Tories: Private schools must help poor

by This is London, December 24, 2009

Education spokesman Michael Gove said a Tory government would hold talks with the Charity Commission to seek a softer line on scholarships for poor families.

Two-year degrees get top marks

by Guardian, December 23, 2009

Lord Mandelson is arguing this morning that universities should teach some degree courses in two years rather than three as part of their efforts to save money. In my own experience that is right – and should be easy to do. In 2006, aged 36, I took on a one-year, part-time course in economics at Birkbeck College, London. The course was designed to enable students to proceed to an economics MSc, so it had a rough equivalence to an undergraduate degree (and was accredited as such by the university regulators). The fees were about £3,000 from the student with a further contribution from the taxpayer.

Sponsor pulls out of academies

by Independent, December 22, 2009

The biggest sponsor of the Government’s flagship academies programme was forced to pull out of plans to open two more after inspectors said one of its schools was making “inadequate” progress.

Sheffield Park academy, run by the United Learning Trust - a Christian charity, failed an inspection earlier this year.

Exam results could carry inaccuracy warning

by Guardian, December 22, 2009

Exam results could carry a cigarette packet-style health warning in future to remind universities and employers that they are not 100% accurate, heads of exam boards have suggested.

A report published today by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), recommended the measure following the concerns over inaccurate marking.Kathleen Tattersall, Ofqual's chair, likened the proposal to a "health check" on the reliability of exam results.

Grammars accepted 'wide range of grades'

by Derry Journal, December 22, 2009

Classified as 11 Plus.

All of Derry's grammar schools accepted pupils this year who did not get the top grade in the now defunct 11 Plus.
One local grammar school has just over 40% of pupils gaining the A grade.

Education minister Caitriona Ruane published details of admission grades across Northern Ireland this year in response to an assembly question.

My ordeal, by Christian teacher fired for offering to pray for sick pupil

by Daily Mail, December 21, 2009

A Christian teacher fears she may never work again after she was sacked for offering to pray for a sick pupil.

Olive Jones, 54, said she had been made to feel like a criminal, and claimed that Christians were being persecuted due to 'political correctness'.
Mrs Jones, who taught children not well enough to attend school, said that after she raised the topic of prayer during a visit to a 12-year-old's house, the girl's mother lodged a complaint.
Just hours later, said Mrs Jones, her boss told her she would no longer be working for Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service, in Nailsea, Somerset.

11+ pupils could face 60-mile trip to take exam

by Maidenhead Advertiser, December 19, 2009

Classified as 11 Plus.

Children in the Royal Borough wanting to take the 11-plus may have to travel 30 miles to Aylesbury from now on because of security fears sparked by the recent exam paper leak.

Buckinghamshire County Council is reviewing procedures after a teacher broke the rules and let pupils take one of this year's test papers at home.

Royal Borough schools whose pupils have opted in to take the 11-plus are not given a set exam day. A test paper was passed on to children who had not yet taken it forcing BCC to hold emergency meetings and issue a new paper to 'ensure absolute fairness'.

Public schools airbrushed from Tory CVs

by Telegraph, December 19, 2009

Stung by criticism that his party is elitist and privileged, Conservative officials appear to have airbrushed the details of the shadow cabinet to remove all references to private education.

Whilst insisting publicly that he is not bothered by the attacks, Mr Cameron has privately acknowledged that he finds them galling.

Ed Balls accused of sidestepping MPs on Ofqual decision

by BBC, December 19, 2009

Children's Secretary Ed Balls has been accused of sidestepping Parliament by naming a new education watchdog chief before MPs had a chance to quiz her.

Kathleen Tattersall was named chair and chief regulator of new exams watchdog Ofqual without being vetted by MPs.

Barry Sheerman, chairman of the House of Commons Children's Select Committee, said it was a "shabby" act.

BEXLEY: Row over grammar school places selection

by News Shopper, December 17, 2009

A wholesale review of Bexley’s selection process for its secondary schools is being planned amid a growing row over grammar school places.

Four of five main parties issue joint call for temporary P7 test

by Belfast Telegraph, December 17, 2009

The four political parties involved in weekly talks at Stormont to try and resolve the school transfer crisis have called on Caitriona Ruane to put a temporary P7 test in place

Traditional pen-and-paper GCSEs and A-levels will be replaced by computer testing

by Daily Mail, December 17, 2009

Traditional pen-and-paper exams could soon be replaced by continual testing on computers.
Instead of sitting GCSE or A-level exams, pupils will be quizzed throughout the year.
Ofqual, the exam watchdog, said teenagers 'must be allowed to embrace' technology as it told exam boards they should keep standards constant during the transition from written tests.
It claimed computerised exams could help to combat cheating and that some boards were already developing the idea. These include science qualifications from AQA and Edexcel exams in construction.

Is academy school success just a sham?

by Guardian, December 17, 2009

New research into academies suggests that shoddy 'vocational' exams are being used to boost exam statistics

Academies' rapidly improving GCSE results are repeatedly held up as conclusive proof of their success. Yet, unlike in the case of all other state-funded schools, the details of what are in fact academies' GCSE and equivalent results (ie a possible combination of GCSEs and vocational qualifications) are not made publicly available.