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

Should Year 6 be dominated by testing?

Year 6 should be about smoothing transition to secondary by building confidence and resilience, writes one much-loved head. But instead it’s dominated by the Sats sausage machine

It’s that time of year. Across the country, primary after primary is gearing up for the mad dash towards Sats week.

It’s impossible to overstate how badly wrong most of English education has got the last year of primary. Take, for example, transition. At the end of key stage 2 our kids face the most formidable challenge as they move to secondary school, and yet, rather than focusing on preparing them for this leap, we force them into the Sats sausage machine.

Too often this impersonal regime of endless test prep shatters the confidence of our most vulnerable pupils at the very point when it is most needed.

Read more.

Lack of good religious education ‘leaves pupils at risk’

Do different religions have separate heavens? Where do morals come from? What is the difference between Jesus in the Bible and in other scriptures?

These are just some of the questions the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) says that secondary school pupils grapple with on a regular basis.

But the REC is warning that a shortage of religious education teachers could contribute to religious stereotyping and discrimination, leaving pupils at risk of becoming ignorant, or bigoted.

It says high quality specialist teaching about all faiths, beliefs and world views is essential in a diverse society and is launching a campaign to try to attract more teachers into the profession.

Read more.

Tutors needed to teach chess in schools.

A shortage of tutors is preventing children in state schools from learning chess.

British international master Malcolm Pein, who founded the charity Chess in Schools, says a resurgence in the game's popularity has seen experienced teachers being poached by public schools that can pay more.

"There's been such a demand for what we provide to state schools that we're struggling to find enough tutors to teach the game.

"It's just a matter of us having to compete with lots of chess tutors who are in private schools where they can command rather more money than a charity can afford.

"All we're really saying is state schools should get the same opportunity to learn a game that every private school gets to learn."

Read more.

Teachers need training to deliver Relationships and Sex Education.

External speakers should not be used as substitutes for trained teachers under plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools, subject experts have warned.

From September 2019 it will be compulsory to teach relationships education in all primary schools, and sex and relationships education in all secondary schools. However, there are concerns across the schools community about the level of training teachers will receive.

At a Westminster Education Forum seminar on Thursday, panellists said it was “essential” that teachers be given proper training to run sex and relationships lessons “with accuracy and confidence”.

Lucy Emmerson (pictured far right), co-ordinator of the Sex Education Forum, said she has regularly received requests from schools to come and teach sex and relationships education lessons herself because none of their staff have the knowledge to do it.

She warned that outside speakers must not be “a substitute for having trained teachers” and said schools have to take “real care” to make sure advice given by any external party is medically and ethically accurate, rather than based on their “own agenda”.

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Staff friendships important.

New research shows that encouraging staff friendships is beneficial for employers

Friendships are important to our overall happiness and the companions we make at work are a big part of this, says new research which reveals that the majority (81.7%) of education professionals consider their colleagues to be their friends.

The research by CV-Library survey of 1,200 professionals exploring how much UK workers value their friendships in the workplace and whether they rely on their colleagues for support. The findings reveal that a staggering 90% of education professionals believe it’s important to get on with your co-workers, with the research outlining several benefits of doing so:

  1. They support me through bad times – 60.7%
  2. They help me with my workload – 58.9%
  3. They make me laugh – 55.4%
  4. They listen to my problems – 51.8%
  5. They make work more fun – 50%

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments on the findings: “It’s great to see that education professionals value their co-workers, with many considering them to be their good friends. We spend a lot of time at work, and as such, a friendly working environment is important. As an employer, it’s vital that you create a good company culture and this should sit at the top of your priority list. Doing so is beneficial for both your staff and your business and can have a number of positive effects on your workplace; from increasing productivity to ensuring staff work well as a team.”

What’s more, education professionals were asked to explain why they believe work friendships are so important, with 40.7% stating that getting on with your colleagues helps you to work better as a team. Others believe that these friendships are vital as you spend every day together (37.3%).

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Junior Inspectors to lead short inspections.

Ofsted will allow 25 junior inspectors who signed up to a fast-track training programme with a cash incentive to lead new short inspections.

Payments of £5,360 were made to 25 junior inspectors for a 10-day training programme to prepare them to lead short inspections – a new form of one or two-day visits to schools previously rated ‘good’ – according to a Freedom of Information request by Schools Week.

Less-experienced inspectors would not normally lead inspections, but recruitment issues at the and the new short inspections framework has forced Ofsted to train more junior staff.

Read more.

Should Britain concentrate more on technical training than academic degrees?

Britain should end its “obsession” with academic degrees and concentrate more on technical training, says influential Tory MP Robert Halfon.


The chairman of the Commons Education Committee said he sees many graduates getting “paltry returns” for university study, while the country is grappling with a skills shortage ahead of Brexit.


In a speech to the Centre for Social Justice thinktank on Monday, he will call for a radical “rebalancing” of the whole system to address the needs of students and employers.

“We have become obsessed with full academic degrees in this country,” he will say.

Read more.

Ofsted and Data!!!!!!!

All was well in education utopia, outstanding they said. The great god OFSTEDSTYN had spoken!

They no longer want teachers and managers to work themselves into an early grave!

They no longer expect to see lengthy marking policies that are unworkable, they do not want to see lesson plans no more proforma, with four phases, or learning cycles or anything else.

Gone are the days when staff needed to evidence marking or differentiation.

Read more.

Teaching Assistants holding education system together.

Under the twin pressure of funding cuts and the recruitment crisis, teaching assistants are even being used to take classes. This is totally unacceptable

There are two dominating themes to all school discussions at the moment: funding and recruitment. Both are at "crisis point".

First, let’s look at funding cuts. We continually get told by the gods that there is more money in the education system than ever before – and yet these same people expect schools to do so much more than just teach. Heads and teachers have to stretch their funding to pick up the pieces of a failing social services system, one that itself struggling with vast funding cuts.

Second, recruitment. Successive governments have ensured that teaching is now well down the list when graduates view the job market...poor pay, low esteem and massive over-work. Figures for new entrants are collapsing and teachers are fleeing the profession in their thousand, just as they reach maturity.

Read more.

First graduates from degree apprenticeships.

Degree Apprenticeships are one of the most exciting developments to happen in the school leaver market for years, but more needs to be done to increase uptake of the programmes.



Government statistics show that Level 6 (bachelor’s degree level) and Level 7 (master’s degree level) have shockingly low participation rates in comparison to other levels of apprenticeship. While there were 259,430 Intermediate Apprenticeship starts in England in 2016/17, 195,770 Advanced Apprenticeship starts, and 34,470 Levels 4 and 5 Higher Apprenticeships, the number of people starting Level 6 (bachelor’s degree level) programmes for the year was just 1,620 and there were only 50 Level 7 (master’s degree level) starts.

By comparison, 505,680 applicants were placed on full-time degree courses at UK universities in 2017, with one in three English 18-year-olds securing university places that year.

Read more.


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