Weekly Thursday Education News Round-Up – 30/05/2019

Schools with poor Ofsted grades were more likely to improve if they stayed under local authority control than if they converted to academies, a new analysis has found.

Not only that, the study found good schools that converted to academies were more likely to lose their strong Ofsted grade, findings which critics say undermine the government’s academisation policy. But proponents of academisation have described the report as “faulty”, claiming the figures are skewed because councils tend to keep the schools where issues were “straightforward to solve”.

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Early career maths and physics teachers will be offered an extra £2,000 a year to stay in the profession under a government trial aimed at boosting retention in shortage subjects.

Teachers in the first five years of their career and working in the north east, Yorkshire and the Humber and the government’s social mobility “opportunity areas” can sign up to receive their first payment this autumn. The pilot will last for two years but Schools Week understands it could be extended if successful.

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Does project-based learning work? Let’s investigate – Two new studies offer insights into the effectiveness of the approach and ways to make it work for students.

Project-based learning can divide opinion. Supporters claim that it provides a real-world education and supports so-called non-cognitive skills such as curiosity, time management and motivation. Detractors argue that such methods do little to teach individuals what they require to pass exams and move up the academic chain.

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64 books to inspire reluctant readers. Do you agree? – Tes and Hay Festival teamed up to seek out the books with the power to engage even the most unwilling of readers.

The joy of reading is like no other. Books have the power to make us laugh, to make us cry, to transport us to far-off planes, to inspire us in our everyday lives. All books hold the potential to do all of the above and more – and there are dozens that do it effortlessly and with a touch of magic. It’s more important than ever that our pupils, both primary and secondary, are aware of and have access to these books.

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NGA campaign calls on teachers to become governors of other schools – Teachers and leaders should become governors of other schools to enrich their professional development, the National Governance Association has said.

A campaign by the NGA and Inspiring Governance seeks to encourage education professionals to join the governing boards of other schools or academy trusts.

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Technology replacing books for bedtime stories. Busy parents are relying on smart speakers to tell children bedtime stories or are substituting storytime with videos.

Technology has replaced books at bedtime, with more than a quarter of parents turning to home assistants, apps and voice notes to tell their child a story in the evening, research suggests.

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It’s ‘no wonder’ boys are doing less well than girls – Better literacy interventions for boys are ‘imperative’.

While we don’t want to try and make boys behave like girls, the over-worn trope that “boys will be boys” in statements like those above provides a convenient excuse: an excuse for boys passively to accept the role society dictates for them, and an excuse for adults engaging with them. And it’s an excuse that is failing our boys.

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A Surrey school plans to keep its windows open during exams after a physics teacher showed carbon dioxide levels rocketed in classrooms without any airflow.

Alby Reid of Reigate Grammar said he would “never close the window” in his classroom again after he tested CO2 levels during a double lesson. After one-and-a-half hours it had reached 2,300 parts per million (ppm), or 0.23 per cent of the air, compared with a normal outdoor amount of 400 parts per million (0.04 per cent).

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Scrap student loans and give every 18-year-old who stays in training £20,000, report says – £20,000 loan should be available for all school leavers to spend on either university, college or an apprenticeship, the report says.

Scrap student loans and instead give every 18-year-old who stays in training a £20,000 lump sum, a former Government adviser has said. This would work out as better value for the taxpayer than the current system of student loans, according to a new report by Tom Richmond who is now director of EDSK, a think-tank specialising in education and skills.

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Universities which run ‘threadbare’ courses could see their fees cut – Universities can currently charge students up to £9,250 in tuition each year.

Universities which run “threadbare” courses could see their fees being cut, as the Education Secretary says that degrees must be “in the interests of the taxpayer”. Damian Hinds has criticised the proliferation of “low value, low quality” courses which churn out graduates who go into poorly paid jobs and are unable to pay back their student loans.

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The government has been forced to update a list of academy trusts named and shamed for failing to justify executive pay after a chain was included by mistake.

Earlier this month, the Department for Education published a list of 31 academy trusts who had received a second warning for being “non-compliant” with its order to justify CEO pay. The North East Learning Trust, an eight-school chain which paid its executive principal Lesley Powell a salary of £160,000 in 2017-18, was one of those named and shamed online on May 10.

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Let the robots mark and the teachers teach – Artificial intelligence can go a long way to ending the haemorrhaging of teaching staff out of the profession.

Like most other teachers, I joined the profession to improve the world. But the job I loved so much eventually exhausted me: and like so many others, I left. I was tired of the laborious paperwork (too often solely for the benefit of inspectors). I was tired of having to give evidence for every judgement I made in ridiculous detail. I was tired of flagging up children who needed further support for it to never materialise. I was tired of having to write three sentences about a child’s one sentence of writing in reception, when they were too young to understand my words.

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The dissatisfaction of Department for Education staff has been revealed in a survey which reveals just how little faith civil servants have in decisions made by management

The DfE’s people survey results for 2018 and 2017 were published today. Staff were asked to give their feedback on their work, manager, team, organisational objectives and purpose, learning and development, inclusion and fair treatment, resources and workload, pay and benefits and leadership and managing change.

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Just 4% of parents give Ofsted their view on schools – Of parents who do use Ofsted’s Parent View survey, 92% were positive about their school.

Less than 5 per cent of parents of pupils at state schools used Ofsted’s website to give their views about their children’s education, a new report reveals. Ofsted has published data today showing that 4.2 per cent of parents at state schools used the inspectorate’s Parent View survey during the past 12 months. The figures show that the number of parents using the system has been declining over the past year.

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Hinds asks teachers for advice on character building. Ideas sought on best ways to improve ‘character and resilience’ among pupils.

Teachers have been asked by education secretary Damian Hinds to suggest the best ways for young people to build character and resilience. He has set up an expert advisory group in character education on how best to support schools to run more such activities, based on five “foundations”: sport, creativity, performing, volunteering and membership of structured groups like scouts and guides, and gaining experience of the world of work.

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Cut tuition fees and interest rates on student loans – Augar leak – The long-awaited post-18 tuition fee review is tipped to be released this week and will recommend a 20% cut in tuition fees and a nearly 5% cut in student loan interest rates.

There should be a cut tuition fees and interest rates on student loans, the long-awaited Augar review will recommend, according to leaked data. The recommendation to cut tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 comes as educations secretary Damian Hinds says there should be “an end to low-value degrees”. Findings from the review, led by Philip Augar, are expected to be released in the dying days of Theresa May’s premiership, and may also recommend that interest rates on student loans be reduced from 6.3% to 1.5%.

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Teaching qualification launched by online education providers – Wey Education, holding company for online school InterHigh, has launched a level 4 award in teaching online

Online education company Wey Education has launched new qualification in online teaching, accredited by the Awards for Training and Higher Education (ATHE). The level 4 qualification is worth 12 higher education credits (360 credits are required for a BSc in the UK). Ofqual has approved the qualification, and it is available on the Ofqual register.

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The 21st-century skillset – Kevin O’Malley asks if education is preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workplace

Technology, more than almost any other factor, has changed the world. No sector or industry has escaped its effects, and the pace of change is only accelerating. So what does the modern worker need to navigate the workplace? And is education providing it?

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New schemes to get poorer students into Oxford – Two programmes will support students who are offered a place to study at Oxford but struggle to meet requirements.

A “sea change” in the University of Oxford’s admissions is expected with the launch of two schemes aimed at helping disadvantaged pupils. The free programmes will be for bright but poor pupils who are offered a place to study at Oxford but struggle to meet the final requirements, or need help making the transition.

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A since-closed free school was given the funding green light just nine working days before it was due to open, with civil servants issuing “dire warnings of impending closure” from day one, it has been claimed.

In a damning report revealing the chaotic behind-the-scenes process of opening a free school, former trustees and staff at the 14 to 19 Robert Owen academy, in Herefordshire, blamed a “veritable montage of ever-changing faces” from government departments, regional schools commissioners and Ofsted for the school’s demise.

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Posted in Education News, Weekly Blog.