Education news roundup – June 2011

From ‘flashdance’ teachers becoming an online hit, to boys being put off by ‘long’ books, plans for extra years to study for core subjects and parents being reprimanded for wearing nightware to school meetings – what’s making the headlines in the world of education? We take our monthly poke around the papers to find out what’s got people talking.

Two years more studying for English & maths

Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to tackle the number of pupils leaving school without a basic grasp of English or maths, says The Guardian.

Addressing MPs, Mr Gove said pupils who fail to achieve a good GCSE in English and maths will be made to study these subjects for a further two years, or to take a high-quality alternative qualification, until they leave school at 18.

The plans are part of the government’s response to a specially commissioned review into vocational qualifications. The review found that up to 400,000 teenagers were “wasting their time on college courses that did not lead to jobs or further training”.

Boys put off by long books

A survey into boys’ reading habits has found many teachers may be avoiding longer texts, as they believe boys ‘switch off’ if a book is too long, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The poll questioned 500 teachers of 11-13 year olds and found around a quarter believe that boys’ interest is often lost in the first few pages. Around one in five (22%) say it can happen within 50 pages and a further 24% at around the 100-page mark.

The research was conducted to mark the launch of Heroes, a school reading series aimed at boys. Of 260 boys aged 11-13 questioned, one in five said they prefer books with 100 pages or less.

Teachers become YouTube hit

Teachers at a high school in Fife have become a YouTube hit since they surprised pupils with an impromptu ‘flashdance’ performance, reports the Daily Mail.

Around 40 teachers at Bell Baxter High School in Cupar broke into a medley of cheesy pop songs in the school’s busy canteen, in honour of older pupils who were due to leave the school. Stunned pupils watched as teachers sang and danced to classic hits such as ‘YMCA’ and ‘Thriller’ before erupting into rapturous applause for the unexpected display. The YouTube hit has now racked up over 350,000 views.

The long and short of it

A 12-year old pupil from Cambridge decided to tackle a rule he thought was discriminatory, by wearing a knee length skirt to school in protest, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Aspiring politician Chris Whitehead decided to wear the skirt in protest that boys are banned from wearing shorts during the summer months, while girls can wear skirts. He marched to school while a group of pupils waved banners, before addressing over 1000 pupils in morning assembly wearing the skirt.

Teacher in the mire over Facebook comments

A teacher in Cornwall has apologised after branding a pupil’s coursework as ‘s**te’ on Facebook. The teacher, from Falmouth School, made the comments after working late into the evening marking year 11 coursework. They were immediately contacted by the pupil who said the comments were a ‘bit harsh’.

Unions have warned that the line between private and professional life is blurring and that teachers need to be very wary, says the Daily Mail.

In a similar case, a group of primary school teachers, including a deputy head, have been criticised by parents for posting photos of themselves on Facebook. The photos show the group on a night out, wearing army gear and posing ‘provocatively’. Privacy settings were not used to keep the images out of the public view, again reports the Daily Mail.

Pole dancing classes spark outrage

Meanwhile a dance school which is running pole dancing classes for children as young as twelve has caused outrage among residents, Christian groups and a local MP, says the Daily Mirror.

The Art of Dance pole dance and burlesque school in Plymouth is reportedly offering the classes for children aged 12 to 15 for £5-an-hour, saying it is a ‘gymnastic art, helping pupils get fitter, stronger and more confident’.

Kent school excludes eight pupils a day

The head teacher of a school where more than 400 pupils have been excluded in the space of six months has quit, reports the Daily Mirror. Christopher Sweetman has left Bishop of Rochester Academy in Kent, a school where 738 incidents of bad behaviour were logged by teachers in just one week.

And finally….

Parents reprimanded for attending meetings in nightwear

It seems it’s no longer just naughty pupils who are getting into trouble with head teachers; the parents of pupils at 11 Middlesbrough primary schools have been asked to improve their ‘decency and respect’ by ensuring they come to the school gates properly dressed, reports The Daily Express.

Parents have been issued with letters making the request following an increase in the number of parents turning up to drop off and collect pupils, and even attending meetings with teaching staff, wearing pyjamas or nightwear.

But, claims the Express, wearing pyjamas outdoors is ‘common in the town’, it quotes one pyjama wearer as saying: “I can’t be bothered getting dressed.”

One thought on “Education news roundup – June 2011

  1. Glad to see that the ‘nightware’ has been changed to ‘nightwear’! Good stories too!

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