WORDS and WAFFLE from DoE

** UK education sixth best in world **
An international education league table puts the UK among a leading group of countries headed by Finland and South Korea.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20498356 >
The Department for Education must have a filing cabinet somewhere labelled ‘staple responses’.
“We are driving up standards right across the board by bringing the best graduates into teaching, developing a world-class curriculum, and restoring order to our classrooms.” Are they?; there are many, many people who would strongly disagree.

“We are driving forward the academies and free schools programmes with more than half of secondary schools now enjoying academy status.” So academy status is a good thing? Free schools are an excellent idea? There are many Juries and lots of them are still out.

“We have introduced the EBacc so more pupils are encouraged to study the core academic subjects that universities and employers demand and we will be introducing a new, far more rigorous examination system.” Will be introducing…? Do we want an EBacc system? All of this is still being vigorously debated; once again a D of E spokesperson comes up with what they do best. Words and waffle.

Global League tables are a useful indicator but we should be very careful about comparing systems from societies that are culturally disparate. Is it really possible to meaningfully compare the education system in Hong Kong with the UK?

The frustrating thing is that the answer should not be difficult. Hard compulsory exams at 16 containing information that school leavers might actually be glad they learned if they never open another book. Tandem vocational qualifications for those less inclined towards academics. A Levels should be kept but rolled back to when they were challenging. Hard exams for 18 year olds will give us a clear picture of abilities. Universities and employers will be able to trust the grades and know the calibre of candidate they are getting without having to re-check. Let’s get away from this ridiculous situation where the sole driver seems to be everybody passing and going to University. Pretending everybody is an academic could lead to a future with the potential to have generations of ill-educated, debt ridden ex-students.

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What makes a career adviser?

** Most schools cut careers advice**
Research suggests careers advice has been in reduced in eight out of 10 schools in England this academic year.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20452398 >
I’ve never really been a fan of careers advice. In the mid 1980s I was told that the best way forward was to be a tree surgeon when all I wanted to do was fly fast jets or play football for England. Not particularly realistic goals but you need to dream.
I’m not knocking tree surgery but believe me that was not the right path for me. Who are careers advisers? Have they had long successful careers and are spending their dotage giving advice on how to replicate their success? If not, I’d like to know how they qualify.
I’m all for helping people make wise choices but shouldn’t we worry more about the shocking state of secondary academic qualifications first?

PLEASE SPEND EDUCATION MONEY WISELY!

** Poorest pupils weaker at maths**
Research suggests the poorest children are twice as likely to struggle at maths than their classmates.
This shows just how effective one-to-one and small group tuition can be. At Kensington & Chelsea Tutors (www.kctutors.co.uk) we were involved with a similar scheme with Westminster Council called Making Good Progress. This involved ten one hour lessons of Maths and / or English for struggling students in mainstream education. They had great success but as with so many things the budget was cut and the service removed.
Why is it that money cannot be found for such schemes when so much public money seems to be constantly wasted? Take the recent rebranding of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). From December 1st 2012 it will be called the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS). We as a registered body have received multitudinous letters and paperwork, they have issued (and we have had to order) new application forms, they have a splendid new logo but absolutely nothing about how we carry out checks has changed. We have also been told we have alter all of our paperwork and websites etc. to reflect these changes.What a monumental waste of everybody’s time and so much money.

Trainee teacher dropout rate is a worrying statistic

** Trainee teacher dropout warning **
Nearly one in three people who train to be teachers in England does not go on to work in the profession, a report suggests.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20340362 >
This is a worrying statistic. We need to make sure that most trainees go on to become teachers. There is bound to be a certain drop out rate but for every potential teacher that leaves training a great deal of time and money has been wasted. Perhaps if the government removed tuition fees for PGCEs there would be fewer candidates falling by the wayside?

Teenagers can’t read GCSE exams – take with a sinch of palt!

** Teenagers can’t read GCSE exams**
Analysis suggests thousands of UK teenagers cannot read well enough to understand their GCSE exam papers.
I believe that there are many problems with the UK education system but I feel that these results are misleading. Despite ever inflating grades it is surely unlikely that average reading ages in teenagers are as low as suggested. Is it really possible for large numbers of students to be taught a GCSE course for two years and then not even have the reading ability to just read the questions? If it is we should be very worried. We should also be careful about taking the results of surveys with relatively narrow and automated criteria too seriously.

Opening the Gates of online tuition

** Gates backs online universities **
Online courses provided by some of the world’s top universities are going to be used by students at local community colleges, in a project funded by the Gates Foundation
Online tuition is clearing a growing area. As far as accreditation is concerned I think it will be incredibly difficult to monitor examinations being taken online. Whichever way you look at it technology is advancing at astonishing speed which has enormous implications for education in the future.

Private tuition provides Winter warmer

A WINTER WARMER THROUGH PRIVATE TUITION

According to education expert Nevil Chiles, founder of Kensington and Chelsea Tutors and recently launched online tutorial resource Webtutornet, now is the time that parents turn their attentions to the consideration of private tuition for their children.

“November and December are the months when most private tuition providers start to see an increase in demand,” explained Nevil “with initial feedback through school reports as to their children’s development and, for certain age groups, the prospect of increasingly important exams to prepare for.

“As we approach the end of the year parents, and in particular mums, are in a better position to assess where their children are and an increasing number are turning to private tutors to top up their child’s education out of school.

“Mothers are generally more aware of where the child is at in terms of their education and it’s they who invariably make the decision to opt for private tuition.

“The growth in the internet over the past decade is also giving parents the added option of tuition being delivered online and Webtutornet, which replicates the structure and approach of a scheduled home tutorial, is one of the most innovative in this respect,” added Nev.

It’s not just children who can benefit from private tution. Through Kensington and Chelsea Tutors (K&C Tutors), an agency that offers private tuition across London and the South East, Nevil has seen the age range of students extend significantly in recent years.

“We provide tuition for children aged 4 and upwards right up to pensioners who are either keen to support their own skills and knowledge or assist them in gaining additional qualifications through university or college courses.

“Some may only need one or two tutorials, either face to face or online, to tackle a specific aspect of a subject or a longer course that assists with an understanding of the fundamentals of a subject or subjects.

“The average is around one to two hours per week and the vast majority take something very tangible from private tuition which is reflected in improved exam results,” added Nevil, a former teacher with over two decades of experience within the education sector.

Nevil established K&C Tutors in 2002 and has interviewed and vetted well over 2,000 private tutors over the last decade. Webtutornet, the result of two years of technological development, mirrors the approach of a face to face tutorial using a safe and secure online connection between the student and tutor.

For more details visit www.kctutors.co.uk and www.webtutornet.com or follow on Twitter @webtutornet / @kandctutors