Latest Educational News

Coronavirus: Where was the national effort to help our schools?

by Sky News, June 27, 2020

Some extraordinary things have been achieved since the coronavirus changed our lives earlier this year - things that some never thought possible.

Seven new hospitals were created at record speed to ramp up capacity in the NHS.

More than one in four workers are now supported by the government's furlough scheme in an unprecedented move to protect jobs.

Inside story: as schools stay shut, is a generation being lost to lockdown?

by Telegraph, June 27, 2020

Prior to the coronavirus lockdown, nine-year-old Junior Tams was thriving at his local primary school on Newcastle’s Byker estate. He was in the top set and particularly enjoyed science classes. Since then, says his mum Mary-Jane, who lives alone with him on the sprawling estate, his education has regressed to a worrying degree.

Over the past three months Junior has grown increasingly obsessed with the online computer game, Fortnite, shutting himself off in his bedroom for hours each day and piling on a lot of weight in the process. Whenever Mary-Jane, 34, who works in a part-time administration job at the local marina, has attempted any home schooling, they have clashed. “He’s got himself stuck into a little rut,” she says....

Time to stop the infighting and put our children's education first - the YEP says

by Yorkshire Evening Post, June 27, 2020

It was just a matter of weeks ago that the Children’s Commissioner warned in this newspaper that keeping children out of school - especially those among the most disadvantaged - for a prolonged period could damage their prospects.

And now today we report on a row breaking out between Leeds councillors over the cost of providing extra school places.

This is against the backdrop of a rising population and the need to ensure that extra space is created to accommodate the new cohorts of children in the classroom.

Some assessment could be moved to earlier in 2021, suggests heads’ union

by Schools Week, June 27, 2020

Some assessment in 2021 should be moved to earlier in the year rather than delay exams, a leadership union has said.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he had asked the government to consider whether pupils could get some elements of assessment “under the belt” before the summer exams.

Is this how secondary schools will reopen?

by TES, June 27, 2020

“Intelligent lockdown”: this was the phrase that the Dutch government used when it decided to shut down most of the country on 15 March 2020. School, childcare, restaurants – all were to be closed until at least 6 April.

Immediately, teachers were supposed to deliver online lessons. We were expected to be ready to go with distance learning in an instant.

Luckily, our school already worked with the online tools Somtoday and It’s Learning, so handing in, marking and homework were covered. We now also began to use Microsoft Teams to teach online.

University reforms 'must level playing field' for disadvantaged students

by Sky News, June 27, 2020

The body that manages university admissions says it is "ready to change and challenge" the current system, after reports the government is set to overhaul how pupils apply for courses.

UCAS says disadvantaged students should be "the paramount consideration" in reforms to the admissions process that are expected in the coming months.

It comes after The Guardian reported that the Department for Education was planning changes in England that would allow students to apply for universities after A-level results are published.

When will schools fully reopen, and should I send my child back to school?

by Telegraph, June 27, 2020

Boris Johnson has announced that all school children will be able to go back to school in September – although some should be able to go back beforehand.

Speaking in the Commons today (23 June), the Prime Minister said: “Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance. Those children who can already go to school should do so because it is safe.”

This follows measures earlier this month, June 15, which reopened secondary schools to Year 10 and 12 pupils, and the reopening of primary schools to Reception, Year One and Year Six pupils from June 1.

The government will be publishing new guidelines for schools this week.

City grammar schools to press ahead with 11-plus exams

by The Irish News , June 26, 2020

Classified as 11 Plus.

Catholic grammar schools in Belfast and Derry have, as expected, confirmed they will ask children to sit entrance tests this winter.

Amid calls for clarity from parents, several schools said they would operate the unregulated system of academic selection.

Children will face different papers over consecutive weekends in November and December.

Vulnerable children to get better support when moving school

by GOV UK, June 26, 2020

Vulnerable children are to receive improved support when moving school during term time, in new measures to reduce time spent out of the classroom.

Proposed changes to the School Admissions Code outlined today (26 June) include a new turnaround of 10 school days for a decision on an in-year application and clearly defined timescales for each stage of the process.

While these measures will apply to all children moving school during the academic year, including those of Armed Forces Personnel, vulnerable children and those in care are much more likely to move school outside of the usual timeframes.

There will also be greater clarity for parents or carers on how applications can be made during term time, how the council or admissions authority will handle requests and how decisions can be appealed.

Parents ‘stressed out’ at school return - MLA

by Portadown Times , June 26, 2020

Doug Beattie called for more clarity and to introduce multiple ‘social bubbles’ in in each class to allow for 100% attendance at school.

The Ulster Unionist MLA praised a Portadown primary school which, he said has brought forward a plan which allows their pupils to return at 100% attendance in September.

Mr Beattie said: “Their solution is to introduce ‘Social Bubbles’ and each class will consist of 5 bubbles, each containing 6 children. I am calling on the Education Minister to alleviate the unnecessary stress being forced on parents at this time and to strongly consider introducing this solution to all schools.

Schools in the UK need to wake up and teach pupils the history of the British Empire

by The National, June 26, 2020

About a hundred years ago, when the British Empire was at its peak, it covered about a quarter of the world’s land mass and dominated over 412 million people, a quarter of the world’s population at the time. Its vastness even prompted the phrase, "the empire on which the sun never sets" – because it was always daylight somewhere in the territories it occupied across the world.

Whatever your views on the British Empire, its significance to the state of our world today is undeniable. For people in the UK, its legacy affects every aspect of life, from matters like food and language to existential issues like race, inequality our relationships with the world, who gets to be called British, how class structures work, the stratification of wealth and resources and the decline of our industrial towns. Put another way, it affects everything.

Coronavirus: Schools prepare for huge reopening challenge

by BBC News, June 26, 2020

At Caereinion High School, getting classes ready for Monday has felt like rebuilding the school from scratch.

Education in the "new normal" will mean secondary pupils being taught in "bubbles", bringing their own lunches and travelling in from surrounding villages in Powys in small numbers.

Across Wales, only limited numbers of pupils will be in each day - and the plans vary.

It has been a huge challenge for staff and councils.

How to find a London school online

by Relocate Magazine, June 26, 2020

As the UK takes its first tentative steps out of life under lockdown, attention is turning from navigating the next 24 hours at home, to what the future holds. With nothing left to watch on Netflix and home-schooling testing our patience, news that restrictions are being eased couldn’t come soon enough – including the government’s announcement that Primary schools will reopen on 1st June for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
But what about the school search process for anyone relocating to London with their family? Unfortunately, this will still be impacted by the need to guard against a potential second wave of Covid-19. Ongoing social distancing restrictions will prevent physical visits from happening for a while yet, meaning the ability to make informed decisions will depend on online resources.

School social distancing SCRAPPED: New pupil rules ahead of September return

by Express.co.uk, June 26, 2020

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is finalising proposals to double the 15-child limit on class sizes in primary schools and ditch requirements for teachers to enforce the new “one metre plus” measure. Instead, schools will be asked to focus on limiting the extent to which children mix outside their class or year group and on implementing strict hygiene regimes.

More Calderdale families secure first-choice primary school place

by Halifax Courier, June 26, 2020

School leaders’ union the National Association of Headteachers says the anxiety for parents over not securing their preferred school this year will "only be heightened" by fear and uncertainty felt during the coronavirus pandemic.

Department for Education figures show that 92.7% of children starting primary school in Calderdale this September received an offer from their first-choice school – up from 92.3% last year.

That means 172 families missed out on gaining a place at their first-choice primary school, as the number of applications to primary schools in the area rose by 3% to 2,357.

The picture in Calderdale contrasted with that across England, where 90.2% of Reception starters received an offer from their first-choice school, falling from 90.6% last year.

When will schools reopen? Date pupils can return to schools in England as Boris Johnson promises September return for all schoolkids

by Yorkshire Evening Post, June 25, 2020

Children in England been returning to school since June 1, with secondary schools allowing the return of pupils since June 15 as the UK continues to move out of lockdown.

And the Prime Minister has aid that all children will be back to full-time education in September.

Mr Johnson said: “Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance. Those children who can already go to school should do so because it is safe.”

Top private school ‘exaggerates’ predicted grades so more pupils will get into uni

by The Tab, June 25, 2020

Top UK private school, Sevenoaks, has a policy of asking teacher’s to exaggerate exam predictions, leaked documents have revealed.

These predictions are made for the lower performing students on their university applications, to help them secure their offers, report the Guardian.

Guidelines set out in the minutes of internal meetings and the 2019-20 teachers’ handbook show that for about 20 lower-performing students, who may be at risk of missing out on their preferred degree course, staff are asked to increase their predicted grades on their UCAS applications.

Fewer Wakefield families secure first-choice primary school place

by Wakefield Express, June 25, 2020

Fewer Wakefield pupils have gained a place at their first-choice primary school this year, new figures show.

School leaders’ union the National Association of Headteachers says the anxiety for parents over not securing their preferred school this year will "only be heightened" by fear and uncertainty felt during the coronavirus pandemic.

Department for Education figures show that 91.5% of children starting primary school in Wakefield this September received an offer from their first-choice school – down from 92.2% last year.

Schools to scrap social distancing and double class sizes from September

by Metro, June 25, 2020

Schools will be exempt from social distancing and ‘bubbles’ will be expanded to enable all pupils to return to the classroom full-time in September, according to a report. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is said to be finalising proposals to double the 15-child limit on class sizes in primary schools and scrap requirements for teachers to enforce the new ‘one metre plus’ rule. Pupils will not be expected to keep two or even one metre apart in the school building. Instead, teachers will be asked to focus on limiting the extent to which children mix outside of their class or year group and on implementing strict hygiene regimes, The Telegraph reports. Currently, primary school children who have returned to the classroom are confined to ‘bubbles’ of 15 and are not allowed to interact with children in other bubbles.

Increase in Herts families securing first-choice school places this year

by Hemel Today, June 25, 2020

The picture in Hertfordshire contrasted with that across England, where 90.2% of Reception starters received an offer from their first-choice school, falling from 90.6% last year.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said there is concern around a variation in rates between different areas of the country.

“It is a complex issue because it is associated with high demand for popular schools, but it means many families are left disappointed, and this issue does need to be addressed," he said.

Meanwhile, the proportion of pupils securing a place at their first-choice secondary school in Hertfordshire rose from 74.6% last year to 78.6% this year.