News at a glance

7th August 2015 at 01:00

Surge in numbers studying `traditional' subjects

The number of students taking A-levels and GCSEs in traditional subjects, such as sciences and humanities, has increased this year, according to Ofqual. Chief regulator Glenys Stacey said the government's introduction of new performance measures, particularly the English Baccalaureate, had led to a rise in candidates taking so-called "facilitating subjects". Ms Stacey predicted that this summer's GCSE and A-level results would be "relatively stable" compared with previous years, when changes to the curriculum and structure of exams led to more volatile results for schools.

Pass mark was lowered for Scottish maths paper

The pass mark for the new Scottish Higher maths exam was lowered significantly this year, because the questions were harder than the exam board had anticipated. Candidates needed to score just 34 per cent for a C grade and 60 per cent for an A, according to the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Last year, only candidates gaining at least 45 per cent of the marks were awarded a C grade. The new maths Higher was introduced this spring after broader changes to the Scottish education system. But many pupils took to social media after sitting the exam to complain that it was too difficult.

A quarter of students have no plan for the future

More than a quarter of teenagers have no idea what they want to do after they leave school, research shows. A study of more than 80,000 pupils aged 15-18 was conducted by the website When asked "Do you know what the perfectly happy you from the future would do?" some 28 per cent of pupils responded that they had no idea. A further 45 per cent said they had a good idea of what they wanted to do, but did not know how to achieve it.

Funding for mental health falls short of expectations

The government announced this week that it will invest pound;143 million to improve children's mental health services in England this year. The funding, to cover the 2015-16 year, forms part of a pound;1.25 billion package announced in March's Budget. However, this is significantly less than the pound;250 million that Department of Health officials had expected would be spent. A further pound;30 million has been allocated to help people with eating disorders this year. A DoH spokeswoman said that funding for children and mental health services had been reduced in order to ensure that money was properly invested.

Sport, friends and music: teens' summer priorities

Teenagers are more likely to spend their summer holidays playing sport than hanging out with their friends, a new survey finds. The poll of more than 2,000 secondary pupils, conducted by school rewards company School Stickers, reveals that 89 per cent of teenagers will be playing sport over the summer, compared with 64 per cent who will be hanging out with their friends. Although 62 per cent of teenagers said they would spend their holidays listening to music, 43 per cent said they would be playing computer games, and 38 per cent would be reading. Only 33 per cent planned to go shopping.

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