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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.

Government and Ofsted greatest driver for increase of teachers workload?

A new survey by the NEU suggests that the government is the greatest driver for the increase of teacher workload

Almost half (47%) of teachers believe the government and Ofsted are responsible for an increase in their workload, according to a survey by the National Education Union (NEU) released at the ATL section annual conference.

Of the 8,000 teachers in England who responded to a survey on their workload, 87% said that the government’s 2014 Workload Challenge has not cut their workload at all. Of those, almost 60% said there has been a notable increase in their workload since October 2014.

The government’s Workload Challenge was intended to reduce unnecessary teacher workload relating to marking, planning and data management. Yet, as the results of this survey confirm, this just isn’t the case.

With teachers having to constantly prove that they are supporting every child to do their best in tests and exams, it was no surprise that over half (52%) said Government changes to the curriculum, assessments or exams was the biggest driver of their workload. Forty-six per cent said it was Ofsted inspections, including mock inspections, and almost three-quarters (74%) reported that pressure to increase pupil test scores and exam grades was the biggest driver of their workload.

A female teacher in a maintained special school said: “A vast amount of time is taken up with collecting evidence of progress, taking photos, writing detailed observation reports, etc. This is time that I and staff could be spending interacting with very vulnerable students.”

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False marketing of teaching?

My Facebook feed has recently become flooded with DfE videos trying to encourage people to teach.

In a break from my usual fare of adorable cats or restaurants selling Harry Potter-themed doughnuts, I now get to look at some wonderfully fresh-faced teachers talking about how awesome teaching is.

Smartly dressed and exuding youth and enthusiasm, these teaching newbies get to tell us all about their goals of inspiring children.

Other than an occasional interjection of “I’ve only been teaching two and a half years and now I’m the CEO of a Multi-Academy Trust!” their monologues are completely dominated by the “inspirational” side of the job.

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Academy cheating?

An academy chain “covered up” wholesale cheating by a school which paid professionals to “point at the answers” during SATs exams, a teacher claimed today.

The sensational allegation emerged as the National Education Union raised the alarm over the “falsification of data” being used to inflate grades.

Bob Groome, an NEU rep in Norfolk, told delegates: “We’ve had ... instances where schools hired in extra support for pupils during Sats examinations, in order to enhance the pass rate.

“In other words they’re sitting next to the child and they’re pointing at the answers. In one particular case, someone whistle-blew, and the trust was able to cover up the issue by removing the head"

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Bomb threats force schools to close.

A number of schools have been forced to stop lessons after they recieved malicious emails with the ominous warning.

Aldbrough Primary School, which is around 11 miles from Hull, posted on Facebook that it had been sent the warning.

Hornsea Community Primary School and Gilberdyke Primary have closed following the threats.

Albrough said on Facebook: "Last term a number of schools received hoax bomb threats.

"We have received a bomb threat email this morning.

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Scottish school exclusions rise.

The number of Scottish school exclusions or physical assaults involving weapons or improvised weapons has risen to a five-year high.

Figures for 2016/17 showed there were 311 instances of a pupil being excluded for using a weapon to assault another pupil or member of staff.

There were a further 428 incidents involving improvised weapons.

The Scottish government said it was working with schools and local authorities on anti-violence campaigns.

The Scottish Conservatives said the increase would "horrify" parents, and demonstrated a problem with discipline in classrooms.

    

The statistics, published by the Scottish government, are only gathered every two years.

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University staff vote on pension deal.

The outcome of the strike that has crippled 65 British universities this year remains clouded in uncertainty no matter what is the result of a ballot being taken by union members, according to university and union officials.

From Wednesday, about 50,000 members of the University and College Union (UCU) can vote on an offer from their employers to renegotiate the pensions changes that sparked the strike. But whether or not the offer is accepted, the union and employers face difficulties finalising a deal in talks that could drag on for years.

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Gender pay gap for Universities.

York St John and Shropshire's Harper Adams have reported the worst gender pay gap of universities in England.

Women working at the two universities are paid 37.7% less than men, according to median average salaries.

Of the prestigious Russell Group universities, Durham fared worst with a 29.3% gap.

Across all universities in England, the average gender pay gap is 18.4% - meaning for every £1 men earn per hour, women earn 81.6p.

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London was the only institution to pay women more than men - an average gap of 1.9%.

    

Agricultural university Harper Adams said its results were due to "historical issues of gender balance in certain employment sectors".

However, fellow rural specialist the Royal Agriculture University in Cirencester was one of only three universities to report a 0% pay gap.

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Universities concerned about reputations.

Universities are more concerned about their reputations than confronting the racist abuse of students, the National Union of Students president has said.

Shakira Martin told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme she received calls from students reporting racist incidents on a daily basis.

Former Universities Minister David Lammy said incidents needed to be cracked down on "very aggressively".

Universities UK said there was no place for racism on a university campus.

The issue hit the headlines earlier this month when a student at Nottingham Trent University tweeted footage of alleged racist abuse outside her room at her halls of residence.

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Equality rankings of universities.

When it comes to equal access for poorer students less prestigious universities beat elite institutions, suggests new analysis. 

Calculations for the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) put Hull University top for admitting a balanced intake of rich and poor students.

Institutions like Cambridge, St Andrews, Bristol and Oxford were placed near the bottom of the table.

Cambridge welcomed "different interpretations of the data".

However, a spokesman for the university pointed out that the HEPI analysis relies on a single measure, adding "widening participation in higher education is a complex issue".

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Teachers have great influence over elections.

Teachers are emerging as one of the most powerful political lobbies in the UK thanks to clever use of data and social media - but some politicians are crying foul.

Kevin Courtney insists it was never his aim to wipe out Theresa May's Commons majority.

The leader of Britain's biggest teaching union this week told his members they had succeeded in making school funding the biggest issue at the 2017 general election.

And he made "no apology" for spending £326,306 of their money - more than UKIP or the Green Party - on campaigning in the year before the snap election.

Read more.


 

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