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Idle chatter 'most common form' of poor discipline

Children interrupting their learning because they are talking to a friend is the most common form of poor discipline,

Idle chatter interrupted almost every lesson, according to some of the teachers interviewed by the education watchdog.

Their report found:

  • Some 69% of teachers and almost half of parents (46%) said children chatting about a subject not related to their work was a problem.
  • Another 38% said disturbing other children was a problem in class.
  • Calling out (35%), not getting on with work (31%), and fidgeting or fiddling with equipment (23%), were a top problem.
  • Some 19% of teachers said pupils not having the correct equipment was a frequent occurrence.
  • Purposely making noise to gain attention was pointed to by another 19% of teachers.
  • While 14% said answering back or questioning instructions was a problem, with other teachers citing use or mobile devices (11%) and swinging on chairs (11%) as a sign of poor discipline.

Pupils lose an hour 'because of bad behaviour'

School children are losing an hour of their learning time every day because of bad behaviour, a scathing report from the schools watchdog has revealed.

The behaviour is more pronounced in secondary schools, Ofsted said. Credit: PA

Chatting, calling out, swinging on chairs, passing notes and using mobile phones are "very common" in English schools, Ofsted found.

When added up across the academic year, pupils will lose 38 days of teaching each year to "low level" bad behaviour, the watchdog said.

The report also hit out at head-teachers, as too many heads, particularly in secondary schools, "underestimate the prevalence and negative impact of low-level disruptive behaviour".

In the last year schools serving almost 450,000 pupils have been judged below good for behaviour.

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Tomlinson new Birmingham Education Commissioner

A former chief inspector of schools has been charged with steering improvements to Birmingham's education system following the alleged "Trojan Horse" plot.

Sir Mike Tomlinson is the former chief inspector of schools Credit: PA

Sir Mike Tomlinson is to become education commissioner with responsibility for improving standards in the city's classrooms, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said.

His appointment is a direct result of the fallout from the anonymous "Trojan Horse" letter, which alleged an extremist Muslim plot to seize control of several Birmingham schools was under way.

A damning report into those claims led by former anti-terror chief Peter Clarke and published in July, found "clear evidence" of a group of like-minded individuals working to support "extremist views" in classrooms.

That report, commissioned by Ms Morgan's predecessor Michael Gove, concluded there had been "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham".

However, it did not find any evidence of "terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern in Birmingham".

The appointment of experienced educationalist and former teacher Sir Mike, who was chief inspector from 2000 to 2002 and later chair of the Hackney Learning Trust where he helped improve the London borough's education standards, has been welcomed by Birmingham City Council.

Readers reflect on 'everyday' maths GCSE proposal

Readers have been sharing their thoughts on a proposal to introduce an additional GCSE in 'everyday' maths to help raise numeracy levels.

Here is a selection of comments left on the ITV News Facebook page:

Children should be given a proper and thorough grounding in the basics of maths and numeracy when in primary school. Bring back the weekly mental arithmetic and reading tests that my generation had up until the 1960's!

– Susan

Everything I studied for GCSE Maths disappeared from my memory the minute I left the exam room because the vast majority of it had no place in everyday life. I am the first to admit I am horrific when it comes to maths!

– Sarah

Too many changes [are] happening at the moment ... It's just too much for schools to handle at the moment. I suggest coming back to the idea once they have tested the new changes.

– Ash

Lack of everyday maths skills a 'massive challenge'

National Numeracy - a charity focusing on adults and children with low levels of numeracy - has described the lack of everyday maths skills as a "massive challenge" for the UK.

Its research has found that:

  • Around half of adults have the everyday maths skills expected of primary school children
  • Three-quarters of adults cannot show the numeracy levels needed to get a decent GCSE grade
  • Poor numeracy costs the UK economy around £20 billion a year

Charity calls for additional GCSE in everyday maths

A national charity has called for an additional GCSE in "core maths" to be introduced to teach pupils how to use numeracy to solve everyday problems.

National Numeracy has called for an Credit: PA wire

National Numeracy said it would "expect most children to take both GCSEs and all to take at least the new numeracy (or core maths) GCSE".

"It would be recognised by students, schools, employers and further and higher education as different from, but no less valuable than, GCSE maths," the charity added.

The idea is part of a seven-point plan unveiled by the charity, which also calls for a new measure of numeracy skills at age 14, which could then be used as a "benchmark" of the level of numeracy they will need for their future studies.

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1 in 4 university students suffer sexual harassment

One in four university students have suffered unwelcome sexual advances according to new research by the National Union of Students (NUS).

Students suffer unwelcome sexual advances according to NUS study. Credit: Jan Woitas/DPA/Press Association Images

In the survey of over 2,000 male and female students the majority of respondents said they had experienced sexism, sexual harassment and assault within the university environment.

Almost 30% of respondents said they had endured unwanted sexual comments about their body while over half of those questioned believed that women students are more vulnerable than men.

The NUS say a 'lad culture' in universities is partly to blame for the survey findings and NUS President, Toni Pearce called on UK universities to stop ignoring the issue.

These stats show that harassment is rife on campus, but we still we keep hearing from universities that there is no fear, no intimidation, no problem...Today I say to universities they must acknowledge the problems and join us in confronting them.

– NUS President, Toni Pearce

Students who score A to get grade 7 under GCSE reforms

England's exams regulator Ofqual has confirmed the new grading system for GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths, will see A*-G grades replaced with 1-9 - with 9 the highest result.

These figures indicate that fewer pupils could achieve the very best results in these subjects following the introduction of the new grading system:

  • The same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above.
  • The same proportion of teenagers who currently score at least an A will gain a grade 7.
  • The top 20% of those who score at least a 7 will be awarded a grade 9.
  • According to last year's national results 3.3% of English GCSE candidates were awarded an A*.
  • In English literature, 5.5% of exams gained an A* last summer, while 4.6% would have scored a grade 9 under the overhaul.
  • In maths, 4.9% of last year's entries - about 37,248 in total got an A*, while 2.9% - about 22,045 - would have achieved a grade 9.

Just 3% may get highest GCSE marks under new reforms

GCSE reforms could see as few as 3% of students receiving top marks Credit: PA

Fewer students may achieve the highest marks in new GCSE English and maths exams, it has been revealed.

Under major reforms to be rolled out in 2017, only a fifth of pupils who would currently achieve at least an A grade will be awarded a "grade 9", the top result available in the system.

This could mean as few as 3% of students could achieve the highest mark in the future.

Ofsted head says 'sloppy attitudes' cost teens jobs

Too many school leavers miss out on jobs because of a "sloppy attitude" to timekeeping, a failure to dress smartly and an inability to speak properly, the chief inspector of schools has said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, said education standards had to be raised to improve teenagers' personal and people skills, with more than one million people aged between 19 and 24 out of work. He said:

Sir Michael Wilshaw's comments came as an Ofsted report criticised school sixth forms and colleges for failing to teach 'employability skills'. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Many employers complain that far too many young people looking for work have not been taught the skills, attitudes and behaviours they need to be successful.

It means they have a sloppy attitude to punctuality. It means they are far too relaxed in terms of meeting deadlines. It means that far too many young people are lackadaisical in the way they present themselves for work.

If they dress inappropriately, speak inappropriately and have poor social skills, they are not going to get a job.

– Sir Michael Wilshaw

An Ofsted report said too many education institutions were focused on academic results over aiding the personal development of soon-to-be school leavers.

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