Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 13/06/2019

How to embed mental health into the school curriculum – To reduce the stigma of mental health, we should ensure that support permeates every area of school.

There is often a stigma, a fear factor, attached to mental health. If there’s only one person in an academy who you can go to, it becomes a big deal to seek them out. If you have to make an appointment with a special someone in a special room, that almost accentuates the stigma. And, of course, it may well be that at that precise time when you really need help, that one person just isn’t available.

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Ministers have launched a new group to explore the benefits artificial intelligence can bring to the classroom.

Nick Gibb, the schools’ minister, said the impact of AI technologies in the classroom “still remains largely unevidenced”, and wants to find out more about how it can help schools.

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New evidence grammar system hits life chances of many – ‘Slightly higher’ outcomes for grammar school pupils need to be balanced against ‘worse outcomes’ for majority in selective areas who don’t get in.

Education outcomes for pupils attending non-selective schools in areas with grammars are lower than for similar pupils in non-selective areas, according to a new analysis. The research by FFT Education Datalab found that students attending secondary moderns and comprehensives in selective areas did worse when it came to getting the best GCSE grades and going to top universities.

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University regulator unveils £14m mental health scheme to reduce student suicides – Too many young people have experiences ‘blighted by mental ill-health’, says watchdog boss.

A £14.5m programme to help reduce the number of student suicides at universities and colleges in England has been unveiled by the higher education regulator. Nicola Dandridge, the head of the Office for Students (OfS), has said too many students are having their experience “blighted by mental ill-health” and more should be done to tackle the issue.

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Contextual uni offers ‘create perception of unfairness’ – Policy Exchange also suggests universities should only make unconditional offers in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Universities should stop the routine use of contextual offers that make it easier for disadvantaged students to get a place, a thinktank has said. A report by the right-leaning Policy Exchange, published today, also warns that unconditional offers demotivate A-level students and calls for them to only be made in “exceptional circumstances”.

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A new £200,000 fund will be announced today to help state schools, private schools and universities create or expand partnerships – but recipients will have to stump up some of their own cash.

Schools and universities can bid for up to £20,000 to build partnerships, but the Department for Education said any bid of over £5,000 will have to match the funding with their own money. The DfE said the match funding requirement was to ensure “pupils continue to benefit beyond the existence of the fund”. The total fund itself is only £200,000, so it is unlikely many will receive the maximum amount.

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May ‘wants’ multi-billion-pound boost for schools – Conflicting signals about school funding as PM hopefuls compete to offer most money but Treasury minister warns of spending review delay.

Theresa May wants to announce a “multi-billion pound programme” for schools and colleges before she leaves Downing Street next month, according to a report. The Financial Times reports the prime minister is locked in a dispute with chancellor Philip Hammond over money he has built up as a contingency in case there is a no-deal Brexit.

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Drivers who speed near primary schools could find themselves scolded by pupils as part of a new police initiative in London.

The Junior Roadwatch scheme involves drivers who are caught speeding and pulled over by police officers being given the option of receiving a fixed penalty fine and points on their license, attending a speeding awareness course or being told off by children and a council staff member.

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Schools ‘discourage’ admission of pupils with SEND – Children with special needs less likely than their peers to be admitted to Reception in the primary where they attended preschool, research finds.

Children with special needs are far less likely than their peers to be admitted to Reception in the primary where they attended preschool, research has found. The report, published by the London School of Economics and Political Science, looked at the educational record of more than half a million children born in the 2006-07 academic year, across nearly 25,000 settings.

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A free app aims to lessen teacher workload by helping to stamp out the “playground politics” of parent chat groups – while making schools money in the process.

Classlist is designed to boost parental engagement in schools, but comes with strict guidelines to limit negativity in its forums and a “social contract” to financially benefit its schools. At the National Association of Head Teachers conference in May school leaders raised concerns over “continued online abuse” from parents, while a survey of teachers in February by the insurance firm Ecclesiastical found more than a third of those contacted by parents on social media had received criticism or abuse.

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Campus security – The safety of students needs to be protected from multiple angles, finds Julie Ferry, as she unpicks the issue of campus security.

The issue of security within the university sector encompasses many different elements, solutions and organisations. As a large institution there are a number of varying challenges that throw up their own complexities. From concerns for the physical security of students and staff that could be paramount during a terrorist attack or the effects of a wide-ranging cyber attack intent on paralysing the university’s network, to how to ensure the safety of students with disabilities during a fire or protecting their personal data. These are all big questions that need addressing for the institution to fulfil its duty of care correctly.

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Over 2,000 free physics teaching resources made available to teachers, The Institute of Physics has launched a comprehensive new education site.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has launched a brand new education website – IOPSpark – designed to become the new ‘go to’ resource for every aspect of teaching pre-19 physics. The site will be home to the UK’s most comprehensive set of free physics teaching resources with over 2,000 available. All resources on the site are IOP approved and teacher-tested and include lesson plans, teacher notes, enrichment activities, worksheets and video content. Many of the resources include teaching tips as well as carefully curated links to further reading.

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UK employers increase digital training budgets by 13% finds OU research – The Open University’s report, Bridging the Digital Divide, investigates the digital skills shortages and future of work in the UK.

The Open University have released their latest report, which reveals that UK employers are increasing their digital training budgets to keep pace with technological change. The OU report, Bridging the Digital Divide, shows that on average, organisations have increased their digital training budgets from £52,150 to £58,750 (an increase of 13%) in the past 12 months. More than a quarter (27%) have redirected their training budget to focus on digital skills.

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Sustainability initiative is just the TICCIT – Organised by the packaging industry, ‘Trees into Cartons, Cartons into Trees’ offers school children hands-on teaching about renewable resources.

More than 100,000 children have now taken part in the Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees (TICCIT) initiative, launched in late 2018 to help educate future generations about sustainability and renewability. TICCIT’s chief focus is on the “credentials of paperboard packaging”, with the initiative the result of a partnership between Pro Carton, the European Association for Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers, and its UK equivalent, BPIF Cartons.

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Teachers in the largest academy trusts are promoted on average three years earlier than their peers in LA-maintained schools, but they’re also more likely to quit the profession, new research has found.

A study by the Ambition Institute and the Education Policy Institute found that teachers in so-called “system leader” academy trusts, those with 12,000 or more pupils, gained promotion to senior leadership at an average age of 35, while those in LA schools had to wait until they were 38.

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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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Ofsted’s chief inspector has told schools to put “less faith” in predicted grades – warning they can do “more harm than good”.

Amanda Spielman said it is time for schools to move away from focusing on how targets will be achieved and should instead focus on the “substance of education”. Speaking at the National Governance Association summer conference in London this morning, Spielman asked if it was “even helpful” to ask schools to predict grades.

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Spending on speech and language therapy (SLT) has been slashed in half of areas, according to a report which reveals the extent of cuts at a local level for the first time.

The report from Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England has found “enormous variation” in the investment in SLT services across the country, despite almost one in five children starting school with lower than expected levels of communication.

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Ofsted must look at school funding, say heads – School leader campaign groups say inspectors can’t assess curriculum without taking school funding into account.

Ofsted have been urged to consider school funding during inspections – Ofsted has been warned that it cannot inspect the curriculum without taking school funding pressures into account. The heads of two influential grassroots groups of school leaders have written to chief inspector Amanda Spielman calling for answers on how inspectors will take school funding into account.

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Cambridge college becomes first at university to earmark places for disadvantaged students.

A Cambridge college has become the first at the university to earmark places for disadvantaged students. Corpus Christi is to create 30 new places for disadvantaged students over the next three years, under its biggest expansion in half a century. As part of the initiative, the additional intake of students will all need to complete an intensive three week residential “bridging course” before starting their first year.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.