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

Support for SEND in difficulty.

Vital support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is facing a potential funding gap of more than half-a-billion pounds, local authorities say. 

Services in England face a projected shortfall of £536m this year - more than double the gap they faced the previous year as councils struggle to cope with rising demand for support, a survey of 73 councils by the Local Government Association (LGA) found.  

 

It also discovered that the they would have a total deficit of £280m by the end of 2018/19.

Scaled up, this could translate to a deficit of more than £500m pounds. 

Read more.


A backwards step for EAL

New research demonstrates why the Department for Education should heed the evidence and reintroduce a record of proficiency in English in the School Census

 

New research provides evidence on why the decision taken by the Department for Education (DfE) in June to withdraw the requirement for schools to record the proficiency in English of their English as an additional language (EAL) learners in the School Census is a retrograde step (Strand & Hessel, 2018).

This and previous research, provide evidence on the diversity of the EAL cohort. The term EAL encompasses pupils with a wide range of language skills, from new arrivals to the country with little or no English to third generation students with a heritage language but also fully fluent in English.

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The UK's strength in science is because of the EU – not in spite of it

Brexit negotiations may be in turmoil, but UK universities need the government to encourage even stronger links with the remaining 27 member states in the European Union, no matter how we finally decide to leave. We must ensure the UK remains a beacon of scientific excellence, driving improvements in productivity, job creation and growth.

The UK’s new relationship with the rest of the EU will be vital in determining the future of its scientific standing. Producing 11.6% of the world’s citations and 15.9% of the most highly-cited articles, it is rightly admired as a beacon of scientific excellence. The UK constitutes just 0.9% of the global population and has 4.1% of the world’s researchers. Among our comparator countries, we have overtaken the USA to rank first by field-weighted citation impact of scholarly publications. And after the USA, we have more universities in the top 100 in the world than any other country.

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Is spending on poorer pupils effective.

There are many tricky questions facing education policymakers but here is a conundrum: why, if funding for poorer pupils is now outstripping money spent on those who are better off, is it proving so hard to narrow the attainment gap?

The funding figures revealed last week by the Institute for Fiscal Studies mask a complicated set of indicators. The shift in spending over the past 20 years includes more children from poorer homes staying on in higher education as well as the money committed to schools by successive governments for the worst-off pupils.

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'Hundreds of pupils spend week in school isolation booths'

"The windows, the bare walls. It was that every day. Every single day. They put me in a room on my own, I was in isolation," says Casey, 16.

More than 200 pupils spent at least five straight days in isolation booths in schools in England last year, a BBC News investigation has learned.

Casey's school disputes the length of time he spent on his own and said he was "regularly disruptive".

The teenager says he was placed on his own after he contracted fibromyalgia.

He takes the painkiller Tramadol for the chronic pain condition.

More than 5,000 children with special educational needs also attended isolation rooms at some stage.

Dozens of them had education, health and care plans (EHCPs) provided for children with complex needs.

Read more.


'Schools should have consistent policy on phones'

Pupils in schools where smartphones are banned like being free of the associated pressures, says England's Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield.

Ms Longfield said schools across England should have a consistent approach to the use of mobile phones.

She told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that every school seemed to have its own policy on whether pupils could use phones.

She said schools could help families if they took a "bold approach".

The select committee was taking evidence about the impact of social media and screen use on young people's health.

Appearing as a witness on Tuesday, Ms Longfield said research from her officehad shown that children's social media use increased dramatically when they made the transition between primary and secondary school.

Read more.


Expensive designer coats to be banned at school.

A school in Merseyside has banned pupils from wearing expensive designer coats in a bid to stop "poverty-shaming" among its students.

In a letter to parents, Woodchurch High School in Birkenhead said pupils would not be allowed to wear branded coats such as Moncler, Pyrenex and Canada Goose.

Head teacher Rebekah Phillips said pupils and parents supported the move.

However, some people on Twitter have called the ban "absolutely ridiculous".

The labels banned by the school include children's sizes which sell for between £400 and £1,000.

The ban will be introduced after the Christmas holidays.

Read more.


Will Chancellors extra money go direct to schools?

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, pledged the in-year bonus during last week’s budget, suggesting the money could be spent on computers or whiteboards. He said the extra grant would average £10,000 for each primary school and £50,000 for each secondary.

However, a document released by the government to help schools work out how the money will be handed out reveals that “in some cases the payments may go through local authorities, or multi-academy trusts”.

There’s very little to stop MATs pooling this or distributing it in a way of their choosing

Both the chancellor and the Department for Education have made it clear they expect the money to go directly to individual schools.

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The school for bullied children.

The bullying started when Hannah Letters was 11. “I struggled with the transition to secondary school and found it hard to make friends.” Her classmates made snide comments about her appearance. When her mother was diagnosed with cancer, the comments got worse. She was sent messages on social media, telling her that no one liked her. “One of the girls turned and said to me, ‘If you had looked after your mother better, she wouldn’t have got cancer.’ I had such low self-esteem by then, anything she said I believed. I started to blame myself.”

By the time she was 13, Letters was self-harming. The bullies were constantly on her mind and she would wake up screaming from nightmares. She wasn’t happy with the response she got from her school, and “each time my mother or I complained, the bullying got worse”. When the bullies physically attacked her, it was the last straw for Letters’ mother. She took her off the school roll. That meant her school was absolved of its legal responsibility to provide her with an education. She became yet another statistic: one of the 16,000 children aged 11 to 15 who, each year, “self-exclude” from school due to bullying.

Read more.


Private schools take out legal insurance.

Private schools are now taking out legal insurance for teachers, amid a rise in parents calling in top law firms when their children are in trouble.  

If a complaint to a housemaster or head of year about their child does not yield favourable results, wealthy parents are increasing turning to solicitors’ firms in an attempt to force the school’s hand.

This can be terrifying for teachers as any kind of allegation against them can damage their career even if it turns out to be false, according to John Roberts, founder of Edapt which provides legal cover for school staff.

“It is something you are more likely to see in independent schools where parents have the means to be able to do that,” Mr Roberts told The Sunday Telegraph.

Read more.


 

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