22nd January 2016 at 00:00

Bigger class sizes mean fewer pupils

Schools that increase their class sizes are likely to lose pupils, research reveals.

Peter Fredriksson, from the University of Stockholm, along with fellow Swedish and Dutch academics, studied data from the parents of more than 4,500 Swedish pupils. They found that when class sizes were increased, all parents, regardless of income, were more likely to move their children to another school.

Only children of low-income families actually found teachers in large classes harder to follow, however. The academics believe this is why the negative effects of large class sizes tend to be concentrated among low-income children.

Children most worried at age 10

Children’s level of worry increases during puberty, according to new research.

Line Caes, a psychology expert from NUI Galway in Ireland, along with academics from the universities of Bath and Bristol, studied information that 2,227 English mothers had given about their children, over the course of six years.

The mothers reported that children’s worry peaked at age 10. However, worry interfered most in daily life when children were 13, particularly for girls. Worry is linked to puberty: children who are more physically advanced tend to worry more, the study suggests.

RE ‘dangerous’ in countries of conflict

Religious education tends to entrench existing ethnic, national and political divisions in regions of conflict, research suggests.

Giuditta Fontana, of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London, found that existing research suggests that, in the aftermath of violent conflict, RE lessons might exacerbate existing divisions or, conversely, promote further integration and social cohesion.

Dr Fontana’s own research, in Lebanon, Northern Ireland and Macedonia, reveals that the first of these two possibilities is the more likely.

Transgender pupils ‘need support’

Accommodating transgendered pupils is about more than keeping them safe and working out which toilets for them to use, academics argue.

Melissa Smith and Elizabethe Payne, from the Queering Education Research Institute, at Hunter College in New York, examined how US teachers responded to professional-development sessions about transgender identity. They found that teachers resisted incorporating gender-affirming pedagogy. Instead, they focused on the logistics of accommodating transgender pupils and safety.


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