Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 25/04/2019

Children do exams and assessments ‘more convoluted’ than at university – The system of assessment in Scotland is not fair, says headteacher Rod Grant

I don’t think there is any doubt that our education system is quite stressed currently. This is largely to do with workload and the undeniable increase in paperwork brought about by a plethora of accountability measures. Accountability which is evidenced by planning, results, assessment. Accountability which means that teachers are now judged on specific, measurable outcomes regardless of the children who sit in front of them.

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Skint schools ‘losing out to academy chiefs’ salaries and smart cars’- Union rep says CEO of academy chain that withheld teacher pay rises said ‘I’m worth it’ when asked about his ‘huge’ salary

Academy chains are wasting money on high executive salaries, smart cars, and branding at a time when teachers are being denied pay rises, a union conference has heard. Delegates at the NASUWT teaching union’s annual conference today passed a motion supporting campaigning to ensure education funding is used to support teaching and learning, and “not syphoned off for other purposes”.

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A major academy trust has slammed the “fundamentally flawed” progress 8 performance measure for punishing schools with challenging cohorts – vowing to publish its own value-added progress scores for parents.

The Co-op Academies Trust, which runs 20 schools in the north-west including in some of the country’s most deprived areas, said the performance measure favours schools with more middle-class intakes.

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Police investigating high-profile leaks of Edexcel A-level exam papers in 2017 and 2018 have passed their first case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Pearson, the exam board’s parent company, has announced today that officers “have made progress in their investigation” from the first “limited” breach in 2017, and have referred their first case to prosecutors.

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‘Aggressive’ parents are demanding teachers email and message them on apps 24/7, survey suggests – ‘The communication with parents has become unbearable,’ says teacher

“Aggressive” parents are demanding teachers email and message on evenings and weekends – and the “unbearable” communication has led to some staff considering quitting their jobs, a survey finds.

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The best tech in the classroom? An old-school whiteboard – My classroom used to look like a low-budget sci-fi film, but a return to the simple life has changed everything

Once upon a time, there was a “techvangelical” teacher.Every lesson she taught involved a dizzying array of technology: flipchart voting, notebook computers, moving text boxes and images that danced before students’ eyes. This teacher even presented research on how VLE forums could be used to enhance learning, and participated in research on harnessing creativity through building websites.

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‘Ludicrous’ and ‘flawed’ – why some schools are already boycotting baseline – Pilot of controversial Reception baseline assessment due to start in September

England’s biggest teaching union may have just voted for a ballot over boycotting “all high stakes, summative testing” in primaries – including the Reception baseline assessment.

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Disadvantaged students left behind in ‘youth jobs gap’ – Students eligible for free school meals go on to be more likely to become Neet, research by Impetus finds

Children from poorer backgrounds are twice as likely to be out of work because of a “youth jobs gap” between rich and poor, a new study suggests. Research by charity Impetus indicated that one in four young people who were eligible for free school meals ended up not in education, employment or training (Neet) after leaving school. In contrast, only 13 per cent of those not having free school meals ended up Neet, said the report.

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Advertising for general science teachers is no more effective than seeking those with subject-specific qualifications, according to new research.

Analysis by SchoolDash of teaching job adverts found roles for specialist positions were less likely to be re-advertised than for those general positions, contradicting a “common assumption that specialist positions are harder to fill”.

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There are still too many unexplained exits from schools, at a level that cannot be in the best interests of either schools or pupils, says Jo Hutchinson

Children are being pushed around the school system in England on an industrial scale. The number of anecdotal reports of off-rolling has become deafening, and today EPI has released the most nuanced research to date to shed light on this.

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Are universities too big to fail? – With the future of tuition fees in England suspended in uncertainty, questions swirl about the financial fitness of some of our HE institutions. Will they fail? Can they? Glyn Mon Hughes investigates

It’s more a case of what’s not happening. The post-18 tuition fee review led by Philip Augar has once again been delayed. Originally slated for late 2018, the report was pitched into ‘early’ 2019 and, once that vague deadline started to look less tenable, the higher education can was booted even further down the road. May? September? In more outspoken quarters there is talk of the whole affair being quietly shelved.

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81% think universities should be graded on social mobility – The Social Mobility Pledge asked whether social mobility should affect a university’s ranking

Universities should be graded on social mobility, a new poll suggests. Four out of five (81%) respondents to the survey, conducted on behalf of the Social Mobility Pledge (SMP), said they would like the metric to affect HEIs’ overall rankings. Former education secretary Justine Greening used a speech at Nottingham Trent University to reveal findings from the poll which asked whether a university’s performance on social mobility should be used to judge success.

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Are GCSEs and A-levels fit for purpose? – Recent criticism of the overhauled exam system is as misplaced as it is unfair, argues deputy head, Nicola Griffiths

Over the last couple of weeks I have read criticisms regarding the ‘outdated’ GCSE and A-level examination system voiced by several prominent people, including the President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan and Robert Halfon, chairman of the government’s Education Select Committee.

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College support staff balloted for pay strike – Unison members in 14 colleges are being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over a ‘derisory’ pay offer

Support staff union Unison has opened a ballot on strike action at 14 colleges in a dispute over pay. This follows an indicative ballot of 11,000 members, which include some of the lowest-paid staff in FE. A survey conducted by Unison ahead of the 2018-19 pay negotiations found that, among the 472 members who responded, 12.7 per cent struggled to pay for food and one in 50 had used a food bank.

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‘We know our shit’: Teachers could strike if schools impose teaching styles – NEU concerned about bias towards ‘knowledge-rich’, teacher-led, whole-class teaching.

A teaching union has voted to support strikes in schools that seek to “impose teacher-led instruction” and curtail its members’ professional freedom to use a range of teaching styles. The NEU is concerned that the Department for Education is using its curriculum fund to support curriculum materials that are “knowledge rich” and have “whole-class teaching at their core”.

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The rise of “draconian” and “inhumane” behaviour approaches is damaging the mental health and education of pupils, the National Education Union has said, after its members voted in favour of council oversight of behaviour policies in all schools.

At the union’s annual conference in Liverpool this morning, delegates voted to instruct NEU leaders to campaign for local authorities to have oversight of and involvement in the development of behaviour policies “for all the academies/schools in their districts”.

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Analysis: One in 12 secondary pupils? Is that really the scale of off-rolling? – Have there been 55,000 off-rolling cases? It’s not as simple as that, Will Hazell explains

Among the cohort of secondary students who took their GCSEs in 2017, there were 55,000 “unexplained” school exits between Year 7 and Year 11 that are likely to have been instigated by schools. That is the striking finding of research published by the Education Policy Institute today, badged by the thinktank as the “most comprehensive analysis to date of unexplained pupil exits”.

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Schools paying teachers out of fund for poor students – Many teachers said they used the extra funds to pay for teachers and teaching assistants.

Schools are spending money set aside for their poorest pupils to pay teacher salaries, a survey has found. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of secondary school head teachers and 22 per cent of primary heads admitted using their pupil premium fund to “plug gaps” in their budget, according to a poll of teachers.

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Two-fifths of headteachers say they have had to cut back on school trips in an effort to save money.

According to a poll for The Sutton Trust, an educational charity which aims to improve social mobility, more than two-thirds of secondary school senior leaders have also cut back on teachers (69 per cent) and teaching assistants (70 per cent) as budgets are squeezed.

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Half of schools ‘not fully compliant with GDPR’ – Report says four in five schools believe fines for breaching new data protection regulations would ‘significantly impact’ them

More than half the schools and colleges that responded to the survey said they believed they were not fully compliant with GDPR. More than half of schools and colleges are not fully compliant with new data laws almost a year after they came into force, a snap survey has suggested. The report from RM Education and Trend Micro also reveals widespread concerns among schools that fines for breaching the general data protection regulations (GDPR) could have a significant impact on their institutions.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.