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Tes 10 September 2021

Tes is dedicated to supporting the world’s teachers. Our mission is to enable great teaching by helping educators find the tools and technology they need to excel, supporting them throughout their career and professional development.

United Kingdom
Tes Global Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

3 min

I never got called “naughty” at school, but I am very aware that I was a pain. Easily bored and always looking for stimulation, I would play devil’s advocate when a teacher was desperately trying to teach the content, and I would attempt to derail lessons on to a tangent through ludicrous questioning. There’s no doubt this was disruptive but it was never treated as such. I was reminded of this when I read Alex Quigley’s fascinating column in the magazine this week (page 33). Quigley articulates the long-known connection between poor vocabulary knowledge and challenging behaviour, and asks us to look deeper into this connection – at the fact that it works in both directions and that it is much more complex than a discrete, two-way relationship. It’s an excellent,…

2 min
extending the day: the long and the short of it

In the latest example of the flexibility of “evidence” used in the education sector, a report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) last week suggested that HM Treasury’s argument that the case for an extended school day was weak was itself, erm, weak. Back in the heady days of liberally sown pandemic promises, the recovery tsar, Sir Kevan Collins (no replacement was ever appointed after his resignation, interestingly), pitched for £15 billion of funding from government, a huge chunk of which was aimed at getting children into schools for longer. The proposal was thrown out because of questions over the level of return, but EPI research fellow Luke Sibieta has now concluded that the evidence on extra school time is actually “quite strong, both from the successful examples and from the…

2 min
isle have some of that: hunt is on for a head who loves remote learning

On a good day, if the weather is playing ball, it takes about three and a half hours by boat and road to travel from Fair Isle to the capital – not Edinburgh, not London, but Lerwick, on the Shetland mainland. (An eight-seater plane gets you there much quicker, but the unpredictable weather frequently puts paid to scheduled flights.) Fair Isle, described on its own dedicated website as “the most geographically remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom”, is home to about 50 people, and some of those attend or teach in its school: Fair Isle Primary School. The roll has reached up to 17 in fairly recent times but now sits at three: one nursery child, one in Primary 2 and one in Primary 5. Headteacher Ruth Stout moved to…

8 min
10 questions with… ryan wilson

Ryan Wilson is a former English teacher and assistant head turned journalist. He has now written a teaching memoir called Let That Be a Lesson, which details the ups and downs of helping to lead a school. He talks to Tes about the dangers of excessive data crunching, the importance of creativity and why reading a book with a class makes the job the best in the world. 1. Who was your most memorable teacher and why? Mrs Weir was my English teacher and I’m sure I’m romanticising it a bit but, in my head, I just picture these long, lazy summer afternoons, the sun streaming into the classroom, with her teaching Macbeth and talking about ambition and jealousy and love and betrayal, and it just feeling relevant. I remember thinking, “Surely there’s…

6 min
why is a-level english in decline?

We have a problem with the number of boys taking English at A level. Of course, anyone who has been involved in teaching English knows this is not a new problem. However, it is one that continues to get worse, with the number of boys being entered into A-level exams for English language, English literature and English language and literature decreasing notably. New data from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) reveals that almost 8,000 fewer male students took an English subject at A level in 2021 compared with 2016 – declining from 22,980 to 15,035, a drop of 34 per cent. If we break it down by subject, comparing 2016 to 2021, we see the following: • Boys’ entries for English language dropped from 7,354 to 4,025 – a fall of 3,329.• Boys…

2 min
ofqual gauges reactions to new top grade at a level

A new top grade could be introduced at A level to tackle concerns about grade inflation but Ofqual has cautioned that this is “likely to cause anxiety and uncertainty”, according to a document seen by Tes. Ofqual has put out to tender a contract for research focus groups with the aim of gauging attitudes to grading distributions in the 2022 exams. It suggests students taking exams next year will not be held to the same standards as those sitting them pre-pandemic. In this document, the regulator says its “starting assumption” is that attainment in 2022 will be lower than prior to Covid, and therefore it is not seeking to hold cohorts next year to the same standards. The tender sets out various options for grading standards in 2022: Option 1: replicating the 2019…