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

Suffolk free school transport cuts opposition.

Opposition is mounting against plans to cancel free transport from thousands of children, amid claims it will cost some schools millions of pounds.

Pupils in Suffolk currently receive free transport to any school if they live in its catchment area, even if it is not their nearest.

But the county council is consulting on plans to provide transport only to a pupil’s nearest school, which is the minimum service it must provide by law. One local head said he had “never seen anything as unutterably stupid from a local authority in my whole career”.

This could save £3 million a year, but will see around 3,700 pupils losing out, which schools say will cost them numbers and funding.

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Cheating in exams.

A report earlier this month by Ofqual reveals that more children are cheating in exams. The number caught cheating last summer – by taking mobile phones into exams and/or plagiarising – is up 25 per cent from 2016. Why?

According to the students themselves, it’s a response to the increasing demands made upon them. Donald McCabe at Rutgers University interviewed more than 2,200 high school students about why they cheat. Although they acknowledged that cheating is wrong, many said they saw no other way to get the grades their parents and teachers expect.

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Drop in applications for universities?

Universities leaders are braced for a drop in the number of applicants as the higher education sector continues to be buffeted by shifting demographics and the impact of the Brexit vote. Students had until 6pm yesterday to submit their UCAS application forms to secure a place at university in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year. But institutions were concerned as early indications suggested submissions ahead of the deadline were down on last year, with some estimations showing that student recruitment was down by as much as 5 per cent.

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Fake degrees being bought.

Thousands of UK nationals have bought fake degrees from a multi-million pound "diploma mill" in Pakistan, a BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme investigation has found.

Buyers include NHS consultants, nurses and a large defence contractor.

One British buyer spent almost £500,000 on bogus documents.

The Department for Education said it was taking "decisive action to crack down on degree fraud" that "cheats genuine learners".

Axact, which claims to be the "world's largest IT company", operates a network of hundreds of fake online universities run by agents from a Karachi call centre.

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Is the government really interested in social mobility?

If you took a list of the top 20 places in England where schools have the most funding, 18 of them would be in London.

And if you took another list, of the top 20 places with the highest level of social mobility, 17 of them would also be in London.

Is that a coincidence?

Head teachers in the Worth Less? campaign over school funding shortages say that if the government is serious about promoting social mobility in education, then it needs to look at how low funding seems to mirror low mobility.

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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.

Read more.


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