Children

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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Families rally against special educational needs funding cuts | Education

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities have staged protests across England against funding cuts. On Thursday afternoon, children, parents and teachers marched in 28 towns and cities including London, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham in the first national action of its kind. Organisers of Send National Crisis said about 1,000 people attended a rally in Parliament Square in Westminster. Among the speakers was the campaigner Emma Parker, whose son James has spent 29 months out…

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LGBT lesson protests hijacked by religious extremists, MPs say | Education

Protests against LGBT lessons in schools have been hijacked by those with a “religious, extremist agenda” who are holding schools “under siege”, MPs have said, as the number of schools being targeted has grown. Anderton Park primary school, in the Moseley area of Birmingham, has become the latest site of demonstrations against the teaching of LGBT rights, following similar protests at other schools in the city. On Friday, the last day before the half-term holiday, staff were forced to send…

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‘My headteacher said: “Stop crying – you got into Oxford!”’ | Education

When Sophia Alexandra Hall received the response to her application for the University of Oxford in 2015, she opened it in front of everyone at her school. “I ran into the canteen and burst into tears,” she says. “I was sobbing, and I remember my headteacher saying: ‘Stop crying – you got into Oxford!’ No one at social services believed me.” As a care leaver, the odds of Hall making it to university, let alone Oxford, were very slim. As…

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Schools should have one meat-free day a week, says charity | Education

All state schools in England should offer pupils a compulsory plant-based menu one day a week, under new recommendations to the government that aim to make school meals more environmentally friendly and reflect changing dietary advice. Given wide acceptance that diets need to change to address the climate crisis – including by eating less meat and more beans and pulses – the Soil Association is urging the Department for Education to replace a non-mandatory recommendation for a weekly meat-free day…

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The Guardian view on shrinking breaks: the right to relax | Editorial | Opinion

Few adults would place shorter break times high up their list of concerns about schools. Some of them may have shone at football but many will remember hours spent pointlessly milling around the playground or, worse, smoking in the toilets? For a minority of children, now as then, breaks are dreadful. If you don’t have many friends, or aren’t part of the group you would like to join, the experience of leaving the classroom to spend time with your peers…

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Shrinking break times in English schools ‘impacting social skills’ | Education

School break times in England have got shorter over the last two decades, with older pupils losing more than an hour a week as lessons increasingly eat into lunch and play time, research has found. Afternoon break times, once enjoyed by nearly all primary school children, have been “virtually eliminated”, the report found, while a quarter of secondary schools now have lunch breaks of 35 minutes or less. The UCL Institute of Education study found the youngest primary children, aged…

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Stephen Fry backs calls to review relationships and sex education | Education

Stephen Fry has backed calls urging the government to review its new compulsory programme of relationships and sex education (RSE), due to be rolled out to schools next year, suggesting that it does not go far enough. The actor is one of a number of signatories to a letter addressed to the education secretary, Damian Hinds, which says that “political, religious and cultural sensitivities should not be allowed to thwart mandatory age-appropriate RSE in every school” from the first year…

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Drive aims to increase number of men in early years education in UK | Education – Education Article

A drive is under way to increase the number of men working with the youngest children in the education system, drawing on the success of Norway, which has the highest percentage of male early years professionals in the world. According to latest statistics, just 2% of the early years education (EYE) workforce in the UK is male, a figure that has remained static for decades despite previous targets and greater shared childcare between men and women in the home. Researchers…

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