What’s been newsworthy recently?

  • Matt Hancock, the culture secretary, has called on more headteachers to ban phones but this is ill-informed. Ofsted support the view – they are ill-informed too. See my article for Teacher Toolkit which says that Banning Mobile Phones Is Old School. The idea that ‘cell’ phones imprison students is nonsense.
  • Traditional skills are disappearing fast which is why I love the story reported by the BBCtoddlers are being taught how to sew, mend, bake and fix punctures at Liverpool’s first intergenerational and sustainable cafe founded by Diane Boyd. The project works by encouraging elderly residents that live close to a Children and Family Centre in a socio-economically deprived area of Liverpool to come and demonstrate traditional skills to young children aged two to four years and their families.
  • Education is one of the basic entitlements of a happy, peaceful childhood but not for everyone. Read more about the lost generation of refugee children who crave to live in a place where there is no violence.
  • According to new evidence from the Nuffield Foundation, secondary school pupils in the most disadvantaged schools are being hit hardest by England’s maths teacher shortages. Professor Rebecca Allen and Dr Sam Sims found that schools are deploying their most experienced and well-qualified maths teachers for year groups where the external stakes are high: GCSE, A-level and GCSE retakes.

This means teachers who are inexperienced or do not have a degree in maths are much more likely to be allocated to Key Stage 3 than Key Stages 4 and 5, particularly in schools with higher proportions of disadvantaged pupils

  • What do you do if some of your pupils come to school with washing and hygiene issues? St Paul’s Church of England Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent is considering providing a washing machine for parents who cannot afford to keep their children’s clothes clean.
  • Education experts from around the world met at the first Textbook Summit to discuss how to use textbooks to improve education for every child and help tackle teacher workload.
  • Ofsted are getting tough on behaviour and say that it’s appropriate to use sanctions like writing lines, ‘community service’ in the school grounds and school detentions.
  • Nick Gibb has said that experienced teachers could be able to take new qualifications in areas such as curriculum design and teacher development.
  • LKMco have a new report out – Schools and Youth Mental Health – published with the school mental health organisation “Minds Ahead”.  It warns that despite the government’s increasing focus on mental health it is likely to miss its own targets for improved services due to patchy implementation, a severe lack of funding and a shortage of trained specialists. They recommend that “Plans to make PSHE teaching a statutory requirement should be accelerated and PSHE teaching in relation to pupil wellbeing should be delivered solely by teachers with the skills and expertise to skilfully handle sensitive issues.”

They also say that

A new school-based mental health development programme should be established to create a new cadre of pre-clinical mental health specialists working in schools. This could build on the successes of Teach First, Think Ahead, Unlocked Grads and FrontLine.

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