KNOWLEDGE – Christians in Education


Mark Emmerson was captivated. He was about to begin work as the principal of the City Academy in Hackney: the catchment includes two of the most disadvantaged wards in England and a third of its intake has special needs. In a copy of Sport magazine, he read how British cycling had, under David Brailsford’s management, gone from being ‘rubbish’ to the best in the world. Read more to find out how the discovery impacted on Emmerson’s school.

It seems disciplinarians may have been right after all – the stick really is more effective than the carrot. Psychologists have found that people are more likely to alter their behaviour if they are think they are going to be punished rather than being offered rewards. The study found that the effect of punishing students for making incorrect choices was up to three times greater than if they were given enticements. Read more

‘I’m often asked the same questions: what’s going wrong in education? Why? If you could reinvent education, what would it look like? Would you have schools? Would there be different types? What would go on in them? Would everyone have to go, and how old would they have to be? Would there be tests? If you say I can make a difference in education, where do I begin?’ Read more of this extract from Sir Ken Robinson’s new book.

Teachers will now be able to spot pupils with high levels of term-time absence before those absences have even occurred. New research has shown that it is possible to predict pupils’ levels of year-round absence by taking note of how many days they take off in September. Academics from the Baltimore Education Research Consortium studied the attendance figures for pupils across the Baltimore City school district. They found that pupils who missed more than four days of school during September went on to miss an average of six to nine days of school a month. Read more

The biggest ever global school rankings have been published, with Asian countries in the top five places and African countries at the bottom. Read more As the UK was placed 20th, an OECD report suggests that the UK economy could grow by billions of pounds a year if underachieving youngsters all obtained basic skills at school and boys and girls achieved similar levels of educational attainment. Currently 20% of pupils in England, Scotland and Wales leave school lacking basic skills, but efforts to reduce those gaps over the next 15 years would more than pay for themselves. Read more

There’s no better feeling than seeing a child losing themselves in the world of a favourite fictional character. The benefits of reading go far beyond literacy: an emerging body of research highlights the power of stories to help children handle their own and other people’s feelings. A Cambridge University study by Maria Nikolajeva, professor of education, found that ‘reading fiction provides an excellent training for young people in developing and practising empathy and theory of mind’. Read more

At the heart of our democracy is Parliament Square in Westminster, Around it, statues to honour great statesmen. But would the occupants of the plinths survive the government’s proposed extremism test? Nelson Mandela advocated the violent overthrow of the South African state while the British jailed Mahatma Gandhi for sedition – his extremist views too much for Prime Minister Lloyd George. Read more

A UK online university service is claiming to have a course with a record number of students. FutureLearn says it has 370,000 students enrolled for a British Council course preparing for an English language test. This so-called Mooc – a ‘massive open online course’ – has its biggest audience in the Middle East. Simon Nelson, FutureLearn’s chief executive said it showed the demand for English and scale of online learning. Read more