News at a glance

2nd October 2015 at 01:00

Caltech tops THE’s World University Rankings

The California Institute of Technology has been rated the world’s best university, followed by Oxford and Cambridge in the top five. The latest World University Rankings, published by TES’ sister publication Times Higher Education, show that Imperial College London also made the top 10 and 34 UK universities are in the top 100. The US dominated the top 10, with six institutions, but the country’s presence in the rankings has waned: this year, 63 universities in the US were in the top 200, down from 74 last year. For the first time in a decade, a non-Anglo-American university – ETH Zurich – entered the top 10. View the rankings at www.thewur.com

Corbyn: schools must be accountable to LAs

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has stated his intention to make all schools, including academies and free schools, accountable to local authorities. Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn said that every school should be “accountable to local government”. But Labour’s shadow education secretary, Lucy Powell, also said this week that the party would not return all schools to council control. “By 2020, nearly every secondary school – and most primary schools – will be a free school or an academy,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We should have local oversight of those schools. It’s not the same as how we used to have local government control. We will work through the exact detail of that.”

Disadvantaged pupils do better in London schools

The performance of London’s primaries has been key to successfully boosting attainment among the city’s disadvantaged pupils, a study shows. Almost half (48 per cent) of children on free school meals in the capital obtained five or more A*-C GCSEs in 2013, compared with less than a quarter (22 per cent) in 2002. Gains were smaller among students outside London, with only 26 per cent achieving equivalent results in 2013, compared with 17 per cent in 2002. New work published this week – compiled by researchers at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics and the Institute for Fiscal Studies – concludes that although disadvantaged pupils in the capital are not ahead at age 5, once they get to school they make faster progress than pupils outside London.

Silver screen has a silver lining for literacy grades

Watching films can help to improve school grades, research suggests. Franzi Florack of Bradford University introduced regular film-literacy classes to 19 primaries in Bradford and invited professional film makers into lessons. She found that, after the classes, 38.8 per cent of pupils performed better than expected in literacy tests. Students who were working below the level expected for their age group were the most likely to make progress: 62 per cent had an increase in their literacy grades, compared with 52.5 per cent of children already at the expected level. Teachers reported a particularly noticeable effect among underachieving and hard-to-engage boys.

‘No strategy’ in Poole to plug attainment gap

Weak leadership and a lack of challenge within the Poole local authority in Dorset has led to disadvantaged pupils having some of the worst educational outcomes in the country, according to Ofsted. Inspectors found the local authority had “no clear strategy for improvement” for its poorest students and warned that there was no “coordinated response” by officials to raise standards. “As a result, the progress and attainment of disadvantaged pupils remain below that of disadvantaged pupils nationally,” the report states. Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has repeatedly raised concerns about the quality of education on offer to children in coastal regions.

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