‘Maths whisperer’: Cardiff teacher gets A* grades for entire class | UK news

A Cardiff teacher nicknamed “the maths whisperer” after his entire class of 30 pupils gained an A* at GCSE was back in school on Wednesday, with hopes high for the summer exam season. Francis Elive achieved celebrity status this week after every one of his year 11 pupils at Fitzalan high school received top marks, even after sitting the exam six months early. Fitzalan’s top-scoring pupils have all been taught by Elive since the start of secondary school. Many of…

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Ofsted boss hits out at schools for continuing to ‘game’ league tables | Education

The head of Ofsted has issued a sharp rebuke to schools in England that continue to “off-roll” vulnerable pupils and force others to take “sham qualifications” in order to maximise results and improve league table positions. The schools watchdog introduced a new inspection framework last year aimed at encouraging schools to move away from a purely results-driven culture and focus instead on a broad, rich curriculum. However, according to the chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, a minority of schools…

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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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‘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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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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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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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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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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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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How good are you at GCSE maths? Take our quiz | Education

If you haven’t done a maths exam for a while, or had anyone living with you who is studying for one, you might be curious about what goes into a GCSE maths paper these days. Here’s a chance to test yourself with these 20 questions taken from last year’s real papers. We can’t replicate exam conditions. In the real world, pupils taking GCSE maths have to sit four-and-a-half hours of exams. Ninety minutes of that is a paper for which…

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GCSE results day 2019: increase in top grades – live | Education

Amy Walker has been speaking to delighted pupils at a voluntary aided King David High School in Liverpool – a Jewish school that admits children from 11 to 18 of all faiths. Ben Franks, 16, is among those now in the queue to register for the school’s sixth form after receiving GCSE grades including an 8 (equivalent to an A*), two 7s (A) and three 6s (B). Revising “got really weird at one point,” he said. “I basically developed a…

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Pupils with behavioural issues failing to meet exam benchmark | Education

Only one out of every 25 pupils in schools for those with behavioural difficulties or exclusions managed to gain passes in English and maths GCSEs this year, according to national data which also shows little headway being made in improving overall exam results. Just 4% of those in England attending pupil referral units or similar alternative provision achieved grade 4s or higher in maths and English, while just 1.5% managed at least 5s in both subjects, the government’s favoured “strong…

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Exam board AQA to pay out £1.1m over rule breaches and errors | Education

The exam board AQA is to pay more than £1.1m in fines and compensation for a string of rule breaches, errors and failings in GCSEs and A-levels that regulators said could seriously undermine public confidence in the qualifications system. Ofqual, which oversees school exams in England, said it had levied its largest ever fine on AQA after 50,000 appeals for exam papers to be reviewed or re-marked, spread across three years between 2016 and 2018, were carried out by AQA…

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One in 10 pupils removed from school rolls ‘to boost GCSE results’ | Education

Research into “off-rolling” from schools in England has found the scale of the problem may be worse than previously thought, with one in 10 secondary pupils removed from the rolls without explanation. Researchers from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that more than 61,000 pupils out of the national cohort who sat their GCSEs in 2017 experienced an “unexplained exit” at some point during their secondary school career. Of these, two out of five never returned to school again. The…

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