Department for Education

Schools in England struggle to stay open as coronavirus hits attendance | Education

Schools across England are struggling to stay open, with some forced to partially or fully close as staff and students stay at home, while the UK remains one of only two European countries – alongside Belarus – with a policy of keeping them open. Headteachers have said they were blindsided by Monday’s government advice for the public to avoid non-essential contact. Pressure has been growing on the government to shut schools, after Finland announced wholescale closures on Monday and Sweden…

Read More

Back-door cuts to university places could provoke ‘clash of the classes’ | Education

Government plans to cap student numbers just as the UK faces an explosion in the number of 18-year-olds would be the “death knell” for social mobility, academic experts warn. More than half of young people are now going into higher education, but senior academics believe that with the Treasury anxious to rein in spiralling student loan debt, universities will face a cap on numbers by the back door, with the government cutting support for what it calls “low-quality” courses. Lee…

Read More

One in five students lose money by going to university, IFS finds | Education

One in five students would be financially better off if they skipped higher education, according to groundbreaking research that compares the lifetime earnings of graduates and non-graduates. Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found while 80% of former students gained financially from attending university, about 20% earned less than those with similar school results who did not attend, highlighting how some subjects, such as creative arts, offer negative financial returns. The IFS research – which uses tax data to…

Read More

Dear Gavin Williamson, you need to make clear that teaching ‘British values’ doesn’t mean racism | Michael Rosen | Education

The events of the past week or so give you a tremendous opportunity to storm into public view with a clear statement about British values in education and society, don’t you think? First, we’ve had the Andrew Sabisky affair. Here is a young man, not long out of full-time education, who has been happy to put into the public arena his ideas about race, intelligence, sex and arms expenditure. You must be acutely aware how the explosion of social media…

Read More

Renewables barely feature in building programme for 500 schools | Education

It is a modernist version of a log cabin nestling in a busy south London suburb – and it is about to make history. The new building for Hackbridge primary, in Sutton, opens next week as England’s first zero-carbon school, able to produce and conserve as much energy as it uses, and even put unused electricity generated back into the grid. With its wood frame and cladding, solar panels, pumps to collect heat from the ground, and insulation made from…

Read More

‘It’s scandalous’: when free schools shut for want of a permanent home | Education

Louise Grace’s two children, aged 13 and 11, spent more than a week off school last term suffering from anxiety. Their school, the International Academy of Greenwich (IAG), is earmarked for closure and the worry of watching it happen – friends taking up places elsewhere, teachers leaving – is affecting both children badly, their mother says. “My daughter is so upset by it all: she is losing her friends and she is worried about going to a new school, with…

Read More

Primary schools in England hold half-term Sats revision classes | Education

Primary schools in England are holding half-term and Easter holiday revision classes for pupils as young as six to prepare them for standardised tests known as Sats, the Guardian has learned. The use of holiday “booster sessions” for pupils in year two was robustly condemned by the Department for Education (DfE) and major teaching unions, with one union leader describing them as “an extraordinarily bad idea” with no positive impact. One primary school in north London has invited its year…

Read More

The national curriculum barely mentions the climate crisis. Children deserve better | Fiona Harvey | Education

There were toddlers in prams, babies in carriers, wrapped up against the cold, young children clutching placards and teenagers, thousands of them, banging drums and chanting protests. The energy and sense of urgency among the 500,000 climate marchers through Madrid at the last UN climate talks in December stood in stark contrast to the stalled, static and bloodless conference itself, where talks on the arcane technicalities of carbon markets fell apart amid acrimony. Schoolchildren have led the way in climate…

Read More

Pupils draft their own climate bill as anxiety grows over lack of guidance for schools | Education

Like many young people, Joe Brindle, 17, is scared for the future because of the climate crisis. He is, he says, “angry about the injustice that is allowing the most vulnerable people in the world to suffer from the actions of the richest and most powerful”. So Brindle, who is preparing for his A-levels in Devizes, Wiltshire, decided to do something. On top of his studies, he founded a campaign group, Teach the Future, which has spent the last few…

Read More

Attainment gap widens between disadvantaged pupils and their peers | Education

Ministers have said more must be done to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils in England, after last summer’s exam results showed the gap between children from poor families and their better-off peers had widened further. A breakdown of GCSE results issued by the Department for Education (DfE) showed the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others increased for the second year in a row. The introduction of tougher exams appear to have halted the improvement seen in previous years. “The…

Read More

Free period products to be available in schools and colleges in England | Education

Tampons, sanitary pads and other period products will be made freely available to all state schools and colleges in England starting next week, with the launch of a scheme funded by the Department for Education. The scheme follows the government’s commitment last year to pay for sanitary products for primary and secondary schools, in an effort to tackle “period poverty”, which can cause girls from low-income families to missschool. “We know that it is not easy for everyone to access…

Read More

Mother sues over daughter’s suicide attempt in school isolation booth | Education

A woman whose daughter tried to kill herself while in an isolation booth at an academy school is to take legal action against the government. The child, who cannot be named, has autistic spectrum disorder and mental health problems, but was put in an isolation booth by her school in Kent for more than a month. Prior to the intervention of lawyers in mid-March, she had spent every day since mid-January in isolation, meaning she had to remain silent throughout…

Read More

Department of Education criticised for secretly sharing children’s data | Education

The UK’s privacy regulator has criticised the Department for Education (DfE) for secretly sharing children’s personal data with the Home Office, triggering fears it could be used for immigration enforcement as part of the government’s hostile environment policy. Acting on a complaint by the campaigning organisation, Against Borders for Children (ABC), the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruled that the DfE had failed to comply fully with its data protection obligations and may face further regulatory action. Pupil data is routinely…

Read More

Teacher knows best? Not any longer as parents muscle in on the classroom | Education

When Geoff Barton started teaching in 1985, parents’ evening – a brief five-minute chat – was the only time teachers saw most mums and dads. If families had a concern, they might write a letter, or call the school office. Fast-forward three decades and the dynamics between schools and parents have changed dramatically. The voice of parents is louder, their expectations higher – and it’s much easier to instantly broadcast a complaint. Research by academics at Bath Spa University suggests…

Read More

Burned out: why are so many teachers quitting or off sick with stress? | Education

It was a toxic routine: plan lessons until 1am, wake up at 5am in a sweat, vomit, go to work, teach. “I lost a stone and a half in two months,” Dan Lintell said. “I was having heart palpitations and panic attacks. My body was totally exhausted. I couldn’t go on.” He had barely completed his first half-term as a newly qualified teacher. The start of the school year in September had been filled with optimism. After a successful 20-year…

Read More

Dear Gavin Williamson, how that strange prisons have to have a library but schools do not | Michael Rosen | Education

Did you see the report on school libraries that came out last week? The headline facts are worrying, don’t you think? Schools with a higher proportion of children on free school meals are more than twice as likely not to have access to a designated library space. One in eight schools has no library at all. And employment terms for librarians and library staff fall below national standards, with low pay and little investment in professional development and training. The…

Read More