Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 07/03/2019

Legal disputes between parents over where to send their child to school is on the rise, leading family lawyer says

Legal disputes between parents over where to send their child to school is on the rise, a leading family lawyer has said, amid increased competition for places.

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Children as young as 14 are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes, head of Britain’s biggest addiction clinic says

Children as young as 14 are becoming addicted to e-Cigarettes, the head of Britain’s biggest addiction clinic has said. John Dicey, chief executive of Allen Carr’s Easyway which has 35 centres around the UK, said there has been a steep rise in the past year of young people seeking help on how to quit vaping.

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The government will be taken to the High Court over its cuts to special educational needs funding after a judge ruled in favour of a landmark judicial review.

Families representing pupils with SEND announced in September they were crowdfunding a legal challenge against education secretary Damian Hinds and chancellor Philip Hammond over their high need budget cuts – with Schools Week recently reporting they had hit their target.

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Music education ‘must tackle digital disconnect’ – Music education develops vital skills – schools need to make better use of tech to keep the subject alive

There are “huge disparities” in provision of music lessons between schools and there is a failure to recognise how young people engage with music, according to a report from the Music Commission, an 18-month inquiry set up by the ABRSM exam board with backing from Arts Council England.

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‘Financial issues’ threatened 90 academy trusts, auditors warned – DfE funding body says auditors found about 15 academy trusts where related party transactions were not ‘at cost’

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) today published a note outlining “key assurance findings” from work it carried out in 2017-18, which included a review of academy trust financial statements, funding audits and financial management and governance returns.

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Alternative Provision Innovation Fund places telepresence robots with sick children – The project has rolled out telepresence robots from No Isolation to 90 children across the country

Telepresence robots have been rolled out to 90 children with physical and mental illness across the UK through the government’s Alternative Provision Innovation Fund. The AV1 robots, created by Norwegian company No Isolation, are part of a project to test the efficacy of technology within alternative provision in the UK.

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University of Bath announces AI doctoral training centre – The Centre for Doctoral Training in Accountable, Responsible and Transparent Artificial Intelligence (ART-AI) is one of 16 centres announced across the UK

The centre is part of a £100m investment from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and will recruit and train at least 60 postgraduate students from engineering, social science and policy backgrounds in the ethical use of AI. The aim is to help ensure that developments in AI, and decisions on how and when to use it or not, are informed and ethical.

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What does the future of learning look like? – Jane Lunnon, head of Wimbledon High School (WHS), pens her thoughts on the current exam system, technology and why she is placing focus on STEAM

Imagine this: you are watching a production of Hamlet online. Gertrude is betraying her son, Ophelia is going mad. Claudius is hiding things and Hamlet is doing (or rather, not doing) his thing. And you, the viewer, are not only watching this on your PC, you are also, right there, in the show, a reflection in a gilded mirror – daubed with blood and looking pretty ropey (your part is the ghost of Old Hamlet).

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A school criticised by Ofsted for off-rolling its year 11 pupils did so with the agreement of its local authority, with other schools in the area potentially employing a similar practice.

Discovery Academy in Stoke-on-Trent has been rated as ‘good’, despite having been rapped by inspectors for moving year 11 pupils onto the roll of local alternative provision last January and for planning to do so again this year.

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‘FE needs an independent council of elders’ – The wisdom of further education’s senior professionals could protect it from ministerial whimsy

The Elders is an international organization of public figures first brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to work together “for peace and human rights”. It is easy to scoff at such interventions and to question the motives and good faith of those involved, and I offer no opinion on the success or otherwise of this organisation, or on the qualifications of its respective members.

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Poorer students who miss out on University of Cambridge place given second chance – Institution estimates up to 100 places may be offered under the scheme

Students from underrepresented backgrounds who narrowly miss out on an offer from the University of Cambridge will now be given a second chance to enter the elite institution. From this summer, Cambridge will participate in Ucas’ adjustment scheme from A-level results day. The process allows students who have exceeded the terms of their conditional offer to refer themselves to another university.

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‘Too often, careers advice is treated like a grubby little secret’ – The education sector is letting pupils down on careers advice: it can’t be left to just one week a year

“National Careers Week! Yay it’s National Careers Week” so began a slightly cynical article I wrote around this time last year. Not because of cynicism about the event but rather a creeping sadness that, despite the huge level of activity (over 1,000,000 students took part), it would once more be overlooked by the bulk of the media unless you were really looking.

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Only quarter of pupils get recommended reading for pleasure time – ‘Biggest-ever’ literacy study in UK of more than a million children shows reading for pleasure has a direct bearing on attainment – but not enough are doing it

Less than a quarter of schoolchildren are benefiting from the recommended daily time for reading for pleasure – despite research showing it can have a huge impact on attainment, according to a major new study.

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One in ten 16- to 24-year-olds classed as Neet – There has been a small increase in the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training

The number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neet) has remained stubbornly static in the past year, and has even increased slightly. According to the latest Labour Force Survey estimates for October to December 2018, 11.3 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds were Neet, a slight increase of 0.2 percentage points from quarter four of 2017.

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Schools should be “held responsible” for the pupils they exclude, the children’s commissioner for England has warned, as figures show gang members are five times more likely to have been thrown out of school.

A new report from Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, warns there is “extensive evidence linking school exclusions with gang involvement”. The report estimates that 27,000 children in the country identify as gang members.

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EYFS: a guide to closing the disadvantage gap – First we need to define what ‘disadvantage’ is in early years – then put the research into practice

“There seems to be little strategic direction to government policy on early years – the life chances strategy was never published, the government’s social mobility action plan did not fully address the role played by the early years, and the government’s flagship 30-hours childcare policy appears to be entrenching disadvantage.”

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Parents still prefer university to apprenticeships – A new survey finds families from wealthier backgrounds are less likely to support apprenticeships for their children

Parents are more likely to advise their child to go to university than take a degree-level apprenticeship, with middle-class parents more likely than poorer parents to offer this advice, according to the results of a survey published by the Sutton Trust today.

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The Department for Education has refused to say how many bids it received for a contract to write a new model music curriculum after the tender was awarded to an exam board with no classroom teaching expertise.

Music teachers and academics are unhappy that the ABRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, has been chosen to draw up the new non-statutory curriculum with the help of a panel of industry experts. It was announced as the winner via a tweet by Nick Gibb, the schools minister. He has previously lavished praise on the exam board, which mainly focuses on classical music.

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Schools should monitor printer logs to crack down on staff who are “exceptionally high users of colour printing”, the government has said.

New financial guidance for schools from the DfE calls for “high-level monthly line-by-line examination” of unexpected overspends by schools seeking to balance their books. This is not the first time the government has suggested schools look to their printing and copying habits in a bid to save cash. Lord Agnew, the academies minister, faced a backlash last year after saying that cutting down on “staggering” copying bills is “one small example” of how schools can save money.

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National Offer Day: Record number of children to miss out on first-choice secondary school places, analysis suggests ‘There is a desperate need for long-term planning,’say headteachers

A record number of children will miss out on their first-choice secondary school this year, education experts have predicted. Some 115,000 pupils in England will not be offered a place at their preferred option, according to analysis by the Good Schools Guide, which warned some parts of the country “simply do not have enough places to satisfy local demand”.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.