Latest Educational News

Hey, leave those kids alone

by Times, September 8, 2005

THE GOVERNMENT'S answer to educashun, educashun, educashun is still experimentation, experimentation, experimentation. It has let a thousand Bunsen burners flare in city academies, community academies, specialist schools, beacon schools and Sure Starts. Ruth Kelly’s promise to consider letting parents run schools is another attempt to drain the ideological swamp by circumventing local authorities. But if “parent power” is to mean anything, the State needs to relinquish much more control than it has so far seemed minded to do.

State pupils to get more places at top universities

by Times, September 8, 2005

The top universities are being pressed to operate a new admission system that would favour poorer students from state schools.
Youngsters at inner-city comprehensives who do better at A level than their teachers predict would have a second chance to impress admissions tutors.

The move forms part of proposals for an overhaul of the university applications system set out by the Government today. Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, told The Times that it would make admissions fairer.

“The research-intensive universities could hold back a proportion of their places if they want to get the best students,” he said. “The evidence is that there are some very good students from the poorest backgrounds that they currently don’t get because they overperform, based on their predicted grades.”

Pupils pass with flying colours

by Watford, September 8, 2005

Students at Aldenham School achieved the highest ever pass rates for A-level and GCSE this year.

Ninety-nine per cent of pupils at Aldenham School, in Aldenham Road, passed their A-levels and 93 per cent gained A* to C grades at GCSE.

Students applying to university also clocked up the highest number of UCAS points per head ever recorded at the school.

The points correspond to the grades each candidate receives at A-level.

Headmaster, Richard Harman, said: "I am delighted with how well the boys and girls have done.

"All the effort and hard work by staff and pupils has paid off and I am particularly pleased that once again the pupils have achieved good results across the spectrum of ability."

Two of the school's pupils, Margaret Ma and Ceri Davis, are on their way to Oxford and Cambridge after getting the results they needed.

Results improve for 14-year-olds

by Scotsman, September 8, 2005

Results of national school tests for 14-year-olds show improvement in English, maths and science this year, according to new figures.

But the gap between the reading skills of boys and girls widened, the Department for Education and Skills' statistics showed.

The proportion of year nine pupils reaching the level expected of their age group in English rose three points, to 74%, this year.

In maths too, 74% of pupils reached the required standard, up 1% from 2004.

Children as young as three can be identified as the drop-outs of ...

by BBC, September 8, 2005

Children as young as three can be identified as the drop-outs of the future. The aim is to get in early and help those at risk improve their prospects.

It's play time at the Acorns unit and Janet is happily watering plants in the centre's garden. Yesterday was a different matter. She had spat on another pupil, run amok, attacked teachers and then threatened to kill them. Janet is only six but she has already been permanently excluded from one school.

Male teachers 'do not help boys'

by BBC, September 8, 2005

Having male teachers does not improve boys' levels of attainment in school, researchers say.
An assumption that male teachers would have a positive effect but that they were in short supply has concerned policymakers in a number of countries.

But after analysing test results, a team from Durham University found there was no noticeable difference.

However, having a female teacher had a positive effect on children's attitude to school, the team found.

Kelly still won't learn

by Telegraph, September 7, 2005

'We must not allow children in our weakest schools to suffer too long before we intervene," said Ruth Kelly yesterday, announcing that "failing" schools will be closed after a year, rather than two years as currently.

Miss Kelly is right that failing schools should be closed more quickly. Yet she and her predecessors as Education Secretary have had the power to put schools in "special measures" for more than a decade; they have been able arbitrarily to close a school for far longer. Today, two thirds of 11-year-olds still leave primary school without achieving the expected standards, and only half of all 16-year-olds get acceptable grades at GCSE. The system requires more than a small tinker.

How to pass the school fees tests

by Telegraph, September 7, 2005

The start of the new school year is always a costly time for parents - all the more so for those whose children attend an independent school. The Halifax survey found that private school fees have increased by three times the rate of inflation over the past 20 years. While average earnings have increased by 48 per cent over this period - the cost of school fees has shot up by a staggering 129 per cent.

This means that parents are shelling out an average of £8,388 a year on school fees, compared with just £1,806 in 1985. This is a national average. Those living in London and the South East can expect to pay substantially more with annual fees pushing the £10,000 mark.

For those whose children board, the fees will be more than twice the day rate, with annual costs now standing at more than £18,000.

US gives scholarships to UK poor

by BBC, September 7, 2005

The USA has extended to Britain a programme to help disadvantaged students study at US universities.
The United States Achievers Programme (USAP) was set up in 1999 to help bright youngsters from Zimbabwe to study in the USA.

A pilot scheme was later set up in London and others are now following in countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, Latvia, Russia and Bangladesh.

It is intended to help "talented, economically disadvantaged" students.

Move on up

by Guardian, September 7, 2005

According to the statistics, they're not supposed to make it. But that doesn't account for their ambition, hard work and will to succeed. Fran Abrams talks to five British teenagers who have become the first in their families to go to university

America offers its Third World scholarships to British students

by Times, September 7, 2005

A third-World American scholarship scheme has been extended to Britain to recruit the brightest students from the poorest backgrounds to study at US universities.
The United States Achievers Programme (USAP) was devised to give Zimbabweans the opportunity to compete for university places in America.

Now sixth formers from Lewisham and East Ham, alongside students from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Mongolia, are being urged to apply for places at Harvard and Yale and study for free.

Parents' proposal for a secondary takes off

by Times, September 7, 2005

IT WAS a shortage of secondary school places that prompted a group of 15 parents in Lambeth to think about opening their own school, run by themselves but funded by the taxpayer.

That was two years ago and now the plans look set to become reality by 2007 after the former Schools Minister Stephen Twigg agreed before the last election to fast-track funding for the £25 million project. Elmcourt Secondary School will be built on council-owned land in Norwood, South London. When it opens, it will have 180 children a year, building up to an eventual full intake of 1,100 pupils.

Bad schools to close after a year

by Times, September 6, 2005

Failing schools in England will be given notice today that they have a year to improve or face being closed. The ultimatum, to be announced in a speech by Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, raises the stakes for struggling schools by halving the length of time that they have to raise standards. The Government said last year that poor schools would be identified and replaced with city academies, as part of a programme to create 200 such institutions by 2010.

Why Don't We Close A Few Grammar Schools?

by Northern Ireland, September 6, 2005

As Northern Ireland's schools once again post some of the best exam results in the UK, Grosvenor Grammar head John Lockett contrasts that achievement with the future as proposed by the Government. His own solution? Keep selection and close a few grammars

Go to school on an egg

by Independent, September 6, 2005

The right foods can improve reading skills and even increase IQ. Jane Feinmann picks out the ingredients that will boost brain power and give your child a head start in class. The catalyst for this apparently miraculous change was half a gram of fish oil, delivered daily at Elliot's school by researchers undertaking probably the largest ever investigation into the link between intelligence, behaviour and nutrition. Elliot was one of 117 underachieving children, aged between five and 12, from 12 Durham schools who participated in the groundbreaking study to test the impact of a daily dose of omega-3 rich fish oil. Omega-3 is known to be essential for brain development and function, and largely missing in modern diets.

Britain 'developing brain drain'

by Guardian, September 6, 2005

British universities are poaching academic talent from developing countries and should consider recruitment restrictions and compensation packages, a report suggests.
“The brain drain marks a potentially serious barrier to economic growth, development and poverty reduction,” says the report’s author, Alex Nunn, of Leeds Metropolitan’s Policy Research Institute.

The research — commissioned by academic trade unions and the Department for International Development — finds that academic migration is driven by “a complex combination of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors”.

Empty seats crisis for Ulster schools

by Belfast Telegraph, September 6, 2005

Northern Ireland's secondary schools have started the new school year with thousands of empty first year seats - prompting fears for their long-term future, it can be revealed today.

The Belfast Telegraph has obtained figures from the five education boards which show that almost 5,000 Year 8 places remain unfilled in the province's non-selective schools.

This compares with just 53 vacant first year places in the grammar school sector. Three education boards filled all of their new grammar places for the 2005-06 school year.

As schools are funded on a per pupil basis, many secondary schools face an uncertain future as a result of the dramatic drop in overall pupil numbers in Northern Ireland.

Oxford publishes college rankings

by BBC, September 6, 2005

Oxford University has for the first time published a league table showing the performance of its colleges.
For many years some newspapers had compiled the "Norrington Table" from undergraduate degree results posted outside the Examination Schools.

New academy schools fuel education row

by Guardian, September 5, 2005

Among the academies opening this term is the Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate, Kent, which is sponsored by millionaire local businessman Roger de Haan - former owner of Saga Holidays.

It will replace the Ramsgate school which until 2003 was the worst-performing secondary in the country.

It will be the first academy in Kent, which is the largest local education authority in England and has a large number of grammar schools as it retains the 11-plus system.

Schools look to new computer system to catch out cheats

by Scotsman, September 5, 2005

Schools in the Capital are considering bringing in a new system to catch students who cheat by copying other people's work.

The computer-based scheme is being rolled out to every department in Edinburgh University following a successful pilot.

And now city education leader Ewan Aitken says the scheme is something that should be looked at to prevent cheating in the Capital's schools.


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