Recent reports by the Education Policy Institute thinktank and the Fair Education Alliance have highlighted that, despite efforts of schools and policy-makers, the attainment gap at KS4 is actually widening. For educators driven by a desire to help every student do the best they can, this discrepancy is a tragedy, especially considering that students with lower prior attainment tend to have the greatest opportunity to make gains. The circumstances seem to prevent this opportunity from being exploited.
It doesn’t really need to be pointed out that setting and marking homework is a drain on our time. As an English Literature teacher, marking extended essays by each student always took a big slice out of my day. Technology has helped me make this process a lot easier, and it has given me tools to really engage my students.
During his 10 years in education, Darryl Keane from Learning by Questions marked the key stage 2 SATs papers of students from all over England and Wales. In this time, he noticed that the same mistakes, many often easily avoidable, were made by students. With this year’s SATs being sat in the same week as the Eurovision Song Contest, Darryl gives us his Eurovision Song Contest style countdown to the most common SATs mistakes and misconceptions.
The global shortage of learning is truly shocking. Today, most children in the world are not reaching even basic levels of literacy and maths as they are either not in school or they’re in a school but not really learning. It’s an uncomfortable fact reinforced by the World Bank’s inaugural report on education. The crisis is worst in sub-Saharan Africa. It is home to more than half the world’s out-of-school children, but it receives only a quarter of global education aid. The latest insight from the most authoritative research points to low quality and quantity of teaching in low and middle income countries, indicative of ineffective systems, as a major root cause.
The current education system in England has found itself under increasing scrutiny for the one-size-fits-all nature it has adopted, with many believing the focus on rigid testing is having a detrimental effect on students’ wellbeing and progress in schools. This has culminated in Ofsted shifting its focus on assessment in the new inspection framework to introduce a more personalised, balanced and inclusive approach that prioritises ‘intent, implementation and impact’.