News story: New measures to support disadvantaged children in schools

first_imgIncluded within the package of measures announced today are: We understand children in care have very poor outcomes. Actually the truth is the outcomes for children in need of a social worker are almost as bad but there are five times as many of them. We also know the effects of this sustain. Overall if you’ve needed contact with a social worker at any time since year 5, on average you are going to score 20 grades lower across eight GCSEs. We need to improve the visibility of this group, both in schools and in the system as a whole. We need to make sure in every case that information is passed on to a social worker when a child moves school. We also need to improve our knowledge of what works to support and help these children. We must not lower our expectations for them – for these children it is more important that they can do their very best to make the most of their talents when they’re at school. The Pupil Premium provides welcome additional funding for schools, recognising those with some of the biggest challenges. The EEF’s new guidance on how to spend it rightly emphasises recruiting, retaining and developing great teachers. In order to be effective, the Pupil Premium must not become a cause of unnecessary work for teachers. Ofsted does not require any school-generated data on the Pupil Premium beyond the school’s Pupil Premium strategy, and does not require schools to track eligible pupils or provide evidence of closing within school attainment gaps. The schools admission code will be changed so that the most vulnerable children, such as those fleeing domestic abuse, can access a school place more quickly, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced today (17 June).New analysis lays bare the extent of disadvantage, with every classroom having three children who have come into contact with a social worker and 1.6 million children needing a social worker at some point in the last three years. These children suffer further as they often miss out on education, being three times more likely to be persistently absent from school and four times more likely to be permanently excluded.In a speech at Reform, the Education Secretary outlined the changing nature of disadvantage and a package of measures to support the most vulnerable in society, including new research on how to tackle persistent absence from school and exploring the expansion of advocates within education so that all children in need of a social worker, and not just those in care, are given the support they need.Schools will also receive guidance on how to use the Pupil Premium most effectively, with evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) showing the success of particular methods in improving educational outcomes.Education Secretary Damian Hinds said in a speech today: To further improve standards in schools the Government is targeting extra support at some of the poorest areas of the country, through its £72 million Opportunity Areas programme and £24 million Opportunity North East. Up to £26 million is also being invested in the National Schools Breakfast Programme, which will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in over 1,700 schools.The Department for Education is providing more support for early learning than ever before and has a new focus on the home learning environment, providing £3.5 billion this year alone in free early years education and the 30 hours free offer which already supports many families from lower incomes. Taking forward changes to the School Admissions Code and improving the speed of the in-year admissions process so vulnerable children can access a school place as quickly as possible; Making sure the mental health difficulties of children with social workers is tackled by ensuring both initial teacher training and the social work standards equip professionals with the right knowledge and skills on mental health. The Department for Education will bring together best practice on how to support children who have experienced childhood adversity, including the impact on mental health; Better sharing of information between councils and schools, including making sure social workers are informed when a child they support is excluded from school, and closer working between schools and councils to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils; Working across Government to tackle the causes of disadvantage, including on domestic abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, serious violence, and exploitation; and Making sure disadvantaged children are in education, by taking forward the Timpson Review recommendations and tackling off-rolling, absence and exclusions. Giving every young person the best start in life, whatever their background and wherever they come from, is a mission that unites teachers. By acknowledging the relationship between family income and educational success, the Pupil Premium cuts right to the heart of the reason most of us became educators. The Pupil Premium is the key lever for closing the attainment gap and greater security of funding supports schools to plan ahead with confidence. We know that it has enabled headteachers to focus attention and make a difference for their most disadvantaged pupils. This is achieving results in schools across England, but there is undoubtedly more to do to. We’ve published new guidance to help schools spend their Pupil Premium to maximise the benefit for their students. Crucially, we want to strengthen the ways the Premium can be spent to recruit, retain and develop great teachers for all children. Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector, said: While the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed by at least 9.5% since 2011, disadvantage continues to lead to poorer outcomes that the Education Secretary today said need to be confronted head on.Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:last_img read more

School Gardens

first_imgHeading back to class this fall will mean heading back to the school garden at hundreds of schools across Georgia. While more and more schools are using gardens as outdoor classrooms, many teachers are still fine-tuning how to best use these new resources and many administrators are still figuring out how to maintain the gardens from year to year so they don’t become eyesores or liabilities. The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers a new online resource for Georgia teachers, parents and administrators looking to start a school garden, refurbish an existing garden or simply take full advantage of a school garden that’s being under used. The UGA Extension School Garden Resource Center, launched in fall 2013, offers teachers in kindergarten through eighth grade lesson plans that use school gardens to teach the curriculum prescribed in the Georgia Performance Standards. It also offers a comprehensive, practical guide on starting and maintaining a school garden and funding sources for garden improvements. It offers real world strategies for organizing, maintaining and using school gardens year after year. All of the content at the School Garden Resource Center is free and available at David Knauft, a professor of horticulture at UGA, collected and adapted the school garden lesson plans in order to make it easier for teachers to use gardens in their teaching. During his research, he found many teachers didn’t feel they had time to work gardening into their teaching day and didn’t have the support they needed to maintain the gardens. “We conducted four focus groups with teachers, administrators and volunteers across Georgia, asking them about the value of the gardens and what we could do to help,” Knauft said. “They said that providing information to help establish and grow their gardens and how to work them into the existing curriculum, so that they could more easily use the gardens, would make a big difference.” Knauft, who has taught horticulture for more than three decades, first learned the importance of linking enrichment activities with state-mandated curriculum when he helped to develop Project Focus. Project Focus is an elementary and middle school program in which college students conduct curriculum-based science programs in local classrooms. Knauft collected and adapted the school garden lesson plans and other resources with the help of Alicia Holloway, a former agriculture teacher who now worke on the school garden project. Holloway will be starting her master’s degree in horticulture this fall. She will be working with Dr. Knauft to study the impacts of school gardens on children’s health. “There’s a lot of pressure for teachers to improve test scores, so it can be hard to take time away from instruction to take a class outside,” Holloway said. “But if you can tie that time outside to the curriculum and use the school’s garden to teach them the standards that they need to learn, it starts to make sense.” “Hopefully, teachers will be able to go to this website, look at the lesson plan resources that are available and find one that works best for teaching the standards that they need to focus on, while introducing students to the natural world,” she said. Kaiser Permanente’s Partnership for a Healthier America funded part of the School Garden Resource Center and will help develop more standards-based lesson plans that can be used in Georgia’s school gardens. The resource center is a well-organized, one-stop-shop for resources from other state Extension agencies, the USDA and non-profit organizations that promote gardening in schools. For success stories of school gardens across Georgia visit UGA Extension is the outreach branch of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. UGA Extension is a trusted local source of unbiased, research-based information about agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families. More information is available at or by calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1.last_img read more

Credit union-supported candidates see primary wins in Wis., Neb.

first_img continue reading » Candidates backed by America’s credit unions saw primary election victories in competitive races across Wisconsin and Nebraska during Tuesday’s elections.State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R) won 58% of the vote in the state’s 7th Congressional District special election to fill the seat left open by Rep. Sean Duffy (R). Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), CUNA’s federal political action committee, and the Wisconsin Credit Union League supported Tiffany in his race.CULAC and the Nebraska Credit Union League (NCUL) supported incumbents:Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R), who did not have a primary challenger;Rep. Don Bacon (R), who took 90% of the vote against challenger Paul Anderson; ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more