The real test
A letter in The Telegraph from Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College in light of exam chief Andrew Hall’s recent comments on a ‘broader curriculum’. “If heads really wanted to challenge their students, they would switch to a system available to all, which has had zero grade inflation, does not permit resits, and where all students take six subjects, including maths, a second language and a science. This is the International Baccalaureate, offered at 200 schools in the UK. The reason more schools do not offer it is because it is difficult, and might depress exam results and league table positions". Back to top
Universities to get control of A-levels
Universities are to be given new powers to set A-levels for the first time in 30 years following fears that gold standard qualification is failing to prepare teenagers for higher education. In a letter to exam regulator Ofqual, Michael Gove has said he is concerned current A-levels fail to properly prepare students for university. Any change would apply to English exam boards, whose papers are also sat by pupils in Wales and Northern Ireland. But Labour's Barry Sheerman said the real problem with post-16 education was a "narrowness of scope" in subjects. Back to top
‘Spoon-fed’ students given tuition in basic skills at university
Universities want A-levels to be more intellectually stretching and with less spoon-feeding from teachers, according to a study from an exam board.Cambridge Assessment, which runs the OCR exam board, found many lecturers believed students arrived unprepared for degree-level work.Three-in-five lecturers said their institutions ran catch-up classes. Back to top
International child flee cases on increase
Cases of a parent fleeing with their children to a different country are on the increase, a report has said.Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales, Lord Justice Thorpe, said most instances involved eastern European countries.His office dealt with 180 cases last year compared with 27 in 2007. Back to top
School meals are 'made smaller to save money'
Children as young as five are being allowed to go hungry at primary schools as head teachers cut lunch portions to save money, according to research published by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Despite a rise in the cost of lunches in most schools, teachers warned that the youngest children were being given small portions and even missing out altogether as food runs out. The study found that the reforms were driving up prices and – in some cases – failing to address concerns over quality. Six-in-10 teachers said costs had gone up in the last 12 months. In the majority of cases, prices had increased by up to 50p a day, but one-in-six staff claimed prices had increased by between 50p and £1. Children left hungry as schools cut lunch portions - The Telegraphhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9180992/Children-left-hungry-as-schools-cut-lunch-portions.html Back to top
As the teaching union conference season gets underway, the Guardian asks teachers, parents and the chief inspector what the everyday worries are in schools today. This week’s Guardian education section also includes an interview with Paul Curran, vice-chancellor of City University, and a feature on the importance of universities marketing themselves well. Back to top
Is sugar actually poisonous?
A spoonful of sugar may have helped the medicine go down for Mary Poppins but research claims that it is actually a toxin. The high dosage of sugar that Americans consume makes it a poison and a key contributor to diet-related diseases, including heart disease and obesity, according to research. Sugar in all its disguises, whether the refined stuff, honey or fructose syrup, is responsible for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer, according to Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor at the University of California. Back to top