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

Britain wins in vocational training?

Britain has struck gold in the “skills olympics” with young people from the UK putting in a string of medal-winning performances in a global competition showcasing vocational training.

Apprentices from Britain claimed one gold, three silver and three bronze medals in the WorldSkills event in Abu Dhabi which pits them against peers from around the world.

As well as the seven-medal haul, the 34-strong UK team also claimed 13 medallions of excellence, putting Britain 10th overall in the medal table – ahead of Germany whose apprenticeship scheme is held up as an example of best practice globally.

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Pupils excelling in Mandarin.

Almost 400 pupils from 14 schools across England have been praised by Nick Gibb for their progress in learning Mandarin, as part of a pilot programme to help them get ahead in the global jobs market.

The Mandarin Excellence Programme, delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council, aims to have at least 5,000 pupils in England on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

The first cohort of children have completed the first year of the programme and over 380 pupils achieved more than 80% in specially-created tests in reading, writing, listening and speaking, demonstrating their quick progress and commitment.

This year, an additional 23 schools throughout England have entered into the Mandarin Excellence Programme, meaning hundreds more pupils will soon have the opportunity to learn this advanced skill.

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Trainee teachers don't understand safeguarding.

Inspectors find that trainees are unclear about their safeguarding responsibilities towards children

Trainee teachers are not being made fully aware of their future role in safeguarding children, Ofsted warned today.

Understanding safeguarding was one of the areas for improvement flagged up from the first stage inspections of initial teacher education this summer, Angela Milner, Ofsted's specialist HMI for initial teacher education, told a conference today.

Ms Milner told the annual conference of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) that it was “worrying” that safeguarding was one of the weaker areas of professional training.

“Trainees didn’t actually understand what safeguarding was about and their responsibilities as a teacher,” she said. There was also concern about trainees' knowledge of the Prevent duty and teaching British values.

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£100m funding gap for Special Needs in London schools.

Government funding isn't sufficient to support the special educational needs of pupils in London, say campaigners

A major shortfall in the special educational needs and disability (SEND) budget across London amounts to £100 million, according to new research by London Councils released today.

The funding gap reveals the extent to which the government is not providing vulnerable young people with the support they need at school or college, claim campaigners.

The number of pupils in the capital with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) – the measure of more complex special educational needs and disabilities – has increased by 10 per cent since 2013-14, a higher rate of growth than seen in any other region in England.

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Postgraduate teaching apprenticeships.

Graduates will be paid as unqualified teachers while training

The government has announced details of the new postgraduate teaching apprenticeships today.

The new scheme will enable graduates to be employed as unqualified teachers while training and will be launched in September 2018.

Education secretary Justine Greening said: “Getting the best people to train as teachers and into our classrooms is a crucial part of giving every child the high-quality education they deserve. This new route will provide another pathway for talented graduates into a profession that will give them the chance to change lives for the better on a daily basis.”

Schools which are not eligible for the apprenticeship levy will receive government funding to cover 90 per cent of the training costs. Applications will open through UCAS on October 26.

The apprenticeship standard guidance published today reveals that 1,000 people are expected to choose to train as an apprentice teacher in the first year.

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Number of pupils taking EBacc falls.

The number of teenagers taking the English Baccalaureate has fallen significantly for the first time as students turn their backs on languages. 

The EBacc has been championed by the Government since being established in 2010 by the former education secretary Michael Gove in a bid to reverse the "dumbing down" of GCSEs.

  In order to obtain the award, students must obtain five A*-C - or numeric 4-9 grades - in maths, English, the sciences, history or geography, and a language.

But figures published yesterday (THURS) have revealed that the proportion of GCSE students entering the EBacc has fallen to 38.1 per cent.

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Pupils miss out on life skills.

There is a big mismatch between pupil take-up of extra-curricular activities such as debating and volunteering in secondary schools – activities that could help develop the life skills regarded as essential by employers – and what teachers say their school is offering, according to a new report published by the Sutton Trust today.

Across secondary schools in England, 78% of secondary school teachers surveyed by the National Foundation for Education Research say their school offers volunteering programmes to build their pupils’ life skills, but just eight per cent of pupils aged 11-16 in England and Wales surveyed by Ipsos MORI say they take part in these sorts of extra-curricular activities.

Similarly, 45% of secondary teachers said their school provided debating, yet just two per cent of pupils report taking part. Almost two in five secondary pupils (37%) don’t take part in extra-curricular activities run by their school.

The new polling also finds there are big socio-economic gaps in access to extra-curricular activities, with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds less likely to take up activities than their better off peers (46% compared to 66%).

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Data breach Uni.

A university that mistakenly emailed sensitive personal information about students to hundreds of undergraduates will face no further action.

Details of health problems, family bereavements and personal issues were sent by the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich to 298 students.

The Information Commissioner's Office said no regulatory action was needed.

The UEA said it had asked auditors how to prevent similar breaches and was now following their recommendations.

The offending email, sent in June to all American Studies students, contained personal data relating to 191 undergraduates.

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Supply teachers quitting over agency pay.

Supply teachers are having to take on extra jobs to make ends meet and many are considering quitting the profession, it has been claimed.

Campaigners say employing classroom cover through agencies has led to lower pay and poorer terms and conditions.

There are about 4,500 supply teachers in Wales, covering for sickness absence and professional development.

One leading agency denied taking an excessive cut and said it gave teachers "regular and consistent work".

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Teaching to the test wrong?

Schools in England are focusing on tests and exams, rather than giving pupils a good grounding in a wide range of subjects, the head of Ofsted warns.

Amanda Spielman says the focus on GCSEs and national curriculum tests, often known as Sats, is at the expense of "rich and full knowledge".

She accepts a good school curriculum should lead to good exam results.

But she says good exam results do not always mean children have received the subject knowledge they need.

Her comments came as she set out the preliminary findings of an Ofsted research project into the curriculum in England's state schools.

Read more.


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