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for Christians working in education

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

Academies not always the best.

The Independent is reporting that the Department for Education did not pay enough attention to scrutiny checks in a rush to convert large numbers of schools into academies, a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report has found.

MPs said they were concerned about a lack of clear direction from the government on converting schools to academies – as well as the levels of support available to struggling schools.

The Department for Education’s (DfE) arrangements for oversight of schools are “fragmented and incoherent” which has led to “inefficiency for government and confusion for schools”, report says.

It comes after a number of failed academy chains – including Wakefield City Academies Trust – encountered major problems that left parents worried about their pupils’ future.

Meg Hillier, chair of the PAC, said: “Government’s haste in pushing ahead with academisation has come at a cost, with high-profile failures indicating significant weaknesses in its assessment regime.”

 


Supersize classes could be the norm.

Supsersize classes could become the new norm, it is feared, as new figures show that the secondary school population is set to swell to 3.3 million within a decade.

The hike is fuelled by a baby boom in the early 2000s, as well as a high birth rate among women from immigrant communities.

The bulge in the population of children has been making its way through the school system, passing up from primary to secondaries.

Secondary pupil numbers are expected to rise by 14.7 per cent in the next 10 years, meaning there will be another 418,000 children in secondary schools by 2027, according to Department for Education’s (DfE) latest projections.

Read more.


Terroist taught after school class.

A headteacher has been banned from the classroom for allowing one of the London Bridge terrorists to teach an after school class.

Sophie Rahman allowed Khurum Butt to teach children as young as three without doing any background police checks which would have revealed his violent past.

Butt even took a class at Eton Community School, in Ilford, east London, which was known as Ad Deen Primary School, the day before the attack that left eight dead.

Read more.


Should University staff visit Mosques?

UK university staff should consider spending time in mosques and youth centres across the country to boost the number of students from minority groups, the higher education regulator has said.

Sir Michael Barber, chair of the Office for Students (OfS), has accused UK universities of “passively waiting” for underrepresented students to apply, instead of seeking them out

Read more.


Fast track to teaching in Scotland

A fast-track teacher training course aimed at plugging shortages has received official accreditation.                The course covers the two-year postgraduate diploma of education (PGDE) and teacher induction in 18 months by reducing holidays.                                                    Developed by Dundee and the Highlands and Islands universities, it is targeted at recruiting teachers in chemistry, computing, home economics, mathematics and physics in rural areas.                                                     The course comes with a bursary and is open to students with a 2:1 undergraduate degree and above.

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School pupils and their characteristics.

 

Between January 2017 and January 2018 the number of pupils across all school types rose by 66,000.

Although some of this increase was still in primary schools, with 26,600 more pupils in January 2018 than in 2017, most of the rise is now seen in secondary schools. Numbers increased by 35,400 between 2018 and 2017 (compared to a 29,700 increase between 2016 and

 

2017). In addition there are 5,300 more pupils in special schools.

 

Read more.

 


Rising numbers pass Primary SATS.

A higher proportion of primary school pupils in England have reached the expected standards in national curriculum tests, often known as Sats, in maths and English.

In reading, 75% reached the expected standard, compared with 71% last year.

In maths, 76% reached the expected standard, up from 75% last year.

Julie McCulloch, of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the "impressive results" but criticised the pressure created by the tests.

Stress worries

The results showed that 64% of pupils met the expected standard across all the tests in reading, writing and mathematics, up from 61% last year.

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School spending has been cut.

The amount of per pupil spending in England's schools has fallen by 8% since 2010, says an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The study says rising pupil numbers - and cuts to local authorities and sixth form funding - have seen a real-term reduction in school spending.

Heads say it disproves government "rhetoric" about record funding levels.

The Department for Education says funding will be at its "highest ever level", reaching £43.5bn by 2020.

School leaders have been protesting that cash shortages have forced them to cut staff and to ask parents for financial assistance - but the government has argued that school funding has been protected.

Read more.


Number of secondary pupils to rise.

There will be over 400,000 more pupils in England's state secondary schools by the year 2027, new forecasts indicate.

Secondary pupil numbers are expected to rise by 14.7% over the next 10 years, the Department for Education projects.

The rise is fuelled by a baby boom in the early 2000s that is making its way through the education system.

School leaders say the projections highlight the challenge to find enough places for a growing population, and the pressures on school budgets.

The data shows England's secondary school population is expected to hit 3.3 million in 2027 - 418,000 higher than in 2018.

Read more.


The danger of getting rid of EAL data.

Ministers are under pressure to reinstate a shortlived rule that forced schools to collect data on the language proficiency of pupils whose first language is not English.

EAL professionals say the collection, which required schools to rate pupils’ proficiency in English from “new to English” to “fluent” using alphabetical codes, gave schools an incentive to hold important data about their own pupils’ development.

The collection was unceremoniously shelved last week along with far more controversial requirements to collect data on pupils’ nationality and country of birth. It means schools no longer have to send language proficiency data to the DfE three times a year, although this does not stop them keeping their own records.

Read more.


 

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