When an elderly Warwick couple heard the story of Simone Grice, a bullied schoolgirl who committed suicide, they decided to devote their retirement to preventing further tragedies. Vivian Morgan, 72, and her husband Fred, 94, converted their ten-bedroom home into a school for bullied children in 2012. Three years on, they’re successfully helping 20 troubled pupils to recover from years of torment. Read more
Coaxing teenagers to sit down and do their homework is never an easy task. But is it actually worth their while to slave away for hours on end every evening? Not according to a new study of Spanish secondary school students which has concluded that the optimum amount of homework for children is around one hour a day. Researchers studied the maths and science homework and test results of 7,451 adolescents with an average age of around 13. They found a relationship between the amount of homework completed and children’s attainment. Read more
The number of schoolgirls at risk of emotional problems has risen sharply, an English study in the Journal of Adolescent Mental Health suggests. Scientists analysed questionnaires completed by 1,600 pupils aged 11-13 in 2009, comparing them with similar surveys conducted five years later. They were surprised by a 7% spike in girls reporting emotional issues while boys’ answers remained fairly stable. Read more
Amid growing fears about immigration levels, Nicky Morgan has ordered officials in the Department for Education to conduct a major review into the impact that mass migration has on state schools across England. The study will examine how immigrant children perform academically, as well as how schools with large numbers of immigrants cope, and will compare institutions and different regions of the country. A particular focus will be on the intense pressure that teachers face in the first years of primary education. Read more
Grey clouds are looming above Chrishall Holy Trinity and St Nicholas CE primary school in the rural north-west corner of Essex, but a row of bright wellies are lined up ready for action outside the reception classroom. Inside, children are sitting in fleeces and overtrousers, writing and drawing preferred activities on mini-whiteboards for their weekly morning in the forest. A clutch of girls have joined forces to portray a den, buckets for mud-carrying and stick figures of themselves, while Louis – bundled in many layers – has drawn ‘a massive secret hideout’. Welcome to forest school Read more
‘Our school systems are now a matrix of organisational rituals and intellectual habits that do not adequately reflect the great variety of talents of the students who attend them. Because they conflict with these systems, too many students think that they are the problem; that they are not intelligent, or must have difficulties in learning.’ Ken Robinson’s thesis in his new book ‘Creative Schools’ is compelling. Read Tristram Hunt’s review.
Ask most teenagers if they would switch off and hand over their smartphone or gaming console for a week and they’d probably look at you bemused and ask ‘why?’.A recent project challenged young people to go cold turkey on using digital devices for a week. The results suggest compulsion – not addiction – is the issue. Read more
It’s not only the main parties standing for election that have published education manifestos. A range of other organisations have also stated their priorities for the future government. The Headteachers’ Roundtable has published ‘A Great Education for All’ and the Policy Exchange also has an education manifesto. The NUT has published ‘Vote for Education, the ATL says ‘Education Matters: talk to us’ while the NAHT offers ‘Owning what is ours’. The ASCL’s ‘Leading the way: Blueprint for Self-Improving System’ suggests how head and school leaders can take on a greater role in the next phase of education development.