At a glance headlines: July 2, 2015

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University applications, STEM, tablets and the Education Bill are among the SecEd at a glance headlines for July 2, 2015.

BTEC boost

A growing number of undergraduate UCAS applicants are pursuing vocational qualifications, figures show. This year, there have been 42,130 young people applying for university through UCAS who are studying for BTEC qualifications – a 6,300 (18 per cent) increase from 2014. Most UK 18-year-olds applying through UCAS are studying for A level qualifications and the figures – as of March 2015 –  show that 173,420 applicants are studying for three or more A levels (63 per cent). The 42,130 applicants studying for a BTEC make up 15 per cent of the total, and include 11,520 who are also studying for A levels. Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher qualifications are being studied by 17,240 applicants and there are 2,530 applicants studying for the International Baccalaureate. There are 273,400 applications in total.

Call for evidence

The Parliamentary committee scrutinising the Education and Adoption Bill has issued a call for evidence. The controversial proposals seek to convert up to 1,000 more schools into academies and also set out plans for intervention in so-called “coasting” schools (for more, see http://bit.ly/1Kp5Zaz). The Bill has had its second reading in the House of Commons and has now passed to the Public Bill Committee for detailed examination. Submissions of less than 3,000 words should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk. Visit: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/educationandadoption.html

Tablets increase

Three quarters of secondary schools are making use of tablet devices in the classroom, new figures show. The annual Tablets and Connectivity survey of 297 secondary schools shows that 76 per cent are using tablets – up from 56 per cent in 2014. The research also shows that a lack of suitable bandwidth remains a significant barrier to adoption of mobile technologies. Currently, only 65 per cent of the secondary schools feel they have the ideal bandwidth for adoption, up from 62 per cent in 2014. The research is by the British Educational Suppliers’ Association.

STEM on show

The annual Big Bang Fair is calling for schools to take part in next year’s event. Taking place from March 16 to 19 in Birmingham, the event focuses on STEM careers and opportunities and attracts around 55,000 students and 12,000 teachers. The hunt is on for a wide range of STEM activities and hands-on exhibits that will inspire young people aged seven to 19 with STEM studies. Visit: www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/activities

Saving habits

Nine out of 10 teachers put more than £100 aside every month, figures on the profession’s saving habits show. Most teachers have built-up savings – on average £9,500 each – according to Wesleyan. Among the main priorities cited by teachers was to create “a reserve” in case they lose their teaching position.


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