Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 27/06/2019

How to hold a GCSE exam for 3,700 students, A ‘headspace’ room, warm-up classes and free cereal bars: Inside the GCSE maths operation at Leeds City College.

At the best of times, exam season is a busy period at Leeds City College. But for the three days on which students sit their GCSE maths exams, all other classes are cancelled. The reason is simple: the college’s resit cohort of 3,740 students is one of the biggest in the country. Across nine sites, staff from across all curriculum areas are drafted in for what head of English and maths Carol Layall describes as a “huge logistical challenge”.

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Project considers wellbeing in university course design – The project, led by the University of Derby, will review how university courses could be designed to support student mental health.

A new project will review how courses can be designed to help student mental health. The project, called Education for Mental Health: Enhancing Student Mental Health through Curriculum and Pedagogy, will find ways teaching and assessments could be designed to support wellbeing. It will also consider the role of non-typical learning spaces, like field trips and work placements.

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Schools should have to follow a “universal code” on what constitutes grounds for the expulsion of pupils so all children are treated the same, according to the rapper and inclusion campaigner Akala.

Speaking at the Wellington College Festival of Education last week, the musician and writer, who has spoken out on a number of occasions about the plight of pupils who end up in pupil referral units, called for a “universal criteria for removing children from school”.

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Humanists UK’s new community for teachers – Alexander Williams on plans to raise awareness of a group seeking to ‘promote a more tolerant world in which rational thinking and kindness prevail’.

Last November, for the first time ever, humanists were officially represented alongside religious officials at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph. It marked a huge step forward in visibility for humanists on the national stage and was the culmination of years of campaigning from Defence Humanists, the armed forces section of Humanists UK. For many humanists, myself included, it was a special moment. A moment in which we felt recognised and acknowledged by an establishment that all too frequently fails to pay attention to the country’s non-religious majority.

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The future of international education – What will international education look like in 2030? Should all independent schools go international? Jo Golding attends COBIS’ annual conference to get some answers.

The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) held its 38th annual conference from 11–13 May this year to look at the future of international education. And with the amount of British independent schools opening up branches overseas, it’s clear the market is not only stable, but growing. I spoke to Anne Keeling, communications director of ISC Research, which exhibited at the event, about whether all independent schools should consider going international.

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Debate at schools is being shut down by a ‘worrying trend towards an intolerance of different opinions’, warns Ofsted chief.

Debate at schools is being shut down by a “worrying trend towards an intolerance of different opinions”, the Ofsted chief has warned. Amanda Spielman says that the rise of “single issue groups” including vegan campaigners and anti-LGBT education protesters has meant that a “simplistic, polarising” narrative has formed, “in which the world’s problems have a single, neat solution; where scapegoats abound and critics are seen as the enemy – to be discredited, discounted or disowned.”

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Schools have been urged to teach pupils about social media influencers, the dangers of online challenges, and how to spot fake news in new guidance for teaching online safety.

The Department for Education advice urges schools to consider what they are already delivering through the curriculum, and build in additional teaching as required to ensure their pupils are receiving a “fully rounded education with regard to online safety”.

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School abuse victims losing faith in Ofsted – MPs warn Ofsted of concerns that parents of pupil abuse victims have raised about its ‘slow’ and ‘inadequate’ response.

Parents are “losing faith in Ofsted” because of its handling of peer-on-peer sexual abuse safeguarding failures, two MPs have said. The Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Emma Hardy have co-signed a letter to the inspectorate expressing concern about its “slow” and “inadequate” response to schools mishandling cases of abuse where both the victim and alleged perpetrator were pupils.

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More than 1,500 children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are without a school place in England, with some waiting up to two years for provision.

The figures, collated by Newsnight, cover 46 English councils (25%), which suggests the real figure may be higher. One mother told the programme her son had been “squeezed out” of school as a “quick cost-cutting solution”. The government said responsibility lay with local authorities.

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The academies minister Lord Agnew has said there’s no point putting extra cash into schools if “the current money isn’t being used properly”..

Speaking at the Wellington College Festival of Education today, Agnew said he believes there are four areas where extra funding is needed: high needs, post 16, rural primary schools, and covering the pensions contributions.

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World’s first customisable language learning app uses AI to personalise content – Course Wizard uses linguistics, machine learning and AI to create bespoke language learning courses based on user preference.

The world’s first customisable language learning tool from Lingvist allows users to create bespoke courses based around their needs or interests. Course Wizard utilises AI, machine learning and linguistics to create courses based on interests, careers, or hobbies. For instance, a user could learn the vocabulary they need to discuss their particular study area or interest in a different language.

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How to tackle the college teacher retention crisis – In order to retain talented teachers in FE, the DfE must invest time, money and effort in middle-leader development.

This week, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published research on the public sector workforce. Within it, was some disturbing news for the further education sector: one in five FE teachers leaves the profession each year and that the sector has the worst retention rate among higher-skilled professions.

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Versatility and Speed of 3D Printing Used as End Parts for University Racing Team – “We have decided to bet on 3D printing because of its versatility and speed”.

“We have decided to bet on 3D printing because of its versatility and speed. We are working on the development of an electric motorcycle, whose geometries differ greatly from those of a traditional motorcycle and 3D printing allowed us to make a completely customized fairing that perfectly adapted to the measurements of our vehicle.

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Reporter’s take: Why have we seen more exam leaks? – After three A-level leaks in three years, Tes reporter Will Hazell looks at what exam boards can do about it.

If you had a feeling of déjà vu last Friday afternoon, you weren’t alone.For the third time in three years, questions from Edexcel’s A-level maths paper were leaked on social media shortly before the exam was due to start, with posts offering the full paper for £70.

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Schools cannot be held responsible for social mobility – Teachers should delight in changing outcomes for individual students, but society’s problems are not theirs.

I’d like to think the Labour Party’s declaring social mobility a failure combined with their decision to abandon it for social “justice” is a triumph of research over marketing but I’m not that naive. You don’t change the tune by changing one note.

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Second police probe launched after another alleged social media exam leak – Police are investigating another potential leak of an exam paper.

According to the Guardian, officers are looking into potential malpractice relating to AQA’s GCSE religious studies exam paper, which was sat by pupils on May 20. The paper reported today that parents feared elements from the paper had been circulating on social network Snapchat.

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Bereaved children ‘let down’ by lack of support in schools – A new Cambridge University report, commissioned by Winston’s Wish, says pupils would benefit greatly if all schools implemented bereavement plans.

Bereaved children are being let down as they try to cope after losing a parent or sibling because support in schools is patchy or non-existent, according to Winston’s Wish, the UK’s first childhood bereavement charity. A study conducted for the charity by researchers at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education, published on June 18, found a “random approach” among schools, with students reporting receiving “only little or no help at all” following bereavement.

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Schools have been urged to draw up three-year strategies on how they will spend their pupil premium, despite the cash only being guaranteed year on year.

Updated guidance this week from the Department for Education called for schools to adopt a “longer-term strategy”. From September they will be “encouraged” to move away from “time-consuming” full annual reviews. Instead they should consider a “multi-year approach”, such as one review covering a three-year period, with “light touch” annual reviews.

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‘Schools can do more to protect teachers from burnout’ – School leaders should be ‘more mindful’ about working conditions of teachers in order to help them ‘thrive not just survive,’ says new research.

Teachers’ ability to cope with the demands of the profession is less to do with their personal characteristics than the amount of workload and management support they receive, new research suggests. Academics at Manchester Metropolitan University found that the resilience of teachers was influenced more by external factors – such as how a school is run and its culture – rather than internal and personal factors, such as lack of confidence.

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Cardiff University launches Data Science Academy – The academy will offer a range of postgraduate programmes in subjects from data science and artificial intelligence to cybersecurity.

Cardiff University has announced the launch of its Data Science Academy (DSA), offering postgraduate degrees in fast-growing and in-demand areas such as AI and cybersecurity. The academy will be open from September 2019, and is being run by Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics, in partnership with the School of Mathematics.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.