Latest Educational News

Cambridge is right: you can’t take pride in the past and ignore the horror of slavery

by Guardian, April 30, 2019

There is almost nothing Oxbridge people enjoy more than a really intense, no holds barred argument about themselves.

So it’s perhaps not surprising that the University of Cambridge’s decision to launch an inquiry into its links to the slave trade has prompted some soul searching. On the one hand is a student body increasingly vocal about the legacy of colonialism and academics arguing – as Prof Martin Millett, the archaeologist chairing a panel overseeing the work, does – that Cambridge must confront its own role in a shameful episode of history. On the other is a handful of academics grumbling about rewriting history and, no doubt, some unspoken fears about what all this is going to cost both financially and in curricular terms. After investigation invariably comes reparation.

Education: Draft school curriculum for Wales published

by BBC, April 30, 2019

The draft of the new curriculum has been unveiled, in what has been called a "major milestone" in the biggest reform to Welsh schools in decades.

The education minister said the new curriculum would be a "big culture change" and "very different to what most of us will have experienced".

It will be introduced in 2022 for all children currently in Year 3 or below.

But unions have raised concerns that the aspirations could be jeopardised due to underfunding and job cuts.

Jet-set private school chain Inspired Education appoints Rothschild to sell stake

by Telegraph, April 28, 2019

A private school chain teaching the children of the international jet set has appointed bankers to sell a stake in a deal expected to value it at nearly £2bn.

Inspired Education, which operates 51 schools across 18 countries, including the Reddam House boarding school in Berkshire and Fulham School in west London, is working with advisers from Rothschild on plans to raise about £350m to fund further expansion.

Linear GCSEs and A-levels cut exam stress, says Hinds

by TES, April 28, 2019

Government reforms to make GCSEs and A levels linear qualifications have reduced stress for pupils because scrapping modules means “fewer stressful periods, not more”, Damian Hinds has claimed.

The education secretary also said “inherently stressful” exams build character and help prepare young people for adult life.

Mr Hinds was writing in the Sunday Times as students enter their final weeks of revision before GCSEs and A levels begin.

Damian Hinds: exam stress is part of life

by The Times, April 28, 2019

Schoolchildren should stop complaining about sitting exams because “stress and hard work” are part of life, the education secretary has said, revealing that he revises before questions in the House of Commons.

In an article for The Sunday Times website, Damian Hinds defends his stance on testing. While exams are “inherently stressful”, he says, they also help build character and develop “resilience and coping mechanisms”.

“The revision is draining, the exams are never nice, and you know the results will stay with you, often affecting what you can go on to do next,” he writes, adding: “Whilst some would remove this pressure from young people’s lives, stress and hard work are a part of life.”

Why scrapping SATs may not be the answer

by Stoke on Trent Live, April 28, 2019

Welcome back! Or if you’re a Year 6 pupil, the chances are you didn’t really have much of an Easter break anyway. For a growing number of schools have been running cramming sessions for SATs during the holidays.

Now pupils have just a fortnight to go before they turn over their first actual paper. They will be grilled on their command of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Then it’s on to a reading test and three maths papers before SATs week is out.

The testing culture is back in the news big style. And it’s not just because of concerns over ‘voluntary’ Easter sessions.

Exams prepare pupils for the tests that life throws at them

by Times, April 28, 2019

To misquote Game of Thrones: summer is coming. For many of us this means longer evenings, warmer days, festivals and all that. However, for many teenagers it also means their GCSEs and A-levels are only a few weeks away. It’s a stressful period, the culmination of two years of learning: the revision is draining, the exams are never nice and you know the results will stay with you, often affecting what you can go on to do next.

Plans to charge EU students more are short-sighted

by Financial Times, April 28, 2019

During both her tenure as home secretary and in Number 10, Theresa May has pushed an immigration policy for the UK that carries all before it. Other Conservative ministers (and those in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition of 2010-15) have found it impossible to offer successful arguments against the crackdown.

This weekend’s revelations that the government plans to start charging EU students at English universities the same fees as other overseas undergraduates appears to fit this pattern — loud protests from higher education against measures that make studying in the UK less attractive are likely to remain unheard.

Inference: how to teach it in primary school

by TES, April 28, 2019

Teaching children to read is a complex business. Not only do we need to teach children how to crack the alphabetic reading code by teaching them phonics, we also need to teach them how to infer meaning.

This second task can be much trickier than the first. With decoding there’s a clear route mapped out. While it takes some children a bit longer to travel the route, if you stick to the path, in the end you will get there.

But with inference, some children seem to just get it and some really, really don’t. And when they don’t, it’s frustratingly hard to move them on. Why is this?

What does a ‘high quality’ ITE curriculum look like?

by Financial Times, April 26, 2019

Ofsted’s recent attempt to confirm what some in its research division think is wrong with teacher education raises the important issue of curriculum in initial teacher education (ITE).

But just as with the curriculum in schools, the risk is that a curriculum for ITE – under the threat of inspection – is reduced to a list of favoured theories “delivered” to trainee teachers in lecture halls. Consequently, the curriculum that is enacted during the two thirds of the time that they spend working and learning in schools is devalued or, worse still, ignored.

Ensure positive culture and strong governance in trusts

by Edexec, April 26, 2019

The Confederation of School Trusts and ICSA: The Governance Institute have unveiled a top 10 checklist that academy trusts can use to check the health of their organisations and ensure governance remains strong
Published by the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) and ICSA: The Governance Institute (ICSA) in March, the Organisational Culture in Academy Trusts report includes a list setting out 10 key areas that should be discussed at trust board level. Topics include:

ethical issues, culture and values;
the importance of including these topics in the induction of new trustees and staff;
the need for trustees to challenge the organisation’s executive leadership, other board members and directors, if required.

Britain needs more overseas students

by The Times, April 26, 2019

Will the world leaders of the future, the next Benazir Bhuttos and Bill Clintons, study in the UK? Our universities attract more international students than those of any country other than the US. The 460,000 that come each year contribute the lion’s share of our £20 billion education exports and take friendships home that later become trade links, cultural bonds and diplomatic ties.

The government's plans to cut student fees threaten life-changing research

by Guardian, April 26, 2019

Everywhere you go, your life is improved by breakthroughs developed in the labs and classrooms of UK universities. Treatments for diabetes and Parkinson’s, methods used by the police to cut violent crime, the sugar tax – even digital theology that can tackle online trolling. All of these are the work of UK academics, because the UK is a research powerhouse.

Let foreign students work in the UK for two years after graduation, says former universities minister

by Politics Home, April 26, 2019

Jo Johnson said Britain was missing out on billions of pounds, and losing top talent to other countries, by limiting their post-study stay to just four months.

He and Labour MP Paul Blomfield are tabling an amendment to the Immigration Bill which would see a relaxation of the current rules.

Two degrees now needed to get higher pay

by BBC, April 26, 2019

Young graduates in England need a postgraduate degree to get significantly ahead in earnings, official income data suggests.

Graduate earnings figures show that up to the age of 30, postgraduates typically earn £9,000, or about 40%, more than those without degrees.

This is double the £4,500 per year gap - about 21% - between those with an undergraduate degree and non-graduates.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore welcomed the "graduate premium" in pay.

The graduate earnings figures for 2018, published by the Department for Education, show that for graduates aged between 21 and 30, the typical salary is £25,500, compared with £21,000 for non-graduates.

Grammar schools allowing entry to hundreds of pupils every year despite them failing 11 plus, FOI finds

by Telegraph, April 26, 2019

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools are admitting hundreds of pupils every year despite them failing the 11 plus, new data suggests.

Freedom of Information (FoI) figures show that more than 750 pupils who failed the 11-plus admission test were still awarded a place at a grammar school.

The statistics have been released by Comprehensive Future, an anti-selection campaign group which believes that state schools should not “deny entry to a child because they did not score highly in a test”.

Campaigners claim that grammar schools are falsifying the notion that they are oversubscribed and are deliberately inflating their numbers so as to receive extra funding per pupil. “It’s a financial incentive to fill places,” Dr Nuala Burgess, Chair of Comprehensive Future, accused grammar schools said. “There’s no scrutiny, there’s a lot of gaming going on.”

Private school fees set for biggest rise in five years after Treasury’s ruling on teacher pensions

by Telegraph, April 26, 2019

Private school fees are to see the biggest price hike in five years after the Treasury’s ruling on teacher pensions, the Independent School Council has said.

Last year fees were raised by an average of 3.7 per cent, making it the highest year-on-year rise since 2014.

Barnaby Lenon, chair of the ISC and a former headmaster of Harrow School, said that schools are “battling” to hold their costs down but the changes to the pension scheme are “out of our control”.

Primary school Sats: Pupils and parents protest

by BBC, April 25, 2019

Parents, pupils and teachers made their opposition clear to testing four-year-olds in English schools.

For Politics Live, reporter John Owen spoke to some campaigners in Parliament Square before they delivered a 65,000 name petition to Downing Street against the plans to test youngsters, weeks after they start primary school.

Exclusive: Third of teachers lost a week of Easter break to the job

by TES, April 25, 2019

Almost a third of teachers spent at least a working week of their Easter "break" on their jobs, a snap poll has suggested.

The survey by Tes shows that 30 per cent of those polled spent between five and nine days doing their job over the holidays. And another 2 per cent worked at least 10 days of the holiday.

The #FutureofEducation is to power up teachers, not just #EdTech

by FE news, April 25, 2019

Put teaching before technology. That’s the message from Mike Sharples, Emeritus Professor of Educational Technology at The Open University.

Computer companies including Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are funding personalised learning systems, virtual reality history classes, even drones for teaching geography. But technology alone won’t solve the deep problems of education.

Sharples says, “We need to focus on how teachers make good use of technology to enhance learning, not just the technology itself. The key to this is pedagogy.”