ONE IN TEN HEADTEACHERS SET TO RETIRE NEXT YEAR

Research by Wesleyan – a specialist financial services mutual for teachers – has found that more than one in five (21%) headteachers at schools in England have accelerated their retirement plans over the past 12 months, with nearly one in 10 (8%) now planning to retire before the end of next year.

Schools in England are facing a ‘retirement rush’ as their most senior and experienced teachers bring forward their retirement plans amid the pressures of the pandemic – despite many lacking confidence that they are financially ready for retirement.  

The research found that almost a fifth (19%) of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience are now planning to leave the classroom early, with those who have changed their plans pointing to a lack of work-life balance (83%), workload (72%) and stress (70%) as their biggest drivers for an earlier retirement. 

Despite this new ‘retirement rush’, just six per cent of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience and nine per cent of headteachers said they were highly confident that they were financially prepared for retirement – that they had enough in savings, investments or their pension, and that they had a plan in place.

Worryingly, more than a quarter (28%) of the most experienced teaching staff and a fifth (21%) of headteachers admitted they were not confident at all about their financial preparations.

Simon Rake, head of the teachers division at Wesleyan, said: 

“Considering the stresses teachers have faced this past year it’s not surprising that many are now reconsidering their retirement plans. But what is worrying is that so many  are doing so despite not feeling ready financially to leave work.

“Some teachers will find themselves between a rock and a hard place – deciding whether to risk retiring earlier without understanding how and when they can access the money they need, or continuing to work in conditions that may be taking a toll on their wellbeing and mental health.” 

Wesleyan’s research also found that a majority of senior and long-serving staff members were unaware of what ongoing changes to their pension schemes – particularly measures to remedy discrimination in public sector schemes often referred to as the ‘McCloud’ case – would mean for them.

Three fifths (60%) of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience and more than half (51%) of headteachers said they had never heard of the changes – despite it having a potentially significant impact on their pension pots.

 

Simon continued: “Planning for retirement has become increasingly complex for teachers, which could be feeding into their lack of confidence when it comes to financial plans.  

“Over the past six years, those in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) have seen a move to a career average revalued earnings scheme, the new choices offered by pension freedoms and, more recently, the ongoing changes brought about by the McCloud case.

“Understanding what each one of these changes will mean for their own pensions is key to being able to retire with confidence.

“Even if they’re not considering early retirement, it is essential that teachers take the time to assess their own finances, understand what options they have available and put a plan in place so that they are in the strongest possible position when the day eventually comes.”

Whizz Education Quantifies Maths Lockdown Learning Loss

Whizz Education, provider of the leading virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, has quantified the lockdown learning loss in maths experienced by 5–13-year-olds in the UK.  Whizz Education’s research shows that 46% of the 1,721 children assessed experienced a learning loss, exhibiting an average of knowledge decline of eight months during the first lockdown.

Dr Junaid Mubeen, Director of Education explains: “Learning loss is such a loaded term. At Whizz we simply take it to mean a decline in students’ knowledge levels, which is hardly surprising in the face of severe disruptions this past year. Despite the tireless efforts of teachers to adapt lessons and provide remote classes, the global pandemic has had a drastic effect on pupils’ learning.

“We found that pencil and paper multiplication was the skill that fared worst, along with pencil and paper addition, both demonstrating more than six months of knowledge declines across the sample. 

“Knowledge declines were less severe in topics such as integers, powers and roots and also decimals (5 months’ learning loss).  Children studying these topics are generally older, however, so these findings reflect similar studies we have conducted in other regions around the world, where younger pupils with a limited store of knowledge to draw on, suffered a higher degree of learning loss.

“It is also likely that those in our underserved communities have been hardest hit – a sad consequence of the pandemic is that it has exacerbated the attainment gap, with disadvantaged students falling further behind due to lack of access to online learning during school closures. We’ve observed this in both the UK and globally. 

“While we recognise that some students have lost almost a year’s worth of maths knowledge, when addressing how best to move forwards it is important that teachers are not put under further pressure, or that students are made to feel penalised, for events which have, frankly, been out of their control.  We should not expect quick fixes; it will take months, even years, for students to regain any lost ground.  The emphasis needs to be on informal assessment of gaps and ensuring each student receives individualised support that addresses their specific knowledge gaps.  Virtual tutors can play an important part in the battle against learning loss, without inducing further burdens on teachers. 

“At Whizz Education, we believe that every child deserves a learning experience that caters to their individual needs and pace of learning.  We work closely in partnership with schools to develop quality bespoke learning programmes delivered via our virtual tutoring platform, Maths-Whizz.  Maths-Whizz uses powerful AI to build a completely personalised plan for each child, and then continues to tailor it as they complete lessons. 

“Maths-Whizz provides more than 1,250 pre-prepared lesson plans, assisting teachers to deliver measurable learning gains for children with a range of abilities.  Our research shows with just 60 minutes per week of Maths-Whizz over a six-week summer period, students can expect to acquire a 4-month learning advantage. This year of all years, this seems like too great an opportunity to pass up.”

 To find out more about Whizz Education and the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor please see: www.whizzeducation.com

Whizz Education Calls for Virtual Tutors to Become Part of National Strategy to Help Lost Learning

25 May 2021:  Whizz Education, provider of the leading virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, is calling on the Government to use catch-up funding for virtual tutors as a cost effective, scalable option to help lost learning due to the Pandemic.

 

The Institute for Fiscal Studies states: “By the time the Pandemic is over, most children across the UK will have missed over half a year of normal, in person schooling. That’s likely to be more than 5% of their entire time in school. The unprecedented nature of the current crisis makes it hard to predict the actual effects and the negative effects are also likely to extend beyond educational attainment.”   

 

Richard Marett, CEO, Whizz Education explains: “Over 2020-21, more than £350 million of public funds will be spent on the provision of subsidised human tutoring organised by the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) as an unrivalled means of supporting student catchup.   However, there is a missed opportunity in the form of virtual tutoring.  A virtual tutor is an automated online system that simulates the most effective instructional behaviours of a human tutor.  Virtual tutors have been shown to be as effective as human tutors and far more scalable.

 

“For example, our research shows with just 60 minutes per week of the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor over a six-week summer period, students can expect to acquire a four-month learning advantage.  In addition, Maths-Whizz provides more than 1,250 pre-prepared lesson plans, reducing the burden for teachers and assisting them to deliver measurable learning gains for children with a range of abilities.

 

“The rates payable by schools for just 15 hours of 1:1 human tutoring from the NTP subsidised tutors is a typical total cost of £700 per pupil.  By comparison, virtual tutoring costs approximately £30 per child per subject per annum when deployed at an individual school level and would be substantially less if adopted at scale, reducing to around £10 per child.  Therefore, we are calling for virtual tutoring to become part of a long-term national strategy bringing real-time accountability and measurable gains.

 

“Virtual tutoring now has the potential to form an integral part of education and serve as a safety net for all students irrespective of their background, to enjoy uninterrupted access to quality education.  It offers the real chance to help to close the learning gap and help students get back-on-track in a cost effective and scalable way.”  

 

To find out more about Whizz Education and the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor please see: www.whizzeducation.com

 

Bromley Teacher Shares Lockdown Lessons at National Education Event

A Bromley teacher has shared her experience of teaching during the pandemic at a national education event.

 

Sam Shallcross, Head of Computing at Bromley High Junior School GDST, was asked to speak at Discovery Education’s Learning for Now — a special online event which explored how teachers can deliver an enriched curriculum that gives children the skills they need for life.

 

Over 100 teachers from across the UK signed up for the virtual event on 23rd May which showed how schools can balance traditional academic learning with subjects such as Art, Music, Cookery and Sport. Sam Shallcross shared how Bromley High Junior School delivered an enriched curriculum online during lockdown and explained why this is more important than ever.

 

“An enriched curriculum is vital for children because it prepares them for the future, builds their resilience and allows them to have fun!”, said Sam. “At Bromley High Junior School GDST, we continued to teach subjects such as Music, Art and Cookery online during lockdown. It really boosted the children’s independent learning and wellbeing.”

 

As well as taking part in daily live lessons in Maths, English and Science, pupils enjoyed fun extra-curricular activities including a virtual art gallery, community choir and weekly live cookery lessons. Teachers also arranged outdoor science lessons to help children get closer to nature.

 

Bromley High Junior School GDST delivered many of its virtual lockdown lessons using digital resources from Discovery Education Espresso – an award-winning platform for primary schools. Back in the classroom, pupils use Espresso every day and Sam Shallcross says that their digital skills are coming on leaps and bounds.

 

“Our pupils’ digital literacy has really accelerated during the pandemic. Their confidence in using technology has grown because they’ve been using it every day. Their experience of virtual learning was a positive one. They learned how to work independently and to collaborate with their peers.”

 

 

 

Looking to the future, Sam Shallcross says that the experience of teaching during the pandemic has shown her the importance of letting pupils enjoy a wide range of subjects.

 

“At Bromley High Junior School GDST our focus is on preparing pupils for a bright future. An enriched curriculum gives children the skills they need for life. It also broadens their  horizons, which during the pandemic is more important than ever.”

 

Andrew Hammond, Senior Director of Learning at Discovery Education said,

 

“ We were delighted to welcome Sam Shallcross and teachers from across the UK to our Learning for Now Event. It was fascinating to learn how Bromley High Junior School has continued to teach an enriched curriculum throughout the pandemic and to hear first-hand the positive impact this has had on wellbeing, while giving pupils the skills and cultural capital they need for life.”

 

Bromley High School is part of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), the leading family of independent girls’ schools in the UK.  

 

Explore Discovery Education’s events and award-winning digital learning services at www.discoveryeducation.co.uk.

NASBTT speaks up for ITT providers following Ofsted Covid-19 report

 

NASBTT has responded to the publication of Ofsted’s Teaching Teachers during COVID-19 research report https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-teachers-during-covid-19/teaching-teachers-during-covid-19.

 

Executive Director Emma Hollis said: “Firstly, and very positively, we are delighted that the hard work of ITT providers during the course of the pandemic has been highlighted in the report. The support providers have given to trainees has been recognised as going ‘above and beyond’, and something we have directly witnessed with our members over the past 14 months. We are equally delighted that our experiences of providers finding innovative ways to support trainees during an unprecedented period of time has been clearly identified by the research team.

 

It has also been our experience that some aspects of ITT provision have been strengthened by the shift to new ways of working. The report makes positive references to “deeper and more connected thinking about the ITE curriculum” as well as “improved guidance and support {and}…wider access to ITE curriculum content across the partnership”. This is reflective of the ‘Covid keepers’ we have been exploring with our members and signals a new approach to some aspects of ITT in the future.

 

At a time where broadening access to provision has never been more important, we are also pleased to note the recognition given to providers’ efforts to support access for trainees with a wide range of personal circumstances have been acknowledged. We are confident that such innovations will be embraced going forward, with face-to-face methodologies being retained where these have been shown to be more impactful.

 

The focus on mental health and wellbeing has also been recognised in the report and this is an area which we believe has been particularly effective for providers. With reports around the decline of the mental health of the teaching workforce presenting worrying findings (https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/mental-health-decline-schools-could-push-more-teachers-leave) it is promising that ITT providers have made this a central part of the offer they are able to give to beginning teachers who will be entering the workplace at a time of great uncertainty.

 

The impact of the pandemic was, inevitably, always going to be felt keenly by trainees who have limited access to classroom practice. We are pleased the report has identified that providers have made their best efforts to mitigate this disruption and have done everything within their gift to offer support and guidance through this difficult time. We are clear that there will be unique challenges for Early Career Teachers (ECTs) entering the workplace this September and it will be important for employing schools to appreciate these unique needs and ensure that, with the support of the ECF, they are tailoring support accordingly. Despite some challenges for this year’s ECTs, it is heartening to note that the report has highlighted some ways in which this cohort are at a unique advantage to others – including their immersion in online teaching and learning environments which has well-prepared them for the possibilities for blended learning and given them additional time and space for reflection on key principles of how pupils learn.

 

We do, however, have to take issue with the report’s conclusions that too few partnerships have a sufficiently ambitious ITE curriculum and too many partnerships are overly reliant on the experiences that trainees gain through placements to provide ITE curriculum content in subjects and phases.

 

Our experience of working exceptionally closely with providers over the past 18 months through conferences, workshops, one-to-one support and networking opportunities has been that providers have taken the introduction of the Core Content Framework very seriously and are working hard to ensure that their revised curriculum materials fully meet and exceed these new requirements. We have seen excellent practice in the development of highly ambitious ITT curriculums, many of which we have collated and shared publicly. The introduction of an entirely new curriculum expectation, if it is to be done thoughtfully and to a high standard, is always going to take time. We must also not lose sight of the fact that the ITE Inspection Framework was due to be introduced from September 2020, which fell in the eye of the Covid-19 storm. Despite this, the work we have been doing with providers has not lost sight of the importance of curriculum design and implementation.

 

On the perceived over-reliance on school placements for learning the curriculum, Government policy decisions, made explicit in the ITT Criteria have, over a period of more than a decade, directed providers to ensure that school placements are at the heart of any provision. It is a central part of the unique system of teacher training that we enjoy in England (and which is due to be exported globally with the introduction of iQTS) that real and sustained experiences of live classrooms are a core feature of any programme of ITT. The quality and consistency of school placements are a perennial challenge for ITT providers who have, variously, been tasked with working with schools in challenging circumstances, supporting employment-based routes into ITT and ensuring a breadth of school experiences for trainee teachers. These are challenging priorities to balance and it is our experience (backed up by the outcomes of Ofsted’s previous inspections) that providers have been able to rise to these challenges over successive inspection frameworks and through successive adaptations to government policy.

 

The positive note in the Ofsted report about the ability of the sector (and in particular the school-based sector) to secure placement opportunities for their trainees despite the tremendous pressure on schools throughout the pandemic is testament to the success of ITT providers’ relationships with their partnership schools.”

 

Selby College improves the student experience with high-density WiFi 6 – delivered in just 8 weeks – from Redway Networks.

Selby College has improved wireless connectivity and delivered the coverage and capacity required to support bring-your-own-device (BYOD) services for its high-density learning environment.  The College’s transition to next-generation Cisco Meraki WiFi 6 from Redway Networks has given the campus a hyper-secure, robust cloud-networking solution that delivers a seamless WiFi experience to students and staff.

Selby College, in North Yorkshire is a tertiary college that offers courses for A Level, degree, adult education and work-related business vocation.  Thanks to a huge £35m investment in its state-of-the-art campus, the College now boasts some of the most up-to-date facilities of any education provider in the area. Selby College has an open BYOD policy which actively encourages and supports students using their own devices.  It can see more than 1500 devices connecting to its wireless network and to support throughput and optimise services for these devices, particularly in high-density gathering areas, hyper-reliable wireless is vital.  

Current WiFi cannot support density of users.

Mike Pilling, Network Services Manager at Selby College says: “During normal circumstances we have between 1,000 and 2,000 students on-site over several buildings all with smart phones, ipads and laptops accessing the College and guest WiFi.  Times have moved on since we installed our existing Netgear solution, and it was struggling to provide the bandwidth we needed to support this number of devices and we felt the students were missing out”. 

Mike continues: “When we analysed our network, we found that 90% of its usage was actually for social  and only 10% for the College side, so that really highlighted the need to improve our bandwidth. In this digital age, students choose a college not just for its courses but for the social side, so reliable WiFi is important to them.  The College had received a government grant to enhance its IT infrastructure so we took the opportunity to improve the wireless network with a more sophisticated solution that would support our high-density needs and future proof the network.”   

 

 

College goes out to tender.

Once it had gone through its wireless requirements Selby College completed a specification document which was sent out to a purchase consortium to get advice on wireless technology vendors.  Mike Says: “At the point of contacting the consortium, I received an email from Redway Networks (who has experience in the education sector) so I decided to add them to the list for review.  Timescales were really tight due to our budget having to be spent by March 2021 so we not only needed a wireless provider who had the expertise to meet our requirements, but who could work around our short timescales and deliver a seamless project.” 

An ITT was then sent out and Redway Networks demonstrated the best technical ability, product knowledge and pricing in its bid.  Mike says: “I didn’t want to just go on price and was really impressed with Redway Networks.  I felt confident that Redway had the technical knowledge and design capabilities to provide the best fit solution for us and we received a great service throughout the whole tender process”.

Selby College selects Redway Networks.

Redway Networks was then chosen to provide the new WiFi.  Mike says: “I was looking for a cloud solution rather than an onsite wireless controller and when Redway showed me a demonstration of Meraki I really liked it and knew it would meet our requirements for connectivity and performance and I liked its easy-to-use dashboard. Plus, Meraki’s 10-year software licence (plus the free year offer) was cheaper than the 5-year support deal offered by the other vendors.”

Selby originally had 45 access points (APs) across the campus but wanted to increase that number both inside and outside to meet its high-density needs.  So, Redway installed 72 Meraki APs with services that included WiFi survey, design, configuration, and support. Due to coronavirus Redway’s engineer conducted the WiFi survey remotely to determine AP positioning, coverage and performance and the results were verified using Ekahau’s visual heat mapping software.

Mike says: “Everything was done off plan.  We literally went from building-to-building using video conferencing to discuss what the building was used for, size of the space, coverage requirements and wall material etc, so that Redway could design and create a bespoke network for our needs.  When I got the heat maps back everything looked great, and it was signed off.”

Seamless Meraki install in less than 8 weeks.

From Selby College’s initial request for information to the survey, design and installation was completed in less than eight weeks. Mike says: “I was over the moon with the service I received from Redway Networks and was delighted that not only did Redway install our new WiFi in less than a week, but the whole project was delivered sooner than our original planned date of the February 2021 half term – so our timescales were certainly met.” 

WiFi that supports a digital future.

Selby College now has hyper-secure Meraki WiFi 6 solution with a centralised cloud-managed licence and automatic firmware upgrades for the next ten years.  This provides the flexibility and control to keep the College connected and secure, whilst delivering a seamless wireless experience to its high-density student population.

Mike says: “Meraki hasn’t been tested in full anger yet, but from what we’ve seen on-site we now have significantly better network coverage and must much faster WiFi.  I am sure when the students come flooding back, they will be impressed with the bandwidth and speed at which they can access digital resources and stream media from anywhere on campus – even in large groups (which is something they couldn’t do before) so we’ve improved the student experience.”

Mike concludes: “I couldn’t be more impressed with our new Meraki solution and I’m confident that even when we start seeing new educational technology and WiFi 7/ 8 capable devices coming onto our network, we’ll have the wireless in place to build the digital College of the future.”

More than a third of schools have been targeted by criminals during the pandemic

Schools across the UK have been targeted by criminals during the Covid-19 pandemic, as more than a third (35%) have experienced crime, according to new research from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical.

 

The survey of 500 teachers found schools had suffered anti-social behaviour (16%), trespassing (13%), graffiti (11%), criminal damage (8%) and cyber-crime (7%) since the start of the pandemic. 

 

A fifth of teachers (22%) felt their school was more vulnerable to crime during the Covid-19 pandemic, citing fewer staff on site during the national lockdowns and entrances being left open more frequently to increase air ventilation when schools were closed.

 

Nearly half (47%) of the schools surveyed had introduced new measures to protect the school and deter criminals since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than a quarter (28%) of schools introduced CCTV, one in five (19%) fitted alarms, and 15% built more security fencing.

 

Independent schools surveyed reported much higher levels of crime in comparison to other types of schools. Three in five (58%) experienced some form of crime over the last 12 months.

 

The survey revealed more than a quarter (26%) of independent schools suffered anti-social behaviour since the pandemic. Graffiti (17%) and trespassing (15%) on school property were also cited as the top crimes experienced by independent schools.

 

Despite that three quarters (75%) of independent schools have introduced new security measures since the start of the pandemic, over a third of independent school teachers (37%) believe their school is more vulnerable to crime since Covid-19.

 

Faith Kitchen, Education Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Schools have been far more vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and other forms of crime over the last year. School properties were often left largely unoccupied or even empty when schools were closed to the majority of pupils, tempting opportunists. For schools, crime experienced within school property can be a stressful event for teachers, as it is they who are left to deal with the implications of teaching without laptops or equipment, while leadership has to tackle the expenses incurred.

 

“There are a number of measures schools can take to better secure school property and assets, which would ideally be a combination of both physical and electronic protection. Fencing around the perimeter can often offer a good first line of defence against unwanted visitors, while CCTV can act as a visual deterrent for those not wanting to be caught on camera.”          

 

Free online CPD event with UK Parliament for teachers of pupils aged 5-11

UK Parliament is running a free online event for primary school teachers.

 

Your UK Parliament: engaging pupils aged 5-11

Take part in this free online CPD event to explore how your pupils can engage in the work of UK Parliament and how you can bring this to life in your classroom. 

 

Sign up to: 

  • Discover stories that will hook your pupils’ interest and show how UK Parliament works 
  • Explore free, curricula-linked resources and other opportunities to engage your pupils with UK Parliament

 

Special guests include Sarah Binstead-Chapman, Senior Doorkeeper in the House of Commons. 

 

Book your place now

Plasma Clean expands into infection control market with innovative solutions proven to kill SARS-CoV-2 in education facilities

Plasma Clean, trusted pioneers in innovative and affordable infection prevention solutions, is helping businesses to keep running safely with its infection control range proven to kill SARS-CoV-2 with an exposure time of 0.25 seconds in line with ASHRAE design guidance. 

 

Boasting a 99% disinfection rate against bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, Plasma Clean is supporting the education sector to create cleaner, safer environments. 

 

Dedicated to improving air quality for the last 13 years, and with research at its heart, Plasma Clean’s new range includes RoomKlean, a cost-effective and easy-fit Upper Room UVC solution that uses UVGI technology to offer the continuous disinfection of harmful microbes and kill unwanted germs in minutes. 

 

With UK schools forced to close due to coronavirus lockdowns, and classes facing self isolation due to potential exposure to the virus, the education sector is being pressured to stem the spread of the virus within their environments. While it’s too early to know the real impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning, initial studies suggest that pupils have lost the equivalent of one-fifth of the school year, and so infection prevention is key.

 

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is an effective disinfection method for schools as it uses short wavelength ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill dangerous microbes in the environment. 

 

Plasma Clean’s air handling unit solution, TechniKlean UVGI, fits into current ventilation systems with a 99+% microbial kill rate, as well as long term energy and cost-efficiencies for schools. 

 

Other products in the range include AirKlean, a wall or ceiling mounted unit which reduces the need for chemical disinfectants and MobiKlean, a portable plug-in solution unit that disinfects classrooms before and after use, killing COVID-19 in just 11 minutes.  

 

Steve Keogh, CEO of Plasma Clean, commented: “For the last 13 years, we’ve been providing innovative solutions and service-excellence to our customers to help them create a cleaner, safer environment. Our infection control range is focused on supporting the education market. We’re committed to making schools and classrooms a safer place so teachers can keep teaching and children can focus on learning without worrying about their health.” 

 

To find out more about Plasma Clean’s infection control range, visit: www.plasma-clean.com

 

Ten things you learnt at school which are no longer true

Our knowledge of the world is constantly evolving, and as such, some of the things which were once taught in schools are no longer true.

 

Remember when Pluto was declassified as a planet and you began to doubt everything your teachers had ever told you? Turns out, that was just the start.

 

From science and history to English grammar, Oxford Home Schooling has compiled a list of 10 ‘facts’ which you may have heard in the classroom but are now considered outdated.

 

1) Diamond is the hardest material

Correction: There are six materials on earth which are harder than diamond

 

It was once taught that diamond is the toughest substance on the planet, but, while it remains the most scratch-resistant, there are actually six materials now known to be harder. These include wurtzide boron nitride – a crystal lattice formed during volcanic eruptions, which is 18% harder than diamond – and graphene – a carbon lattice that is only one atom wide but is the strongest material we know of, in proportion to its thickness[1].

 

2) Water can only be found on Earth

Correction: There is water in multiple places in our solar system

 

We used to think that earth was the only place where water can be found, but NASA has since proved its presence on some of our galactic neighbours. In 2015, it confirmed water flows intermittently on Mars and then, later that year, discovered an ocean beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus[2]. Many suspect that there’s also an ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

 

3) King Tutankhamun was murdered

Correction: He either died from a chariot crash or from genetic impairments

 

Some schools used to teach that King Tutankhamun of Ancient Egypt was murdered when someone struck him on the head. However, a 2014 BBC documentary suggested that he died in a chariot crash that ultimately ended in an infection and blood poisoning. Around the same time, a virtual autopsy of the pharaoh’s body indicates he may have died because of genetic impairments, with evidence suggesting his parents were siblings[3].

 

4) You can’t split an infinitive

Correction: It’s now acceptable

 

Star Trek’s famous line “to boldly go where no-one has gone before” annoyed a lot of hard-line grammatists by breaking a long-standing rule of the English language – that the infinitive form of a verb (I.e. to go) should not be split. However, researchers at Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press found that split infinitives are now almost three times as common now as they were in the 1990s[4], and as language keeps evolving, most linguists now consider them acceptable.

 

5) There are three states of matter – solid, liquid and gas

Correction: There are at least five

 

One of the fundamentals of chemistry, most school students were told that there are three states of matter – solid, liquid and gas. However, scientists now know of a fourth natural state, plasma, which despite not being common on earth, is thought to be the most prominent form in the universe. There’s also a fifth state, the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), where molecular motion almost stops completely. BECs were discovered in 1995, but so far have only been found in laboratories[5].

 

6) Neanderthals were not very intelligent

Correction: They were skilled hunters with advanced tools

 

 

Many people used to believe that Neanderthals died out largely because they were less intelligent than Homo sapiens, but recent studies suggest they had similar cognitive abilities and were actually quite skilled hunters[6]. New archaeological evidence shows they used relatively advanced tools and were also better at socialising than once thought.

 

7) The universe is 13.7 billion years old

Correction: It’s actually 100 million years older

 

 

Science lessons used to teach that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, but it turns out we were out by around 100 million years. The European Space Agency’s Planck mission scanned the sky for radio and microwaves and in 2013 concluded that previous estimates were slightly short – the universe is actually 13.82 billion years old[7].

 

8) No-one knows where Richard III’s body is

Correction: He was buried under a car park in Leicester

 

 

For over 500 years, historians and archaeologists had been searching for the body of King Richard III, who died from injuries sustained in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The long mystery was solved in 2013 when researchers from the University of Leicester announced that they’d discovered the controversial monarch’s remains beneath a car park in the city[8].

 

9) Nothing can travel faster than light

Correction: Things can move faster than light under the right conditions

 

 

It’s still true that nothing can travel faster than light in a vacuum or in similar conditions in space. However, scientists have managed to slow light down by either trapping it inside waveguides made with photonic crystals or inside ultracold atom clouds. This can reduce the speed of light from around 300,000km per second to near zero, so lots of things could outpace it[9].

 

10) We have five senses

Correction: We have way more than five

 

 

The five main senses – touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell – are still our most fundamental, but we also have lots of other mechanisms helping us to make sense of the world. For example, we have proprioception – a sense of space. This is how our brain understands where we are in relation to other things. We also have others, such as neuron sensors, which help to control balance[10].

 

 

Greg Smith, Head of Operations at Oxford Home Schooling, said: “Every year in every subject, experts are constantly learning and updating our knowledge. This means that some things which were once taught at school now don’t tell the whole story, or have even been proved to be wrong!

 

“This can only be a good thing, however, as it shows that we are developing a greater understanding of our world.”

 

For more ‘facts’ you learnt in school which are no longer true, visit: https://www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk/blog/15-facts-you-learnt-at-school-that-arent-true-any-more/