From Bristol schools where the ratio of pupils to CCTV cameras is 14:1, to a new Ofsted website encouraging parents to rate their child’s school and a teacher from West Sussex biting off more than he could chew in a fight with a crocodile, we delve in to the media to see what lessons are being learnt in the world of education. Join us and have your say.
Rate your school
A new website being launched in September by Ofsted will encourage parents to rate the performance of their child’s school. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8390740/Parents-asked-to-rate-schools.html
Exact details of how the website will operate have yet to be revealed, but it’s thought schools which receive poor feedback may be the subject of an inspection.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, is quoted voicing concerns that the system could be open to abuse and manipulation.
The website is part of a number of changes being considered, which will include a new focus on pupils, as well as the end of routine inspections for schools which are classed as outstanding. A pilot of the new style inspections is to take place in 10 schools before the Easter break, with a wider trial then planned for the summer.
Nearly half of schools going for academy status
A poll of 1,471 heads has found many schools are opting to become academies, with nearly half (46%) having converted to academy status, or saying they intend to.
The research, conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders, reveals nearly three-quarters of these schools believe that this will help them financially. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12712079
Big Brother goes to school
An investigation by the Bristol Evening Post has shown pupils in Bristol schools are being watched by at least 160 CCTV cameras every day. It found that some city schools have as many as 16 cameras in place, and in some cases figures even reach one camera for every 14 pupils.
In the article, http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Pupils-Bristol-schools-watched-160-CCTV-cameras-day/article-3330515-detail/article.html, the paper reveals that Orchard School, in Horfield, and West Town Lane Primary School in Brislington, have the most cameras of any state schools in the city. In contrast, Fairfield High School in Horfield has just one.
Campaign group Big Brother Watch has criticised the use of cameras in schools, saying UK schools use CCTV more than any other country in the world. They believe the money would be better spent educating the pupils than spying on them.
History lessons past it?
More news from Ofsted, with a warning that history lessons could become a thing of the past, as research among UK schools shows curriculum changes are having a negative impact on the subject, reports the Press Association: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hd6BeG6KG7sXKcPoxQc75RSCKycA?docId=N0441111299898946059A
The ‘History For All’ report looked at history lessons in 83 primary and 83 secondary schools between April 2007 and March 2010.
It found that curriculum changes were negatively impacting on history, with time spent on the subject being reduced.
In England, children can currently choose to stop studying history at the age of 13. The UK is the only country in Europe where this is an option.
Gove reveals new drive for teaching standards
Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that new standards are to be introduced which will help schools weed out poor-performing teachers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12717061.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders, Mr Gove said the new standards will help raise the bar for teaching and improve pupil performance and behaviour. He said that head teachers and teachers were concerned about current standards being ‘ineffective’ and ‘meaningless’.
Mr Gove has launched a review of the key skills a classroom teacher needs. The new standards will be in place by September 2012.
A sick note with teeth
A teacher from West Sussex has been nicknamed ‘Mick Dundee’ after deciding to go crocodile wrestling while on holiday in his native Zimbabwe. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/03/14/teacher-asks-for-day-off-for-a-crocodile-bite-115875-22988001/
Scott Brand, 21, a teacher at Cumnor House school in Haywards Heath, decided to go croc wrestling after having a ‘few beers’. But the animal bit his arm, which required treatment after becoming infected and swollen.