Latest Educational News

Mental health plans 'failing a generation', say MPs

by BBC, May 9, 2018

Sally, now 20, believes her mental distress should have been spotted years before she received treatment that helped her.

She says she became ill when she first started secondary school.

Teachers noticed, describing her as "an odd child", but in the end it was Sally herself who had to ask her doctor for help and she was 16 and on the edge of suicide before she got any effective treatment.

The charity Young Minds says it is not uncommon for families to have to wait 18 months even to get an assessment for their child, let alone treatment.


by Spiked, May 8, 2018

Reading is far more than just a basic skill: it opens up a world of knowledge and imagination. For this reason, teaching children how to read is a key goal of primary education, and the government’s recent announcement of more money to support reading should be good news.

But this extra money won’t be coming to schools. The government wants to close the so-called word gap that exists when children first start school, the difference between the vocabulary of ‘disadvantaged’ children and their more privileged peers. So, the schemes being funded will focus on parents – not teachers. They aim to ‘build the confidence of parents to support their children in language and reading at an early stage’.

Damian Hinds, education secretary, claims the money will be used to give parents ‘practical advice on activities like reading and learning the alphabet which are so important in making sure no child is left behind’. The idea that toddlers should be reciting the alphabet and beginning to read stands in stark contrast to recent orthodoxy that we should ‘look to Finland’, where the emphasis is on play and children don’t begin formal lessons until they are seven. More importantly, Hinds assumes that some parents are incapable of getting their young children ready for starting school and need professional help.

Will Online Education Replace Classroom Education Anytime Soon?

by Forbes, May 8, 2018

Is online education going to replace classroom education soon? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Deepak Reddy, Vice Chairman at Aditya Educational Institutions, on Quora:

E-learning tools provide educators and students with access to resources they couldn’t have had otherwise, no matter their status or location. A philosophy student in England can learn from the top professor a continent away, and can do so in their own time while balancing a full-time job and a family at home.

But even though e-learning has become an education equalizer, it’s still not a replacement for the traditional classroom. Sure, the technology is advancing, but it’s not flawless. Just like any new, burgeoning innovation, e-learning faces its own challenges.

This, to me, is where e-learning and the traditional classroom will one day form a union: compensating for one where the other lacks.

After 30 years of ‘go compare’, English education is a wild west

by TES, May 8, 2018

The 1988 reform act led to league tables and the schools market – plus back-door selection and even corruption

When Gary Phillips started his career as a young teacher, the education world was a radically different place. There were no league tables, no Ofsted, no academies or free schools. Parent choice and competition had barely registered on the national consciousness.

All that changed 30 years ago this summer with the introduction of the 1988 Education Reform Act, a huge piece of legislation that introduced the national curriculum and the idea of diversity and a “schools market” in which parents would vote with their feet, in theory encouraging the best schools to expand and the worst to improve or close.

Three decades later, the tools of that market – performance measures and inspection reports – are a fact of life. “Go compare”-style websites ranking local schools are taken for granted. New education providers, in the form of academy trusts, are a reality in most communities.

College offers free maths lessons to nurses

by TES, May 8, 2018

Nurses without formal maths qualifications can take a free numeracy course at Burnley College

Burnley College is offering nurses free places on a new "numeracy for nursing" course it is running between now and the end of August.

The course is open to nurses who do not already have a maths qualification such as a GSCE, O level or Functional Skills Level 2 and need one to progress their careers.

Number of penalties for schools breaking exam rules treble

by TES, May 8, 2018

On seven occasions last year, pupils’ marks or results were changed because Scottish schools broke SQA rules

The number of penalties being received by schools for breaking the rules around the delivery of the exams nearly trebled between 2016 and 2017.

A total of 61 sanctions were dished out to schools by Scotland’s exam body in 2017 because teachers failed to adhere to the rules on the delivery of national qualifications – up from 21 sanctions the previous year.

Apprenticeships are not just for the young and inexperienced

by TES, May 8, 2018

The UK is heading towards a perfect storm of an increasingly uncertain future post-Brexit, where a "no deal" arrangement with Europe remains firmly on the table and where the engine of industry is still wheezing to keep up the pace after the financial crisis.

Despite a welcome spike in the latest ONS figures, productivity (output per worker per hour) is still lagging behind the other G7 nations. Never since 1975 have there been more people in work, yet skills shortages have reached critical levels.

'Never overlook the responsibility of reading aloud to your class'

by TES, May 7, 2018

When reading aloud to your pupils, you're a conduit managing the transference of one mind to a classroom full of others, writes author Joe Nutt

Early in my career teaching English, an inspector who had just observed me teach a complete lesson spoke to me afterwards. He did his best to give me some feedback, even though we both civilly and tacitly agreed it was unnecessary. With a degree of surprise in his voice that I found even more surprising, he said: “You’re a very good reader.” To which I replied, without taking time to even think, “What did you expect? I’m an English teacher!”

What at the time felt like the only honest response, decades later sounds downright rude (that kind of aggressive defensiveness is often characteristic of young professionals.) He took it with the kind of calm professionalism I hope his additional years of experience have also now granted me.

'Traditional or progressive? Zero tolerance vs restorative justice? Groups or rows? Does it even matter?'

by TES, May 6, 2018

One teacher asks: how can discussions about a complex professional craft fit so neatly into two opposing tick boxes?

What has happened to educational debate? We’re currently in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis, and in many ways, I can see why.

Maybe it’s the social media, maybe it’s the polarisation of politics, maybe its just a lack of thought, but these days, teachers have to pick a side. Trad versus prog, zero tolerance versus restorative justice. Groups or rows? Sharks or Jets? When did a discussion about a complex professional craft such as teaching fit so neatly into two opposing tick boxes?

Scottish government spends millions less on helping poor pupils stay on in school

by TES, May 1, 2018

The annual budget for helping disadvantaged pupils to stay in education in Scotland has fallen by nearly £8 million over the past decade, new figures have revealed.

The amount spent on supporting teenagers to take part in school was £5.7m less last year than in 2006-07 – a fall of 24.7 per cent.

At the same time, the number of claimants saw a much smaller decline, at 12.1 per cent.

When the cost of supporting 16-19-year-old college students to stay in education is included, the amount spent in 2016-17 was £7.8m less than in 2006-7 – a 24 per cent fall.

This compares with a 15.5 per cent drop in the number of claimants over the same period.

How to help pupils 'catch' new vocabulary and strengthen their ability to learn

by TES, April 30, 2018

Teachers can't teach their pupils every single word in the dictionary – but they can teach them how to 'catch' – and use – new vocabulary for themselves, writes one director of literacy

There's no doubt that learning vocabulary is important. The more words we have, the more we understand the words we have, the greater our power to express our wants, needs, wishes, thoughts, desires and opinions. Words have power and a child’s ability to exercise control over them at the age of 5 is the most stable predictor of how well they will do academically aged 11 and when they take their GCSEs.

Scottish headteachers 'lack skills' to take on more powers

by TES, April 30, 2018

Headteachers lack the skills and experience to handle more autonomy for schools, according to consultation responses on Scottish government proposals.

There are also concerns that plans to devolve more power to schools would increase heads’ workloads and take their attention away from teaching and learning.

The Scottish government today published its analysis of nearly 900 responses to a consultation on its Education Bill, which includes a so-called headteachers’ charter designed to devolve more responsibilities to headteachers.

It analysis states: “While there was general support for the concept of headteacher empowerment, and some advantages of headteachers having increased freedom in relation to staffing decisions and school funding, there was some concern expressed that the introduction of the headteachers’ charter could increase headteachers’ workloads and lessen their focus on their core role of leading learning and teaching.

What’s the best thing to say to pupils before their exams?

by TES, April 29, 2018

Even after years of teaching, you can still be left struggling to get right that final meaningful message to your students before their exams.

For my GCSE and A Level students, getting the right grades to enter Sixth Form or College, to access an apprenticeship or university, really does matter.

But should we be telling the pupils that? Where do we draw the line between the threatening ‘stick’ of failure or the ‘carrot’ of potential success?

Negativity problems
Evidence from Professor David Putwain and colleagues reveals that we often opt for messages that refer to the ‘stick’ of avoiding failing. In surveys of 230 secondary school teachers about the types of messages they gave before GCSEs, Putwain reveals that: “51.7% of respondents agreed, and 29.9% of respondents strongly agreed, that students should be reminded that they would fail if they did not complete coursework and revision.”

'Sats don't prepare pupils for secondary school. So what's their purpose? To impress Ofsted?'

by TES, April 26, 2018

I wished a friend at school a pleasant and restful Easter break, and she replied: "Well, my son has his Sats exams after the Easter holidays, and his [primary] school has given him some work to do over the Easter break."

"Why?" was my instinctive response. He's 10 years old and will have had a full term of Sats preparation (to the back teeth probably). Surely he could have had some time to play and meet friends and family and be a 10- or 11-year-old during the holidays?

Home-schooling in the UK increases 40% over three years

by BBC, April 26, 2018

The number of children being home-schooled has risen by about 40% over three years, the BBC has found.

Across the UK 48,000 children were being home-educated in 2016-17, up from about 34,000 in 2014-15.

Mental health issues and avoiding exclusion are two reasons parents gave for removing children from classrooms.

The government will publish new guidance on the "rights and responsibilities on home education" but councils want more monitoring powers.

They are concerned about the quality of the education home-schooled children receive as well as "safeguarding" issues, such as the ability to properly protect children from abuse or maltreatment.

Dr Carrie Herbert, the founder of a charity for children outside mainstream education, said the rise in home-schooling suggested "something quite tragic about the state of the education system".

Benefits of mental health counselling in primary schools 'worth six times the cost'

by TES, April 26, 2018

The potential benefits of providing mental health counselling in primary schools are worth six times the cost, according to a new report.

Better job prospects for pupils, and lower rates of ill-health and crime, would mean that for every £1 spent on one-to-one counselling in primary schools, there is a potential long-term benefit of £6.20, an economic evaluation of the charity Place2Be’s school-based mental health services has found.

'Art doesn't get the recognition it deserves'

by TES, April 25, 2018

I have spent much time considering the purpose and place of what I teach at the sixth-form college I work at, and the value of the qualifications it leads to.

The more I consider the structure and requirements of art A levels, the more I believe (perhaps unsurprisingly) in their value and that many more students should study art due to the unique opportunity we have to shape young people's approach to and engagement with learning.

Blind and deaf children suffering due to national teacher shortage, claims charity

by TES, April 24, 2018

Blind and deaf children are missing out as specialist teachers are being pulled in to cover mainstream classes, according to the charity, RNIB Scotland.

Children with visual impairments – whose numbers have doubled in recent years – need to be taught the skills they need in order to access the curriculum, like how to read Braille and use "assistive technology". They also needed to be taught orientation and mobility skills; personal care; cooking and how to manage their money.

Governors at free school that entered no pupils for GCSEs claim Ofsted bullied them

by TES, April 24, 2018

Governors at a free school that was placed in special measures after it chose not to enter any pupils into GCSEs last summer have resigned, claiming they have been bullied by Ofsted.

An open resignation letter from the Route 39 Academy Trust-appointed and parent-appointed governors says inspectors had left staff and governors at their school feeling “bullied, ignored and humiliated”.

Why can't GCSE candidates tell the time using an analogue clock?

by TES, April 24, 2018

The small hand tells you the hours and the big hand tells you the minutes, but the traditional clock face no longer tells many pupils anything at all.

A teacher, giving a presentation at a conference in London, has said that many pupils in Years 9, 10, and 11 are only able to tell the time if provided with a digital clock.


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