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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Secondary teacher recruitment in England falls short of targets | Education

The government has failed to reach its recruitment targets for secondary school teacher trainees for a seventh year in a row, raising fears that schools in England face shortages in key subjects such as maths, physics and foreign languages. Figures published by the Department for Education (DfE) show that while there was a slight increase in overall numbers starting teacher training in 2019, the figure for secondary school teachers was just 85% of the total required by the government’s teacher…

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Conservatives pledge to boost Ofsted’s power to inspect schools | Education

The Conservatives plan to increase Ofsted’s powers to inspect schools in England with longer, more detailed inspection visits and increased fundingin stark contrast with Labour and Liberal Democrat manifesto proposals to abolish the watchdog in its current form. Arguing that Ofsted is widely supported by parents and a key driver of rising standards, the Conservatives say they will increase the duration of the standard inspection, known as section 5, for secondary schools and large primaries from two to three days,…

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Teaching union calls zero-tolerance school policies ‘inhumane’ | Education

A teaching union has described increasingly draconian behaviour policies in schools in England as “inhumane” and “damaging to pupil mental health”. The National Education Union (NEU), which is holding its annual conference in Liverpool this week, said zero-tolerance approaches to discipline were resulting in schoolchildren spending inappropriate and harmful amounts of time in isolation. Anna Wolmuth, a teacher from Islington, north London, told the conference: “While classrooms may be calm, the referral rooms are full of Send [special educational needs…

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One in five teachers using own money for school supplies – report | Education

One in five teachers are spending their own money on classroom supplies, while nearly half say they buy food, clothes and even soap for poor pupils, according to a report charting the effects of austerity on schools. Among the more than 4,300 teachers who responded to the NASUWT education union, 20% said they paid for resources such as paper or books used in their lessons at least once a week, with half of those saying they did so “several times…

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