Weekly education news roundup 13/10/17

13/10/17

England

Overhaul to technical education to deliver a “skills revolution”

Education Secretary Justine Greening has announced the first three subjects that pupils can study for the new T-level qualifications, which will launch in 2020. They are:

  • Digital
  • Construction
  • Education and Childcare

T-levels will be studied by children from ages 16-18 in place of A-levels. The content of the courses has been developed alongside leading businesses to give young people a clear path towards particular careers by grouping together “related occupations which require common knowledge, skills and behaviours”. Justine Greening has described the launch of T-levels as, “a key milestone in transforming technical education in the UK”. More subjects will be available to study by 2022.

Internet Safety strategy green paper launched

Parents have the opportunity to feed back to the government on adopting new measures for staying safe online. The consultation, launched by Karen Bradley MP (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) includes online safety strategies for parents and carers.

Amanda Spielman gives her thoughts on the curriculum

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector of schools reflects on the research programme she introduced to see how curricula are implemented in schools and if there is a conflict between teaching a broad curriculum and preparing children to take examinations.

Spielman says that, “Generally, primary school parents said that preparing for tests was cutting into their child’s learning time.” She also found problems in secondary school, with earlier preparation of pupils for GCSEs meaning less time for them to study a wide range of subjects. She reflects, “The GCSE tests are designed to cover two years’ worth of content. It is hard to see how taking longer than two years could expose pupils to more knowledge and not more test preparation.”

PTA UK  believes that parents have a role to play in ensuring their child receives a broad education. Reading with their child in the evenings, helping with homework and talking positively about education all play a significant part in improving outcomes for children and creating rounded and intellectually-curious young people.

Wales

Welsh language minister asks for urgent action

Plans to provide Welsh-language schools and increase the number of teachers trained to teach in Welsh needs a "shake-up" in order to meet the Cymraeg 2050: Welsh language strategy ambitions, according to Alun Davies, the Welsh language minister.

Speaking in the Welsh Assembly, Mr Davies said that current Local Authority proposals must be "adapted and modernised". Mr Davies had earlier this year requested a review of LAs' Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) after finding that some "lacked ambition". The review was conducted by Minister for Lifelong Learning Aled Roberts, and Mr Davies has said that he accepts all of the recommendations that have come out of the review.

Northern Ireland

Concerns raised over CCEA's marking of English Literature papers

Questions are being asked about the accuracy of exam results after hundreds of pupils have asked for their AS-level English Literature paper to be remarked.

There are calls for the scoring processes of CCEA (Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment), who are responsible for grading pupils' qualifications, to be reviewed after major discrepancies have come to light when papers have been re-marked. One GCSE student saw her grade for English Literature jump from D to one mark away from an A* following reassessment.

CCEA has said it is looking into the matter and has reopened its review process for English Literature GCSE and AS-level until 17th October.

Concerns have been raised that some families can't afford the fee to have it remarked (though it is refunded if an error is found to have been made), so they would have to accept the original grade given to their child.

Although this can be distressing for pupils, teachers and parents, CCEA have advised that if you are a parent concerned about your child's grading, speak first to the subject teacher.

The CCEA website has the following advice for pupils and parents:

"Should you have a query about examination results please contact your school who can liaise with CCEA. Our enquiry line is: 028 9026 1260.CCEA has extended the remark period for GCSE English Literature and AS English Literature (Revised Spec) until Tuesday 17th October 2017."

References

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/education-secretary-announces-first-new-t-levels

https://www.tes.com/news/further-education/breaking-news/first-t-levels-subjects-announced

/Research--Policy/Consultations

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/hmcis-commentary-october-2017

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-41573707

http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/allsectorpolicies/welshmededuca/rapid-review-of-the-welsh-in-education-strategic-plans/?lang=en

http://gov.wales/topics/welshlanguage/welsh-language-strategy-and-policies/cymraeg-2050-welsh-language-strategy/?lang=en

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-41562218

http://ccea.org.uk/news/2017/extension_remark_period_english_literature

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