Tips to raise “good” kids from Harvard Psychologists

Being a parent is not easy…This article reminds us, parents, of some simple but very important elements for a child’s development.

  1. Spending quality time with your children
  2. Let your kids see a strong moral role model and mentor in you
  3. Teach your child to care for others and set high ethical expectations
  4. Encourage kids to practice appreciation and gratitude
  5. Teach them to see the big picture

According To Harvard Psychologists: Parents Who Raise “Good” Kids Do These 5 Things

School · Teacher

Give teachers in poorer schools subsidised housing – MPs (Guardian)

Source: Guardian

Cross-party commission headed by Nick Clegg recommends incentives for more experienced teachers to work in most deprived areas

Children in class
 ‘It is unacceptable that children in poorer areas are taught by less experienced teachers,’ said Clegg. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

Teachers should be offered subsidised housing as a reward for working in deprived areas in order to tackle geographical disparities between England’s schools, a cross-party commission has recommended. The Social Market Foundation’s commission on inequality in education, headed by former deputy prime minister and MP Nick Clegg, said the government should experiment with subsidised housing to raise the quality of teaching in worse-off areas.

The group, which also includes the Conservative MP Suella Fernandes and Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, also recommended that aspiring headteachers be required to spend time in senior positions in struggling schools before they qualify for promotion.

The commission’s analysis found that schools in deprived areas were much less likely to have specialist teachers and were more likely to employ less experienced staff.

“Despite all the changes in education policy over the years – under governments of all persuasions – inequality in our school system has sadly remained a constant,” Clegg said before the report’s launch. “It is simply unacceptable that poorer children are generally taught by less experienced teachers and that their life chances are shaped by the postcode in which they live.

“In the end, this report confirms something that everybody intuitively knows already: the best education relies on good-quality teachers and supportive parents.”

The commission found that geographical differences that were absent in children born nearly 50 years ago now rank alongside wealth and ethnic background as a major factor in explaining pupil outcomes.

“For two children of similar income and ethnicity born in 1970, it did not matter significantly if one went to school in London and the other in Yorkshire,” the report said. But it found that for children born in 2000 – currently sitting GCSE and A-levels – the attainments of those in the capital now outstrip those in Yorkshire.

While geography has become an increasingly significant factor in the past few decades, the gaps in performance between the richest and the poorest children have persistently remained large since the mid-1980s.

The commission also called for parents and teachers to sign annual “homework contracts”, whereby teachers pledge to set pupils “high-quality homework” and parents agree to support their children’s efforts to complete it.

Rebecca Allen, a member of the commission who heads the Education Datalab research unit, said evidence suggested that homework given to primary school children was often ineffective. “Rather than see primary school distribute homework that is rather tangential to learning, we’d like to see schools take the best evidence about how to practise important skills such as reading, arithmetic, handwriting and spelling, and ask them to carefully teach parents how to support their children so that time on homework is not wasted,” Allen said.

Another recommendation called for schools with a high proportion of deprived pupils to get funding for parenting classes, so that schools could run after-school classes in “family literacy”.

David Blunkett, the former Labour education secretary, described the report as “a stark reminder” of failures to spread best practice among schools. “For so many children, the fight against inequality begins at birth. We have an obligation as a nation to provide them with the means to win that battle,” he said.

James Kirkup, the SMF’s director, said the report showed “how sensible politicians can come together to make a difference”. “The general election result showed no party has the complete confidence of the voters, so all parties should learn from this commission and find ways to work together in the national interest,” he said.


Games are the largest provider of critical thinking education in the world

Source: GamesIndustry

“Games are the largest provider of critical thinking education in the world”

With the Near Future Society, Improbable’s Oliver Lewis and Nick Button-Brown want to unlock the potential of games as an antidote for “fake news, bias and extremism”

Matthew Handrahan


At the Develop conference in Brighton this week, the team behind a new charitable foundation called The Near Future Society asked developers to embrace games as a tool for critical thinking; an antidote to a cultural landscape in which “fake news, bias and extremism” are increasingly powerful forces.

The Near Future Society was initially conceived by Oliver Lewis, a former diplomat and the current VP of corporate development at Improbable. Lewis was joined onstage by Nick Button-Brown, the COO of Sensible Object and one of Improbable’s advisors, who became intrigued by The Near Future Society’s belief in the positive influence games could have on society.

“We wondered whether games can develop critical thinking, and help us understand how to think about moral reasoning,” Lewis said. “We started having this conversation, and we decided that it’s much more complicated than ‘can they?’, and that perhaps they already do.”

“People are becoming more extreme. The centre ground is disappearing. It has now become okay to ignore opposing viewpoints, it has now become okay to shout them down”

The Near Future Society’s first meeting took place before GDC this year, on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles. “The idea was to get together government, technology, education and entertainment people to talk about how to address the problems of the world,” Button-Brown said. “When we met the government people, the thing they were most worried about was fake news, and the impact fake news has on people’s opinions.

“People are not questioning. We see it, and we see it in our own lives as well. People are becoming more extreme. The centre ground is disappearing. It has now become okay to ignore opposing viewpoints, it has now become okay to shout them down.”

One of the distinctive qualities of games as a medium is the ability to empower players to make choices, and to show the consequences of those choices. Lewis and Button-Brown cited some well known examples of this technique: the admittedly “simplistic” moral split in a game like Knights of the Old Republic, the “Would you kindly?” reveal in Bioshock, and the creeping realisation of The Brotherhood of Steel’s true nature in Fallout 4.

“Having spent a lot of time with the UK and the US military, I have an affinity for this group,” Lewis said, referring to his experiences embedded with the military in Afghanistan. “[The Brotherhood of Steel] have some really cool kit. But the more you interact with this group it starts to get a little uneasy, then you start to realise that they’re a little bit fascist.”

Games afford players the freedom to arrive at such realisations, encouraging a degree of critical thinking absent in linear media. This power, Lewis argued, gives developers a responsibility to carefully consider how they present difficult subject matter to the world. Call of Duty, for example, depicts “a type of warfare that’s unrecognisable to the modern Western soldier,” one where the Geneva Convention and “the reality of the law of armed conflict” are not strictly observed.


“If you go into a mission and your objective is to kill the enemy, you are murdering wounded and potentially surrendering soldiers. That is illegal,” he said. “You are potentially using a flamethrower as a weapon. That is illegal. You are told to destroy civilian property and religious buildings. That is illegal. To some extent you’re also committing war crimes.

“A lot of game depictions of war are not accurate emotionally, are not accurate operationally, even if they’re accurate visually. And as we get towards ever more immersive experiences we have a responsibility to represent that moral reasoning.”

“A lot of game depictions of war are not accurate emotionally, are not accurate operationally, even if they’re accurate visually”

However, while there are examples of games that don’t take that responsibility seriously, The Near Future Society was mainly inspired by the games that already do.

“There are just so many games where, fundamentally, we teach players to think analytically,” Button-Brown said. “We teach them to question their environment, and to expect that the people that are talking to them are not necessarily telling the truth all the time. That’s what we do in our stories. We’re already doing it, and we’re actually quite good at it.”

“In the earlier part [of the talk], we deliberately held up some of the areas where we could do better,” Lewis added. “But only as foreground to say that the games industry writ large is already doing so much good in terms of encouraging critical thinking, and encouraging moral reasoning.”

Button-Brown discussed State of Decay and EVE Online as examples of games that use persistence to encourage players to think about the consequences of their decisions. In the case of the former, when one of your companions dies there is no option to restart or bring them back. “I then had to start making decisions about which of my companions I could sacrifice,” he said. “That’s uncomfortable, even in a virtual world.”


Lucas Pope’s Papers Please, which puts the player in the role of a border guard in a fictional country, was also singled out for praise. “It teaches people that there’s a grey area,” Button-Brown said. “Good decisions in Papers Please can end up with bad outcomes. You’re teaching moral action, and also connecting that to the consequences.”

Lewis discussed 11 bit Studios’ This War of Mine as a kind of counterpoint to games like Call of Duty, in the way that it depicts the experience of the people who suffer the most as a result of conflict. “It induces empathy with the displaced person, the people left behind after war,” he said. “Ordinary, normal people who have to try and eke out an existence; to survive and protect the people that we fought for.”

“There’s a decent chance we’re going to have much more influence as an industry over people’s morals”

Lewis and Button-Brown aren’t the only people to have noticed the potential for games to explore difficult subject matter. Last year, 11 bit Studios launched a publishing division with a stated aim of drawing attention to “meaningful games” like This War of Mine and Papers Please. “There are a lot of players who want those experiences,” publishing director Pawel Feldman told “We know how to talk about these games. All we need are talented developers.”

The Near Future Society has a similar goal, albeit as a charitable organisation rather than a commercial one. Lewis expressed his belief that “social and political taboos” are ideally suited to games as a medium because, through play, “people are much more likely to engage with them.” An open brainstorming session at the end of the talk proved that developers are eager to explore this new territory; the Near Future Society will attempt to serve as a conduit between interested studios and bodies that might fund and support their work.

“One of the partners that we’re going for is the Roddenberry Foundation,” Lewis said, referring to the organisation established by the son of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. “We want many of the early projects that we do support to be deliberately utopian. If you want a living wage and [universal basic income], then let’s use popular culture to explore that, rather than just having a declaration from Mark Zuckerberg.”


Both Lewis and Button-Brown acknowledged that the games industry has a “left-wing bias”, and they were very clear that the goal of the Near Future Society is not to tell people how to think. “In the forum in Los Angeles, one of the greatest concerns of the US and UK government that came along…was that this would be propaganda,” Lewis said. “What we had to make very clear is that any projects that we do, we’ll be very open on who the collaborators are, and indeed what any overt political message is going to be.

“You could say that, within this broad idea of making games more political, you have to state what the politics are rather than hide it with subterfuge.”

Button-Brown added that simply reflecting the bias of any given side of an issue would could be “dangerous”, and it would also ignore the unique strength that games have to allow the player to explore ideas from multiple angles, and make their own choices. “That’s why we ended up at teaching critical thinking,” he said, “rather than ‘Get Trump out’.”

“Games are already the most accessible, arguably the most effective, and the largest provider of moral reasoning and critical thinking education in the world,” Lewis said. “Almost without realising it, that’s one of the things that you’re providing to the global community.”

Understanding and embracing that idea will only become more important over time, Button-Brown said. “There’s a decent chance we’re going to have much more influence as an industry over people’s morals. We’re going to have much more influence over the way that they think. As people become more immersed in these worlds, it’s going to matter more.”


Private schools to save £522m in tax thanks to charitable status

Source: Guardian

Tax relief granted to 586 out of 1,038 private schools, including Eton College and Dulwich College

Private schools are set to get tax rebates totalling £522m over the next five years as a result of their controversial status as charities, according to a study of local council records.

Charitable organisations in England and Wales are entitled to relief of 80% on the business rates payable on the buildings they use, and some of the country’s best-known private schools qualify under the rules.

Business rates firm CVS sent freedom of information requests to councils, and responses from 132 showed that 586 out 1,038 private schools held charitable status and were granted the mandatory relief.

Its analysis of government data suggested that on 2,707 properties classified as private schools there would be a business rates bill of around £1.16bn over the next five years. Extrapolating from the data received from councils, it forecast that £634m would be paid, with £522m saved through the schools’ charitable status.

CVS said Eton College, whose former pupils include David Cameron and Boris Johnson, would have faced a bill of £4.1m for business rates over the next five years without its charitable status, but instead it would pay just £821,040.

Dulwich College in south London, which educated former Ukip Leader Nigel Farage, will only pay £786,752 out of its £3,933,760 five-year bill under the tax regime.

Leeds grammar school, which offers extensive sports facilities on a campus of nearly 60 hectares (140 acres), will only pay £826,016 out of its £4,130,080 five-year bill.

Business rates have come under fire since an overhaul resulted in huge rises for schools and hospitals along with businesses in London and the south-east. The government promised £300m to ease through the reforms, but refused to alter the status of public sector organisations or review the charitable status of private schools.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said private schools seeking charitable status “must meet a robust public benefit test”. It also said academies, foundation schools and voluntary-aided schools automatically qualified for charitable status, while insisting that state-school funding accounted for the cost of business rates.

In the run-up to the election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced plans to charge VAT on private school fees to fund free school meals for primary school children.


Tory Education Cuts Forcing Parents To Crowdfund For Basics Like Whiteboards And Computers

Girls on a school iPad.

Tory education cuts are forcing parents to turn to crowdfunding websites to help pay for school basics from whiteboards and computers to playgrounds and lollipop ladies.

HuffPost UK has been sent scores of examples of cash-strapped schools where deep reductions in their funding have left teachers and parents resorting to online appeals for donations.

The desperate measures emerged as the National Union of Teachers (NUT) revealed that an updated website – – detailing school budget cuts across the country has now had a million visits.


And think tanks have warned that the cash crisis triggered by the Government’s new school funding formula will continue even if the Conservatives return to power and inject £4bn more for education.

According to the National Audit Office, schools were already facing cuts of 8% in real terms  – or £3bn –  by 2019-20. The new funding formula means that around 9,000 of them face further cuts in a squeeze not seen since the 1970s.

Schools across the country are having to ration essential items like lined writing paper, photocopier paper, glue sticks and even pencils. Pupils have been asked to help vacuum their classrooms because their school can’t afford to replace a cleaner.

Parent-teacher associations have spent years raising money for ‘extras’ for schools, but a rash of new appeals reveals that crowdfunding is now being used for items normally considered ‘core’ budget services.

Following letters from headteachers appealing for help, parents have set up crowdfunding pages either with pleas for cash or sponsored bike rides, long-distance walks, assault courses, triathlons and other sporting events.

One private company that makes school lockers is actually encouraging parents to set up charity pages to raise the cash to buy basic equipment, HuffPost can reveal.

And a union source revealed that in one school the cuts are so severe that teaching assistants have been asked to buy staff toilet rolls.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has revealed examples of cuts include teaching assistants being told they have one roll of sellotape per class per year, only two glue sticks for every 60 children, and whiteboard pen shortages.


Camelsdale Primary School in Sussex set up a ‘’ page to raise £3,000 for a replacement classroom whiteboard, as it has five ‘fast-failing’ screens that are leaving pupils without the chance to share learning.

Its website declared: “This is an all-or-nothing campaign.  To receive any donations, we have to reach our minimum target!  Of course, if we exceed our £3000 target, any additional funds will go directly into the ‘Clevertouch for Camelsdale’ pot. Ultimately, we need to replace 5 whiteboards!”

Camelsdale Primary’s fundraising page.

Gattons Infant School, also in Sussex, set up a ‘’ page for whiteboards too.

“We have been deeply affected by Government cuts and, as a result, we are only just managing to finance the bare minimum in our attempts to continue to provide the children with the rich and exciting curriculum that we do,” assistant headteacher Ellie Bennett wrote.

Gattons Infant School’s appeal.

“Currently our classes all have very old, outdated interactive whiteboards which our teachers use to deliver the curriculum to the children every day.

“The condition of the screens on our current whiteboards is unacceptable and they are no longer of good enough quality for our children. Work and presentations are becoming increasingly difficult to see.”



Denton Community Primary School in East Sussex is trying to raise £1,500 to pay for a part-time ‘lollipop lady’ Maureen Hood.

The 67-year-old’s salary was axed by East Sussex County Council, but so far just £550 has been raised from the charitable effort.

“With the increasing number of children attending the school, this results in an increase in traffic around the area,” the website says.

“We would very much like to continue to offer this vital service for the community, ensuring the safety of our children, parents, visitors and the wider community.”


Private equipment firm’s advice website.

Some private firms have spotted an opportunity amid the cutbacks.

School equipment firm Workplace Products declares on its website: “Have you heard of crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money.

“For example if you posted a letter to the parents of 400 pupils asking for £1 to improve changing room facilities, you could potentially get £400 towards those upgrades.

“You just have to open your mind to the possibilities. What about starting a JustGiving page and coupling it with a sports day? You could even show parents around your current facilities and explain your upgrade plans during parents’ evenings.”


Stanley Primary School

The website, a project backed by schools unions the NUT, NAHT, ATL, and GMB, forecasts that 93% of schools will have their funding cut by 2022.

Using analysis by the independent Institute of Fiscal Studies of each of the three main parties’ plans for education funding, it concludes that the average loss in spending per pupil will be £338 in primaries and £436 in secondaries under the Tories.

By keying in your postcode, you can find out precisely how much money your school will lose, and the possible impact on teaching jobs.

Rising inflation, extra costs and pupil numbers will combine to force heads to cut spending. Some are deciding not to renew equipment, some are not replacing teachers or teaching assistants and other staff.

Daubeney Primary School in Hackney, East London, is another where a parent has set up a fundraising page in desperation. Its target of £5,000 has yet to receive a penny of donations.

Nadia Malone, of the school’s Parents’ Association, said: “Our schools are facing a funding crisis as a result of government cuts. Schools in Hackney are projected to be hit by £25,805,843 of cuts by 2019. At Daubeney School this means a projected loss of £785 per pupil or the equivalent of 12 fewer teachers.”

Stanley Primary School in Teddington, West London, has a page asking for £10,000 to help with basics.  Theresa May last week staged an event a few yards away in another school, as part of her attempt to stop Liberal Democrat Sir Vince Cable from ousting local Tory Tania Matthias.


Woore Primary School’s appeal.

Woore Primary in Crewe is aiming to raise £500 to help refurbish the school library and to provide children with new technology.

On its JustGiving page it states: “With government changes to school funding coming into force, we are needing to raise more money than ever before to help the school deliver the best educational experience possible for every single child.

“Funds raised on this page, and from external fundraising events such as socials and the annual fete will be used towards buying new educational resources and in the refurbishment of the school library, as well as buying modern tablets to enhance learning experiences for the children of the school.”


An appeal from a mum at Harborne Primary, Birmingham.

One mum at Harborne Primary in Birmingham is getting into a boxing ring in a bid to raise £1,000 for her son and his fellow pupils.

Vanita Joshi Sandhu said: “I would like to raise as much money to help them with this ongoing challenge. My son attends the school along with many other children, I would like to contribute to my sons future as well as all the other children who attend the school.

“I intend to do this by getting into a boxing ring. Everyone who knows me will agree this is completely out of my comfort zone and a real life challenge for me. Every time I feel like throwing in the towel I have to remind myself why I started.”

Dave Shaw, headteacher at Spire Junior School in Chesterfield, is taking part in the Great North Run to raise £5,000 to meet a funding shortfall.

“We have 70% of our children on free school meals and are situated in an area of high socio-economic deprivation. Due to funding cuts, and increases in costs we’re finding it increasingly difficult to run the school without running into a deficit.

“Under the new funding formula we will lose £17,000 of our budget and by 2020 the forecast is a loss of £99,000. I’ve had to lose one teacher and one teaching assistant, my deputy is now needed to teach full time, and I’m teaching part time, to save money.

“As we are not a charity this page has been set up as a crowdfunding opportunity. “

Parents and governors at Kew Riverside Primary School, West London, recently took part in a sponsored 255km cycle from Kew to Bruges in Belgium to raise £10,000.

Norbury school’s appeal for cash.

Norbury Primary School in Shropshire is trying to raise £20,000, partly through children taking part in a 53km mountain bike challenge.

“In light of the ongoing funding cuts to education and closure of so many rural schools, our children want to ensure that their school is able to continue and thrive for years to come,” it states on its page.


Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner told us: “Years of Tory cuts have left schools unable to cope, with buildings crumbling, teachers leaving and children being taught in super-sized classes.

“There is a clear choice at this election, between the Tories who will continue to starve our schools of the money they need, or a Labour party that will invest in education for the many, not just the privileged few.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, told HuffPost UK: “Schools asking parents for donations for extras is nothing new.

“But it’s clear now that more and more schools are asking parents to contribute towards things that are normally associated with a school’s core business.

“In the case of the lollipop lady, that’s also a reflection of how cuts to other services are impacting on school budgets. And that’s a concern because school budgets are themselves at breaking point.

“Thanks to pressure from parents and schools, funding is on the general election radar and there’s cross party recognition of that. The amount of funding is insufficient and needs to rise and that’s not a moment too soon.

“Our own research among our members shows that 7 out of 10 school leaders predict that their budgets will be untenable the 2018/19 academic year. Any party that wants to form the next government needs to fund education fully and fairly.”

Education Secretary Justine Greening.

Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer, added:  “The idea of parents having to crowdfund just so their kids school has basic resources is absolutely appalling.

“It’s not just teachers and pupils who will lose out – our support staff members, schools’ forgotten army, are often seen as ‘soft targets’.”

A Conservative party spokesman said: “Under our manifesto proposals no school will have their budget cut as a result of a fair funding formula. What’s more, we are increasing the overall schools budget, currently at record levels, by £4 billion by 2022 – a real terms rise for every year of the Parliament.

“Only Theresa May can provide the leadership to get the right Brexit deal and secure a brighter future for our country – so we protect the economy, and are able to properly fund our schools and give our children the best possible start in life.”

Many academics and employers have argued that education and skills funding are all the more important as the UK heads for Brexit in 2019.

In a HuffPost UK-Edelman focus group in Slough, one teaching assistant Sam underlined how school cuts were biting. “We’re scrambling around for paper, everyday resources are not there.  You can see cuts across everything.”


HuffPost UK is looking at voters’ priorities outside the hubbub of the election campaign trail and what they want beyond March 29, 2019, not just June 8, 2017. Beyond Brexit leaves the bubble of Westminster and London talk to Britons left out of the conversation on the subjects they really care about, like housing, integration, social care, school funding and air quality.

Parents · School

Parents need more engagement in education – report

Source: Holyrood

Written by Tom Freeman

Review of parental involvement legislation praises work to engage parents in the children’s education but the SPTC warns a ‘significant re-think’ needed

Parent's night

Parent’s night – Flickr creative commons

Moves to engage parents in their children’s education have been largely successful but need to go further, a post-legislative review by the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) has concluded.

A new report into the impact of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 contains a number of recommendations for government.

These include more opportunities for parents and staff to work together, more flexibility at work for parents to attend school events and an extension of the requirements to cover the early years.

“Parental involvement in a child’s learning has positive outcomes for the child, their family and their school, and helps to raise attainment,” the report said.

NPFS chair Joanna Murphy said: “The National Parent Forum of Scotland hopes that this review will allow all of us to move forward together, and continue to keep parents at the heart of their child’s learning.

“I will continue to strive for a political and legislative environment which champions the voice of parents.”

Education Secretary John Swinney welcomed the report and said its findings would feed into his review of school governance, which will report next month.

“We want to see a focus on how our education system is supporting parents to help their child’s learning at home, from the early years and throughout school; to overcome the obstacles they face and understand the powerful difference they can make,” he said.

Neil Mathers, Save the Children’s head of Scotland, said the report “allowed us to celebrate the really positive efforts schools and nurseries have taken over the last ten years to help parents to support their children’s learning​.”

However, membership organisation the Scottish Parent Teacher Council said the ambitions of the original act were “not yet delivered comprehensively”.

Director Jeanna Brady said: “While family engagement is probably one of the most significant levers available to teachers to impact on achievement and attainment of young people, our school system can only leverage this impact by adopting an approach which is all about working with families and builds engagement into school improvement.

“That requires a significant re-think across the system from teacher education and leadership development, parental engagement strategies and partnerships within and beyond school boundaries.

She added: “While parents generally do not want to run schools, they do want their voices heard and, most importantly, to be recognised as partners in their children’s education.”

A rumoured new regional approach to education governance could provide new structures for schools to share resources and build communities, she suggested.


Parents’ mobile use harms family life, say secondary pupils

Source: BBC

An overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life, according to a survey of secondary pupils.

More than a third of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds who responded to a poll said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices.

And 14% said their parents were online at meal times, although 95% of 3,000 parents, polled separately, denied it.

The research was carried out by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.

Among the pupils:

  • 82% felt meal times should be device-free
  • 22% said the use of mobiles stopped their families enjoying each other’s company
  • 36% had asked their parents to put down their phones

Of pupils who had asked their parents to put down their phones, 46% said their parents took no notice while 44% felt upset and ignored.

Despite this, only a minority of parents (10%) believed their mobile use was a concern for their children – although almost half (43%) felt they spent too much of their own time online:

  • 37% said they were online between three and five hours a day at weekends
  • 5% said it could be up to 15 hours a day over a weekend

Research last year by DAUK and HMC showed almost half of secondary pupils were checking their mobile phones after they had gone to bed, amid warnings that they were arriving at school tired and unable to concentrate.

According to the new research, almost three-quarters of pupils (72%) said they were online between three and 10 hours a day – but for 11% this could rise to 15 hours at weekends and holidays and 3% said it could reach 20 hours.

And children’s greatest worry about their own online use was lack of sleep, with 47% highlighting it as a major concern.

But among parents, only 10% worried about children’s time online leading to sleep deprivation.

Boy using devices at nightImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image captionPupils worry about sleep deprivation through going online at night

Mike Buchanan, headmaster of Ashford School in Kent and chairman of the HMC, which represents leading private schools, said it was time for parents, teachers and pupils “to rewrite the rulebook” on mobile devices, which “have become an integral part of life at school, work and play”.

“Our poll shows that children are aware of many of the risks associated with overuse of technology but they need the adults in their lives to set clear boundaries and role model sensible behaviour.

“To achieve this, we need to join up the dots between school and home and give consistent advice,” said Mr Buchanan.

‘Wake-up call’

Emma Robertson, co-founder of DAUK, said too few parents knew how long their children were online, particularly at night, “or what they are actually doing online”.

“We hope these findings will be a wake-up call for families and motivate them to have serious conversations about the safe and healthy use of technology,” she said.

The research comes ahead of the HMC’s spring conference, which will explore new ways of working between schools and families in both the state and independent sectors.

Parents and pupils at a leading academy chain, which runs both state and private schools in England, were invited to take part in the research earlier this month.

Parent signup:

Parents · School

London house prices near top schools:huge demand near the capital’s ‘outstanding’ primary schools pushes average prices up by £80k

Source: ES

London house prices near top schools:huge demand near the capital’s ‘outstanding’ primary schools pushes average prices up by £80k

As demand for homes near London’s top-rated primary schools pushes prices up by £80k, we reveal the capital’s most affordable catchments near “outstanding” schools.

Revealed: London’s most affordable catchment areas near top schools

London parents desperate to be in the right catchment areas for top-rated primary schools have driven local property prices up by more than £80,000 above other districts with less successful state schools, says a report published today.

With a quarter of parents selecting a home specifically for the quality of the local school, there is now a 13 per cent price premium on living close to a primary rated “outstanding” by the Ofsted education watchdog.

According to today’s research from Rightmove and FindASchool, the average price in the catchment area of an “outstanding” primary is a record £678,595.

The average price of a home in the catchment area of a primary rated “good” by Ofsted is £659,397, while homes close to schools which “require improvement” average £598,054.

The most expensive “outstanding” school to live close to is Bousfield Primary School, in Kensington, where homes have an average asking price of more than £2.25 million.

Homes within the catchment of Soho Parish CofE Primary Schoolhave an average asking price of almost £2.2 million, while those near St Barnabas and St Philip’s CofE Primary School, again in Kensington, cost just over £2 million.

Most expensive areas near outstanding schools:

School Borough Ofsted rating Average asking price
Bousfield Primary School Kensington & Chelsea 1 £2,254,706
Soho Parish CofE Primary School Westminster 1 £2,158,301
St Barnabas and St Philip’s CofE Primary School Kensington & Chelsea 1 £2,006,270
Ark King Solomon Academy Westminster 1 £1,656,807
Hadley Wood Primary School Enfield 1 £1,621,068


There are considerably more affordable alternatives for parents to consider that are also in the catchment of top-performing schools. The most affordable location in London is in the hinterland of Castilion Primary SchoolThamesmead, where the average asking price of homes is £247,284.

Homes close to nearby Hawksmoor School, which also has an “outstanding” Ofsted report, have an average asking price of £248,786.

Just across the Thames, in BarkingThames View Infantsis another affordable “outstanding” option, with average local prices of £273,459.

Buyers willing to live right on the fringes of London could consider Broadford Primary School, close to the new Crossrail station at Harold Wood in north-east London, where the average asking price is £294,558.Heading west, homes in the catchment of Feltham Hill Infant and Nursery School, in Middlesex, have an asking price of £314,774.

“An Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school will often have a remarkably small catchment area as parents clamour to buy what they perceive to be a stake in their child’s future,” says Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co estate agents. “The effect of families buying around desirable schools produces ever-narrowing catchment areas.”

Many parents, adds Leaf, take an early approach to moving to an area with a good local school — sometimes even before their children are born.

Other mums and dads simply try to cheat the system by renting a property in the catchment area, while keeping the family home elsewhere. But schools are becoming increasingly wise to this trick.

The high cost of homes close to top primaries means some families will compromise on the property to be near their school of choice. “Park Hill Junior School in Croydon is so popular that we are now selling two- to three-bedroom maisonettes to families willing to sacrifice a garden to buy within the catchment,” says Ian Vernon, senior associate at Bairstow Eves. Though the premium to live by an “outstanding” primary school is steep, it pales into insignificance compared with rising private school fees in London. Currently at £15,828 a year, a private primary education for two children could end up costing their parents almost £200,000.

Mark Rimell, a partner in Strutt & Parker’s national country house department, says top schools also create commuter belt price hotspots. Across the South-East, homes close to “outstanding” schools are £71,979 more expensive than those near schools that “require improvement”, partly due to an outflow of Londoners looking for excellent educational standards.

“I moved from Clapham to Hertfordshire for this very reason,” says Rimell. “I wanted better schools with larger grounds that would give my kids a better education and a higher quality of life.”