Renascence School Education News - private school

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)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Arts and creativity ‘squeezed out of schools’

BBC News – Staff Writer

“Creativity and the arts are being squeezed out of schools, a major report has said. Cultural experiences and opportunities were being closed off to youngsters, especially those from poor backgrounds…”There is a general agreement within the cultural and creative industries, and industry more broadly, that the government’s focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) should include the arts (Steam)…”We need creative scientists as much as we need artists who understand the property of materials and the affordances of new technology,” it said.”(more)

Friday, February 13, 2015

UK Survey Shows One in Seven Kids Participate in Online Bullying

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A new survey has found that one fifth of secondary students have taken part in online bullying, with teenage boys being more likely to have done so than girls. The survey, released in conjunction with Safer Internet Day, also discovered three in ten secondary students have witnessed something online that has either concerned, upset or frightened them…A separate report was also released at the same time by Action for Children. Research for their study found that 60% of students who admitted to online bullying said they did so in order to fit in with a social group, and 43% said they did so in order to prevent themselves from being bullied online. Other reasons for online bullying included peer pressure and feeling unhappy.”(more)