Latest Educational News

Free schools should be wary of being used as a weapon

by Guardian, December 12, 2011

Denigrating teachers will not help the government's education reforms

A week or so before it was due to open, the West London Free School still looked like a building site. Toby Young, who had offered me a tour of the premises, kept being drawn aside by workers with questions about the height of a dado rail. There was a conversation about an "earth pit" that was impenetrable but sounded ominous.

Government to extend number of children to get £488 pupil premium

by Guardian, December 12, 2011

Schools will be able to claim money for any child who has been registered for free school meals in the past six years

Half a million more poor children will benefit from government help targeted at deprived youngsters, the children's minister, Sarah Teather, is expected to announceon Monday.

The pupil premium, worth £488 per child, is given to schools on top of their main funding. Headteachers can spend the extra money how they choose.

More children to receive pupil premium, minister says

by BBC, December 12, 2011

Up to half a million more children from disadvantaged backgrounds are to benefit from the pupil premium, the government is set to announce.

The premium of £488 per child goes to schools on top of their main funding.

At present it only applies to children currently receiving free school meals, but in future anyone who has been registered for free meals in the past six years will be eligible.

Edexcel exam board defends test standards

by BBC, December 12, 2011

Exam board Edexcel says it is "certain" the standard of its qualifications are on a par with those of other boards, following an internal review.

Edexcel said it had found no evidence to support a chief examiner's claim that its GCSE geography tests were not as difficult as those of other boards.

It said it had analysed data from all five awarding bodies.

Exam boards investigation: Edexcel to record future seminars

by Telegraph, December 12, 2011

An exam board is to record all its seminars giving advice to teachers and invite a representative from the exam regulator after a Daily Telegraph investigation raised concerns over the quality of its testing.

Edexcel is to create new guidance for its staff who give presentations to teachers after one of its chief examiners said she could not believe one exam was approved because it has so little content.
Steph Warren, a senior official at Edexcel, told an undercover reporter posing as a teacher who was considering using the firm’s tests that “you don’t have to teach a lot” and that there is a “lot less” for pupils to learn than with rival courses

Personal finance should be compulsory in schools, say MPs

by Telegraph, December 12, 2011

Personal finance lessons should be compulsory in schools because even high-flying Maths students struggle to understand APR and compound interest, MPs say.

After an eight-month inquiry, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People called on ministers to ensure school-leavers are better equipped to avoid running into money problems.
It published a report today demanding that personal finance education be made compulsory in schools.

Gove paves way for more grammar schools

by Morning Star Online, December 11, 2011

Classified as 11 Plus.

Elitest Education Secretary Michael Gove will attempt to deny parents the right to object to the expansion of grammar schools by getting a new admissions code through Parliament, it was revealed today.

Mr Gove, who has masterminded the so-called free schools and allowed more schools to become academies, wants to reduce choice by allowing grammar schools to expand.

Grammar schools get go-ahead to expand

by Telegraph, December 11, 2011

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools will be able to expand and take on extra pupils after ministers abandoned plans to let hostile local parents object.

The move is expected to clear the way for an expansion of grammar education without increasing the number of grammar schools.
The government carried out a consultation on a new school admissions code over the summer and published the results earlier this month. Local authorities will no longer have control over the expansion of maintained and grammar schools.

Michael Gove scraps limits on grammar school growth

by Guardian, December 10, 2011

Classified as 11 Plus.

New proposals will axe parents' rights to object to academic selection and force weaker schools into a battle for survival

Parents will be stripped of the right to object to the expansion of grammar schools, under a new school admissions code laid before parliament.

Campaigners against academic selection say this could force some schools into a battle for survival as grammars expand to take on their neighbours' best-performing pupils.

Student phishing scam: Two men remanded over fraud

by BBC, December 10, 2011

Two men have been charged over a £1m email scam which took money from the bank accounts of hundreds of students.

Police said students on government loans were sent phishing emails urging them to provide their banking details.

Damola Olatunji, 26, of Hamsterley Avenue, Manchester, and Amos Mwangi, 25, of Rochdale Way, Deptford, London, face a charge of conspiracy to defraud.

Alan Bennett warns over tuition fees

by BBC, December 10, 2011

Playwright Alan Bennett has said budding working-class writers are being blocked from following in his footsteps by university tuition fees.

Bennett, a butcher's son from Leeds, went to Oxford University.

But he said he would not have been able to pay tuition fees, meaning his career would have taken a different path.

Manchester Grammar School unveils plans to run free state primary for 210 pupils in Ancoats

by Manchester Evening News, December 9, 2011

Classified as 11 Plus.

A leading independent school has revealed its vision for building a state primary.

Manchester Grammar School – one of the country's oldest and best-performing schools – will help start an inner city 'free school' for state pupils.

Staff at the New Islington Free School would be hired and managed by senior MGS teachers, who would also decide on the curriculum. The 210-place primary in Ancoats would also be co-managed by award-winning developers Urban Splash and Manchester council.

Profit motive has created corrupt education system, say teachers

by Independent, December 9, 2011

Calls for abolition of exam boards and formation of a single body free from commercial pressures

Market forces have crowded ethics out of the GCSE and A-level exam system, headteachers' leaders said last night.

The warning came on a day when two examiners were suspended after claims that they had tipped off teachers about questions due to crop up in next year's papers.

There is growing pressure on the Government to close down the exam boards and replace them with a single board to cover the whole country. This, it is argued, would remove the need for boards to "cosy up" to schools and make their exams easier for them in order to obtain more clients.

Grammar schools 'should look for bright pupils in poor homes'

by Independent, December 9, 2011

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools should be barred from becoming academies until they recruit bright pupils from disadvantaged homes, a conference heard yesterday.

Sir Cyril Taylor, a former senior government adviser to both the Conservatives and Labour, attacked the record of the country's 164 remaining grammar schools in recruiting students from poor backgrounds. Research shows that only 1 per cent of their pupils are entitled to free school meals, compared to a national average of around 14 per cent.

Third examiner is suspended after secret recording

by BBC, December 9, 2011

A third examiner has been suspended following allegations that she suggested a course was easy.

The chief examiner, from Edexcel exam board, was recorded by the Daily Telegraph saying the course content was so small she did not know how it had been passed by the regulator.

Edexcel says the examiner regrets making the comments.

I blame the free market for exam board cheats

by Guardian, December 9, 2011

Schools are under pressure to 'deliver', but the real problem is that exams fail to encourage pupils' originality

For secondary school teachers like me, training sessions run by the exam boards are invaluable. And I've attended plenty of meetings where there have been strong hints about upcoming questions, similar to those exposed by the Telegraph this week. I've never heard an examiner being so open about the sorts of topics that the exam would cover, though: I blame the free market system for this behaviour. Exam boards are very anxious to keep their customers satisfied, and perhaps they think it only fair to give a little extra. After all, those attending are paying good money – often hundreds of pounds – to go to a short talk.

Decadence, fraud and manipulation: How the exam boards need extra lessons in fair play

by Daily Mail, December 9, 2011

As the proud holder of various yellowing bits of paper issued by the Welsh Joint Education Committee in the 1970s I am naturally concerned by the reports of what seem to be straightforward corruption at the heart of that examination board's activities.
Examiners have been holding seminars, which teachers pay a fee in order to attend, and information has been passed on as to which questions are likely to be asked in forthcoming exams.

£500,000 paid to pair who turned uni around

by News and Star, December 9, 2011

THE University of Cumbria paid out more than £500,000 in a year to the two men who led it out of financial ruin.

Their efforts have helped the university bounce back from its well-documented £30m cash crisis to record its first surplus since it was created in 2007.

Newly-published accounts for the university’s fourth year, covering August 2010 to July 2011, show that it now has a trading surplus of £6.6m. This rises to £9.4m overall when one-off costs and exceptional items are taken into consideration.

MAIL COMMENT: These exam cheats are betraying our children

by Daily Mail, December 9, 2011

For more than half a century, GCSEs and A-levels have been the cornerstone of our secondary school system.
They provide an independent yardstick by which the academic ability of every teenager in Britain may be fairly measured, and exam results can have profound and far-reaching consequences.
Grades achieved are used by universities to select those suitable for higher education, employers looking for qualified recruits, schools to assess the performance of teachers, and ministers to assess the quality of schools.

'Our GCSE exam is so easy you don't have to teach a lot': Chief examiner suspended after being caught boasting on hidden camera

by Daily Mail, December 9, 2011

.Edexcel chief examiner boasting geography exam was so easy she was amazed it had been approved by regulators
.Steph Warren is third person to be suspended over affair
.Michael Gove may abolish all the main exam boards following the claims
.370,000 A grades at GCSE last year compared with 114,000 in 1994

A chief examiner has been caught on camera boasting that the GCSE exam she set was so simple she was amazed it was approved by regulators.
Steph Warren, who works for Edexcel, urged teachers to pick her company’s geography syllabus because ‘you don’t have to teach a lot’.


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