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Education

Students relying on free school meals fell further behind

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THE ATTAINMENT gap between disadvantaged primary school pupils and their classmates has grown in mathematics by one month since the onset of the pandemic, according to interim findings published this week by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

The findings are drawn from an ongoing EEF-funded study that aims to understand changes to the gap which might have occurred due to the periods of partial school closure resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

While disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes in mathematics seem to have been hit hardest by the first national lockdown, the attainment gap did not widen (or shrink) during the Autumn 2020 term.

Thar suggests that gaps caused by Covid are unlikely to close without intervention.

The research is based on assessment data collected by FFT Education from 132 primary schools prior to and after the first national lockdown.

The report did not measure the impact of school closures on overall learning progress (sometimes referred to as learning loss) but, instead, looked at the differences in progress between pupils eligible for free school meals and those that are not.

Data from reading and maths assessments (PIRA and PUMA tests) taken in Autumn 2019 was used as a baseline to track the trajectory of the attainment gap.

Pupils whose data was included in the sample were all in Years 1 to 5 (5-to-10-year-olds) during the academic year 2019-2020.

Reading and maths tests were administered to these same pupils on their return to the classroom in September 2020, and then again towards the end of the Autumn term 2020.

Disadvantaged pupils’ performance in the tests was compared to that of their classmates to examine changes to the attainment gap which might have resulted from the first period of partial school closures.

The analysis of these results indicates that pupils from socio-economically deprived backgrounds have fallen further behind in maths since the onset of the pandemic.

Contrary to previous estimates, this study found no discernible change to the disadvantage gap in reading.

The findings also highlight the difficulty of combatting educational inequality in classrooms.

Data collected from PIRA and PUMA assessments taken at the end of the Autumn term 2020 indicate the return of all pupils to school in September has not been sufficient in narrowing the gap.

Further analysis is currently underway.

A final data set will be collected in June 2021 to examine whether the disadvantage gap narrows, widens, or remains stable.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “Today’s research gives us more evidence of the enormous impact school closures have had on young people, especially those from low-income homes.

“The research indicates the need for long-term, sustained support for schools as they work to accelerate the progress of their disadvantaged pupils.

“To mitigate against the long-term impact of lost learning, large government funding is required. The cost of failing to act now will be a catastrophe for young people from low-income homes.”

Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “The pandemic has brought the significance of social and educational inequality into sharp focus.

“Research studies like this one are providing clear evidence that substantial existing gaps have grown further due to the disruption to learning caused by the pandemic.

“In strategizing an approach to recovery, we are presented with the opportunity to go beyond restoring the learning lost during partial school closures, and work towards rebalancing the scales for disadvantaged pupils.”

Researchers from FFT Education said: “Our study makes a fresh contribution to the research on the effects of COVID.

“We find that attainment gaps between disadvantaged students and their peers have widened slightly in maths, but not reading.

“We also find that there were surprisingly weak associations between school responses to COVID – for example, phoning students during the lockdown – and attainment.”

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Education

Second Pembrokeshire Chess Tournament celebrates youth and skill

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THE SECOND Pembrokeshire Chess Tournament drew participants from 21 schools across the region, culminating in a day of intense competition and camaraderie.

The tournament, reported by Vicky Brown, saw young chess enthusiasts gather for a day marked by strategic gameplay and exceptional talent. Henry Burton from Redhill emerged victorious, claiming the top spot in a closely contested field. The duo of Steffan Hughes and Huw Holliday, also from Redhill, followed closely in second place, while Osian Griffiths (Ysgol Caer Elen), Bryn Williams (Milford Haven Community School), and Iolo Hughes (Redhill) shared the third place, showcasing the depth of talent present among the participants.

In recognition of outstanding sportsmanship, Carys Callan from Redhill was honoured with the ‘David Pinch Award’, embodying the spirit of fair play and respect that marked the tournament. A special mention was given to Tyler Davison-Hall from Johnston CP School for participating in the Game of the Tournament, further highlighting the event’s competitive yet friendly atmosphere.

The tournament benefitted significantly from the expertise of Ian Eustis from the Welsh Chess Union, who served as Arbiter, ensuring the smooth running of the games. The event was also supported by Martin Jones and Scott Hammett, who took on the roles of stewards, and the Friends of Redhill (FOR), who managed the refreshments, contributing to the day’s success.

The local chess community, including participants and spectators, expressed their appreciation for the organisational efforts that made the event possible. For those interested in furthering their chess skills, the Pembrokeshire Chess Club extends an invitation to meet on Tuesday evenings in Steynton. Martin Jones, contactable at 07884384131, is available for further details regarding membership and participation.

Looking ahead, Redhill is poised to host its next chess tournament on Saturday, 8th June, promising another opportunity for young chess players to demonstrate their skills and passion for the game. The success of this event not only highlights the thriving chess scene in Pembrokeshire but also sets the stage for future tournaments that continue to inspire and engage the youth in the noble game of chess.

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Education

Difference between homeschooling and distance learning

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IN the ever-evolving panorama of schooling,  alternatives to standard classroom settings have gained enormous interest – homeschooling and distance studying. As technology continues to reshape our method of getting to know, it becomes essential to apprehend the nuances that differentiate these academic pathways. This weblog publishes objectives to delve into the differences between homeschooling and distance studying, dropping mild on their precise features, blessings, and potential drawbacks.

Defining Homeschooling and Distance Learning

Homeschooling and distance-gaining knowledge, even though sharing a few commonplace grounds, range basically in their execution. Homeschooling entails the mother and father taking over the role of the primary educators for their youngsters, designing and implementing a personalised curriculum. This approach offers flexibility, catering to character studying patterns and pace.

On the other hand, distance mastering refers to an academic device in which students acquire instruction remotely and regularly through online structures. It can be facilitated via conventional schools or dedicated online establishments, supplying an extra formalised approach than homeschooling.

Flexibility and Customisation

One key differentiator between homeschooling and distance-gaining knowledge is the extent of flexibility and customisation each offers. Homeschooling offers unparalleled flexibility, permitting families to conform the curriculum to fit the child’s wishes, pastimes, and learning fashion. This personalised technique fosters deep expertise in topics and encourages a love for gaining knowledge.

In comparison, distance studying, even as bendy in phrases of the region, may additionally have a more inflexible curriculum set by means of an academic institution. The customisation options are confined to the pre-hooked-up structure, doubtlessly proscribing the adaptability wished for by college students.

Educational Resources and Support

Another crucial issue to consider is the provision of tutorial sources and support in homeschooling and distance learning environments. Homeschooling regularly relies heavily on the creativity and resourcefulness of parents, who can also make use of various materials, online sources, and network activities to complement the mastering revel.

Distance learning, however, tends to provide a greater prepared help system. Students enrolled in distance study applications generally have the right to access a broader range of resources provided by the organisation. However, the extent of individualised attention may additionally vary, with some college students thriving within the independence of distance learning, while others may additionally feel a lack of customised assistance.

Technology Integration and Accessibility

In the digital age, technology plays a pivotal position in both homeschooling and distance studying. Homeschooling families have the power to choose the quantity of technology that is integrated into their curriculum. Some may additionally opt for a more traditional method, whilst others include online structures, instructional apps, and digital assets.

In contrast, distance learning heavily relies on era for content shipping, communication, and assessment. This can be superb, presenting college students with treasured digital literacy abilities and publicity to digital collaboration. However, worries concerning display time and the ability to handle technological issues can also stand up.

Addressing Concerns and Seeking Feedback

Before delving into both homeschooling and distance studying, it’s critical for dads, moms, and students to cope with worries and seek comments from dependable assets. Platforms like Scamfighter offer sincere comments on diverse academic offerings. To read writingpapersucks review, which includes “Is SpeedyPaper reliable”, can provide insights into the studies of others. Additionally, exploring questions like “Is myassignmenthelp.com good?” and perusing paper help reviews can help in making knowledgeable selections. Visit scamfighter for trustworthy feedback.

Addressing Socialisation and Extracurricular Activities

Beyond lecturers, socialisation and extracurricular sports are vital additives of properly-rounded training. Homeschooling can also face scrutiny in this factor, as critics regularly have specific concerns about the capacity lack of social interplay. However, homeschooling households regularly actively interact with community companies, sports activities teams, and cultural businesses to offer adequate possibilities for social development.

Distance getting to know while making an allowance for socialisation through digital ways may also pose demanding situations. The absence of face-to-face interactions can affect a pupil’s ability to develop vital social abilities. Educational institutions presenting distance mastering packages may additionally need to discover innovative methods to foster virtual communities and extracurricular involvement to deal with this problem.

Parental Involvement and Time Commitment

One huge issue influencing the choice between homeschooling and distance learning is the level of parental involvement and time dedication required. Homeschooling demands tremendous funding of time from the mother and father, who act as both educators and facilitators. This dedication may be rewarding but may also pose challenges for families with time constraints.

In assessment, distance mastering often presents a more established method, lowering the direct time commitment from parents. However, parental involvement remains important in tracking development, supplying support, and ensuring a conducive learning environment. Striking a balance between independence and parental steerage is prime for success in a distance getting to know putting.

The Role of Assessments and Grading

Assessment methods and grading structures vary significantly among homeschooling and distance-gaining knowledge. In a homeschooling environment, evaluation techniques can be tailor-made to in shape the character student’s needs, emphasising understanding over standardised trying out. Grading may be more qualitative, focusing on the mastery of concepts rather than comparative performance.

In contrast, distance-gaining knowledge often incorporates standardised assessments and grading structures to measure pupil development uniformly. This method aligns with traditional instructional fashions, offering a clear benchmark for academic achievement. However, it could no longer absolutely capture the depth of knowledge and personal increase emphasised in homeschooling.

Conclusion

Both homeschooling and distance studying present viable alternatives to standard schooling, each with its precise advantages and challenges. The decision between the two should be primarily based on personal preferences, studying patterns, and the level of involvement desired. By expertise the distinctions mentioned in this weblog and looking for dependable comments, parents and college students can make informed selections, ensuring a satisfying and powerful instructional enjoyment.

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Education

Don’t miss out on help with school essentials

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88% of those eligible have claimed their free School Essentials grant to help with costs like school uniform, shoes, bags, sports kit and equipment. Have you claimed yours?

Children of families on lower incomes who receive certain benefits, those seeking asylum and children in care can claim £125 per year to help with school costs. Because of the extra cost families might face when their children start secondary school, £200 is available for eligible pupils going into year 7. It could also mean extra funding for your school.

There’s still time to check eligibility and apply for this year’s funding now before applications close on 31 May.

You can apply every year for each of your children. Pupils from all kinds of education settings are eligible as long as they are aged 5-16. This applies to pupils in all schools and settings, including special schools and pupil referral units.

Headteacher of Ysgol Gymunedol Trimsaran, Steffan Jones, explained how the grant helps pupils at his school: “You want every child to be treated the same, and you want every child to have the same experiences. These grants do help, so that all children can get involved and enjoy their time at school, not just those who can afford it.”

The grant can be used to pay for:

  • school uniform, including coats and shoes.
  • school activities, like learning a musical instrument, sports kit and equipment for after school activities.
  • classroom essentials, like pens, pencils and bags.

Even if your child already receives a Free School Meal, you still need to check eligibility to access the School Essentials Grant and extra funding for your school. To find out more about the Schools Essentials Grant and to check eligibility, visit Get help with school costs | GOV.WALES

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