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

English Baccalaureate Key Stage 4 qualifications that count.

A list of qualifications that count towards the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

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Harris Academy improves.

Three years ago, the Harris Academy in Battersea was a failing school, bottom of its local league table, mired in defeat and neglect. That seems hard to imagine today as I watch a stream of lively students in neat uniforms arrive to a cheery “Good morning” from staff.

The school still has its challenges – students speak 53 first languages between them – but in terms of pupil progress, it now ranks among the best in the country.

The change has been wrought thanks to an unlikely benefactor. Tory party donor Philip (now Lord) Harris and one of Britain’s most successful businessmen, left school at 15 with one O-level. Though many would think he had tough start in life – he was forced to leave school because his father died suddenly – he has always considered himself lucky: “I was fortunate to inherit a small business started by my father in a stall in Peckham market. He got me off to a great start.”

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Exam malpractice investigation.

'The headmistress of one of Britain’s most prestigious girls’ schools is accused of covering up an investigation into exam malpractice, The Telegraph can reveal.

Queen’s Gate school, the alma mater of the Duchess of Cornwall and Nigella Lawson is the latest private school to be dragged into the exam cheating scandal.

The South Kensington school, which charges fees of £18,900 a year, was subject to an investigation by the AQA exam board last summer, which found that malpractice had been committed in two French oral exams.

Writing to the school to inform it of its findings, AQA confirmed that students had been provided “homework” which disclosed some of the contents of their forthcoming tests.'

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Pupils taking arts subjects lowest level for a decade.

The proportion of 15- and 16-year-olds in England studying arts subjects such as music and drama has fallen to the lowest level in a decade as a result of government policies and education cuts, figures show.

A report by the Education Policy Institute suggests schools have whittled down the number of pupils taking the likes of dance and fine art at key stage four, after reforms pushed pupils towards more traditional academic subjects such as geography and English.

The EPI report published on Thursday blamed the Department for Education (DfE) over its new Progress 8 performance measure – based on results from predominantly academic subjects at GCSE – and its promotion of the narrow English Baccalaureate (EBacc) suite of subjects as partly responsible for the shift.

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Independent and State schools to work together?

The Secretary of State spoke at the Celebrating Partnerships event hosted by the Independent Schools Council (13 September) to showcase the success of the existing partnerships between the independent and state school sectors.

The Department for Education is working in collaboration with the Independent Schools Council to support more joint working between the independent and state school sectors. Support will include drawing on the experience and the expertise of independent schools in leadership, teacher training, curriculum support, school improvement and sponsorship, or setting up a free school.

Ms Greening reiterated the importance of sharing knowledge and spreading expertise so that every child, regardless of their background or circumstances, could go on to fulfil their potential.

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Agriculture GCSE?

Actually using what you learnt at GCSE upon reaching adulthood isn’t something many of us can lay claim to. Which is why the suggestion this week from Countryfile presenter Adam Henson and Country Life editor Mark Hedges that agriculture become a part of the British schools’ curriculum has caught the imagination of so many. “You can get a GCSE in religious studies and business, so why not in agriculture?”

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Sixth form courses under threat.

Unless ministers take action on sixth form funding, post-16 courses will continue to be cut, class sizes will continue to rise, and some sixth forms will disappear altogether, it was warned this week. Pete Henshaw reports

 

There will be further and continuing cuts to sixth form courses across England’s schools and colleges unless the funding crisis in post-16 education is addressed, it has been warned this week.

Class sizes post-16 will also continue to rise and more sixth form closures are likely, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), and the Association of Colleges (AoC) have said.

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More funded training for teachers.

Thousands of teachers across the country will benefit from additional training thanks to multi-million pound professional development fund, the Education Secretary announced (14 September).

Six leading organisations, including the Teacher Development Trust, Teach First and the Institute of Physics, will share a fund worth almost £17million as part of the government’s drive to support and spread great teaching.

The successful organisations – the first to benefit from the new £75million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund - aim to increase existing teachers’ skills, confidence and knowledge in a range of areas including leadership and phonics and early reading.

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Children with autism being suspended.

'Worrying rise' in number of children with autism being expelled or suspended from school

Total expulsion rate for pupils with special needs increases by one third in 12 months in trend branded 'concerning' by education charities

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Year 2 SATS abolished.

Controversial tests taken by England's seven-year-olds will be scrapped by 2023, but nine-year-olds will have to sit times table tests under new plans.

Announcing the end to compulsory SATs, the government said children would instead have a "baseline" check in reception year, aged four or five.

This would allow their progress to be tracked and would "free up" teachers, the education secretary said.

But times table tests for year four pupils will be introduced in 2019/20.

The Key Stage 1 tests in reading, writing, maths and science - used to monitor schools' progress - have been compulsory for seven-year-olds in England with around 500,000 children taking them each year.

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