Latest Educational News

Britain's strictest school gets top marks from Ofsted

by The Guardian, June 16, 2017

Katharine Birbalsingh’s ‘no excuses’ Michaela school praised by inspectors for behaviour policy and exemplary attitudes to learning among pupils
Michaela Community School – a controversial free school renowned for its “no excuses” behaviour policy – has been judged outstanding in all categories by Ofsted inspectors.

The school in north-west London won top marks in its first inspection since opening in 2014, with Ofsted inspectors praising the school’s “lively and engaging teaching” and “exemplary” attitudes to learning among pupils.

“Since the school opened, leaders and governors have worked very effectively together with staff, pupils, parents and carers to establish a strong sense of community at the school. Pupils typically commented that they feel part of a

Overall Welsh student debt reaches £3.7bn

by BBC, June 16, 2017

The overall student loan debt for Welsh students has reached £3.7bn, new figures show.
Data shows that the total tuition fee and maintenance loan balance is up 12% on the previous year's figures.
Graduates start repaying their debt once their income reaches £21,000 but after 30 years outstanding debt is written off.
For those repaying loans in 2017 the average sum owed at the start of repayment was £19,280.
That compares with £32,220 for English students, £20,990 for Northern Irish students and £11,740 for Scottish students who do not pay fees if they study in Scotland.

Fat cat pay soars... as student numbers fall: A dozen institutions gave their vice-chancellor a pay rise of up to 13% last year

by Daily Mail, June 16, 2017

Almost a dozen universities gave their vice-chancellors a bumper pay rise last year despite seeing a significant fall in student numbers, new figures show.
The institutions gave their bosses above-average pay increases of up to 13 per cent in 2015-16, even though they failed to attract as many students as in previous years.
A fall in student numbers can be problematic for universities and hit their resources and staffing, as budgets are largely reliant on tuition fees.
However, the analysis by Times Higher Education (THE) magazine suggested such negative performance does not seem to impact on generous pay hikes for vice chancellors.

Weakened government will give schools space and funds

by Times Educational Supplement, June 16, 2017

The rise of education on the general election agenda is likely to change the approach of the minority government – no matter how long its tenure lasts
There is a myth developing that Labour did so much better than expected in last week’s election because a bunch of idealistic students with no understanding of life’s realities decided to come out and vote for a change. It wasn’t, though, the students wot won it. It was the parents.

Analysis of YouGov data – which predicted the result almost perfectly – shows that the Conservatives lost a third of 25-44-year-olds who voted for them in 2015. That alone deprived them of a comfortable majority. It’s impossible to know exactly why so many of this age group abandoned Ms May, but a glance at the issues they were prioritising suggests funding for schools and hospitals played a big role.

North missing out on learning languages

by BBC, June 16, 2017

There is a stark north-south divide in whether young people in England are learning modern languages, an annual survey from the British Council says.
In some London boroughs, 75% of pupils take a language GCSE, while in authorities such as Middlesbrough and Blackpool it is below 30%.
The survey also suggests that this languages gap is getting even wider.
The British Council says the lack of language skills is costing the UK "tens of billions in missed trade".
There have been repeated warnings about declines in language learning, but this year's Languages Trends Survey suggests significant regional differences.

Learning disability students 'need more living skills help'

by BBC, June 16, 2017

Colleges must do more to prepare young people with learning disabilities for independent living, education inspection body Estyn has said.
A report found only a few in Wales set realistic goals to help students develop their communication and work skills.
Inspectors recommended colleges set individual learning plans and design programmes that challenge pupils more.
One college was praised for monitoring pupils regularly and advancing targets.

Axing free school meals 'is political suicide', Jamie Oliver warns

by Evening Standard, June 16, 2017

Calls grew today for Theresa May to formally announce she has dumped her plan to scrap universal free school meals from the Queen’s Speech.

Celebrity chef and food campaigner Jamie Oliver said the Prime Minister would be committing “political suicide” if she tried to push it through Parliament.

He added: “I’ll be truly amazed if Theresa goes through with abolishing infant free school meals... Britain does not want this, parents do not want this, even Conservative ministers do not want this. Does Theresa really have the gall to ask our Queen to rob our youngest, most vulnerable kids of a proper nutritious meal?” More than 60,000 parents have so far signed a petition led by a London head teacher against the proposals.

Workload is "unacceptable", say 6 out of 10 primary teachers

by Times Educational Supplement, June 15, 2017

Planning and assessment burden is too much for 58 per cent of primary teachers, a new poll suggests
Nearly six out of ten primary teachers say that the amount of planning and assessment expected of them is unacceptable.

And 42 per cent of primary teachers say they have suffered from work-related stress during the past six months, according to a survey of 750 people.

The poll found that 38 per cent of primary teachers have seen their workload increase in the past year, with just 20 per cent saying it had fallen.

A Department for Education survey published earlier this year found that classroom teachers were working an average 54-hour week, with senior leaders working even longer: 60 hours per week on average.

Top university under 'ransomware' cyber-attack

by BBC, June 15, 2017

University College London, one of the world's leading universities, has been hit by a major cyber-attack.
The university describes it as a "ransomware" attack, such as last month's cyber-attack which threatened NHS computer systems.
The attack was continuing on Thursday, with access to online networks being restricted.
The university has warned staff and students of the risk of data loss and "very substantial disruption".
University College London (UCL) is a "centre of excellence in cyber-security research", a status awarded by the GCHQ intelligence and monitoring service.

Scottish headteachers given more powers under school reform

by ITV, June 15, 2017

Headteachers are to be given a raft of new powers as part of wide-reaching reforms to Scotland's school system, Education Secretary John Swinney has announced.

They will become responsible for raising attainment and closing the gap between the poorest and richest pupils.

Headteachers will also have the power to choose staff and management structures, decide on the curriculum - within a broad national framework - and directly control "significantly" more funding.

'Sweeping' new powers for Scottish head teachers

by BBC, June 15, 2017

The Scottish government has set out "sweeping new powers" for schools as part of a shake-up of education.
Education Secretary John Swinney said his reforms were aimed at "freeing our teachers to teach".
The reforms will see head teachers take responsibility for closing the attainment gap, choosing school staff and deciding curriculum content.
They also aim to give schools more direct control over funding, with a consultation on fair funding launched.

Don't wrap girls in cotton wool, says private school leader

by BBC, June 14, 2017

Parents and teachers should not "wrap girls in cotton wool", an independent schools' leader has said.
Girls were not victims and were stronger and more feisty than they were often given credit for, said Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST).
Ms Giovannoni said girls should be encouraged to take the sorts of risks boys were more likely to take.

Free school head to lead campaign for a 'knowledge-rich curriculum'

by Times Educational Supplement, June 14, 2017

The founder and head of Bedford Free School, Mark Lehain, is stepping down to lead Parents and Teachers for Excellence
Headteacher Mark Lehain has been appointed as director of an organisation which promotes a knowledge-based curriculum, rigorous assessment and effective behaviour policies.

Mr Lehain, who founded Bedford Free School, one of the first free schools in the country, will step down as headteacher to take up the new role at Parents and Teachers for Excellence (PTE).

The organisation was launched in the autumn last year as a coalition of “education reformers” – many supporters of school reforms brought in under Michael Gove.

'The government needs to forget grammar schools and focus on funding'

by Times Educational Supplement, June 14, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Speculation about the new government is rife, but the challenges facing our education system remain the same – funding needs to be urgently addressed, writes the executive director of the Education Policy Institute
As a new government takes shape, speculation about what this means for public policy and politics continues. As this is relatively new territory, no one can say, with any certainty, how the events of the past week will affect the decision-making processes in Whitehall and beyond.

Nonetheless, whatever arrangements emerge over the coming days and weeks, the challenges facing our education system remain the same. The reality is that the key constraints for this government will be attempting to introduce or amending primary legislation. Without a Conservative majority in the House of Commons, it is almost inevitable that controversial policies requiring legislation will be put on the backburner.

Lilac Sky Academy Trust 's catalogue of 'irregularities'

by BBC, June 14, 2017

A trust that ran schools in Kent and Sussex ran up more than £1m in debts, an accountant's report has revealed.
Lilac Sky Academy Trust used funds meant for schools to pay for drinks at a party and breached compliance rules, according to its annual accounts.
The government stepped in to run the schools last year and is investigating the way the trust operated.
Trust founder Trevor Averre Beeson, who is no longer connected to the venture, has not responded to BBC inquiries.

School places pressure hits secondaries

by BBC, June 14, 2017

The proportion of 11-year-olds offered a place at their first-choice secondary school in England is the lowest since 2010, official figures show.
This year, 83.5% of applicants received offers from their first choice schools, down from 84.1% last year.
The last time more than 16% of applicants were not offered their first choice was in 2010.
However, the government says the system is "rising to the challenge" of providing more school places.
And at primary level, there was an impr

Number of kids offered a place at first-choice secondary school is lowest since 2010 as 1 in 6 miss out

by Mirror, June 14, 2017

New figures show that 16.5% of 11-year-olds across the country - about one in six - did not get their first preference this year, up from 15.9% in 2016

The proportion of 11-year-olds offered a place at their first-choice secondary school in England is the lowest since 2010, official figures show.

Some 16.5% of 11-year-olds across the country - about one in six - did not get their first preference this year, up from 15.9% in 2016. The last time the proportion was above 16% was in 2010.

One in six pupils are denied a place at their first choice secondary school: Nearly 93,000 miss out as impact of rising immigration and baby boom take effect

by Daily Mail, June 14, 2017

One in six pupils are denied a place at their first choice secondary school: Nearly 93,000 miss out as impact of rising immigration and baby boom take effect

The number of pupils missing out on first choice secondary schools are the highest since the start of the decade, figures published yesterday show.
One in six children in England – almost 93,000 - missed out on their top preference this year, increasing to almost half in some London boroughs.
The Department for Education statistics will renew concern about unprecedented pressure on the country’s schools amid rising immigration and a baby boom that began more than a decade ago.

Sleep study suggests literacy lessons should be left until after lunch

by Times Educational Supplement, June 13, 2017

Primary children are more alert and react faster in the afternoon, new research reveals
A new study has challenged the convention of timetabling maths and English lessons in the morning– saying that primary-aged children are more alert in the afternoon.

The BBC Terrific Scientific investigation, in partnership with the University of Oxford, found that children felt less sleepy and had quicker reactions in the afternoon than in the morning.

The researchers looked at sleep diaries from 900 children aged 9-11, which were kept for three days on either side of the clocks going forwards on March 26. They also studied the results of a series of tests designed to measure children's tiredness and reaction times in the morning and afternoon. A map showing the findings has been published by the BBC.

'Acronyms like RUCSAC prevent children from thinking mathematically – we need a different approach'

by Times Educational Supplement, June 13, 2017

Using acronyms to teach mathematical skills like problem-solving can hinder rather than help children, says one primary maths specialist
I’ve got a thing about success criteria. Very often, the line between what we want children to learn to do and the task that we ask them to carry out is blurred. The gap is perhaps most stark when it comes to problem-solving in maths.

In many classrooms the "read, underline, calculate, solve, answer, check" (RUCSAC) acronym, or something similar, will be plastered on the wall and used as success criteria for problem-solving.

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