Comment from the team at Schools.co.uk
Every week the team at Schools.co.uk sends out a short email covering a recent development in government education policy and its effects, and the opportunities these offer to companies that sell into the education market in the UK.
Cutting the school day
Increasingly schools are choosing to cut the school day as a response to government funding plans.
Although the amount of money pledged to the school system by the government has been rising, some schools have found their income per child taught falling. This has been because of three factors: the growth in the number of pupils and students in school, the diversion of some money into the proposed grammar school programme, and the diversion of another chunk of money into the Free School system.
Although some of this looks like changing in the coming months, there is still going to be a shortage of funds - at least until the austerity programme comes to an end.
But also there is a growing shortage of teachers. Young teachers from the EU who previously have welcomed the chance to work for a few years in English schools are no longer coming to the country, and generally there is a declining interest among UK citizens in teaching because of the continuing cap on salaries.
Schools have been looking around for a response to this double problem - and many have found the same solution - to close the school one hour earlier.
When government and parents part company
The government’s increasing distance from the reality of contemporary schooling is causing problems but also offering new opportunities.
The case of a parent who argued that he was entitled to take his daughter out of school during term-time to go on holiday has been heard in the Supreme Court, which found in favour of the Local Authority.
The result means that schools and local authorities in England can continue to fine parents £60 for taking their children out of school when they are not ill.
This case will not only present challenges to parents who sought cheaper air fares and hotel bills by going away out of the holiday season, but will also be a challenge to farming families where farmers are often unable to take their holidays during the summer. However it is still possible to argue that the family has “exceptional circumstances” through the requirements of farm work. We will have to wait to see how local authorities react.
Beware the tricks
If it looks like a clever way to get people to read your emails, it might well have the opposite effect
What with having a few days off over Easter I decided to clean out the junk file in my email in-box.
And in doing so what struck me in skimming through the list of highly unlikely offers of products and services I didn’t want but was told I did, was that over 50% of the emails had my first name as part of the subject line.
Put another way, people writing dubious messages have hit on the notion that the way to get their message to me is by making it seem personal, by putting my first name at the start of the message.
In retaliation my email program (which I have long realised has a mind of its own) has classified all such incoming items as junk.
Children are reading later
The way and the speed in which children are learning is changing: but few are talking about it.
Given the changes that are happening in our society and which affect children from the earliest days, it is not surprising that their responses towards reading, learning, and indeed education are changing.
To give but one example, there has been an eight per cent rise in health visitors’ reports of children with delayed language in the last year, according to the Institute of Health Visiting.
Indeed the Institute reported that in 2016 72% of health visitors said they had found an increase in the number of children with delayed speech and communication development.