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

More diverse GCSE texts.

Britain’s biggest exam board has added a more diverse set of texts to its English GCSE syllabus, following complaints about there being too many “dead white men”.

Edexcel, which is owned by Pearson, announced on Monday that from this September, schools will be offered more poems, plays and novels to choose from including those written by authors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.  

Calls to “decolonise” the curriculum have been gaining pace at universities, where students have urged faculties to update reading lists. The move by Pearson is one of the first indicators that the movement is now gaining momentum in schools too. 

In addition to the works of William Wordsworth and Robert Bridges, the GCSE poetry anthology will include the Pakistani-born Imtiaz Dharker and Grace Nichols, who is Guyanese.

Read more.


Should Sats be scrapped.

The vast majority of teachers want the government to scrap high-stakes primary school tests such as Sats, an indicative ballot of members at the UK’s largest education union suggests.

Some 97 per cent of members surveyed said they backed the National Education Union’s (NEU) campaign for an alternative to the exams, which are taken by children in Years 2 and 6.  

 

The results of the indicative ballot, which surveyed 54,500 primary school members of the NEU, have been published on the day

Read more.


How do we get teachers to stay in teaching.

Teaching is constantly evolving, but what does the future hold for the profession? There are, of course, big challenges: workload being the biggest. “Right now there is greater scrutiny and accountability on teachers than there has ever been, causing such high workloads,” says James Zuccollo, director at the Education Policy Institute. “We found 20% of teachers saying they work 60 hours or more in a week. And that’s marking and admin, not teaching.”

That workload is linked to another problem: teachers leaving the profession. “I see, on social media, numerous examples of the unalloyed excitement and joy when a new teacher secures their first job,” says Prof Colin Diamond, professor of educational leadership at the University of Birmingham. “It’s brilliant to capture the energy and drive that they are bringing to the profession. But will they remain so enthusiastic? Record numbers are leaving in the early stages of what should have been long careers.”

Read more.


Schools shutting Friday afternoons.

More than 200 schools in England are cutting short the school week, or are actively consulting on it, because they cannot afford to educate their pupils for a full five days, according to campaigners.

The figure was revealed on the eve of a demonstration in Westminster by parents and pupils protesting about a crisis in education funding, which means a growing number of children are being sent home at lunchtime every Friday so schools can save money.

Organised by Labour MP Jess Phillips, whose son’s Birmingham primary is among those affected, the march on Friday afternoon will be attended by protesters from Birmingham, Brighton, Hove, Hitchin, Wiltshire, Stockport, Hastings and Leicester.

Read more.


Menopause lessons in schools.

A woman who fell into a "dark place" during the menopause said getting it taught in schools was "an important victory".

Diane Danzebrink, 52, struggled with the condition's symptoms, which were triggered by a hysterectomy, aged 45.

Her campaign to improve knowledge and understanding has led to the government deciding to add it to secondary school sex and relationship lessons in the UK.

She hoped it would boost understanding and help people cope.

What does the menopause do to the body?

 

Speaking of her experience, she said: "I fell in to a very deep, dark place.

"I was lucky; I had a supportive husband and family who got me the help I needed when I was not capable of doing that for myself.

"Since then, I have become increasingly aware of just how many women are not receiving the right support and advice at menopause, from their doctors, their employers and sometimes even their own families and friends."

Read more.


First 23 computer hubs announced.

The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) has revealed the first 23 hubs chosen to improve computer science education in England.

North Yorkshire, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire and Tyne and Wear all have two hubs, with others scattered around the country in areas such as Devon, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire (see full list below).

Today’s announcement comes after warnings in May that the country had seen a “steep decline” in computing education, with pupils taking 144,000 fewer computing or ICT qualifications last summer compared with 2017.

Last year the government finally hit its original target to train 400 computing master teachers – three years later and costing £1 million more than expected.

The hubs are designed to offer support to primary and secondary computing teachers in the area, including teaching, resources and continuing professional development (CPD) activities.

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NEU Supply Teacher Survey.

The National Education Union’s latest survey of supply teachers shows that, despite a teacher shortage and regardless of the Government’s efforts to regulate the supply teacher market, the majority of supply teachers are reporting lower levels of pay compared with previous years. They are also finding it harder than ever before to obtain work.

Read the detail.


Britains first rap degree.

Britain's first rap degree has been launched as universities try to find the next Stormzy, who made history as the first British black solo artist to headline at Glastonbury Festival on Friday night.

The Academy of Contemporary Music has decided to host the new course at its campuses at the University of Birmingham, the University of Guildford and Middlesex University.

The course will be run by professional, award-winning rapper ShaoDow who has appeared on Radio 1Xtra and opened for Stormzy.

He also was recently invited into Parliament to speak on behalf of grassroots music venues across the country. 

Read the detail.


"No Outsiders for a Faith Community" ?

A suspended equality programme at the centre of a row about teaching LGBT rights will return at a school.

The No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School sparked protests, which spread to Anderton Park Primary School, with parents claiming the teachings were not "age appropriate".

The Birmingham-based school said the new version of the programme had been designed to respect parental concerns.

But a parent group has said it feels it is still "biased" towards LGBT issues.

The amended scheme, called 'No Outsiders for a Faith Community', will be implemented at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock in September.

    

The school said the re-launch followed five months of consultation with parents, community representatives and the Department for Education.

Read more.


Brexit causing a fall in learning foreign languages.

Brexit is causing poorer children to fall further behind in learning foreign languages, says the British Council.

Parents in disadvantaged areas are telling teachers languages will be less useful after Brexit, it says.

It warns that GCSEs and A-level languages in England are seen as being hard subjects in which to get a good grade.

The government said the overall picture for language learning in England was improving.

This is a snapshot of the state of language learning in England from the organisation that promotes British culture abroad.

    

It warns of growing concern that GCSEs and A-levels in modern foreign languages are seen as harder than other subjects.

Read more.


 

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