News 2021: 10 items (Education)

20/09/2021: Early baby therapy could reduce autism diagnoses

Training parents how to respond to babies showing early signs of autism could reduce by two-thirds the number of three-year-olds meeting the criteria for diagnosis, a small study suggests. Improvement on this scale has never been shown before, the UK and Australian researchers say. The first two years are critical for brain development – but most autism diagnoses are made at the age of three.

Read: BBC

18/09/2021: ‘It takes too long to get support’: alarm over rising primary school exclusions

Sam Bates was excluded from school for the first time when he was five years old. After moving into year 1, he struggled to sit still, became frustrated with staff and pushed chairs over. He was sent home for one day and was then allowed back for only two hours a day, separated from his classmates, with a teaching assistant. From there, things unravelled.

Read: Guardian

16/09/2021: Nadhim Zahawi announced as education secretary

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed the new education secretary for England – replacing Gavin Williamson in the Cabinet reshuffle. Mr Zahawi leaves his previous post as the minister responsible for the Covid vaccines roll-out.

Read: BBC

14/09/2021: Legal action threat over sending clinically vulnerable children back to school

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson could face legal action if clinically vulnerable children are forced back to school, campaigners have warned. Lawyers working on behalf of The Good Law Project (GLP) have written to the Education Secretary calling for guidance around children’s return to school to be amended to protect disabled children, those classed as clinically vulnerable and those living with a clinically vulnerable person.

10/09/2021: Why you need to be teaching sexual citizenship

Teaching pupils to engage positively with their sexual identity is key to tackling sexual harassment, says one expert. “It’s really hard to talk to young people about what makes sex safe if you’re not going to talk about pleasure,” says sex and relationships adviser Jonny Hunt.

Read: Sky

09/09/2021: Scouts rolls out Squirrels programme for pre-school children

Scouts has launched a UK-wide roll out of its ‘Squirrels’ programme for four- to five-year-olds, with a focus on communities most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The initiative launches in 200 areas across the UK and follows a pilot that began in 2019, which focused on supporting areas of deprivation and Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

08/09/2021: Special-needs support beyond crisis, heads say

Support for pupils who have special needs is “beyond crisis” in England and “sucking money from budgets” for all children, a report says. Nearly all schools (97%) responding to a survey by a head teachers’ union said they received insufficient funding to support pupils who had special needs. The National Association of Head Teachers says funding has to rise so all pupils can be supported to learn.

Read: BBC

06/09/2021: Ministers ‘must not weaken’ laws protecting SEND pupils

Ministers should not “weaken” laws protecting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), campaigners say. A campaign backed by politicians and charities is urging the government to include disabled people and their parents and carers at the heart of its review.

31/08/2021: One million children missing out on free school meals, research shows

More than one million children living in poverty across the UK are missing out on free school meals due to eligibility criteria, a report warns. The research from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Covid Realities shows that 36 per cent of all school-aged children living in poverty in the UK are not entitled to a free meal at school.

30/08/2021: Affordable uniforms law will miss new school year

A new law aimed at making school uniforms cheaper in England will not be in place in time for the start of this school year. Headteachers are waiting for the new statutory guidance on uniforms, which will make schools place affordability at the centre of their uniform policy. The government says schools should expect full details in the autumn.

Read: BBC

29/08/2021: Lack of psychologists hits pupils with special educational needs

Councils in England are struggling to assess the level of support children with special educational needs require because of a shortage of educational psychologists, with the start of the school year just days away.

Read: Guardian

24/08/2021: Introducing ‘My_GOSH_UK’ – A Resource for University Students

As the summer holidays whizz past us, on the helplines our focus is on the start of the autumn term. This summer we have been busy beavering away, creating our new online resource designed with university students in mind.

20/08/2021: Teachers in England encouraged to tackle ‘incel’ movement in the classroom

Teachers can help counteract the rise of the “incel” movement and the dangers of misogyny with school lessons on respect for women and healthy relationships, ministers believe. A government source said that Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, expects teachers to be able to tackle the risks from incel culture through the relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum within schools.

Read: Guardian

19/08/2021: Poorest children ‘locked out’ of early years education, Sutton Trust warns

The government’s policy around funded childcare for working parents has been criticised over leaving the poorest children in England effectively “locked out” of early education opportunities. The policy for children aged three and four is denying childcare and early education to families “simply because their parents don’t earn enough”, warns the Sutton Trust in its latest report.

19/08/2021: Free childcare policy ‘damages life chances’ of poor children in England

Children from disadvantaged families in England are missing out on early years education because their parents are not in work or do not earn enough, contributing to a widening gap between the poorest children and their peers before they even start school, according to a new report.

Read: Guardian