KNOWLEDGE – Christians in Education


Research by Professor Merryn Hutchings of London Metropolitan University shows that Primary pupils in England are self-harming and having panic attacks because of anxiety over national tests. The study for the National Union of Teachers was based on a survey of 8000 teachers and in-depth interviews with both staff and pupils in seven schools. The report says some pupils, pushed into working beyond their ability, are becoming stressed and disaffected. Read more

The idea that Finland recruits the academically brightest to become teachers is a myth. In fact, the student cohort represents a diverse range of academic success, and deliberately so. Finnish teacher educators know that teaching potential is hidden more evenly across the range of different people. Young athletes, musicians and youth leaders, for example, often have the emerging characteristics of great teachers without having the best academic record. What Finland shows is that rather than get the brightest  into teaching, it is better to design initial teacher education in a way that will get the best from young people who have natural passion to teach for life. Read more

According to a press release from the Early Intervention Foundation, one in four children – particularly those from poor backgrounds and deprived communities – starts primary school in England without the necessary language and communication skills. The EIF’s analysis of 2014 Early Year Foundation Stage Profile (EYFS) figures also found a fifth of children currently lack personal, social and emotional development by the age of four. Read more

Listeners to the Radio 4 Today programme recently would have been forgiven for feeling confused about what has happened to the attainment gap. While Demos seemed to suggest that the gap is actually getting bigger, Nick Clegg  claimed that figures showed it closing, thanks to initiatives such as Pupil Premium. The answer actually depends on which measure you choose to look at. Read more

Failing is fashionable these days. Silicon’s Valley’s ‘fail fast, fail often’ philosophy is summed up by authors Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz in a story about a ceramics teacher who divides his students into two groups. He tells one group he’ll grade them purely on the quality of their single best work. He tells the other they’ll be graded simply by how many pounds of pots they make. In the end, the group graded by quantity alone ended up making better pots. Read more

Karim has not been to school in over two years. Instead he chops wood to help his family survive. Karim, from Hama, and the Bekaa Valley’s children are just a handful of about 2.8 million Syrian children who are out of school, their childhood scarred by years of conflict, discrimination and displacement, their education replaced by months of toiling in the fields. Enrolment rates in Syria have fallen to an average of 50%, down from the pre-war levels in which nearly all Syrian children went to school. Read more

With children as young as 11 set to be taught in schools across England about sexual consent, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme is given exclusive access to lessons. ‘We need to provide opportunities for young people to think about what consent means, because they’re going to face experiences in their lives which could involve sexual assault or even rape. That’s a fact of life,’ says Phil Ward, head teacher of Heston Community School in Hounslow. Read more

An inability to read well risks a life of poverty and a struggle for too many of today’s children. The mission of the Read On. Get On. campaign is to ensure every child is able to read well when they leave primary school by the year 2025. The Power of Reading report published this week focuses on the crucial role of government in achieving that goal. Stimulating the society-wide change that is necessary to improve children’s reading calls for national leadership and significant policy change. Read more