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The life
A Christian perspective on society and the education industry for the Christian professional in education.

Results from GCSE resits.

Pupils collected their GCSE maths and English resit results from schools today 

Concerns have been raised after new data showed that pupils needed as little as 13 per cent of marks in a higher-tier maths GCSE paper to achieve a "standard pass" in their resits last term.

The grade boundaries for a "standard pass" – a grade 4 in the new higher tier maths GCSE paper – have all dropped from last summer for the three major exam boards. 

In Edexcel’s higher mathematics GCSE paper, a pass would have been achieved with 13 per cent of the overall marks in November – compared to 17 per cent in the summer. 

Meanwhile, pupils who took the higher maths GCSE paper for AQA needed 17 per cent of the marks to pass – compared to 19 per cent in the summer. 

And the grade boundaries for OCR also dropped slightly - from 15.3 per cent of marks needed for a grade 4 in the summer to 15 per cent in November. 

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Deadline for Primary School places Monday.

Statistics come ahead of Monday's application deadline for 2018-19 primary school places   


Parents in around a fifth of areas in England are finding it harder to get their child into their top choice of primary school, figures suggest.

The statistics, based on an analysis of government data by the Press Association, comes as families have until Monday to apply for primary places for children due to start school this autumn.

PA's figures show that, although more parents overall received their top choice last year compared with the year before, in a significant number of towns and cities the proportion of families gaining their top choice – or one of their top three favoured primaries – has fallen.

Data for the 2017-18 academic year shows that 28 out of 150 local councils (19 per cent) saw a drop in the proportion of pupils offered their first preferences of primary school, compared with the year before.

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Children in Scotland have most rights in Europe.

Children in Scotland now have the most rights in Europe if they need additional help with schooling, Education Secretary John Swinney said.

He spoke out as new legislation extending their rights come into force.

Provisions in the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 mean that from January 10 youngsters aged between 12 and 15 who require additional support in their education will be able to influence decisions about this.


As part of this, students will be able to ask their school or local council to find out if they need extra help and to have a say in any support plans that are made.

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Overseas students worth £20bn to the UK economy.

International students are worth £20bn to the UK economy, says a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute.

The analysis says on top of tuition fees, their spending has become a major factor in supporting local economies.

London alone gains £4.6bn - with Sheffield the biggest beneficiary in proportion to its economy.

The think tank's director, Nick Hillman, says the figures support calls to remove students from immigration targets.

There are about 230,000 students arriving each year for university courses in the UK - most of them postgraduates, with China the most common country of origin.

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25% UK students graduated with first-class degree.

More than one in four UK students graduated from university with a first-class degree last year, data shows.

The official figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that the share of graduates with the highest possible result rose 44% in five years.

The statistics may spark fresh debate on whether degrees are getting easier and if the ancient classification system is still fit for purpose.

In 2012-13, the first year of higher fees, 18% got a first.

Overall, 26% of graduates who completed their first undergraduate degree in the 2016-17 academic year achieved a first.

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Social media dangers.

Social media firms must take more responsibility for helping children through the challenges of life online, as children are at risk of “growing up chasing likes”, the Children's Commissioner for England has warned. 

Anne Longfield said social media is exposing children to "significant risks emotionally", with a particular “cliff edge” as they transition from junior into secondary school.

Saying she is worried many children transitioning into Year 7 are "ill-equipped" to be able to "cope with the sudden demands of social media", the commissioner called on schools and social media companies to do more to prepare them emotionally.

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Energy drink ban.

Waitrose is to ban the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children aged under 16.

The supermarket said customers buying drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre would be asked to prove their age from 5 March.

It follows concerns over the impact of sugar and caffeine on children.

The British Soft Drinks Association said energy drinks had been "deemed safe" by regulators but that they were not marketed or promoted to under-16s.

UK youngsters are among the highest consumers of energy drinks in Europe, according to researchers from Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, who in December urged the government to restrict their sale to under-16s.

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More exam cheats.

More students are cheating in GCSE and A-level exams in England, with the number caught last summer up a quarter on the previous year, new figures show.

Exam boards issued 2,715 penalties to students for malpractice in 2017 against 2,180 in 2016, Ofqual said.

Most were penalised for taking mobile phones into the exam, while just under a fifth were pulled up for plagiarism.

The rise in cheating came as new tougher GCSEs in English and maths were introduced for the first time.

Exams regulator Ofqual, which published the figures, describes malpractice as any breach of the rules which might undermine the integrity of an exam.

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Tuancy and unauthorised absence rise in Scotland.

New Scottish government figures show that truancy and unauthorised term-time holidays have hit their highest level since 2005-06 


Truancy levels in Scotland have hit a record high, according to official figures.

The proportion of half days lost due to unexplained absences from school, including truancy, has risen from 0.7 per cent in 2005-06 to 1.5 per cent in 2016-17, according to government figures.

The figures also show that unauthorised holidays hit their highest level last year, with the proportion of half days lost due to unauthorised holidays rising from 0.4 per cent in 2005-06 to 0.7 per cent in 2016-17.

Scottish Labour - which carried out its own analysis of the statistics - estimated that nearly two million days of term time were lost last year due to unexplained absence, including truancy.

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Unhealthy snacks.

Half of the sugar young children in England consume comes from unhealthy snacks and sweet drinks, figures show.

On average, primary school children have at least three sugary snacks a day, Public Health England found.

This means they can easily consume three times more sugar than the recommended maximum.

PHE has launched a campaign to encourage parents to look for healthier snacks of no more than 100 calories - and to limit them to two a day.

The eight-week Change4Life campaign will offer money-off vouchers towards items including malt loaf, lower-sugar yoghurt and drinks with no added sugar in some supermarkets.

Read more.


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