Latest Educational News

Most 14-year-olds do no homework on average weekday

by TES, May 11, 2018

The majority of 14-year-olds do no homework on a typical weekday evening, a new study has suggested.

The UCL Institute of Education has found that 60 per cent of the teenagers shun their schoolbooks on an average weekday evening – but about half spend time on social media.

More free schools set for the North and Midlands

by TES, May 11, 2018

The next wave of the free schools programme is set to be increasingly focused on the North and the Midlands as the Department for Education commits to opening schools in areas where it says there is a need to raise standards.

The DfE said today it will open a new wave of schools in areas where they are most needed – including in disadvantaged areas.

Gordon Brown launches global funding plan for schools

by BBC, May 11, 2018

Gordon Brown is launching a $10bn (£7.4bn) scheme to widen access to education in some of the world's poorest countries.

The UN global education envoy and ex-UK prime minister wants donor countries to act as guarantors on low-cost lending for projects.

The fund aims to tackle the problem of 260 million children without schools.

Mr Brown warned the UN in New York that such gaps would have "catastrophic consequences".

The International Finance Facility for Education, backed by the UN and World Bank, aims to provide $10bn worth of loans and grants to allow poorer countries to build schools and hire teachers.

Student loan rates absurd, say MPs

by BBC, May 11, 2018

The inflation measure used to set interest rates on student loans is "absurd", says a report from MPs.

The government uses RPI - the Retail Prices Index - which the Treasury Select Committee says is "flawed" and should be "abandoned".

The rise in that measure will push interest rates on student loans for tuition fees up to 6.3% in the autumn.

The Department for Education defended the continuing use of RPI, saying it provided "consistency over time".

Nicky Morgan, who chairs the committee, said the use of RPI for loan repayments, which "normally gives a higher rate of inflation", appears "grossly unfair".

'Punitive'

Grammar schools and faith schools get green light to expand

by BBC, May 11, 2018

Classified as 11 Plus.

Grammar schools in England are being given the chance to create thousands of new places in a trimmed-down selective school expansion programme.

The expanded wholly selective schools will have to set out plans to admit disadvantaged pupils, perhaps by lowering the entrance requirements.

It comes after Theresa May's scheme for a new wave of grammars was abandoned due to lack of Parliamentary support.

Plans for new faith schools have also been announced.

But instead of making it easier for religious groups to open free schools, ministers will invite councils to open faith schools jointly with religious groups, as they have done in the past.

As with other faith schools in the state sector, they will be allowed to recruit 100% of pupils from particular faith groups.

Student loans boss Steve Lamey hired 'against advice'

by BBC, May 11, 2018

The man hired to run the Student Loans Company was appointed against officials' advice and without having his references checked, a report says.

Steve Lamey was made chief executive in June 2016 on a year's probation.

Within 18 months he was sacked for gross misconduct after whistleblowers made 69 allegations of wrongdoing.

A National Audit Office probe into the government's oversight of the firm said despite the reservations, it failed to properly monitor the appointment.

It is the first time the details of Mr Lamey's tenure and dismissal have been revealed.

The Student Loans Company oversees £100bn worth of debt to the public purse, processes 1.8 million applications a year and has more than eight million customers.

The appointment panel identified one suitable candidate for the job, Mr Lamey.

Schools focus on university, say young Scots

by TES, May 10, 2018

Almost two-thirds of young people feel that university is the main focus of schools, according to a survey carried out by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee.

In the survey of 900 15- to 24-year-olds, many said they felt that “university was prioritised at the expense of other options”. Comments from those who completed the survey suggested a number of them received no information on what options were available after school, and 21 per cent of school leavers taking the survey said they left school not knowing what they wanted to do.

Seven ways to get the best out of an author visit

by TES, May 10, 2018

When you watch a tent full of children listening, spellbound, to an author or illustrator talking about their books, it’s hard to believe that there are classroom struggles around reading, or that parents have to ration screen time.

A character evolves as the illustrator draws a picture in front of the audience; the imaginary world that readers can inhabit is recreated by the author who first conceived it; the madness and hilarity of favourite stories may be sung, acted or both. Live encounters through events such as Haydays, the children and families programme at Hay Festival, can transform the dynamic of reading.

Pupils' education 'damaged by lack of diversity in teaching'

by TES, May 9, 2018

A lack of diversity in Scotland’s teaching profession is damaging pupils’ attainment and life chances, an education union’s annual conference will hear.

Members are “shocked to note the limited progress made towards equality and diversity across the teaching profession”, according to a motion to the NASUWT Scotland gathering.

PM's portrait taken down after Oxford student protests

by BBC, May 9, 2018

A picture of Theresa May has been taken down at the University of Oxford to protect it from protests by students.

The picture of the prime minister, part of a celebration of women who had studied at the university, had been "obscured" by critical messages.

The portrait had been "plastered" with messages about issues including immigration, Windrush and Brexit.

A university spokesman said removing Theresa May's picture was "absolutely not done to make a political point".

Instead, the university authorities say, the picture had been taken down to keep it safe from "mainly humorous satirical messages".

Protesters had used Twitter to say that the university should not be putting up pictures of Mrs May - making reference to the Windrush scandal.

London ranked top city for students

by BBC, May 9, 2018

London has been ranked as the best city in the world for university students.

The top 30 rankings for student cities, produced by the QS higher education data analysts, has previously put Montreal and Paris in first place.

The ratings are based on factors such as the number of top universities in a city, the local jobs market, the diversity of the culture and the quality of life.

But London ranked poorly on one of the measures - affordability.

The ranking of university cities, rather than the quality of institutions, is produced by the QS higher education group, which publishes the annual World University Rankings.

The comparisons, which include a survey of the views of 50,000 students, are an attempt to quantify some of the attractions and disadvantages of cities for students.

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.

EDUCATION CAN SET KIDS FREE

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?

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