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EdTech news roundup – February 2019

A look back at some of the most important UK education and education technology headline stories from February 2019.

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Here are 3 of the latest UK education and education technology news stories from February 2019…

Teachers work more unpaid overtime than anyone else

TUC analysis finds UK teachers work 9 million extra hours without pay every week

UK teachers work more than a day of unpaid overtime every week, the most of any sector, according to new analysis. The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which carried out the research, said that amounts to 9 million hours of free labour a week, or 462 million hours a year.

According to analysis of official data by the unions’ umbrella body, teachers work an average of 12.1 hours unpaid every week. Primary teachers work the most, at 13 hours, just more than the 12.8 hours put in by secondary teachers and over twice the 6.4 hours in pre-school.

Surge in demand for schools leaves councils struggling to cope

Thousands of pupils in England denied place at their preferred secondary school

Councils across England are struggling to keep pace with rising numbers of applications for secondary school, leaving thousands of pupils without a place at any of their preferred schools.

More than 600,000 families across England and Wales were told on Friday which secondary school their children would go to in September – but in many areas there was disappointment, with shrinking proportions receiving their first choice.

According to some estimates, as many as one in four families did not get their first preference in England. Labour blamed the government policies that took the power to create new schools away from local authorities.

Pointless GCSEs should be scrapped, says senior MP

GCSEs should be scrapped and A-levels should be replaced by a mix of academic and vocational subjects, says Robert Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee.

His radical rewriting of England’s exam system is designed to give young people a much broader range of skills for their working lives.

The former Tory minister says GCSEs for 16-year-olds have become “pointless”. The Department for Education defended GCSEs as “gold standard” exams. But head teachers’ leader Geoff Barton said the ideas had a “lot of merit”.

Mr Halfon, who is due to present his blueprint at an event run by the Edge vocational education charity, wants to end what he sees as an excessively narrow academic pathway in secondary schools.

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