Latest Educational News

Grammar schools are a 'distraction', says new chief inspector of schools

by Telegraph, January 9, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools are a “distraction” and a “complication” the new chief inspector of schools in England has said, in her first public criticism of Government policy since taking up the role.

Amanda Spielman’s comments have put her at odds with Prime Minister Theresa May who plans to overturn the ban on grammar schools imposed by Labour some 20 years ago.

Conservative MPs have rounded on the new Ofsted chief, calling her comments “unhelpful” and “unproductive”.

Half of young people are so troubled they can't focus at school, study finds

by TES, January 9, 2017

Teenagers' levels of happiness and confidence are plummeting, as they worry that their lives will amount to nothing
Almost half of all young people experience so many emotional problems at school that they are unable to focus on their studies, a new poll has found.

Meanwhile, their levels of happiness and confidence are dropping, and more than a quarter feel that they have no control over their lives.

And more than one in six believe that they will never amount to anything, no matter how hard they try.

Mental health: seven government measures to improve pupils' wellbeing

by TES, January 9, 2017

Ministers' strategy includes mental health first-aid training for teachers, peer mentoring and an initiative to tackle stigma
Theresa May set out her vision for a "shared society" with a speech at the Charity Commission today, saying she will ensure that children get the "help and support they need and deserve".

The prime minister said she wants to see an increased role for the state in addressing “burning injustices” and she begun by laying out her proposals for transforming mental health care in Britain, including more support for children’s wellbeing in schools.

Teachers in all secondary schools to be offered mental health training

by TES, January 9, 2017

Funding for previous measures has failed to reach schools, says former health minister
Mental health reforms being announced by Theresa May today will help tackle the "blackspot" of treatment for children who self-harm and suffer bullying on social media, the health secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt said three children in every classroom in the country have a mental health condition but only a quarter of them receive help, stressing early intervention can give patients a much better chance of a full cure.

Greening: New grammar schools are ‘shared society’ example

by Schools Week, January 8, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

The government’s plan to open new grammar schools is a key policy of Theresa May’s new “shared society”, the education secretary has said.
Justine Greening told the Andrew Marr show this morning that her department’s approach to expanding selection in England was an example of the government’s efforts to realise the prime minister’s new vision.

May has this weekend set out proposals for government intervention to stop what she called “burning injustices” happening across Britain, marking a departure from David Cameron’s idea of a “big society”.

Primary schools must teach all students to pass 11-plus

by Express.co.uk, January 8, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

CHILDREN should be taught how to pass 11-Plus exams by primary teachers to ensure the most disadvantaged pupils can go to grammar schools.

The National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA), which supports Government plans to lift a ban on new establishments, says it would help end the practice of wealthy parents paying for coaching to get their children into the best selective state secondary schools.

In a report sent to the Department for Education, the NGSA makes a series of recommendations which it says will silence Government critics, who claim ending the ban will only help the children of wealthier families.

Universities warned over 'snowflake' student demands

by Telegraph, January 8, 2017

Universities will be forced to pander to the demands of "snowflake" students if controversial changes to the ranking system are approved, education leaders have warned.

The Government faces a cross-party revolt in the Lords this week over proposed reforms to higher education, which include placing student satisfaction at the heart of a new ranking system.

It is feared that this will lead to a "fantastically dangerous" culture where authorities will give in to student demands, however unreasonable they may be.

Grammar schools offer ‘pitifully few’ places to poorer children

by Guardian, January 7, 2017

Selection is no driver of social mobility, according to analysis of 2016 data

Claims by Theresa May that grammar schools have proved to be great engines of social mobility have been undermined by figures showing that the vast majority of grammars admit only a tiny proportion of children from the poorest families.

As pupils return after the Christmas break, official figures show that in many grammar schools, less than 1% of the total pupil intake receives free school meals (an indicator of the poorest families). Only one of the 163 selective schools in England takes in more than 10% from this least well-off group.

£4m to improve school results in science and technology

by BBC, January 7, 2017

More than £4m will be spent to raise standards in science and technology in Welsh schools.
It will be invested in a new national network which will see pupils work with universities and other experts.
In a major study, Welsh students were below the average of 72 countries in science, reading and maths.
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said: "This new network of excellence is part of our national mission of education reform to raise standards."

Secret Teacher: cutting staff numbers to save money is a dangerous game

by Guardian, January 7, 2017

Management has decided that teachers won’t be replaced when they leave. We’re losing valuable skills and risking our most vulnerable pupils

Our latest inset was one we were dreading, and not just for the rubbish refreshments. We knew the news wouldn’t be good. The status quo – one of discontent and rock-bottom morale – was about to get even worse. And then came the announcement: as a means of saving money, the school would not be replacing staff who leave.

Heads fear 'forced academisation' of faith schools

by TES, January 6, 2017

Nearly 600 church schools affected by plans put to heads and governors
Hundreds of church schools would be converted into academies under diocese plans attracting sharp criticism from headteachers and governors.

The plans would see nearly 600 church schools covered by three dioceses in central and southern England, educating about 200,000 pupils, run by academy trusts responsible for up to 22 schools each.

Concern over high Oxfordshire school truancy rates

by BBC, January 6, 2017

Concern has been expressed over truancy levels in Oxfordshire schools after it emerged the county has some of the worst rates in England.
Figures for the 2015/2016 autumn and spring terms showed the county ranked in the lowest performing 25%.
About 14% of secondary school pupils skipped 10% of their classes, compared with 12.3% of pupils nationally.
The council said the responsibility was largely that of the organisations behind the county's academies.

Parents could face fines or prison if children are repeatedly late for primary school

by Independent, January 6, 2017

Essex academy looks to crack down on late arrivals

A UK primary school head teacher has provoked a mixed reaction after telling parents they could be fined if children are repeatedly late.

Catherine Stalham sent round a recent newsletter in which she said any pupils arriving after the 9am bell will be marked as late from April 1 onwards.

Parents could in turn be given a £120 penalty or taken to court where they would be fined up to £2,500 and jailed for up to three months.

Heads 'must get power to sack poor teachers' to improve Scotland's schools

by Telegraph, January 6, 2017

Headteachers must be given the power to sack poorly performing staff if the standard of the Scotland’s troubled education system is to improve, John Swinney has been warned.

The Commission on School Reform, set up by think tank Reform Scotland, told a Scottish Government consultation it was “imperative” that heads have the final say in the hiring and firing of teachers and how to spend staffing budgets.

More than 1,200 schools have not received an Ofsted inspection for over seven years

by Telegraph, January 6, 2017

More than 1,200 schools across England have not received a full Ofsted inspection in seven years, new figures published by the schools watchdog have revealed.

Under the Government’s inspection framework introduced in 2011, schools considered “outstanding" are only required to be vetted on pupils’ academic performance and attendance.

But according to the latest statistics, 1,283 schools have not been visited by Ofsted inspectors since they last obtained the top-tier assessment over seven years ago, leading MPs and education leaders to question the credibility of the current inspection system.

Pupils told us what they really want to be taught at school

by iNews, January 6, 2017

Politicians, education experts and teachers are constantly arguing about how best to teach children. In recent years, the school curriculum has been treated more like the specials board in a restaurant than the hallowed text it deserves to be.

But has anyone actually taken the time to speak to the students themselves and ask them what they would want to learn in class, and what make them perform a little better in school?

Sharp fall in complaints about Ofsted inspections

by TES, January 6, 2017

Drop follows the inspectorate's decision to bring inspectors in-house
It has long been seen as the teaching profession’s “bogeyman”, but new data obtained by TES suggests that Ofsted may be turning a corner in its relationship with heads and teachers.

The number of official complaints made about school inspections has fallen dramatically over the past three years – a period in which Ofsted purged hundreds of inspectors, overhauled its inspection framework and introduced short inspections for “good” schools.

Data obtained by TES under the Freedom of Information Act shows that 209 school inspections resulted in a formal complaint in 2015-16, compared with 534 two years earlier – a 61 per cent drop.

Teachers should keep their regional accents, say pupils

by TES, January 6, 2017

Some teachers feel under pressure to modify their accents for the classroom – but pupils are keen on diversity of speech, study shows
Schoolchildren think their teachers should keep their regional accents, rather than modifying them for the classroom, new research shows.

Alex Baratta, from the University of Manchester, said there was still a prevailing assumption that received pronunciation is the most desirable classroom voice.

One teacher from Bristol told him: “The Bristolian accent has lots of connotations, like village idiot, yokel, farmer. It wasn’t doing me any favours, because all you’d hear is the accent, and it was like, ‘He’s thick’.”

EBacc: Schools could have to wait until summer to see government's consultation findings

by TES, January 6, 2017

An email from a Tory MP's office suggests that a response to the government's consultation may not come for another six months
The government's report on the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) consultation may not be published until the summer despite closing a year ago, TES understands.

Correspondence with the office of Heidi Allen, the Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, suggests that schools will have to continue waiting for the long overdue findings.

In this week's TES Further: 'Students with special needs can flourish in the workplace'

by TES, January 6, 2017

Also: why Britain needs better post-16 choices – and how to be channel Ray Winstone in the classroom
In this week’s TES Further, Giles Delamare, an employment preparation and supported-internship course leader at London South East Colleges, writes that students with special needs can flourish in the workplace (article free for subscribers). Delamare writes that fewer than 10,000 people with a learning disability are in paid employment. "Careers education for children with special needs is sadly severely limited," he adds. But with the right support, a learning disability need not hold anyone back from becoming an asset to a business.

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