London Festival of Education puts a spotlight on children’s well-being and mental health

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Vivian Hill

Last week, the Duchess of Cambridge launched the first children’s mental health week on behalf of Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity. The message was clear, mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness but a normative part of development.

These challenges are frequently reactions to stress and adversity, whether a traumatic life event, examination anxiety, bereavement, bullying, domestic violence, neglect or abuse. Children should have prompt access to support interventions. A recent survey by Young Minds found that 60% of parents did not feel adequately supported in managing their child’s needs and 25% waited more than a year to access services.

This Saturday, 28 February, the London Festival of Education will put a spotlight on these issues, among others, with sessions Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Special educational needs and psychology, Teachers and teaching assistants

The freedom to make decisions about teaching assistants is nothing new, but now school leaders have the means to unlock their potential

Rob Webster

Over the last five years, schools in England have been granted an unprecedented level of freedom. An increasing number of state schools now decide for themselves which children are admitted, the curriculum they follow, who to appoint to teach it, and how much they will be paid.

The professional architecture governing teachers’ qualifications and training, performance management, promotion, pay, contracts and conditions of work has been loosened in ways that will already be familiar to the 369,700 teaching assistants (TAs) employed in English schools.

There has never been agreement on entry qualifications for TAs, consistently applied professional standards, or a national Read more ›

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Posted in Leadership and management, Teachers and teaching assistants

Come to the London Festival of Education, where serendipity knocks

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Karen Edge

Education systems innovate. They can’t seem to stop. Tweaks in practice and radical policy overhauls have been too numerous to count. Innovations often pass too quickly for their subtle and sustained influences on the system, schools and students to be easily evidenced. Unfortunately, this can be equally true for positive and negative outcomes both in the short and long term. We each carry the benefits (and scars) of the educational innovations of our own time in schools.

Personally, my engagement with the London Festival of Education curation team gave me reason to pause and consider how my adult life has been shaped by the intended and unintended outcomes of the educational innovations the Ontario Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Further higher and lifelong education, Social sciences and social policy

Moving on from the class size debate: a new project with a practical purpose

Peter Blatchford

The head of the OECD PISA surveys, Andreas Schleicher, has been called the most powerful man in education. On  the BBC website this month he described 7 big myths about top-performing school systems. Myth number 4 in Schleicher’s list is that small classes raise standards. He argues that “everywhere, teachers, parents and policy makers favour small classes as the key to better and more personalised education.” In contrast, he argues, high performing education systems invest in better teachers and high performing countries (many in East Asia) have large classes – so the size of a school class can’t be important.

Far from being a myth, however, my sense is that the view that class size is unimportant is in fact becoming more and more accepted by many Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Research matters, Teachers and teaching assistants, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

London Festival of Education: vibrant, unpredictable, so much more exciting than golf

Chris Husbands

I remember an occasion early in my teaching career when I went to try to see my headteacher at the end of a school day. His secretary (there were no PAs in those days) told me that he was ‘on a course’ after school every Wednesday. As a young teacher, I was impressed that senior professionals were still committed to their own learning. It was some time before I discovered he was playing golf.

We used to separate professional development and enjoyment. One of the great things about the London Festival of Education is that it puts them back together. This year’s LFE – here at the IOE on 28 February – is another vibrant, buzzing treasure house of debate to stimulate you, workshops to enhance your practice, entertainment to engage you: great speakers, great sessions, fabulous festival food for the stomach and the mind. No Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, ICT in education, Leadership and management, Schools, Teachers and teaching assistants, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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