All schools should make parents and pupils aware of the right to opt out of acts of collective worship or religious observance. Academics at the University of Leicester said there is no reason why children should be expected to participate and said the current practice means that those that do opt out are at risk of discrimination. The report recommends that governments in the UK should urgently consider afresh the rationale underlying the policy. Read more
Only human beings can tell stories. And only human beings can pass them along. To communicate what matters most, we share great narratives from literature, as well as stories from our own lives. Our lives are so deeply narrative that we can only answer the question: ‘What am I to do with my life?’ If we can answer the question: ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’ Read more from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues report ‘Knightly Virtues: Enhancing Virtue Literacy Through Stories’.
It will take a decade to bring maths teaching in England up to world-beating standards, say subject experts. A report from the Advisory Council on Mathematics Education suggests teachers responsible for maths need better qualifications and training. Without more good teachers efforts to improve skills were ‘built on sand’, said report author Robert Barbour. The government said it had prioritised maths teacher recruitment. Read more
A major new study has provided strong evidence that having a healthy breakfast really does set you up for the day. According to researchers at Cardiff University, pupils are twice as likely to achieve above average results in school if they eat breakfast. The quality of the breakfast was also found to affect a child’s academic success. Read more
Children perform worse academically when saddled with too much parental pressure. Researchers at the University of Reading found that when parents pitched their expectations too high, their offspring were less likely to do well in tests. While a moderate amount of aspiration benefited youngsters’ results, it only had a positive impact if the hopes were realistic. Read more
Pupils at isolated schools do worse at GCSE than teenagers in areas with a choice of schools, suggests research. Poorer pupils are particularly badly affected, says the training charity Future Leaders Trust. Researchers plotted the distance between state schools in England against the proportion of pupils achieving five good GCSEs. The steepness of the drop in poorer pupils’ grades was ‘quite astounding’, said report author Katy Theobald. Read more
A group of parents is challenging the priority given to religious views over non-religious views in the content of GCSE RE. There is a circularity about their argument which is symptomatic of a wider confusion about the aims and character of religious education: at a time when religion is increasingly prominent in public consciousness and policy, it appears our education system has taken away the structures and networks of religious understanding from religious education, just as we need them to find our way around. Read more
The number of adults in further education has dropped by 1.3 million since 2010, according to new figures. Data reveals that the number of FE learners dropped to 2.6 million in 2014-15. Adult learning body Niace said successive funding cuts ‘meant that colleges and other providers are struggling to offer courses people need alongside meeting the government’s priorities’. Read more