Intute: Education news round-up

Here’s a round-up of the latest news to have wound up on the desks of the Intute: Education Editors.

August is the cruellest month for hundreds of thousands of teenagers waiting for GCSE and A-level results. But now research supported by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, has shown that it is not only students who suffer from the stress of major public exams and national tests. Teachers, too, are unhappy about the pressures created by high-stakes exams and tests, the need to cover the curriculum at break-neck speed, and the tick-box culture that has developed in many schools.

Fewer young people entering further and higher education are choosing to study maths, according to the DfES Find Out More blog. Concerns over the decline in high-level maths qualifications and lower-level maths skills are reflected in a number of recent studies. Making Mathematics Count, Professor Adrian Smith’s inquiry into post-14 maths education, is especially influential. Its recommendations form much of the basis of the Government’s policy on maths.

Secondary schools must rethink the way they place pupils in classes if they are serious about all children reaching their potential, warns newly published research from the Institute of Education. A survey of 5,000 13- to 14-year-olds in English secondary schools showed that 62 per cent of pupils preferred to be in classes with others of similar ability (setting) – so long as they were in the high or middle sets. Those in the lower sets, or from poorer families said they preferred classes with pupils of all abilities (mixed ability) because of the stigma attached to being considered “thick”.

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