Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 18/07/2019

Pearson print textbooks to be phased out in the US as publisher rolls out digital first model – The education company said it would look at other digital first markets in the future.

The British-owned publishing company, which supplies schools in 70 countries across world, said it was moving to a “digital first” model for its higher education market in the US, including e-textbooks, which would lower prices for students but also bolster its revenues.

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Media Smart to help children spot social media influencer ads – An education programme has released new videos to help children spot commercial influence in their social media feeds.

Media Smart has launched a new film aimed at helping children in key stage three spot advertisements on social media. The video, designed for children aged 11 to 14, wants to help the next generation become more aware of the commercial links between brands and influencers. Rachel Barber-Mack, director of Media Smart said: “Our objective is to help children fill in these gaps to ensure they build their digital and media literacy and ultimately their emotional resilience.”

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Almost a fifth of schools are not managing asbestos in line with government guidance, a long-awaited report has revealed..

The Department for Education has finally published its asbestos management assurance process report, based on an extensive survey of schools that launched well over a year ago. The survey confirms that the overwhelming majority of participating schools – 80.9 per cent – have asbestos somewhere on their site. However, officials admit this could rise to 83.5 per cent if all schools that haven’t responded to the survey turn out to have the material.

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The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) has revealed the first 23 hubs chosen to improve computer science education in England.

North Yorkshire, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire and Tyne and Wear all have two hubs, with others scattered around the country in areas such as Devon, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire (see full list below). Today’s announcement comes after warnings in May that the country had seen a “steep decline” in computing education, with pupils taking 144,000 fewer computing or ICT qualifications last summer compared with 2017.

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Five myths about the final days of term – Haven’t most schools been on holiday since early July or just showing back-to-back videos?.

I start to get asked this question from about 1 July. Usually, it’s because the inquirer has noticed a slight drop in traffic on their journey into work. They associate this with schools beginning to close for the summer and a subsequent dropping-off in drop-offs. They are not entirely wrong. Some types of school did close some weeks ago. Just not our type of school.

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School opens ‘living wall’ to counter air pollution – The crowd-funded, biodiversity-improving project was opened by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, at St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Chiswick.

A group of parents at a London school have taken the issue of air pollution into their own hands, installing a ‘living wall’ of more than 12,000 plants in the playground of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Chiswick. After successfully crowdfunding over £90,000, the wall was officially opened by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who also pledged £32,000 to the Chiswick Oasis project.

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16% of vice chancellors privately educated – Sutton Trust – Vice-chancellors are much more likely to have attended comprehensive schools than most elite professions

16% of vice-chancellors were privately educated, making it one of the least elite top professions in the UK, according to a new Sutton Trust Report. Elitist Britain 2019, authored by the Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Commission, reported on the educational backgrounds of people in the most senior and influential professions in the UK. Of the 37 top professions measured, only football players, rugby players, members of the shadow cabinet and local government chief executives were less likely to have attended private schools.

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SEND: ‘Timpson will force round pegs into square holes’ – Holding schools responsible for excluded pupils will have a negative impact on the vulnerable.

This time last year, I found myself passing a primary school sports day. There was the usual air of delightful chaos. Parents were chatting, and not being over-competitive for their children or in the dads’ race. It was one of those happy, informal school events that are a joy to behold.

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The government has finally published details of its “healthy schools” rating scheme – almost two years late..

Schools are being encouraged to take part in the voluntary scheme by completing a survey that covers four areas: food education, school food standards, time spent on physical education and active travel. Schools will then receive a report based on their answers, with the highest-scorers getting a gold, silver or bronze award. However, the ratings will not be shared publicly.

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Pearson takes first step to phasing out print books – The move comes as the world’s largest education publisher adopts a ‘digital first’ approach to the provision of learning materials.

Pearson, the world’s largest education publisher, is taking a first step towards phasing out hard-copy books. For 40 years, the company has been revising its print editions every three years. No more. Instead, this industry-dominating model is set to be replaced by a ‘digital first’ approach.

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100 years of Waldorf education – The Brighton Waldorf School, an independent school in East Sussex, is celebrating 100 years of Waldorf education.

Waldorf is an international independent educational system which includes over 1,150 schools worldwide, dedicated to acknowledging the unique talents of each individual child. School director Damian Mooncie said: “We are celebrating the Waldorf 100 in Brighton as we believe it is important to mark and commemorate the 100th year of Waldorf education.”

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The education charity Teach First has recruited a record cohort of trainee teachers after almost two in three passed its screening process.

This summer, 1,735 trainees will join the scheme, which places high-flying graduates who might not have considered teaching in schools serving disadvantaged communities. For the 2019 intake, 65 per cent of applicants passed the charity’s initial screening, the highest level ever, and 21 per cent went on to get a place.

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Childhood is in crisis, say families – Pupils and their families say bullying is the number one reason for childhood unhappiness, with both pupils and adults stating childhood has got worse.

Pupils, parents and grandparents all think childhood has got worse over time, with a national charity warning it is now in a state of crisis. A report by Action for Children found that pupils and their families think bullying is a key reason preventing children from having a “good childhood”. In a survey of 2,082 children aged 11-18, 61 per cent reported bullying as a significant issue stopping young people from having a good childhood, while 63 per cent of parents and 69 per cent of grandparents also chose “being bullied” as a reason for unhappy childhoods.

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Vision for post-16 digital skills developed in Wales – The Welsh government’s Digital 2030 initiative has been developed with support from edtech not-for-profit Jisc.

A nationally-agreed vision for post-16 digital skills in Wales, up to the year 2030, has been developed by the Welsh government in partnership with Jisc. The initiative, Digital 2030, will help ensure that current learners will have the digital capabilities and confidence to succeed, and support the Welsh economy. Clear aims and objectives have been laid out, relating to key areas such as leadership and management, curriculum delivery, assessment, and staff development.

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Educational focus continues for RWM – Recycling and waste management event aims to build on success of 2018 event.

Taking place on 11-12 September, RWM is an invaluable opportunity for students, environmental professionals, and business owners alike, to learn about the latest technologies and solutions in the recycling and waste management industry, that not only helps with educational studies, but a business’ day-to-day running as well. With an extensive 350 seminars, 500 exhibitors showcasing their latest technologies, and over 22,000 visitors present over the two days, there truly is something for everyone at RWM.

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Michael Gove’s flagship free schools millions in debt debt due to shortage of pupils – The government sunk more than £115 million into the launch of university technical colleges.

A wave of flagship free schools are facing a a funding crisis because they have failed to recruit enough pupils. University technical colleges (UTCs) were launched under the coalition government in 2010 as an alternative to state secondary schools, allowing pupils to gain technically-oriented engineering, science and IT skills. However, the schools have failed to attract pupils and suffered from low attainment, despite the government funnelling more than £115 million into their launch.

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T levels: Providers to share £8m in capital funds – Colleges in first wave of T-level providers have been allocated cash to prepare.

The fund was announced by education secretary Damian Hinds at the Conservative Party Conference in 2018. The next wave of recipients is expected to be awarded later this year. While the initial funding is for providers delivering the first T levels in digital, education and construction from next September, the fund will be opened up to all providers delivering the qualifications in spring 2020.

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18 UK universities reach QS top 100 – Most UK HEIs have slipped slightly on the QS World University Rankings but four remain among the world’s top 10.

Eighteen universities were ranked in the world’s top 100 by QS, albeit in lower positions than last year. Cambridge University dropped to seventh in the world – its lowest ever position on the  Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. The University of Manchester climbed to 27th, its best rank in a decade and the second highest position it has ever held. The University of Oxford continues to be ranked the best UK institution and rose to fourth in the world, up one spot from last year. The international league table ranks the top 1,000 institutions in the world.

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UK government invests £20m in edtech hub for developing countries – The Department for International Development has announced its involvement in a hub to support edtech adoption in Africa and Asia

The UK Department for International Development (DfID) is providing £20m for an edtech hub that focuses on driving adoption in Africa and Asia. The DfID is working with British universities, researchers and global education experts on what it has described as the largest ever education technology research and innovation project.

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Talking heads: what was your school highlight of the academic year? – We asked four heads about the best things that happened at their schools this year.

“Our greatest academic achievement of the 2018/19 session is once again featuring in the Best Schools top 10 list of outstanding Scottish independent schools based on our higher and advanced higher results. “The accomplishments of our pupils demonstrate the continued progress that our school is making, and we are incredibly proud of our young people and their teachers for all their hard work and effort in this. As a young independent school, we may not have the heritage that many others do, but we are determined to make history – our tremendous exam results are testament to the many wonderful things happening at our school.”

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STEM in secondary education – answering the why and the how – Integrating coding hardware and AI technology into schools offers opportunity for a wealth of real-world learning.

In today’s increasingly tech-centric world, the role of STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and maths – is becoming a central tenet of any educational offering. However, given the rapid pace at which technology is adapting and expanding, there is now an expectation for students to leave school with a deep understanding of not only coding, but its supporting functions and practical applications.

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Call to scrap ‘worthless’ EBacc over drop in arts GCSEs – Ex-DfE adviser says government wants to promote creative industries but EBacc ‘works in precisely the opposite direction’.

The “worthless” EBacc should be scrapped after helping to drive a big fall in the number of pupils taking GCSEs in arts subjects, a former Michael Gove adviser has said. A report from the education think tank EDSK, published today, examines trends in exam entries and results since the performance measure was introduced in 2010. Written by EDSK director and former Department for Education adviser Tom Richmond, it finds that subjects included in the EBacc have seen “substantial increases” in GCSE entries since 2010, with the exception of French and German.

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Ofsted has not helped to reverse D&T decline – Chief inspector admits Ofsted hasn’t helped stem decrease in numbers sitting D&T at GCSE, as the V&A launch a new programme to rescue the subject.

The Ofsted chief inspector has acknowledged her organisation has not done enough to champion creative subjects like design and technology. Amanda Spielman made the admission as the Victoria & Albert Museum launched a campaign to reverse the decline in the number of pupils studying D&T. Speaking at the launch of the new programme, V&A Innovate, Ms Spielman said the number of children studying the subject at GCSE was in “long-term decline.”

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Hundreds of after-school clubs will be created and school facilities will be opened up at weekends and holidays as part of new government measures to get more children active.

Extra training will also be given to PE teachers and sports volunteering programmes will be expanded to give more young people the chance to become sports leaders and coaches, the Department for Education announced today. The DfE has committed £2.5 million in 2019-20 to deliver the extra training, the new weekend and holiday openings and the expansion of sports volunteering programmes.

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Teacher training providers will be responsible for making sure prospective teachers have adequate literacy and numeracy skills from October, as the government confirms it is axing the QTS skills tests.

Schools Week exclusively revealed last week that the government plans to ditch the numeracy and literacy skills entry tests, which prospective teachers must pass in order to start their training, following a consultation about whether the tests are fit for purpose. In a written ministerial statement today, schools minister Nick Gibb confirmed the tests would end in just three months time

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.