Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New study shows child fitness levels ‘worryingly low’

Nursery World – Anna Pujol-Mazzini

“In activities such as jumping, running and throwing, 67 per cent were unable to reach targets and nearly one in four children fell ‘significantly below levels’. Four in ten children aged five to seven struggled to do 60 star jumps in one minute. The study was carried out by children’s activity expert Fit For Sport on 10,000 children aged five to 11…Dean Horridge, CEO and founder of Fit For Sport, said, ‘Parents know how well their children perform academically, but they often have no idea how fit their kids are.’ ‘This is a clear call to action: physical inactivity is a ticking time bomb for the UK’s health and both parents and schools must make sure children are spending enough time being active to improve their fitness and health levels now, and set them off on a journey to an active life.’”(more)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why We Need to Stop Ignoring Childhood Obesity

The Huffington Post UK – Dr. Sally Norton

“In the UK, one in five children age 10-11 are obese and one in three are overweight or obese, with those figures steadily on the rise. It didn’t come as much of a surprise then, to see recent statistics showing that most parents simply do not recognise their child as being overweight…And not only that but many of us fail to see our own obesity as an issue…It is hard to give a good example to our kids when our own eating behaviour and body image have been skewed by years of yo-yo-dieting, misleading health advice and media pressure. If we develop a better relationship with healthy eating and exercise, then not only will our own bodies benefit, but our children will have a great example that they can learn from. As a result, they’ll be able to become the happy, healthy adults that we want them to be. So let’s take off those parental rose-tinted specs and ensure we spot any weight-related issues developing in our children. Only when have faced up to the problem (in ourselves as well as our kids) can we start to make some slow, gentle changes to behaviour in the whole family towards a healthier way of life.”(more)

Friday, March 27, 2015

First Person: ‘Why schools should teach Mandarin’

Leicester Mercury – Alice Eaton

“Mandarin Chinese is spoken by around 800 million people worldwide. That’s twice the number of English speakers. With China becoming increasingly powerful in business, there’s a growing need for Mandarin speakers…An often quoted phrase about Mandarin is to “seal the business deals of tomorrow”. In China, it’s common for nursery children to start learning English, because the Chinese recognise it as an important language. We should reciprocate this, for the possibility that in the near future, Mandarin could overtake English as the global language of business…Finally, there’s more than just the utility factor of Mandarin as a language. It is fun.”(more)

Many young pupils ‘can’t communicate’

BBC News – Hannah Richardson

“Too many children are starting school in England unable to speak in simple sentences or control their behaviour, a study says. The Early Intervention Foundation’s analysis found a fifth of children lacked the expected personal, social and emotional development by age five…The foundation’s chief executive, Carey Oppenheim, said: “Too many children arrive for their first day at primary school lacking the broad range of skills they need to reach their full potential. “This can have damaging consequences which can last a lifetime – especially as children with strong social, emotional and communication skills developed in childhood have a better chance of getting a good job and being healthy…The government said it recognised the importance of early years investment…And this was why it had raised spending by £1bn a year.”(more)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

STEM subjects boost girls’ earnings by a third, study says

Teaching Personnel – Charlotte Michaels

“Studying maths or science at A-level can boost girls’ earnings by as much a third, according to a new report. The research reveals that the returns for women who study two or more A-levels in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects are 33.1 per cent when compared to those who only obtain GCSE-level qualifications…Encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects has been part of the coalition’s education plan since 2010, resulting in 10,000 more STEM A-level entries for female pupils.”(more)

Friday, March 20, 2015

UK Universities Gain Places on Top 100 List, US Slips

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“According to the recently-released 2015 Times Higher Education world reputation ratings, 12 of the world’s 100 most prestigious universities are located in the United Kingdom. The UK came in last year with 10 universities making the top 100. Harvard University came in yet again as the top school on the annual list of most prestigious universities in the world…The rankings this year continue to highlight a particular group of six institutions from the US and UK, labeling them as “super-brands”…In all, the US came in first with 26 universities out of the top 50 on the list and a total of 43 institutions on the complete list, although that number is down from 46 last year. Of the universities that made the most progress this year within the US, Columbia University came in 10th, up from 23 in 2011, the first year of the survey. New York University also made great strides, climbing to 20th place from outside the top 50 in 2011…The results come from the views of a global panel of leading academics.”(more)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cambridge teacher on why learning foreign languages is important amid rising apathy

Cambridge News – Gareth McPherson

“A teacher at one of Cambridge’s most diverse schools has extolled the virtues of learning another language amid rising apathy. Rachel Sharp, head of languages at Cambridge International School, said learning a foreign language improves cognitive ability, increases tolerance of other cultures and supports literacy skills in the learner’s mother tongue…Ms Sharp, who has previously taught at Sawston and Impington village colleges, said: “The world is about connectivity and the world’s problems require communication and integration. Speaking English is a great asset but this is a diminishing asset for native English speakers as other cultures embrace our language. We need to extend our boundaries, not limit them. Learning languages leads to not only enhanced cognitive ability but also a tolerance and acceptance of others. Contrary to belief, learning a new language can support literacy skills in one’s own language. Furthermore cognitive flexibility can lead onto enhanced life skills.””(more)

‘STEM focus is undermining pupils’ language skills’

The Telegraph – Sophie Gaston

“…language learning should be about developing cultural awareness and a global mindset, as well as finding the right words to communicate. However, we also all agreed that it is not just for these valuable yet idealistic reasons that young people need to study languages. We have a genuine, and increasingly pressing, economic need for languages to be given the same focus as STEM. As a result of the growth of Russia and China, and most of the next forthcoming economies, we can no longer assume that English will remain the dominant global language…We must recognise that the challenge presented by new economic powerhouses cannot be met solely by creating a strong rival science and technology base through STEM subjects. This important job must be accompanied by a realistic focus on the economic doors that language skills could open for many young people. The typical monolingual Briton is undoubtedly at a distinct disadvantage in the global jobs market. The UK’s brightest STEM stars will most likely be competing for the same jobs as people who have equivalent STEM skills qualifications plus at least two additional languages.”(more)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Science ‘squeezed out of primary schools’

BBC News – Hannah Richardson

“Science is being squeezed out of English primary schools, with a third not providing the recommended two hours of teaching a week, research suggests. The Confederation of British Industry study also suggests science has become less of a priority in many schools…CBI director general John Cridland said: “Science education in primary schools is being squeezed out, with over half of teachers believing it has become less of a priority, with too many schools struggling to teach the recommended two hours every week. “How can we expect to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers if we don’t deliver high-quality and inspiring science lessons at primary school age? “If we are not careful, too many children will have lost interest in science before they hit their teens. “A lack of science, technology, engineering and maths skills are already holding back economic growth, and this will only get worse if we don’t energise the next generation. “Pupils need innovative, fun lessons with access to the latest science kit and need to break free of the classroom more to visit cutting-edge companies and universities.””(more)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

‘Action on Sugar’ Calls for Energy Drink Sales Ban in UK

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Research group Action on Sugar is asking that the sale of energy and sports drinks be banned for UK children under the age of 16. According to a survey of nutritional labels found on 197 energy drinks sold both online and in major grocery stores, some of the beverages had up to 20 teaspoons of sugar, or more than three times the maximum amount that an adult should consume in one day. Around 80% of the drinks examined were given a “red” label for their high amounts of sugar…The group argues that the beverages are being advertised to children under the false pretense that the drinks will help their performance in sports or in school, when they merely create an addiction to caffeine in the children who consume them. As for long-term effects, the group said that the beverages are “fuelling the obesity epidemic”.”(more)