Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Call for schools to have a more active role in teaching character and morality

The Guardian – Richard Adams

“School-age children who attend church, do charity work or sing in choirs are likely to display more sophisticated moral judgments than their peers who play sport, according to a large-scale national survey conducted by Birmingham University. The survey of 10,000 pupils aged 14 and 15 in secondary schools across the UK found that more than half failed to identify what researchers described as good judgments when responding to a series of moral dilemmas, leading researchers to call for schools to have a more active role in teaching character and morality. “A good grasp of moral virtues, such as kindness, honesty and courage can help children to flourish as human beings, and can also lead to improvements in the classroom. And that level of understanding doesn’t just happen – it needs to be nurtured and encouraged,” said Prof James Arthur, director of Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, which conducted the research.”(more)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Guide for parents to help girls consider male-dominated careers

The Guardian – Mark Tran

“Girls should be encouraged to embrace subjects that open doors to traditionally male-dominated sectors, according to a new guide from the Government Equalities Office. Your Daughter’s Future, developed with the help of girls aged 12 to 16, sets out what support girls want from their parents as they weigh up exam and career options. It offers parents information on which GCSEs and A-levels to consider for different careers and contains tips on organising workplace visits to gain experience, managing exam stress and boosting confidence, with tailored information for different ages. The guide encourages parents to inspire their daughters with role models and case studies. “The most effective role models are ordinary people who you know in your day-to-day life – who your daughter can talk to and may aspire to be like,” says the guide, directing parents to websites such as Sciencegrrl and organisations such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology.”(more)

Ignoring the arts won’t prepare pupils for employment

The Telegraph – Josie Gurney-Read

“A leading headmaster will warn that “questionable” reforms to GCSEs may not be developing the qualities valued by employers. Michael Windsor, headmaster of Reading Blue Coat School, will say that ‘soft skills’ sought by businesses, such as creativity, critical thinking and social confidence, can be advanced by involvement in the creative arts. However, Mr Windsor will warn that, while arts subjects are an “essential part of the fabric of school life”, national focus on these disciplines is lessening in favour of an “overly utilitarian vision of education”. Mr Windsor, who is Chairman of the Society of Heads – a group of leading independent schools – is set to outline his concerns in a speech at the society’s annual conference next week.”(more)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The class sizes debate is tired and asks the wrong questions

The Guardian – Peter Blatchford

“Class sizes have been in the news recently. On Thursday the Labour party pledged that if elected it would cap class sizes at 30 for pupils aged five to seven years. By contrast, last week the head of the OECD Program of International Student Assessment (Pisa) surveys, Andreas Schleicher, set out the seven big myths about top-performing school systems, with myth number four being that small classes raise standards. This can’t be right, he argues, because high-performing education systems like those in east Asia focus on better teachers, not class sizes.”(more)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saved by song: can singing improve your language skills?

The Guardian – Jonross Swaby

“The late Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” But what if they can’t understand you when you do? Many people who have learned a language outside of a country that speaks it will sympathise. You could be trouncing native speakers at Swedish scrabble, your French grammaire could be parfaite, and watching Colombian telenovelas could be a breeze – but open your mouth to say something to a native and you’re met with a bunch of “qué?”s and “quoi?”s. This happened to me the first time I went to visit relatives in Brazil. A desire to discover the culture of my Cuban-born grandparents drove me to start taking Spanish classes after I left school. Many years of self-study, language exchanges, and six months of living in southern Spain made me fluent, and so I picked up Portuguese vocabulary and grammar pretty easily. A few years before my trip to Brazil, having worked my way through a self-study book and audio-visual software similar to Rosetta Stone, I began writing emails to my aunty in Belo Horizonte, a south-eastern city about 270 miles inland from Rio de Janeiro. However, reading and writing are very different skills to speaking and listening.”(more)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Many ‘children taking risks online’

BBC – Staff Writer

“More than half of children in the UK (57%) have done something “risky” or anti-social online, a poll of 2,000 11- to 16-year-olds suggests. Almost two-thirds (62%) told the BBC Learning poll they felt under pressure from others to act in this way. Activities included sharing unsuitable videos or pictures of themselves or saying nasty things about others and looking at unsuitable websites. Some 20% said they had put pressure on someone else to act negatively online. The research was commissioned as part of a new online safety campaign – Be Smart – timed to coincide with Internet Safety Day on 10 February.”(more)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Children should not be wrapped in cotton wool, says health and safety boss

The Telegraph – Martin Evans

“Children should not be wrapped in cotton wool and must be allowed to play, fall over and hurt themselves, the head of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has insisted. Despite the organisation’s reputation for promoting a risk-averse society, the chairman of the HSE, Judith Hackett, said it was not good for society to overprotect young people. In the past, schools have outlawed a wide range of children’s games on health and safety grounds, much to the frustration of parents, who feel their children are missing out on important learning experiences. In a study almost one in six teachers claimed their institution had banned children from playing conkers, with one school claiming it was to protect youngsters with nut allergies.”(more)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nicky Morgan announces ‘war on illiteracy and innumeracy’

BBC – Staff Writer

“All children in England will be expected to know up to their 12 times table when they leave primary school, the government has announced. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said pupils aged 11 should also know correct punctuation, spelling and grammar. “Getting English and maths right has to be at the core of our education system,” she told the BBC. Labour said the “surest way” to raise standards was to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.”(more)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bullying: anyone different can be a target

The Telegraph – Jenny Hulme

” Katherine Long can’t remember the actual moment when her wonder in her son’s ability and love of learning turned into a worry. Or when she started losing confidence in herself and her parenting, and faced every school meeting trying to hold it together, to stop the tears, when she sat down to discuss “how Josh was doing”. Josh was seven when he moved from a local primary school, where he had been happy but frustrated, into a carefully chosen school that promised small classes and the chance to thrive, says Katherine, a doctor from Sussex. “Josh had always been so articulate – he was reading by the age of three, conversing with adults like a child more than twice his age,” she says. “It was like he couldn’t switch his brain off. We could see he was longing to go a bit faster, learn a bit more. But after a year at the new school he seemed unsettled and was talking about boys hurting and taunting him.” When Katherine shared her concerns with Josh’s teachers, they treated her reports as Josh’s problem rather than the school’s, saying they saw no evidence of bullying in class and calling on her to challenge Josh’s “idiosyncrasies”, suggesting he was triggering problems by “always putting his hand up” or by being “oversensitive” to normal playground banter.”(more)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Language learning in the UK: ‘can’t, won’t, don’t’

The Telegraph – John Worne

” Can’t, won’t, don’t, three words which sum up our national view on speaking foreign languages. Of course it’s not entirely true, but last week saw another day of disappointment for language lovers, as we saw the continued decline in UK students choosing to study foreign languages at university level. I’m pretty much lost for words, having written and spoken on this topic many, many times in the last few years. So for inspiration I turn to the writer and author Christopher de Bellaigue, who wrote to encourage me in my labours last autumn: “It’s as well to remind ourselves that our ancestors thought nothing of picking up languages: one for the village, the other for the town, and perhaps another one entirely for the capital city, and that nowadays supposedly less educated people in other countries can end up knowing half a dozen.”(more)