Primary schools

Teacher targeted over LGBT work shortlisted for $1m global award | Education

A primary school teacher who has been the target of protests by parents concerned about teachings on LGBT rights and equalities has been chosen as a finalist in a prestigious $1m global education award. Andrew Moffat, who is assistant head at Parkfield Community school in Alum Rock, Birmingham, is one of 10 teachers from around the world who have made it to the shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019. He was selected from more than 10,000 nominations…

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Ofsted chief backs teaching about same-sex couples after parent protests | Education

The head of Ofsted has backed the teaching of same-sex relationships in primary schools after parents mounted a series of protests at a Birmingham school over lessons about LGBT rights and gender identity. England’s chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, said it was right that children were taught about same-sex couples – regardless of religious background – and that not everyone fits “a conventional pattern”. “It’s making sure they know just enough to know that some people prefer not to…

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Take our Sats maths quiz to see if you’re smarter than an 11-year-old | Education

On Wednesday and Thursday year 6 children in England’s primary schools will take their Sats maths test. If you haven’t had children in the English education system for a while, or even at all, you might be curious about what 11-year-olds are expected to know about maths. So below is a sample of the types of questions they will face. Pupils will take 110 minutes of tests, divided into three papers over two days and containing a total of 83…

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Secret Teacher: I hated teaching – until I realised my school was the problem | Teacher Network

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher. Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school…

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All pupils have a right to LGBT education | Letters | Education

Shraga Stern accuses the National Secular Society of “see[ing] fit to dismiss basic religious freedoms” (Letters, 7 February). Secularism seeks to defend the absolute freedom of belief, and protect the right to manifest religious belief insofar as it does not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Parents’ rights to secure an education consistent with their religious beliefs are not absolute and must be balanced against society’s duty to safeguard children’s independent interests. All pupils should have the right…

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‘I will never return to teach in England’: the UK teachers finding refuge abroad | Education

The English education system is broken, says Freya Odell, a state secondary school teacher with 18 years’ experience. This month, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of other talented, fed-up teachers and moved abroad – in her case, to St George’s British International School in Rome. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. My job in England took over my life. Over the past year, I had stopped laughing and smiling. I had lost all sense of who I am.” Despite…

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The NHS 10-year plan doesn’t do enough for children | Al Aynsley-Green | Education

The government’s NHS 10-year plan, which launched last month, has been broadly praised by children’s organisations. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, for one, celebrates that “it lays the foundations for an NHS with infants, children and young people at its core”. But does it? The plan, which aims to transform an overloaded health service, comes at an important time for children. The need is stark. We have some of the worst outcomes for children’s health, education, social…

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Secret Teacher: the emphasis on British history is depriving students of balance | Teacher Network

The wedding of two people who ostensibly have nothing to do with most people in the country has been the hot topic in playgrounds and classrooms over recent weeks. Despite Prince Harry and Meghan being wholly unrepresentative of the schoolchildren in my area of the UK, pupils have been transfixed by the details. They want to talk about the dress Meghan wore, the car Prince Harry drove to the reception. They’re proud this glamorous, confident American is becoming part of…

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‘Thank you is enough’: parents discourage festive gifts to teachers | Education

Parents should think twice before buying Christmas gifts for their children’s teachers, according to a Scottish parents’ group, as retailers promote increasingly lavish presents for teaching staff, and families compete to buy the most expensive items. The Scottish parents’ organisation Connect is highlighting a growing online trade in bespoke gifts for teachers, with some items costing over £100, as it calls on local parent councils and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to discourage gift-giving this festive season. Connect’s executive director, Eileen…

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School defends LGBT lessons after religious parents complain | Education

The assistant headteacher of a school teaching children about homosexuality as part of a special programme has defended its decision after 400 predominantly Muslim parents signed a petition for the subject to be dropped from the curriculum. Andrew Moffat, who was awarded an MBE for his work in equality education, claims he was threatened and targeted via a leaflet campaign after the school piloted No Outsiders – a programme run as part of sex and relationship education (SRE) lessons. Its…

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Dear Damian Hinds: tree climbing, lifesaving classes … why this policy flurry? | Education

A phrase I learned some years ago working in schools is “busy-work” – work that keeps children busy but has little value in itself, as the dictionary puts it. It first cropped up in an education report in South Carolina in 1886. This old tradition has taken a hold on you and your department. Since late November, you’ve been issuing policy statements at least once a week covering tree-climbing, plastic waste, lifesaving, your “year-long battle” to reduce teachers’ workload, when…

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Star of the Week … do some primary school rewards do more harm than good? | Education

On a frosty winter’s morning in Oxford, pupils at St Aloysius’ Catholic primary school file into the hall for their end-of-week assembly. Today the headteacher will be handing out certificates to those who have displayed the school’s “virtues”. The head, Tom Walker, calls on one or two children from each class to receive awards highlighting how they have supported friends, or taken a risk, or perhaps played with a child who was on their own. Each announcement is followed by…

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Secret Teacher: teaching children without play was soul-destroying | Teacher Network

One year, during Sats preparation, I watched as a number of my year 2 students cried because the paper was too difficult. I told them not to worry and to just try their best, but inside I felt dreadful. I knew that no matter how hard they cried, I would force them to continue. I’ve been a teacher for five years and I love working with children. But I’ve realised I don’t want to teach them any more. After spending…

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Should schools fill key roles with volunteers? | Education

News that an academy trust founded by the Conservative peer Lord James O’Shaughnessy is advertising for unpaid volunteers to fill key roles in its two primary schools was met with disbelief and dismay by teachers earlier this month. The Floreat Education Academies Trust is looking for full-time and part-time volunteers to fill the jobs of finance assistant, office administrator and personal assistant to the chief executive, Janet Hilary, who was paid £128,768 in 2018. Andrew Morrish chief executive, Victoria Academies…

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‘It’s a dictatorship.’ Angry parents fight back against school takeovers | Education

It’s like living in a dictatorship,” fumes Peter Hawkins, reflecting on the situation facing the school that he and generations of his family have attended. “There’s no way of knowing what’s going on, or of communicating with the people making the decision. We have no say in the future of our children’s school. It’s disgusting.” On Friday the school in question, the Barclay school, Stevenage, is set to join Future Academies, the chain founded and chaired by the Tory peer,…

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Ofsted’s grade fixation fails pupils and teachers | Letters | Education

The chief inspector has launched a consultation on the new framework for the inspection of schools and colleges (Ofsted plans overhaul of inspections to look beyond exam results, 16 January). While we welcome most of Ofsted’s new inspection framework, it is doomed to fail unless Ofsted drops its flawed four-point grading system. Schools and colleges will remain fixated on fear-inspiring grades. Institutions labelled “outstanding” will obsess with keeping it, stifling innovation. Schools “requiring improvement” or dubbed “inadequate” will lose pupils,…

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Ofsted plans overhaul of inspections to look beyond exam results | Education

The way nurseries, schools and colleges in England are inspected is to undergo its biggest overhaul in a decade, with proposals by Ofsted aiming to address concerns that education has been too narrowly focused on exam results. The new guidelines will be launched by Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, in a speech on Wednesday, with a consultation on revised inspection frameworks for state and independent schools as well as early years settings and further education colleges.…

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