What’s the news this week then?
- The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced in his Budget that schools in England are to receive a one-off £400m to buy “that extra bit of kit”. This means on average, a primary school will get £10,000 and a secondary school around £50,000.
- The National Foundation for Educational Research and the Nuffield Foundation have published a wide ranging review. The report titled Teacher Workforce Dynamics in England: Nurturing, Valuing and Supporting Teachers comes immediately after a partially funded and partially implemented pay settlement and a woefully inadequate budget statement by the Chancellor.
- In its latest social mobility report, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that the poorest pupils in this country were more unhappy and discouraged than in any other developed country bar Turkey. The report found that where poorer students attend advantaged schools, they are two and a half years ahead of those at disadvantaged schools. Talking about the UK, Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education and skills, said:
“Currently you have regressive teacher allocation where the schools in greater disadvantage face greater shortage of qualified teachers….Having more teachers is not the necessarily the solution, it’s getting the right teachers into the most disadvantaged schools and making it not just financially, but intellectually attractive for teachers to work in those circumstances, to build teachers’ careers around challenges.”
Singapore, Japan, Finland and Estonia are countries that do well in closing the gap because they are good at attracting talented teachers to schools in disadvantaged areas.
- News from the Institute for Education: reducing class size is often suggested as a way of improving pupil performance. However evidence from a new Campbell systematic review suggests that reducing class size has at best only a very small effect.
- Imagine the scenario where students are leaving school without the ability to do simple tasks such as sewing. Well that’s what the Edge Foundation report Towards a Twenty-First Century Education System has found.
- According to the World Health Organisation, “Every day around 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk.”