These are some of the education stories we found interesting between the 13th and 19th April 2013.
Pupils may get congratulations from David Willetts, the Universities Minister (The Times) – Bright pupils from poor backgrounds could soon receive a letter from ministers encouraging them to apply for university. Speaking at the annual conference of the Higher Education Funding Council, the Universities Minister, David Willetts said that they will target information about university to pupils from a poorer background who have done well at GCSE level.
One-in-10 infants ‘miss out on first choice primary school’ (The Telegraph) -Almost 60,000 children will miss out on their first choice primary school because local councils haves struggled to deal with the volume of applications received this year. Figures released show that the demand for primary schools is most competitive in London where almost one-in-five children missed out on their first choice preferred primary school. However in rural areas, almost every child secured their first place preferred primary school. Children will be forced to attend their second, third or even fourth preference of school due to high demand.
Teacher pay to be linked to pupil results and behaviour (The Telegraph) – New guidelines published by the Department for Education earlier this week says that schools should give higher salaries to teachers who are performing better and improving pupils exam results. The new performance related system will allow headteachers to pay the best performing teachers more money within a minimum and maximum pay threshold. The move has not been welcomed by teaching unions who claim that it will create tension in the staffroom and damage morale amongst teachers.
Claim language teaching damaged by English TV shows (Herald Scotland) – In evidence given to MSPs evaluating the SNP’s language strategy for primary school children, Scotland’s Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan said that plans to change learning for school children are being criticised because children watch television programmes in English. By 2020, the Scottish government wants all primary school children to learn two languages as well as their own in every school across the country.
Number of Children taught in academies reaches 2 million (The Guardian) – The number of pupils taught at academy schools in England has reached 2 million according to new figures released by the Department for Education which is an increase on student numbers. The figures show that more than 1 in 4 (27%) of school pupils in England now attend a school administered under academy status. There are 2886 Academy schools in total across England which were created as part of the coalition government’s education reforms.
Cut length of school holidays, says Michael Gove (The Telegraph) – The Education Secretary Michael Gove has said that the school day should be lengthened and holidays should be cut short. Speaking at the Spectator Education Conference in London on Thursday, he said that schools should follow the example of schools in the Far East where pupils are expected to spend longer time at school and have less time off. This comes after earlier this month the National Union of Teachers (NUT) called for shorter school days to cut the amount of hours teachers work each week.
Up to three pupils in every class have learning disabilities, study finds (The Times) – A study published in the journal ‘Science’, says that up to 2 or 3 children in each classroom are affected by learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autism and dyscalculia.
Nurseries and childminders to face tougher inspections (BBC News) – Nurseries and childminders will soon face tougher inspections in proposals expected to be announced by OFSTED. Under the new plans expected to be announced later this week, childcare services currently classed “satisfactory” will be changed to “requiring improvement” and undergo extra inspections to ensure they are meeting the standards expected by OFSTED. They say that evidence from recent inspections show that nurseries, childminders and pre-schools are not improving fast enough between inspections.