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Mouldy cheese and minibeasts: tips for teaching science in primary schools

The Guardian – Hilary Leevers

“Scientific investigation develops flexible thinking and problem-solving abilities, alongside more obvious science-specific skills and knowledge. Yet science is taught relatively little in UK primary schools (typically for one hour and 24 minutes a week compared with an international average of two hours a week for OECD countries). It also receives much less attention than English and maths. According to new research from the Wellcome Trust, part of the reason is that its perceived importance is comparatively low: more than eight in 10 teachers say that maths (84%) and English (83%) are “very important” to the senior leadership team of their school, compared to just three in ten (30%) when it comes to science. In addition, it may have something to do with the fact that schools are not held to account for science provision in the same way as they are for English and maths.”(more)

Reading for pleasure falls after primary school years

BBC – Katherine Sellgren

“Only one-third of teenage boys in the UK say they enjoy reading, a study by the National Literacy Trust suggests. The Trust found a significant drop in boys’ reading enjoyment between the ages of eight and 16 – from 72% at ages eight-to-11 to 36% at ages 14-16. Girls’ pleasure in picking up a book also dropped off in the teenage years, though not quite as markedly. At ages eight-to-11, 83% of girls said they enjoyed reading, but this dropped back to 53% at ages 14-16. Director of the NLT Jonathan Douglas said: “Young people’s love of reading steadily declines from the day they leave primary school to the day they leave secondary school – particularly when it comes to boys. “This is a trend we must reverse.” Mr Douglas said an increasing number of academic, social and leisure priorities, as well as a curriculum that puts more emphasis on homework and study, all played their part.”(more)

Study finds primary school children get less active with age

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“There is an age-related decline in children’s physical activity levels as they progress through primary school, according to a British Heart Foundation-funded study. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that children spent less time doing physical activity and spent more time sedentary from Year 1 (aged 5-6) to Year 4 (aged 8-9). Additionally, by the time they got to Year 4, around a third of boys and two thirds of girls aged eight to nine years old in the study were failing to meet Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) recommended physical activity guidelines of an hour of physical activity per day.”(more)

The 100 things to do before leaving primary school

BBC – Staff Writer

“Falling asleep in a lesson or telling your teacher to “chill out” are among the 100 things primary-age children feel they should do before turning 11. As a million children wave goodbye to primary school, a Times Educational Supplement survey of 2,500 youngsters reveals their wish lists. The top 100 includes numerous pranks such as spinning on the teacher’s chair or being caught impersonating “Miss”. It also features life lessons such as failing so you can learn from mistakes. Helping younger pupils learn something and being kind to someone who needs a friend are also on the list produced from the survey of under-11s. And perhaps surprisingly, children saw the experience of losing or falling out with a friend as a key lesson for life learned in primary school.”(more)

Most P1 pupils in Scotland learn one foreign language, latest figures show

BBC – Staff Writer

“The majority of pupils in the first year of primary school are learning a foreign language…On a visit to Edinbarnet Primary School in West Dunbartonshire, Minister for Learning, Dr Alasdair Allan, said: “In today’s global, multi-cultural world it is more important than ever that young people have the opportunity to learn languages from an early age, to equip them with skills and competencies for the globalised economy. We want to ensure the enthusiasm for languages starts at an early stage in a child’s education.””(more)

HK$2.6b extra for pre-school education

HK Edition- oseph Li in Hong Kong

“The recurrent government expenditure for kindergarten education will rise from HK$4.1 billion to HK$6.7 billion, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying pledged in the latest Policy Address to offer quality, free kindergarten education to children aged 3 to 6 from school year 2017-18 – with a view to lifting the overall quality of pre-school education.
The government hopes to deliver quality kindergarten education through a new curriculum, better teacher quality and improved governance of schools, following implementation of free education.
Subsidies to kindergartens will increase significantly, Education Bureau (EDB) sources said. For a long whole-day kindergarten with 90 students, the annual subsidy will increase from HK$2 million under the existing education voucher system to HK$4.9 million. For a whole-day kindergarten with 90 students, the annual subsidy will increase to HK$4 million from HK$2 million now. And for a half-day kindergarten with 200 students, the annual subsidy will rise to HK$6.6 million from the current HK$4.5 million.”(more)