Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 21/03/2019

A leading grammar head wants expansion cash redirected to encourage selective schools to give support to secondary moderns.

This call comes as another grammar school has announced plans to set up an academy trust alongside a secondary modern, a year after ministers first urged them to join with neighbouring schools.

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Spring Statement 2019: Hammond announces visa exemption for PhD workers – Institutes and businesses will get the benefit from autumn with overseas research activity included in the scheme

The cap on high-skilled visas will no longer apply to research institutes for PhD-level occupations, the chancellor announced in his Spring Statement. Philip Hammond opened his statement by saying that “international organisations and UK professional bodies alike have been pressing for change”.

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Exclusive: Heads seek talks with Ofsted on off-rolling crackdown – ASCL says heads need guidance on how the inspectorate will view schools moving pupils to alternative provision.

A headteachers’ union is urging Ofsted and the Department for Education to provide answers on what constitutes off-rolling after a recent crackdown on the practice by inspectors.

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GCSE system ‘insists on rubbing noses’ of thousands of pupils in disappointment, heads’ union says – ‘We’ve ended up with a system where 16-year-olds are sitting more than 30 hours of exams’

The current GCSE system “rubs the noses” of thousands of pupils in disappointment and then forces them to resit tests again and again, the head of a school leaders’ union will warn. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), will question whether a system where 16-year-olds sit more than 30 hours of exams is “necessary”.

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School funding must be increased by £5.7 billion if every child is to receive the education they deserve, according to a new report from the Association of School and College Leaders.

The report, The true cost of education, warns that primary and secondary schools in England require £40.2 billion funding in 2019-20, but are only set to receive £34.5 billion. The union calculated the figure by working out how many teachers and support staff will be needed to support the number of pupils in the system next year.

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Education sector most frequent target of sextortion scams – Research by Barracuda has found that 55% of sextortion and blackmail phishing targets the education sector

Research by data protection company Barracuda has revealed that 55% of sextortion and blackmail phishing attacks the education sector, making it the most frequently targeted. The overwhelming focus on the education sector is calculated, explained Barracuda’s report. Since educational institutions often have a large number of users, as well as a diverse and young user base that may be less likely to seek help and advice, education institutions are an obvious target for scammers.

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Off-rolling: Should schools be held to account for ex-pupils? – Heads’ union questions whether Progress 8 score should include students who are no longer on a school’s roll

A headteachers’ union is considering whether secondary schools should be held accountable for pupils who have left before Year 11. The Association of School and College Leaders’ head of policy, Julie McCulloch, told Tes that the union has been debating whether to call for progress measures to be weighted to take into account pupils who have moved schools.

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Rural primary schools could share headteachers or consider joining multi-academy trusts to overcome the funding challenges they face, according to new government research.

The Running rural primary schools efficiently report, commissioned by Department for Education, specifically selected a sample of schools with fewer than 110 pupils that “appeared” to have good finances and pupil attainment. However, researchers found that funding at the schools was “tight”, with some struggling to “overcome financial difficulties”.

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Spring Statement: the 5 key concerns – Fears voiced about funding, early years and period poverty for girls in Year 6 following chancellor’s announcement

Chancellor Philip Hammond today set out his Spring Statement, which included more money for police and housing but not for schools. Here are five key concerns raised about what his statement did – and did not – have to say about education.

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An influential commission on the future of GCSEs is considering recommending an end to the comparable outcomes system and a move to “stage not age” testing of pupils.

Leadership union ASCL launched its “forgotten third” inquiry last October to examine the plight of those pupils who fail to achieve a grade 4 in their GCSE English and maths. The commission, led by National Education Trust founder Roy Blatchford, will deliver an interim report to ASCL’s annual conference this afternoon. It will question the government’s policy of compulsory post-16 resits for those who don’t pass and whether to “retain an assessment and examination system that year in, year out creates a forgotten third”.

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Virtual entrepreneurship course from Eton College open to secondary students – The live entrepreneurship course will run through EtonX, the famous college’s online technology company

Eton College has launched a live online entrepreneurship course for students aged 14–20, through its edtech subsidiary EtonX. The course will allow students to develop and pitch their own business idea in a virtual classroom, and is made up of seven classes, interactive content, project work, and video advice from entrepreneurs.

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Half of headteachers claim to have done laundry for pupils, survey finds – 47 per cent of headteachers said they washed clothes for pupils

Half of headteachers claim to have done laundry for pupils, as they say their families have “no aspirations and no role models”. Nine in 10 state-funded secondaries have provided clothing for pupils suffering high levels of disadvantage, according to a survey of school leaders.

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‘There’s only so much teachers can do about online safety’ – At school, we can protect pupils from horrors online, but this safeguarding goes out the window once they leave the building

It was Friday after school and we were sitting in the airport lounge, excitement at fever pitch at the prospect of the weekend away. “Will you go and check if our gate’s come up while I keep an eye on the kids?” I asked Mr Brighouse.

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Hinds bids to make UK providers ‘best for mental health support’ – “Going to university should be a positive, life-changing experience,” said the education secretary

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, has set up a taskforce to support students as they start university in a bid to address mental health problems related to the transition. Members of the new taskforce – which will be known as the Education Transitions Network – will include leading sector groups such as UCAS, the National Union of Students, Student Minds, Universities UK, the Association of Colleges and the Office for Students.

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Rate of young people getting degrees halves – A higher take-up of level 4 and 5 qualifications may act as a ladder to higher qualifications, Resolution Foundation finds

Rapid increases in people’s qualifications and skill levels have stalled since the mid-2000s, analysis by the Resolution Foundation has found. In its new Pick up the Pace report, the think tank highlights that the profile of Britain’s workforce has completely changed over the last 25 years. As recently as 1996-98, the highest qualification level reached by most UK workers was GCSEs. Today, the highest qualification level reached is most commonly a degree.

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Working-class students turning to loan sharks as universities charge hidden fees, National Union of Students says – ‘It is a scandal that students are having to fork out more cash for core course activities’

Working-class students are being forced to turn to loan sharks after being confronted with a series of “hidden costs” when they arrive at university, the National Union of Students (NUS) has warned. Cash-strapped students are being asked to fork out hundreds of pounds extra a year for compulsory course materials and trips they have not budgeted for amid a lack of transparency across the sector.

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Social media and pesky parents: dealing with negative online posts – Robin Jacobs, a barrister specialising in education law at Sinclairslaw, offers advice in dealing with damaging social media posts

Nowadays, it’s all too common for parents to take to social media and criticise their child’s school. The impact should not be underestimated. As well as being incredibly demoralising for school staff, unpleasant posts can do lasting damage to reputations and negatively affect business. Whilst the law does not offer any sort of magic solution, schools should not feel powerless when confronted with negative online content. This is because a careful but methodical response will usually resolve matters. Follow the steps below to prevent parental posts becoming a pain point.

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A Microsoft researcher who also chairs the group behind the controversial master computing teachers programme has been put in charge of the government’s £84 million new computing education centre.

Professor Simon Peyton Jones will chair the National Centre for Computing Education, the Department for Education has announced today. Alongside his work as a principal researcher at Microsoft, Peyton Jones is chair of the Computing At School, a division of the British Computer Society, one of three organisations selected to run the new centre.

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£13m funding secured for academies improvement – The Government’s CIF programme has awarded £13m to property consultant Eddisons

Property consultant Eddisons, which is based in Leeds, has secured more than £13m for schools across the UK to improve buildings and other school facilities through the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) programme. CIF is an annual bidding round for academy trusts and sixth form colleges under which schools can apply for funding to improve buildings and other facilities.

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The majority of local authorities that have been refused new specialist schools will run out of places three years from now, Schools Week analysis shows.

The Department for Education announced on Monday that 39 local authorities had been successful in their bids for new special needs or alternative provision schools, out of 65 to apply. But our analysis shows that 54 per cent of the local authorities that were not successful are facing shortfalls in secondary pupil places by 2021.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.