Families protest outside school over early Friday closures | Education

Dozens of families have protested outside a school in Greater Manchester that is planning to close early on Fridays because it cannot afford to educate its pupils. The final straw came for parents after Vale View primary school in Reddish, Stockport, announced last week that nine staff members, including some of the most experienced teachers, were being made redundant and that the headteacher was leaving. Parents and schoolchildren held banners and wore badges reading “Save our teachers” outside the school…

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Ofsted chief: pupils’ wellbeing at risk as sport is squeezed out of schools | Education

The Ofsted chief inspector has called on the government to do more to increase sport in schools amid growing concern that physical education is being squeezed out of the curriculum as a result of funding cuts and excessive focus on exam results. Amanda Spielman told the Observer it was essential that ministers and school leaders acted to show they understood what should be obvious – that sport and exercise for young people were vital parts of a full and balanced…

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Forest schools: is yours more a marketing gimmick than an outdoors education? | Education

Ash trees rustle in the breeze while beneath them muddy children run free, collecting leaves and searching for bugs in the shadows. This must be a forest school. Or is it? According to academics in a book, Critical Issues in Forest Schools, to be published next month, there is a high probability that it is not a forest school as, it says, large numbers of nurseries, primaries and secondaries are falsely claiming claim to be one. The forest school movement,…

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700 English schools reported over asbestos safety concerns | Education

Nearly 700 schools have been referred to the national health and safety body over concerns they are failing to safely manage asbestos in their buildings, potentially putting thousands of staff and pupils at risk, it has been revealed. It is thought that about 90% of school buildings in England contain asbestos, often around pipes and boilers, and in wall and ceiling tiles. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises that it is only a risk if it is disturbed or…

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Foreign language learning more vital than ever in post-Brexit world | Letters | Education

The fall in the number of pupils studying modern foreign languages (MFL) is concerning and continues a trend started when the government of the day removed the compulsion for our young people to study a language to age 16 back in the 90s (Learn a language? No need for them once we quit the EU, parents tell schools, 3 May). Languages are an essential part of a broad, balanced curriculum. Not only do they provide an opportunity to communicate more…

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Families on universal credit falling into debt in school holidays | Society

Families on universal credit are being plunged into debt because of increased childcare and food costs during school holidays, parents have told a committee of MPs as they appealed for help to manage the extra costs. The parliamentary hearing on holiday hunger heard from parents and charities about struggling families where parents have to stop working during the school holidays or pay crippling additional childcare costs up front. Under universal credit, families need to pay the cost of childcare in…

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‘It’s just ridiculous’: why a London school is seeking charity help | Education

Ian Bennett has been headteacher of Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, for 16 years. In that time he has seen council support and funding ebb away, as poverty and deprivation among the families his school serves has grown. The result is that the needs of his pupils have become greater, but he worries that as cuts bite he will be able to help them less. Downshall (motto Dream, Persevere, Succeed) is a large, popular primary school serving a…

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School asks BBC Children in Need to cover funding gap | Education

A cash-strapped school has turned to BBC Children in Need for funding to support disadvantaged pupils. Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, which has a large proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds – 89% of whom have English as a second language – has put in a bid to the charity for funding to pay for pastoral care for three years. The school has been forced to axe its team of two pastoral support workers because of budget constraints.…

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Universities urged to hire staff to investigate sexual harassment | Education

Universities should hire specialist staff to investigate hate crimes and sexual harassment against their students, according to a report commissioned by the higher education regulator for England. The institutions were also urged to encourage greater levels of reporting of such incidents, and hold sessions on consent for undergraduates and postgraduates, along with “bystander training” for students and staff to encourage prevention. The report by Advance HE evaluated more than 100 pilot schemes funded by the Office for Students (OfS) and…

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Ending exclusion: specialist teachers trained to support most vulnerable | Education

I felt teachers often judged me because of the way I looked. I didn’t get support for my anger management issues. I wasn’t given chances and often left in an exclusion room.” So says 16-year-old Mehdi, describing his experience in mainstream schools. Mehdi says that his approach to education has been transformed since he arrived at London East Alternative Provision (Leap), in Tower Hamlets. While acknowledging the reasons for his exclusion from his last school, he says he felt unsupported…

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Birmingham anti-LGBT protesters banned from school by injunction | UK news

Protests against the teaching of LGBT equality at a Birmingham school have been halted temporarily following a high court injunction. Birmingham city council secured the injunction to protect Anderton Park primary school. The temporary order, which came into force immediately, bans protesters from an exclusion zone in the streets surrounding the school in the Moseley area of Birmingham. The headteacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, said she was delighted with the ruling, issued by Mr Justice Warby QC, sitting at Birmingham civil court.…

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Children in need of speech and language therapy face postcode lottery | Education

Spending on speech and language therapy has fallen in many areas of the country and children in need of SLT are subject to a postcode lottery of provision because of huge disparities across England, research has found. The study by the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, says that too many vulnerable young children are missing out on vital support in their earliest years, with far-reaching implications for their progress and life chances. It is the first time data has…

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Teaching children about LGBT issues is not brainwashing – it equips them for life | Russell Hobby | Opinion

Last week, a high court injunction banned protesters against the teaching of LGBT-inclusive lessons from gathering outside the school gates of Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham. But on Monday, there is a chance that this could be lifted. Whatever happens, it is clear we need wider resolution on this debate in order to draw a firm line under it. To do so there are two challenges we need to tackle. One is the call of parental rights. The other…

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Schools in England to give extra lessons on dangers of knives | Education

Pupils in schools in England are to be given additional lessons before the summer holidays warning them of the dangers of carrying knives. Children at risk of knife crime are known to be vulnerable during the long summer break, especially if they have time on their hands and, with the schools shut, have no safe space. Campaigners say that, due to government cuts to youth services, there is also a shortage of activities for young people during the six-week holiday.…

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I was fined for taking my child to Jamaica, but I’m one of the lucky ones | Kehinde Andrews | Opinion

When it came to power in 1997, Labour picked up and ran with the Tories’ individualistic reforms to the school system. Along with school choice, league tables and academies, in came parental responsibility for absences. So I was disappointed, but not surprised, to be given a fixed penalty notice of £60 per parent as a result of taking our six-year-old out of school for two weeks during term time to visit Jamaica. The fact that my son will have the…

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Time to stop neglecting education for adults | Letters | Education

Gaby Hinsliff is right (My dad studied late in life. He wouldn’t get the chance now, 1 June). She knows from family experience that mature learning is rich in rewards both professional and personal. The Augar report acknowledges this, making positive recommendations as to how to extend its reach: the reintroduction of maintenance grants is particularly helpful. Welcome as it is, this development merely foreshadows what should be a policy direction for the future. As president of Birkbeck I know…

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