Latest Educational News

Exclusive: 'Uneasy peace' breaks out as heads back proposed Sats reforms

by Times Educational Supplement, April 28, 2017

Survey suggests leaders support test changes for infants. But concerns remain over key stage 2
Rank-and-file heads broadly support the latest government proposals on primary assessment, findings from a survey of members of the NAHT headteachers’ union suggest.

After years of boycotts and reviews, and, in 2016, one of the most fraught summers since Sats began, the survey shows that some degree of consensus between government and primary heads on a way forward may finally be emerging.

The headline-grabbing proposal to sacrifice statutory key stage 1 tests in favour of a Reception baseline assessment – used to measure progress between the start of school and Year 6 – is backed by 81 per cent of headteachers who expressed a view.

Heads warn school cuts will cause ‘domino’ of falling standards

by iNews, April 28, 2017

Government cuts to school budgets will cause a “domino effect” of stalling progress and falling standards in classrooms across England, a headteachers’ leader has warned.

Schools are suffering the worst funding settlement in more than a generation as ministers demand they find £3bn in savings by 2020.

Officials have consistently claimed that “record levels” of funding is going into schools. But the National Audit Office has warned that schools are suffering an average of 8 per cent cut to their budgets.

Britain faces headteacher crisis as new research reveals school leaders are leaving profession in droves

by Telegraph, April 28, 2017

Britain faces a crisis in headteachers as new research reveals that poor Ofsted reports are causing school leaders to leave the profession in droves.

The vast array of lucrative career options available to former heads such as education consultants or chief executives of academy chains has also contributed to the rise, experts have said.

According to a study by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), the retention rate among secondary heads has fallen from 91 per cent in 2012 to 87 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile for primary school heads it has fallen from 94 per cent to 92 per cent over the same period.

Number of privately educated pupils reaches record levels

by iNews, April 28, 2017

The number of children educated in private schools is at its highest since records began, a survey of the sector has shown.

Nearly 523,000 children are taught in fee-paying schools – the highest it has been since 1974, according to figures from the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

The record levels of private school pupils comes despite above inflation rises in fees, sluggish increases in salaries and an overall drop in living standards nationwide.

More than 500 school heads accuse May of decimating education system

by Ibtimes.co.uk, April 28, 2017

Government is asking schools to cut £3bn from budgets by 2020.

More than 500 headmasters from schools across the UK have accused Prime Minister Theresa May of leaving the education system on the brink of collapse.

It follows plans from the Conservative government to cut £3bn ($3.87bn) from school budgets by 2020, while devoting £320m of funding to create 140 new free schools, expected to turn into grammar schools.

Pupil power: how students are turning schools green

by Guardian, April 28, 2017

A scheme encouraging young people to take the lead on environmental projects is changing habits, growing leaders – and saving schools money
At the Manchester Creative and Media Academy, six year 10 students have just done an environmental audit of their school. They conducted interviews with staff and other pupils, inspected what was already being done, and examined energy policies. From this they have planned campaigns on recycling and litter – with specific targets – to make their school greener, all while studying for their GCSEs.

The academy is part of the Green Schools Project, a student-led programme that helps schools become more environmentally friendly. It provides guides, presentations and resources so that coordinators within schools can recruit students to set up successful and results-driven green projects.

School cutbacks put 'education system at risk'

by BBC, April 28, 2017

The £3bn savings expected of England's schools threaten the stability of the whole education system, says the National Association of Head Teachers.
General secretary Russell Hobby says ministers should no longer be allowed to claim school funding is protected.
The Department for Education has said school funding is at record levels.
But the Institute of Fiscal Studies says this claim does not tell the whole story or take account of the impact of cost pressures on per pupil funding.
It has just published research which says to keep school funding at its present levels in real terms, an extra £2bn will be needed between 2017 and 2022.

40 Northern Ireland schools could close or merge, plan recommends

by BBC, April 28, 2017

About 40 schools across Northern Ireland could be set to close or merge, according to Education Authority (EA) plans.
The EA's action plan for 2017-18 sets out a strategy for changes to the number and nature of schools.
It identifies and names around 40 schools where "sustainability is an issue" across the 11 council areas.
However, any decision to close or merge schools would be subject to consultation.
'Too many schools'
The EA's director of education, John Collings, said Northern Ireland had too many schools, particularly primary schools.
"We must maximise the use of the schools' estate through sharing and co-operation to ensure that the educational experiences of our young people are the best they can be," he said.

Open new selective schools in MATs only, urges Carmichael

by Schools Week, April 27, 2017

New selective schools should only be allowed within multi-academy trusts so that youngsters can “move around” between vocational and academic routes to keep their options open, a leading Conservative MP has said.
Neil Carmichael, chair of the influential education committee, has said any new grammar schools should belong to large trusts that can ensure pupils do not get stuck in a “dead end” learning path, but could be flexible.

Speaking at a conference for secondary modern schools, which are non-selective schools in selective areas, Carmichael said he was critical of the idea of grammar schools.

But he urged the government to ensure any new grammars could only belong to trusts with both vocational and academic learning paths – as many trusts already do, running university technical colleges (UTCs) and studio schools as well as mainstream schools.

How to exam-proof your teenager's bedroom

by Telegraph, April 27, 2017

Teenager’s bedrooms have long been synonymous with smelly socks, unmade beds and piles of dirty cups. Any parent who deigns to point out that this may be playing havoc with their concentration is likely to be accused of interfering, controlling or simply stressing over something that DOESN’T MATTER.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry because you have the experts on your side and they are here to help. ‘They just don’t see the mess, but this chaos can impact on their studies,’ says Vicky Silverthorn, a professional declutterer and author of Start With Your Sock Drawer: The Simple Guide To Living a Less Cluttered Life (£12, Littlebrown)

Time and time again, studies prove a link between our environment and how well we work, so it’s no surprise Vicky sees bookings soar around exam time. ‘For the last few years, I’ve increasingly been employed by parents to spend a day in their teenager’s bedroom to make it more study-friendly.

Ban parents from pulling children out of religious education classes, Church of England says

by Telegraph, April 27, 2017

Parents should be banned from pulling their children out of religious education classes because they are preventing students from learning about Islam, the Church of England has warned.

Derek Holloway, the Church's lead on religious education (RE) policy, said that those with "fundamentalist" religious beliefs are "exploiting" laws which give them the right to withdraw children from the lessons, in order to stop them from learning about the Muslim faith.

He said that parents are using a “dubious interpretation of human right legislation” to pull students out of the classes, warning that such actions create a “dangerous” precedent.

Schools need an extra £1bn if they are to be 'protected from funding cuts'

by Times Educational Supplement, April 26, 2017

Politicians need to pledge an extra £1 billion in 2019-20 to make a real impact on the schools budget, suggests an Institute of Fiscal Studies analysis
Schools would need an extra £1 billion to protect them from real-terms cuts in 2019-20, a new analysis by a highly respected thinktank has found.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggests this is the amount that political parties would need to pledge to make a tangible difference to the overall schools budget, at a time when school funding looks set to feature prominently in the general election campaign.

The research by IFS associate director Luke Sibieta shows that an extra £1bn would result in a freeze to per-pupil spending in real terms in 2019-20.

MPs attack 'increasingly incoherent' funding system for new school places

by Times Educational Supplement, April 26, 2017

The government is spending 'well over the odds' on free schools, the Commons public accounts committee warns
The system for funding new schools and new places in existing schools is "increasingly incoherent and too often poor value for money", according to an influential cross party group of MPs.

The Department for Education is spending "well over the odds" in its bid to create 500 more free schools – while other schools are left in a poor condition, a report published by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee today says.

The government estimates that 420,000 new school places will be needed by 2021 to cater for the rising school-age population. It has set a target of creating 500 free schools by 2020, and has announced funding for a further 110 free schools beyond that point.

'Ministers are struggling to explain how grammar schools can “work for everyone” - but there is a way'

by Times Educational Supplement, April 26, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Instead of the government backing away from a potentially transformative policy, it should use the election as a platform to iterate a new grammar school model which will genuinely help less well-off children
It's fair to say that the general election has somewhat overshadowed Justine Greening’s speech a couple of weeks ago about grammar schools and social mobility.

But with the Conservatives sure to seek a mandate to expand selective education in the coming election, the clues contained within the speech about the direction of the government’s thinking are potentially even more significant now than before.

New free schools funding system 'incoherent' and offers poor value for taxpayers' money, PAC warns

by Independent, April 26, 2017

Public Accounts Committee members warn land for controversial new free school buildings is being bought by the Government at almost 20 per cent more than the going rate

The Government’s system for funding new free schools is “incoherent” and offers poor value for taxpayers' money, an influential parliament committee has found.

The Department for Education is spending “well over the odds” in its bid to create 500 more free schools, while local authority buildings crumble, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned.

In a damning new report, the committee criticised the Government's focus on free schools, which it said were sometimes opened in areas with no shortage of places for pupils while existing schools struggle to make ends meet.

Free schools offer ‘poor value for money’

by iNews, April 26, 2017

MPs have branded the Government’s system for funding new free schools as “increasingly incoherent and too often poor value for money”.

In a damning report, the Public Accounts Committee has warned that the Department for Education is spending “well over the odds” in a bid to create 500 more free schools, while thousands of existing schools are being left to crumble.

The committee was particularly concerned that many free schools were in “inadequate premises”, many of which are without on-site playgrounds or sports facilities.

Cash-strapped schools could buy cheaper photocopiers, says minister

by Guardian, April 26, 2017

Labour MPs have criticised a Department for Education letter that suggests schools could make up their budget shortfalls by purchasing cheaper photocopiers or switching energy suppliers.

In a letter to the Labour MP John Cryer, who wrote to raise concerns about the funding shortfall for schools in his constituency, the schools minister, Nick Gibb, said the government recognised schools “are facing increasing cost pressures” and was advising schools about how to save money.

“Schools could save, on average, up to 10% by making use of our national energy deal and over 40% by using the national deal for printers and photocopiers,” the minister wrote. Other suggestions included following advice on better staff deployment from the Education Endowment Fund and the government’s school buying strategy.

MPs question government's 'grip' on new school places

by BBC, April 26, 2017

MPs have questioned "how much of a grip" the Department for Education has on providing school places where they are needed in England.
The system is "increasingly incoherent and too often poor value for money," says the Public Accounts Committee.
And the government is spending "well over the odds" on free schools while other schools are in poor condition, says the cross-party committee.
Ministers say free schools are key to meeting demand for school places.
The government has pledged to open 500 more free schools, which are state-funded but independently run, by 2020 and has plans for a further 110.

Chiltern Edge School may shut after 'inadequate' rating

by BBC, April 26, 2017

A secondary school placed in special measures by inspectors last month could be closed, a council has said.
Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common had been rated inadequate by Ofsted after following the inspection in March.
Inspectors also said pupil attainment was too low and a disadvantaged pupils' fund was not being used effectively.
Oxfordshire County Council said it will begin consulting on Friday over whether the school should shut.
The school, which educates children between 11 and 16 years old, received a good rating from Ofsted in 2012.

Teachers coordinate strikes in London over school cuts - and protests are planned

by Socialist Worker, April 25, 2017

Workers at three schools in south east London began a coordinated two-day strike against cuts on Tuesday of this week.

NUT union members at Forest Hill School, Corelli College and Plumstead Manor School walked out, and GMB union members at Plumstead Manor also struck.

The walkouts followed a strike at all three schools on Thursday of last week, and a 100-strong protest last Saturday.

The cuts are being overseen by Labour-run Lewisham and Greenwich councils.

Meanwhile NUT union members at St Edward’s sixth form in Havering, east London, were also set to strike on Thursday of this week. They are fighting job cuts and increased workload.

Joe, the NUT rep at Forest Hill School, told Socialist Worker, “The council released a statement following our strike last week.

“It said they had considered the ‘value for money’ of the cuts. I thought it was scandalous.”

Parent Lynley, who joined Saturday’s march, said she was “very angry” at the council. “I don’t understand why councillors think they can say it’s not their problem,” she told Socialist Worker.

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