Children

Pupils being propelled out of school system ‘in space of a day’ | Education

Pupils in England are being propelled out of schools and into home education, sometimes in the space of a single day, with little or no discussion beforehand and often without consulting the child, according a report by the schools watchdog. In some cases pupils are moved so quickly they are not even able to say goodbye to their friends. In other cases, parents complained that schools refused to allow children who were leaving to be educated at home to take…

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Former Chetham’s headteachers accused of ignoring abuse | UK news

A lawyer for some of the victims in an inquiry into child sexual abuse has attacked the evidence given by three former headteachers at a prestigious music school. Peter Hullah, John Vallins and Claire Moreland – all headteachers at Chetham’s School of Music – were criticised for ignoring the abuse of their pupils and failing to disclose essential evidence. A public inquiry was launched after the music teacher Christopher Ling was suspected of grooming and sexually abusing a number of…

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Families lose high court challenge over special needs funding | Education

Families who launched a landmark legal challenge to the government’s funding of services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) have lost their high court case. Three families, representing thousands of others across England, brought the action claiming that government budget decisions had left local authorities unable to fulfil their legal obligation to provide education to children with Send. A two-day hearing in June heard from lawyers representing the families that there was a substantial national shortfall in…

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Secret Teacher: I hated teaching – until I realised my school was the problem | Teacher Network

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher. Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school…

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Bournville provided a model for further education colleges | Letter | Education

In the 1940s and 50s the Cadbury family’s social experiments at Bournville (Letters, 23 and 28 September) contributed significantly to the later national development of further education for school leavers. The building of Bournville day continuation college was part of the basic plan for Bournville village green, alongside the church and the Carillon bell tower. Young workers, 14- to 18-year-olds, at the Cadbury family’s factory worked for only four days of their five-day week. The fifth day was spent at…

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Support for children with special educational needs ‘in crisis’ | Education

Services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are in crisis, with families experiencing delays of up to 90 weeks and complaints at record levels, according to the local government and social care ombudsman. Ombudsman Michael King said the number of complaints from frustrated parents had gone up by 45% over a two-year period to 2019. Most concerning, he said, was that nine out of 10 complaints (87%) were upheld in the families’ favour, with councils criticised for…

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Secret Teacher: teaching children without play was soul-destroying | Teacher Network

One year, during Sats preparation, I watched as a number of my year 2 students cried because the paper was too difficult. I told them not to worry and to just try their best, but inside I felt dreadful. I knew that no matter how hard they cried, I would force them to continue. I’ve been a teacher for five years and I love working with children. But I’ve realised I don’t want to teach them any more. After spending…

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The Guardian view on teacher workloads: big lessons to learn | Editorial | Opinion

The new secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson, knows a lot about the heavy workloads piled on teachers. His wife used to teach in a primary school. Then she left the profession to become a teaching assistant partly because, he said this month, “there was always a big challenge in terms of workload, and this is one of the things we need to address”. Indeed. More than personal experience, hard figures back up the cabinet minister’s worry. A new…

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‘Shameful rise’: 18% of children now leave school as low achievers | Education

The number of children leaving school without basic qualifications by the age of 18 has risen by nearly a quarter in the past three years, according to a report by the children’s commissioner for England. Almost one in five children (18%) left school last year without the government benchmark of five good GCSEs, or the equivalent technical qualifications, a 24% increase since 2015, the study found. The figures for children with special educational needs are particularly stark with almost half…

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Forest schools: is yours more a marketing gimmick than an outdoors education? | Education

Ash trees rustle in the breeze while beneath them muddy children run free, collecting leaves and searching for bugs in the shadows. This must be a forest school. Or is it? According to academics in a book, Critical Issues in Forest Schools, to be published next month, there is a high probability that it is not a forest school as, it says, large numbers of nurseries, primaries and secondaries are falsely claiming claim to be one. The forest school movement,…

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700 English schools reported over asbestos safety concerns | Education

Nearly 700 schools have been referred to the national health and safety body over concerns they are failing to safely manage asbestos in their buildings, potentially putting thousands of staff and pupils at risk, it has been revealed. It is thought that about 90% of school buildings in England contain asbestos, often around pipes and boilers, and in wall and ceiling tiles. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises that it is only a risk if it is disturbed or…

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Foreign language learning more vital than ever in post-Brexit world | Letters | Education

The fall in the number of pupils studying modern foreign languages (MFL) is concerning and continues a trend started when the government of the day removed the compulsion for our young people to study a language to age 16 back in the 90s (Learn a language? No need for them once we quit the EU, parents tell schools, 3 May). Languages are an essential part of a broad, balanced curriculum. Not only do they provide an opportunity to communicate more…

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Families on universal credit falling into debt in school holidays | Society

Families on universal credit are being plunged into debt because of increased childcare and food costs during school holidays, parents have told a committee of MPs as they appealed for help to manage the extra costs. The parliamentary hearing on holiday hunger heard from parents and charities about struggling families where parents have to stop working during the school holidays or pay crippling additional childcare costs up front. Under universal credit, families need to pay the cost of childcare in…

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Children in need of speech and language therapy face postcode lottery | Education

Spending on speech and language therapy has fallen in many areas of the country and children in need of SLT are subject to a postcode lottery of provision because of huge disparities across England, research has found. The study by the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, says that too many vulnerable young children are missing out on vital support in their earliest years, with far-reaching implications for their progress and life chances. It is the first time data has…

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Schools in England to give extra lessons on dangers of knives | Education

Pupils in schools in England are to be given additional lessons before the summer holidays warning them of the dangers of carrying knives. Children at risk of knife crime are known to be vulnerable during the long summer break, especially if they have time on their hands and, with the schools shut, have no safe space. Campaigners say that, due to government cuts to youth services, there is also a shortage of activities for young people during the six-week holiday.…

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I was fined for taking my child to Jamaica, but I’m one of the lucky ones | Kehinde Andrews | Opinion

When it came to power in 1997, Labour picked up and ran with the Tories’ individualistic reforms to the school system. Along with school choice, league tables and academies, in came parental responsibility for absences. So I was disappointed, but not surprised, to be given a fixed penalty notice of £60 per parent as a result of taking our six-year-old out of school for two weeks during term time to visit Jamaica. The fact that my son will have the…

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