Controversial Michaela free school delights in GCSE success | Education

Amid the myriad joyful images on social media, showing ecstatic pupils and their teachers celebrating GCSE results, one particular success story stood out. Michaela community school, a controversial free school known for its strict behaviour policy, picked up its first set of GCSE results on Thursday, five years after opening its doors to its first pupils. “Michaela pupils SMASH it,” tweeted the headteacher, Katharine Birbalsingh. Her colleagues were similarly delighted. “I’m so proud to be a Michaela teacher today,” tweeted…

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Learning foreign languages should be compulsory, says report | Education

Learning a new language should be compulsory for pupils up to the age of 16, according to a new report highlighting the UK’s recent abysmal record in encouraging young people to study languages other than English. The report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) cites an EU-wide survey showing that just 32% of young people in the UK say they are able to read or write in more than one language, compared with 79% of their peers in…

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Would you get into grammar school? Try the 11-plus exam | Education

Theresa May has proposed a shakeup of the education system that could lead to an expansion of grammar schools across England. Many people object to the categorisation of pupils at age 11 on the basis of an exam. But how would you fare in such a test? Here’s a selection of 11-plus questions from sample tests produced by the educational publisher CGP. (To complete all the questions please view on desktop or mobile browsers rather than the app.) Maths Verbal…

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‘Easier’ exams offered by private schools smooth pupils’ entry to top universities | Education

Top universities are giving privately educated children an unfair advantage by not differentiating between the rigorous GCSEs compulsory in the state system and less demanding exams taken in many fee-paying schools, MPs and educationists have said. Just days after GCSE results day last Thursday, Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by Labour MP Lucy Powell show that almost all Russell Group universities treat the two types of exam – the regulated GCSEs used in the state system, and IGCSEs, which the…

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Stormzy to fund Cambridge scholarships for black students | Education

Stormzy has announced that he is funding two scholarships for black British students to go to Cambridge University. The grime artist will pay the students’ tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant for up to four years of an undergraduate course. Speaking on Thursday at his former school, the Harris City Academy in Croydon, south London, where A-level students were opening their results, Stormzy told BBC Breakfast: “If you’re academically brilliant don’t think because you come from a certain…

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Pupils receive GCSE results as concerns raised over new format | Education

Hundreds of thousands of young people are receiving their GCSE results after the biggest shake-up of the exams for a generation. GCSEs in England have been toughened up with less coursework and exams at the end of the two-year courses rather than throughout. Some pupils have been so demoralised by the tougher format that they refused to sit the exams this year, while others have shown raised stress levels, according to the National Education Union (NEU) and the Association of…

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British girls have finally made the global top table … for fear of failure. How terrifying | Laura McInerney | Education

Last year, in randomly selected school halls across the country, Britain pitted its 15-year-olds in an academic competition of wits against children from 79 other countries. The Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests have taken place across the globe every three years since 2000, and a country’s score is often used to boast about its smartness (or otherwise). The results this year showed the United Kingdom has finally made it into the top five. But our standout statistic isn’t…

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Take our Sats maths quiz to see if you’re smarter than an 11-year-old | Education

On Wednesday and Thursday year 6 children in England’s primary schools will take their Sats maths test. If you haven’t had children in the English education system for a while, or even at all, you might be curious about what 11-year-olds are expected to know about maths. So below is a sample of the types of questions they will face. Pupils will take 110 minutes of tests, divided into three papers over two days and containing a total of 83…

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Rising number of pupils caught bringing phones into exams | Education

Cheating on mobile phones, cyber-attacks on schools and leaked or fake exam papers being shared on social media are among the problems that students and teachers now have to navigate, according to reports by England’s exam regulator. Data collected by Ofqual, which oversees GCSE and A-level examinations, shows a rising number of students were caught bringing phones into exam venues last summer, while the regulator also reported that schools have been hit with hacking efforts affecting documents stored electronically. Ofqual…

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‘Off-rolling’ hides true extent of disadvantage gap in schools – study | Education

The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers in England is much wider than previously estimated, with as many as 9,000 disadvantaged 16-year-olds not taking exams or recorded in school league tables because they cannot be located on school records. Analysis by FFT Education Datalab found an increasing number of pupils, both disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged, leaving mainstream schools last year for an unknown destination. In total, 24,600 disappeared from school rolls compared with 22,000 the year before, amid concern…

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British schoolchildren among least satisfied, says OECD report | Education

Schoolchildren in Britain are more likely to be miserable and less likely to think that their lives have meaning compared with children in other countries, according to an influential OECD survey that shows a slight improvement in the UK’s international education performance. The OECD’s programme for international student assessment (Pisa), which quizzes 15-year-olds on reading, maths, science and a range of attitudes, found that those in the UK had the biggest declines in life satisfaction since its last survey in…

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Extra time for all who need it in GCSEs and A-levels | Letter | Education

Re your article (One in five pupils granted more time to sit key exams, 22 November), if we are serious about inclusion and access for all, we must question the copious amounts of time spent testing children and young people to identify their “abnormal” needs for time, prior to taking written exams. Far better to accept that it is normal for everyone to work at different speeds, and to give everyone the time they need to do the task. This…

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‘Students don’t see the value’: why A-level English is in decline | Education

Tim Edwards* is an English teacher in a secondary school in a relatively deprived part of east London. He’s passionate about his subject, but is watching it die in front of his eyes. He’s losing students left, right and centre as they opt for the sciences or maths, and it’s hard to convince their parents of the value of studying Philip Larkin, Chaucer and and Tennessee Williams in the current climate. A-level results day on Thursday confirmed an alarming trend:…

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One in five GCSE and A-level pupils granted extra time for exams | Education

Record numbers of pupils who sat GCSE and A-level exams this summer were given 25% more time to complete their papers, official figures have revealed. Almost one in five exam entries (19.4%) were granted extra time as a result of access arrangements for pupils with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries, according to data published by the examinations regulator, Ofqual. Numbers have been rising over recent years, peaking in 2018-19 with just under 257,000 exam entries awarded the additional…

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Here’s an election idea: why not let anyone sit Oxbridge finals? | Laura McInerney | Education

Political parties are so busy suddenly falling over themselves to put money into education, it feels as if we’re living in a learning piñata. Bang! Boris Johnson promises more cash for schools. Boom! Jeremy Corbyn will fund six years of learning for adults. Womp! The Lib Dems are making lifelong higher education free-ish. It is not a second too soon. Schools and colleges are on their knees; adult education is in critical condition. When was the last time you met…

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French and German GCSEs to be marked less harshly, Ofqual rules | Education

French and German GCSEs are to be marked less severely from next year amid concerns that students are being put off studying modern foreign languages (MFL) because it is more difficult to get top grades in these than in other subjects. The qualifications regulator Ofqual has ruled there should be an adjustment to grading standards in French and German GCSEs – entries for which have declined dramatically – but not in Spanish where numbers have been more buoyant. The government…

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