When the English GCSE exam was described as ‘not fit for purpose’ four years ago by then education secretary Michael Gove, a widespread concern about GCSEs was reported by the national press. In fact, many educators already believed that traditional GCSEs were dull and insufficiently challenging, and a few independent schools had been developing their own Middle Years curricula and examinations, including Bedales, Malvern College and Sevenoaks School.
I wholeheartedly agree with her majesty’s chief inspector of schools. That’s a sentence I never believed I would write. When, however, Amanda Spielman expressed the view that Primary schools who scrap most of the curriculum in Year 6 to focus just on English and maths could be accused of “putting the interests of schools ahead of the interests of the children in them”, it is difficult to see how any education professional could disagree.
Dekko Comics is an organisation who combine entertainment and education through comic stories, thus helping those who feel intimidated by the current systems and left disinterested in the learning process. With a roster of vibrant and engaging characters, Dekko Comics have proven popular, with both children and adults finding them a great way to engage with the lessons being taught.
Dr Katherine Forsey is a retained consultant for Gratnells, school storage and staging providers and leading outdoor education specialist. In her role as senior panellist for Gratnells Learning Rooms, an all-embracing approach to the environment in which teachers and pupils interact, Katherine delivers practical outdoor education opportunities for school children. She believes going outdoors shouldn’t be reserved for the occasional school trip, but should be a regular, normal part of the school day at every time of year:
Are you ready for mastery? Socratess by InfoMentor is a unique leadership self-assessment tool that helps you implement Mastery Learning in your school. Education legislation, resources, curriculum and assessment arrangements and pupil outcomes all represent tough challenges for school leadership. As countries are seeking to adapt their education systems to the needs of society, expectations for schools and school leaders are changing. School leaders have greater freedom in their decision-making. InfoMentor will be discussing these issues at this year’s Bett Show, and you can find them at Stand B200.
In true Scottish storytelling fashion, there is a tale, which may or may not be true, that tells of when Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence was in its infancy, in the middle of the first decade of the millennium. The tale was that - along with the areas of Literacy, Numeracy and Health & Wellbeing – ICT was to be a responsibility of all practitioners. This would mean that every Scottish educator would be required to explicitly take ownership of supporting and tracking the digital skills of the learners in their care. Then sadly, the story goes, for some reason ICT was quietly removed from the ‘responsibility of all category’ and subsumed under the banner of technologies.
The BP Educational Service has launched a new Light and Pinhole Cameras resource and a Pinhole Photography Competition to help young people aged 11 to 14 explore and celebrate the science of light. The new video-led resources provides schools with the opportunity to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies 2015, and pupils are also encouraged to build cameras and send in best pinhole photos as part of a competition.