Latest Educational News

First colleges to teach new vocational T-levels named

by BBC, May 27, 2018

The first schools and colleges to teach new technical qualifications called T-levels have been announced.

From 2020, they will offer teenagers in England courses in construction, digital, and education and childcare.

Each course will include a three-month work placement and are intended as vocational alternatives to A-levels.

Prime Minister Theresa May said they would help the UK to "compete globally", but Labour called the plans "little more than meaningless spin."

A further 22 courses will be rolled out in stages from 2021 which will cover sectors such as finance, hair and beauty, engineering, and the creative industries.

The courses' curriculums are being "created by expert panels of employers," the government said.

The first 52 high schools and colleges to teach the courses span all parts of England.

Art & Design GCSE entries stay strong in face of EBacc

by Schools Week, May 24, 2018

Fewer pupils have been entered for non-EBacc subjects this year, except in art and design which has bucked the decline and increased by two per cent.

Official government figures released this morning also show entries to EBacc subjects have soared, especially in the sciences.

A larger cohort of pupils means there are more overall GCSE entries this year (5.1 million) up by around one per cent compared to 2017.

However, EBacc entries increased by five per cent, while non-EBacc entries decreased by 13 per cent compared to last year.

Subjects with the largest drops included physical education, which went from 112,550 entries down to 87,825 (a 20 per cent drop), while performing/expressive arts entries reduced from 14,950 to just 8,795 (a 40 per cent drop).

'Schools should teach dangers of livestreaming'

by TES, May 24, 2018

Schools are being told to teach the dangers of livestreaming, as a poll reveals many children are posting content that they later regret.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of 10-year-olds and more than half (57 per cent) of 12-year-olds said they had livestreamed content on the internet, according to a poll by the children’s charity, Barnardo’s.

The charity warns that, as well as potentially exposing children to online sexual predators and harmful content, many youngsters are left with regrets after livestreaming.

Almost a quarter of 10- to 16-year-olds (24 per cent) say they or a friend have regretted posting live content on apps and website.

Barnardo’s wants pupils to be taught the dangers of livestreaming at school.

Ofsted: Let us routinely inspect 'outstanding' schools

by TES, May 24, 2018

Ofsted is pressing the government to let it routinely visit "outstanding" schools, warning that the current regime is not "sustainable".

The inspectorate says there are schools that have now not been inspected for up to 12 to 13 years and this is undermining parents’ confidence.

Ofsted was responding to a National Audit Office report published today, which highlights that there are now 1,620 schools that have not been reinspected for six years – including 296 that inspectors have not been to in 10 years.

Under current legislation, schools with Ofsted’s highest grade are exempt from routine inspection. This change was brought in in 2011 by the Department for Education to allow inspectors to focus resources on under-performing schools.

Boys twice as likely as girls to claim to be a maths 'natural'

by TES, May 24, 2018

Boys are almost twice as likely as girls to call themselves a "natural" at maths, a poll reveals.

While nearly one in five (19 per cent) of boys aged 11-16 make the claim, the same is true of only one in 10 girls.

Two in 10 boys aged 11-16 say they love the subject and find it easy – a sentiment expressed by just one in 10 girls.

Two thirds (67 per cent) of pupils surveyed believed their maths ability was good or very good – with just 7 per cent saying it was poor or very poor.

But boys were far more likely (33 per cent) than girls (19 per cent) to say they were very good at maths.

'Relax A-level grades for some medical students'

by BBC, May 24, 2018

Academic entry requirements for medical degrees should be relaxed for students applying from the worst UK secondary schools, researchers say.

A study from the University of York says these students should be able to drop one or two A-level grades.

The study finds those on medicine courses with lower A-level grades do at least as well as their peers.

The Medical Schools Council said the research added "important data" to the entry requirement debate.

Competition for a place to study medicine in the UK is fierce, with about 11 or 12 applications made for each place on offer and entry grade requirements are high - at least AAA at A-level.

But the research paper says there is an over-representation of socioeconomically privileged individuals in the medical profession and that most of the schools that provide medical students are selective.

"It is known that 80% of UK medical students come from 20% of secondary schools and tend to come from economically advantaged backgrounds," it says.

Ofsted admits some 'outstanding schools aren't that good'

by BBC, May 24, 2018

Some schools rated outstanding may no longer be as good as their rating suggests, Ofsted has said amid official criticism of its work in England.

A National Audit Office report found 1,620 schools, mostly outstanding, had not been inspected for six years or more, and 290 for a decade or more.

Outstanding schools were decreed exempt from routine inspections in 2011.

Ofsted bosses said there was no way of telling if these schools had since fallen into a "mediocre" category.

Although, inspections can be triggered at any school if a safeguarding concern is raised, or if there is a significant drop in results.

It no longer goes into these top-rated schools on a regular basis.

Grammar school expansion money ‘won’t improve outcomes’

by Schools Week, May 23, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

The expansion of grammar schools is “unlikely to bring benefits for young people” as selective schools do not offer better social, emotional or educational outcomes than non-selective establishments.

Instead of encouraging existing grammar schools to expand, the government should focus its funding on improving education “for all young people”, according to a new study.

Earlier this month, the government launched renewed calls for grammar schools to take advantage of a £200 million expansion fund, set up in 2016 to cover capital costs for new classrooms. In exchange, they must widen access to disadvantaged pupils.

However, analysis of pupils’ attainment, engagement and wellbeing at school and their future aspirations by the UCL Institute of Education found that attending a grammar school had “no positive impact” on pupils’ self-esteem, attitude to school, future aspirations or vocabulary at age 14.

Grammar school pupils 'gain no social or emotional advantages' by age 14

by The Guardian, May 23, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar school pupils gain no social or emotional advantages by age 14 over children who do not attend a selective school, a study suggests.

The research by University College London (UCL) is the latest to call into question the government’s plans to expand selective state education, which have been fiercely opposed by educationalists and policymakers.

Recent studies have suggested that grammar schools only outperform their non-grammar peers academically because they select well, rather than because they add value, and do not increase social mobility.

Researchers from UCL’s Institute of Education took a novel approach, examining a range of social and emotional outcomes important to parents and children when choosing a school. They concluded that attending a selective state school had no positive impact upon teenagers’ attitudes towards school, self-esteem, aspirations or their English vocabulary.

Expanding grammars 'unlikely' to benefit pupils

by TES, May 23, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

The government's plans to expand grammar schools are "unlikely to bring benefits for young people", a major piece of research suggests.

Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education found that grammar school pupils do no better academically than similar pupils who attend non-selective schools.

And attending a grammar school has no positive impact on a teenager's self-esteem, their aspirations for the future or their English vocabulary, the study shows.

Earlier this month, education secretary Damian Hinds announced a new Selective School Expansion Fund worth £50 million a year to allow existing grammar schools to expand, either by providing more places or by building new annexes. Critics say the plans are a sop to middle-class parents.

'Schools are not factories merely producing workers'

by TES, May 23, 2018

The campaign group Parents and Teachers for Excellence have been keeping a list since the start of the year of all the calls made on schools to teach something new.

At the last count, they were up to 74 things that various thinktanks, commentators, and journalists would like us to tackle, ranging from teaching pupils about knives in maths to teaching them about the national anthem.

The purpose of schools seems to have been lost: they are now acting as a daycare for children so that parents can work longer hours, as primary agents of socialisation who need to raise children to do the things that parents would once have taken responsibility for or to create model citizens and solve the ills of society.

One of the more common calls is for schools to do more to prepare pupils for the world of work, with the CBI often leading the way. In fact, it seems to be a position that many teachers have some sympathy for with a recent poll found that 71 per cent with teachers agreed the statement that the purpose with education was to prepare pupils for work and only 22 per cent disagreeing with it.

Grammar schools could get cash for lowering 11-plus pass mark, and 4 other things we learned from Nick Gibb at education committee

by Schools Week, May 22, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

MPs have grilled the schools minister Nick Gibb for almost two hours over the government’s grammar school expansion plans, academy trust accountability and teacher pay.

Here are the five most important things we learned.

1. Selective schools could lower 11-plus pass mark to get expansion cash
Grammar schools hoping to get their hands on a share of the £200 million expansion could widen access by reducing the test scores needed to win entry, Gibb said today.

The minister set out some of the proposals selective schools could include in their “fair access and partnership plans”, which they must complete in order to bid for the cash.

Fewer parents feel schools act on their feedback

by TES, May 22, 2018

Fewer parents say schools are acting on their feedback, and the majority believe schools should be more accountable, a poll has revealed.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of parents surveyed by charity Parentkind said their school should be more accountable to parents.

Only 51 per cent of parents said that schools were taking action based on their views or feedback, down from the 56 per cent reported in a 2016 Parentkind poll.

Almost half (49 per cent) said they were not confident about talking to school governors,

The poll, which involved a sample of 1,507 parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that most parents (84 per cent) would like to be routinely consulted by their children’s school.

Increased nursery hours 'help children at school’

by TES, May 22, 2018

Increasing free nursery hours may help children adapt to life in primary school, according to a new report.

The Scottish government plans to almost double free pre-school and childcare hours for children aged 3 and 4 – and some aged 2 – by 2020, and its new report examines trials in 14 local authorities.

In authorities where children attended a single early learning or childcare setting (ELC), the report finds, “primary school staff reported smoother transitions to school”.

Staff who ran the trials, which lasted for between six and 12 months, were also upbeat about children’s ability to move on to school.

The report states: “As a result of spending more time in ELC settings, children…have a sense of belonging, and are more prepared for transitions through nursery and into school.”

The report, published today, finds that parents “tended to speak positively” about the impact of extended hours on their child’s learning and behaviour, thanks to increased access to opportunities such as outdoor learning.

Ethnically mixed schools lessen hostility

by BBC, May 22, 2018

Pupils in secondary schools with a more diverse racial mix are much more positive about people of different ethnicities, say researchers.

The more mixed the school, the warmer feelings pupils are likely to have towards other races and ethnicities.

The study - from the London School of Economics and the University of Bristol - looked at the attitudes of 4,000 teenagers in English state schools.

Prof Simon Burgess said it showed how schools could change social attitudes.

The study examined young people's attitudes towards people of other ethnicities - such as whether they had friends from other racial groups.

It follows warnings about a lack of social cohesion in some communities and whether different ethnic groups were living parallel lives.

'Reading is like a chocolate-covered strawberry'

by TES, May 21, 2018

Reading is deliciously enjoyable and good for you, too – it doesn't matter which book you pick, says Katie Thistleton

When I think of the books I read growing up, I separate them into two categories: books that I had to read, and books that I wanted to read.

Now, as an adult, I’ve revisited some of the books I studied in school or college and appreciated their brilliance –The Catcher in the Rye, Death of a Salesman, George Orwell’s 1984. When I was studying these books it didn’t ever occur to me that anyone would ever read them for pleasure. Even though English was my favourite subject at school and I’d always been a keen reader, I thought of these books as part of the curriculum and not something I was supposed to enjoy, just something I merely had to survive.

I think people can be put off reading at a young age because we are told it’s so good for our learning and development – in the same way, we detest vegetables even more because we are told we have to eat five a day. But reading for pleasure can be the chocolate-covered strawberry that enhances your life in so many ways.

Greenwich University fined £120,000 for data breach

by BBC, May 21, 2018

The University of Greenwich has been fined £120,000 ($160,000) by the Information Commissioner.

The fine was for a security breach in which the personal data of 19,500 students was placed online.

The data included names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, signatures and - in some cases - physical and mental health problems.

It was uploaded onto a microsite for a training conference in 2004, which was then not secured or closed down.

The Information Commissioner said Greenwich was the first university to receive a fine under the Data Protection Act of 1998 and described the breach as "serious".

How schools are cutting workload

by TES, May 20, 2018

Workload is still cited as one of the biggest factors contributing towards the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. But schools across the country are being active when it comes to introducing a more healthy work-life balance and reducing unnecessary workload. How? Here's how.

Centralising detentions
As teachers are the most valuable resource in any school, detentions should be run by members of the leadership team and even support staff where appropriate.

Where systems like this are already in place, all detentions are on a set timetable. During lessons, a classroom teacher simply clicks the student's name on the register, enters a short description of why the detention has been issued, and with that, the responsibility for all of the above is taken unashamedly out of the teacher’s hands.

The only time the teacher will hear of it again is a confirmation email confirming that the student has completed the detention and any accompanying work.

Exams: How do the new 9-1 GCSE grades work?

by BBC, May 17, 2018

Thousands of teenagers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are revising hard as they sit their GCSEs. But, in England, there have been major changes, with a new 9-1 grading system being phased in to reflect a more demanding curriculum. So what's the new grading system all about?

What are the new grades?
The new grading scheme is designed to reflect the fact that the new GCSE content in England is more challenging and rigorous.

A 9 is the highest grade, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded).

Three number grades, 9, 8 and 7, correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A - this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end.

The exams watchdog, Ofqual, says fewer grade 9s will be awarded than A*s and that anyone who gets a 9 will have "performed exceptionally".

School delay does not help summer-born, study shows

by BBC, May 17, 2018

Delaying a summer-born child's entry to primary school has little impact on attainment, research suggests.

Children born in England between April and August, whose start in Reception was put back a year, did only marginally better in Year 1 tests, according to a government study.

The number of applications to councils for delayed entry has risen sharply.

Head teachers' unions want clearer guidance on whether delayed school entry for summer-born children works.

Department for Education researchers looked at results achieved in the Phonics Screening Check, taken by pupils at the end of Year 1.

Pupils whose school start was delayed a year in 2014 and 2015 scored on average 0.7 marks higher than other summer-born children.

The researchers say the difference is not statistically significant.

Pupils who were not summer-born outperformed both the delayed and normal admission summer-born pupils.

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