Latest Educational News

Music removed from school's curriculum

by BBC, June 28, 2017

Weekly music lessons for children aged between 11 and 13 have been cut from the timetable at a school in Essex because of budget cuts, a head teacher has said.
Gordon Farquhar, from the Joyce Frankland Academy in Newport, near Saffron Walden, said: "I don't think we want to reduce any subject provision.
"Unfortunately in this situation I have a music teacher who left, so that has made me have to review the situation."

Government ‘reneging on promise to fund 10,000 extra nursing places’

by Guardian, June 27, 2017

Universities are warning that the government is quietly reneging on its promise to provide 10,000 new nursing degree places, intended to relieve pressure on the NHS.

Student nurses must spend 50% of their degree working under supervision, usually in a hospital. But universities have told Education Guardian that not a single extra nursing training place has been funded or allocated for the future. It would cost £15m over five years to fund training placements for 10,000 new nurses, according to the Council of Deans of Health, the body that represents university faculties of nursing.

We cannot compromise safety in schools. Asbestos must be removed

by Guardian, June 27, 2017

Here’s a sentence that I never expected to make it into print: “School buildings do not need to be sprinkler-protected to achieve a reasonable standard of life safety.” It comes from what have been called “controversial government proposals” watering down safety standards for new school buildings to help cut costs. Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the proposals have been quietly dropped. But why has it taken a preventable disaster to awaken the Tories, and more broadly the nation, to a simple fact that when we are discussing the “standard of life safety” – in this context that’s children’s lives – adjectives such as “reasonable” set the bar too low. Parents would like to know that when they send their children to school, their lives are not “reasonably” safe, but totally so. Forgive us if that’s too much to ask.

Strike at school where pupils threw food at inspectors

by BBC, June 27, 2017

Teachers at a troubled Black Country school have walked out over "unreasonable management" and the safety of staff.
Willenhall E-ACT Academy was rated "inadequate" in a March Ofsted report after pupils threw food at inspectors.
The school said it had offered to delay the implementation of a new timetable to divert the strike action.
But the NUT and NASUWT say 18 months of negotiations with management over behaviour are not "getting anywhere".

More money will be found for schools, says Fallon

by iNews, June 27, 2017

A key member of Theresa May’s Cabinet has said there will be additional funding for schools as he attempted to downplay the £1bn paid as part of a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party. Sir Michael Fallon defended the decision to pour taxpayers’ money into Northern Ireland in return for the DUP’s promise to prop up the Conservatives’ minority government.

The arrangement with the DUP has come under substantial criticism, particularly given the Tories had repeatedly warned there was “no magic money tree” to pay for public services.

Furious ex-student threatens legal action as list of school's 'worst pupils' leaked via Facebook on Post-it notes

by Mirror Online, June 27, 2017

The names - written on a list on a wall - include a woman who is preparing to go on trial for murder and a man who is now struggling to set up his own business

A list of a school's "worst pupils" has caused outrage after it was mistakenly leaked on social media.

The list of around 50 names was posted on to Facebook by a former student at Grove Academy, Dundee, after being spotted on a wall at a teacher's retirement party.

The local council claims the names are those of students given "support" by the teacher, but former pupils and parents insist the "shocking" list is definitely of the school's "worst behaved."

One pupil is so angry he is said to be considering legal action against the council.

Included in the list, which is written on a number of Post-it notes, is the name of a woman allegedly due to go on trial for murder.

Academy chain teachers more likely to move to disadvantaged schools

by Times Educational Supplement, June 27, 2017

Teachers moving within a multi-academy trust buck general trend by being more likely to move to a school with a more disadvantaged intake
Teachers working in multi-academy trusts (MATs) are more likely to move to a different school in the chain with a less well-off intake than their existing school, rather than a more privileged one, according to a new study.

The National Foundation for Educational Research said its findings suggested MATs could offer a mechanism for getting teachers into challenging schools that might otherwise struggle to recruit and retain staff.

The research also found that the level of staff movement within a MAT is particularly high if the trust has more schools and if they are clustered closer together.

'Schools can – and should – become curriculum planners again'

by Times Educational Supplement, June 27, 2017

If Ofsted uses its inspection evidence as wisely as its predecessors did 30 years ago, schools might stop looking to the government to be told what to do and instead at the evidence and academic research
The speech by Ofsted's chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, at the Festival of Education at Wellington College on 23 June this year was especially welcome in opening up an important discussion on the school curriculum.

This will not be the first time that the inspectorate has played a pivotal role in curriculum development in England. Thirty years ago, Her Majesty's Inspectorate (HMI) published a series of 17 booklets on curriculum, affectionately known as "raspberry ripples" because of their red and pink covers.

Is this Britain's most hipster school? Children at new education 'project' have no rules, exams or uniforms and have lessons in a YURT just three days a week

by Daily Mail, June 27, 2017

Two teachers have launched a new British private school where children have no rules, exams or uniform and learn just three days a week in a yurt.
It was the brainchild of Anna Robinson and Cindy Adams, both mothers and qualified teachers, and is open to pupils aged 5-14 with termly fees set at £1,250.
Schoolchildren don't have desks but instead spend their time playing outside, sitting on blankets and huddling round wood burning stoves.
They are not tutored in traditional subjects but instead are taught 'how to resolve problems', 'find their real passion in life' and how to play freely without supervision.
Youngsters at The Green House Education Project in Bath, Somerset, are also allowed to wear what they like and can often be seen climbing trees barefoot.

'Less homophobic bullying' in Britain's schools

by BBC, June 27, 2017

The level of homophobic bullying in Britain's secondary schools has fallen by a third in a decade, according to a study from the University of Cambridge.
The study, commissioned by the gay rights charity Stonewall, says the use of insulting language is less frequent and schools are more likely to prevent attacks on gay pupils.
But the report says 45% of gay pupils still face bullying.
Such behaviour needs to be "urgently addressed", says Stonewall's Ruth Hunt.

What now for grammar schools?

by BBC, June 27, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

It was Theresa May's controversial big idea, to open a wave of new grammar schools in England.
It dramatically restarted a row over academic selection at the age of 11 which for almost 20 years had been quietly sidelined.
The speech defining her vision of a "great meritocracy" was just last September, but those plans have been shredded by the election.
So what has changed for England's 163 grammar schools and the many non-selective schools affected by them?
On the surface apparently nothing, beneath that almost everything.

Grammar school proposal 'is dead' in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead following Queen's speech

by Slough Observer, June 26, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

GRAMMAR school education will not be making a return in the Royal Borough, council leader Simon Dudley acknowledged this week.

It is only a few months since the council’s ruling Conservative members were openly discussing the possibility of some sort of selection being reintroduced into Windsor and Maidenhead, in the wake of Prime Minister Theresa May’s enthusiasm for a return to some form of grammar school system.

Grammars are extremely popular in neighbouring Slough and South Bucks with some of the best results in the country going to their students.

But on Thursday Cllr Dudley put on a brave face on the absence of any change on grammar school policy in the Queen’s speech.

Children born prematurely able to perform equally as well at school as their peers, research shows

by Independent, June 26, 2017

While the most prematurely babies scored low in tests, the difference was 'negligible' by the time children were of middle-school age

Premature babies can perform just as well at school as children who were carried to full term, an extensive new study has found.

Tracking the progression of more than 1.3 million US children, researchers said common fears that premature babies might lag behind in their learning were largely unfounded.

Even those born at the earliest possible dates were not deemed to be at a significant disadvantage compared with their full-term peers.

Exam board makes last-minute changes to two A-level papers after leak

by Guardian, June 26, 2017

Further pure maths and statistics tests affected as police open criminal investigation into claims relating to other exams this summer

An examination board investigating allegations of leaks has been forced to make last-minute changes to two A-level papers that were taken on Monday after another apparent breach of security.

Pearson, which owns the Edexcel exam board, said it had replaced questions in its statistics and further pure maths papers after the board was informed that some students “had information they should not have had”. It also confirmed that police had opened a criminal investigation into earlier allegations of malpractice relating to an A-level maths paper.

School staff across South Ayrshire suffer more than 200 violent and aggressive incidents at hands of pupils in 2016 alone

by Daily Record, June 26, 2017

Union rep Paul Arkison fears the number of attacks could rise as staff numbers are affected by budget cuts.

Violent pupils subjected school staff to more than 200 aggressive incidents in just one year.

New figures reveal the shocking extent of violent and aggressive incidents inside schools in South Ayrshire, with pupils responsible for 227 reports in 2016. Trade union GMB Scotland uncovered the statistics in a Freedom of Information request to South Ayrshire Council.

Ofsted and the harm done by school league tables

by Guardian, June 26, 2017

The new head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, says schools should be ashamed of some of the tactics used to bolster their league standings (Ofsted leader takes aim at schools, 24 June). But what does she expect when the Department for Education has been pushing this for the past 25 years?

In the days of the technical and vocational initiative, as head of humanities in a Kent secondary modern school, I knew all the humanities teachers in two neighbouring schools. We worked together, we planned together, we shared things that worked. Then grant-maintained schools arrived in 1988, with Ofsted following in 1992 and academisation more recently, and we stopped talking to each other. We were in competition.

In the last seven years, the DfE (especially under Michael G

Phonics test pass mark published today

by Times Educational Supplement, June 26, 2017

Pupils scoring 32 out of 40 will have reached the expected standard
For the sixth year running, the pass mark for the phonics test will be 32 out of 40, the government announced today.

The phonics check was taken by more than 600,000 five and six-year old pupils in Year 1. It is a test of 40 words, half of which are nonsense words, and is administered and marked by a teacher or staff member who is known to the pupil.

Last year, 81 per cent of pupils met the expected standard in Year 1 – up from 77 per cent in 2015.

Pupils were due to be tested during the week beginning 12 June, although if a pupil is absent they can take the check until 23 June.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb: ‘Grammars mean most kids go to a secondary modern’

by iNews, June 25, 2017

The Schools Minister warned against the return of grammar schools in England, stating it would mean the vast majority of children would end up “going to a secondary modern”.

A recording has emerged of the Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb from 2012 spelling out the reasons why a return to selection at 11 would result in a substandard education for most young people.

In it he states that the very best schools systems in countries around the world do not have selective systems.

During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions in May 2012 in his first spell as Schools Minister, Mr Gibb was asked why the Government did not allow more grammars to open up in all parts of the country.

Wales teacher recruitment levels 'bordering on crisis'

by BBC, June 25, 2017

Low numbers of teachers being recruited in Wales is "bordering on crisis" levels, a union has said.
Welsh Government figures showed the target for trainee teacher intake in secondary schools and for PGCEs had both been missed in 2015-16.
Owen Hathway, Wales policy officer for the NUT, said the pressures and stresses of the job were putting people off entering the profession.
The Welsh Government said it would be looking into the "downwards trend".
The target for secondary school trainee intake was missed by a third while intake for primary schools was slightly below the target. For PGCEs it was missed by 19% (235 people).

Lessons on transgender life 'just confuse primary pupils' says education expert

by Daily Mail, June 24, 2017

Teaching transgender lifestyles confuses primary school pupils, an education expert has said.
Joanna Williams said the small number of transgender children in schools did not justify the ‘time, effort and money’ spent creating teaching materials on the issue.
She also warned that while schools should support pupils who are transgender, some teachers are going much further in encouraging all pupils to question whether they are a boy or girl. This may create confusion for a child who may not have previously considered the issue.

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