Latest Educational News

Lord Agnew criticises expanded access to higher education

by Edexec, May 7, 2019

Theodore Agnew has caused controversy by lashing out over the expansion of access to higher education
As reported by The Guardian, Conservative minister, Theodore Agnew, has branded the government’s policies aimed at expanding access to higher education ‘lunacy’.

Agnew told a private school conference: “Why are we letting kids go to university with three Es at A-level? Why? It’s a lunacy.

“But unfortunately there’s a body of people out there, because they then never have to pick up the tab for the results of that kind of madness, that’s the problem.

“And, so, as a government you just have to suck it up basically and just keep plodding forward.”

Why pupils' and teachers' mental health are inextricably linked

by TES, May 7, 2019

Pupil mental health has always been a concern for teachers. We’ve always wanted our pupils to be happy and mentally healthy. Sadly, these days this seems a stretch. We’re now in a full-blown pupil mental health crisis.

Alongside this is a full-blown crisis in teacher mental health, too. There’s not doubting that. But my question is: can one be examined without considering the other? Is it not time to consider that the mental health needs of children and teachers is intimately linked?

Eight ways to help students manage anxiety during GCSE exam season

by TES, May 7, 2019

You would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the increased discussion around anxiety and young people, particularly in the run up to GCSE and A-Level exams.

The charity Anxiety UK states that one in six young people will experience anxiety in their lifetime, and the number of Childline counsellors delivering sessions to children and teenagers has increased from 11,700 in 2015-16 to 21,300 in 2017-18.

Children find foreign languages so stressful they are being signed off by a GP, headteachers told

by Telegraph, May 7, 2019

Children are finding foreign languages so stressful that they are being medically signed off from the classes, a conference heard.

Pupils are coming to school with a GP’s note explaining that they must be excused from learning languages because it is causing them extreme anxiety, delegates at the National Association of Headteachers’ (NAHT) annual conference were told.

Beat your exam stress by running for success

by BBC, May 7, 2019

Students are being urged to swap their revision notes for trainers this exam season to help with stress.

As exams are approaching, England Athletics is launching its first #RunAndRevise scheme, which aims to encourage pupils to take a break from revision and support their mental health through running.

It is aimed at people aged 16-25, who can take part by running a mile or more by themselves, or by joining an England Athletics club or a RunTogether group.

Schools, colleges and universities have also organised runs for their students to get involved in during the campaign.

Revise EYFS to improve science teaching, says academic

by Schools Week, May 5, 2019

The early years curriculum should be revised to improve guidance on teaching science, an academic has said, after a study found younger children can understand abstract scientific concepts through guided experiments.

A recent study conducted with five and six-year-olds in Greece found they were able to understand the concept of change in the state of water between gas, liquid and solid.

Teachers led an experiment in which ice was heated to form water vapour, then cooled on a cold plate to form water droplets. School staff guided the class to “explain what they saw and understood through the experiment”.

SPECIAL REPORT: You have your say on new primary school tests for four and five-year-olds

by Spalding Today, May 5, 2019

New ‘baseline’ testing for four and five-year-olds at the start of the school year could put extra stress on youngsters - fear many parents.

This September, a number of schools in Lincolnshire have been invited to take part in a pilot for the new tests, with the scheme being rolled out nationally in 2020.

Book review: Transform Teaching and Learning Through Talk

by TES, May 5, 2019

Transform Teaching and Learning Through Talk
Authors: Amy Gaunt and Alice Stott
Publisher: Rowan and Littlefield
Details: £15.95, paperback, 178pp

In this era of cutting-edge edtech, when pupils in some parts of the US are hooked on to online platforms, or, in this country, are increasingly being taught from scripted lessons, the publication of a book beating the drum for a dominant oracy framework for teaching and learning might be seen as an anachronism. For the converted, it’s a timely contribution to the education debate.

There are no easy answers to school refusal

by Schools Week, May 5, 2019

School refusal may be a little more understood that when it was identified in the 1930s, but we still haven’t come up with any effective or pragmatic solutions, says Fran Morgan

I didn’t choose to be an expert on school refusal; it chose me. When our daughter refused to go to primary school our main concern was to find out what was wrong and decide (ideally with the help of professionals) what we could do to help her. Pretty quickly we realised that the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted agenda (“every child deserves an education” which translates to “get her to school, whatever it takes”) contradicted our gut instincts for time, flexibility, patience and understanding.

Brexit may result in higher fees for thousands of EU nationals studying in Leeds

by Leeds Live, May 5, 2019

Around 2,000 people in Leeds could be affected by government proposals to hike fees on EU students.

Currently, EU students studying at English universities pay the same as UK nationals, as they qualify for 'home fees status'.

However, the government is yet to deny leaked plans reported last weekend that would remove this status. That would mean EU students would be charged significantly higher fees currently paid by non-European foreign students.

Parents and headteachers demand ‘education emergency’ to stop forced takeover of schools

by Independent, May 5, 2019

Opposition against the removal of schools from local authority control has resurged as families march in the streets and headteachers reignite calls for forced academisation to end.

Parents are increasingly leading the battles against schools being converted into academies, which are state schools independent of local councils, as they become more aware of negative stories.

The increased use of WhatsApp and social media groups connecting opposing parents across the country, including those who have been successful in their fight, has also spurred families on.

Schools told to stop using exclusions to boost their results

by Guardian Education , May 5, 2019

Schools will be forced to be accountable for the exam results of pupils they exclude, under a plan backed by an independent review of the practice.

The recommendation is included in a long-awaited report, to be released this week by former Tory education minister Edward Timpson, amid widespread concern over the thousands of children who disappear from school registers.

It also follows an outcry about “off-rolling” – a practice whereby a school removes a pupil from its registers without formally excluding them. Such practices have led the Department for Education to announce a new compulsory register for all children not in school.

Hundreds of schools offered government improvement support

by Schools Week, May 3, 2019

More than 1,600 schools have been offered improvement support by the government after ministers changed how they intervene in failing schools.

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, announced last year that the government would no longer intervene in schools deemed to be ‘coasting’.

Instead, new triggers for “offers of support” from the government were drawn up, and the government has today released the number of schools affected.

Hinds asks heads how to solve special-needs budget squeeze

by BBC, May 3, 2019

Schools are facing "knock-on pressure" as demand for special-needs support rises, England's Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has admitted to head teachers.

Speaking at the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference, Mr Hinds asked for their advice on changes to special-needs funding.

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman called the current picture "bleak".

But he added: "The solution is simple - more money from the Treasury."

Education Secretary confirms plans to simplify school accountability

by UK GOV, May 3, 2019

Speaking at the National Association of Head Teachers’ annual conference in Telford today, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced a new call for evidence on high needs funding and confirmed plans to remove floor and coasting standards in favour of a single trigger for school support.

Simplifying accountability
At last year’s NAHT conference the Secretary of State said he would simplify the accountability system to reduce undue pressure on school leaders, which can lead to excessive workload that distracts teachers from teaching.

EEA pupils at UK independent schools up despite Brexit uncertainty

by The Pie News, May 3, 2019

According to its annual census the body, which represents more than 1,300 UK independent schools, revealed there are currently 26,370 non-British pupils in ISC schools whose parents live in the UK.

'Studying has made me a better teacher'

by TES, May 3, 2019

The Open University has turned 50 this year and I’m celebrating. Why wouldn't I? I bloody love it and I owe it so much. The OU was my gateway to education, gently introducing me to a world which has since become my all-consuming addiction.

I’ve been studying with the OU for 13 years and can clearly remember the moment when I made the decision to begin. I was sitting under the willow tree in the back garden of our new house, watching my two-year-old son chase our ever-patient dog across the lawn, chuntering in his toddler sing-song as he went. The sky was blue, the days were long, and my only task was to follow my little pal around. It was supposed to be bliss.

Oxbridge: ‘Contextual’ offers don’t go far enough

by TES, May 3, 2019

This week the Office for Students (OfS) has called for students from the "poorest backgrounds" to be considered for Oxford and Cambridge university places if they have a B and two Cs at A level, rather than the traditional three As.

Unconditional offers and social exclusion

by Guardian, May 3, 2019

Your article on university admissions policies (Universities must ‘look beyond’ results to enrol poor students, 1 May) neglects to mention one method of improving access to higher education, which is the widespread use of unconditional offers for pupils predicted to achieve the highest A-level grades.

These schemes have proliferated as UK universities scrambled to exploit a dwindling resource of fee-paying 18-year-olds. Unfortunately, they may have the predictable effect of narrowing rather than widening access. Success breeds success for the more privileged but without the need to achieve the actual grades required from other, less privileged, students. Such dystopian ironies have been generated by market forces and fetishised by the competitive ideology of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.

Coroner calls on universities to de-stigmatise mental health issues

by Guardian, May 2, 2019

A coroner has called for universities to de-stigmatise mental health issues after concluding that a student took his own life after facing dismissal from his course and the prospect of losing his accommodation.

First-year Bristol University student Ben Murray, 19, fell from a bridge after receiving a note telling him he was going to be dismissed for missing lectures and an exam.