Latest Educational News

Ofsted to consider 'snooping' on pupils' and parents' Facebook pages to monitor school performance

by Independent, April 1, 2017

Experts warn data inspectors could viably take from social media is “unreliable” and contradicts the government’s usual practice of ensuring inspections outcomes are evidence-based

Ofsted inspectors could start “snooping” on pupils and parents by monitoring their Facebook and Twitter pages to help determine which schools are in need of intervention.

Publishing its new “innovations and regulations plan” report, the schools watchdog said it was working with the Department for Education in a “data science project” to explore the possibility of monitoring social media to help pinpoint problems with individual schools’ performance.

Grammar schools are now giving priority to disadvantaged pupils, new study shows

by Telegraph, April 1, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools across the country are now using positive discrimination in a bid to increase their intake of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, new research has revealed.

More than a third of grammars have now changed their admissions criteria for the next academic year, including lowering the 11 Plus entrance test marks, in a move seen to be paving the way for hundreds of new--more open--selective schools.

The analysis, carried out by TES, reveals that more than 50 grammars will now give disadvantaged pupils priority over their wealthier peers, following proposals by the Government that would require selective schools to be more “representative of their local communities”.

Fifty grammar schools in England change their admissions policy to give priority to poorer pupils after Government demands they become more socially inclusive

by Daily Mail, April 1, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

.Fifty grammar schools in England change their admissions policy to give priority to poorer pupils after Government demands they become more socially inclusive
.A new wave of grammar schools will target bright pupils in deprived areas
.It is part of a wider government plan to improve social mobility
.The new wave will change the law to overturn a ban by Tony Blair in 1998

More than a third of grammar schools in England are planning to give more priority to poor pupils, new analysis shows.
Figures show selective schools are clamouring to recruit more disadvantaged pupils to combat criticism that they are too dominated by middle class families.
Historically, rich families have been able to pay for extra tutoring tto give their children a better chance of passing the entry exams.
Selective schools are clamouring to recruit more disadvantaged pupils to combat criticism they're dominated by middle class families

Lambeth school to offer parents advice on pollution face masks

by BBC, March 31, 2017

A south London primary school concerned about high levels of air pollution is issuing parents with advice about buying face masks for children.
City Hall estimates about 450 schools in London are currently affected by unsafe pollution levels.
Adam Matthews, chair of governors at Archbishop Sumner school, proposed giving face masks to pupils as a pilot.
However, governors have voted instead to offer parents information enabling them to make their own choices.

Minister announces changes to National 5 qualification

by BBC, March 31, 2017

Changes to the National 5 qualification "to help reduce teacher workload and over-assessment" of pupils have been confirmed.
Education Secretary John Swinney said mandatory unit assessments will be removed in 2017/18.
He added course assessments - exams and coursework - "have been strengthened to maintain their integrity, breadth and standards".
National 4 and 5 replaced standard grades in the new curriculum.
Teaching unions have raised concerns over the use of unit assessments in the qualifications, which they said significantly increased the workload of teachers.

Parents and teachers demand better funding for schools

by ITV.com, March 31, 2017

Almost 300 concerned parents, pupils, teachers and campaigners gathered in Brighton last night to launch a new campaign demanding better funding for schools.

It comes in the week that schools have said they are increasingly relying on parents to pay for or donate basic supplies.

The government says record amounts of money is being spent on schools but worried parents say that's not what they see.

Christine Alsford has the full story.

SATs to be scrapped because ‘they’re too much pressure on children’

by Metro, March 31, 2017

Pressurised seven-year-old pupils will no longer be forced to do statuary tests under plans from the Department of Education.
The education secretary has unveiled plans for children to be examined without them realising they are being tested.

Car tax rules change today - this is no April Fools'
Justine Greening has begun a consultation after the SATs for seven-year-olds got a heated reception from parents and teachers last year.

Grammar schools scramble to change admissions policies to prioritise poor pupils ahead of government push

by Independent, March 31, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools scramble to change admissions policies to prioritise poor pupils ahead of government push

More than a third of existing grammar schools in England are to change their admissions procedures to take in more children from disadvantaged backgrounds, new analysis reveals.

According to TES magazine, at least 50 of the selective schools will give poorer pupils some priority for the first time in 2018, or further relax existing entrance requirements for these children.

The move follows recent government proposals to require existing selective schools including grammars to become more “representative of their local communities”, but many school heads say they have already begun the process.

A fifth of school breakfast clubs fail to reach all needy pupils

by Times Educational Supplement, March 31, 2017

And schools are unable to afford to employ additional staff to cover the clubs, a study finds
Breakfast clubs in a fifth of schools are failing to attract all the pupils who would benefit from attending them, government research has revealed.

And schools are unable to afford to employ additional staff to cover the clubs. Instead, they are being forced to change the hours on teaching assistants’ existing contracts.

A Department for Education programme set up and ran breakfast clubs in schools with more than 35 per cent of their pupils eligible for free school meals.

Exclusive: New teachers 'untrained to tackle safeguarding issues'

by Times Educational Supplement, March 31, 2017

Trainees receive less than a day's worth of training on handling safeguarding problems, investigation reveals
Trainee teachers are receiving less than a day’s worth of training on how to tackle safeguarding issues, a new investigation reveals.

A freedom of information request by the children’s charity NSPCC found that students on undergraduate courses received an average of 10.5 hours of safeguarding training – equivalent to a day and a half – over a three-year or four-year course.

Postgraduate trainees, meanwhile, received even fewer hours of safeguarding tuition. Primary trainees received an average of 7.9 hours of safeguarding guidance over the course of the year. And secondary trainees received only 7.8 hours across the year.

Exclusive: More than third of grammar schools change admissions policies to prioritise poor pupils

by Times Educational Supplement, March 31, 2017

Tes analysis suggests that at least 50 of the existing grammar schools have changed their admissions arrangements for 2018-19
More than a third of the existing grammar schools in England are set to change their admissions procedures next year to take more children from disadvantaged backgrounds, a Tes analysis shows.

Our findings reveal that the number of selective schools that will give poorer pupils some priority for the first time in 2018, or that will further relax entrance requirements for these pupils, is growing.

Exclusive: Ofsted will treat this year's writing assessment with 'caution'

by Times Educational Supplement, March 31, 2017

New analysis of writing results reveals variations across country
One of Ofsted’s most senior officials has revealed that the inspectorate is just as reluctant to use this year’s writing assessments as it was in 2016.

The comments from Sean Harford, the watchdog's national director of education, come as the government announced yesterday that it would look into changing the way writing is assessed for 2018.

Last year, Ofsted warned its inspectors not to base judgements of schools on the writing results.

Asked if inspectors would receive the same advice as last year, Mr Harford said: “Yes. Unless we’re convinced that there’s anything different this year than last year, then we will give the same advice that we gave inspectors last year…to treat it with caution.”

Grammars 'will stop poor, bright pupils earning less than rich, dim schoolmates': Education Secretary says selective schools will transform the lives of deprived children

by Daily Mail, March 31, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

.Selective schools could give deprived children access to academic excellence
.That's what Education Secretary Justine Greening said in social mobility speech
.Ministers plan to overturn ban on opening grammars imposed by Labour in 1998

A wave of new grammars will help stop bright poor children going on to earn less than dimmer wealthier classmates, Justine Greening said yesterday.
The Education Secretary added that more selective schools could transform the lives of deprived pupils by giving them the same access to academic excellence.
In a speech on social mobility, she spoke of the unfairness that clever deprived students are around a third less likely to earn a high wage than less intelligent richer peers. Ministers plan to overturn a ban on opening grammars imp

Teach 'problem solving' to produce engineers, schools urged

by BBC News, March 31, 2017

Schools should focus less on "subjects" and more on teaching problem solving skills, say engineers in a report.
A focus on "playful experimentation" could boost learning throughout UK schools, says the Royal Academy of Engineering.
It could also instil a passion for engineering and help "overcome our current lack of engineers", it adds.
Ministers say they want the UK to be world beating for science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.
But co-author Prof Bill Lucas, of Winchester University, said schools "must rethink" the way they teach in order to boost engagement in engineering.

Three Grimsby schools creating grammar-style banding system

by Grimsby Telegraph, March 30, 2017

Classified as 11 Plus.

THREE schools in the Grimsby area are to introduce a grammar-style banding system to cater for the "brightest" students.

At Tollbar Academy, the largest Academy in the Trust, this will mean that, in every year group, in excess of 200 students, recognised as the brightest in the year, will be in a grammar band.

Analysis of key stage 2 results and assessment data show that these students match the ability of students in grammar schools.

Science classes won’t future-proof our children. But dance might

by Guardian, March 30, 2017

Prince George is going to learn ballet. He will wear tights and black shoes, and join girls in pink shoes and tutus, to learn the plié, the relevé and the sauté. He will do this at a private school in Battersea, where he will also be taught kindness, courtesy and humility, and where parents are advised to love their child for “who they are” and not for their ability, for example, to fill a vacant throne.

It makes a change from jousting, hunting, entrail-slicing and the other typical building blocks of life as a male British monarch. “My parents,” said his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, at a charity event last month, “taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect and honesty.” That, she said, was why she wanted to teach her children the same. These things were, “just as important as excelling at maths or sport”.

'Baseline tests for four-year-olds are harmful'

by Times Educational Supplement, March 30, 2017

Early literacy and numeracy are important but not all-important, and not as important as emotional security which is the foundation of all school learning, writes one former inspector and primary school teacher
Justine Greening is consulting on the "teacher-mediated" testing of young children soon after they enter primary school at the age of 4.

English children are already tested far more than children in most other countries and if our four-year-olds are tested, they will be among the very youngest children in the world to undergo a formal assessment of their abilities and achievements.

10 ways to spice up your primary maths problems

by Times Educational Supplement, March 30, 2017

Creating variation in maths problems is crucial to ensuring children's maths knowledge is secure, says this assistant headteacher
Say you have a simple maths objective such as adding three-digit numbers using written methods. You could set out the question as 367 + 613 = ___ and most children who were "on track" would be able to attempt it.

However, rearrange it to ___ = 367 + 613 and some of those very same children will stumble.

Equally, I’ve seen lots of children manage to calculate something like 30 per cent of 250, but get stuck when it’s put across as 30 per cent x 250.

'For the first time in a long time, we can now say we're reducing the amount of high-stakes primary testing'

by Times Educational Supplement, March 30, 2017

We've had troubling few years on primary testing, but the news today suggests we might finally be making some progress, argues one heads' leader
We've seen a couple of important steps forward on primary assessment this week. Much is still to be done, of course, from a very challenging starting point, but real progress nonetheless, borne out of constructive dialogue and with the opportunity for more to come. This is a dialogue in which all unions and associations have played a strong part.

One important gain concerned writing teaching assessment, which allows me to say something I've been longing to say for a while: the writing is on the wall for secure fit.

More young people will be radicalised unless schools change, Pisa boss warns

by Times Educational Supplement, March 30, 2017

Education systems need to teach pupils the things that “distinguish humans from technology”, says Andreas Schleicher
“More of the same education” will not be enough to stop disenfranchised young people who attend schools in some of the most high-performing systems in the world from becoming radicalised and joining Islamic State, Pisa boss Andreas Schleicher has warned

Mr Schleicher – who has also argued in the past that pupils should be taught to recognise "fake news" – was speaking at an international education summit being held in Edinburgh on empowering teachers to improve outcomes in schools.

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