Latest Educational News

Jim Armitage: Unfair grammar school system will hurt the economy

by Evening Standard, January 7, 2019

Classified as 11 Plus.

Few Londoners were fans of the way Capita burst onto the scene in the Nineties and Noughties to profiteer from the Congestion Charge, welfare benefits IT and the like. It doesn’t feel like many are weeping over its present financial woes.

But there will be some sympathy today for founder Sir Rod Aldridge who, despite all the millions he subsequently earned, tells of how he feels badly let down by Britain’s education system.

The son of a factory worker, Aldridge failed his 11-plus, meaning he did not get into the grammar school his intelligence deserved.

East End boy whose family fled Bangladesh conflict wins £76k scholarship to Eton

by Evening Standard, December 16, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

A teenager born in Bangladesh who lives in an East End council flat will follow in the footsteps of Princes William and Harry after winning a place at Eton.

Maheraj Ahmed, 15, will take his place in the hallowed halls of Britain’s most famous school on a £76,000 scholarship next September.

Maheraj, who goes to Cumberland School in Plaistow, will join the sixth form at Eton to study for A-levels in history, chemistry, biology and physics next September, after coming through a three-day assessment at the Berkshire school which included three entrance exams, seven interviews and a public debate.

Attainment gap for summer-born pupils 'persists at age 11'

by TES, November 21, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

The gap between the performance of summer-born children and their peers is still evident at the age of 11, new research shows.

The findings come from an analysis of more than 1.5 million pupil assessments in reading and maths.

Millennials fail GCSE financial skills test aced by baby boomers and 16-year-olds

by Independent, November 9, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Four years after the introduction of financial education in English secondary schools, 16-year-old leavers today have better money management skills than most adults.

That’s according to results from an experiment designed to test the effects of compulsory money lessons on the country’s youngest earners and highlight the potential issues for those left behind.

'12 questions we should ask about KS3 curriculum'

by TES, November 6, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

The curriculum is the heart of every school: it tells parents, students and staff what we want for our students. Key stage 3 has often been viewed as the lost years in a child’s education journey, a twilight zone that bridges their KS2 Sats and GCSE courses in KS4. Ofsted's intentions to heighten its focus on the curriculum could be a catalyst for schools to rethink and re-energise their KS3 offer.

In many respects, curriculum planning is one of the most important decisions for senior leaders. We all know that the curriculum is more than the subjects taught and how much time they are allocated: it’s how a school ensures that its vision, mission and values are realised.

The academy trusts whose GCSE students keep disappearing

by The Guardian, November 6, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Some of England’s most influential academy chains are facing fresh questions over the number of children disappearing from their classrooms in the run-up to GCSEs, following a new statistical analysis of official figures.

'Protect education funding up to 18'

by TES, November 5, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Since 2013, young people have been required by law to participate in some form of education and training up to at least their 18th birthday.

This extension from 16 turned out to be a good example of an orphan policy. It was a Labour government that put through the legislation in 2008 but a coalition government which implemented it five years later. It would have been a brave political decision not to implement it, but it was certainly not owned by the coalition as one of their priorities.

‘Teaching must be varied to attract millennials’

by BBC News, November 2, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Graduates no longer want one job for life - they are seeking variety in their careers, says teacher training expert

We need to make teaching more varied to attract today's graduates, says Sam Twiselton
Teaching needs to be presented to young people as a varied career because millennials do not want one job for life, according to the head of a major training provider.

Uni student tutors boost pupils’ maths in 12 hours

by TES, November 2, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Maths results for disadvantaged primary pupils can be boosted by just 12 hours of low-cost tutoring with university students who had been trained to manage small groups, new research has found.

The tutors helped 10 and 11-year-olds who had been struggling with maths, to make the equivalent of three additional months’ progress over a year.

The study, which has been published by the Education Endowment Foundation today, evaluated tutoring from the Tutor Trust, a Manchester-based charity which aims to provide affordable small group and one-to-one tuition to schools.

Schools fear broken funding promises

by BBC News, October 31, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

The government said every secondary school would receive at least £4,800 per pupil in 2019.

But councils have transferred money from school funds to boost budgets for children with high needs.

A Department for Education spokesman said there was more money for every pupil in every school.

Dave Baker, chief executive of the Olympus Academy Trust - which runs nine schools outside Bristol - said parents felt furious and betrayed because promises had not been met.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "Of the secondaries, three out of four secondaries will not be above the £4,800 on our calculations."

Boost 16-18 funding by £200 per student, Hammond told

by TES, October 25, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

The chancellor of the exchequer is being urged to increase the funding rate for 16- to 18-year-olds in schools and colleges by £200 per student in the Budget.

A coalition of 12 organisations representing school and college leaders, governors, teachers and support staff in England have written a letter to the chancellor asking him to take action as it launches the Raise the Rate campaign.

England an outlier in using teacher assessment for Sats

by TES, October 25, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

England is one of only two international jurisdictions that use teacher assessment when judging the writing ability of 10- and 11-year-olds, new Ofqual research has found.

The exams regulator is currently investigating different approaches to the assessment of writing at the end of primary education in countries or jurisdictions that are English-speaking or use English for assessments.

It says the aim is “to provide evidence that can both support stakeholder debate and inform government’s ongoing exploration of potential alternatives to the current model”.

According to initial findings, published today, Ofqual has identified 15 large-scale assessments that systematically assess writing around the end of the primary stage.

Pupils sent wrong school entrance exam results

by BBC News, October 19, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Parents have criticised two grammar schools which wrongly told them pupils had passed entrance exams.

Families eyeing a coveted place at The Crypt and Sir Thomas Rich's schools in Gloucester received emails telling them their children had achieved the "qualifying standard".

But they were left "upset and angry" when a follow-up email told them they had been incorrectly informed.

The schools blamed a "technical error" for the mistakes, and have apologised.

In other cases, pupils were originally told they had not passed the eleven-plus exam, only to later learn they had.

Stephanie Dyer, from Churchdown, whose son was wrongly told he won a place at the Crypt, said she was "upset and angry that a school of this calibre could make such a mistake".

What Ofsted's new framework means for further education

by TES, October 11, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Colleges, training providers and schools will be relieved of burdensome data collection in order to focus on teaching and learning, according to Ofsted's chief inspector.

​​​​​​Amanda Spielman announced the inspectorate's plans to focus more on the quality of education at schools, rather than exam results.

While her speech at the SCHOOLS NorthEast summit in Newcastle today was focused on schools, the new framework will also apply to further education colleges and other post-16 providers. Following a consultation in January, the changes are due to come into effect in September 2019.

Ms Spielman acknowledged that the current inspection model had contributed to excessive workload for some teaching staff. The new inspection framework plans to reward school leaders who are ambitious for their learners, rather than “those who jump through hoops”.

Elite public schools drop common entrance exams

by TES, October 8, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Westminster and St Paul's say the aim is to reduce sustained pressure upon pupils, parents and teachers

Two elite public schools are dropping the 13-plus common entrance exam in a bid to reduce pressure on pupils, parents and teachers.

St Paul’s School and Westminster School, which are both located in London, said the decision will give preparatory schools more flexibility in determining their own curriculum and allow them more room to incorporate independent study into the school day.

Dropping the 13-plus in favour of "pre-tests" taken in Year 6 will also reduce "the sustained pressure upon pupils, parents and teachers between National Curriculum Year 5 and Year 8," they said in a joint press release.

“Not having to take the [common entrance] examination will relieve stress and create more time for the school,” said Professor Mark Bailey, High Master of St Paul’s School.

Sixth form college students 'getting short straw'

by Guardian Education , October 8, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

An annual £760 shortfall in funding for every sixth form college student has been uncovered as a result of a government spending freeze combined with spiralling costs.

Research by the thinktank London Economics says funding for ages 16-19 education in sixth form colleges has declined by 22% in real terms over the past eight years, resulting in cuts to staff, curriculum and enrichment activities.

For the first time, the consultancy has calculated the additional funding it says is required per student per year in order to deliver an internationally competitive sixth form education.

The report, which was commissioned by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), says an additional £760 per head would ensure there were adequate student support services, protect subjects that are under threat and allow for three additional hours of extracurricular activities.

'Super-selective' grammar school must change rules

by TES, September 4, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

A ”super-selective” grammar school has been ordered to change its admission policy after it was found to be in breach of admissions laws.

The Rochester Grammar School, a “popular and oversubscribed” girls’ school in Medway, Kent, was found to give priority to pupils with siblings in other secondary schools within its multi-academy trust, including a selective school for boys.

In a report published today, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) says it considered the views of the local authority as well as those of a legal adviser for the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which runs the grammar, and those of “an objector,” among other documents, in reaching its decision that the school breached the admissions code.

The report quotes claims by the objector that the school was "super-selective" and that it favoured pupils from primary feeder schools within its multi-academy trust, although schools adjudicator David Lennard Jones did not uphold this claim.

Grammar schools: Thousands of new places created

by BBC, August 1, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

There are 11,000 more grammar school pupils in England now than in 2010, BBC analysis of official data shows.

And by 2021, the data suggests, the number of extra places created will be equivalent to 24 new grammar schools compared to eight years ago.

The analysis shows a rise in numbers even before the distribution of a new £50m growth fund, announced in May.

The government says schools will be eligible for funding only if they improve access for poorer pupils.

Grammar schools are state-funded secondary schools which allocate places to pupils on the basis of their performance in an extra academic test at the end of primary school.

Grammar schools: Thousands of new places created

by BBC, August 1, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

There are 11,000 more grammar school pupils in England now than in 2010, BBC analysis of official data shows.

And by 2021, the data suggests, the number of extra places created will be equivalent to 24 new grammar schools compared to eight years ago.

The analysis shows a rise in numbers even before the distribution of a new £50m growth fund, announced in May.

The government says schools will be eligible for funding only if they improve access for poorer pupils.

Grammar schools are state-funded secondary schools which allocate places to pupils on the basis of their performance in an extra academic test at the end of primary school.

Prime Minister Theresa May had to drop controversial plans to overturn the ban on new schools after the last election, but the expansion of existing grammar schools has been encouraged.

As a working-class student who tried and failed to navigate the grammar school system, let me tell you exactly how elitist it is

by The Independent, August 1, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

As I shuffled down the corridor of my local grammar school to sit my 11-plus, all I could think about was how I was missing my auntie’s wedding day to take the test. I stared down at the countless symbols and numbers on the exam paper that was supposed to determine my future and knew, as a working-class student without an inherent talent in maths, or money from my parents for extra tutoring, that the odds were stacked against me.

Figures for pupils like me facing the 11-plus are bleak, as 70 per cent of children in England who are tutored secure a place in a grammar school, compared with just 14 per cent of those who had no extra help. Furthermore, 12 per cent of grammar students were privately educated in the last year of primary school.

Despite all this, I wish that I could tell my 11-year-old self that failing that entry test would not be a reflection on my later achievements – and that this archaic, elitist system of selective education does not have to seal your fate.

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