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EdTech news roundup – June 2018

A look back at some of the most important UK education and education technology headline stories from June 2018.

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Here are 3 of the latest UK education and edtech news stories from June…

Need to know: School funding announcement

The government announced nearly £800m of school funding. But how much of it is new?

How much school funding has been announced today, and what is it for?

The Department for Education announced that local authorities will receive £50 million to create 740 more special school places and provide new specialist facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These facilities could include sensory rooms and playgrounds with specialist equipment.

Another £680m has been announced, aimed at creating more school places in primary and secondary schools.

And early details of a £50m grant for local authorities to set up free schools have been published.

Exclusive: Money ‘biggest barrier’ to edtech use

Schools increasingly cite data protection rules such as GDPR and e-safety as obstacles in making use of edtech.

A lack of money is the biggest barrier to secondary schools using edtech, according to a new survey.

The findings by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa), released to coincide with London Edtech Week, also show growing concerns about data protection and e-safety.

Besa said a representative sample of 437 primary schools and 244 secondary schools participated in the survey, which took place in mid-April.

A significant proportion – 28 per cent of secondary schools and 29 per cent of primary schools – cited lack of budget as the biggest obstacle to using “edtech systems or content solutions”.

This represented a 14 percentage point rise on last year for secondaries, and a 11 percentage point rise among primaries.

The Guardian’s view on mobile phones: schools are better without them

The call to ban phones from the playground is rightly popular. But schools will need resources to do it properly.

When a minister in this government stumbles on a policy that is both popular and good, it’s newsworthy. Matt Hancock, the digital minister, has suggested that schools ban the use of mobile phones by their pupils. Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, agrees. In France, the Macron government has put forward legislation that will ban the use of phones in all primary and middle schools. This removes the matter from the discretion of headteachers. Those who have already purged their playgrounds of screens report few problems. The measure seems entirely straightforward and sensible.

There are three kinds of damage that mobile phones can do in the playground and schools are right to tackle them. The most obvious may be the least serious: some games and apps are so overwhelmingly attractive when they first appear that unhappy children can be entirely swept away in them. Fortnite is the latest craze of this sort. Before that there were birds, variously angry and flappy. All these crazes evaporate in time and are replaced by others. The market is just too rewarding for those who get it right.

Do you agree?

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