Poor sex education leaves pupils vulnerable – Ofsted

More than a third of schools in England are failing to provide pupils with age-appropriate sex-and-relationships education, the schools watchdog says.

Ofsted inspectors warn this could leave them vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Too few teachers have the expertise to discuss delicate issues such as sexuality and domestic violence, they say.

The warning comes after teaching unions raised concerns about the effects of a sexualised culture on pupils.

At unions’ conferences over the Easter holidays, teachers shared their concerns about the negative impact pornography and pressure to have “the perfect body” was having on their pupils and called for better training to help teachers to deal with such issues.


Thousands of children ‘not ready for school’ at five

The Telegraph reports that up to half of five-year-olds are not ready for school as working parents increasingly abandon traditional games, nursery rhymes, bedtime stories and lullabies.

An interview with child development expert, Sally Goddard Blythe supports many of the findings from a recent Ofsted report which found growing numbers of school children were diagnosed as having special education needs when they were in fact ‘no different’ to other pupils.

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Careers advice for girls is weak – says Ofsted

An Ofsted study has found that young women are turning to ‘gender-stereotypical’ careers such as childcare, social work, hairdressing and beauty therapy as a result of weak careers advice in schools.

The Girls’ Career Aspirations study, conducted across 16 primary schools, 25 secondary schools and 13 colleges, found that most schools were not doing enough to promote the confidence, drive and ambition of girls to encourage them to challenge vocational stereotypes within the workplace.

Inspectors found that girls aged 11 to 14 had limited understanding of how choices about courses and careers influence pay and progression. “From an early age, the girls surveyed had held conventionally stereotypical views about jobs for men and women,” the report said. “They retained those views throughout their schooling despite being taught about equality of opportunity and knowing their rights to access any kind of future career.”

School records revealed that only 164 out of 1,725 pupils embarked on non-stereotypical work placements and of 200 female college students, only seven were considering engineering jobs and 17 wanted a science-related career.

Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said “Schools need to develop more opportunities for young women to meet professionals working in non-stereotypical roles, and to learn more about what the job entails through diverse work placements.”

Read news items in Guardian and CYPN

Nicki, Business Director, dbda

Ofsted finds science improving in secondary schools

The quality of science education has improved over the past three years with pupils’ progress in science reported as good or outstanding in 70% of primary schools and in two thirds of secondary schools visited. However there are areas that need further improvement, particularly in primary schools.

Key points for dbda:
– in schools which showed clear improvement in science subjects, key factors in promoting students’ engagement, learning and progress were more practical science lessons and development of the skills of scientific enquiry
– the best science education has scientific enquiry and other aspects of ‘how science works’ at its heart
– insufficient professional development  in science to tackle the lack of confidence amonst primary teachers, particularly in their understanding of scientific enquiry skills and the physical sciences
– lack of specialist training and short tenure in the role, limited the effectiveness of science coordinators in developing teaching and raising achievements in primary schools
– secondary teachers in particular benefited from attending courses at the network of Science learning Centres, but too few of the schools visited had taken advantage of this high quality provision

Ofsted’s report ‘Successful Science’ is based on an evaluation of science education in England 2007-10 which looked at the strengths and weaknesses of science in 94 primary schools, 94 secondary schools, two special schools and 31 colleges.

For full report: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Publications-and-research/Browse-all-by/Documents-by-type/Thematic-reports/Successful-science

Source: Ofsted (Nicki)

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