Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 12/09/2019

All watches should be banned in exams to stamp out cheating, says review – Review to tighten up school exam system also calls for “toilet sweeps” to look for stashed crib sheets.

Students should be banned from taking all watches into exam halls to stamp out cheating via devices connected to the internet, according to a new review. A commission launched to tighten up the school exam system against cheating also said invigilators should conduct “toilet sweeps” to look for stashed crib sheets, and that exam boards should monitor the dark web for leaked papers.

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The cost of GCSEs and A-levels has soared by 17 per cent across the past three years, Ofqual’s first ever exams price guide has revealed.

Unions have blamed the rise on the government’s reformed qualifications, stating its “another unwanted burden on budgets”. The finding is from the exam regulator’s new qualifications price index (QPI), published today, which for the first time reveals the movement in costs of regulated qualifications in England. The weighted average price of a GCSE is now £39.31, up from £37.30 last year. The rise was steeper for A-levels which cost £97.76 – up from £92.44 last year.

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Schools offering food banks are increasing, and more students are using them – Three in five school leaders said they lacked funds to support the needs of disadvantaged pupils.

The number of school pupils using food banks is on the rise, with more schools setting up the stores for those in need in the last year. More and more pupils are relying on schools to feed them, with three out of five governors saying their school didn’t have enough money to support disadvantaged pupils, according to a new report from the National Governors Association (NGA).

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Northamber and Casio announce a new distribution agreement – Leading UK technology distributor, Northamber PLC, has announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with Casio for the promotion and distribution of their range of professional projectors in the UK.

Peter Dosanjh, director of AV at Northamber, said: “Casio is the only projector manufacturer in the UK that has a completely lamp-free range of products. Removing lamp-based projectors from the range really helps business and education customers, removing the need for lamp replacement and reducing excess heat, at the same time as removing waste mercury and excess CO2 from the environment. We are delighted to be bringing this exciting range of lamp-free projectors to the UK reseller base”.

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Bristol University reveals enterprise campus plans – The new buildings will be located on a brownfield site adjacent to Bristol Temple Meads station and home to the university’s new school of management.

Detailed designs for the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus have been released by the University of Bristol. The new buildings will be at the centre of an ambitious plan to redevelop a derelict brownfield site next to Temple Meads station. Outline planning permission has been granted for research, enterprise and teaching buildings which will house the university’s new school of management.

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Eight key pieces of research for teachers – There are a handful of research findings that have made Tom Rogers rethink his practice as a teacher. He presents them here.

Here are eight key pieces of research that I’ve come across in the last few years, which have made me re-evaluate beliefs I’ve had about teaching and learning. I’ll reflect on how below.

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The Department for Education has today launched a review into tackling the “postcode lottery” of support services available for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – just five years after launching its own major reforms to the sector.

The SEND review aims to improve the services available to families and equip school staff to respond to children’s needs, the DfE said on Friday. It was revealed last week that the budget for schools would rise by £7.2 billion in 2020-21, which includes £700 million earmarked for pupils with special educational needs.

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Heads call for times tables test to be scrapped – Headteachers say pilot times tables test told teachers ‘nothing they did not know’.

Headteachers have said the proposed statutory times table test for eight- and nine-year-old pupils is a pointless waste of time and should be scrapped. – The NAHT headteachers’ union said almost all of the 269 school leaders who were surveyed for its report Multiple Concerns said the test did not give them any new information about children’s abilities.

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The number of schools with exceptional levels of pupil movement has risen by 13 per cent in one year, despite Ofsted’s action to crack down on off-rolling.

Analysis released today reveals that 340 schools had exceptional levels of pupil movement, up from 300 the year before. The watchdog’s latest study looked at pupil movement between year 10 in January 2017 and year 11 in January 2018. A total of 20,000 pupils left schools in those years, 22 per cent of which were in one of the 340 schools. Ofsted said that, on average, 13 pupils left each of the 340 schools.

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Open schools seven days a week and have police officers as security, children’s commissioner says – The six-pledge manifesto urges the Government to take decisive action to improve the lives of children and keep them safe .

The children‘s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, says schools should stay open seven days a week throughout the year and have designated police officers to protect them from gang violence. In a six-point “children’s manifesto” for schools, Ms Longfield suggested opening schools in the evenings and on weekends to help prevent children being “easy pickings” for troublemakers. She added that the provision of activities like drama, sport, or arts would be beneficial for young people and their families.

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Refurbishing facilities – Refurbishing facilities provides a great opportunity to improve the lives of pupils, teachers and even the wider community. Val Proctor talks to the schools which have been there and done it.

An independent report prepared by RSAcademics for the Independent Schools Council (ISC) stated that, in early 2018, 1,317 UK independent schools allied to the ISC employed 65,600 teachers and enrolled 525,000 pupils. In 2017, ISC schools’ core operations (excluding trading, fundraising and other financing activities) brought in £7.83bn of income, of which £1.78bn was used to purchase goods and services from other organisations.

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Nursery graduate pledge for deprived areas falls short – By August 2018, an additional graduate – including teachers – was promised for each nursery located in a deprived area but 8% of the posts are unfilled.

Dozens of the additional graduate posts the Scottish government pledged to introduce into nurseries in deprived areas remain unfilled almost a year after the first minister pledged to deliver the extra support for disadvantaged preschool children, a Tes Scotland investigation has revealed.

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Ofsted’s inspection grace period won’t apply to full primary curriculum – Ofsted’s curriculum grace period will not apply to reading, writing and maths in primary schools.

Further details of the education watchdog’s transition plans to give schools some breathing space in developing their curriculum were released in notes to inspectors today. It shows the transition arrangements apply to four of the “good” criteria of the quality of education judgement under its new inspection framework, launched this week.

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Councils are increasingly open to allowing summer-born pupils to start school later, but parents still face a postcode lottery in their battle for flexibility, new data shows.

Results from a survey of town halls by the Department for Education shows 62 per cent of local authorities say they are “more willing” to let pupils born between April and August enter reception at the age of five than they were previously, although they still ask parents to make a case for the change.

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Cyber Discovery relaunches for a third year – The government-backed programme has welcomed over 46,000 thousand participants in the last two years.

The government-backed cybersecurity training programme Cyber Discovery has returned for its third year. The scheme – delivered by SANS institute for the department of culture, media and sport (DCMS) – aims to inspire teenagers to pursue a career in the industry. This year the programme will welcome students as young as 13 for the first time.

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Nine in 10 parents have not installed cybersecurity on child’s digital device – A minority of parents have protected their child’s digital device, changed the default settings or monitored their online use.

Children are more vulnerable to cybercriminals because of their personal digital devices, cybersecurity experts have warned. A survey by security firm Kaspersky found that only 13% of parents have installed online security software to the phone, laptop or tablet used by the child. The survey also found that 87% of parents don’t limit the amount of time their children spend online and 49% had never reviewed the default settings on their child’s device.

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Schools to be given new uniform guidance including avoiding sole suppliers in bid to reduce costs – The move comes after a schools minister warned uniforms were a ‘way of excluding children from less well-off backgrounds’.

Schools will be given new guidance to avoid single-supplier uniform contracts and keep branded items to a minimum in an effort to keep down costs for parents. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said that while uniform can have a “hugely positive impact” it should never be “so expensive as to present a barrier to accessing the school”. Mr Williamson made the commitment in a letter to Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority, who wrote to him about the “major costs” faced by many families.

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Five steps to improving your trip-management process – Trip management can be smoother and more efficient with these five steps from Chris Morledge, managing director of eduTrips.

Like many schools, Ashford School and Ashford Friars Prep School had a manual process of managing their school trips which worked, but it needed to change. With ever-improving IT capabilities and the time of teachers and the leadership team becoming ever more squeezed, they knew there had to be a better way.

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GCSE English language should be replaced with a “passport in English” qualification to be taken flexibly between the ages of 15 and 19, according to a commission set up to look into the plight of those left behind by the current exam system.

ASCL’s “forgotten third” commission has recommended the introduction of a new “competency-based qualification” consisting of online assessment, a portfolio of a student’s writing and a significant spoken English component to replace the GCSE, which focuses on “a restrictive choice of writing tasks with an emphasis on literary analysis” and leaves many pupils behind.

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New joint university research centre to investigate ‘future of work’ – The £8m Digital Futures at Work Research Centre will open in January and seek to provide ‘compelling evidence on the contemporary transformation of work’.

As digital technologies become increasingly embedded in our everyday lives, a major new research facility is set to explore exactly how they’re changing the world of work. Slated to open on New Year’s Day, and based in the business schools of the universities of Sussex and Leeds, the Digital Futures at Work Research Centre (Digit Centre) will look to reach beyond the speculative to offer policy makers hard evidence as to the impact of new tech on jobs and workers.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.