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Headteachers oppose making EBacc GCSEs compulsory...

The TES is reporting a survey that suggests the vast majority of headteachers are against a decision to make it compulsory for pupils to take the academic GCSEs needed to fulfil the EBacc.

…ASCL has found that 87 per cent of its members disagree with the change while only about 10 per cent support it.

Of those who oppose the proposal, 81 per cent said that the range of subjects required was too inflexible, 86 per cent said it would leave less room for creative or vocational subjects, about 97 per cent said it would not suit every pupil and 58 per cent said the change amounted to an unfair performance measure.

But almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of those who said they had concerns over the reform agreed that more flexibility in the choice of subjects would make them more inclined to support it.

They survey also found that 74 per cent of school leaders said that their school did not have enough teachers for the EBac subjects, with languages causing the most difficulties…

ASCL deputy general secretary Malcolm Trobe said: “We understand that ministers intend to consult widely during the autumn over their plan for the compulsory EBac, and we are very pleased that they are doing so. We hope that this will lead to them building more flexibility into this system…read more

GCSE passes up, but top grades down!

The BBC is reporting that GCSE grades A* to C have risen slightly this year, but top A* and A grades have edged down.

In broadly stable results, the proportion of A* to C grades rose to 69%, up from 68.8% last year, but A* grades fell by 0.1 percentage points.

Head teachers’ leader Brian Lightman has warned of “volatility” in results for some individual schools.

But Michael Turner, director general for the Joint Council for Qualifications, said: “At a national level there is very little change in this year’s results but we do see educational policies continuing to have an effect on entry patterns and results at a subject level.

“This is particularly the case in English, mathematics and the sciences.”

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan welcomed the results in England as evidence that “a generation of young people from all backgrounds are now securing the GCSEs that help give them the widest range of options later in life – whether looking for a rewarding job or a top apprenticeship”.

The best results were achieved in Northern Ireland, where the proportion achieving A* to C grades rose by 0.7% to 78.7%. In Wales, the proportion was 66%, the same as least year.

Across England, 68.8% of entries gained an A* to C grade. But there wide regional variations. London has the best results, with 72% achieving A* to C grades, compared with 65% in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt described the regional achievement gap as a “worrying trend”…read more

Increase in the number of all-through schools...

The TES is reporting that the number of all-through schools in England has soared by more than a third in the past 18 months.

According to official statistics, 121 all-through schools – where pupils attend from the age of 4 up to at least 16 – are open in England, compared with 113 listed by the Department for Education in January and 88 in January 2014…

Of the 113 institutions described as all-through schools in the January 2015 census, 89 were academies or free schools.

The DfE’s Edubase database of schools, which is updated daily, shows that more all-through schools have opened since January. It currently lists 121…

Community schools are also making the switch. Starbank School, a former primary in Birmingham, took its first Year 7 students last September in response to growing demand for places in the area…Read More

End-of-term High School Musical video gets nearly a million hits

The Mail is reporting that a group of schoolgirls who suddenly broke into song during their lunch break have amassed a huge following of fans online.

Pupils at Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, planned the flashmob performance of Stick to the Status Quo from TV film High School Musical as an end-of-term stunt.

Student loan repayment regime ‘to get tougher’ – but the good news is fees might be frozen at £9,000

The Independent is reporting claims that that students face a tougher loan repayments regime to avoid a financial crisis over unpaid debts.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute said: “Without stricter repayment terms, there could be cuts to other key departmental programmes – such as apprenticeships or science.” He was speaking at the publication of a report by HEPI warning ministers will have to decide whether to lower or freeze the threshold which triggers loan repayments from its current level of £21,000 a year and/or abolish the 30-year cut-off period after which debts are written off.

‘Too tough’ maths GCSE papers to be torn up

The TES is reporting that Ofqual has told all exam boards to tear up sample maths GCSE question papers because they have not been pitched at the required standard.

Many schools will have already been using the papers to prepare for reformed maths GCSEs, due to be taught from September.

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