Latest Educational News

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.

Four books to get primary pupils thinking

by TES, April 23, 2018

The edges of a child’s world congeal when her assumptions go unchecked. But when she bumps up against questions about what she takes for granted, then she has the opportunity to occupy a wider universe.

Here are four books that prompt children to enquire deeper and tease the edges of their world out a little further.

Teach bushcraft skills to boost grades of poorest pupils, say Scouts

by TES, April 23, 2018

Teaching bushcraft skills to pupils living in poverty could boost their performance at school, according to Scouts Scotland.

The Scouts want to work with schools during the holidays to provide outdoor experiences that they believe could improve attendance, behaviour and academic performance.

'College sport is about more than competition'

by TES, April 23, 2018

I like being surprised by things and I was not let down at the opening ceremony of the 40th annual Association of Colleges' Sport National Championships over the weekend. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I was slightly taken aback, by the positive attitude of young students to a little bit of history. More about that in a minute.

First the background; the National Championships is a great event which really needs to be seen to be fully appreciated – the scale and organisation of it are impressive. This year we had over 1,730 students from 121 colleges competing across 13 sports, representing all the English regions plus Wales and Northern Ireland. The event shows just how vibrant college sport is, and how successful AoC Sport has been in facilitating the competition and student involvement in sport.

'Teachers shouldn't have to do the parents' job, too'

by TES, April 22, 2018

A light drizzle of news stories about parenting recently turned into a raining-cats-and-dogs affair when I read about a school (in which I had previously taught) that had succeeded in changing some pupils' attitudes and achievements by farming them out to other families.

I’m simply in awe of the headteacher who didn’t just exhibit the wisdom to try this out but possessed the considerable diplomacy and communication skills needed to make it happen. (That is a million-dollar effort if I ever I saw one, Mr Varkey.)

Scrap 'cruel' testing of five-year-olds, say Scottish campaigners

by TES, April 20, 2018

An influential group made up of hundreds of education and early years experts, teachers and headteachers – and backed by Scotland’s largest teaching union – is calling for the Scottish government to scrap the testing of five-year-olds in literacy and numeracy.

'Grandparents, not teachers, are key to preparing pupils for new economy'

by TES, April 20, 2018

An army of grandparents is being sought to bypass teachers and help prepare today’s youngsters for an economic future filled with robotics and artificial intelligence.

John Baruch, an astrophysicist from Bradford, believes that practical science is the key to preparing for the “fourth industrial revolution", but that England’s school system is failing to deliver.

Poorest families 'going without food or power'

by BBC, April 20, 2018

Hundreds of thousands of the poorest families in Britain are going without basic necessities, according to two separate surveys.

Citizens Advice said as many as 140,000 households are going without power, as they cannot afford to top up their prepayment meters.

And the Living Wage Foundation - which campaigns for fair pay - said many of the poorest parents are skipping meals.

However the government said workers are now earning more, and paying less tax.

The survey conducted by Citizens Advice suggests that most households that cannot afford to put money in the meter contain either children or someone with a long-term health condition.

Some people are left in cold houses, or without hot water.

Hatfield school denies charging pupils for water

by BBC, April 20, 2018

A school criticised on social media for charging for plastic cups on the hottest day of the year has denied claims children had to pay for water.

Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, made national headlines over claims that children could not get water without paying for it.

The high school said pupils were encouraged to bring a reusable bottle in or buy a disposable cup for 5p.

But it provided cups free of charge if a child has no money, the school said.

National media reported that parents were angry because pupils were being charged 5p for a cup of water.

Acting head teacher Joelle Casotti, said: "Water has always been and continues to be freely available to students of the school."

'I want to be the first in my family at university'

by BBC, April 20, 2018

"I get butterflies thinking about it," says Firzah.

She's in her last year at school and approaching her exams - and, if all goes well, this autumn she has the ambition to become the first person in her family to go to university.

Her plan is to study psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and have a career that her dad, a taxi driver originally from Pakistan, never had the chance to achieve.

Firzah is part of the inaugural cohort of a First Generation project that supports the applications of bright young people who have no experience of university in their families and are likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It's for people who might have walked past a university and thought of it as something "snobbish" or "elitist" and not for them.


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