Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 27/11/2018

13 books to take pupils out of their comfort zone – It is important that children experience books that make them feel uncomfortable, writes Aidan Severs

Reading for pleasure is all the rage in schools, but how often do we, and the children we teach, read for displeasure? Or, perhaps more accurately, for discomfort? Ask any number of readers what they like about reading and there will be plenty of replies on the theme of escapism. Internet memes carry lines such as “Books: a cosy doorway to paradise”.

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SEND experts call for ‘national Education Health and Care Plan template’ for pupils

The government should issue a national Education Health and Care Plan template so local authorities can properly meet their legal obligations to pupils with special educational needs, MPs have been told.

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Exclusive: ‘Colossal’ £500,000 wasted per school, claims minister

Financial troubleshooters dispatched by the Department for Education have identified an average of £500,000 of wasted money at every school they have visited, the academies minister has said.

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DfE plan to blacklist academy trustee ‘chancers’

The Department for Education is drawing up a blacklist of academy trustees who have overseen failures, MPs have heard. Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, today raised concerns about a current lack of sanctions against people she described as “chancers” in the academy system who had acted improperly.

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Call for mental health counsellor in every school – Children’s commissioner says fewer than one in three children referred for mental health support gets treated in a year

Only a “small fraction” of children who need mental health support were able to access services last year, the Children’s Commissioner for England has said, as she called for every school to have an NHS counsellor available for pupils.

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Schools hit with more fines as late GCSE exam entries rise 22%

The number of late GCSE entries increased by 22 per cent last year, despite dropping the year before, government data released this morning shows. Ofqual has published figures on the number of late GCSE and AS and A-level entries for this summer’s exam series.

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Hinds wants pupils to climb trees and try yoga – Education secretary to publish ‘bucket list’ of extracurricular goals to build pupils’ resilience

Schoolchildren could be encouraged to climb a tree, go stargazing and try yoga, as they tick off items on a character-building “bucket list” being drawn up by ministers.Education secretary Damian Hinds is due to publish a series of extracurricular goals for pupils to achieve every year – which could include exploring a cave, knitting and growing vegetables – to develop their resilience.

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Taking the stress out of school trips – School Travel Forum members organise over 16,000 school trips each year. Chief Exec, Gill Harvey, shares her top tips for tackling school trip stress

School trips demand more than financial investment from parents, they require the outlay of teachers’ time and energy to carefully plan every aspect from start to finish. The idea of travelling overseas with 40 or more pupils is daunting, especially for newly qualified teachers, but fortunately there are nationally recognised schemes, such as the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, that make the planning process much easier.

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DfE finally adds detail to secretive headteacher board minutes

The government has begun to lift the lid on decisions made by its secretive headteacher boards, but officials want to go further to ensure there are “no mysteries” about how academies are passed around the system.

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One in four who work for MPs and peers in Westminster got job through personal connections, report finds

More than a quarter of staff members that work for MPs and peers in Westminster got their job through personal connections, a new report has revealed. Almost a third (31 per cent) of Westminster staffers completed unpaid work and a fifth (19 per cent) of these placements lasted longer than six months, research from Sutton Trust shows.

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‘Crumbling schools aren’t the exception’ – Many students are being taught in dilapidated buildings where teaching shouldn’t have to take place, writes David Hall

It’s been a year since I decided to teach, but only this autumn am I visiting a variety of schools. A flurry of temporary TA job applications and Schools Direct visits means I’m being shown round a fair few primaries in the London area, often by their enthusiastic pupils. I’ve therefore seen more schools than most, bar your Ofsted inspector or assiduous Tes reporter.

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‘We need to pay more attention to boys’ needs’ – We still don’t know why boys are more likely to be excluded from school, says ex-young offenders institution governor

For soon-to-be prime minister Tony Blair back in 1996, the priority for the UK was education, education, education; for former prison governor Sue Brookes today, the priority for schools should be parenting, parenting, parenting.

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‘Being a parent and teacher is tough – but amazing, too’

It is undoubtedly difficult juggling parenting and teaching – but it does have its positives, writes Emma Kell – Combining being a parent and being a teacher can be bloody tough. The constant juggling, the regular attacks of guilt, and the NOISE… “Mum, Muuum, Mum?” “Miss. Missss. Miss!”

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Ofqual looking at alternatives to exam marking – Regulator says that more research into comparative judgement assessment would be ‘worthwhile’

Ofqual is looking at alternatives to “traditional” marking of candidates using a mark scheme, it has revealed. Today the exam watchdog published summaries of five pieces of research into marking. One of the studies looked at how traditional marking compared to two alternatives when it comes to rank-ordering candidates.

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The Open University started as a radical idea, now it’s in trouble

It was a regular flight from London to Moscow. Except in the mid-1970s, pilots still often walked down the aisle and greeted passengers. Steven Rose, a lecturer at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes, was gazing out the window when the pilot suddenly sat down in the empty seat next to him and said: “I’m one of your pupils and I’m having some trouble with an assignment. Can you help me out?”

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Three steps to attracting and retaining talented teachers

With education in the midst of a skills shortage, multi-academy trusts (MATs) are competing in a crowded marketplace to bring the best teachers into their schools.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.