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Inattention at age 7 is linked to poor GCSE results

Children who display higher levels of inattention in the classroom at the age of 7 do less well in their GCSEs, according to research. Academics at the universities of Nottingham and Bristol studied more than 11,000 children, finding that, after taking into account other factors such as parental education and social class, greater symptoms of inattention in primary school correlate to lower grades at GCSE. The study (bit.lyChildhoodBehaviour), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, also finds that lower levels of attention among young pupils are linked to an increased likelihood of not achieving five good GCSE grades including English and maths.

Call to modernise inspection of children's services

Ofsted's inspections of local authority children's services are outdated, a report claims. Impower, a group campaigning for reforms to public services, argues that a single-word overall judgement such as "inadequate" is insufficient to describe the work councils are doing. The report (bit.lyBreakingTheLock) says that negative inspection verdicts lead to large amounts of work, high staff turnover and a reduction in how quickly authorities intervene in cases, which can leave children more unsafe. In response, Ofsted said it recognised the challenges facing social workers but insisted that independent scrutiny was essential.

Judge schools over 5 years, assessment body urges

Schools should be judged over a period of at least five years rather than condemned by one year's performance, according to Cambridge Assessment. Research by the assessment agency, which includes the OCR exam board, finds that significant fluctuations in results affect one in five schools. "This study shows quite clearly that exam results in a school may go up or down in unanticipated ways, caused by a wide and complex set of factors," researcher Tom Bramley said. Tim Oates, group director of research and development, said that looking at performance over a five-year period would reduce the risk of schools being adversely affected by this underlying volatility.

Life of teacher Ann Maguire is commemorated

A memorial service for teacher Ann Maguire, who was killed by a student, has been held at the school where she taught in Leeds. Ms Maguire was stabbed by Will Cornick, then aged 15, as she taught a Spanish lesson at Corpus Christi Catholic College last April. The school held a mass on the one-year anniversary of her death on Tuesday. After the service, 250 purple and gold balloons with prayers attached were released. Headteacher Steve Mort said: "We continue to feel Ann's loss in school, and the past 12 months have been very difficult at times."

We need quality not quantity, childcare experts say

Politicians should emphasise the quality of childcare rather than simply making election pledges about the amount that will be provided, early years experts say. An open letter signed by leading academics and advisers states that people working with young children should be "fully and appropriately trained" (see bit.lyChildcareOpenLetter). Currently, two in five private nurseries have no graduate-level staff. The Conservatives have pledged 30 hours of free childcare for the three- and four-year-old children of working parents, while Labour has said it would expand free childcare to 25 hours. "We feel the priorities have tipped too far in the wrong direction and there is too much emphasis on quantity over quality," said Beatrice Merrick, chief executive of Early Education.

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