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Archive for the 'Schools' Category

Improving the nation’s numeracy: what can we learn from the British cohorts?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 4 July 2024

Colourful hand-drawn mathematical graphs and equations on a black background.

Adapted from 9george / Adobe Stock.

Charlotte Booth, Claire Crawford, Vanessa Moulton

Every new government likes to put their own stamp on the National Curriculum – with varying use of evidence to support their changes.

The next government is sure to be no different, no matter who wins today. While the UK’s two main parties have campaigned on very different platforms, there is one issue where the Conservatives and Labour do agree – the importance of maths. (more…)

The future of primary education in England: a response to recent discussions

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 20 June 2024

Girls in a primary school classroom talk over laptop screens. Credit: Phil Meech for UCL IOE.

Credit: Phil Meech for UCL

John White.

I agree so much with the arguments running through the four recent blog posts on primary education from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy. Today, curriculum and pedagogy are dominated by assessment requirements. This explains why so much of the curriculum is about knowledge acquisition and regurgitation – and, as Alice Bradbury’s piece points out, why so many pupils are bored or anxious about their Sats performance. Children are, after all, active, inquisitive, creative creatures. They need a curriculum, pedagogy and assessment system befitting these qualities. (more…)

Assessment in primary schools: reducing the ‘Sats effect’

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 7 June 2024

This is the final in a mini-series of blog posts about primary education from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (HHCP) at IOE. Each post addresses key points that are included in a new HHCP briefing paper written to inform debate about education in England as we approach the general election. The four posts are:

      1. In the hands of new government: the future of primary education in England
      2. Children, choice and the curriculum
      3. Hands on learning: a progressive pedagogy
      4. Assessment in primary schools: reducing the ‘Sats effect’
Students sitting at their desks taking exams. Credit: Cavan for Adobe via Adobe Stock.

Credit: Cavan for Adobe via Adobe Stock.

Alice Bradbury

Assessment plays a key role in any teacher’s work: through formative assessment, teachers understand what children can do and what they need to learn next. This guides how learning is planned and what is taught. However, the current assessment landscape in England is dominated by statutory, summative assessment, where the purpose of the assessment is not to help children learn, but to measure what they can do. This is one part of the education system which, as we in HHCP argue in our new briefing paper, needs a different approach. (more…)

Hands on learning: a progressive pedagogy

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 6 June 2024

This is the third of four blog posts about primary education from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (HHCP) at IOE. Each post addresses key points that are included in a new HHCP briefing paper written to inform debate about education in England as we approach the general election. The four posts are:

      1. In the hands of a new government: the future of primary education in England
      2. Children, choice and the curriculum
      3. Hands on learning: a progressive pedagogy
      4. Assessment in primary schools: reducing the ‘Sats effect’
Children doing a science experiment with their teacher. Credit: Drazen via Adobe Stock.

Credit: Drazen via Adobe Stock.

Emily Ranken

Children’s opportunities for authentic, hands-on experiences as part of their learning, such as science experiments, school trips, and ‘forest school’, are decreasing. Rising constraints on school budgets, combined with a detailed curriculum that prioritises traditional, knowledge-heavy content, means that schools are less likely to be able to provide children with these real-life, resource-intensive activities. Yet, they provide children with an essential component of primary education. (more…)

Children, choice and the curriculum

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 5 June 2024

This is the second of four blog posts about primary education from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (HHCP) at IOE. Each post addresses key points that are included in a new HHCP briefing paper written to inform debate about education in England as we approach the general election. The four posts are:

      1. In the hands of a new government: the future of primary education in England.
      2. Children, choice and the curriculum.
      3. Hands on learning: a progressive pedagogy.
      4. Assessment in primary schools: reducing the ‘Sats effect’.
Children raising their hands as a teacher leans over their desks. Credit: Cavan for Adobe via Adobe Stock.

Credit: Cavan for Adobe via Adobe Stock.

Yana Manyukhina

Curriculum is a fundamental aspect of schooling as it dictates what children learn. Behind each curriculum is a set of significant assumptions about what we intend for our children to achieve by the time they complete their schooling. These assumptions reflect our societal values and the kind of citizens we aspire to nurture. (more…)

A Baccalaureate Curriculum

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 1 February 2024

Secondary school students in a drama class. Phil Meech for UCL.

Secondary school students in a drama class. Phil Meech for UCL.

David Scott

This blog post is not just an opinion piece but also, I hope, a reasoned argument about the curriculum, and for the introduction of a ‘true’ Baccalaureate into the English Education System – with all the implications this has, not just for the 16-19 phase, but for the system as a whole. A more detailed account of this argument is available in my edited book, On Learning: volume 2, Philosophy, Concepts and Practices, which is free to download at UCL Press.

The call for England to adopt a broader curriculum for the 16-19 phase is one that has surfaced intermittently. It is echoed in the government’s plans to introduce an ‘Advanced British Standard’ (more…)

Holocaust Memorial Day: why historical knowledge and conceptual understanding are key to engaging with the fragility of freedom

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 25 January 2024

The stone columns of the UCL Wilkins building lit in purple to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

The stone columns of the UCL Wilkins building lit in purple to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Rebecca Hale

Every year, on the 27th January, people come together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). They participate in events to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust and in other genocides.

For many schools, HMD provides an important opportunity to teach students about the Holocaust, supporting them to reflect on its contemporary significance, and providing a space for young people to honour the memory of the victims. Indeed, in the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education’s most recent national study, 74.5% of teachers reported that their school marked HMD as part of their teaching about the Holocaust. (more…)

Rising school absence: what do we know and what can we do?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 16 January 2024

Empty desk in an otherwise full classroom

Credit: Smolaw11 / Adobe.

Lindsey Macmillan and Jake Anders.

The start of 2024 has seen a renewed focus on persistent absenteeism from school, with the Secretary of State for Education announcing a major national drive to improve school attendance, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Education laying out Labour’s plans to ‘rebuild the broken relationship between schools, families and the Government’. Yet this is not a new problem: the issue of persistent absenteeism has been looming since schools returned to ‘normal’ after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone agrees that the rise in pupil absence since the pandemic is of significant concern. But the causes and what we should do about this are much less clear. (more…)

Lots of children find school science lessons boring. Should science teachers include discussion of ethical issues?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 12 September 2023

Bumblebee resting on a vivid pink flower

Credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar / Wikimedia Commons.

Amanda McCrory and Michael J. Reiss.

Early in 2023, and for the third year in a row, the UK government decided to allow the ‘emergency’ use of the pesticide thiamethoxam (a type of neonicotinoid) on sugar beet in England. Thiamethoxam is normally banned because it is incredibly toxic to bees and other insects. A single teaspoon can kill over a thousand million bees.

Should school children consider ethical issues such as whether these pesticides should be used? In our newly published book The Place of Ethics in Science Education: Implications for Practice, we look at the arguments for and against the inclusion of ethical issues in science education. (more…)

The climate crisis needs a whole-school approach, starting with teacher access to professional development

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 13 July 2023

Female teacher points out to pupils outdoors

Credit: Hero Images / Adobe Stock

Kate Greer and Alison Kitson.

A new survey of teachers in England has found limited coverage of climate change and sustainability in both initial teacher education and continuing teacher professional development – and provides the impetus for change.

These findings, from UCL’s Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE) are set out in a new report, Teaching climate change and sustainability: A survey of teachers in England. Covering teachers’ practice, professional development and priorities for support, the findings will be of interest to teachers, teacher educators and organizations that support teachers to contribute to society’s transformation to sustainability, as well as to schools as they develop and implement climate change action plans. The findings are also informing CCCSE’s suite of free professional development resources – Teaching for Sustainable Futures – which are being designed for teachers of all subjects and age-phases.  The Geography and History modules, for primary and secondary teachers in each case, are ready to access now (see the joining instructions on CCCSE’s website). The next set of modules – English and mathematics – will be available in 2024. (more…)