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Trials of First Aid lessons taking place.

Trials of first aid lessons in English schools begin this month, with the classes becoming compulsory from 2020.

A total of 1,600 schools from around the country are taking part.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the new health curriculum would give every child "the chance to learn life-saving skills".

The British Red Cross said up to 59% of deaths by injury could be prevented in the UK if first aid was given prior to the arrival of medical services.

Primary school children will be taught basic skills such as how to call emergency services, while secondary school children will learn life-saving skills such as how to help someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest.

The British Heart Foundation said the lessons could help improve the UK's "shockingly low survival rates from cardiac arrests".

Survival rates in countries that teach first aid in school are up to three times higher, it added.

Read more.


Preparing for secondary school.

Primary schools should identify pupils whose behaviour may be at risk of deteriorating when they reach secondary school, a report for Ofsted suggests.

Head teachers told Ofsted some pupils could struggle more than others with the move to "big school" and might benefit from extra support.

This could be offered to help minimise the risk of such pupils misbehaving when they arrive, they said.

It comes as thousands of pupils have just started secondary school.

England's education watchdog, Ofsted, has announced a new push on behaviour management for teachers.

Read more.


"Impossible to answer questions" in 11 plus exam.

Children sitting grammar school entrance exams were given "impossible-to-answer" questions, a parent has said.

The errors appeared in the 11-Plus exam run by the Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools group's 13 schools.

Prospective pupils spotted the mistakes as they sat the exam, a letter from The Gerrards Cross CE School said.

Exam provider GL Assessment and Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools apologised for the errors.

'Beggars belief'

There were errors on two questions on a verbal reasoning paper and two questions on a practice section of an English test.

A mother whose child sat the exam, and did not want to be named, said: "It was impossible to answer and kids began raising their hands - which at the age of 10 under exam conditions takes some courage."

She added it "beggars belief that no-one proof read it".

The Gerrards Cross CE School, a primary school, wrote to parents to say the questions made children "concerned" and "upset" and this may have affected their overall performance.

Read more detail.


Young teachers in schools.

Britains teachers in primary schools are younger than in all other developed countries, making up nearly a third of the workforce are under 30, the latest international study has found.

But why are UK’s teachers so young? One of the key reasons why the average age of teachers is low is because fewer teachers are staying on in the profession due to heavy workloads.

Despite the government’s recent efforts to tackle the issue, many teachers who enter the classroom in British schools still find it very difficult to achieve a reasonable work-life balance.

 

Education unions say this has been worsened by funding cuts that schools have faced as teachers have been left with longer hours, greater responsibilities and more children to look after.

The report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also found that Britain is one of the few countries that have seen class sizes increase since 2005.

Read more.


Children selecting GCSE options in Year 7.

Children are being asked to select their GCSE options in their second term at secondary school, Tes can reveal.

At one school in Shropshire, pupils have to submit their choices in the Easter term of Year 7, so they can start studying their GCSE subjects in Year 8.

A presentation from Thomas Telford School tells parents that GCSE covers ages 12-16 – two years longer than the qualification was originally supposed to be.

 

Ofsted’s national director for education, Sean Harford, said the approach was “depressing” and might prevent pupils getting a broad and balanced curriculum.

The news follows an investigation by Tes last month, which revealed that in some schools pupils are being drilled with GCSE-style tests from the age of 11 – five years before they are due to take their actual GCSE exams.

Tes has obtained a GCSE options presentation for Thomas Telford School. The slideshow informs parents that "Year 7, 8 and 9 are recognised as the ‘lost years’” and that “Year 10 and 11 are too short to study GCSEs”.

The presentation says that pupils have “advised” the school that “they would have preferred to start options in Year 8”. As a result, pupils at Thomas Telford “will have four rather than three years to study courses”.

Read more.


Should schools ban mobile phones?

Just under half of UK parents, 49%, think their child's school should ban mobile phones, a survey by price comparison site uSwitch suggests.

One in eight parents said their child's school had already done so.

The survey, of just over 1,000 people, also suggested that the average value of gadgets taken to school by each child was £301.

Last year, the then-culture secretary Matt Hancock said he admired schools that had enforced mobile phone bans.

However, some have argued that bans prevent children from learning how to "self-regulate" their use of electronic devices such as smartphones.

The survey, carried out by Opinium on behalf of uSwitch, suggested that the average cost of gadgets taken to school by children was rising.

Extrapolating across the total population of UK school pupils, uSwitch estimated that the value of all gadgets taken to schools in 2019 will reach £2.3bn.

Read more.


Majority of Head Teachers oppose tests for four year olds.

A majority of head teachers oppose controversial government plans to test four-year-olds in their first weeks at primary school, a new study suggests.

Thousands of schools across England will pilot “reception baseline assessments” in September, and the Department for Education (DfE) intends to make them compulsory in 2020.

 

But the 20-minute tests, which will assess communication, language, literacy and mathematics skills, were denounced by head teachers as “inappropriate” and “totally unnecessary” in research carried out by staff at University College London’s Institute of Education.

Read more.


Academy chain uses CCTV to share bad behaviour with parents.

An academy school chain is using CCTV footage to show parents how their children have misbehaved at school, i can reveal.

The Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which runs 17 schools in Kent and Portsmouth, uses the footage as part of a “restorative” approach which forces pupils to confront the evidence of their bad behaviour in order to make amends.

However, the policy has been labelled “Orwellian” by one civil liberties group.

The academy chain spells out its approach in a contribution to a behaviour guide published by the Confederation of School Trust and the campaign group Parents and Teachers for Excellence.

Read more.


What will happen to excluded children under this government?

Between Ashes drama and what many are describing as a Boris Johnson coup, much other news and comment was eclipsed this week. Nonetheless, Tuesday produced what seemed to me to be three particularly significant items.

I was struck first by a powerful column in The Times, in which Rachel Sylvester described her experience of how “atrocious, unregulated schools have become a dumping ground for problematic pupils”. 

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She reports that, since 2016, Ofsted has investigated more than 500 unregistered schools, where some 6,000 children are being educated – or, rather, not being educated. More shocking than her description of disgusting, insanitary and hazardous premises was, to my mind, the fact that more than a quarter of such places were offering alternative provision (AP) to pupils excluded from mainstream schools. 

Sylvester joined the Ofsted investigations team at an unlicensed West Midlands school, now subject to an Ofsted investigation that may lead to criminal charges. Astonishingly, this school is run by the local authority, an arm of government ignorant of, or ignoring, the fact that it’s sending children for whom it is responsible to an illegal institution. 

Read more.


Glasgow children to get free iPads.

Nearly 50,000 school children in Glasgow are to get their own iPad to help with lessons.

The project will see every pupil from P6 to S6 given their own device to keep, while all other pupils will have shared access to the Apple tablet.

Faster internet connections and installing wi-fi in every classroom is also part of the initiative.

The iPad rollout is part of a seven-year deal between Glasgow City Council and Canadian IT firm CGI.

The entire deal is worth in excess of £300m but the council said it was not possible to break down the cost of the iPad project.

Read more.


 

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