Latest Educational News

Government's obsession with faith and free schools 'breeds social and racial segregation'

by The Independent, December 31, 2014

Segregation between different classes and ethnicities in Britain is worsening due to increasing numbers of faith schools and the opening of free schools, a leading campaigner on social equality has warned.

Matthew Taylor, the respected chair of the Social Integration Commission, called on governors to issue regular reports on how their pupils are mixing to prevent serious divisions in society – saying that Muslim schools were of particular concern as their intakes tend to be less diverse.

Margaret Thatcher explored education overhaul, archives show

by BBC News, December 30, 2014

Margaret Thatcher explored plans to overhaul the structure of English education when she was PM, files released by the National Archives show.

The documents from the 1980s reveal Mrs Thatcher wanted to make state schools independent of local authorities.

This has been the central plank of the current government's education reforms.

In 1986, policy adviser Oliver Letwin wrote that she had "failed" to give people more responsibility for their own lives within the education system.

Childcare costs 'cancel out wages'

by BBC News, December 29, 2014

One in 10 UK families see one earner's wages used solely to cover childcare and commuting costs, research by insurer Aviva has suggested.

Some 4% of women surveyed said they were "paying to work", because their costs were greater than their wages.

It concluded that juggling these costs was proving frustrating for parents.

Business leaders recently called on the government to extend childcare support for parents with children aged one and two.

£1m of public money spent on 21 free schools that have never opened

by The Independent, December 28, 2014

More than £1m of public money has been spent on free schools that have failed to open, new figures revealed last night.

Statistics show that 21 free school projects have been cancelled or withdrawn. One free school closed while another has partially shut because of poor performance.

The total cost of the schools comes to £1.126m. While this is a tiny fraction of the overall education budget, it will fuel concerns that not enough caution is being exercised on free-schools spending. The final amount is likely to be even higher because the figure does not include pre-opening expenditure grants and fees for all cancelled free-school projects.

Parents lose right to decide summer child’s school start

by The Times, December 20, 2014

Head teachers and local authorities will decide when summer-born children start school instead of their parents, the government has confirmed.
Some parents of children with summer birthdays have requested that their child delays starting school by a year, rather than weeks after turning four.
However, new guidance from the Department for Education says that head teachers and local authorities should decide what is in a child’s best interest.

Half of heads struggle to fill English, maths and science posts

by TES, December 19, 2014

Concerns about a looming teacher shortage have intensified after a new poll revealed two-thirds of secondary headteachers have struggled to find maths teachers in the past year.

The survey, released by the Association for School and College Leaders, also found that half of the 777 headteachers polled had experience difficulties in recruiting enough science or English teachers.

Headteachers told TES they were concerned that the current climate of "teacher bashing" was putting people off entering the profession.

Universities 'admitting more students with low A-levels'

by The Telegraph, December 19, 2014

Teenagers should be "more ambitious" when making university applications, the official admissions body said today amid mounting evidence that institutions are lowering their entry requirements.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) said students could afford to pitch for tougher courses than previously thought because a “buyers’ market for applicants” had been created in recent years.
In a major report, it was claimed that students now had much more choice over courses, with school leavers up to 80 per cent more likely to be given five offers of university places than in 2009.

This is a good time to aim high with university choice, pupils told

by The Times, December 19, 2014

Sixth-formers have been urged to be more ambitious when choosing universities and apply for courses with tougher entry requirements.
The advice, from the head of the university admissions body, came as figures showed many selective courses have dropped entry tariffs by about one A-level grade.
Record numbers of offers are also being made to applicants amid fierce competition between universities for undergraduate admissions.

Free school meals take off, boys text talk and support for Roma students

by Guardian, December 19, 2014

Good week for School meals. 85% of primary school pupils are opting for free school meals according to new figures welcomed by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg. He said: “The naysayers about this policy can eat their hats, and all the leftover sprouts.”

Morgan criticised over use of statistics

by BBC News, December 19, 2014

The education secretary has been criticised by a statistics watchdog for claiming that one in three pupils left primary school unable to read or write under Labour.

UK Statistics Authority chairman Sir Andrew Dilnot told Nicky Morgan she should "reconsider" her comments.

He said she might need to correct the parliamentary record.

It was the second time Sir Andrew has rebuked ministers over the claim, based on 11-year-olds' national test results.

Women take more places in rising university numbers

by BBC News, December 19, 2014

The number of UK university entrants passed 500,000 for the first time in 2014, with women a third more likely to enter higher education than men, Ucas admissions service figures show.

Among 18-year-olds, 34% of women were allocated university places, compared with 26% of men, the widest ever gap.

The gap is more than 50% in a quarter of parliamentary constituencies.

The admissions figures also suggest more students with lower grades are getting places at top universities.

Real Madrid and Lidl: recommended topics for A-level languages

by TES, December 18, 2014

Real Madrid, French rap music and Germany’s Aldi and Lidl supermarkets are among the topics that university academics have recommended for study in new “academically rigorous” foreign language AS- and A-levels unveiled today.

The subject areas are listed in suggestions for individual project work from the A-level content advisory board (Alcab), made up of university academics and other subject experts.

The group suggested certain themes in modern languages, such as a case study entitled "The Aldi and Lidl Phenomenon" for German, popular music such as rap in French and footballing giants Real Madrid in Spanish.

Boys 'held back by reluctance to write at home'

by BBC News, December 18, 2014

Boys' reluctance to write outside school could be hampering their chances of fulfilling their potential, a National Literacy Trust study says.

Research among 30,000 eight- to 16-year-old pupils finds a third of boys never or rarely write for fun outside class, compared with 18% of girls.

A third of girls write daily, it says, compared with 21% of boys.

The Department for Education says the gap in boys' and girls' writing ability at age 11 has been narrowing.

London overtaking Oxbridge domination

by BBC News, December 18, 2014

London universities are breaking up the traditional dominance of Oxford and Cambridge, according to official figures on research excellence.

The London School of Economics has the highest proportion of "world-leading" research among UK universities.

In rankings based on research grades, University College London has overtaken Cambridge for the first time.

The research ratings will determine the allocation of £2bn public funding for universities each year.

Boys resorting to mobile phone 'txt speak' in schools

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

Thousands of children are resorting to mobile phone “txt speak” in the classroom amid growing concerns over standards of writing, according to research.
Figures show more than one-in-six boys in primary education employs mobile phone text message abbreviations such as “lol”, “gr8”, “l8r” and “b4” in their school work.
Boys are considerably more likely to shun conventional grammar and spelling than girls as the lines between formal and informal writing become increasingly blurred, it emerged.

League tables: the top universities for research

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

Today, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published wide-ranging assessments setting out the quality of research carried out by universities across the UK.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) – the biggest ratings exercise of its kind in the world – will be used to allocate funding of around £2bn a year to universities between 2015 and 2021.
The REF provides an assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines. The research of 52,061 academic staff from 154 UK universities was peer-reviewed by a series of panels comprising UK and international experts.

UCL breaks Oxbridge stanglehold on university research

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

The Oxbridge grip on research in the UK has been broken for the first time by the rise of London’s elite universities, according to an analysis of official data.
Major new rankings setting out standards of research show that University College London is now challenging the dominance of Britain’s two traditional academic powerhouses.
Figures show Oxford is still named as the best university in the UK but UCL is now second, pushing Cambridge into third.
It also emerged that other institutions in the capital are tightening their grip on places at the top of the rankings, with Imperial College London and King's College London featured in the top 10.

Oxbridge degrees add £7,600 to graduate starting salaries

by The Telegraph, December 18, 2014

An Oxbridge education adds the equivalent of £7,600 to graduate starting salaries, figure show, amid claims that degrees from low-ranking universities may no longer be worth the money.
Research shows the average student leaving Oxford and Cambridge will earn £25,600 after six months compared with £18,000 for those graduating from former polytechnics.
The study – by the Sutton Trust – insisted adults with a degree were paid higher than the rest of the British workforce, with a typical graduate “premium” of 28 per cent for men and just over 50 per cent for women.
But the social mobility charity warned that “not all degrees are created equal”, pointing to substantial differences between universities and subjects.

Oxbridge graduates earn thousands more than peers

by The Times, December 18, 2014

raduates of Oxford and Cambridge earn a first salary £3,300 higher than those who studied at other elite universities and £7,600 higher than students at new universities, a study has found.
Oxbridge students whose own parents did not go to university start work on even higher initial salaries, earning about £1,000 more than peers from affluent families with a history of higher education.

UCL  beats Cambridge in research race

by The Times, December 18, 2014

The quality of research at Britain’s universities has been given a ringing endorsement despite a widening north-south divide in the scale of world-leading work by academics.
A big rise in the standard of academic research was found by experts in comparison with a similar exercise conducted six years ago for higher education funding bodies.
Oxford had the largest volume of highly rated research but University College London emerged in second place after a series of mergers, pushing Cambridge into third.