Latest Educational News

Number of SEND pupils rises for the first time since 2010

by TES, July 27, 2017

Five things we have learned from Department for Education statistics released this morning.
1. The number of pupils with special educational needs has increased for the first time since 2010
The number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) has increased from 1,228,785 in January 2016 to 1,244,255 in January 2017.

While this is the first annual increase since 2010, as a proportion of all pupils it is stable compared to last year, at 14.4 per cent, but is a fall from January 2015's 15.4 per cent.

Todays' figures come after statistics released earlier this year found there was a sharp rise in the number of children refused requests for assessment. In 2016, 14,794 requests for an assessment for an education, health and care (EHC) plan were refused an increase of 3,860 (35.3 per cent) from 2015.

2. The proportion of pupils with a statement or EHC plan has stayed the same
There are 242,185 pupils with a statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. This is an increase of 5,380 since January 2016, but remains equal to 2.8 per cent of the total pupil population.

A further 1,002,070 pupils are on SEN support. This is equal to 11.6 per cent of the total pupil population and remains unchanged since January 2016.

Academies overspend income by £280m

by TES, July 27, 2017

Spending on teachers has fallen, and spending on back office functions has risen, since 2011-12
New government data has revealed the increasing financial pressures on academies, as their spending exceeded their income by £280 million in 2015-16.

And this gap is growing. In 2015-16, it represented 1.5 per cent of income, up from 1 per cent the year before.

However, the Department for Education document which includes the figures, Income and expenditure in academies in England 2015-16, released today, says: “This does not mean that academies are in debt, as they may have had reserve funds from which these costs were able to be met.”

Multi-academy trusts are more likely that single academy trusts to spend more than they receive.

In 2015-16, just under half of single academy trusts did so – 1,014 out of 2,064. This compares with 61 per cent of multi-academy trusts – 661 out of 1,081.

The report also shows how the gap between median income per pupil, and median spending per pupil, has gone from positive in 2011-12 to negative in 2015-15. This was especially true in secondary academies.

Free school that entered no Year 11 pupils for GCSEs is put in special measures

by TES, July 26, 2017

Route 39 Academy in Devon says that it is challenging a damning Ofsted report published today
A free school that did not enter any of its Year 11 pupils for GCSEs this summer has been put into special measures.

Route 39 Academy, which opened in Higher Clovelly in Devon in 2013, said it "strongly refutes" and is challenging today’s Ofsted judgement, which rates it “inadequate” across the board.

The report says that the school had judged that the current Year 11 pupils “have made such inadequate progress that they believe they would have significantly underachieved had they been entered for public examinations at the end of key stage 4”.

The inspectors say the average attainment of the cohort was higher than the national figure at the end of key stage 2.

The report adds: “This is an indication that teaching has failed to promote sufficient progress for these pupils. The work of pupils in Year 11 confirms this. It is also clear, however, that there are individual pupils who could have succeeded in public examinations, had they been entered at the usual time.”

The report says that the failure to enter any Year 11 pupils for public exams was “in breach of statutory requirements and the school’s own funding agreement”.

Labour warns of 60% four-year rise in unqualified teachers

by BBC, July 26, 2017

There are 24,000 teachers without formal teaching qualifications in state schools in England - an increase of more than 60% in four years.
It means that more than 5% of teachers do not have qualified teacher status.
Labour, which highlighted the figures in the annual school workforce survey, said the increase in unqualified staff was "threatening standards".
Head teachers' leader Malcolm Trobe said the use of unqualified staff reflected the wider teacher shortage.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "The number of teachers overall has risen by 15,500 since 2010 and the proportion of qualified teachers in schools remains high."
But the shadow schools minister Mike Kane said: "The government have completely failed in their most basic of tasks and are clearly relying on unqualified teachers to plug the gaps.

Campaign to avoid confusion over new GCSEs

by BBC, July 26, 2017

Nearly £400,000 has been spent in a bid to avoid public confusion over a new system for the way GCSEs are graded in England.
From this summer, GCSE results will begin switching from letter grades such as A* or G to a numerical system, with 9 the highest grade.
The government wants to "promote understanding" of the new grades.
The exams watchdog Ofqual says explaining the new system to the public is "essential".
In a parliamentary written answer, ministers revealed that more than £380,000 would be spent on information for students, parents and employers about the new 9 to 1 grades.

Devon free school rated inadequate by Ofsted in all areas

by BBC, July 26, 2017

A free school in north Devon has been put in special measures after inspectors rated it "inadequate".
Route 39 Academy at Higher Clovelly received the worst Ofsted rating in all four categories including "quality of teaching" and "pupils' outcomes".
The school opened in 2013 and has 131 pupils aged 11 to 18.
Route 39 has complained to Ofsted saying: "We strongly refute the judgement and the manner in which the inspection was handled."
More on the damning Ofsted report and other news from Devon
Ofsted's report on its June visit said the school had not entered any pupils in Year 11 for exams and was "in breach of statutory requirements and the school's own funding agreement".
"Teaching has not prepared pupils in Year 11 well enough for the next stage of their education" and pupils' progress across Key Stage 3 was "inadequate", the report said.

Labour warns of 60% four-year rise in unqualified teachers

by BBC, July 26, 2017

There are 24,000 teachers without formal teaching qualifications in state schools in England - an increase of more than 60% in four years.
It means that more than 5% of teachers do not have qualified teacher status.
Labour, which highlighted the figures in the annual school workforce survey, said the increase in unqualified staff was "threatening standards".
Head teachers' leader Malcolm Trobe said the use of unqualified staff reflected the wider teacher shortage.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "The number of teachers overall has risen by 15,500 since 2010 and the proportion of qualified teachers in schools remains high."

Campaign to avoid confusion over new GCSEs

by BBC, July 26, 2017

Nearly £400,000 has been spent in a bid to avoid public confusion over a new system for the way GCSEs are graded in England.
From this summer, GCSE results will begin switching from letter grades such as A* or G to a numerical system, with 9 the highest grade.
The government wants to "promote understanding" of the new grades.
The exams watchdog Ofqual says explaining the new system to the public is "essential".
In a parliamentary written answer, ministers revealed that more than £380,000 would be spent on information for students, parents and employers about the new 9 to 1 grades.

'UK universities are interested only in grades, not the person who earned them'

by TES, July 25, 2017

Having applied for universities in both the US and the UK, this student found the approach of the former was much more person-centred
My name has 10 letters, yet UK universities were only interested in three letters when it came to my application: the AAC I received in my AS levels.

Widely speaking, UK universities also failed to acknowledge the A grade that I have in A-level sociology, which I took several years early, having completed AS in Year 8 and A2 in Year 9. Most importantly, though, they failed to recognise me as a person.

US universities, they look beyond grades. They want all 10 letters. They want to know about Chardonnae.

Personal approach
In the December of Year 12, I applied for the Sutton Trust US Programme and, with the guidance of the mentors, by the December of the following year I had applied to an array of US institutions including a few Ivy League “dream” schools. However, I had also met the Oxbridge deadline and submitted my Ucas form off to five Russel Group universities.

While the universities on both sides of the Atlantic are of similar academic standing, in my experience, their methodology regarding admissions differ greatly.

I find it rather ironic how the “personal statement” used by UK universities is most impersonal. All five universities receive the same statement and the focus is on the subject.

Contrastingly, the Common Application used by Americans asks questions requiring answers specific to each individual, with each university having its own set of questions.

IT problem delays Blackburn College's University Centre degree results

by BBC, July 25, 2017

About 800 students are still waiting for their degrees after a problem with a new IT system raised concerns over the accuracy of results.
Students at Blackburn College's University Centre were due to receive their results on 7 July following validation by Lancaster University.
Some of those have said the "systems issue" has put their careers on hold.
Staff at both centres are working to "ensure the data is accurate", which could take at least another two weeks.

Essex nursery 'closes because of universal free hours scheme'

by BBC, July 25, 2017

When ministers pledged to double the amount of free childcare for working parents, they never dreamed it could lead to some top nurseries closing.
But just over two years on, that is exactly what is about to happen.
Fidgety Fingers in Essex, one of many nurseries which says it cannot make government funding rates stretch over 30 hours, will shut on Wednesday.
The government says it has boosted the rates it pays councils to fund the scheme, including Essex County Council.
The Department for Education is sure that the 30 hours scheme, which is due to start in September, will be a success, like it says its trial scheme has been.

Food banks warn of school holiday hunger

by BBC, July 25, 2017

As the school summer holidays get under way, food banks are urging people not to forget to donate supplies to their local centres.
The Trussell Trust, which runs over 420 food banks across the UK, says many children risk going hungry over the six-week break from school.
It says demand for emergency parcels for children rose significantly - by more than 4,000 - last July and August.
The government said it was helping families meet the cost of living.
Figures from the Trussell Trust show 67,506 three-day emergency food supplies were provided for children by its network in July and August 2016, compared with 63,094 in the May and June - an increase of 4,412 parcels.

At least 35 pupils a day being expelled for bad behaviour: Children as young as four being permanently kicked out while number of attacks on teachers is also on the rise

by Daily Mail, July 21, 2017

A rising number of children are being expelled from schools, with the equivalent of 35 a day being ejected for bad behaviour.
New government statistics reveal an increase in the number of permanent exclusions – and in some cases the child involved was only four years old.
There has also been a rise in the number of primary and secondary school children expelled or suspended for physical attacks on teachers.

In total, children at state schools in England were permanently expelled on 6,685 occasions in 2015/16, up from 5,795 the year before.
This is equivalent to around 35.2 a day in 2015/16, up from 30.5.
The statistics, released by the Department for Education, will once again raise concerns about pupil behaviour and safety in the classroom.
They come three years after teacher Ann Maguire was stabbed to death by a pupil while teaching a Spanish lesson at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.

Should children study in the summer holidays?

by BBC, July 21, 2017

The summer holidays are under way, but for some children, the studying - and the homework - will continue.
It was a moment of pure joy: school was out for summer.
Your school bag was shoved in the back of a cupboard. School shoes went the same way. Ahead lay countless days of freedom, play and sunshine.
That used to be the case for most children - yet not all youngsters today enjoy the same.
There's school work to catch up on; a year's learning to consolidate. An 11-plus test in the autumn term, perhaps.

Middlesbrough's failing Hillsview Academy sees racism rise

by BBC, July 21, 2017

Racist abuse among pupils at a Middlesbrough academy has doubled in just one year, inspectors have found.
Hillsview Academy was rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors who found pupils were smoking in the school and bullying was not being tackled, .
However, they did say the leadership was "strengthening" and teaching of vocational subjects was good.
School principal Doug Elliott said he was disappointed and measures to tackle the problems were in place.
The school, which has 700 pupils and opened in 2014 when Eston Park Academy and Gilbrook Academy merged, must improve, Ofsted said.

Why are students getting more firsts at university?

by The Guardian, July 21, 2017

More UK universities and colleges are awarding the top grade to students, figures show. One-third of UK universities and colleges awarded a first for 25% of degrees granted in 2015-16 – four times as many as in 2010-11. We asked students and academics about why they think this is. Here are a selection of your responses.

Ali, 45, a humanities lecturer from the south of England: Pressure mean academics err on the side of generosity
There is intense pressure on academics from university management to gain high scores in the National Student Survey, because this feeds into university league tables. Added to this, there is an increasing expectation among students, who pay £9,000 per year. They feel they should receive high results for their degrees because they pay so much for them. Students obsess about gaining a first-class degree. In many cases they are more focused on the grade than upon the actual subject that they are studying and this sabotages their results. Their view of higher education has become instrumentalised; many see it exclusively as a path to employment and they forget to take an interest in and enjoy the subject that they are studying.

Willenhall Academy: Teacher snapped 'asleep' at school

by BBC, July 21, 2017

An agency teacher has been photographed supposedly asleep at a school where pupils threw food at Ofsted inspectors.
The photo, which labels the school "the place of sleeping teachers", has been shared widely on social media.
Willenhall E-ACT Academy was rated "inadequate" in an Ofsted report in March and teachers have been striking over management throughout July.
The academy said the teacher in the photo is from an external agency and it will not be using its services again.
See more stories from Birmingham and the Black Country here
The caption on the Snapchat image reads: "And the teachers say it's the students fault the schools no good. Welcome to willenhall the place of sleeping teachers".

Primary school's ENTIRE teaching staff quit over the 'impossibly high workload' heaped on them by their new headteacher

by Daily Mail, July 21, 2017

A primary school is in chaos today as its entire teaching staff leave on the last day of term.
Sixteen teachers have left since the start of the year, including seven long-term staff, and have been replaced by temporary staff, who leave their posts today.
Worried parents have been told by governors at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School in Bristol that an entirely new teaching staff will be in place for September.
Teachers at the school said they had to leave because it was 'impossible' to handle the heavy workloads.
The entire permanent staff of Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, Bristol have quit over the last year

Rise in number of first-class degrees by NI students

by BBC, July 21, 2017

Northern Ireland's universities award top degree grades to almost a quarter of their students, an increase of more than 50% since 2011-12.
The proportion of students achieving first-class degrees in 2015-16 was 23%, compared to fewer than one in six five years ago.
The figures were released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
They show in 2015-16, 24% of students at Queen's University in Belfast and 21% at Ulster University got firsts.
The proportion of firsts awarded has almost trebled since 20 years ago, when only 8% of students at Queen's University and Ulster University achieved them.

Free swimming for children during the school holidays set to be axed

by Daily Record, July 21, 2017

North Lanarkshire Leisure set to scrap the scheme to save money

Free swimming for children during the school holidays is set to be axed, the Wishaw Press can reveal.

North Lanarkshire Leisure told the Wishaw Press that they have to scrap the scheme to save money.

Under a radical shake up, this will be the last summer that free swimming for children will take place at Wishaw Sports Centre, the Tryst in Cumbernauld, John Smith Pool in Airdrie, Sir Matt Busby Sport Complex in Bellshill and the pool in Kilsyth.

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