Latest Educational News

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.

Disadvantaged pupils get just 4.5% of grammar school places

by Schools Week, August 1, 2018

The most disadvantaged pupils secured just 4.5 per cent of all grammar school places last year.

Data collected by anti-selection campaign group Comprehensive Future shows that of 12,341 places available at 80 grammar schools across England last September, just 564 were offered to pupils who attract pupil premium funding.

In fact, there were 22 grammar schools that failed to admit a pupil premium child in 2017, despite 28 per cent of pupils receiving the pupil premium this year.

Schools get pupil premium funding for children who have been eligible for free school meals, in care, or whose parents have served in the armed forces at any point in the past six years.

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.

Oxford University student graduates aged 95

by BBC, July 30, 2018

A 95-year-old man has graduated from Oxford University, 76 years after he completed his degree.

John Philip Trower finished a shortened wartime BA in modern history at New College in 1942.

However, he said he did not collect his degree at the time due to "inefficiency on my part", and waited more than seven decades to do so.

The graduation ceremony was arranged by his nephews Richard Trower and Martin Soldau.

Mr Trower was born on 16 May 1923 in London and attended school in Dorset before spending four years at Eton College.

Classroom teachers in England getting 3.5% pay rise

by BBC, July 24, 2018

Teachers in England are to receive pay rises between 1.5% and 3.5% from the autumn, ministers have announced.

Schools will receive a grant of £508m over two years to cover the increases, drawn from existing Department for Education budgets.

"There are no great schools without great teachers," said Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

But the government has not implemented the independent pay body's call for an across-the-board 3.5% increase.

Head teacher Jules White, who has campaigned against school funding shortages, says it will mean schools having to "raid their already devastated budgets to fund part of the increase".

Millions of families 'worse off' than 15 years ago

by BBC, July 24, 2018

Millions of "just about managing" families are no better off today than those in 2003, new research from the Resolution Foundation indicates.

The remarkable income stagnation for so many reveals that the economy has been failing to generate income for people over many years despite record levels of people in work.

In 2003, households on the lower half of incomes typically earnt £14,900.

In 2016/17 that figure had fallen to £14,800, the research shows.

Both figures are adjusted for inflation and housing costs.

There are over eight million low and middle income households, just under half of which have children.

And it is not just poorer households which have been facing a pay squeeze.

On average, incomes for all households in 2017/18 increased by just 0.9%, the lowest rise for four years and less than half the average between 1994 and 2007, just before the financial crisis.

Teacher wins £15k to help GCSE resit students

by TES, July 23, 2018

An English teacher has been awarded £15,000 to help support GCSE resit students using virtual reality.

Alice Eardley, from Activate Learning’s City of Oxford College Technology Campus has won £15,000 to use virtual reality (VR) and gaming systems to build an online vocabulary development programme.

Adult education 'helps parents and their children'

by TES, July 23, 2018

Parents feel more confident about helping their children with reading, writing and maths after taking adult education courses, a survey reveals.

The Workers' Educational Association, a voluntary sector provider of adult education, has published the results of a survey it carried out as it launched its parenting campaign Grow Together – Learn Together.

WEA surveyed 4,000 of its learners, and three out of five parents said that taking part in a course while their child was at school improved their confidence to help out with homework.

The research comes as the annual Varkey Foundation Global Parents' Survey revealed that a quarter of British parents do not help with their children’s homework for fear of embarrassment.

'Why am I still in school this week?'

by TES, July 23, 2018

While there is obviously a cheerful end-of-term buzz in staffrooms this week, there’s also a degree of resentment in the air. What rankles us is that “this week” exists at all. We all know schools that are already “off”. They sensibly closed on Friday.

Why are we still opening the stable doors for two or three more days, only to reflog a horse that has been resoundingly dead for at least a week? Inevitably, some of our young colts have already bolted from the stable, and it is hard to blame them. Personally, I would rather chase down a couple of teaching friends who have sent me pointed images today from their “delightful” little holiday gite in deepest France. The place they took last year turned out to be infested with mice; let’s hope this one's different. Rats, perhaps?

The holidays haven’t always been as divisive as this. Previously schools may have sometimes closed on different dates but teachers knew that justice would prevail in the end. They had faith that some all-powerful term-timetabling figure in the local authority would ensure that schools all equalised out over the course of the year. We knew that a stunted little week like this one was all part of that balancing-out process. It was still annoying and pointless, but at least it was seen as fair.

'The school summer holidays are non-negotiable'

by TES, July 20, 2018

When an article appears in the education press from a parent-journalist decrying the six-week break, you know the holidays are imminent.

Many teachers with children understand the problems of arranging childcare – they are not unsympathetic about the difficulties faced by other parents needing to child cover at inconvenient times.

Rich children who sit grammar school test away from local area can be advantaged, study finds

by The Independent, July 12, 2018

Affluent families whose children sit the 11 plus test for grammar schools in local authorities where they do not live are gaining an edge over disadvantaged pupils, new study finds.

There is no evidence that expanding grammar schools will promote social mobility by providing more opportunities for disadvantaged pupils, research from a Durham University academic says.

The varied proportion of grammar school places in local authorities – from 1.4 per cent to 37.4 per cent – has led to imbalanced grammar school opportunities for pupils from different backgrounds.

One in five grammar schools prepare expansion bids in wake of £50m funding, analysis finds

by The Independent, July 6, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

More than a fifth of existing grammar schools are preparing bids to expand in the wake of £50m funding.

At least 35 selective schools - of which there are 163 in England - are considering a share of the expansion funding announced by the government to help create thousands of new places.

Analysis from campaign group Comprehensive Future calculates that an additional thousand pupils could attend grammar schools a year - if all proposals for expansion are approved.

Greater flexibility added to apprenticeship levy

by TES, June 26, 2018

Large employers will be able to transfer 10 per cent of their apprenticeship service funds to multiple businesses, the government has announced. Policymakers hope this will help boost the number of apprenticeships.

Levy-paying employers can currently already transfer up to 10 per cent of their apprenticeship service funds – but to only one other employer. Skills minister Anne Milton will today announce a move to greater flexibility, which will mean that from July, up to 10 per cent of their funds can be transferred to as many other employers as they choose.

Ms Milton will make the announcement at an event with over 160 employers. According to the government, only around 2 per cent of employers pay the levy but that investment has funded more than 40 per cent of the apprenticeships started in the last year.

FE funding 'too low', post-18 review told

by TES, June 26, 2018

Institutional funding for FE providers is too low, according to evidence submitted to the government’s review of post-18 education.

Addressing the Association of Employment and Learning Providers’ national conference in London today, review chair Philip Augar inssited the panel would look at the “full diversity” of FE providers.

Derby College was chosen as the venue for the launch of the review “quite deliberately as being representative of the broad universe of education institutions that the government is interested in”, Ms Augar said.

School offers children week off in term time

by BBC, June 26, 2018

A secondary school is offering parents the chance to take their children out of school for one week in July next year for an "enrichment week".

Woodlands School in Basildon says this will allow parents of pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 to give them "opportunities that are more affordable".

Pupils will have to complete a booklet outlining what they have learned.

The move comes as data shows rising numbers of pupils in England are being taken out of school to go on holiday.

More pupils take term-time holidays
Term-time holiday: What are the rules?
In his letter to parents, head teacher Simon Cox says 15 to 19 July 2019 will be set aside for an "enrichment week".

The 10 hardest universities to get into

by The Telegraph, June 25, 2018

The Complete University Guide has revealed the universities with the highest standards of entry for 2019. The data was collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, and is based on the average UCAS tariff score of new undergraduate students from 2016-2017. So which universities boast fierce competition for entry?

Deadline for grammar expansion bids extended

by TES, June 25, 2018

Grammar schools have been given an additional two weeks to submit bids to expand, Tes has learned.

The additional time allowed follows a report by Tes earlier this month, which revealed that just a handful of England’s 163 grammar schools had put out consultations on expansion plans.

Those interested in expanding their school, either by increasing onsite or setting up satellite sites elsewhere, had until 19 July to apply for a tranche of the government’s £50m Selective Schools Expansion Fund for 2018-2019.

But revised guidance issued in June stipulates that applicants now have until midday 2 August to submit an application.

Too many firsts risk universities' credibility, says think tank

by BBC, June 21, 2018

Universities risk losing their credibility due to "rocketing" grade inflation, a think tank has said.

According to Reform, the proportion of firsts awarded almost doubled between 1997-2009 and rose by 26% since 2010.

Their report calls for national tests to set degree grade benchmarks meaning only the top 10% of students could be awarded firsts.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said universities needed to act to protect the value of degrees.

Under Reform's proposals, universities would lose their ability to decide what their students should be awarded.

Ofsted chief inspector backs ban on phones in schools

by BBC, June 21, 2018

The chief inspector of Ofsted is backing head teachers who ban mobile phones to prevent bad behaviour.

In a speech, Amanda Spielman is expected to blame technology for making "low-level disruption" more common and endorse tough behaviour policies.

"The place of mobile phones in the classroom seems to me dubious at best," she will say.

Her speech comes after Culture Secretary Matt Hancock also called on head teachers to ban phones.

Ms Spielman is due to tell the audience at the Festival of Education at Wellington College that it was "entirely appropriate" for schools to use sanctions such as writing lines, detention or "community service" punishments such as picking up litter.

'Let's use sport to unite people around the world'

by TES, June 20, 2018

Next weekend would have seen my sister, Jo Cox, turn 44. We’ll be honouring her memory with a huge, nationwide celebration of what brings us together.

Last year we came up with the idea for the Great Get Together and the response was incredible. Millions all over the country joined together to celebrate everything we have in common, holding street parties and community events. Since then I’ve heard so many heart-warming stories of people making new friends, socialising with neighbours for the first time and even setting up new community groups.

We’re hoping this year’s Great Get Together, from 22-24 June, will be even bigger.

The Great Get Together can be whatever you want it to be – from being together to watch the football, putting on a picnic, to organising an event for the whole neighbourhood. It’s an opportunity to do something positive which doesn’t need to be a big effort or cost anything – you might need nothing more than a picnic blanket in the park and a bit of bunting.

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