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EdTech news roundup – October 2018

A look at some of the most important UK education and edtech headline stories from October 2018.

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Here are 3 of the latest UK education and education technology news stories from October 2018…

Ofsted inspectors to move away from exams results focus

Exam results and grades will no longer be the key focus of Ofsted inspections in England, under new plans.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman says the focus on performance data has narrowed what is taught in schools. She said, in a speech in Newcastle, inspections had placed too much weight on exam results. Teachers and heads have long argued education watchdog Ofsted’s focus on data, along with school league tables, has made schools “exam factories”. Chris Keates, leader of the Nasuwt teachers’ union, said teachers would welcome plans to “shift the focus of inspection and treat teachers as experts, rather than data managers”. But the National Association of Head Teachers warned against changes being “rushed through” without adequate consultation with school leaders.

‘Internet should be a formal subject in schools’

‘Most people use WhatsApp, but don’t know how it works,’ says Professor Sugata Mitra.

The internet should become a formal subject on the school curriculum – just like physics, chemistry and maths – according to an education academic. That’s because we live in an era where school children have “teachers and libraries in their pockets on their phones” and where the technology exists for them “to learn something in seconds,” says Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University.

Speaking at a public seminar at the House of Commons this week, he said there was now less need for pupils to learn hard facts “just in case” they might need them one day – and more need for pupils to formerly learn how to surf properly, buy a ticket, and make sure they don’t get ripped off with on-line banking, among other areas.

Budget: Education unions throw down the gauntlet

Heads vow that teachers ‘will continue to make their voices heard’ on funding until the Treasury provides more money.

Education unions have set out six “tests” for the chancellor as he prepares to unveil his Autumn Budget. The NEU teaching union, NAHT headteachers’ union and the Association of School and College Leaders have come together to demand that Philip Hammond comes up with more money for education. Their demands include giving all teachers the full 3.5 per cent pay rise recommended by the government’s independent teacher pay review body, providing the money to cover this, and increasing funding for parts of the country that have historically been underfunded.

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