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ISC Daily News Summary 21 October 2016

School playing field sales due to surge

General Education

More school playing-field sell-offs were approved by the government in August than in any other month this decade – and the numbers are steadily climbing, latest figures reveal. By Charlotte Santry, TES. The sell-off of school playing fields is also cited as a reason behind independent school dominance in sport, in an article by Tim Wigmore for iNews.

More pupils absent from school for family holidays

General Education

The proportion of pupils skipping school for family holidays has risen, official figures have revealed. By Josie Gurney-Read, Telegraph. Also reported by TES and Guardian.

See the government's pupil absence statistics.

Results-boosting primary-school philosophy lesson to be trialled across 200 schools

Primary Education and Early Years

A low-cost philosophy programme that was found to improve the reading and maths skills of primary pupils is now to be tested across 200 schools. By Adi Bloom, TES. Schools Week also reports on this but focuses on the criticism the programme has received about the reliability of earlier research.

Social media 'backlashes' have led to predictable exams, assessment expert claims


Fear of a social media backlash is preventing exam boards from setting harder questions, and leading to papers that are too easy and predictable, a prominent assessment expert has claimed. By Eleanor Busby, TES.

Offer cash rewards to underachievers to boost GCSE results, study says


Offering cash payments and rewards to the worst performing pupils produces a substantial boost to their GCSE exam results, according to the findings of the first large-scale experiment of its type in English schools. By Richard Adams, Guardian.

Schools being forced to hire lower calibre teachers

Recruitment and Retention

Headteachers are increasingly unhappy with the quality of applicants for teaching posts, TES research shows, as heads’ leaders warn that schools are being forced to take on lower calibre staff in a desperate attempt to fill positions. By Richard Vaughan, TES. Schools Week reports, in a separate article, that Justine Greening has said she wants School Direct teacher training to be longer if trainees are to get the experience across different schools.

School system does not reward the best head teachers

Teaching and Learning

The school system systematically fails to recognise the head teachers who make the biggest impact in improving pupils' chances, research suggests. By Chris Cook, BBC News.

Why bog standard isn't good enough for schools

And finally

These days, the school toilet is often a no-go area – a dirty and dangerous place where bullies know their victims can’t call for help. John Stanier rolls back through history to discover how we got here and asks where we go next. By John Stainer, TES. The full story is available behind the paywall but Anne Mroz has also written a comment piece on this story.

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