Primary schools

Ofsted plan to inspect ‘cultural capital’ in schools attacked as elitist | Education

A two-word term, invented in the 1970s by a French sociologist heavily influenced by Karl Marx, makes an unlikely entrance in Ofsted’s new framework [pdf] for the inspection of schools in England this week. Each institution is now to be judged on the extent to which it builds pupils’ “cultural capital”. What exactly does that mean? Users of the term, including the schools minister Nick Gibb and the former education secretary Michael Gove, suggest it is about ensuring that disadvantaged…

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School’s back – but some parents can’t keep up with cost of branded uniforms | Education

Charities and community groups aiming to lower the cost of buying school uniforms for low-income families say they cannot keep pace with rocketing demand, as parents struggle to afford essential items for their children in the run-up to the start of the new school year. The popularity of groups offering free donations and secondhand school uniforms for swap has risen sharply this year and organisers say they have been inundated with thousands of requests for items over the past six…

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‘I will never return to teach in England’: the UK teachers finding refuge abroad | Education

The English education system is broken, says Freya Odell, a state secondary school teacher with 18 years’ experience. This month, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of other talented, fed-up teachers and moved abroad – in her case, to St George’s British International School in Rome. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. My job in England took over my life. Over the past year, I had stopped laughing and smiling. I had lost all sense of who I am.” Despite…

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Why are teachers miserable? Because they’re being held at gunpoint for meaningless data | Jeremy Hannay | Education

Everyone seems to be dancing around the elephant in the room. Jeremy Corbyn is talking about scrapping Sats. The DfE is on the workload warpath. Ofsted is myth-busting itself out of the dark ages into the 21st century, saying it doesn’t care about marking any more. Almost a third of teachers quit in the first five years, and those who stay are burning out in record numbers. Let me clear up this edu-mess for you. It’s not Sats. It’s not…

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Parents launch court action over Christian school assemblies | Education

A couple who say their children are being religiously indoctrinated during Christian school assemblies are to launch a high court challenge. Lee and Lizanne Harris will say in a judicial review claim in the autumn that Burford primary school in Oxfordshire made their children take part in Christian prayers and watch re-enactments of Bible stories including the crucifixion. The couple withdrew their children from the assemblies but say the school refused to provide a meaningful alternative of equal educational worth.…

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Just imagine if your school had seen a 5% annual funding rise since 2010, like the Labour years | Fiona Millar | Education

Sick of the slogan, Get Brexit Done? The new Conservative party mantra will almost certainly infuriate or seduce, depending on your view about the EU referendum. It may also be time-limited, depending of the outcome of the next few weeks. The strapline, however, Invest in our hospitals, schools and police, is designed to live on into a fantasy post-Brexit world, where the Conservatives are reborn as the party of public spending and commitment to public services. So, let’s get real.…

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Secret Teacher: the exodus of older teachers is draining schools of expertise | Teacher Network

There is a teacher at my school who is adored by students and staff. He’s a dedicated and efficient educator with years of experience who once taught some of our pupils’ parents. The school benefits from his expertise daily, from the way he handles tricky content to how he manages difficult behaviour. In many ways, he is irreplaceable. Sadly, we’re losing him. Forced to record data that’s never looked at and deliver subjects focused on rote-learning that leaves students uninspired,…

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Parents, can you spot a ‘toxic’ school? A headteacher writes … | Education

The banners are up, the adverts are in local newspapers. No sooner has the autumn term begun than schools are recruiting the next cohort of students. If it sometimes seems that they all say the same things about their engaging curriculum, personalised pastoral care and professional ethos, how can you tell them apart? For some parents, it’s all about outcomes. Which school tops the league table for results? Which has been judged by Ofsted as outstanding? For others, it’s more…

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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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Primary school bans parents from sports day for bad behaviour | Education

Parents have been banned from attending future sports days by a primary school in Wales after claims of obscene language and threatening behaviour. Sheena Duggan, the headteacher at Pentrebane school in Cardiff, said staff had been sworn at in front of children. In a letter to parents seen by the BBC, Duggan said the behaviour had “worsened” over the past few years. She wrote: “As you know the safety, happiness and wellbeing of our pupils, your children, is paramount and…

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Secret Teacher: the emphasis on British history is depriving students of balance | Teacher Network

The wedding of two people who ostensibly have nothing to do with most people in the country has been the hot topic in playgrounds and classrooms over recent weeks. Despite Prince Harry and Meghan being wholly unrepresentative of the schoolchildren in my area of the UK, pupils have been transfixed by the details. They want to talk about the dress Meghan wore, the car Prince Harry drove to the reception. They’re proud this glamorous, confident American is becoming part of…

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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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‘If you get a good inspector, it can be magic’: Is Labour right to want Ofsted gone? | Education

The Labour party has said it would abolish Ofsted and its one-word judgments. Local authorities would carry out regular “health checks” instead, while inspectors would be called in for more in-depth visits. What do teachers and parents think? Should Ofsted be abolished? Henry Emoni maths teacher, the Beacon school, Banstead, Surrey Yes. Ofsted creates an environment of fear, anxiety and worry for teachers. To prepare for an Ofsted visit, you may have to do a lot of tick-box exercises, regimented…

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Funding for 80% of schools in England ‘worse next year than 2015’ | Education

Four in five state schools in England will be financially worse off next year than they were in 2015 despite promises by Boris Johnson’s government of a multibillion-pound funding boost, according to research by teachers’ unions. The School Cuts coalition of six unions, which spearheaded a national campaign for more funding in schools, has conducted an analysis of recent government announcements which it says shows that more than 80% of schools will have less funding per pupil in real terms…

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Politically literate citizens seem to be a problem for Michael Gove | Laura McInerney | Education

From the vast compendium of Michael Gove’s arrogant moments as education secretary one has been on my mind these last few weeks. He was never a fan of citizenship as a subject – the one that teaches children the rules of democracy – and, once in office, set out to slim the curriculum and get rid of “political fads”. You know, such as teaching young people the rules politicians must follow even when their plans are fading in front of…

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Teaching workload: requires improvement | Letters | Education

Your editorial (19 September) begins to unpick some of the reasons why retention and, in some areas, recruitment are such a problem in this beleaguered and overwhelmed profession. Successive attempts to address this problem have failed to grasp the true causes which are, depressingly, characterised by the report of the leaked government document advocating swapping “workload-inducing practices for evidence-based approaches”. This, like all the other initiatives, is an attempt to shift the responsibility for this matter on to schools, thereby…

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