Teacher attacks reach record high

November 7, 2007

The number of violent and verbal attacks against teachers in Scottish schools has increased by a record 4.3%, new council figures show.

In the last year there were 4,608 physical attacks on teachers, the equivalent of one every 14 minutes of the school day in 2006/07.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed a total of 7,306 physical and verbal incidents.

Politicians and teaching unions called for greater curbs on unruly pupils.

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Tayside and Central | Teacher attacks reach record high

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Graduates ‘earning less than their debts’

November 7, 2007

Many students are leaving university with more debt than their annual salary, official figures suggest.

Despite an overall pay increase in recent years, one in four graduates still work in bars, cafes and other low-level jobs several years after leaving university. Some are being forced to take poorly paid jobs to clear debts amid unprecedented competition for the best graduate positions.

About one-in-five of all graduates are unemployed at least once in the first few years after finishing their course. Men continue to earn more than women.

The conclusions provide the most comprehensive snapshot yet into graduate employment under Labour.

Graduates ‘earning less than their debts’ – Telegraph


Schools are failing pupils, admits minister

October 2, 2007

The government has admitted that 800 schools are letting pupils down by failing to achieve basic exam standards in what amounts to an unacceptable “waste of talent and potential”.

The admission from the schools minister, Lord Adonis, that a quarter of England’s secondary schools are failing to meet the government’s own targets for GCSE results prompted fury from teacher groups, who accused the minister of writing off good schools by changing the measure of a successful school.

Lord Adonis told a conference of private school heads today that less than 30% of 16 year olds at these schools were achieving five or more good GCSEs, including English and maths.

“The waste of talent and potential this represents simply isn’t acceptable for the future,” he said. “Parents rightly expect better, and so must we as educators and government.” He added that while some were improving, others were “not improving fast enough to give parents confidence”.

Schools are failing pupils, admits minister | News crumb | EducationGuardian.co.uk


Failing schools in England up by 18%

September 28, 2007

The number of schools in England deemed to be failing at the end of last term rose by almost a fifth compared with 2006, schools inspectorate Ofsted reported today.

The 18% rise can be partly explained by a sharp increase in the number of inspections, but ministers also said it reflected an “uncompromising approach” toward underperforming schools.

By the end of the summer term this year, 246 schools were in special measures – the most serious category of concern for Ofsted, up from 208 at the same time last year.

Failing schools in England up by 18% | Special Reports | EducationGuardian.co.uk


History A-level may become a thing of the past

August 10, 2007

History is in danger of disappearing as an A-level subject, according to the head of the body representing UK exam markers.

Kathleen Tattersall, the chairman of the Chartered Institute of Education Assessors, warned that the subject was facing replacement by “so-called soft subjects”, such as media studies and photography, and others that were more likely to lead more directly to employment.

“They have been the growth subjects in the past few years,” she told The Independent during an interview. “What people will want to study is what they need for a job,” she added.

“History is disappearing because it is no longer a requirement of the national curriculum for 14- to 16-year-olds. It is just one of the subjects that is at risk.

“History is also disappearing into the new citizenship, which is being promoted by the Government.”

History A-level may become a thing of the past – Independent Online Edition > News


Obsession with tests is ruining education

August 10, 2007

Children are missing out on a proper education because of the Government’s obsessions with tests, an exams’ watchdog chief warned today.

Lessons should be tailored to the needs of individual pupils rather than drilling the whole class for exams, said the man responsible for exam standards.

The warning flies in the face of those of ministers, who claimed this week that prioritising tests had ‘galvanised’ schools into action.

Ken Boston, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA),said: “In many schools too much teaching time is taken up with practice tests and preparing for the Key Stage tests in English, mathematics and science – at the expense of actual teaching in these core subjects and other areas of the curriculum.”

‘Obsession with tests is ruining education,’ says exams watchdog | the Daily Mail


History lessons fail to teach “big questions”

July 20, 2007

Pupils cannot answer the “big questions” of history because the curriculum focuses on a limited range of topics such as Henry VIII or Hitler, schools inspector Ofsted said on Friday.

“They lack an overview of history, are not good at establishing a sense of chronology and cannot make connections between areas they have established,” it said.

An Ofsted spokeswoman said the big questions included themes such as how democracy evolved in Britain, the relationship between church and state or the influence of successive waves of immigration.

One secondary school’s curriculum for 11-14 year olds was “an unconnected journey as they move from the Middle Ages to Martin Luther King and then the Second World War”, the inspector said in a critical report on history teaching.

In primary schools it said history had been “relatively neglected” as teachers focused on literacy and numeracy.

Ofsted said the subject faced a twofold problem of being squeezed in a crowded curriculum and being regarded by many senior teachers, pupils and parents as irrelevant and unimportant.

History lessons fail to teach big questions | UK | Reuters