Controversial assessments scrapped to ease workload

Scottish classroom assessments which pupils have to pass before being awarded Higher and National 5 qualifications are facing the axe as part of moves to cut teacher workloads and stave off strike action in schools. The Scottish Qualifications Authority and the Educational Institute of Scotland have reportedly reached an agreement in principle paving the way for the removal of the requirement for pupils to pass the so-called unit assessments. Teachers argue the units are unnecessary because pupils are still required to pass the coursework and final exam. They also argue the resulting workload has led to a crisis in schools with staff swamped with paperwork and pupils spending too much time being assessed.

The Herald, Page: 3


Teacher training changes to see wider university involvement

Universities will be expected to partner with schools as part of a major overhaul of teacher training in Wales, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced. A consultation on the way initial teacher education (ITE) programmes are approved and accredited will be launched on Monday. Ms Williams said the revised accreditation would include: an increased role for schools; a clearer role for universities; joint ownership of the ITE programme; structured opportunities to link school and university learning; and the centrality of research. The proposed changes will also see an enhanced role for the Education Workforce Council, which could be given responsibility for accrediting ITE courses through a committee it will be required to establish.

Wales Online

College staff to stage a second strike over pay

Further education college support staff in Scotland are to go on strike for the second time in a month in a dispute over pay. Unison Scotland and the GMB have announced a day of industrial action on 27 September, with two more consecutive strike days planned for October. The unions argue that 2,500 members - including catering and cleaning staff, classroom assistants and librarians - are being treated as "second class citizens" after being offered a flat-rate pay rise of £230 compared with £450 for teaching staff.

The Scotsman, Page: 11 Aberdeen Press & Journal, Page: 19


Morpurgo - Teaching of reading killing children’s interest

The joy of reading is being killed for many children by constant school tests, former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo says. The author of War Horse, who is president of the reading charity Book Trust, wants primary schools to reinstate story time. He says the teaching of reading in school can take the wonder out of stories and turn them into a subject for tests of comprehension, handwriting and grammar in which at least as many children fail as succeed, leading some to give up.

Daily Mail, Page: 25


May: New grammars were part of manifesto

Theresa May has claimed that a commitment to new grammar schools was in the Conservative manifesto. The Mirror points out that it only referred to allowing existing ones to expand. It read: "We will continue to allow all good schools to expand, whether they are maintained schools, academies, free schools or grammar schools." When this was pointed out to the Prime Minister, she said: “The manifesto in 2015 said we wanted to see more excellent school places… We need to increase the capacity of our system, and that's what my announcement is about.”

Daily Mail Daily Mirror, Page: 6


Action call over racism by school children in Wales

An anti-racism charity is warning of a "worrying increase" in racist attitudes among school children in Wales. Over the past 12 months, Show Racism the Red Card Wales said it has seen anti-immigration views expressed by pupils in schools from as young as eight years old. The charity has attributed the rise to reporting of Islamic radicalisation, the migrant crisis and the Brexit vote. The anecdotal trend is backed up by the findings of a survey of 435 teachers carried out by the charity. It highlighted that one in four teachers questioned in Wales have come across a racist incident at their school in the past year.

BBC News

Survey: Many European teenage boys gamble online

The 2016 Espad survey of school students aged 15 and 16 has indicated online gambling by teenage boys across Europe is becoming a huge public health concern, with one in eight now gambling frequently. The quadrennial survey, in which 96,000 school students in 35 countries took part, revealed that 23% of teenage boys across all of the 35 European countries report gambling online for money in the past year compared with only 5% of girls.

The Guardian, Page: 13


Survey shows drop in children’s exercise and healthy eating

The latest Scottish Household Survey has found that the average Scottish child eats just 2.7 daily portions of fruit and vegetables, while 7% did not eat any greens at all. The proportion of children doing more than the recommended 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week fell from 76% in 2014 to 73% last year. However, 78% of children met the recommendations if their mother also did, compared to 68% if she did not. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of boys were found to be a healthy weight, up from 63% in 2011, while the number of girls in the category was 70%, a proportion which has remained "relatively steady". Just over a quarter of children were at risk of being overweight, with 15% of boys and 14% of girls at risk of obesity. Jill Vickerman, national director of BMA Scotland, said: "We believe that giving all primary school children a portion of fruit or veg each day could help encourage them to start making healthy food choices." The doctors' union called on the Scottish Government to make sports and leisure activities more affordable, to target children from areas of greater deprivation.

The Scotsman, Page: 1,6-7 Aberdeen Press & Journal, Page: 12-13

Early exposure reduces egg and peanut allergy risk

A study, based on data from more than 200,000 children, suggests that feeding eggs to infants aged between four and six months could reduce their risk of developing an egg allergy by 40% compared with those who start eating it later in life. It also found that feeding children peanuts between the ages of four and 11 months reduced the risk of future peanut allergies by 70%. However, the team, from Imperial College London, found no evidence that the same could be done to prevent intolerances to milk, fish, other types of nuts or wheat.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 10 The Times, Page: 18 The Independent, Page: 22 Independent i, Page: 4 Daily Mail, Page: 11 The Sun, Page: 17


Practical experience key to addressing skills gap

Half of employers in engineering and technology say new recruits do not meet their "reasonable expectations", according to a new survey from the Institution of Engineering and Technology. As a result, the IET is launching a new campaign that aims to address the skills gap in the sector. Of the employers saying the content of engineering and technology degrees do not suit the needs of their organisation, six in 10 say it is because degrees do not develop practical skills. While apprenticeships could be the solution to this, employers have yet to prepare for the new apprenticeship level.

Evening Standard, Page: 55

Businesses unaware of apprenticeship levy

A study by the British Chambers of Commerce found that two out of five firms either did not understand or did not even know about the apprenticeship levy, which comes into force next April. Marcus Mason, head of education and skills at the BCC, said: "Firms value apprenticeships... However, our research shows the Government needs to step up its communication to business. The Government needs to ensure that businesses understand how they could benefit from the reforms, because if it just feels like yet another tax then the policy will have failed.”

The Independent, Page: 53


Childcare and school fees reduce maximum mortgage

Research by mortgage broker London & Country found banks make deductions if you declare childcare costs. For example at Barclays, a couple who have two children and a joint income of £60,000 could borrow up to £300,000. If they spend £920 a month on childcare, their loan would be capped at £198,500 – a reduction of £101,500. A couple with no childcare costs, but £16,119 a year in school fees, would be offered a maximum of £130,520 by Halifax, down from £285,000.

Daily Mail, Page: 49

Mass “school brawl” in Erith

Up to 100 children were involved when a mass brawl broke out on Northumberland Heath in Erith, south-east London, on Monday afternoon, which led to two hospitalisations. Witnesses said baseball bats and concrete blocks were used as weapons, and many children were wearing uniforms from four local schools. A worker at nearby Northumberland Heath Primary School said teachers were kept inside the school for two hours at the end of the day for their safety. Police say they have made a series of arrests.

BBC News The Daily Telegraph, Page: 7 The Times, Page: 15 The Guardian, Page: 9 The Independent, Page: 22 Evening Standard, Page: 9 Daily Mail, Page: 5 The Sun, Page: 21 Daily Star, Page: 11

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