Education insights: Schools embracing a national arts fest, calls to replace A-levels and online schools changing the face of education

As restrictions have eased a little across the UK, this week’s news headlines reflect a desire for change across many facets of education such as curriculum, remote-learning and the canteens.

A-levels should be replaced with a broader baccalaureate, says thinktank
A new report from the education thinktank (EDSK) suggests that there is room to replace A-levels with a much broader baccalaureate following criticism that A-levels are too narrow. Rather than narrowing choices down to three A-level subjects at the age of 16, the baccalaureate allows students to have breadth and variety in their studies and begin to gradually specialise over the three-year programme. Pathways that equip students with a broader arsenal of knowledge are exciting to consider.

Government urged to scrap plans to assess youngest primary kids
The government is under pressure to scrap plans to formally assess reception pupils in their first weeks of full-time schooling, after primary school leaders warned results would be “rendered useless” by the disruption caused by Covid. The main criticism here is that pupils beginning school this September would have had such vastly different pre-school experiences as a result of the pandemic that any data generated by the assessment would not represent a fair baseline measure.

Online school launches in UK after pandemic changes education forever
Millions of prospective A-level and GCSE students across the UK can go ahead and apply to be students at King’s College Online, the institution announced this week. Although the school will cost an enrolled student €7000 per year, this approach is particularly attractive to those who are not well-suited to the conventional interactions of school life; those whose parents have jobs that require sporadic relocation; and parents who are scouting for an affordable high-quality private school offer. An intriguing offering to breakaway from the traditional model of UK education.

Schools to fight Covid 'misery' with national arts fest
Education unions and organisations have rallied together to encourage schools to participate in a national festival of art to shake off those pandemic blues and inject a renewed sense of positivity into pupils’ outlooks. We trust that utilising the arts as a reset vehicle following the disruption of the pandemic will be most valuable. The organisers, who encompass both the state and independent school sectors, comment that they want schools to help fill their socials with colourful paintings, drawings, poems, music, dance and drama on the day.

Marcus Rashford's budget cookery serves up fish finger sandwich
Marcus Rashford, footballer and food poverty campaigner, has teamed up with Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kerridge, to create free resources which will outline the basics of creating meals on a tight budget. There will be a suite of videos and recipes published on social media alongside recipe cards intended to be present in school canteens, supermarkets and food banks. The heartwarming prospect of upskilling both pupils and adults on how to create budget-friendly meals that don’t skimp on nutrition is one to look forward to this year.

About the author

Craig Ritchie

Craig has a passion for empowering young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and delivering campaigns with a social impact. He has a background in client-servicing and holds specialist knowledge of the STEM and Careers pathways. At Hopscotch, Craig works across Health Education England, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and DP World.

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