What’s been happening in the news this week?

  • According to to data obtained by children’s charity the NSPCC, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of children under 11 referred for mental health treatment by schools in the last four years – schools in England have made a total of 123,713 referrals for specialist help since 2014-15 and more than half of these came from primary schools. See the BBC news report for more details.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), is accusing the government of “woeful complacency” after millions of pounds of support for deaf children are being lost, leaving services at breaking point. See The Independent for more.
  • Caroline Barlow, headmistress of Heathfield Community College in East Sussex, recently made the news after posting a picture of herself on Twitter perched on the edge of a cliff during a day out at Seven Sisters near Seaford with the comment “Living on the edge”. Quite rightly she was criticised by the Coastguard and others as being brainless and this demonstrates yet again what people will do to display themselves on social media.
  • Richard Cairns, head of Brighton College, says that pupils caught drinking from plastic bottles will be treated like smokers behind the bike sheds. He says that any students or teachers who brings plastic straws and non-biodegradable cups onto school premises could be punished if necessary.
  • A new project investigates, ‘How does it feel to be in the bottom group?
  • Hundreds of thousands of pupils are preparing to take new, more rigorous GCSE exams this week – the gold-standard qualifications for 20 new GCSEs – including the sciences, French, German, Spanish, history and geography – have been designed with employers in mind.
  • In a new survey, the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) has found that teenagers are far more likely to spend their time on social media and gaming after school than they are to be doing homework.  Data gathered from around 3,500 teenagers in the UK found

Around half of the teens surveyed reported spending some time on social media on a weekday. This proportion was considerably higher for girls at six in ten (61%), compared to 39 per cent among boys. One in ten teenagers who reported being on social media had spent upwards of three hours a day online, though the average time spent was 1 hour 21 minutes per day.

  • Field trips to the theatre provide a number of educational benefits to pupils, according to research published in Educational Researcher. Jay P Greene et al found that giving pupils the opportunity to take part in a field trip to see a live theatre performance produced an increase in tolerance as well as a greater understanding of the plot and vocabulary of those plays.
  • According to a report by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), nearly half of teachers working in British international schools say their move was influenced by “dissatisfaction” with the education system at home. Almost 32% of international school teachers were thinking about quitting the profession before moving abroad.
  • According to Goldsmith’s University research, rich families use ‘privilege to opt out’ of child services.
  • A London School of Economics study says that the existence of academies, faith schools and private schools encourages ‘boring’ teaching methods. Commenting, author of the study Gabriel Heller-Sahlgren from the Centre for Economic Performance and Department of Social Policy at LSE said,

The idea that effective learning and pupil enjoyment go hand in hand is a cornerstone of modern educational theory. Yet there is little evidence supporting it. On the contrary, research suggests that effective learning often involves activities, such as drill and repetition, which many would describe as boring and tough. It is therefore not surprising to find that interventions that raise academic achievement often have negative effects on pupil happiness. This shows that the concept of trade-offs must be taken seriously also in education.

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