Teacher Network

Low attendance at scaled-down schools sparks fears for vulnerable pupils | World news

Children identified as vulnerable and therefore entitled to a place in emergency school provision during the coronavirus outbreak failed to turn up on Monday, raising concerns among headteachers about their safety. On Friday, schools closed their gates indefinitely to all students, apart from the children of key workers vital in the fight against Covid-19 and those identified as vulnerable, either because they have significant special educational needs or have a social worker. School leaders worked frantically over the weekend, contacting…

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Some UK schools looking at unregulated exams to replace GCSEs and A-Levels | Education

Some schools in the UK are investigating the use of unregulated examinations to get around the government’s decision to cancel A-level and GCSEs exams this summer over coronavirus fears, the Guardian has learned. A group of schools have been discussing the possible use of qualifications such as international GCSEs known as iGCSEs, or alternatives to A-levels known as Pre-U or international A-levels, which are offered by examination boards AQA and Cambridge Assessments and are almost exclusively used by independent schools.…

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Schools in England could close when teachers self-isolate | Education

Growing numbers of schools in England could be forced to close and send children home as a result of staff shortages, as teachers with symptoms follow government guidance to self-isolate, teaching unions have warned. The government confirmed on Monday schools should remain open in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak for the time being but school leaders fear this may not be possible if there are too few staff available to teach and supervise pupils. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary…

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‘We batter them with kindness’: schools that reject super-strict values | Education

It is a bitterly cold Yorkshire morning and outside a school in Barnsley staff are involved in the most important part of the school day. “All right, Kyle?” asks Dave Whitaker, the executive principal of Springwell special academy. “Morning, Kenzie. I saw some lovely writing of yours last night.” One by one, the children are greeted by staff with a warm smile and a personalised hello. The teachers’ enthusiasm, however genuine, is rarely reciprocated. Some students scowl, others grunt a…

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Primary schools in England hold half-term Sats revision classes | Education

Primary schools in England are holding half-term and Easter holiday revision classes for pupils as young as six to prepare them for standardised tests known as Sats, the Guardian has learned. The use of holiday “booster sessions” for pupils in year two was robustly condemned by the Department for Education (DfE) and major teaching unions, with one union leader describing them as “an extraordinarily bad idea” with no positive impact. One primary school in north London has invited its year…

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Schools trial body cameras to aid safety and monitor behaviour | Education

Schools in England are equipping teachers with body cameras to monitor pupil behaviour and improve safeguarding, as part of a trial that could lead to them being deployed on a permanent basis. At least two state secondary schools, one in London and one in Hampshire, said they have been impressed by the operation of the body cameras – lightweight versions of those worn by police – and hope to retain them. Larry Davis, the deputy headteacher of Southfields academy in…

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Teachers to get pay rise in attempt to boost recruitment | Education

Starting salaries for teachers in England will go up to £26,000 later this year, rising to £30,000 in two years’ time, under government plans aimed at attracting more graduates into the profession. The proposals confirm an earlier pledge by the Conservatives, designed to increase recruitment and improve the status of the profession, which has struggled to recruit in sufficient numbers in recent years. Teaching unions welcomed the pay rise for new teachers as a step in the right direction, but…

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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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Young people more sceptical of need to go to university, poll finds | Education

Young people in Britain are increasingly sceptical of the need to go to university and are more aware of apprenticeships, according to polling, as a record proportion of school-leavers await their A-level results. More than 300,000 sixth formers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will find out the results of their summer exams on Thursday and in many cases use the grades to gain places on undergraduate courses. But only two-thirds of young people rate a university education as important,…

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Don’t buy teacher a Christmas gift unless it is wine, survey suggests | Education

Parents in a last-minute panic about Christmas gifts for their children’s teachers don’t need to worry: most teachers say the present they’d prefer is a homemade card – although primary school teachers would be just as happy with booze. With most schools in England closing for the Christmas holidays on Friday, an anonymous survey of more than 5,000 UK teachers conducted by the Teacher Tapp app revealed teachers would rather receive homemade cards from their pupils than the traditional offerings…

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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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Can you boost your brain power by making yourself ambidextrous? | Education

Could learning to write with both hands make your brain sharper and more speedy? Could training schoolchildren to use their non-dominant hands improve their exam results? Such claims have been popular for more than a century. Handedness – the preference for using one hand over another – is one of the deepest mysteries of neuroscience. We still know very little about what being left- or right-handed means for brain function, or about what effects learning to become ambidextrous might have.…

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Free breakfasts to form part of Labour plan to ‘poverty-proof’ schools | Politics

Labour is to promise free, healthy breakfasts for all primary-age children as part of a multibillion pound plan to “poverty-proof” England’s schools and boost educational standards. The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, will on Thursday pledge to recruit 20,000 more teachers, cap secondary class sizes at 30, and spend £7bn on repairs and upgrades to England’s crumbling school buildings. As well as expanding the provision of free breakfasts to all primary schools across England to help combat hunger, Labour would…

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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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