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Welsh schools mental health scheme to ‘tackle stigma’

BBC – Staff Writer

“Time to Change Wales, started in 2012 to raise mental health awareness among adults, will run a young people’s programme. It will initially work with pupils, teachers and parents at nine schools, using Big Lottery funding. Programme manager Lowri Wyn Jones said it was important to tackle mental health “stigma” at a young age. One in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem, Time to Change Wales said, with the associated stigma and discrimination often making life “even harder”. The scheme will pilot in three schools in south Wales – Blackwood Comprehensive, Mountain Ash Comprehensive, and Ysgol Gyfun Cymer Rhondda – with others in mid and north Wales to follow.”(more)

Universities ‘should set targets’ on recruiting male students

Times Higher Education – John Morgan

“Only two English universities have targets to increase recruitment of male students, according to a Higher Education Policy Institute report on the sector’s gender gap “problem”. The report, published on 12 May, cites Ucas UK figures showing that at the mid-January 2016 application deadline, 343,930 women and 249,790 men had applied to enter higher education – a difference of 94,140 that was “the highest on record”…The report, titled Boys to Men: the Underachievement of Young Men in Higher Education – and How to Start Tackling It…observes that “other developed countries have undergone a similar shift” in balance towards female undergraduates. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Education at a Glance 2015 report, which looked at 28 developed and developing nations including the UK, found that “women make up the majority of entrants into tertiary education in all countries except Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Turkey”…The report’s recommendations include a “Take Our Sons to University Day”, more access spending on the recruitment of disadvantaged male students and “more institutions [to] consider setting themselves targets for male recruitment in future”.”(more)

Urgent action needed to close UK languages gap

Phys.org – Staff Writer

“The UK Government needs to urgently adopt a new, comprehensive languages strategy if it is to keep pace with its international competitors and reduce a skills deficit that has wide-reaching economic, political, and military effects…Recent independent research, highlighted within the report, indicates the language deficit could be costing the UK economy billions of pounds per year…”A UK strategy for languages would mean that UK businesses can participate fully in the global market place using the language and communication skills of their workforce,” said Professor Ayres-Bennett. “It would also mean that the UK is able to maximise its role and authority in foreign policy through language and diplomacy. Educational attainment in a wide range of languages brings with it personal cognitive benefits as well as the ‘cultural agility’ vital to international relations and development, as well as enhancing the cultural capital and social cohesion of the different communities of the UK.””(more)

Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates – survey

The Guardian – Damian Carrington

“Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates, according to a new survey revealing the extent to which time playing in parks, wood and fields has shrunk. A fifth of the children did not play outside at all on an average day, the poll found. Experts warn that active play is essential to the health and development of children, but that parents’ fears, lack of green spaces and the lure of digital technology is leading youngsters to lead enclosed lives.”(more)

London pupils ‘behind global competition’

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“London’s schools are falling behind many global competitors, according to an analysis of international tests. The capital’s schools have been held up as a showcase of rising standards. But the University College London (UCL) Institute of Education study, using OECD Pisa test results, suggests they are weaker than those in many Asian cities and the rest of the UK. However, the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher, has rejected the findings as “not credible”.”(more)

A-level maths standards down on 1960s but not on 1990s

BBC – Staff Writer

“Students who achieve a B in A-level maths today would only have secured an E in the 1960s, suggests research. However standards have been stable since the 1990s, with no evidence of any further fall since then, says the Loughborough University paper. The researchers compared the level of mathematical knowledge needed to tackle today’s maths A-level papers with those from the 1960s and 1990s. The government said its reforms would help tackle grade inflation in England. The authors say their work, published in the British Educational Research Journal amounts to one of the most comprehensive studies into A-level standards.”(more)