For the new academic year, Minerva will be publishing a regular weekly blog collating all the most important Education news in brief, so you can easily keep up to date with what’s been happening.
Thursday 8th September, 2016
The biggest Education news this week has been that Theresa May’s government has confirmed it plans to open new grammar schools. The proposition is supported by Education Secretary Justine Greening, and will be subject to unspecified ‘various conditions.’
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the outgoing Head of Ofsted/chief inspector of schools, has been a vocal critic of the idea, claiming that new selective grammar schools will benefit wealthier middle class families who can afford extra help before entrance exams, not the disadvantaged children it is claimed they are intended to help. However, May has insisted that the new grammar schools will be more inclusive, with a quota for pupils from poorer backgrounds ensuring they do not exclusively benefit wealthier families.
Both the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner have condemned May’s proposals. They suggest it would be a retrograde step, lead to greater academic segregation and undermine the goal of improving schools and education for children from all backgrounds.
In addition, May has also announced she will crack down on independent and fee-paying schools, saying they will need to support or sponsor state schools in some way, or subsidise places for less advantaged students, in order to maintain their charitable status.
In other Education news, Oxford University will be offering more places to pupils from state schools than at any point in the last 40 years, with 6 out of 10 new undergraduates coming from state schools. This represents an 8% increase since 2005, and 11% since 1995
This is the result of a concerted effort to widen access and make higher education at elite universities more available to pupils from a greater diversity of backgrounds. Dr Samina Khan, head of undergraduate admissions at Oxford, said this strategy is now ‘bearing fruit’.
Matthew Tate, the new headmaster of Hartsdown Academy in Kent, has sparked wide criticism, debate and outrage among parents by turning away 80 pupils in their first week for minor uniform infringments
Finally, a study into children’s lunchboxes by the University of Leeds claims that fewer than two in every 100 meet the government’s recommended nutritional intake, with over 50% having too many salty or sugary snacks.
More Information on this week’s Education News: