At a glance headlines: February 5, 2015

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A funding boost for cultural education programmes, a celebration of school STEM clubs, and a rise in university applications are among the SecEd at a glance headlines for February 5, 2015.

Cultural education

Cultural education programmes in England are to benefit from £109 million in the next financial year. As part of this, £75 million is being given to the 123 music education hubs, while the six In Harmony programmes, which target children in deprived areas using orchestral music, are getting £1.1 million. Also benefiting are the Sorrell Foundation’s Art and Design Saturday Clubs, which target 14 to 16-year-olds (http://saturday-club.org), the Museums and Schools Programme, which links regional and national museums with schools, and the Heritage Schools Programme, which helps schools across the country to make effective use of their local historic environment. Much of this work is organised via the Arts Council. Visit: www.artscouncil.org.uk

Magna Carta

Students from eight schools across the country are being given the chance to view the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta documents at the Houses of Parliament today (Thursday, February 5). The Magna Carta documents were signed 800 years ago and established the principle of the rule of law. The copies are being loaned to Parliament for one day by the British Library, Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral in order to mark the launch of a Magna Carta and Parliament exhibition (open until February 26). Visit: http://bit.ly/1DikrtO

STEM celebration

Around 3,000 schools across the UK are taking part in the first ever STEM Clubs Week, which runs until tomorrow (Friday, February 6). Clubs have been running activities all week to showcase the creativity, problem-solving and employability skills that STEM subjects can offer. A special website is offering ideas and resources. Research has shown that involvement with a STEM Club increases by half the proportion of pupils who say they would want a job in STEM. Kirsten Bodley, CEO of charity STEMNET, which co-ordinates the week, said: “Inspiring young people to develop STEM skills broadens their opportunities, offers tangible skills for addressing the global challenges we face and supports the UK’s future competitiveness.” Visit: www.stemclubs.net

University increase

There has been a two per cent increase in the total number of applicants to higher education courses in the UK, university admissions body UCAS has confirmed. After the January 15 deadline passed for September 2015 applications, a total of 592,290 have applied – two per cent more than last year. Within this figure, UK applicants are up by one per cent, EU applicants are up seven per cent and applications from outside the EU are up three per cent.  London has seen the largest increase in demand with 44 per cent of 18-year-olds now applying. Across the UK, there has been an increase in 18 and 19-year-old applicants, while the numbers of applicants from older age groups have reduced.


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