Latest Educational News

Put nature at the heart of the education system

by Guardian, April 5, 2017

Michael McCarthy (Screens have led to a nature deficit. Kids need to be outdoors, 1 April) highlighted my idea of developing a GCSE in natural history. It is heartening that so many people agree. In response to those who see problems, ranging from the lack of suitably qualified teachers to natural history being just a subset of biology, I would like to stress that the situation for nature in the UK is so serious there is now no room for negativity. The State of Nature Report 2016 showed that Britain “is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world”. Our children are growing up in a land that has seen a thinning out of the mass of nature by more than 50% in the past 40 years. There is less of everything – less song, less colour, less abundance. We must put nature back into the heart of the education system, and take it out of the realms of eccentric hobbies and into mainstream thinking.

Parents pay £52,000 more to live in areas with outstanding schools, new survey reveals

by Telegraph, April 5, 2017

Parents are paying more than £50,000 in order to move to catchment areas with outstanding schools, raising fears that the country’s top state schools are becoming selective according to family wealth.

A survey of more than one million homes across England has revealed that parents are paying vast property premiums to move home, with the average house in outstanding school catchment area costing £52,000 more on average than those near schools which require improvement.

In London, where competition for good or outstanding school places is the fiercest nationally, the price squeeze is even more pronounced - with parents paying upwards of £80,000 in order to move close to a top-rated school.

Parents face £33k premium to live near outstanding primary school

by, April 5, 2017

Parents in Yorkshire and the Humber face paying a premium of almost £33,000 to live near a primary school rated as outstanding.

That's according to research, which looked at the average 'primary school premium' to live in an admission area of a school that is rated by Ofsted as outstanding, compared with living near a school that requires improvement.

The research combines house asking price figures from website Rightmove with data provided by FindASchool by, which tells house hunters whether a property was in the previous successful admission area for a local school.

Private tutors cost £40 an hour – I help disadvantaged students for free

by Guardian, April 5, 2017

Tutoring in a deprived London borough, I was ready for the worst, but the boys are caring and ambitious – all they need is time

Walking out of the cinema, tears streaming down my face, I knew it was time for me to give back. I, Daniel Blake was only a film, but it was also so much more than that. I couldn’t stop thinking about the struggles those characters went through. It made me feel that we need to pull together as a society.

Sure Start Children’s Centres Cut By A Third Under Tories, Labour Claims

by Huffington Post, April 5, 2017

The Conservatives are responsible for a collapse in the number Sure Start children’s centres since 2010, Labour has said.

According to figures obtained by the party, there are now 1,240 fewer centres than when Labour left office - a fall of around 34%.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that over 230 centres have closed in the last year.


The north east and London have seen the biggest fall, according to the figures, with 40% of centres having closed.

And in Swindon and Solihull there are no centres left at all.

Teachers Have Started Wearing Body Cams

by Voice-Online, April 4, 2017

Schools have trialled body cameras to help teachers deal with disruptive students. But Professor Gus John thinks this might not be the right plan

IN FEBRUARY this year, news broke that two comprehensive schools in England were trialling teachers wearing police-style body cameras as a way of dealing with disruptive students. One of the schools is said to have a history of pupils with behavioural problems.

Teachers in the pilot schools are apparently “fed up with low-level background disorder”.

UK teachers: share your experiences of racism in the classroom

by Guardian, April 4, 2017

As charities report a growing number of hate crimes, we want to hear about whether schools are experiencing greater racist incidents and hate speech
Reker Ahmed, a 17-year-old Kurdish Iranian, was attacked on the streets of Croydon last Friday.

Charities and experts have warned that hate crimes like this are becoming more frequent. Josie Naughton, co-founder of Help Refugees, said the assault demonstrated “the level of fear and prejudice which is taking hold of parts of British society”.

Quarter of London nursery schools 'near roads with illegal levels of pollution'

by ITV, April 4, 2017

London's Mayor has said on several occasions that pollution in London is at lethal levels. Today Greenpeace gave ITV News some startling figures which show how the youngest of Londoners are at real risk.
756 nursery schools across the capital are near roads with illegal levels of pollution. That's 1 in 4. Here's the full list (Crtl+f to search the list)

MPs to debate whether texts should be taken into GCSE English literature exam

by Times Educational Supplement, April 4, 2017

Petition calling for open-book examinations for new GCSE English literature attracted almost 110,000 signatures
MPs will debate the new closed-book exams for GCSE English literature after more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for texts to be allowed in the exam room.

The petition argues that "exams shouldn't be a test on the student's memory", claiming that students could be required to learn and memorise more than 250 quotes for the two literature papers.

The debate on the reformed English literature GCSE – which is being taken for the first time this summer – will take place in Parliament later this month.

'The proposed baseline assessment is just the return to a failed policy and we must fight it'

by Times Educational Supplement, April 4, 2017

We need to build a broad coalition to fight the idea of a new baseline assessment, a proposal that will encourage schools to have low expectations for their pupils, write two education researchers
The government has announced proposals for a new assessment system for primary schools, including making key stage 1 Sats non-statutory, reform of the EYFS Profile, and "a new teacher-mediated assessment in reception, developed with the profession" for the purpose of measuring progress later in school.

They are consulting on these changes, which follow the recommendations of the NAHT’s independent Assessment Review Group Report earlier this year. While attempts to reduce the amount of high-stakes testing in primary schools will be welcomed by many, there is a cloud to this silver lining in the form of the return of the baseline assessment.

How much will I be fined if I take my children on holiday during term time

by Telegraph, April 4, 2017

Parents across England will watch eagerly this week as the Supreme Court makes a landmark ruling on term-time holiday fines.

The case pits the Department of Education against 46-year-old Jon Platt, a father from the Isle of Wight who refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on a week-long trip to Disneyland in Florida, USA. A decision will be made on Thursday, in a ruling expected to have far-reaching consequences for the parents of England’s school-age children.

Pressure on school places: Four facts we learned today

by Times Educational Supplement, April 3, 2017

One in five primaries is full or is operating in excess of capacity, government figures reveal
New government figures on how many pupils are due to be entering the school system and how many school places are available were published today.

The statistics show:

1. The percentage of primary schools which are full or have one or more pupils in excess of their capacity – a measure that takes into account the size of buildings and layout of classrooms - has risen since 2010, but the percentage of state-funded secondary schools which are full has fallen.

Brian Cox: Don't use children as 'measurement probes' to test schools

by Times Educational Supplement, April 3, 2017

Television science presenter also calls for teachers to be given more respect – and money
Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has called for testing in schools to be minimised – and only used when the positive benefits can be proven.

Professor Cox was speaking to Tes after filming practical science lessons with children aged 7 and 8.

There has been concern that too much focus on maths and English – particularly in Year 6 in the run-up to Sats – can narrow the curriculum, leaving less time for other subjects. Amanda Spielman, Ofsted chief inspector, has announced a major review into whether exams are narrowing the curriculum.

Prince George's new headmaster hits out at 11-plus exam as he says testing children distracts them from 'wonders of the world'

by Telegraph, April 2, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

The headmaster at Prince George's new private school has criticised the 11 plus exam and said that subjecting children to tests distracts them from "the wonders of the world".

Ben Thomas, headmaster of private day school Thomas's in Battersea, where Prince George will start in September, says he is opposed to the 11-plus system, which is used to select pupils for grammars and other schools.

In an interview with West London magazine the Resident, the highly-respected headmaster expressed his concern over the pressures of the 11-plus, which he said placed too much focus on box-ticking.

Literature isn’t a luxury but a life-changer

by Guardian, April 2, 2017

Sharing literature with those who wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with it is a joy
A long time ago, I sat at a junction in one of Merseyside’s – and Europe’s – most impoverished areas, waiting for the lights, on my way to teach Wordsworth at the university. I noticed a woman waiting at the door of an ex-council house, like one of the houses I’d lived in as a kid – cheaply built, side window covered with plywood, overgrown front garden.

The door was opened by a young woman with a baby in her arms. The baby laughed joyfully at what I took to be the sight of his nan. The phrase “the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm” came to my mind. And at that same moment I thought: “That baby, growing up here, will never read Wordsworth.” That is when I decided to try to get great books out of the university and into the hands of people who need them, by creating The Reader. I wanted a reading revolution.

'If you make data generation the goal of education then data is what you will get. Not quality teaching'

by Times Educational Supplement, April 2, 2017

Perhaps Pisa's Andreas Schleicher should stick with what he knows best, how to generate fantasy numbers, and leave teachers to get on with the real work of educating children
I choked so badly on my breakfast Muesli when I heard the news that Andreas Schleicher was calling for teachers to teach children how to recognise fake news, I frightened the dog. She now looks at me suspiciously every time I pick up a spoon.

The statistician who managed to con whole governments into thinking the numerous tables his Pisa tests generate are educationally meaningful, had apparently woken up to the fact that if you make generating statistics the goal of teaching, then statistics are all you get.

Universities should pay living wage, minister says

by BBC, April 2, 2017

Universities should pay the living wage as part of a "civic mission", Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has said.
Cardiff University is the only one of Wales' eight universities with the status of a living wage employer.
Accredited firms and organisations pay a higher minimum wage than the statutory level - at least £8.45.
The body that represents higher education, Universities Wales, said many institutions "do have pay rates that match the voluntary living wage".

11-PLUS: Grammar schools in Bucks accused of 'replacing one discredited test with another' after reappointing test provider

by Bucks Free Press, April 1, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Bucks’ Grammar Schools have been accused of “replacing one discredited test with another” after reappointing an old 11-plus test provider five years after they were axed.

The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS) - the company set up by the 13 grammar schools in the county to manage and administer the 11-plus testing process – say they are “very pleased” to have reached an agreement with GL Assessment to provide the new test for five years initially from 2019.

The new contracts will first apply to the tests taken in September 2018 by pupils moving into secondary school in autumn 2019.

A natural history GCSE? It might help get our children outdoors

by Guardian, April 1, 2017

The experts agree: children are too enclosed. Lessons about Britain’s flora and fauna could be the answer
It is now 12 years since the American author Richard Louv pointed out that something new and potentially very damaging was happening to children: they were retreating from the world of outside. Young people were no longer playing in the fields, woods and parks where their parents played, and they were losing contact with nature: for their leisure time, they were retreating back inside the house.

In Last Child in the Woods, Louv documented the causes and consequences. Of the reasons, two stood out: parents’ mushrooming fear of “stranger danger”, the belief that outside has become a very risky place for the unaccompanied young; and the powerful attraction of electronic screens, of computer games and the internet for children themselves.

One school's story of funding cuts: 'Classes of 35, TAs being cut and teachers buying equipment for their pupils'

by Times Educational Supplement, April 1, 2017

We are on the cusp of doing something wonderful for the children at our school but funding worries could undo everything, writes one parent governor
Hilton Primary School in Derbyshire, where I am a parent governor, is one of the apparently rare examples of a school that welcomes the new national funding formula. The school has been so underfunded historically that even this much-maligned formula will leave us better off

While the immediate blame can be laid at the door of the local authority for devising its own formula which penalises larger schools (and ours is twice as big as any other primary in the county), the bigger picture is that there is simply not enough money in the pot.


CALL 020 8204 5060