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Items relating to the work of schools and colleges, including resources and training opportunities.

Nursery school teachers should ensure children have eye tests.

Nursery school teachers should make sure that children have eye tests as one in ten could be suffering from undiagnosed conditions, the Sutton Trust has said. 

Three- and four-year-olds from deprived households are less likely to have seen an optician and  their peers from wealthier families, the social mobility charity warned, adding that  poor eyesight will prevent youngsters from learning to read. 

A new report by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), which is part of the Sutton Trust, urges early years professionals to ensure that children have seen an optician and given glasses or the whatever it is they need before they start school at age four. 

The EEF said that around 13 per cent of children could have undiagnosed eye conditions which could “hold back the development of their literacy skills”.

Read more.


Pupils facing toughest ever GCSEs

 

Pupils are facing the toughest ever GCSEs, as education leaders warn that grades risk becoming a “lottery”.

Thousands of “guinea pig” students are expected to be disappointed with their results, as teachers have struggled to accurately predict grades under the new system, experts say.

This summer is the first year that students are taking re-vamped exams in a raft of subjects. The new courses were part of a package of reforms by former Education Secretary Michael Gove, designed to toughen up syllabuses, make courses more linear, and cut down on the number of students getting A*s.

“I think it’s fair to say there is quite a lot of anxiety from young people – they feel as though they are guinea pigs in a new system,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

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New construction industry training.

The government has launched a new fund that will finance 20 on-site training hubs to help train people for the construction industry.

The £22 million fund will aim to help deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s and to tackle the construction skills shortage, apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton has said. Around 158,000 new construction jobs are expected to be created in the UK over the next five years.

The 18-month scheme is funded by the Department for Education and will be administered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). By bringing training to construction sites, it will allow learners to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment.

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Early years staff call for suspension of review of early learning goals.

Thousands of early years staff have signed a petition calling for the government to suspend its review of the early learning goals that children are expected to reach by the time they leave Reception.

The petition, started by early years trainer Kym Scott, had been signed by 4,813 people at the time of writing.

It calls for the review of early learning goals to be put on hold while the Department for Education puts in place criteria for selecting "advisers" to such a review “based on their background and knowledge of best early years practice linked to international longitudinal research in this area”.

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End the fixation with STEM subjects.

In 2025, September's Year 7 pupils will be making their career or university choices. At the time they make those decisions, the creative industries will be contributing £130 billion to the UK economy. And when these students finish their degrees, 1 million new jobs will have been created within the sector.

At a time of worry about the impact of Brexit on employment, the statistics tell an outstandingly cheery story.

The number of jobs in creative industries rose nearly 20 per cent to 1.9 million in the five years to June 2016, a rate of growth three times faster than UK average employment trends.

 

There is no doubt about it: from film and television to advertising and marketing, the creative industries are one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors in terms of both job and value creation.

But in terms of education policy, ministers seem unable or unwilling to see its potential for young people.

Because if the future is bright in terms of job prospects in the creative industries, the same cannot be said of efforts to encourage pupils to take the subjects that support careers in the creative industries.

Creative industries aren't 'less important'

With ministers’ continuing refusal to include any creative subjects in the English Baccalaureate – supporting the oh-so-mistaken perception that they are somehow "less important" than maths or the sciences – funding pressures, and a continuing government fixation on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects, the barriers are considerable.   

Figures published by the Department for Education in January show an overall decline in the uptake of creative subjects by 8 per cent, in addition to a fall of 8 per cent last year. The percentage of state school pupils taking "at least one arts subject" also declined, from 48 per cent to 46.5 per cent. This depressing state of affairs looks likely to continue as the government aims for 90 per cent of Year 10s to be studying the EBacc subjects by 2025.  

I see first hand the potential of these exciting industries in my new role. After a career at the BBC, I’m heading up Screen Space, which, in collaboration with MetFilm School and the University of West London, is delivering a brand new BA (Hons) in content, media and film.

The course challenges students to create branded content, fiction and factual entertainment for the audio-visual channels of the modern media environment.

The social space is changing really quickly, and if our students are to adapt, they need the skills to future-proof their careers. None of us knows what’s coming next.

Not everyone is going to be the next Stanley Kubrick or Zoella, but I want them to be able to navigate a rapidly changing media landscape and have the tools to carve out a successful career for themselves. Our students will have a business plan and most importantly they will learn how to tell a story.

It’s the course I would have taken if it had been available when I was 18. 

Gender representation

I’m particularly keen to attract more young women to careers in film. While we hear much about the under-representation of women in Stem subjects (particularly engineering), we, too, have work to do.

Bias against female writers and systemic problems are creating a "self-sustaining loop" of inequality in the screenwriting industry, according to a new report commissioned by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain into gender representation.

For example, just 16 per cent of all working screenwriters in film are female, with only 15 per cent of films having credited female writers.

An even smaller percentage of films (11 per cent) are written predominantly by women and fewer than 7 per cent of films with a budget greater than £10 million are predominantly female-written.

The proportion of television episodes written by women stands at 28 per cent while just 14 per cent of prime-time drama is predominantly female-written.

As the report says, we must ask ourselves what effect this is having on audiences and our culture.

The young women with the talents and creative spark to redress the balance are out there – I meet them every time I give talks in schools.

So please, ministers, give us a helping hand in telling them that there are careers in the creative industries out there, waiting for them.

Dr Lisette Johnston is head of school at Screen Space                                                 


Schools urged to be on FGM alert.

Teachers are being urged to stay alert to signs of pupils at-risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) as the so-called “cutting season” approaches.        

The season arrives with the start of the summer holidays, when thousands of girls are at risk of being flown abroad to undergo the procedure.

The warning has been issued by the National FGM Centre and comes after the release of the latest FGM prevalence figures by NHS Digital.

The figures show 1,030 newly recorded cases of FGM in England between January and March 2018 – matching the 1,045 cases recorded in the last quarter of 2017.

In total, 1,745 women and girls were reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure relating to FGM was undertaken.

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Universities should not use predicted grades.

Universities in the UK should stop using predicted grades when people are applying for places, say lecturers and head teachers.

A study from the University and College Union says no other developed country uses such a system of forecasts of results for university admissions.

The lecturers say most predicted grades turn out to be incorrect.

Head teachers have backed calls for a change, saying the current approach is "no longer fit for purpose".

A study from the UCU lecturers' union has examined admissions systems from 30 major countries and found no others using the UK's approach of pupils applying on the basis of grades predicted by their teachers.

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Washing machine needed for school.

A primary school is considering providing a washing machine for parents who cannot afford to keep their children's clothes clean.

The head teacher of St Paul's Church of England Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent said she has spent her own money buying items for pupils.

Nicola Finney said it was due to a rise in children attending school with "washing and hygiene issues".

A study found more than 40% of parents cannot afford basic hygiene products.

Ms Finney said staff at her school were considering installing a washing machine.

    

The charity which carried out the survey, In Kind Direct, provides her school with essentials such as toothpaste, soap, sanitary products and toilet roll.

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French listening exam errors.

Students and parents want an urgent review after errors in an A-level paper left candidates guessing answers.

Candidates took to Twitter to complain that sound files provided in a French listening exam were jumbled up and did not coincide with the questions.

One student said she was waving "au revoir" to her university chances after the exam.  

The board, Eduqas, has admitted mistakes on the paper, taken by more than 800 students in England.

One Twitter user, Ellie, called the paper a disgrace and said it was beyond a joke.

    

"Two years wasted, Eduqas, two years," she said.

"Please tell me I'm not the only one who completely guessed every answer for question 4."

Read more.


Pupils cross borders to Scottish School.

Schools in the Scottish Borders are teaching more than 100 children who live in England.

Many of the pupils attend the secondary schools in Eyemouth and Duns.

One reason for the high number of placing requests may be the legacy of problems at Berwick Academy - although the school's new acting head believes it has now turned the corner.

A total of 103 secondary school pupils with English postcodes are at schools run by Scottish Borders Council.

The largest number are at Eyemouth High and Berwickshire High School in Duns which are within easy travelling distance of Berwick.

    

The reasons why parents from Northumberland have asked to send their children to schools in the Borders have not been made public.

Read more.


 

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