8th July, 2016

This Week's Education News

By Scott W

Teacher Strikes
The big news of the week has been the teachers' strike which was undertaken this week by NUT staff. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, said that this would 'harm children's education' and inconvenience children. 63.2% of schools remained open, 20.3% were partially closed while 11.3% were fully closed. Kevin Courtney, acting head of the union, said the problems facing education were 'too great to be ignored' and that 'teachers do not strike lightly.' He pointed to an independent study by the institute of Fiscal Studies, which says that spending is expected to fall by 8% in real terms by 2020.

Almost Half of Children Fail to Meet New Primary Standards
Official data shows just over half (53%) of 11-year-olds made the grade in reading, writing and mathematics. Department for Education statistics show:

  • 66% of pupils met the standard in reading
  • 70% in maths
  • 72% in grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • 74% in the teacher-assessed writing

The Guardian cover the story.

Morgan Pushing through Choice of Ofsted Head
Nicky Morgan is to force through her choice of Angela Spielman as the new Ofsted chief, despite a cross-party committee of MPs saying they had 'significant concerns' about her suitability to the role. The MPs believe that she did not show enough 'passion' or an understanding of the 'complex role'. She has been working as the chair of exams regulator Ofqual for three days a week, alongside working as a consultant for public-private education partnerships. A major concern was also that she had no experience as a teacher herself. The BBC cover the story.

Academy Trusts 'No Better than Councils'

The Education Policy Institute think tank has produced a league table of academy trusts and councils in England. David Laws, former schools minister and the institute's chairman, said successive governments had been "in denial" about failing academies. A Department for Education spokesman said: "Our ambition remains for all schools to become academies."

More Parents being Fined for Taking Children out of School
As many as 90,000 parents were fined an estimated total of £5.6m in the last full academic year for taking their children on holiday during term-time, according to research.

Other News
In other news, Angela Rayner has been named the new, new shadow education secretary by Labour. You can read a quick guide to her on The Guardian.

High-stakes accountability puts deputies off headship, research finds. Nearly two-thirds are not convinced about stepping up to the top job, according to the NAHT headteachers' union.

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