What’s been happening in the world of education?

  • According to the former head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw, the UK government is misleading the public by claiming that it is spending “record amounts” on education.
  • Head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson embroiled in a row with parents over LGBT issues has vowed to “never stop” teaching pupils about equality. Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham as demonstrations reached their eighth week saying that the inclusion of LGBT issues contradicts their Islamic beliefs.
  • Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are to stage protests across England over funding cuts.
  • Recent published evidence has raised concerns about potential risks to health for those using affordable polymer filament desktop 3D printers. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook laboratory tests to assess whether polymer filament desktop 3D printers released hazardous particles and vapours which a person nearby could breathe in; they also investigated
    control measures to reduce these emissions. These printers emitted many particles of a size range that can potentially enter the airways and lungs. Some plastic filament materials, when heated, were found to release vapours known to be hazardous to health.
  • Professor Maggie Snowling says that the complexity of the English language means British children are more likely to be diagnosed as dyslexic than their European counterparts. Speaking at the Hay Festival, Professor Snowling said: ‘The number of characters you have to learn and the number of characters to which you have to attach sound or meaning… will determine degrees of learning to read and hence the probability of dyslexia.’ Take a look and listen at this BBC interview too.
  • From the Institute for Effective Education, come the following gems – interleaved practice improves maths scores and exercise doesn’t improve children’s cognitive performance. In another piece of research, it was found by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) “Research evidence continues to play a relatively small role in influencing teachers’ decision-making” with a sizeable 84% of those surveyed saying that their continuing professional development was based on information other than academic research. The NFER said

Teachers were, on average, willing to engage with research evidence, and reported that their school climates were supportive of evidence use. However, it appears that this willingness, and those positive climates, were not yet consistently translating into evidence-informed decision-making across schools in England.

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