News

GRAMMAR SCHOOLS

Grammar school claims overplayed, says OECD

Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the OECD in Paris, has said grammar schools are likely to benefit wealthy families without raising overall standards. He claimed international evidence suggested that selection was not linked to improving schools. "Any kind of one-off test is likely to favour social background over true academic potential," he said. He added, however, that he “can see the case for introducing more meritocracy in the UK school system. “I think the brightest students don't always get the opportunities they deserve.”

The Times, Page: 5 Daily Mail, Page: 4 Financial Times, Page: 4 BBC News

Poll points to a lack of grammar plan support

A poll by YouGov for the Times shows that just 34% of people think that the Government is right to increase the number of grammar schools and select more pupils by academic ability. Of those polled, 25% called on the Government to close all grammars, while 20% said that the existing system, with 164 grammar schools, should be kept as it is. In regard to political allegiance, 57% of Conservative voters support the plan, compared to 18% of Labour supporters.

The Times, Page: 5

Academy chiefs cast doubt on selection

Academy bosses have questioned the PM’s grammar reforms, with Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, asking what impact they will have on schools that are “already good without using academic selection.”

Financial Times, Page: 4

Opinion: Grammar debate continues

Frederick Forsyth in the Express backs the grammar expansion plans, saying it makes sense that talents “are spotted early and encouraged to develop down their different paths.” Philip Collins in the Times looks at meritocracy and whether it is achievable, saying that the reality of the grammar plan is that the conditions imposed on schools before they can opt to select will be so severe by the time the plan is actioned, “there will be little incentive to do so.”

The Times, Page: 33 Daily Express, Page: 13

School apologises over exam question

The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, has apologised for distributing a seemingly homophobic question to students taking a practice exam. The maths paper carried a question about the percentage of a residents in a town who are married, adding the detail: “each marriage is between one man and one woman, as God intended when he made humans male and female.” It is understood to have been written by a retired teacher volunteer. Headteacher Philip Wayne said the test was "quickly withdrawn" and the volunteer will not be returning.

Daily Mail, Page: 5 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 10 The Sun, Page: 32

CLASSROOM

Are single-sex schools good for girls?

The Telegraph carries comment from two teachers, one arguing that single-sex schools are good for girls, with the other saying they are not. Julie Keller, head of Nottingham Girls' High School, says it is proven that girls learn differently from boys and girl-only schools are designed with girls in mind, “giving every girl the best opportunity to succeed and be happy.” She offers that it is “no coincidence that many women in key business roles and positions of leadership were educated in single-sex schools.” Putting the counter point, Mark Turner, head of Shrewsbury School, says there is “simply no conclusive evidence” that girls at single-sex schools perform better academically. He adds that many schools say their mission is to prepare young men and women for life, and “if that really is their aim there can be no further justification for separating them.”

The Daily Telegraph

Teachers criticise advice

A survey of 776 members by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association saw 68% declare that advice from Scotland's chief inspector of schools will not ease their workloads, while 14% said the advice would increase the amount of tasks they had. The same number said the advice would increase National Qualifications-focused work, with 75% saying it would not ease pressure in this area. Seamus Searson SSTA General Secretary said: "The Chief Inspector's statement to teachers on addressing teacher workload has been widely rejected by secondary school teachers across Scotland."

The Herald, Page: 3

National phonics check 'too basic'

Children can pass the phonics test with just a basic knowledge of the government's preferred system for learning to read, according to research, presented at the British Educational Research Association conference, by Dr Jonathan Solity and Dr Cat Darnell. Dr Solity, an honorary research fellow at University College London, stressed it was not an anti-phonics argument: "What we are questioning is whether it is worth teachers spending a great amount of time making sure pupils learn all 85, rather than concentrating on the most frequent ones and then building pupils' vocabulary," he added.

BBC News

POLICY

Councils call for more checks on home schooling

The Local Government Association (LGA) wants the Government to give local authorities greater powers to check on the growing number of children who are being home-educated. The LGA wants powers enabling councils to enter homes and premises to check up on the suitability of the education being offered and home-educated children to be registered to prevent them from "disappearing" under the radar. Richard Watts, the chair of the LGA's children and young people board, said: “in some cases, a child listed as home-schooled can, in fact, be attending an illegal school.”

The Guardian, Page: 21

Invest more in schools to boost economy

Research suggests that increasing expenditure on schools in Wales could hold the key to improving the competitiveness of the country’s economy. The UK Competitiveness Index showed that Wales has five of the least economically competitive local authority areas in the UK. The report’s authors, Professor Robert Huggins of Cardiff University and Dr Piers Thompson of Nottingham Trent University, have completed an analysis of the key inputs contributing to economic competitiveness, saying the expenditure levels on schools was the most important contributing factor. Prof Holtham said the Welsh Government should make increased expenditure on schools a priority, adding that its “biggest single mistake” has been to “bleed education spending in favour of economic development and health, while it should have done the exact opposite.”

Wales Online

ATTAINMENT

Northern schools ‘slipping even further behind south’

Speaking at a conference on the "northern powerhouse" at Huddersfield University, Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw has urged the Government to focus on narrowing the North-South gap in schools rather than opening new grammars. He said the North was being “neglected, with serious consequences for the future”. Sir Michael continued: “This is not about poverty, this is about expectations.” “Too many children who are doing well in primary schools in the north of England are then going on to secondary school and not doing as well," he added. On how the matter may be addressed, Sir Michael offered: “We need good leaders of individual institutions and groups of schools. We need leaders who want to develop a grammar school culture and ethos in the non-selective system."

Daily Mail Daily Mirror, Page: 23 Independent I, Page: 27 Yorkshire Post, Page: 1

ACADEMY

Academy rejects call for parent governors

The E-Act academy chain, which operates 23 schools across England and has already scrapped all its parent governors, says it has no intention of reinstating them despite education secretary Justine Greening saying schools should have them. E-Act said that the current arrangements improved "parental involvement" in their schools: "One of the principal drivers of the changes we made to how our academies are governed was to enhance parental involvement in the life of our academies. This model is working," a spokesman said.

BBC News

QUALIFICATIONS

Opinion: Btec boost would be better

Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph says that if Theresa May really wanted to help those who “just manage” she would not focus on grammar schools, she would looks at Btecs. He says many people will not have heard of the Btec, noting that it is the school exam sat by about a quarter of university entrants, “typically the less affluent ones.” Mr Nelson says reforms have seen A-levels get better and harder while Btecs have dipped in status. He says the Btec, the exam “supposed to guarantee the future of non-academic pupils”, is in trouble.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 22

CONDUCT

School fined

Canterbury’s St Edmunds School has been fined £18,000 at Canterbury Crown Court and ordered to pay costs of almost £10,000 after a boy lost consciousness while swimming during a summer camp in 2014. The school had previously admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

BBC News

Head suspended

Cardiff Council says headteacher Kevin Thomas had been “suspended without prejudice” from Glan Yr Afon Primary School, in Llanrumney. Mr Thomas, who was appointed head teacher in 2012, has been absent from the school since March, but “as this is an ongoing investigation no further comment can be made.”

Wales Online

HIGHER EDUCATION

Children of immigrants more likely to go into higher education

A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that children of immigrants living in England are more likely to enter higher education and get a degree than their peers. The study shows that 58% of people aged 25-44 with foreign-born parents go into higher education, compared with 46% of those with British-born parents. In Northern Ireland 38% of people aged 25-44 born of “native” parents and 53% with foreign-born parents attain third-level education. The OECD's research co-ordinator, Andreas Schleicher, said this could be due to "greater levels of motivation" among immigrants and a realisation that education would enable them to "move up the ladder".

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 10 The Guardian, Page: 7 Independent I, Page: 6 Daily Mail, Page: 13 The Sun, Page: 30 Daily Star, Page: 23 Yorkshire Post, Page: 7

More girls than boys go to university

Around 53.5% of females aged 17 to 30 were in universities and colleges in 2014/15, compared with 43.4% of males, the biggest gap since comparable records began in 2006. The DfE figures show that 48.3% of young people in England were in higher education in 2014/15. This number has risen steadily since 2006, apart from a dip between 2011/12 and 2012/13 which coincided with the introduction of higher tuition fees.

Daily Mail, Page: 13 The Sun, Page: 2

UCL chief: Britain needs EU education funds

Professor Michael Arthur, head of UCL, has highlighted the "significant funding" for higher education that comes with EU membership, and has called for Britain to negotiate a deal with the EU to retain access to European higher education funds - or set up its own "internationalist" funding system.

Evening Standard, Page: 18

OTHER

Young schoolboys escape through hole in fence

Two seven-year-old boys vanished from Bentley West Primary School in Walsall when they escaped through a hole in a fence caused by a fox. The boys "vanished" during their lunch break on Tuesday and police were called when they failed to return to class. The boys were found an hour later at a friend's house.

BBC News

The future of the library?

Chris McCall in the Scotsman says the future of school could come through embracing technological change. He cites Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow, saying it has reimagined its library as a new "thinking space" where pupils make use of digital devices to access the school's online subscription content platforms.

The Scotsman, Page: 14

Mothers put the brakes on drink driver

A group of mothers stopped a suspected drunk driver from getting into his vehicle near Havelock Academy in Cleethorpes by wrestling the keys out of his hand.

Daily Mail


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