Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 06/06/2019

Call for return of grants to help poor pupils enter uni – Augar review highlights ‘huge gaps’ in access to university for poorer pupils.

Maintenance grants should be re-introduced to help low-income pupils enter higher education, a Department for Education-commissioned review of post-18 education has said. Even though more disadvantaged young people are going to higher education than ever before, there remain “huge gaps in access and provision”, the review chaired by Philip Augar states.

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Number of EHC plans for pupils with SEND up by 11% – But quarter of requests for the support offered by the plans do not even reach assessments stage.

There has been an 11 per cent rise in the number of pupils with statutory guarantees of support for their special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) in 2019, compared with 2018. The statistics published by the DfE today show there were 354,000 children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan in January 2019 – an increase of 34,200 (11 per cent) from the combined total of children with EHC plans or their predecessors – statements of special educational needs at January 2018.

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Edtech across the curriculum – Reach Robotics encourages schools not to restrict edtech to computer science rooms.

Robotics is an increasingly common sight in classrooms as schools look to effectively engage pupils with STEM subjects. But if it is limited to use in coding or computer science lessons, students can be stuck with the perception that what they’ve learned has a very specific place within the curriculum.

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Unauthorised term-time holidays up 11% – But Department for Education says overall unauthorised absence rate is stable.

The number of pupils who had an unauthorised term-time family holiday last autumn increased by 10.9 per cent, according to new figures from the Department for Education. In autumn 2018, there were 421,883 pupils at state primary, secondary and special schools where an unauthorised absence was recorded relating to a family holiday which had not been agreed.

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Russell Group universities scrap list of ‘facilitating subjects’ – Instead, the group’s new website suggests which A-level subjects will be relevant to specific degrees.

The Russell Group of universities has dropped its list of “facilitating subjects” – a list of A-level subjects that might help pupils secure a place at a top university. This list, which included maths, English, history, geography and the sciences, was intended to help pupils choose A levels considered essential by many of the country’s most selective universities.

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University tuition fees should be capped at £7,500 not £9,250, Government review says.

University tuition fees should be cut to £7,500 to give the taxpayer better value for money, an official review recommends today. The current cap is £9,250, which means students are paying “too much” for their degrees, and the report recommends axing the “punitive” interest payments that students face while they are still at university.

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The number of marks pupils needed in their key stage 1 tests to achieve the government’s “expected” score has been announced today.

To meet government expectations, pupils must achieve at least 100 in their scaled scores, which replaced ‘levels’ in 2016. But the number of marks this equates to differs between the maths, reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling papers.

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Conservative leadership frontrunners Michael Gove and Boris Johnson have both pledged extra funding for schools – placing the issue front and centre of the campaign to replace Theresa May.

Gove, the former education secretary, said he will spend £1 billion extra on schools if he becomes prime minister, while Johnson, the ex-foreign secretary and mayor of London, has pledged to ensure every secondary school in England gets at least £5,000 per pupil.

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Ofsted doesn’t trust its own behaviour findings – Sean Harford says he doesn’t believe behaviour is “good” or better in 90 per cent of schools.

Ofsted’s national director of education has said he doesn’t trust the inspectorate’s own past findings about behaviour. Sean Harford said there were “real issues” with inspecting behaviour, but he said Ofsted would “raise” the profile of discipline with its new inspection framework. Speaking at the CurriculumEd conference in Lichfield today, he said: “Personally, I don’t believe that 90 per cent of schools in the country have good or better behaviour across the school.”

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Boris Johnson’s pledge to ensure every secondary school in England gets £5,000 per pupil could amount to as little as just under £50 million extra funding – or a 0.1 per cent increase in overall school spending.

Writing in the Telegraph, the Tory leadership frontrunner said it was “simply not sustainable that funding per pupil should be £6,800 in parts of London and £4,200 in some other parts of the country”, and pledged to “significantly to improve the level of per-pupil funding so that thousands of schools get much more per pupil – and to protect that funding in real terms”.

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Schools warned to be braced for ‘more variation than usual’ in GCSE and A-level as reforms take their toll. Teenagers will sit the new GCSEs for the first time this summer in 25 new subjects while there will be 19 new A-levels.

This summer is the second year that students are taking re-vamped GCSE exams in a raft of subjects. The new courses were part of a package of reforms by former Education Secretary Michael Gove, designed to toughen up syllabuses, make courses more linear, and cut down on the number of students getting A*s.

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What is cloud 2.0? – Cloud developments are revolutionising the way educators manage schools and conduct lessons. James Higgins finds out why it’s not just blue-sky thinking.

Cloud computing is a catch-all term for anything that delivers services over the internet, rendering the permanent storage of apps, files and programs (and much, much more) on a hard drive or server redundant. Some everyday examples include G Suite and iCloud Music Library.

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Augar review – what is the reaction? – The reaction to the Augar review from the education sector, politics and industry has been mixed.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “On the face of it the fee-level recommendations may look good for students, but unless the government gives a cast-iron guarantee on full replacement funding, it could prove to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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High pads: How student accommodation is changing – Standards are rising in student accommodation as a new strand of luxury living challenges the chequered reputation of digs.

When it comes to choosing university accommodation, today’s students have more choice than ever before. Private purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) providers have driven demand for a new standard of university digs, where a host of facilities and services are provided as part of students’ rental agreements. According to estate agent Knight Frank’s 2018 UK Student Housing Update, 30% of full-time first-year students across the UK live in PBSA, a rise of 22% on five years ago – but what are the main reasons for this change, and how can institutions ensure that their accommodation hits the mark?

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The benefits of mobile apps in education – Technology is revolutionising education, enabling people to enhance and further their education.

These days, technology is incorporated in just about every part of our life and helping us in a wide range of aspects. It is revolutionising education, enabling people to enhance and further their education all by the simple use of tech. With a simple download of an engaging app, you can boost your knowledge anywhere, anytime.

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Implementing technology in the classroom – As technology evolves, how can it be implemented successfully in classrooms in a way that is mutually beneficial to students and teachers?

Earlier this year, the Department for Education unveiled a new strategy for education technology, to the tune of £10m, in a bid to give all schools across the UK the opportunity to benefit from edtech. Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “We are living in a digital world with technology transforming the way we live our lives – both at home and in the workplace. This strategy is just the first step in making sure the education sector is able to take advantage of all of the opportunities available through edtech.

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The trials and tribulations of the summer term – We’re in the final stretch to summer, says Michael Tidd – there’s just reports, the production, sports day, transition.

Isn’t it marvellous spending time at home with the family this week? Or perhaps you’re taking a short break in the sunshine before returning to work. What’s that? Back already? Well, then forgive me indulging my few moments of smugness as I enjoy my second Whitsun week in return for my all-too-brief Easter holiday.

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The body that regulates qualifications in England has added its voice to fears about the government’s plans for scrapping applied general qualifications including BTECs.

Ofqual believes there is a “risk” that a barrier to student progress may be created if alternative choices to T-levels and A-levels are “unduly restricted”. It is particularly concerned about this impact on disadvantaged learners, who may not be “suited” to studying the new technical qualifications or academic option.

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Teacher mental health training goes national – More than 1,800 secondary schools and colleges will get training, in the latest phase of mental health awareness scheme.

Teachers will be taught how to recognise the warning signs for anxiety, depression and low mood, as part of a government-funded mental health drive. More than 1,800 secondary schools and colleges will receive the training, as part of the latest phase of the mental health awareness training.

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Schools heading for pupil data scandal – ‘Free for all,’ means ‘gazillions of companies’ selling ‘complete crap to a lot of complete suckers,’ says Cambridge academic, who warns schools will face ‘huge outcry’.

It is only a matter of time before schools become engulfed in scandals over breaches of their pupils’ data, a leading expert has warned. The claim comes amid a growing number of schools reporting data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.