21st June 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Ofsted chief inspector backs ban on phones in schools
The chief inspector of Ofsted is backing head teachers who ban mobile phones to prevent bad behaviour.
In a speech, Amanda Spielman is expected to blame technology for making "low-level disruption" more common and endorse tough behaviour policies.
"The place of mobile phones in the classroom seems to me dubious at best," she will say.
Her speech comes after Culture Secretary Matt Hancock also called on head teachers to ban phones.
Spielman says that the educational benefits of mobile phones are unproven, but they do distract pupils in class and make teachers' jobs harder.
"There's no doubt that technology has made the challenge of low-level disruption even worse, which is why I also support recent calls to back heads who have decided that the way to improve behaviour is to ban mobile phones in their schools," Ms Spielman will say.
"I'm not the target audience, but nevertheless I am yet to be convinced of the educational benefits of all-day access to Snapchat and the like."
According to the Department for Education, 95% of schools now control the use of mobile phones in some way.
Some schools insist that they are kept switched off and out of sight during the whole school day, others restrict their use to break time and some allow them to be used in lessons for specific educational activities.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44553705
Students should sit national assessments for degrees to stop ‘rocketing’ grade inflation, report says
A new assessment body should set the standards across a particular subject, with all final-year students sitting national exams, to curb the proportion of first class degrees, a report suggests.
Reform said individual universities should lose the right to select their student’s final degree grades following a rise in the number of top grades being awarded by institutions.
The proportion of firsts almost doubled from 7 per cent to 13 per cent from 1997 to 2009 – and since 2010, when £9,000-per-year tuition fees were announced, it has gone up to 26 per cent.
The proportion of 2:1 degrees has risen from 40 per cent to 49 per cent since 1995, meaning three-quarters of students now achieve top degrees, compared with 47 per cent in the mid-1990s.
The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has called on universities to act on grade inflation, saying students deserve a grading system which recognises their hard work.
Under the think tank’s proposals, the results of national assessments would determine the proportions of each degree grade universities can award in each subject – rather than individual universities making their own decisions.
The proportion of degree grades awarded at a national level for each subject would be fixed at 10 per cent of students receiving a first, 40 per cent a 2:1, 40 per cent a 2:2 and 10 per cent a third.
“It is in the interests of both students and universities to stop grade inflation,” the report says.
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