Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 14/02/2019

Trebling of refusals to teach violent and disruptive pupils – Absence of school behaviour policies and lack of support for special needs pupils among reasons for rise in refusal-to-teach ballots, says union

The number of disputes involving teachers refusing to teach violent and disruptive pupils has almost trebled in three years, according to a union. The NASUWT teaching union says that poor behaviour has now become the second most serious concern among teachers after workload. Current disputes include teachers at one school refusing to teach a Year 10 boy who sexually assaulted a female member of staff.

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Glasses for pupils scheme aims to improve maths and literacy – English Mastery also included in five new programmes being trialed by the Education Endowment Foundation

Pupils in 100 schools are set to will take part in a trial to help improve their maths and reading skills by ensuring they get glasses if they need them. The Glasses for Classes programme, developed by the University of Leeds and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is aimed at four- and five-year-olds. Roughly 10–15 per cent of children fail eyesight tests, and of these around a third are not taken to the opticians to obtain glasses.

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Can a school building improve results? – This deputy head wonders why building design’s impact – on concentration, behaviour and learning – is underappreciated

I recall sitting at the back of my maths classroom, a typical angst-ridden teenager, etching some tortured declaration of love into the chipped wooden desk. I remember swinging on my cracked plastic tub chair paying little heed to Mr Needson’s trigonometry demonstration on the grubby whiteboard.

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One subject constantly at risk of going out of date – Modern studies: what can a teacher do if events move so fast teaching materials are out of date before they’re printed?

“What even is modern studies?” A question often asked by new students and parents: no other subject teacher has to justify the existence of their subject as frequently as those in modern studies.

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Scrap GCSEs in favour of ‘holistic baccalaureate’ says education committee chair

GCSEs and A-levels should be scrapped and replaced with one “holistic baccalaureate” for 18-year-olds which recognises academic and technical skills and personal development, a senior Conservative MP has said.

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Children to be taught mindfulness as mental health trials launch in 370 English schools

Mindfulness, breathing and relaxation exercises are going to be introduced to 370 schools in England in an effort to teach children about the importance of looking after their mental health. The launch of the mental health trial is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and is being led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in partnership with University College London.

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Teachers increasingly refusing to teach unruly children amid incidents of violence and sexual assault

School staff are increasingly refusing to teach unruly children, figures show, amid incidents of violence and sexual assault. The number of “refusal to teach” ballots has doubled in the past five years, according to the teaching union National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

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Children ‘falling off the grid’ in the tens of thousands amid surge in pupils leaving mainstream education

Children’s commissioner warns that 60,000 children, many with special educational needs, are permanently out of school as more families feel they have no choice but to home educate. The number of children being taken out of school to be home educated has surged in recent years, prompting calls for greater supervision of youngsters not in mainstream education.

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Lord Baker: GCSEs now ‘redundant’ – Now compulsory education continues to 18, there is no need to test at 16, says the architect of the qualifications

The former education secretary who introduced GCSEs has said the qualification is now “redundant” and has called for them to be scrapped. Lord Baker was education secretary from 1986 to 1989 in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet and oversaw the development and introduction of GCSEs to replace O levels and the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE).

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How poor housing is harming our pupils – Head says the number of pupils in her PRU with housing problems has tripled since 2010

Housing issues are becoming a growing problem for pupils, with experts warning the issue is feeding mental health and behaviour issues at school, Tes can reveal. Emma Bradshaw, head of The Limes College pupil referral unit (PRU) in Sutton, south London, says that more than half her pupils now have housing problems, three times as many as in 2010.

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A-levels are not fit for purpose and should be reviewed, president of Royal Society says – ‘Pockets of success for the wealthy elite are not good enough’

A-levels do not give young people the best start for securing good jobs and should be reviewed, the president of the Royal Society has said. – Venki Ramakrishnan is calling for an urgent independent review of post-16 education in the UK.

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Nearly a third of academy transfers down to government intervention over failures

Almost a third of all academies that were transferred to new trusts last year were moved because of direct government intervention following failures.

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Council leaders defend taking parents to tribunal over SEND support

Council leaders have defended their decisions to take families to tribunal to settle disagreements about provision for pupils with special educational needs to MPs this morning.

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Cheating stats don’t tell the whole story – Ofqual – Almost half of England’s exam penalties are due to the possession of mobile phones, whether or not cheating was intended

A report published by the UK Government cites mobile phones as being the most common reason for exam penalties being issued in 2018. The report Malpractice for GCSE, AS and A-level: summer 2018 exam series, published in December 2018, states that 2,735 penalties were issued to students in schools and colleges across England last year. The main reason for these penalties, the report confirms, was students being in possession of a mobile phone. Phones accounted for 47% of all student penalties in 2018, an increase of 22% since 2017.

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Apprentice and graduate jobs rise by nearly a third… but employers have Brexit-related concerns over filling technical roles, finds a survey by the Institute of Student Employers

The Institute of Student Employers’ (ISE) Pulse Survey 2019 finds that some of the UK’s largest employers are increasing their apprentice and graduate vacancies by 27% this year. Respondents are offering more than 17,000 entry jobs, and the majority (70%) don’t anticipate Brexit will have any impact on their recruitment needs.

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Student Loans Company hit by one million cyberattacks last year – The figure is a marked rise on the previous year, when just 95 attempts were recorded

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has been hit by nearly one million cyberattacks in the last year, according to official figures. In data released under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, the SLC revealed it was targeted by 965,639 attempts to infiltrate its systems in the last financial year (2017/18).

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Anonymous online counselling for students at Leeds – Kooth Student, an anonymous online counselling service, is offered to students at Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University has commissioned digital mental health pioneer XenZone to provide Kooth Student, a free and anonymous online mental health and emotional wellbeing support service, to its 28,000 students.

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Why primary teachers should think twice about setting homework – Leading educationist gives tips for engaging disadvantaged pupils, including making the most of ‘teachable moments’

Primary teachers have been warned against setting too much homework, as it can create inequalities in the classroom. The warning comes from Louis Volante, professor of education at Brock University in Canada, who says not all students will have the same resources at home. He said: “I know, for example, that when my two kids ask me a question, they will probably get more help from me than from other parents.”

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Grammar school to prioritise poorer pupils from out of area over 11-plus high-scorers

A grammar school in Dorset will prioritise poorer pupils from outside its catchment area over those with the highest 11-plus scores in order to secure government expansion funding.

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Education Secretary sets out vision for character and resilience – Damian Hinds sets out in a speech that character and resilience are as important as academic achievement

Addressing the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership conference today (7 February), Mr Hinds laid out the 5 Foundations for Building Character and pledged to work with schools and external organisations, including membership bodies and charities, to help every child access activities within each of those foundations.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.