News at a glance

23rd October 2015 at 00:00

Most parents ‘happy with quality of education’

Four in five parents are happy with the quality of education their children receive at school, research shows. Almost half of parents (49 per cent) also believe their offspring are being taught to a higher standard than they were, according to a One Poll survey of 1,000 UK parents of children aged 5-16 for PR agency GKP. But despite parents stating they are generally content with their children’s education, a number express concerns around the quality of teaching. Almost two-fifths (39 per cent) feel their child’s school is not doing enough to tackle weak teaching, with more than half (57 per cent) saying they know who the weakest teachers are in school. In the poll, the results of which are released today, nearly half of the parents (48 per cent) also say their child’s school does not do enough to clamp down on misbehaviour in the classroom.

Do internet games add up to better arithmetic?

A research trial exploring ways that internet games can help to improve primary pupils’ mental arithmetic has been launched.

Internet games, led by teaching assistants, will be used with Year 3 pupils with the aim of improving their working memories. The focus of the trial, delivered by the University of Oxford, is to test whether teaching memory strategies to children can improve their results. The scheme is one of three teaching-assistant-led numeracy projects revealed by the Education Endowment Foundation today. They form part of the organisation’s £5 million campaign to help schools make the best use of the UK’s 250,000 teaching assistants.

Failing schools could face conversion next summer

Schools with an inadequate Ofsted rating will be converted into academies as early as the start of the summer term. The Department for Education spelled out its timescale this week as it opened a consultation over new powers to intervene in underperforming schools. The measures are contained within the Education and Adoption Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament. Any school with an inadequate rating from the inspectorate will be automatically converted into an academy, while schools classed as “coasting” and those that fail to comply with a warning notice will also be eligible for intervention.

Murdered teacher’s family demand full inquiry

The family of Ann Maguire, a teacher stabbed to death by a 15-year-old student in her classroom last year, have called for a full independent inquiry into the murder in an effort to prevent another such tragedy. Ms Maguire’s husband, Don, wants a full review to find out if more could have been done to prevent her death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds. Her family has set up a crowdfunding website to raise money to employ legal experts to secure a review. Mr Maguire said: “We want documents and evidence to be examined in order that steps can be taken to prevent anything like this happening again.” See www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/ann

Fines for term-time holidays treble in number

The number of fines given to parents for taking their children on holiday during term time has almost trebled in two years, figures show. In the past academic year, at least 50,414 penalty notices were issued. This is up 25 per cent on 2013-14, when at least 40,218 penalties were issued, and up 173 per cent on 2012-13. A breakdown of the figures – obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Press Association – shows that Lancashire County Council handed out 3,907 holiday fines last year, the most of any local authority. Separate government figures this week show that overall absence rates in state-funded primary and secondary schools rose slightly in 2014-15.

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