Weekly education news roundup 10/11/17

09/11/17

England

Backlash from parents after council's ‘Get a Grip’ campaign

East Sussex County Council hit the headlines this week after their 'Get a Grip' school attendance campaign provoked a furious response from many parents who felt that the tone was alienating and condescending. The story was covered on news websites and the radio. We asked parents for their views, which informed our response to the controversy.

Government appoints Ian Bauckham to advise on reforms to sex and relationships education

Education Secretary Justine Greening made the announcement, which follows plans unveiled earlier this year to see sex education compulsory in all schools including academies from the start of the 2019 academic year. Bauckham, a former head teacher and former president of ASCL, will speak to interested parties, including parents, prior to returning his recommendations to government.

Difference of view between business leaders and parents on compulsory work experience

Mandatory work experience for school pupils was scrapped by the Coalition government in 2012. A recent survey revealed that 93% of business leaders would prefer it to be compulsory while 68% agreed that work experience helps prepare young people for the workplace. A survey of parents found much lower support for the proposal, with only 48% supporting compulsory work experience for their child. Specially-trained careers advisors had the support of 58% of parent respondents, while one in four said there was no careers advice in their child’s school at all. Improving careers advice in schools is an area of focus Education Committee chair Robert Halfon MP recently made to Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman.

Wales

Project that has seen uptake of modern languages at GCSE double wins Threlford Cup

The scheme saw language students from Welsh Universities trained to mentor pupils in schools in their areas about the advantages of studying modern languages. The Welsh government's scheme runs in more than 25% of secondary schools. The prestigious Threlford Cup was awarded to Cardiff University by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

Enquiry to examine sharp drop in attainment for targeted pupils

This year only 41.1% of pupils eligible for free school meals received five GCSE passes at A*-C, which is down from 71.6% last year, bucking the trend of a decade of steady increase. Figures also showed that the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and their peers has risen by a further 1.1% since last year. The application of the Pupil Development Grant, which attracts £90 million of government funding annually, will be reviewed by the Assembly's children, young people and education committee. A public consultation is underway.

Estyn asks for views of parents living in Neath Port Talbot

Schools inspectorate Estyn has launched an online survey on how well Neath Port Talbot Council supports its schools and youth services. If you live in the area, give your views to help inspectors judge how effective the council is at ensuring young people receive the education they’re entitled to. Take part: http://www.estyn.gov.wales/inspection/survey.

Northern Ireland

School principals seek urgent meeting with James Brokenshire over budget cuts

The Primary Principals Group comprising 375 school principals have asked for an increase to the schools budget and requested to put their case to James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. They have previously written to the Department of Education and the Education Authority, but have redirected their focus in the absence of a Stormont government. Their letter calls for an immediate 7% schools budget increase as well as an annual increase in line with inflation.

Two primary schools join up to win major science prize

Portstewart Primary School and St Colum's Primary School have been presented with the 2017 Rolls Royce Eden award after a joint effort from over 400 pupils saw them design and create their own moving vehicles. The machines were fashioned out of recycled materials using renewable energy sources. The "Marvellous Movers" project wowed the judging panel, who were looking for the most significant contribution to ecology education.

And finally... 

As pupils prepare for AQE transfer exam, one teacher offers unique encouragement


This Saturday hundreds of Year 7 pupils will sit their first AQE transfer exam. It is a nerve-wracking time for everyone – pupils, parents and teachers. Mrs Jenny McKeown, a teacher from Irvinestown Primary School, went to extra lengths to help her pupils to prepare for Saturday with a poem and matching items to keep them calm and focussed.  

Here are a few things to help you be prepared and not scared!
A pencil to help you record the knowledge you have learned.
A sticker to remind you to stick to the task in hand.
A rubber to use when you check over your answers. 
Tissues in case you get the sniffles. 
Smarties to boost your test taking brain power. 
A penny for good luck!
A mint as a little encourage"mint".
I wish you the best of luck. 
Remember all the hard work that you have done and believe in yourself!
You CAN do it!


We would like to wish all the pupils in NI undertaking the exam this Saturday the very best, and our thoughts are also with the anxious parents and Year 7 teachers.

References

https://www.change.org/p/east-sussex-county-council-east-sussex-county-council-withdraw-the-get-a-grip-campaign-and-make-a-public-apology

https://www.pta.org.uk/News/Our-response-to-councils-Get-a-Grip-campaign

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-41883622

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/headteacher-ian-bauckham-to-advise-government-on-sex-education/

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/make-work-experience-compulsory-again-say-most-business-leaders

https://www.pta.org.uk/News/Amanda-Spielman-faces-question-from-the-Education-Committee

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-41905812

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-41891706

http://www.estyn.gov.wales/inspection/survey

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-41901244

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-principals-demand-cuts-meeting-with-brokenshire-36299142.html

http://www.irishnews.com/news/educationnews/2017/11/08/news/shared-education-science-project-wins-top-award-1181631/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-41893877