27th November 2015 at 00:00

Pupil survey shows fall in bullying

Bullying in schools has dropped significantly, according to Department for Education researchers who conducted interviews with 11,166 Year 10 students about their experiences. The results, gathered in 2014, were compared with a previous survey carried out in 2005. Researchers Sarah Lasher and Clare Baker found that 36 per cent of young people said they were bullied in 2014, compared with 41 per cent in 2005. Threats of violence also fell: these affected 20 per cent of young people in 2005 and 14 per cent in 2014. Reports of actual violence dropped from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.

Raisin test ‘identifies low attainers’

A simple “raisin test” given to toddlers may help to identify children who are at risk of falling behind in school at the age of 8. In the test, a raisin is put under an upturned cup and the child is asked not to eat it until they are told they can. Researchers found that toddlers who took the raisin before getting permission were more likely to have problems in school later on. Being able to identify cognitive problems early could help in giving support, say the researchers: Julia Jaekel, of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, of the University of Brighton; and Professor Dieter Wolke, of the University of Warwick.

When ‘being normal’ is self-protection

Girls in primary school who are not seen as being “cool” often cultivate an “uncool” identity of being “normal” and nice to avoid being bullied or excluded by “cool” girls, a study shows. Carrie Paechter and Sheryl Clark, both of Goldsmiths, University of London, observed girls between the ages of 9 and 11 in two schools. They found that there were some children for whom deliberately cultivating an “uncool” identity was protective. The girls used this identity to avoid being drawn into the struggle for dominance in “cool-girl” groupings.

Poor pupils need more than premium

Pupil premium funding has been fairly successful in bringing money to schools serving children from low-income families, but has not been sufficient to counter policies putting those pupils at a disadvantage, a study shows. Ruth Lupton and Stephanie Thomson, from the University of Manchester, examined the coalition government’s education spending between 2010 and 2015. They concluded that the pupil-premium policy had a modest overall effect. But this, they said, was within a wider set of policies which disadvantaged low-income families.

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