News at a glance: May 11

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

Fears over the impact of government benefit caps and a new range of funded First World War Battlefield Tours are among SecEd's at a glance headlines for Thursday, May 11.

Benefit fears

At least 197,000 children have been hit by the lower benefit cap since it was introduced in November last year. The cap was lowered from £26,000 nationally to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere in November 2016. Government statistics analysed by the Children’s Society show a sharp increase in the number of households capped, 93 per cent of which are households with children. Chief executive Matthew Reed said: “It is deeply worrying to see that hundreds of thousands of children have been hit by the new benefit cap, cutting the money needed to keep a roof over their heads. Our concern is that this will only worsen child poverty, which is already set to balloon to five million by the end of the decade.”

GCSEs in Wales

Qualifications Wales has launched an information campaign to explain forthcoming changes to GCSEs. This year, pupils will be sitting the first batch of reformed subjects introduced in 2015. Changes include splitting GCSE maths into two exams and removing non-exam assessment from English language. GCSEs have also been reformed in England but while England is changing its grading system to 1 to 9, Wales is retaining the A* to G system. Visit: www.qualificationswales.org

Battlefield tours

The First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours programme has been extended to offer free literature themed tours to all secondary and middle schools in England. The tours are an additional element to the government-funded programme being run by the UCL Institute of Education and operator Equity. Interested schools can send one teacher and two pupils on a four-day trip that will explore themes raised by writers including RC Sherriff, Michael Morpurgo and JRR Tolkein as well as First World War poets such as Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon. Visit: www.centenarybattlefieldtours.org

Water advice

Drinking just 300ml of water can boost teenagers’ attention by almost 25 per cent, researchers have found. A study by psychologists at the University of East London and University of Westminster carried out a series of attention and memory tests on young adults before drinking water, after consuming 25ml and then 300ml. A similar study carried out in 2012 found that university foundation year students who took a bottle of water into the exam room scored five per cent higher on average than those who didn’t.

Travel hike

Parents are being hit with increased prices on school travel because of the weakened sterling after the Brexit vote. Research from travel industry body ABTOT claims that currency instability has forced the cost of school travel up by as much as 10 per cent. The research also found that school travel bookings for destinations including Germany, Belgium and Paris have declined, while trips to Australia, Spain and Portugal have increased.


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