At a glance headlines: Thursday, May 7

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'Outsourcing' homework, 'connected schools' and the launch of the 2015 Education Games are among the at a glance headlines for SecEd on Thursday, May 7

No to outsourcing

A suggestion that schools could “outsource” the marking of homework in order to reduce teacher workload has been dismissed by teachers. The idea was put forward by Rebecca Allen, director of think-tank Education Datalab and a reader in economics at University College London Institute of Education. She said that for as little as £2 an hour, schools could find “incredibly reliable” marking services in countries such as India. However, the National Union of Teachers said the idea did not take into account the true nature of assessment. Deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Teachers don’t just look at the rightness or wrongness of the student’s answer – they want to understand and support the student’s learning process. Outsourcing doesn’t help at all with assessment for learning. Of course we want to see a reduction in teacher workload, but the solution surely does not lie in perpetuating a low-wage economy overseas. The extremes of workload are a product of accountability to Ofsted and the Department for Education.”

Connected Schools

There is an increasing fragmentation in children’s lives and the next government must prioritise initiatives that nurture connections between schools, their students and wider society. The call has come from researchers who have contributed essays to a new publication – The Connected School: A design for wellbeing. Published by the National Children’s Bureau and Pearson, the essays advocate the concept of connected schools, where wellbeing is nurtured alongside academic achievement. They argue that education reform and the curriculum must give “an equal weighting towards pupils’ intellectual, physical, social and emotional development”. For more on the campaign, read NCB chief executive Anna Feuchtwang’s article for SecEd at http://bit.ly/1JA9H0r or visit www.ncb.org.uk/theconnectedschool

Safeguarding help

More than 410,000 sporting professionals have now been trained in how to recognise and respond to child abuse after attending specialist safeguarding workshops run by the NSPCC. The scheme is marking its 20th anniversary this year and it now trains around 30,000 coaches a year. The range of workshops has also expanded during this time, including to digital safety and parental behaviour. New topics on the horizon include eating disorders, body image and preventing radicalisation through sport. Visit: www.nspcc.org.uk

Education Games

The World Education Games – an online educational competition that attracts more than five million students from 200 countries – is to take place once again in October this year. The three-day event includes World Maths Day, World Literacy Day and World Science Day and will test students in a variety of 60-second online games. Pre-registration is now open, with the warm up games beginning in September, before the main event starts on October 13. Visit: www.3plearning.com/worldeducationgames 


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