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EdTech news roundup – March 2019

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

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Here are four of the latest UK education and education technology news stories from March 2019…

School governors call on government to increase funding in ‘unprecedented’ action

‘A failure to invest in children now is a failure to give them the education they deserve’.

School governors from more than 130 constituencies are calling on the government to address the damaging impact that funding cuts are having on pupils’ education.

The National Governance Association (NGA), which has organised the “unprecedented” action, has warned that schools are increasingly having to cut teachers, reduce subjects, and ignore essential repairs to buildings in an effort to balance budgets.

One of the schools taking part in the action is Hayward’s Primary School in Devon – which was forced to rely on its Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to fund an art teacher amid squeezed budgets.

Music education ‘risks being outdated by technology’

Music teaching could be left behind in an outdated acoustic age if it does not keep up with technology, an in-depth report says.

Too much music education does not reflect the reality of how young people engage with music, according to the inquiry from the Music Commission.

It says there is a risk this “disconnect” means current teaching methods may become outdated. It argues technology could help stop music from disappearing from schools.

The commission, led by key figures in contemporary music and set up by the Arts Council England and the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music, says technology is evolving at a rapid rate.

From apps that allow users to compose digital music on smart phones to ‘teach yourself the guitar’ YouTube videos, the opportunities technology offers for learning, making and engaging in music are significant.

Hinds unveils latest plan to create ‘happy teachers’

Advisory group on wellbeing to help improve teachers’ mental health is DfE’s latest measure to tackle recruitment and retention crisis.

A new expert advisory group to look at how teachers and school leaders can be better supported to deal with the pressures of the job will be announced by Damian Hinds.

The education secretary will tell the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham that teachers always put the good of their pupils first, but should not take their own wellbeing for granted.

He is expected to say: “Happy, motivated, well supported teachers are more likely to have happy and motivated pupils in their classrooms.”

The group will bring together professional bodies, including unions, head teachers and the mental health charity Mind, and look for new ways to support teachers and listen to their concerns before making recommendations to the DfE, local authorities and MATs.

Sats create needless pressure for teachers and pupils, heads warn

YouGov poll also finds 96% of primary heads are concerned about the pressure of KS2 Sats on pupil wellbeing.

Almost all (98 per cent) of primary heads are warning that teachers are placed under unnecessary pressure because of Sats.

A YouGov poll for campaign group More than a Score also found that 94 per cent of primary heads felt pupils were put under stress unnecessarily – with 96 per cent concerned about the pressure of KS2 Sats on pupils’ wellbeing.

Assessing primary children under exam conditions was an unfair way to measure their academic capabilities, according to 72 per cent of the heads.

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