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ISC Daily News Summary

ISC Daily News Summary 18 June 2021

Exams 2021: 'Wide range of methods' used to calculate grades this year


A Tes survey has found that schools have adopted a wide range of methods to grade this year's GCSEs and A-levels, ranging from full sets of mock exams to coursework and assessments devised by schools themselves. By Catherine Lough.

Gaby Hinsliff writes in The Guardian warning this year's assessment system could lead to 'an emotive high-wire summer of appeals, favouring sharp-elbowed parents and the wealthy'.

According to Schools Week, a technical issue with OCR's grade submission portal has prevented schools from submitting teacher-assessed grades. By Samantha Booth.

Schools Week reports the publication of source data used to award grades last year - intended to "rebuild trust in exams" - has been delayed due to data protection issues. By Samantha Booth.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has found that exam papers leaked on social media are being used as the "main source of evidence to determine provisional results" in some Higher subjects. By Emma Seith, Tes.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scotland's education secretary, has said there is "no evidence" of teachers' grades being changed "on the insistence of schools" that historical patterns of attainment should be applied. By Emma Seith, Tes.

Coronavirus: Scrap mass testing in schools to minimise education disruption, suggests Oxford vaccine pioneer

General education

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, who led the Oxford vaccine programme, has suggested that mass COVID testing in schools should be suspended, adding that "impact on education" could be a reason to vaccinate children. By Sarah Knapton and Harry de Quetteville, The Telegraph. An editorial piece in The Telegraph argues: "To get education back on track, the mass testing regime needs to be drastically reformed or scrapped altogether".

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, writes in The Guardian arguing the Government's catch-up plan "needs to start with its own efforts", adding that ministers need to "be clear now, not at the last minute, about the likely COVID scenarios that schools in England will face in September".

New figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show more than one in five pupils in England are now eligible for free school meals, an increase of 300,000 in a year that has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. By Leonie Chao-Fong, The Independent.

'It's important that schools don't take a tick-box approach to tackling sexual abuse'

Child welfare

Writing for Schools Week, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted's chief inspector, discusses how schools can take action to address sexual harassment and abuse, adding: "Just doing a one-off INSET day, commissioning a costly safeguarding consultant, or requiring staff to read the guidance won't cut it."

A closer look at this year's primary and secondary school applications

General education

The Times reports lower immigration levels and an increase in home schooling are thought to have contributed to a five per cent drop in applications for primary schools in England. By Nicola Woolcock and Rosa Ellis.

Figures from the DfE show nearly one fifth of children have missed out on their first choice secondary school, rising to more than two in five pupils in some areas of England. By Eleanor Busby, The Independent.

Only half of school leavers want to go to university, findings suggest

Higher education

According to a poll commissioned by Samsung, only half of 16 to 18-year-olds want to pursue a degree, while more than a third would prefer to get an apprenticeship. By Alice Hughes, The Independent.

Government officials planning white paper to deliver "broader vision" for schools

Education policy

DfE officials are reportedly planning a white paper to deliver education secretary Gavin Williamson's "broader vision" for the school system. Schools Week.

Duchess of Cambridge launches 'landmark' centre to raise awareness of the importance of early years

Primary education and early years

The Duchess of Cambridge has launched her own Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood as part of efforts to "change the way we think about early childhood, and transform lives for generations to come". By Becky Morton, BBC News.

'International teachers have a wealth of talent and expertise that UK schools shouldn't overlook'

International education

Rebecca Findlay, head of primary at the International School @ParkCity in Kuala Lumpur, writes in Tes outlining six reasons why she believes teachers with international experience are valuable in UK schools.

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