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Thousands of pupils miss school lessons

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Children and teenagers not enjoying school won't find any answers by missing classes.

pen and paperBut that's what tens of thousands of pupils did on every day of the spring term, according to figures from the Government.

The statistics show that schoolchildren in England missed 1.01% of half days due to "unauthorised absence" during the period.

Although the number was down on that for last year, around 62,000 primary and secondary school pupils missed classes without permission on a typical day.

An analysis of the figures suggests that it wasn't just truancy keeping people out of lessons - with family holidays and sickness among the other reasons.

Children playing truant to avoid certain lessons at secondary school could maybe change things by asking for some help with homework, if that was the issue.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "We know that children who are absent for substantial parts of their education fall behind their peers and struggle to catch up."

Jungle Book still top of the trees

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do you have a favourite forest-set story? If it's Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book you'll be happy to hear that it's topped a poll of Britain's favourite forest stories.

ForrestThe World Wildlife Fund-led poll of 500 people - also featuring The Lord Of The Rings and Hansel And Gretel - was part of a campaign to boost visits to local woodlands.

The Big Forest Picnic Campaign also saw hundreds of people descend upon woods in their area with stacks of food and treats, with plenty of making friends likely to have been going on at the events for young people.

Nicola Round, campaign manager, WWF-UK, said: "The Jungle Book is such a classic story and a very deserving winner, but it was clear from our poll that all kinds of forest stories, from modern fables like Avatar to traditional tales like Robin Hood, still have a really big place in our hearts."

The UK's Top 10 Favourite Forest Stories, according to the poll:

  1. The Jungle Book
  2. Lord of the Rings
  3. Winnie the Pooh
  4. Robin Hood
  5. The Faraway Tree
  6. The Gruffalo
  7. Into the Wild
  8. Avatar
  9. Where the Wild Things Are
  10. Hansel and Gretel

GCSE results expected to improve

Monday, August 22, 2011

Almost a quarter of all GCSE exam papers taken this year could be given an A grade or higher, experts have said.

ExamsExam results have been getting better over the last few years. Successful young people were celebrating as 69.1% of all GCSE exams taken last year were awarded at least a C grade.

Professor Alan Smithers, who works at the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, thinks that this number could rise to 70% this year and that 8% of all exams taken will get an A*. This is the roughly the same as one in every 12 exams being awarded an A* grade.

He also said that the percentage of exams that will get at least an A grade could reach 23%. Last year 22.6% of all exams taken got at least an A and 7.5% got an A*.

The prediction has been made just days before teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland find out what their GCSE results are.

Cameron helps children build raft

Friday, August 19, 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron spent part of his Friday morning helping children build a barrel raft at an Outward Bound centre in Cumbria.

David Cameron building a raft with young peopleMr Cameron spent time in the company of 10 youngsters at the Howtown site as he seeks to repair the broken bonds of modern society which were so brutally exposed in last week's riots.

Outward Bound camp leaders said the barrel boat-building exercise was designed to teach the group about the value of hard work, trust and responsibility.

The children, from all walks of life, were invited to take part by The Challenge Network charity.

Jon Yates, The Challenge Network director and co-founder, believes the sense of personal responsibility and community belonging has diminished, causing people to become less trusting and hopeful.

The Outward Bound course and other events for young people could help reverse this trend and was certainly enjoyed by those taking part.

Alice Jackson, 16, from Warwick, said: "Mr Cameron said he thought this was a massively important big deal and he wanted to know what we thought about it.

"I had to walk up a mountain yesterday and I did it, so I've learned I can actually climb a mountain and that I'm actually an outdoor person. Well, maybe not that much of an outdoor person, but more so than I thought."

Youngsters to show off debate skills

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Youngsters from across the world are due to get involved in the World Schools Debating Championship today.

Teacher writing on boardOver 400 coaches, adjudicators and children from global education facilities will take part in the contest.

The Scottish city of Dundee is playing host to this year's event. Children from England, Scotland and Wales will be competing in the event.

However, youngsters from much further afield will also be showing off their debating skills, with Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and China just some of the nations being represented.

Lord Provost of Dundee, John Letford, said the host city itself should benefit from the competition.

He stated: "This tournament will provide many opportunities to showcase our city and its people, universities, industries and organisations to a group of young people who are destined to become the business, political and community leaders of tomorrow."