Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 06/12/2018

50 leaders from education, business and mental health sign Open Letter to Government

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister signed by more than 50 leaders from across education, business and mental health has called on the Government to prioritise its manifesto pledge to amend health and safety legislation to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing.

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3D virtual field trips pioneered by University of Exeter – A team from the University of Exeter are using 3D gaming technology to take students and researchers on virtual field trips to the Arctic Circle

The Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment – InVEnTA – uses the latest advances in 3D imaging to take students and researchers to environments from the sunny climes of East Devon to the Arctic Circle and beyond. – So promising is the project that it has been nominated for an international award at the Reimagine Education Conference in San Francisco at the end of November.

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‘Significant number’ of examiners unhappy with online standardisation

Large numbers of examiners aren’t happy with the system currently used to standardise their marking, a new report from Ofqual has revealed. – The exams regulator surveyed thousands of examiners about online standardisation, which is used to ensure consistency in exam marking.

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DfE may let Agnew take decisions on his former MAT – Angela Rayner accuses government of ‘weakening whatever controls there were’ over potential conflict of interest

The minister who oversees the academy system could be allowed to make key decisions about the controversial academy trust that he founded, Tes can reveal. – Lord Agnew set up the Inspiration Trust in 2012, and it now runs 13 free schools and academies in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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Ofsted ‘should only give top grade to schools promoting creative subjects’

Schools should only be judged “outstanding” by Ofsted if they can demonstrate excellence in creative and technical teaching, according to a new report. The Edge Foundation says the inspectorate needs to ensure that creative and technical subjects are given the same value as academic subjects.

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Universities with soaring grades may be forced to introduce common marking criteria

Universities with soaring grading inflation may be forced to introduce a common marking criteria with other institutions after heavy criticism from a cabinet minister.

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Is it too easy to get into university? – New figures show almost a third of university applicants get unconditional offers

Education bosses are calling on the universities regulator to investigate a drastic rise in the number of unconditional offers being made to prospective students in the UK.

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Ofsted ‘worried’ heads are failing to delegate curriculum design to subject leads

Some headteachers are doing “all the thinking” about the school’s curriculum when they should be delegating more responsibility to subject leads, according to a senior Ofsted figure.

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Government falls short of teacher training targets in most secondary school subjects – ‘We are at a crisis in secondary teacher recruitment’

The government has missed its teacher training targets in most secondary school subjects this year, new government statistics have revealed. Fewer than half (47 per cent) of the trainees required were recruited in physics and just a quarter of the design and technology trainees required were taken on, the figures show.

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New method of exams marking ‘could transform’ teacher workload

Grading exam essays using comparative judgment is “significantly” quicker and still as reliable as double-marking them, Ofqual has found. On Tuesday the exams watchdog published findings from research it conducted over the past five years into improving the quality of examiner marking at GCSE, AS and A-levels.

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Should firms pay their employees’ tuition fees?

Businesses should pay more towards the cost of university fees in England, rather than putting the debt on the shoulders of students, suggests a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute. The think tank report is calling for a completely different approach to tuition fees.

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DfE names 16 grammar schools that will split £50m expansion cash

The 16 grammar schools that will split the government’s first round of expansion funding have been named by the Department for Education.

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Only 24% of young teachers plan to stay long-term – More than one in 10 young teachers are spending 25 hours a week or more working overtime

Less than a quarter of young teachers say they expect to stay in teaching long term, a conference organised by the NASUWT teaching union has heard. Pay and excessive workload are the biggest reasons why young teachers say they may leave the profession.

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Exam board marking league tables delayed by monitoring concerns

Ofqual, the exams regulator, is still trying to find a way to publish data on how the quality of marking varies between exam boards, more than three years after the idea was floated.

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Ofsted: Nearly 10K off-rolled pupils disappear from school system – Watchdog also has concerns about ‘worrying’ gaps in SEND provision across the country

Thousands of pupils could be “disappearing” from the school system as a result of illegal off-rolling, Ofsted has warned. Inspectors found that 19,000 children dropped off school rolls between January 2016 and January 2017, during the time students take their GCSE exams.

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Private schools to help more children in care – Services for looked-after children will include academic support, work experience opportunities and help writing Ucas statements

Children in care could receive mentoring or scholarships from some of the top independent schools in the country under new plans set to be announced today. They include a national scheme between councils and private schools to improve the life chances of looked-after children, and more cut-price boarding places.

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Ofsted’s annual report 2018: Watchdog ‘concerned’ over SEND exclusions, and 8 more findings

Ofsted has this morning published its annual report for 2018. The key topics include off-rolling, SEND provision, and ‘stuck’ schools.

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Off-rolling is detestable, but let’s be careful – Illegal exclusion is a dereliction of duty, and Ofsted is correct to condemn it, but the schools watchdog must be sure to follow the evidence

When Amanda Spielman was appointed Ofsted chief inspector, there were many – including the Commons Education Select Committee – who were very vocal about their doubts. But with every annual report and speech, I’m more convinced that few understand the big issues facing it more than she does.

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Ofsted to introduce new MAT ‘summary evaluations’ this month

A new inspection regime for multi-academy trusts will be introduced this month, Ofsted has revealed. In its annual report, the watchdog said it will introduce new summary evaluations, which will see groups of schools in the same trust inspected across one or two terms and feedback sessions with leaders once reports are published.

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Children’s physical development stifled by ‘undue concerns’ about health and safety in nurseries, Ofsted warns – ‘A child who hasn’t built up strength by doing the monkey bars will struggle to write’

Children’s early physical development is being stifled by “undue concerns” over health and safety in nurseries, Ofsted has warned. Pre-school children are being denied opportunities to build muscular strength and dexterity because of fears they will hurt themselves during exercise, according to the education watchdog’s annual report.

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‘Do-it-yourself’ robotics

As a society that is increasingly reliant upon robotics, the STEM field – science, technology, engineering and maths – is not only one of the fastest-growing professional and economic sectors, but is now an indispensable part of the education curriculum. Students across the UK need technological and scientific literacy to manage the challenges of the future, however, traditionally complex concepts can prove challenging for teachers and students alike.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.