Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 21/02/2019

DfE does not know how much academy land it has lost control of – Expert in academy law warns that the government may have given up former public land to as many as 100 trusts for good.

The problem has been highlighted by the case of Durand Academy, where public assets then valued at £15 million were transferred to a separate organisation, Durand Education Trust, when the South London school became an academy in 2010.

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AQA increases dominance of GCSE market as OCR slumps

The exam board AQA now issues three in every five GCSE certificates after increasing its dominance of the market for the second year in a row. AQA’s share of the GCSE market reached 60 percent in 2017-18, up from 52 percent the year before and 46 percent in 2015-16.

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‘Flattening the grass’: what’s really going on at OGAT and Delta?

Claims that a multi-academy trust runs “flattening the grass” assemblies in which children are humiliated swarmed on Twitter last week. The frenzy was prompted by an anonymous blog that relayed an account of the practice, claiming children were the “grass” to be “flattened”.

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Politicians say they want kids to engage in social action, but when they do… We shouldn’t discourage pupils from protesting – it will help to turn them into informed citizens.

Today, thousands of schoolchildren have walked out of school in protest at a lack of action on climate change. This is exactly the sort of brave, informed and engaged behaviour we should be trying to encourage through education, is it not? And yet their social action has been met with vocal disapproval from educators and the Department for Education.

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‘Students are glued to their phones so take advantage’ – The smartphone can be a useful tool in education – try exploring beyond the apps we all know about

I have my doubts about phone use for learning in the FE college classroom. The technology is there, but given students’ current attitudes and behaviors, I don’t think mobiles are about to hasten the fourth industrial revolution any time soon (or is it fifth? I can never keep track).

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Over half new teachers do not plan to stay in classroom long term amid mental health problems, figures show – Teachers are looking to quit the profession within months of starting due to anxiety

Nearly three in five teachers in only their first year in the profession are already not convinced that they will stay in teaching – and rising mental health problems are partly to blame, research finds. Half of the newly qualified teachers (NQTs) say their job has caused panic attacks or anxiety, while more than a third have been left feeling depressed.

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Empty free school sites will be rented to property guardians

Empty buildings snapped up for future free schools will be rented out as housing for young professionals. Company accounts for LocatEd, set up by the government to find sites for new free schools, reveal plans to introduce more property guardian schemes in “appropriate vacant properties” to make affordable living space available to the rental market.

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Ofsted refuses to name 300 ‘off-rolling’ schools

Ofsted will not name the 300 schools that could be off-rolling pupils in case it alerts them to upcoming inspections. The inspectorate’s annual report in December said the schools were identified as having particularly high levels of pupil movement in years 10 and 11.

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Kerching! The academy trusts raising millions through fundraising

Academy trusts are raising millions of pounds through fundraising, with one trust posting “record” levels of parental donations. Sector leaders say the findings, based on annual accounts for some of the country’s biggest trusts, show there is a “deepening social divide” as government funding is squeezed.

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Ban gaming? Our pupils play in a school Overwatch team – Competitive gaming is now a worldwide phenomenon and this school has its own team

The 26 pupils who have pulled on the school colours for our newly introduced team sport this year are not your typical athletes. They don’t juggle their commitments across the rugby, hockey, squash and rowing teams. They do not relish the chance to trot out in the rain to face up against someone twice the size of them.

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Union threatens to withhold students’ results – Withholding assessment results would a have ‘devastating’ impact on students’ university applications, colleges warn

A union is considering withholding students’ assessment results from their colleges, in an escalation of a dispute over pay. The EIS-FELA teaching union, which represents lecturers in Scotland’s colleges, had already held two days of strikes, and has two further days planned in March.

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Take PE and sports premium cash off schools that misspend it, urges new report

The government should hold headteachers to account for how they spend the PE and sports premium and claw back money if it is misspent, a new report has urged.

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Seven ways to use project-based learning – Researchers have made recommendations for how schools can best use project-based learning in classrooms

Learners can benefit from project-based learning and an employer-informed curriculum, researchers from The Edge Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineering concluded in a new report. A two-year research project focusing on university technical colleges (UTCs) in Liverpool, Reading, and Birmingham (Aston University Engineering Academy) explored the benefits of embedding these concepts in the curriculum, as well as the impact of building strong employer engagement over a sustained period.

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1 in 5 parents subsidise children at university by over £400 a month – A survey conducted by the Scholarship Hub found that a similar proportion of grandparents are also contributing financially.

More than one in five parents (21%) subsidise their children’s studies at university by over £400 a month, with 55% giving more than £200 a month; 56% say this is unaffordable. The survey of 100 parents with children at university was conducted by the Scholarship Hub, an online database of UK scholarships and bursaries.

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Digital natives more prone to cyber attacks – New research from cyber security company Proofpoint reveals a lack of knowledge on cyber threats such as phishing and ransomware.

Millennials are more likely to fall victim to cyber attacks than babyboomers, reveals Proofpoint’s annual State of the Phish report. It also shows that 83% of global respondents experienced phishing attacks in 2018, compared to just 10% of respondents reporting experiencing a ransomware attack. Furthermore, older generations were less likely to fall victim to cyber attacks than their younger counterparts: 73% of those aged 54+ know correctly what phishing is, compared to 58% of those aged 22–27. In addition, 52% of those aged 54+ know correctly what ransomware is, compared to only 40% of those aged 22–37.

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Grammar heads banned log showing ‘bias’ against free-meals pupils – High-ability disadvantaged children should be given ‘fair hearings’ in selection review, say campaigners

Minutes of a meeting that grammar schools tried to keep secret show that academic selection has a “systematic bias against disadvantaged children”, according to campaigners.

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New yoga trial aims to tackle high exclusion rates

Schools in Norfolk are turning to yoga in a bid to bring down exclusion rates. GP practice the Acle Medical Partnership is working with three schools on a new trial which will see pupils at risk of exclusion taught “the benefits of yoga and mindfulness” to help them cope with life, “both in and outside the classroom”.

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Are unconditional offers a step too far? The Report: UCAS’s latest report on unconditional offers reveals some worrying insight into this fast-growing trend

With a massive rise of over 3,900% in offers with an unconditional element since 2013, major concerns have to be addressed about unconditional offers and, more notably, the rapid rise of ‘conditional unconditional’ offers, which are proving a challenge to report.

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Social mobility cold spots will get worse unless action is taken to close attainment gap, MPs warn – ‘A regional attainment gap acts as a major roadblock to social mobility’

Social mobility “cold spots” in England are likely to get colder if action is not taken, a cross-party group of MPs and peers warn. There could be serious repercussions for children’s achievement in these areas, such as Norfolk, Somerset and Blackpool, if the government does not offer more support, a report on social mobility says.

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Hundreds of schools sought for new home learning trials

Ministers will recruit hundreds of schools and nurseries to take part in trial programmes aimed at aiding home learning for pupils.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.