Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 21/11/2019

A new league table that allows voters to see how their constituency has been affected by real-terms funding cuts has been published today by the National Education Union.

It’s the latest attempt by the union to put school funding at the centre of the general election campaign. A tool previously set up by a coalition of unions was widely used in the last election. The School Cuts website allows people check how much money their local school stands to lose under funding pressures. A poll found school funding concerns caused over 750,000 voters to switch the party they intended to vote for. The NEU said the new league tables show the “deep damage being done to England’s schools”.

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First college rated outstanding in new Ofsted framework – Learners at the group ‘enjoy their time at college very much’, and make ‘very good and sustained progress’

Newcastle and Stafford College Group (NSCG) has become the first FE college to be rated outstanding under the new Ofsted framework. The group, being inspected for the first time since it was created through a merger, was given Ofsted’s top grade in every single category of inspection. The college, which operates from two campuses in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford, has more than 6,000 young people, adults and apprentices on its books.

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Action needed on unsustainable student residential model, report says – The Hepi and UPP report said student residential living remains popular but urged debate around what purpose it serves in the 21st century.

The student residential model is unsustainable in its current form and its purpose is unclear in the modern era, a report has warned. The report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and University Partnerships Programme (UPP) has warned that the rising cost of living, impact on local communities, and design of accommodation has weakened the present model. The joint report also questioned what purpose the residential model serves amid concerns of worsening student mental health and rising rents.

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Numbers in low grade PRUs ‘underestimated’ – Study finds more pupils are attending alternative provision rated less than ‘good’ than official figures suggest.

New analysis has raised concerns that there are more pupils attending underperforming alternative provision (AP) than official figures suggest. Findings published today by the Centre for Education and Youth show that alternative provision and pupil referral units (PRUs) with higher pupil numbers are more likely to get negative Ofsted judgements than those with fewer pupils. As result, the proportion of students attending AP or PRUs which have been judged by inspectors to be less than “good” is higher than the headline figures for the sector.

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The Headteachers’ Roundtable has today published its general election 2019 manifesto. The focus is on obtaining sufficient funding and delivering great teachers, protecting vulnerable pupils and securing high levels of professional trust and ethical leadership.

1. Sabbaticals for all teachers (and a fully-funded Masters, too) – 2. Give us a 10-year funding plan – 3. Make excluded pupils count in schools’ results – 4. Scrap ‘bureaucratic’ EHCPs.

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The Report: life skills and workplace preparation – Google’s Future of the Classroom Report reveals life skills and workplace preparation as key education trends for 2019, but what does that really look like? Charley Rogers investigates…

Google has recently released its Future of the Classroom report, which identifies eight global trends for education in 2019. The report also includes breakdowns by country, and one of the top three trends identified for the UK was ‘life skills and workplace preparation’. The report showed that “Ninety-one per cent of CEOs globally say that they need to strengthen their organisation’s soft skills to sit alongside digital skills.” The term ‘soft skills’ is one that has garnered a lot of attention in recent months, especially in relation to the STEM skills gap.

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Investment in blended living set to soar, thinktank says – Purpose-built student accommodation, co-living and hybrid models are expected to become more popular as cities become more densely populated.

Investment in student ‘blending living’ is set to soar in the next five years, a thinktank has said. Analysis of investment and portfolio ambitions had led The Class of 2020 to predict that €25bn – or just over £21bn – will be spent globally on the residential sector by 2025. ‘Blended living’ – which includes purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), co-living and hybrid co-living/co-working models – is being driven by the housing crisis and demographic change, thinktank exports reported.

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Schools that were part of the failed Wakefield City Academies Trust won’t get back any of the money that was transferred to the chain before its collapsed, the government has confirmed.

According to the Guardian, Vicky Beer, the regional schools commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, has written to MPs confirming the trust is in liquidation – adding there is no leftover cash to share with aggrieved schools. She said in her letter to MPs: “I advised previously that any remaining monies would be determined at the point of closure and that there were still costs to be met including pension liabilities and outstanding invoices.

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Adult education needs its own minister, says commission – Adult education must be a ‘permanent national necessity’, according to the 1919 Centenary Commission.

Adult education should have its own dedicated minister, according to the 1919 Centenary Commission for adult education. It has also called for a national adult education and lifelong learning strategy to be introduced, with a participation target to reduce the gap between the most and least educationally active. In addition, the commission wants to see community learning accounts to provide learning for informal, community-based initiatives led by local groups.

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Boarding school teachers given mental health first aid training – DLD College London has trained six in 10 staff, parents and 30 student mentors in how to support wellbeing.

An independent boarding school in London has expanded its mental health provision with wellbeing training for staff and students. DLD College London has trained six in 10 teaching and support staff in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) as part of a move to increase expertise in the school. The Westminster Bridge-based college took part in an intensive two-day training course on what staff can do to help students and guide them towards long-term support. The school’s principal, Irfan Latif, said the scheme had been well-received and he looked forward to continuing the programme.

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Googling could endanger reading ability, head warns – Internet could threaten pupils’ ability to absorb ‘what it is to be human’, says Girls’ Schools Association president.

Search engines such as Google could endanger pupils’ ability to read and to understand humanity, the Girls’ Schools Association’s president will say today. According to Sue Hincks, head of Bolton School Girls’ Division: “We need to question whether our ability to ‘search’ quickly for answers online means we are in danger of losing our ability to read and digest material slowly and in linear fashion, empathising with characters as they emerge from the page and gradually absorbing what it means to be human.”

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Edinburgh and Warwick universities recall exchange students from Hong Kong – The institutions said they are concerned for their students’ safety.

Two of the UK’s top universities have recalled their exchange students studying in Hong Kong as civil unrest in the city continues to escalate. The University of Edinburgh and the University of Warwick have requested students affected by the chaos to return to the UK as soon as they can.

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MillionPlus outlines six general election priorities – The Association for Modern Universities has unveiled six priorities for the upcoming general election including the reintroduction of maintenance grants.

The Association for Modern Universities has unveiled its six priorities for the upcoming general election. The association – known as MillionPlus– represents 21 universities which were founded after 1992 and account for nearly half of students enrolled in UK universities.

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Parents’ complaints ‘distract 84% of school leaders’ – Warning that the rise of social media is leaving schools dealing with parent complaints both on-site and online.

More than four out of five school leaders say they are distracted by complaints from parents, a poll shows. In a survey of more than 1,000 school leaders, more than half of the respondents (57 per cent) said they were distracted to a “significant” or “fairly high extent” by complaints about their school’s approach. And just over a quarter (27 per cent) of school leaders said they were distracted to a moderate extent.

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What the key edtech predictions for 2020? Prof Rose Luckin answers – In the last in our series, Hazel Davis quizzes four experts on their key edtech predictions for 2020.

As every year the Bett Show, in January, shone a light on the edtech sector, and the innovation and entrepreneurship happening, not just in the UK but globally in this burgeoning industry. Here at UCL Educate we will be holding our second annual Demo Day at City Hall, London at the end of November to highlight the work of some of the fantastic companies and innovators who have participated in the programme, and who will be pitching to investors to enable them to expand and extend their products and services.

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How to teach soft skills but stay tough on curriculum – No one wants to waste valuable teaching time, but young people need to learn how to operate well in the world. There is a middle way, says Laura Tsabet.

The debate about whether to teach soft skills in schools is a contentious one. On the pro side, there’s the view that succeeding in academic study doesn’t guarantee that a student will have good soft skills; these need to be learned and honed through interactions. Young people spend a significant amount of their time in schools, it is argued, so it makes sense that they should focus on developing these interaction-driven skills there.

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Suffolk school commits to major tree planting initiative – Royal Hospital School will plant a tree for every new pupil over the next seven years.

A Suffolk school is looking to boost sustainability and promote wellbeing by planting a tree for every new pupil joining the school over the next seven years. Royal Hospital School launched its Grow with Us campaign at an open day on 9 November. “We are fortunate to live and work in a beautiful part of Suffolk and our pupils are constantly seeking and suggesting ways that will protect both the local ecosystems and global environment,” said headmaster Simon Lockyer.

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£500k-a-year academy academy CEO says authorities should take ‘a closer look’ at headteacher salaries – ‘I have to be very circumspect in what I say here. Whatever I say I’ll be killed for’.

Sir Dan Moynihan, an academy federation chief executive who earns more than half a million pounds per year, has said authorities should take “a closer look” at headteachers’ salaries. The chief executive of the Harris Federation, which runs close to 50 schools, told the Times Educational Supplement: “What matters is the outcomes for kids and if we’re managing our budgets efficiently and the kids are getting a good deal. If you’ve got very large salaries and it’s one school or two schools, that needs a closer look.

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VAT on school fees will cost, not save, the state money, says GSA president – Speaking at the GSA’s annual conference, Sue Hincks spoke of the current political debate regarding private schools.

The president of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) has said introducing VAT on school fees will not save money and will increase the burden on the taxpayer. Sue Hincks, who is also headmistress of Bolton School girls’ division, addressed other headteachers today at the GSA’s annual conference, taking place this year in Bristol. She demonstrated the independent sector’s approach to education as giving choice to parents who want their children to have a broader curriculum, spreading values of respect internationally, increasing bursary provision and working with state schools.

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‘We need both vocational and community education’ – The Centenary Commission on Adult Education is calling for radical changes, explains vice-chair Sir Alan Tuckett.

The key conclusion of the greatest ever report on the case for adult education, the work of the Ministry of Reconstruction’s Adult Education Committee (the “1919 report”), was that “adult education must not be regarded as a luxury for a few exceptional persons here and there…it is a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and should, therefore, be both universal and lifelong”.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.