On Tuesday 600,000 primary pupils took a new exam in spelling, punctuation and grammar designed to tackle poor literacy skills. Teaching unions have attacked the test.
Ofqual has announced that primary school exams will be simplified to help pupils whose first language is not English, but critics say it is an ‘erosion of exam standards’. Helpful for some children or an insult – what do you think of Ofqual’s plans?
The number of men training to become primary teachers has soared from almost 2,500 in 2008-9 to 3,743 last year and has increased by more than 50% over the last four years, according to figures from the Teaching Agency. Read more…
Walking, skiing, water-sports, amazing beaches and a beautiful countryside of contrast and extremes, New Zealand has plenty to boast about. We spoke to Bernie Feehan, manager of the Eteach New Zealand office in Wellington, about living and working in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
What’s the big attraction of New Zealand for UK early childhood educators looking to work overseas?
New Zealand has a unique appeal based on its location as one of the most isolated westernised countries in the world. It is a land of contrast – from beautiful sandy beaches to snow capped mountains, from large cities to small rural communities, and from modern sophistication to old world charm. There are two main islands, the north island and the south island, which are very different.
The north island has the largest population and the largest city Auckland which is the major business centre of the country. The capital city is Wellington, at the bottom of the north island, home to the government and its many departments and civil servants. Despite this, Wellington is regularly referred to as the culture and the cafe city of New Zealand. The coffee here is fantastic!
The south island features rugged mountains and beautiful scenery and is the main area of the adventure tourism industry; it offers a huge range of outdoor activities from outstanding skiing, to bungy jumping and jet boating. It’s been likened to a combination of parts of the Scottish highlands and parts of Switzerland. Large parts of the film trilogy ‘Lord of the Rings’ were filmed on and around these mountain ranges and there are some excellent tours that run to these locations.
New Zealand has a first class education system and is a world leader in early childhood education with its Te Whariki national curriculum. This is an outstanding, set curriculum highlighting activities and outcomes for the 0-5 age group, and there are excellent opportunities for UK trained candidates to work within it. This link will take you directly to the informative Ministry of Education website, and you can download a PDF about Te Whariki here (494 kb).
New Zealand also enjoys a safe and secure living environment and has a healthy culture of sporting, outdoor, cultural and artistic events. No matter what type of leisure activities you enjoy, you’re likely to find them readily available in New Zealand.
What do you think is the value for teachers of taking on an early childhood education post in New Zealand?
With World Book day taking place on Thursday 3rd March this year, we spoke to some schools around the UK who did something special to raise awareness of the cause to their pupils.
World Book Day was chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to be a worldwide celebration of books and reading and is now celebrated in over 100 countries around the world.
As it has become more and more of a success every year, the day has now become a partnership between publishers, booksellers and other interested parties. All of these groups now work together to promote books and reading to encourage children to explore the pleasures of both.
There were lots of events taking place this year for World Book Day with many different people, schools and businesses getting involved. Some publishers who participated in the day’s events and offered their support include Oxford University Press, Pan Macmillan, Penguin and Scholastic.
We spoke to Priestlands School in Lymington which is a secondary school with approximately 1,200 pupils aged between 11 and 16. To celebrate World Book Day, they held a “Big Book Swap” in their school library. On the day, all pupils and teachers were asked to bring in a book that they no longer wanted and they could then swap that for a book somebody else had bought in. The school actively encouraged all their pupils to leave a little message inside the book they swapped to say what they thought of it.
As well as the Big Book Swap, the English department at the school ran a competition to see who could design the best bookmark to celebrate the day and even the teachers had their own book box of swaps.
Baines Endowed School in Lancashire also had plenty going on during the week of World Book Day. A range of authors including Tom Palmer and Michael Cox visited the pupils at the school, as well as poets John Row and John Siddique.
Other events taking place at the school included a play put on by year 5 pupils, the chance for students to dress up in their pyjamas and the winners of a speaking competition which was held at the school performed for the rest of the pupils and their parents and were then awarded their book prize.
Did you do anything for World Book Day or are you already planning something for next year? Let us know by leaving your comments below.