Education insights: skills bill, parents putting pressure on teachers to change grades, record number of teens apply to university and more.

This week’s Education insights explores calls for improved SEND provision, fears of summer chaos in England's schools, a record number of teenagers applying for university and current issues rising in the sector.

Parents ‘putting enormous pressure’ on teachers to change grades

Teachers have been put under enormous pressure by parents hoping to improve their children’s grades, the Shadow Education Secretary has said. In a keynote speech at the Festival of Education, Kate Green told the audience how she had heard “too many” reports from school leaders around the pressure that parents were exerting on teachers to boost grades. “While the government have said that they’re backing teachers and supporting them throughout the process, the reality is they’ve (the teachers) been left to carry the can for a system that I am hugely worried cannot deliver fairness,” she said.

 Skills bill: calls for inclusion of SEND provision

The Post-16 Education and Skills Bill must be amended to include clauses around provision for students with special educational needs, Lord Addington has said. In the most recent list of amendments tabled by the House of Lords, Lord Addington, currently president of the British Dyslexia Association, called for local skills improvement plans to take account of the need to identify and support those with additional needs. He also tabled other amendments around ensuring teacher training included special educational needs awareness training, and the need for the lifelong learning entitlement to include support for students with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). At Hopscotch, we understand the importance of continuing to make sure our resources are inclusive for SEND learners and continuing to actively promote current SEND provision, including in the RSPCA Compassionate Class resources.

BBC Bitesize edits page to remove list of climate change 'benefits  

BBC Bitesize has removed references to the "benefits" of climate change on its website, following complaints online. The education website listed "healthier outdoor lifestyles" as one of the bonuses of having warmer temperatures, as well as easier access to oil in Alaska and Siberia, new shipping routes created by melting ice, and more tourist destinations. Climate expert and writer George Monbiot called the list "an absolute disgrace". Following these complaints, the education website will now only show the negative effects of climate change. There were a few Hopscotchers with their head in their hands at that major mishap!

Fears of summer chaos in England’s schools and offices without Covid restrictions

Doctors are already demanding that some measures remain over the summer, while teachers and parents are warning of a chaotic situation in schools, with different institutions applying different rules for sending children home if they have been exposed to Covid. Boris Johnson is facing increasing warnings of a summer of chaos in schools and workplaces, amid urgent demands for clarity over the government’s plans to tackle an unpredictable escalation in Covid cases. Retaining advice to wear masks in certain settings and abandoning quarantine for anyone in England who is fully vaccinated are measures being examined by the government to stop a resurgence in cases and more enforced isolations – something that also risks hitting the NHS workforce.

Record high numbers of UK teenagers apply for university

School leavers across the UK have applied for undergraduate places in record numbers, according to data from UCAS. The admissions service said that across-the-board increase in applications and offers of places meant the highest ever number of students would be starting university or college courses in the autumn, with particularly high rates of applications coming from women and sixth formers. More than 50% of school leavers in Northern Ireland have applied for university places and 44% in England. The total number of applications through UCAS, including mature and international students, also hit a new high of 682,000, with a record 400,000 women applying.  It’s great to see the increase in young people pursing higher education. We are currently working with the Gatsby Foundation on a campaign engage parents in young people’s career choices.


About the author

Azza Abdulla

Azza has a background in digital marketing and has experience working across the charity and Higher Education sectors. She is passionate about inclusive learning and breaking down barriers to education. At Hopscotch, she works on LifeSkills created with Barclays, Shell's STEM competition and more.

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