Secondary schools

‘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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Should a teacher report a pupil for Extinction Rebellion activism? | Education

Counter-terror police issued guidance requiring teachers to report members of Extinction Rebellion to the authorities under the Prevent powers. The guide was recalled after the Guardian revealed its existence, but later another list emerged citing the group, as well as Greenpeace and Stop the Badger Cull. Ed Finch Teacher, Larkrise primary school, Oxford No. While I would report a pupil for extremism if I believed they had motive, intent and ability to endanger property or life, I know numerous people…

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‘It happens to real people’: how to help children grasp the horror of the Holocaust | Michael Rosen | Education

As a very young child, the only inkling I had of the Holocaust was that every now and then my father would say that he’d had two uncles in France who were “there before the war and weren’t there afterwards”. I’d wonder, how could they have just disappeared? How could there only be a nothing? At weddings and wider family gatherings, we would meet his cousin Michael and later we would be told that Michael had been “put on a…

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Slip-up leaves priests rolling in the aisles | Brief letters | Education

We applaud the rise in state-sector intake across Oxford University and are glad to see individual colleges praised (Report, 16 January). Perhaps Mansfield College deserves a mention. In a quietly radical fashion, we have led the way in Oxford access for 20 years. Our state intake has been over 80% for 10 years and over 90% since 2016. And more than 90% of our state-sector intake this year is from non-selective schools – a meaningful statistic for Oxford University.Lucinda RumseySenior…

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When school is an isolation cubicle with three toilet breaks a day | Education

Six days a week Brendan, 17, leaves at six in the morning for his job on a building site and doesn’t get home until tea time. It’s his first job and he is loving it. “I am very, very proud of him,” says his mother. But it could have turned out very differently. Brendan left his academy trust school in Normanton, West Yorkshire, without any GCSEs, having spent much of his time in an isolation cubicle, banned from talking to…

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London council launches free school meals pilot scheme | Education

A scheme to offer pupils free school breakfast and lunch irrespective of income has been launched in an attempt to tackle the growing food poverty crisis in parts of the UK. Hammersmith and Fulham council rolled out the scheme in west London on Wednesday. It said the national free school meals system was not working, leaving many children going to school hungry and remaining hungry throughout the day. Officials say the threshold for families to qualify for free school meals…

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Grammar school pupils ‘gain no social or emotional advantages’ by age 14 | Education

Grammar school pupils gain no social or emotional advantages by age 14 over children who do not attend a selective school, a study suggests. The research by University College London (UCL) is the latest to call into question the government’s plans to expand selective state education, which have been fiercely opposed by educationalists and policymakers. Recent studies have suggested that grammar schools only outperform their non-grammar peers academically because they select well, rather than because they add value, and do…

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Everyone welcome: inside the schools that haven’t expelled a child since 2013 | Education

Jason Thurley, headteacher at Beacon academy, near Grimsby, leans across the table explaining why yet another of his pupils was excluded before joining the school. “He’d brought in a £1 potato gun. It was at the bottom of his bag and so he goes up to his form tutor and says, ‘I don’t want to get into trouble with this, sir, can you take it?’ And he gets permanently excluded. The school said ‘we have a zero-tolerance policy on firearms’.”…

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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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‘I was angry I couldn’t even say the word’: UK teens refuse to be silent about periods | Education

For most of her life, Molly Fenton had dreaded getting her period. Every month, the 17-year-old student at Llanishen high school in Cardiff would feel ashamed: uncomfortable, untouchable, unclean. “I couldn’t even say the word ‘period’ without feeling embarrassed,” she says. She is not the only girl to have felt anxious about attending school when she was menstruating. A 2019 survey by the girls’ rights charity Plan International UK found that more than half of girls aged 14-21 have missed…

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Leaflets falsely claim pupils taught masturbation in relationship classes | Education

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said all schools will be given support to teach relationship education, after leaflets suggesting that lessons encourage primary school children to masturbate were handed out in London. Other material seen by the BBC said parents “will be questioned on the day of judgment” if they do not challenge the lessons on compulsory relationships education in primary schools in England and relationships and sex education (RSE) in secondary schools from September 2020. The leaflets were…

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Teacher who confessed to abusing boys in US found working in Essex school | Education

A teacher who has faced multiple allegations of child sexual abuse in the US and confessed to molesting schoolboys has been uncovered working in a secondary school in Essex, the Guardian can reveal. Stephen Jackson, 72, taught English to 11- to 13-year-olds at Tendring technology college this term despite previously confessing to police in California that he engaged in sexual acts with children. It has also emerged that he previously worked for two years at a school in south London…

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Bridlington school says sorry for homework on terrorist forgiveness | Education

A school has apologised after children were set homework asking them to imagine they were the parent of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing. The pupils at Bridlington school, in east Yorkshire, were asked to write a response to the view that “all terrorists should be forgiven”. But parents of the year 8 pupils took to social media complaining that the homework was “not acceptable”. The PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) task was posted on the Showmyhomework…

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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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Which party is tackling the injustice of grammar schools? None has the guts | Fiona Millar | Education

Whatever the outcome of the general election, one group of heads will have every reason to be content. The leaders of England’s 163 grammar schools have made it through another campaign with barely a word uttered about the bastions of privilege over which they preside. How different from 2017, when Theresa May’s retro idea to create new grammar schools ensured that the arguments for selection (slim) and against (substantial) were rehearsed frequently and loudly. In the end, the hung parliament…

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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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