Latest Educational News

What to do if you fail your GCSEs

by The Conversation , August 22, 2017

GCSE time is here again, with the annual focus on the success stories: the young person who passed all their subjects despite tragedy or illness, as well as the young people who have gained ten or 11 A* grades.

I don’t want to undermine those achievements – as they are often remarkable. But there is very rarely any mention of the young people who do less well – those who fail to gain the benchmark five A to C grades, and who will not, or cannot, go on to do A-levels and progress to university.

This is the reality for a significant number of young people, with findings from Schools Week showing that more young people gained an E grade than an A* in 2016 – it was the same story in the previous two years as well.

GCSE results day 2017 anxiety: How to help your kids cope with the stress

by Evening Standard, August 22, 2017

What to do and what not to do, according to an expert

Teenagers around the UK are anxiously waiting to receive their GCSE results this Thursdsay August 24 - but it's not just school pupils who are feeling the strain. It's a tense time for parents too as stress and pressure mount.

Here, we asked Bupa expert Stuart Haydock to share his tips for parents to support their children during this exam results period.

“Ask any teenager about the most stressful time in their life and many would say the anticipation of waiting for GCSE results day,” said Haydock.

“But it’s not just a testing time for the students, for some family members, particularly those who haven’t gone through the stress of exams before, it can be difficult to know the right words to say or the level of support to give.

What are the new GCSEs and what do the changes mean?

by Independent, August 22, 2017

This year's GCSE candidates were the first to sit 'tough' new exams under a reformed curriculum - here's what the new grading system means

This summer’s GCSE candidates are the first to sit new, more rigorous exams as part of a shakeup to secondary school teaching and qualifications.

Thousands of teenagers across England can expect to receive their results on Thursday – but English and maths scores will come in the form of a new numbered grading system, rather than the traditional A*-U grades.

The dramatic reforms come as part of a government drive to improve schools’, pupils’ and employers’ confidence in the qualifications, ensuring that young people have the knowledge and skills needed to go on to work and further study.

Exclusive: Confused about new GCSE grades? You've 'not thought about it hard enough', says Ofqual board member

by Times Educational Supplement, August 21, 2017

But a teachers' leader blames Ofqual for introducing an "inherently ridiculous" system
Anyone confused by the new numerical GCSE grades being introduced this week has “not thought about it hard enough”, according to an Ofqual board member.

There have been warnings that employers will view the 9-1 grades as "gibberish" and many parents are confused about what they mean.

But Barnaby Lenon, who is chair of the Independent Schools Council as well as sitting on the exam regulator's board, told Tes: “There is no reason for anyone to say it’s confusing.

New GCSEs 'could favour boys'

by Times Educational Supplement, August 21, 2017

Reformed GCSEs could lead to boys pulling further ahead in maths and closing the gap with girls in English, according to leading academic
Boys could pull further ahead of their female peers in the new "tougher" maths GCSE, an expert has suggested.

And the gap between girls and boys could narrow in the reformed English GCSE, according to Professor Alan Smithers.

Professor Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, believes the new maths and English GCSEs could favour boys.

Students 'disempowered' by not being told their GCSE marks

by Times Educational Supplement, August 21, 2017

As AQA reveals it will not include students' exam marks on result slips for the reformed GCSEs, one English teacher's open letter argues the move will 'disempower students who need empowerment the most'
Dear AQA,

Ahead of GCSE results day, it has come to my attention that the decision has been taken to remove students’ exam marks from results slips for the new GCSEs. I have a number of concerns about this and I am writing to ask you to reconsider.

First of all, let me clarify my understanding of what will happen on results day with candidates’ results slips. Slips will contain a mix of the new GCSE grades and the old GCSE grades. The results of the old GCSE grades will be given alongside uniform mark scale (UMS) scores and grade boundaries will be shared. The results of the new GCSE grades will be given only as a grade, without the raw mark attached. There is no longer a need for UMS scores with the new GCSEs, because they are linear, but without knowing your own mark, grade boundaries are pointless. If students would like to know how close they were to the next grade – if it’s reasonable to request a remark, if they were close enough to resit in November – they will need to form an orderly queue at the exam officer’s desk. This is the only way they will be able to access the mark they achieved in their exams.

Top marks for 'gromps' - the comprehensive schools that behave like grammars: Children in these institutions found to make the most academic progress

by Daily Mail, August 21, 2017

Children make the most academic progress in comprehensives with a grammar-school culture, a study reveals today.

Referred to as ‘gromps’, schools which have strict discipline, smart uniforms, longer school days, competitive sports, classics and all three sciences, are more likely to have pupils do well, it found.

By contrast, pupils fall behind in schools with a ‘progressive’ ethos, which is defined as those with a casual uniform or no uniform at all.

Other markers include a relaxed attitude to low-level disruption in the classroom and lessons that are led by students rather than teachers, it was claimed.

The New Schools Network (NSN) used official data measuring the academic progress children make between sitting national tests aged 11 and taking eight GCSEs at the age of 16.

Exclusion from school can lead to long-term mental-health problems, study shows

by Times Educational Supplement, August 20, 2017

Large-scale research also shows that excluded pupils can develop a range of disorders, including anxiety, depression and behavioural problems
Excluding children from school can lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a large-scale new study has shown.

The research, from the University of Exeter, also showed that poor mental health can lead to exclusion from school.

Professor Tamsin Ford, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and lead author of the study, said that excluded children can develop a range of mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and behaviour-related problems. Even temporary exclusions can amplify psychological distress.

Exclusive: Less than a fifth of parents think new GCSE grading system is a 'good idea'

by Times Educational Supplement, August 18, 2017

A Tes and Mumsnet poll reveals widespread anxiety and confusion among parents about the exam reforms
Less a than a fifth of parents think this year’s new GCSE grading system is a “good idea”, and 44 per cent of those with children studying for the new exams think they will hinder their prospects.

The findings come in a Tes and Mumsnet survey of more than 1,000 parents in England.

The 9-1 numerical grades – replacing A* to G – have been introduced to signal that GCSEs had been reformed and toughened, and to offer better differentiation between pupils.

But the poll reveals that nearly two-thirds of those with children studying GCSEs do not support the numerical system coming into effect next week.

Exclusive: Pupils with 'gibberish' new GCSE grades could miss out on jobs, say employers

by Times Educational Supplement, August 18, 2017

Institute of Directors fears pupils with reformed qualifications could lose out when time-poor employers are faced with CVs they don't understand
The Institute of Directors has warned that its members may view the new numerical grading system as “gibberish” and instead favour job candidates with old-style lettered GCSE grades.

On Thursday, pupils in England will be awarded numerical grades (from 9 to 1) in the new English literature, English language and maths GCSEs for the first time, rather than A* to G grades.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, believes many employers will only discover that the GCSE grades have changed once they begin receiving CVs from pupils.

Exclusive: DfE abandons flagship maths programme

by Times Educational Supplement, August 18, 2017

Funding for the Underground Mathematics programme has been terminated, despite goals to encourage more pupils to study maths
The Department for Education has withdrawn its funding from its flagship A-level maths-support programme, which will result in the closure of the project.

Underground Mathematics, an online programme managed by the University of Cambridge, was created only 18 months ago. It remains a work in progress, not yet completed.

However, the programmes’ developers were informed yesterday that their funding was being terminated, with effect from 30 September.

Underground Mathematics offers a range of videos, resources and analysis for maths and further maths. It highlights links between mathematical topics, showing pupils the ways in which different areas of the curriculum interlink.

Results Held Back After Possible Leak Of Papers

by Morning Star Online, August 18, 2017

A CRIMINAL investigation into a possible leak of maths and economics papers saw exam results witheld from a “small number” of A-level students yesterday.
Some students are believed to have accessed an internet forum containing crucial information about the tests hours before sitting end-of-year maths and economics papers.
Sharon Hague, senior vice-president of Pearson, which runs the Edexcel exam board, said she was “confident” those students who accessed the leaked documents had been identified and their results withheld.
But she repeatedly refused to give any indication on the number of students affected, other than to describe it as “small” in comparison with the tens of thousands of entries.
She said: “I’m confident it was contained within a geographical area, and we have withheld results for some students as a result of the investigations.

Tory Exam Revamp Causing Chaos In Education System

by Morning Star Online, August 18, 2017

TEACHERS and students have “struggled to get to grips” with changes to A-level exams, unions warned yesterday as school leavers collected their results.
The national proportion of As and A*s rose for the first time in six years, with boys scoring better than girls for the first time in almost two decades.
The Tories have pushed through an extensive shake-up of 13 A-level subjects in England, ditching coursework and modular tests in favour of final exams.
There has been a drop in top results among these subjects, according to official stats.
Association of Teachers and Lecturers policy adviser Jill Stokoe warned: “Rushing in exam reforms has meant that schools have had little time to prepare, and this year teachers and pupils have struggled to get to grips with the changes to A-levels, with no practice exam papers, fewer available textbooks and no mark-schemes.”

Top A-level grades rise but more pupils shun university

by, August 18, 2017

And for the first time in many years, boys outperformed girls in the top grades, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications.

But education experts said there was a “buyer’s market” for university places, with thousands unfilled as applications fell by four per cent.

As teenagers received their results across the country, the overall pass rate dipped slightly by 0.2 per cent.

But more than one in four (26.3 per cent) of A level entries scored an A* or A this summer, up 0.5 percentage points on 2016.

Figures showed that 8.8 per cent of boys’ entries were awarded A* compared with 7.8 per cent of girls’. Overall, for both A* and A grades, boys were ahead for the first time, with 26.6 per cent of entries compared with 26.1 per cent for girls. Girls were ahead by 0.3 percentage points in 2016.

Experts had predicted the recent return to end-of-course exams rather than coursework and continuous assessment would benefit boys.

BBC host skewers Jo Johnson over 'Ponzi scheme' university fees
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For the first time in many years, boys outperformed girls in the top grades
Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said earlier reforms in 2000 had “led to a big gap opening in favour of girls” who tend to work hard throughout courses.

With the universities I’d had offers from it would have been £30,000 in just university fees
Joy Shepheard-Walwyn
But while top grades rose, university applications fell by four per cent and calls to clearing placement service UCAS were also down.

UCAS said 416,000 places had been confirmed – down two per cent on last year.

The burden of student debt played a part in one talented school-leaver’s decision to pick an apprenticeship over university.

Joy Shepheard-Walwyn opted for a two-year management consultancy scheme with accountants PwC. Joy, who attends Birmingham’s King Edward VI High School for Girls, got an A* in maths and English literature, A in Russian, C in further maths and A in AS level French.

Top 10 universities for producing millionaires
Thu, August 17, 2017
Top 10 universities in the UK: From Cambridge to Manchester, see which universities have made the most millionaires according to Verdict.

Top 10 universities for producing millionaires GETTY IMAGES
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Top 10 UK universities for producing millionaires
Top 10 universities for producing millionaires
10. University of Birmingham - Former pupils include Former British Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin plus Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe
9. Leeds University - Musicians from Bastille, Dire Straits and Kaiser Chiefs attended this university as well as NASA astronaut Piers Sellers
8. Edinburgh University - Former pupils include Charles Darwin and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Bristol University - Illusionist Derren Brown, comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams and Simon Pegg were students here
6. University of Manchester - Former students include physicist Brian Cox and Alan Turin, one of the founders of artificial intelligence
5. University College London (UCL) - notable alumni include Edwin Waterhouse (PwC), Colin Chapman (Lotus Cars) and Demis Hassabis (DeepMind)
She said: “With the universities I’d had offers from it would have been £30,000 in just university fees and that’s without a maintenance loan.”

Instead, the 17-year-old from Stourbridge, West Mids, will move to Leeds next month to start her training – which comes with a salary.


Girls snap up 60,000 more university places than boys as scramble for 27,000 courses through clearing continues - but Gove's 'tougher' A-Levels see gender gap close

by Daily Mail, August 18, 2017

Girls have snapped up 60,000 more university places than boys this year as a scramble for 27,000 remaining spots continues among 65,000 who missed their target A-Level grades today.

So far some 238,310 girls have been accepted on to courses – compared with just 178,000 boys, continuing a five-year trend which has seen more girls than boys go to university each year.

But boys broke the trend in terms of A-Level results, with more getting A*s and As than girls for the first time since 1999. It has been speculated that former education secretary Michael Gove's tougher exams favour boys.

There are still 4,584 Russell Group places up for grabs through clearing, the system whereby students who didn't meet the grades for their university of choice can be allocated another course elsewhere.

The university admissions service Ucas said the total of 416,310 students gaining university places on A-level day is the second-highest on record.

Do YOU remember eating these meals? How school dinners have changed dramatically over the years, from porridge in 1906 to liver and mash in the 1960s

by Daily Mail, August 18, 2017

Lumpy gravy, huge jugs of yellow custard, and a squashed sandwich wrapped in tin foil: nothing is quite as evocative as a school dinner.

But new graphics reveal just how much these very memorable lunches changed over the years since they were first dished out to British pupils in 1906 following the School Meals Act.

From a measly slice of bread with dripping, to a lot of spam during the rationing years, these are the typical school dinners that hundreds of thousands of people grew up with.

And while some may remember their treacle pudding and jam roly poly fondly, others will also recall the misery of gruel-like porridge, and divisive liver with very lumpy mashed potatoes.

These are the typical school dinners that every generation enjoyed - or more often, endured - as depicted in the graphics by B&M Stores.

'GCSE students are being SPOON-FED' Expert makes the case for O-levels

by, August 17, 2017

STUDENTS are “spoon-fed” information in order to pass their GCSE exams, unlike the older generation who sat O-levels, according to an education expert.As GCSE students across Britain collect their results next week, the usual debate is expected to rage over whether secondary school exams are getting easier.

James Williams, lecturer in education at the University of Sussex, has criticised the way that students today are “spoon-fed” information in the run up to their GCSEs.

Mr Williams said: “Young people today are led, step by step, through exactly what is required by the examination. They are, to use the common phrase, spoon-fed.”

He argues that while the old O-levels were far from perfect, they allowed students to delve deeper into each subject.

How to turn Britain’s universities into comprehensives

by Guardian, August 17, 2017

Is it worth it? That’s the question many young people starting university this autumn have to grapple with, in a way previous generations haven’t. Young people now graduate with an average debt of more than £50,000, which three quarters of them will never pay off. So the vast majority will spend most of their working lives effectively paying an extra 9p of income tax for every pound they earn over £21,000.

That’s a huge financial commitment that only adds to the sense that a raw deal has been doled out to today’s younger generation compared to their parents. Perhaps the only surprise is how long it has taken for the idea that tuition fees should be scrapped altogether to become politically mainstream. But if we focus on how higher education is funded to the exclusion of two more fundamental questions, we’re missing a trick. Does our university system represent value for money for taxpayers and students? And is there a way to improve how we do undergraduate education in this country?

Exam board to change comparison of boys' and girls' marks to include transgender category

by Telegraph, August 17, 2017

Exam boards are to change the way they compare the grades of boys and girls to include a category for students who do not identify with either gender.

In the future, non-binary pupils will have the option of signalling to exam boards that they do not wish to be classed as either male or female.

Sharon Hague, senior vice president of Pearson Qualification Services, which owns the exam board Edexcel, said: “We know that this is something young people feel strongly about. We are working with [the charity] Stonewall to look at how we might reflect that in the way in which we capture information in future.”

Ms Hague said that exam boards already have a process in place for transgender student who transition after sitting their exams, and want to change the information on their certificate to reflect their new identity.

A-LEVEL RESULTS: Success for students at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Alford

by Skegness Standard, August 17, 2017

Changes in specifications meant it was a more challenging year for staff but the students came up trumps. Headteacher Angie Francis said: “It has been a pleasure to work with these students. “I thank them for their many contributions to the wider life of the school and I wish them success and happiness in their future endeavours. “Students continue to make exceptional progress, due in no small part to the high level of support given and the aspirational ethos of the school.”


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