Education

Gainsborough schools abandon shorter summer break policy

Image copyright Google Image caption The academy group said it had not seen any significant improvement, and had actually seen a rise in absences An academy group of schools that introduced shorter summer holidays has abandoned the idea after experiencing a rise in absences. Changing term dates was meant to help staff, reduce stress levels and allow families to book cheaper holidays. Sue Wilson, executive head of Tall Oaks Academy

North missing out on learning languages

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Youngsters in the North are more likely to miss out on language qualifications, says the British Council There is a stark north-south divide in whether young people in England are learning modern languages, an annual survey from the British Council says. In some London boroughs, 75% of pupils take a language GCSE, while in authorities such as Middlesbrough and Blackpool it is below 30%.

‘Sweeping’ new powers for Scottish head teachers

Image caption The reforms give sweeping new powers to head teachers The Scottish government has set out “sweeping new powers” for schools as part of a shake-up of education. Education Secretary John Swinney said his reforms were aimed at “freeing our teachers to teach”. The reforms will see head teachers take responsibility for closing the attainment gap, choosing school staff and deciding curriculum content. They also aim to give schools

Top university under ‘ransomware’ cyber-attack

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption UCL says it faced a “widespread ransomware attack” University College London, one of the world’s leading universities, has been hit by a major cyber-attack. The university says that it is a “ransomware” attack which threatens to disrupt and damage information held on computer systems. Access to online networks is still being limited, with the attack continuing on Thursday morning. The university has warned staff

‘Trump’ children’s word of the year

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Donald Trump is now part of the playground zeitgeist, says a study of children’s writing His name is never out of the headlines, and “Trump” now seems to have taken over the playground too – as it is named children’s “word of the year”. The Oxford University Press analysed more than 130,000 children’s stories submitted for BBC Radio 2’s annual story-writing competition 500 Words.

Young deeply pessimistic about social mobility, survey says

Image copyright Getty Images Young people are deeply pessimistic about their ability to get on in Britain’s “us and them society”, says social mobility tsar Alan Milburn. He says they “increasingly feel like they are on the wrong side of a profound unfairness”. This is why, he suggests, young people turned out in record numbers to vote in the general election. They were particularly worried about their finances, job security

Don’t wrap girls in cotton wool, says private school leader

Image caption Cheryl Giovannoni: “We try to protect girls more than we should.” Parents and teachers should not “wrap girls in cotton wool”, an independent schools’ leader has said. Girls were not victims and were stronger and more feisty than they were often given credit for, said Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST). Ms Giovannoni said girls should be encouraged to take the sorts of

Open University overhaul risks job cuts

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The OU is proposing a radical overhaul to secure its future for the next 50 years Staff at the Open University are likely to face job losses as the institution launches “a radical overhaul”. A “root-and-branch review” aims to save £100m from an annual budget of £420m, said OU management in a statement. The changes would result in “a revitalised and redesigned OU”, said

School places pressure hits secondaries

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Places pressure is being felt in secondary schools The proportion of 11-year-olds offered a place at their first-choice secondary school in England is the lowest since 2010, official figures show. This year, 83.5% of applicants received offers from their first choice schools, down from 84.1% last year. The last time more than 16% of applicants were not offered their first choice was in 2010.

Term ‘genius’ alienates women, says Cambridge lecturer

Image copyright Getty Images A Cambridge lecturer says colleagues should refrain from using terms like brilliant, genius and flair, as they could alienate female students. Dr Lucy Delap, deputy director of history and policy at Cambridge, said these terms were vague and carried assumptions of gender inequality. Dr Delap said female students were often less likely to project themselves into such categories. She said a “male-dominated environment” at Oxbridge must