Latest Educational News

How will you be affected by UK university strikes?

by The Guardian, February 19, 2020

The University College Union (UCU) have confirmed that staff from 74 universities across the UK will go on strike starting on Thursday for 14 days until 13 March 2020.

The strike follows the November and December 2019 strike, in which staff from 60 universities walked out over disputes regarding pay, pensions and working conditions. The strikes are expected to cause significant disruption to the studies of university students during the final weeks of term.

Students at some universities including Edinburgh, York and Leicester have launched petitions for compensation from universities. This is the third set of strikes since 2018. Many have said they support the strikes but feel that they should be reimbursed for missed tuition time.

Dozens of new homes approved for grammar school site - but none will be 'affordable'

by Manchester Evening News, February 18, 2020

Dozens of new homes are to be built on an old grammar school site - but not a single one will be ‘affordable’.

Planners have granted permission - pending ministerial sign-off - for an estate of 24 houses and 13 apartments on the grounds of the former Hulme Hall School, in Cheadle Hulme.

The Hulme Hall Road site has fallen into dilapidation since the school moved to Davenport three years ago, and PH Properties are set to give it a new lease of life as a residential development.

Ordinarily, the firm would have to offer nearly half of the homes at affordable prices - usually around 80pc of market rates.

But due to the government’s new ‘vacant building credit’ - introduced to encourage the developers to build on brownfield sites - it does not apply in this case.

'A sense of community and no bullying' - Village school retains good rating

by Eastern Daily Press, February 18, 2020

Garvestone Community Primary, based on Dereham Road, welcomed Ofsted inspectors to the school, situated between Dereham and Wymondham, on January 15.

In a report published on February 6, it read: "A distinctive feature of this school is its sense of community."

Other praise included pupils feeling safe, leaders having high expectations of learning and behaviour, lots of enrichment activities being offered and pupils reporting no bullying.

Saving Higher Education

by National Review, February 18, 2020

Despite the denials of universities boards, administrators, and faculty, American higher education, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, is a hopeless mess. What basis is there for such a harsh diagnosis?

One, a college education is far too expensive. Nearly 45 million young Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loans — a staggering sum unmatched in American history. Millions have either defaulted on their loans or are able to pay only the interest and are making no progress on the principle.

Universities have for decades upped their tuition and services higher than the rate of annual inflation. Yet they deny they have any responsibility for the staggering student debt, even though the encumbrances have altered the U.S. economy, culture, and demography. One of many reasons youth are marrying later, delaying child-rearing, and unable to buy a home is that so many of them are burdened well into their late twenties and early thirties with student-loan debt, on average over $30,000 per student. Again, the university more or less shrugs, insisting it has no responsibility for this collective national disaster that it helped create

Could grammar schools still make a comeback?

by TES, February 18, 2020

For more than two decades the law has prevented the opening of any wholly new grammar schools. And to date, all the signals from the top suggest that this will not change under a Johnson-led Conservative government.

A senior Department for Education source told Tes in no uncertain terms before the general election that there was no plan to seek to overturn the ban.

And even the chief executive of the Grammar School Heads Association, Mark Fenton, admitted to Tes that the government “probably thinks it’s not worth the aggravation” from the anti-selection lobby.

That anti-selection lobby gathered momentum last month when the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) published a collection of essays by leading academics explaining how grammar schools "unequivocally damage" social mobility.

But that doesn’t mean the issue is going to go away. Far from it. It seems that out there – among parents and at least some politicians – the interest in grammar schools is as high as ever.

Further crackdown on illegal schools

by GOV.UK, February 14, 2020

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged to continue to crack down on dangerous illegal schools to make sure children are safe and not exposed to risky practices or extreme influences.

Ofsted will be given an extra £400,000 to help investigate unregistered independent schools and support the regulator in bringing together evidence for prosecution. The Secretary of State has also reiterated the Department for Education’s commitment to bring forward new legislation to strengthen the watchdog’s powers.

This latest funding injection will build on the £3million invested since 2016 to fund a joint Department for Education and Ofsted team that has seen 72 illegal settings stop operating unlawfully and resulted in three prosecutions - leading to convictions on all three cases.

Primary schools in England hold half-term Sats revision classes

by The Guardian, February 13, 2020

Primary schools in England are holding half-term and Easter holiday revision classes for pupils as young as six to prepare them for standardised tests known as Sats, the Guardian has learned.

The use of holiday “booster sessions” for pupils in year two was robustly condemned by the Department for Education (DfE) and major teaching unions, with one union leader describing them as “an extraordinarily bad idea” with no positive impact.

One primary school in north London has invited its year two pupils to attend voluntary revision sessions during next week’s half-term holiday, well in advance of the tests on maths, literacy and grammar due in May.

Another primary school in Birmingham is offering parents of year two pupils free childcare for the half-term break, combining maths and English revision classes in the mornings with more conventional holiday activities such as sports coaching and cooking lessons in the afternoons.

What you need to know about financing your education in the UK after Brexit

by Chronicle Live, February 11, 2020

One of the most controversial subjects around the world in the past few years has been Brexit. We’ve been talking about on a daily basis, speculating and thinking about how it will change our lives. Well, the time has come, as we've now left the European Union, as of January 31, 2020.

Currently, we’re in a transition period that will last throughout 2020, which means that the UK is still following EU regulations. But what happens when the year is over? Will the education sector be heavily affected?

In order to answer your questions, in this article, we’ll be discussing the things that you need to know when it comes to financing your education in the UK after Brexit.

Wirral Grammar School for Girls 'Merseyside's most improved''

by Wirral Globe, February 11, 2020

THE Wirral school which improved its students more than any other in the region last year said there's no limit to the pupils' future potential.

Wirral Grammar School for Girls, in Bebington, scored best in the region on Progress 8 – the main measure of children’s progress during secondary school.

The news comes after figures released yesterday showed exactly how well students up and down the country did in their GCSE exams last year.

Elaine Cogan, head teacher at Wirral Grammar School for Girls, said: "The girls come in at a very high level, so to show such excellent progress is incredible.

"The fact that we're able to take girls at high levels and then add nearly three quarters of a grade to their results.

"The results are down to our fantastic, skilled teachers who go the extra mile for our children.

School 'brings lessons to life' with VR headsets after crowdfunding campaign

by Eastern Daily Press, February 7, 2020

Primary school pupils have walked along China's lantern tunnel and explored wild habitats after a crowdfunding campaign to introduce virtual reality headsets into classes. Pupils at Somerleyton Primary School have embraced the technology in a bid to "bring lessons to life."

The headsets came after a crowdfunding campaign reached more than double the school's original target.

Headteacher Louise Spall said: "We have brought in these headsets as part of the teaching and learning experience.

"In our science class, for example, the pupils are looking at spiders, and they're able to see a 3D spider and be totally immersed in that. It's amazing.

Kent schools: The best secondary schools in Kent for GCSEs

by Kent Live, February 7, 2020

onbridge Grammar School has been named as the best in Kent when it comes to GCSEs.

New updated figures released this week reveal exactly how well students at schools up and down the country did in their GCSE exams last year.

Across Kent, the average Attainment 8 score a student taking the exams received ranged from a 47.4 in Kent to a 46.6 in Medway.

Across Kent, the average Attainment 8 score a student taking the exams received ranged from a 47.4 in Kent to a 46.6 in Medway.

That’s compared to a nationwide average score of 44.7, with 60 per cent of students passing English and Maths with a grade between nine and four.

Tonbridge Grammar School saw its pupils get an average score of 76.3 – with 100 per cent passing English and Maths.

No other school in our area performed this well.

The Judd School was the next best performing, with its pupils achieving an average Attainment 8 score of 76 (and 99 per cent of them passing English and Maths).

That was followed by Dartford Grammar School for Girls (average score of 75.3), Dartford Grammar School (average score of 74.3), and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School (average score of 73.8).

For the list of the top schools and colleges in our area, you can check out the list below.

Alternatively, enter the name of a school in our handy gadget to find out how well your child’s school, or old school performed.

Opinion: Academic selection fails many children and needs to be addressed

by IRISH NEWS, February 7, 2020

It is sobering to think that some of the children who received their transfer test results at the weekend were not even born when the last state sponsored exams were held.

The tests that took place in November 2008 should have marked the end of academic selection, or at any rate the beginning of the end but in the absence of an official system, an unregulated process filled the vacuum.

In fact, there are two unregulated processes, meaning that a child who wants to maximise their grammar school options could end up sitting five papers over four consecutive weekends.

Parents who are opposed to selection at age 11 but who wish their child to go to a grammar school are placed in an invidious position. If they opt out of the process then their child's options are considerably narrowed.

When the parents of today's Primary Sevens welcomed their newborns in 2008 and 2009, they probably hoped and believed that their child would not have to go through the gruelling 11-plus procedure, that a better way to manage the transition to post-primary education would have been put in place.

Yet, here we are in 2020 and thousands of children have been through the tests and received their results and the likelihood is that those currently in P6 and P5 will also have to sit the exams.

Schools consider change to two-tier

by The Ambler, February 7, 2020

Executive Head of JCSC Neil Rodgers told The Ambler he had been meeting with heads of the first schools to discuss whether changing to a two-tier (primary and secondary), or remaining as a three-tier system (first, middle and high school) was best for the students in the future.

He said: “There have been discussions between ourselves and the first schools to see if we can come to a decision collectively as a partnership.” However, he stressed, “The money is not dependent on one [decision] or the other.”

“We need to agree on what is beneficial to us all for the future. We’re still in discussions with all the other first schools in the partnership (Amble First, Amble Links, Grange View, Red Row and Broomhill). We’re also working closely with Warkworth who became a primary recently. The long term future of our students is the most important thing.”

He added, “I am sure we will get an agreement very quickly.”

Young Britons fear for their post-Brexit future

by Financial Times, February 7, 2020

In the course of speaking with thousands of under-30s, Mr Coban found that many view the decision to leave the EU as a continuation of the neglect and disadvantage that they feel has been dealt to their generation and is linked in part to austerity.

“We saw the education maintenance allowance get scrapped, tuition fees increase, rents and house prices are sky high,” he said. “Then Brexit happened. We’re left thinking, can this get any worse?”

London school districts claim all top 10 slots in league tables

by Evening Standard, February 7, 2020

London’s secondary school districts have claimed all top 10 slots for academic progress in new national league tables which reveal the capital’s continuing dominance in education.

Ealing recorded the highest score in England for Progress 8, a new government benchmark which calculates how far pupils advance between primary school and year 11, according to analysis of data from every major local authority by the Standard.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Schools across London have not only achieved very high standards in their GCSE results, they’ve also helped pupils from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds realise their potential.”

Ealing MP Rupa Huq pointed out the area had an above average number of pupils and parents without English as native language.

“It’s a great reflection on the dedicated teachers, staff teams, parents and students at Ealing schools that the borough has seen fantastic results here placing us top in the whole country as most improved,” she said.

Preston primary school to expand for one year only - for now

by Lancashire, February 7, 2020

Lea Community Primary will boost its reception intake to 60 children in September, after an increased birth rate and rapid housing expansion caused a projected shortfall in primary school places in the area.

The expansion is currently expected to be for one year only - although there is the potential for it to become a permanent arrangement.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet gave the go ahead to the plans, which will see the additional children housed within the existing school building on Greaves Town Lane following some internal alterations to make it suitable for the increased numbers.

Brexit isn’t done: What next for the UK’s universities?

by New Statesman, February 5, 2020

The future of UK universities in the era of Brexit hinges primarily on two things: Erasmus and Horizon. What may sound like meaningless words worthy of Apprentice team names to most are actually the key EU programmes that our universities participate in.

Erasmus is an exchange scheme intended to empower young people through cooperation and mobility between EU countries (i.e. it gives students in EU countries the opportunity to live and learn abroad), and Horizon is a framework for funding research, technological development and innovation. Next year, a new round of these programmes is due, entitled Erasmus Plus and Horizon Europe. The wish of UK universities and the EU institutions is for Britain to apply for “associated status” so that it can participate in such programmes and maintain the quality of the resources, opportunities and contribution of its universities. After all, the UK remains the top recipient of European Research Council funding, with 19.5 per cent of all grants going to UK-based researchers.

UK universities will only lead the world if they keep Erasmus and EU research funds

by The Guardian, February 5, 2020

Brexit is a sad moment, as is always the case whenever a member of a community leaves. But for European universities, it may be felt as a particular blow. We’ve been overwhelmingly in favour of the UK staying in the European Union because of our strong tradition of working across borders, whether it’s researchers working in international teams to make groundbreaking discoveries or students spending their formative years in the Erasmus programme.

We’re also connected by a common sense of purpose and the recognition that we can do more together than we can alone. I have worked in Brussels for nearly two decades, mostly facilitating UK engagement in EU research and education programmes and fostering cross-border cooperation, and I have witnessed both the desire to work collaboratively and the tangible benefits this collaboration brings to universities and society.

The good news is that this is likely to continue after Brexit, thanks to plans to keep the UK in European research funding and student mobility programmes, such as Erasmus and Horizon Europe. But the bad news is that if we want this transition to be smooth, time is short. Universities in the UK and the EU need to pressure the negotiating teams to stay on track.

Outstanding primary schools fail Ofsted inspections under sudden rule switch

by The Guardian, February 4, 2020

The eight-year-old boy was meeting the Ofsted inspector for the first time. “What do you remember learning in history?” she asked, tapping on her iPad. It was months since his year did the subject but he thought of something: “The Vikings.” And what did he learn about the Vikings? “They invented dragons,” he replied.

Under the inspectorate’s new framework, introduced last September, anecdotal evidence of what children say appears to be taking centre stage. The child’s reply about Viking imagery was mentioned three times in feedback to the school as proof of “misconceptions and gaps in the children’s knowledge”, and it went on to inform the final report and decision to grade the school as “requires improvement”.

This was despite a steep rise in the attainment of 11-year-olds in the statutory tests for maths and English, from 25% reaching the expected standard in 2017 to 70% last year, above the 65% England average. Four-year-olds who came into the reception class well below average had reached the national average by the end of the year.

When is February half term 2020? School holiday dates from across the UK

by iNews, February 4, 2020

It might feel as if the kids only just went back to school after the Christmas holidays, but already the half-term break is upon us.

That means the little blighters get a week off, and with February weather often on the colder and wetter end of the spectrum, will no doubt be kept indoors by the elements.

But when do they break up for half-term, and when do they go back to school at the end of it all?