Education News: December

As the recruitment crisis in the UK continues, schools are turning to unqualified teachers in order to cope with the number of unfilled job vacancies. More schools are converting into academies which is having an impact on their performance as hundreds of converted schools are no longer deemed good or outstanding. Here is a round-up of the UK Education news for December:

More Than One In 10 Schools Are Using More Unqualified Staff To Teach, As Shortages Bite, TES Survey Reveals


More than one in 10 schools have increased the number of unqualified staff who teach lessons to counter growing shortages, a new study has revealed.

In an effort to fill these vacancies, 11 per cent of senior leaders are using more unqualified staff, and 26 per cent are using more supply teachers, research suggests.

The leadership survey, of nearly 250 headteachers, reveals that schools have also been recruiting teachers from overseas (9 per cent) and using teachers to cover subjects in which they do not specialise (16 per cent).

Schools in London, the South East and West Midlands are facing the biggest challenges with recruitment compared with three years ago. Schools are struggling to hire new staff in core subjects like maths, English and physics.

Read the full article here. 

All Schools To Be Academies By 2020


The Sunday Times is reporting that government plans to be published in the spring could result in every state school in England being released from local council control and turned into an academy by 2020.

The report suggests last week’s spending review gave a hint of what was to come by opening the way for sixth-form colleges to become academies and suggests ministers believe the move could save hundreds of millions.

Read the full article here. 

Nearly 100 Schools No Longer ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ After Converting To Academies


The Independent is reporting findings from Ofsted’s annual report that nearly 100 schools no longer offer a “good” or “outstanding” education after converting to become academies.

Chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said 2,000 of the 3,300 secondary schools in England had now become academies and had “undoubtedly injected vigour and competition into the system”.

However, he warned: “As academies have become the norm, success or failure hasn’t automatically followed.”

Read the full article here. 

Why GCSE Results Could Be Static For The Rest Of The Decade


Results from a new test designed to indicate whether GCSE grades should be allowed to rise are unlikely to be used until 2019, the exams watchdog Ofqual has said.

The test, known as a “National Reference Test”, is designed to allow GCSE grades to rise in line with a genuine improvement in pupils’ performance, without raising concerns about “grade inflation”.

However, a document published by the exams watchdog says that results from the test are unlikely to be used in the next few years, suggesting that exam results across the country are likely to remain relatively static until nearly the end of the decade.

Read the full article here. 

Teacher Shortage Becoming A Classroom Crisis


Schools cannot recruit the teachers they need – and for some posts, such as a head of maths, he says they are as “rare as hen’s teeth”.

It suggests 59% of schools advertising for staff had “struggled” to find someone and a further 20% had failed completely.

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned this is having a “significant impact” on schools.

Read the full article here.

Ofqual Considers GCSE And A-level Overhaul That Could Ration Top Grades For Bright Pupils


England’s exams regulator is considering rationing A and A* grades in the GCSE and A-level subjects that attract the brightest pupils, it has been announced today.

But the idea has already attracted stiff opposition from headteachers and Ofqual itself has acknowledged that it be seen as “dumbing down” in some subjects.

Under Ofqual’s proposal, the same proportion of students would gain each grade in every subject. For example, the top-scoring 30 per cent of pupils taking each exam could be awarded an A or A* grade.

At the moment these vary widely. Some subjects such as further maths, classics and physics see a much higher proportion of pupils receive top grades than others such as design and technology, computing and drama.

This summer 56 per cent of entrants for A-level further maths gained an A or A* grade, compared to 16 per cent in drama and design and technology. The Ofqual proposal would iron these differences out.

Read the full article here. 



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