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Preview: Latest education news, including the university guide 2010, RAE results, higher and schools news, schools tables and further edu

Education | The Guardian

Latest education news, comment and analysis on schools, colleges, universities, further and higher education and teaching from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Published: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:53:20 GMT2017-07-27T18:53:20Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017

Work-work balance: how to juggle a job with postgraduate study

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:41:05 GMT2017-07-27T14:41:05Z

Think academia could be your escape from the stress of work? Think again – I was pulling 18-hour days by the time I finished my PhD

When it comes to the dreaded small talk – “So, what do you do?” – mine’s not the smoothest of answers.

“Well, I’m doing a PhD, but I also do some freelance writing, and I work at the Guardian, and I teach a bit, too.”

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How do we boost children's brainpower? Live chat

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:09:58 GMT2017-07-27T09:09:58Z

Join us on Thursday 3 August, 1pm to 2.30pm, to discuss the latest thinking on how people become high performers and what we can do to cultivate excellence

In a recent article, education journalist and author Wendy Berliner argued that there’s no such thing as a gifted child – but instead, with the right support, most people can in fact reach standards of performance associated in school with the gifted and talented.

“There is a canon of research on high performance, built over the last century, that suggests it goes way beyond tested intelligence,” she writes. “On top of that, research is clear that brains are malleable, new neural pathways can be forged, and IQ isn’t fixed. Just because you can read Harry Potter at five doesn’t mean you will still be ahead of your contemporaries in your teens.”

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A struggling school that inspired the country is being destroyed by Tory cuts | Frances Ryan

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:42:00 GMT2017-07-27T07:42:00Z

A secondary school featured on Channel 4 must find £800,000 by 2020. Its head says this is hurting the poorest pupils most – and it’s happening everywhere

• Frances Ryan writes the Guardian’s Hardworking Britain series

Three years ago, Frederick Bremer school in Walthamstow, east London, was inspiring the country in Channel 4’s Educating the East End. Now it’s being forced to find the best part of £1m to survive.

In an era of nationwide school funding cuts, the story of Frederick Bremer is perhaps the ultimate snapshot of the cuts agenda’s unthinking destruction. Watch a few minutes of this comprehensive onscreen, and it’s clear that it is the type of school any politician would praise: 900 enthusiastic kids, staff going the extra mile, even a dedicated special needs hub. But regardless, it is pushed to the brink. A cocktail of cuts, pension changes and inflation rises means by 2020 the school is facing a budget reduction of around £800,000 in real terms. That’s the equivalent of more than 20 teachers.

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There's a gulf between academics and university management – and it's growing

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:30:42 GMT2017-07-27T06:30:42Z

University managers used to couple administrative work with research. Now the role is full-time, they’re losing touch with the academic community

It may be hard to believe, but there was once a gentler era when universities were administered rather than managed. How times have changed. As higher education has grown in size and complexity so institutions have felt the need to strengthen their management arrangements. Executive management teams now rule, populated by an expanding cadre of career track deputy and pro vice-chancellors.

Until recently, these career track managers were only seen in post-1992 universities where pro vice-chancellors have always been permanent management positions. In contrast, in pre-1992 universities pro vice-chancellors have traditionally been hybrid academic-managers assuming the role on a part-time basis, whilst maintaining an underlying academic career. But now that being a pro vice-chancellor has become a full-time job rather than a part-time role, career track managers are taking over in pre-1992s too. So what does this new breed of pro vice-chancellor look like?

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I know what it’s like to spend school holidays hungry. So do today’s kids | Dawn Foster

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:30:42 GMT2017-07-27T06:30:42Z

Visiting a food bank may be as far some families get this summer. This needless hunger, and its effect on childhood, should cause a national outcry

• Dawn Foster writes on politics, social affairs and economics

A sign pinned to the door of my local food bank marked “Urgent!”, appealing for more food than normal, alerted me to the fact that the school holidays had started this week. For many parents, the summer holidays bring fresh challenges for meagre budgets. The Trussell Trust has just announced that during July and August last year, it handed out 4,412 more three-day emergency food parcels for children than during the previous two months. Close on half go to primary school pupils, and 27% to children, including babies, under the age of four. The long school holidays financially stretch families who are struggling to get by. Without free school meals, and with extra childcare costs, families who are just about staying afloat can barely keep from going under.

Related: There’s a food poverty crisis in the UK. And the government is starved of ideas | Kathleen Kerridge

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Using sugar tax to plug gap in school funding is perverse, say councils

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 23:01:33 GMT2017-07-26T23:01:33Z

LGA slams government decision to hijack ‘essential’ budget intended for child health measures including sports

Fears have been raised that the sugar tax, earmarked to invest in children’s sports and healthy eating programmes from April 2018, could be diverted to plug holes in education funding.

Local council leaders have said the government must find new funds to pay for its boost to schools funding, amid concerns that money due to be raised from the levy on sugar-packed soft drinks will be used to make up the shortfall.

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'You have no choice but to cope': a day on the ward with a student nurse

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:30:23 GMT2017-07-26T14:30:23Z

It’s exhausting and sometimes distressing, but Chantelle Brooks, on her final placement at a mental health hospital in Blackpool, wouldn’t work anywhere else

Inside the Harbour, Blackpool’s mental health hospital, a patient is anxiously eyeing up the student nurse who is taking another patient’s blood pressure. When it comes to her turn, the woman begins shouting insults. On the acute woman’s ward, it’s easy for things to escalate if one patient becomes upset. For nurses on placement, it can be a stressful introduction to life on the wards.

Chantelle Brooks has learned to cope by now. This is her final placement on a three-year degree course in mental health nursing at the University of Cumbria. Despite the occasionally distressing nature of her job, she can’t imagine doing anything else.

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Betsy DeVos: Trump's illiberal ally seen as most dangerous education chief ever

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:00:38 GMT2017-07-26T10:00:38Z

The 59-year-old billionaire is said to be the spearhead of Trump’s agenda, and alarm is growing at her plans for privatization – and her erosion of civil rights

Ivanka Trump, wearing a blue lace dress, beamed, hugged, high-fived and took a group selfie. Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, smiled and chatted with the boys and girls too. But only one of them looked like she could have been a children’s TV presenter – and it was not Betsy DeVos.

Trump and DeVos read the book Rosie Revere, Engineer to a group of around 40 six- to 10-year-olds – most of them African American – who had travelled on Tuesday from a YMCA boys and girls club in Washington to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, a short walk from the Trump international hotel.

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Two-year university degrees: trimming the fat or a bad deal for students?

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 06:30:34 GMT2017-07-26T06:30:34Z

Government thinks accelerated degree courses will improve perceptions of value for money. But it’s not clear they’re worth it for universities or for students

In his robust defence of the current fee regime on 20 July, universities minister Jo Johnson returned to the accelerated degrees which he last mentioned in February. But universities have already warned him that his proposed model might not be workable – and nothing has changed since then.

In a consultation on the issue in May 2016, universities agreed that there are a range of inherent difficulties [pdf] in delivering these new products, the most insurmountable of which is cost. Johnson mooted that the fee cap would be lifted for these accelerated degrees – to a level where the student would never be paying more for a two-year degree in tuition fees than he or she would for a three-year degree. This means that annual fees could be up to £13,500. The supposed savings to the student (and the taxpayer) will come from lower spending on maintenance costs – two years in student digs instead of three – whether paid for through earnings, loans or grants.

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More than 600,000 pupils in England taught by unqualified teachers, says Labour

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:03:12 GMT2017-07-25T19:03:12Z

Party says many school staff have no guaranteed training in safeguarding children, and standards are at risk

Labour has accused Theresa May’s government of allowing more than 600,000 pupils to be taught by unqualified teachers.

After a pledge by Jeremy Corbyn to stamp out the practice, the party has analysed official figures to calculate that 613,000 pupils in state-funded schools in England have been taught by adults with no formal teaching qualifications.

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Corbyn: I didn’t make commitment to wipe student debts – video

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 10:57:54 GMT2017-07-23T10:57:54Z

Jeremy Corbyn says he did not commit to wiping student loan debts during the general election campaign on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show. Critics accused Labour of knowingly misleading students but Corbyn says the party was not aware of how much writing off the debt burden would cost

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Jeremy Corbyn denies promising to wipe graduates' student debts

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 10:19:41 GMT2017-07-23T10:19:41Z

Labour leader said before election he would ‘deal with’ debts, but now says that was not a commitment to write them off

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted Labour did not commit to wiping graduates’ student loan debts during the general election campaign, after Conservative MPs accused the party of knowingly misleading students.

The Labour leader told NME magazine during the election that he would “deal with” the huge debts acquired by graduates who had paid high tuition fees, as well as abolishing fees for current students.

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Number of children expelled from English schools hits 35 a day

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:30:06 GMT2017-07-20T18:30:06Z

There were 6,685 permanent exclusions in 2015-16, up from 5,785 the previous year

The number of permanent exclusions from schools in England has gone up, with the equivalent of 35 children being expelled every school day, according to government figures.

Almost, 6,700 children were permanently excluded from all primary, secondary and special schools in 2015/16, meaning the rate of expulsions has risen every year since 2012/13.

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University contracts could help students sue if tuition is poor

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:29:05 GMT2017-07-20T16:29:05Z

Minister Jo Johnson proposes legal ‘consumer’ protection but critics dismiss idea for ignoring issues like tuition fees

The government is considering introducing legally binding contracts for students that would allow them to sue their university for failure to deliver on promises.

The contract would set out what students should expect from their college in terms of contact time, number of tutorials and lectures, assessments and feedback.

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Number of UK degree students receiving firsts soars

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:59:22 GMT2017-07-20T08:59:22Z

One-third of UK universities and colleges awarded top grade for 25% of degrees in 2015-16, four times as many as in 2010-11

One-third of UK universities and colleges are awarding firsts to at least 25% of their students, four times as many as five years ago, figures show.

In 2015-16, 50 institutions gave at least one-quarter of degrees the top grade, while 10 awarded more than one-third a first. This compares with 12 and two respectively in 2010-11, before tuition fees were raised to a maximum of £9,000 a year starting from the 2012-13 academic year.

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Dame Helen Ghosh to leave National Trust for Balliol College, Oxford

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:47:17 GMT2017-07-18T16:47:17Z

Trust director general will in March leave role of six years to become Oxford college’s first female master

Dame Helen Ghosh is to leave her job as director general of the National Trust to become the first woman master of Balliol College, Oxford. She will join 11 other women who currently head Oxford colleges, under the leadership of the university’s first female vice-chancellor, Prof Louise Richardson.

The announcement came as a surprise to colleagues at the National Trust, where her tenure has not been without controversy. During her leadership, the trust found itself drawn into debates about fracking and windfarms. Earlier this year it also found itself at the centre of a row over the use of the word “Easter” in publicity for its egg hunt.

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Justine Greening announces £1.3bn bailout over two years for schools – video

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 16:48:31 GMT2017-07-17T16:48:31Z

The education secretary announces in the House of Commons on Wednesday that schools will get £1.3bn extra funding over two years. Greening says she will identify ‘efficiencies and savings’ to pay for the funding, including £200m from the free schools budget

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School makes pupils wear signs if uniform doesn't meet standards

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:50:10 GMT2017-07-17T13:50:10Z

Merchants’ Academy in Bristol says ‘positive behaviour’ policy is effective, but parents compare rules to a workhouse

A school has been criticised for making children wear signs around their necks if their uniforms are not up to scratch.

Pupils at the state school, Merchants’ Academy in Bristol, have to wear a lanyard with a card bearing the message: “I have 24 hours to sort out my uniform.’’

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Schools asking parents for 'money via direct debit' owing to cuts

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 14:29:03 GMT2017-07-16T14:29:03Z

A parent at a funding rally in London says she is aware of schools asking for monthly or one-off payments to ‘balance the books’

Schools are asking parents for money via direct debit or large one-off payments because of cuts to funding, a mother has said at a rally in central London.

Hundreds of parents, children and teacherstook part in the demonstration on Sunday as part of the campaign, Fair Funding for All Schools.

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I’ve been popping antidepressants since I was 16. Why is this a bad thing?

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:00:12 GMT2017-07-25T13:00:12Z

I was first prescribed depression medication five years ago and it’s now part of my self-care routine. It’s good for young people to take control of their mental health

I have been on the antidepressant citalopram for the best part of five years now – popping my pill is as much a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth or drinking a cup of tea. I used to romanticise it, pretending the water I washed it down with was vodka. Nowadays, I think of it more as an important moment of self-care at the beginning of my day – part of how I have learned to take care of myself and my mental health.

I am also well aware that I am far from unusual. Last year, the NHS prescribed a record 64.7m items of antidepressants in England. I can see this propensity to prescribe everywhere: I know more people who are on antidepressants than those who aren’t.

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Ban on students from Cuba is a sign of changes at the Open University | Letters

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:22:55 GMT2017-07-24T18:22:55Z

Behind the progressive rhetoric are many unwelcome developments, writes Dr Paula James

Cuba Solidarity is rightly leading protests at the banning of applications from Cuban students by the Open University. It has been policy for a while now that the OU does not accept applications from Syria, Sudan, Iran, Cuba and North Korea, because of the fear of US sanctions. So inclusivity and openness are now at risk on an international scale, which comes as no surprise to many of us employed by or associated with the Open University. This discriminatory policy comes with a context. The OU has form on producing progressive rhetoric when the reality of their strategies has for some years been a carnival of reaction. My central and regional colleagues have witnessed with dismay the loss of local offices, along with experienced and skilled student and tutor support staff, since the closure of my regional centre in the south-east in 2014. Many of the support staff are women who have been forced to take early retirement or voluntary redundancy – more effective discrimination. We were told by senior management that these closures were not to save money but to modernise and digitalise the institution. But fiascos have ensued in administrative processes, seriously disadvantaging students and overworking part- and full-time academic and administrative teams. The fall in student recruitment and retention is not just because of the huge hike in fees the OU put into place under the Tory coalition.
Dr Paula James
Chelwood Gate, East Sussex

• Join the debate – email

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Housing benefit cuts dent President Emmanuel Macron's popularity

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:19:43 GMT2017-07-24T17:19:43Z

Students and opposition party demand French president withdraw cost-cutting measure as he’s accused of targeting poor

The French president Emmanuel Macron has come under fire for cuts to housing benefits, just as his popularity has dropped in polls.

A row erupted on Monday after the government announced it was going to cut a particular type of housing benefit by five euros a month in a move affecting millions of French people – including many living below the poverty line.

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Second home owners are destroying rural economies | Letters

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 23:05:00 GMT2017-07-22T23:05:00Z

Incomers raise property prices and have little respect for history and culture

The difficulties communities in rural England face in preserving their integrity will strike a chord west of Offa’s Dyke (“Why rural Britain needs a new deal”, Special Report).

The problems described in your report are exacerbated in large parts of rural Wales, where the language and culture are under enormous pressure from a seemingly endless tide of second homers and elderly English retirees, whose main impact is to price local youngsters out of the housing market.

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Don't fear British sarcasm – and other advice for overseas postgrads

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 09:00:34 GMT2017-07-22T09:00:34Z

Moving countries for a degree is a formidable challenge but it’s immensely rewarding. Here are some lessons I learned

In my year group as a postgraduate, I saw half of the non-UK students drop out. This far exceeded the class’s drop-out rate for UK students. It helps put into context the scale of the challenges that international students face in coming to the UK to do a postgrad degree. Having recently faced those challenges myself, I have some advice.

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How to bring out the genius in your child

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:38:41 GMT2017-07-25T08:38:41Z

What teachers and parents can do to develop the skills, values, attitudes and attributes necessary for lifetime ­success

What support do children need from teachers and parents to develop the cognitive skills, values, attitudes and attributes needed for lifetime ­success? Here are some ideas from Great Minds and How to Grow Them, based on Prof Deborah Eyre’s approach, to help your child become a high performer.

Related: Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child

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Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:15:02 GMT2017-07-25T06:15:02Z

Even Einstein was unexceptional in his youth. Now a new book questions our fixation with IQ and says adults can help almost any child become gifted

When Maryam Mirzakhani died at the tragically early age of 40 this month, the news stories talked of her as a genius. The only woman to win the Fields Medal – the mathematical equivalent of a Nobel prize – and a Stanford professor since the age of 31, this Iranian-born academic had been on a roll since she started winning gold medals at maths Olympiads in her teens.

Related: How to bring out the genius in your child

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Dear Justine Greening: your primary school reading reforms aren’t making the grade | Michael Rosen

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:00:02 GMT2017-07-25T06:00:02Z

When 29% of pupils leave primary school without achieving the expected level, isn’t it time to think again?

A trick I used to play with my children when they were much younger was to take a 50p piece out of my right trouser pocket, show it to them, then slip it into my left pocket and say, “Hey, look I’ve got 50p in there too. That makes a pound. We’re rich!”

I can’t think you ever saw me do that but you seem to have used exactly the same dodge with the money for schools. I wonder if it’s ever occurred to you that when ministers do naff tricks with money, one of the main things we take away from it is that you tried to take us for fools.

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Fit for an oligarch: school for the super-rich opens in London's Mayfair

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:03:56 GMT2017-07-21T13:03:56Z

Eaton Square upper school offers neoclassical classrooms in a Grade 1-listed building, and fees to suit London’s bankers and aristocrats

School assemblies will be held in a state-room hung with original 1761 green silk wallpaper. History will be taught in neoclassical rooms designed by Robert Adam, and chemistry experiments will be carried out in basement laboratories being converted from what are amusingly described as “Mrs Patmore’s kitchens”.

This is Eaton Square upper school, the first new co-ed private school in central London for decades, which is preparing to open its doors to the children of the super-rich bankers, aristocrats and oligarchs of Mayfair and Chelsea.

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Work experience wisdom: five tips from a serial intern

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:04:35 GMT2017-07-19T15:04:35Z

After a dozen internships, Amelia Dimoldenberg knows a thing or two about shadowing, mingling and making coffee

Last week, a 15-year-old student named Eddie was left in charge of Southern Rail’s Twitter account. His tweets made the national news. “The best thing on the internet” was one of the more modest headlines. As work experience feedback goes, it’s safe to say that Eddie has hit the big time.

Sadly, it’s not often that your efforts as an intern will catch the attention of the national press. When I was 15 and did my first placement at New Look, all I got at the end of the day was a thorough bag search.

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One out, all out! The school where cuts are pushing teachers to the brink

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:16:00 GMT2017-07-18T17:16:00Z

The school funding crisis is being felt all over the country, with cutbacks, redundancies and parents being asked to donate cash, pencils and glue sticks. But at one school in south London, teachers have been on the picket lines throughout the year. Is this a taste of things to come?

It is 8.30 on a Thursday morning. Ordinarily, this leafy street in south London would be teeming with life, as boys clad in black blazers and striped ties make their way to school. Today, the road is uncharacteristically quiet.

It is the 13th day of strike action since November by teachers at Forest Hill School for Boys in Lewisham, and most of the 1,400 pupils are at home again. Their teachers are protesting against staff cuts designed to save the school £1.3m. Fifteen teaching jobs are being cut from September, more than 20 support staff have already gone, and the head teacher is now grappling with a rash of resignations from disillusioned teachers who want out.

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Labour’s national education service is an idea whose time has come | Melissa Benn

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 06:30:12 GMT2017-07-18T06:30:12Z

Labour had many bold ideas in its manifesto, not simply scrapping tuition fees. Now it must seize the chance to develop these proposals further

There could well be a couple of years before another election. This gives Labour time to build on the bolder ideas of the recent campaign. Perhaps Labour’s most significant proposal in its manifesto was for a national education service (NES), a scheme to join up the disparate elements of education, providing free lifelong learning from nurseries through schools to universities and adult education.

But this idea did not really get its due, with commentators either concentrating on the headline issues (it’s all about tuition fees) or giving the entire Labour offer short shrift (it’s not radical enough).

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Leopard-print leggings and iPhones in class: how do we teach professionalism?

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 06:30:11 GMT2017-07-21T06:30:11Z

Today’s dental students can seem like they’re on their own planet. But really they just want to learn from our example

Here’s a typical day. It’s 9am: half my students are missing. I only have six, but that’s 50%. I have six patients booked for dental treatment at 9am and half the workforce is missing. This isn’t the NHS, this is university, and it’s becoming a pattern.

I’m a PhD student in a clinical training pathway. I get the buzz of teaching undergraduates and the intrigue of researching. Normally, I feel like I get the best of both worlds. But sometimes I find it tough to teach the invisible students – and when they arrive the challenges continue.

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Cultural change is needed to tackle sexual harassment on campus

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:03:46 GMT2017-07-20T11:03:46Z

Universities must work harder to keep students safe by sharing experience, expertise and resources

A steady stream of unsettling reports and surveys on sexual harassment in universities keep appearing. This started in 2010 with the NUS report Hidden Marks [pdf], which found that 68% of students had experienced verbal or physical sexual harassment. A recent Guardian investigation also uncovered more than 160 accounts of staff-to-student sexual harassment, highlighting a lesser-documented issue that poses further emotional and academic obstacles to victims. This issue is not going away, but there are finally signs that universities are starting to respond.

Related: Generation Z is starting university – but is higher education ready?

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Let's bridge the divide between academic and technical education

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 06:30:12 GMT2017-07-18T06:30:12Z

Universities’ widening participation efforts tend to ignore further education. But FE students are the untapped resource we need to plug skills shortages

The economic arguments for widening access to higher education are widely accepted. The UK is moving towards a skills crisis that will be exacerbated by Brexit. We are facing some of the worst productivity levels in the OECD, and we have acute shortages in many sectors, with a record number of advertised vacancies. The UK’s engineering industry alone will need another 1.8 million trained individuals by 2025. But we will only be able to plug these gaps if we focus on all learners, and not just those on academic courses.

The Social Mobility Commission’s most recent report notes that the funding and expertise ploughed into widening participation have resulted in more working class young people at university than ever before. But that comes with the large caveat that both student retention rates and graduate outcomes for the same group have scarcely improved in the last two decades.

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University tuition fees haven't failed – but they need a second look

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:43:45 GMT2017-07-14T15:43:45Z

The current tuition fee regime is socially progressive and keeps our universities afloat. But students need to feel they’re getting a fair deal

After university tuition fees played a prominent role in the general election, the hotly-debated issue of how we fund undergraduate courses has returned to the spotlight. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies has indicated, simply scrapping the current fees and loans system in England would not give us a socially progressive system for funding higher education. But it’s clear that concerns about the current system are growing, and we will have to do something about them.

The recent IFS analysis noted that “as high-earning graduates repay the largest share of their student loans, they benefit the most from the removal of tuition fees”. Scrapping fees could mean that taxpayers are funding the wealthiest graduates to go to university.

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It's not about whether we charge tuition fees – in Wales we've found a third way

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:07:37 GMT2017-07-14T15:07:37Z

The focus on whether English universities should charge tuition fees skirts around the important question of maintenance support. Wales is one step ahead

The debate over how we should support students has reignited in England. Here in Wales, we think we may have found the solution. Responding to the recommendations of a higher education funding review led by Professor Ian Diamond, we will support all students with their living costs, addressing the very concerns that they and parents often raise.

The new support package in Wales will cover those who start their course in 2018/19, wherever in the UK they choose to study. Every student will be entitled to support equivalent to the national living wage. This means that eligible full-time students will receive maintenance support of £11,250 if they study in London and £9,000 per year elsewhere if they live away from home.

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Let's undo the great mistake – make university tuition free

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:26:04 GMT2017-07-14T10:26:04Z

Universities provide public – not private – goods. If the social benefits outweigh the financial, it’s only fair we charge students accordingly

What logic drove the last two governments to overturn a stable university funding system that is looking ever more likely to be restored in some form? Clearly it was convenient to push £16bn of £17bn in higher education expenditures off the government’s books and on to the backs of graduates. But that isn’t the whole story: it’s about miscategorising higher education as a private good.

The most visible damage was confirmed by this month’s report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies [pdf]. By tripling the fee cap from one year to the next, the coalition government forced most students to borrow tens of thousands of pounds for a degree. The new policy doubled debt per graduate to £50,000 in just five years. That’s a level that the US took 50 years to achieve – except that the US average is still about $37,000 (£29,000).

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Enough of exploiting academics - now pay us fairly

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 06:30:16 GMT2017-07-14T06:30:16Z

Academics have grown grateful for any work at all, no matter how precarious. It’s time to give us the employment conditions we deserve

It’s been a painful year for jobs in British higher education. Brexit and the Teaching Excellence Framework sent the sector into a panicked tailspin, with hundreds of redundancies announced at universities from Sunderland to Manchester to Brighton. By this point in the academic calendar, precariously-employed early career academics who haven’t yet managed to secure work for next year are beginning to lose hope: postdoctoral funding has been allocated, permanent jobs have been filled, and few more one-year roles covering research or maternity leave are likely to materialise before September.

As I finish my PhD and begin to contemplate my first steps into the job market, it’s hard to feel excited. I’ve watched brilliant friends be employed for two or three consecutive years with demanding teaching loads, travelling to cities hundreds of miles away or sharing childcare, only to be dropped for someone else with a more illustrious publication record. This callousness doesn’t just come from senior management but frequently from within departments. One friend, employed on three consecutive one-year teaching contracts in the same department, wasn’t even told that he hadn’t been shortlisted for interview when the job was advertised again. Nine- or ten-month contracts have become increasingly prevalent over recent years. Someone I know was made “redundant” for the summer in the middle of a January-December contract.

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It's time to radically rethink university tuition fees

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 06:30:01 GMT2017-07-13T06:30:01Z

Taxpayers, companies and students all benefit from higher education. It’s only fair that we start splitting the bill more evenly

University tuition fees are back in the spotlight. Labour’s manifesto pledge to abolish fees saw a re-energised student constituency help put paid to expectations of a Conservative majority. Now, Conservative political leaders are scrambling to respond to the issue. The overwhelming impression we are left with is that the current system has lost credibility. It must be swept away and replaced with one that is both fair and financially sustainable.

Students and their parents feel they have been unfairly treated by paying the bulk of their higher education costs themselves – they are right. Under the 2017 system the average debt for graduates is over £50,000, with students from the lowest income families averaging nearly £60,000. This is politically unsustainable.

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The drive to get children out of foster care and into boarding school

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:50:15 GMT2017-07-25T10:50:15Z

A government initiative aims to encourage more local authorities to send vulnerable young people to boarding schools. What’s the thinking behind it?

“The school has a mile-long drive and on each side there are trees. I’ve never been so intimidated by trees. I thought ‘Oh my goodness, where are all the shops? What if I need to get sweets?’”

These were Erina Naluwaga’s thoughts as she approached New Hall School for Girls in Chelmsford for the first time in 2001. At age 14, having spent a decade in the care system, passing through five foster placements, she had “no concept” of boarding school.

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Secret Teacher: in a stressful year, it's the children who have kept me going

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 06:00:31 GMT2017-07-22T06:00:31Z

With management piling on the pressure, I often dread going into school. But my pupils and their parents remind me why I do this job

When I started teaching at my school it had a notorious reputation – parents refused to send their children here. Over time, things have changed. We’ve transformed into a place where parents want their children to learn. We have a waiting list. But with this has come increased pressure and high expectations from management.

More paperwork than ever is demanded of us. I spend a worrying amount of my week typing about children rather than having actual face-to-face contact time with them. The way management have told me how I should be doing my job (despite them having been out of class for years, and never having taught in the early years) has been infuriating and demoralising. I’ve often dreaded going into school for this reason.

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Critical thinking: how to help your students become better learners

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:40:01 GMT2017-07-21T11:40:01Z

Want your class to make the most out of learning opportunities? Try focusing not just on the task itself, but how they approach it

Encouraging students to build awareness, understanding and control of their thought processes – also known as metacognition – has been identified by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit as one of the most cost-effective ways to improve learning. It’s also thought to help boost performance in subjects such as maths, science and English.

It’s all about about getting students to think critically about their own learning. As the EEF explains, learners can be given “specific strategies to set goals and monitor and evaluate their own academic development … the intention is often to give pupils a repertoire of strategies to choose from during learning activities”.

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Tips to help schools reduce teacher workload

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 23:00:04 GMT2017-07-18T23:00:04Z

From asking teachers for feedback to rethinking lesson planning, there are ways for schools to lessen the burden. We asked our panel of experts for advice

With teacher workload on the up and educators leaving the profession as a result, work-life balance has become a very real issue for schools. So what can schools do to address the problem? In our recent online live chat, we brought a panel of specialists together to discuss possible solutions.

Here’s a roundup of their suggestions:

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Secret Teacher: we don't need expensive gifts – a thank you will do

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 06:00:45 GMT2017-07-15T06:00:45Z

Not all parents believe in giving presents to teachers, and they shouldn’t have to. But knowing they appreciate our efforts makes all the difference

Last week, I saw a post in a parents’ group on Facebook asking what to get teachers as an end-of-year present. Some responses were ideas and suggestions, but some people argued that no one should buy their child’s teacher a gift at the end of the year.

Of course, it’s an ongoing debate. A survey by Mumsnet on Christmas gifts revealed that 45% of parents buy gifts for teachers – 60% think it is a good idea, 22% don’t agree with the practice, and 38% disagree with giving teachers a Christmas present.

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'They have overcome enormous challenges': the refugees rebuilding their lives as teachers in British schools

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:00:22 GMT2017-07-14T11:00:22Z

Refugees who taught in their homelands can bring unique perspectives to teaching – but they face obstacles to joining the profession

Not a single person at Olga Petrov’s* school knows the real reason she came to be teaching in the North of England. Even now, more than a decade after moving to the UK, it’s clear that she still feels uncomfortable talking about the situation that led to her fleeing Russia. She says, hastily, that she was forced to leave due to her involvement in a political movement. “There were threats to myself and my family and it became impossible to work and have a normal life. I was in a dangerous position.”

The Russian-language teacher left for London with her children before settling in the North. Visiting her children’s primary school every day, Petrov soon felt a strong urge to teach in her new country. “I realised that there were many similarities [between schools in Russia and in the UK] – there’s the same atmosphere in school, teachers are the same – and I thought that I could easily do this job.”

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Tips for headteachers to help prevent burnout

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 10:17:22 GMT2017-07-11T10:17:22Z

Headteachers are under pressure to perform in increasingly difficult circumstances. So what can they do manage the stress?

The stress that headteachers are under continues to be reported – with the numbers leaving the profession a growing concern. For many, headship is a role that’s beginning to feel untenable.

This echoes what I often hear from headteachers in my role as school leadership coach. The headteachers I speak to feel overwhelmed by shrinking budgets, the teacher recruitment crisis and the high-pressure inspection system. So what steps can they take to prevent burnout?

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Secret Teacher: nothing could prepare me for the death of a student

Sat, 08 Jul 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-07-08T06:00:00Z

Helping children understand the death of their classmate was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do

Your training equips you for lots of scenarios that may arise in the classroom, but nothing prepares you for what to do when you discover one of your students is dying – or to break the news to a group of children that their classmate had died.

Once I knew that Katie’s* prognosis was bleak, I found myself trying to brace the other children for the looming heartache. I also wanted to make their time in the classroom filled with happy memories. Building relationships was crucial; after all, they were going to need each other for support and friendship to help them cope.

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My child won't benefit from Sats exams – so we're boycotting them

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 10:35:22 GMT2017-07-06T10:35:22Z

My son’s primary school drills pupils for years to take the exams in year 6, at the expense of wider learning. I feel I have to act

I worked away from home last week, and didn’t see my child for a few days. When I returned, I asked him how school had been. He shrugged and said: “We did seven tests. I’m a 2.3.” I asked him what that meant. “I don’t know,” he said. “But Alice is too.”

This week, for him and the other year 5s, there were another three tests. At the school move-up day – where we met his teacher for next year – we were told that “we teach maths and English up to Christmas, then we do practice Sats papers”.

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'Going global': China exports soft power with first large-scale university in Malaysia

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 00:29:40 GMT2017-07-07T00:29:40Z

Beijing’s push for overseas influence extends to the education sector, with the opening of Xiamen University outside Kuala Lumpur

Near the classrooms at the original Xiamen University in China, there is a pleasant hill and lake. So, when the government-owned institution set out to build the first ever large-scale international branch of a Chinese university, an hour outside of Kuala Lumpur, they found a hill and built a lake.

“We would like to keep some aspects of our parent university, because it is part of the tradition and culture,” said Wang Ruifang, president of Xiamen University Malaysia. “We would like to give our students space to think.”

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Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, official says

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:00:16 GMT2017-06-23T05:00:16Z

Board of education chairman says subject is debatable, controversial and too complicated for students

Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmuş in a video published on the education ministry’s website.

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No classrooms, lessons or homework: New Zealand school where children are free to roam

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:58:49 GMT2017-06-20T06:58:49Z

Pupils at Deep Green Bush school spend the majority of their day outdoors, exploring the countryside, learning to fish, hunt and trap possums

Deep among the streams and Kauri trees of rural south Auckland, New Zealand’s newest and most alternative school is in session. The weather is fine so a bout of fishing is in order, followed by lunch cooked on an open fire. Homework and classes? Indefinitely dismissed.

“We are called a school but we look nothing like any school out there,” says Joey Moncarz, co-founder and head teacher at Deep Green Bush School, which is in term two of its inaugural year.

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George Soros attacks Hungarian prime minister for building a 'mafia state'

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 11:24:59 GMT2017-06-01T11:24:59Z

Financier says his Central European University is still under threat folllowing Viktor Orbán’s curbs on foreign ownership

George Soros has accused the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán of building a “mafia state”, as he warned the fate of the Central European University he founded still hangs in the balance.

The Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist said he was confident the university’s defence of its freedom would ultimately “bring the slow-moving wheels of justice into motion”, but said it and other organisations he had backed were still at risk under the Orbán-led government.

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Educational disparity in the playground | Brief letters

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:47:41 GMT2017-05-23T17:47:41Z

Private schools | Basque refugees | Sexism | Raw meat | Older Guardian readers

I saw the “privileged few” on Monday. Picture the scene: a beautiful sunny day in a village, near Northampton, all the primary school children ran the Race for Life for Cancer Research. Having only a small playground, they were allowed to run on the extensive playing fields of the private school opposite, while their children played cricket and rounders. I am afraid that my afternoon was somewhat spoilt by the contrast. No losing of valuable teachers and school lunches for them! Well done, everyone.
Marilyn Turner
Crewe, Cheshire

In 1937 Worthing accepted about 60 Basque refugees from the Spanish civil war (Letters, 23 May). A number of local businesses, such as bakeries and dairies, provided support as public money could not be used. In commemoration there is a blue plaque on the front of Beach House, and a beautiful coloured glass window on Worthing pier designed by local artist Siobhan Jones.
Geraldine Blake
Worthing, West Sussex

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Taliban teachers: how militants are infiltrating Afghan schools

Tue, 09 May 2017 04:45:52 GMT2017-05-09T04:45:52Z

Educators face pressure to give good marks to young fighters while others are swapping chalk for Kalashnikovs after lessons

When Afghan teachers are lobbied to give good marks to mediocre students, the pressure does not necessarily come from disgruntled parents. Often it comes from the Taliban.

In areas of eastern Afghanistan, militants intimidate teachers to let older boys who fight with the Taliban pass exams despite lacklustre performances, according to education experts working in the region.

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UK researchers lead effort to design climate-proof refugee housing

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 23:01:13 GMT2017-04-30T23:01:13Z

Bath University staff head an international team working on shelters capable of withstanding extremes of temperature

Researchers will today begin a three-year project to design housing for refugee camps in extreme climates where temperatures range from 45C to -10C. The international team behind the Healthy Housing for the Displaced project, led by Bath University, aim to improve living conditions for refugees by creating low-cost and easy-to-construct housing.

Their 20 shelter designs will moderate extremes of temperature and ensure the privacy, comfort and dignity of residents. The research will be the largest global study into thermal, social and air-quality conditions in camps housing displaced people.

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University chief appeals for EU help to fight Hungarian clampdown

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:33:25 GMT2017-04-25T16:33:25Z

Rector of Central European University hopeful EU will launch infringement proceedings against Orbán government

The head of a leading university threatened with closure in Hungary has made an emotional plea for help from the EU and accused the country’s rightwing, authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, of effectively putting a gun to his head.

Michael Ignatieff, rector of the US-linked Central European University (CEU), said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the EU would launch infringement proceedings against the Hungarian government for its “outrageous” attack on academic freedoms.

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The role of interpreter is lost in translation | Letters

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 17:51:20 GMT2017-04-11T17:51:20Z

The big picture (5 April) was good and the numbered captions helpful. It was a boost for our profession to have the man below the late King Abdullah’s portrait described as “perhaps the most important person in the room”. However, translators are not normally people who listen and speak (sometimes simultaneously) in meetings: that is the job of interpreters. Some translators are trained to interpret, but they usually excel at writing, keyboard skills and carefully honing text. Speech is not writing; transfer of meaning between languages and cultures requires not only accuracy, speed and clarity, but impartiality. Interpreters should have no vested interest in the outcome of a meeting. It would be useful to know whether Theresa May had a British Arabic-English interpreter in her delegation.
Jane Straker

• Join the debate – email

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Thousands protest in Hungary over threat to Soros university

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 17:55:40 GMT2017-04-09T17:55:40Z

Demonstrators call for president to veto legislation passed by parliament targeting Central European University

Tens of thousands of people have protested in Budapest against legislation that could force the Central European University, founded by the financier George Soros, to move out of Hungary.

A bill passed in parliament by the ruling rightwing Fidesz party of the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, a critic of liberal civil organisations funded by Soros, targeted CEU by setting out numerous conditions under which it must operate.

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Food banks are the only place some children eat a good meal in the holidays | Julie Coates

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:42:03 GMT2017-07-25T06:42:03Z

‘Holiday hunger’ means charities are stepping in to replace free school meals outside term time. Without us, struggling families go hungry

  • Julie Coates is manager of Hailsham food bank, East Sussex

When politicians talk about holiday hunger, they always make it seem like an abstract idea; a recent report, for instance, talked of up to 3 million children at risk of being “exposed to hunger”. But running a food bank, I’ve seen first-hand exactly what going hungry in the holidays is really like.

Tracy* tells me that every day is a struggle to get by. Each of her three children has learning difficulties and they need constant supervision. The food bank is a godsend for her – the children eat things they wouldn’t normally eat and get a good, nutritious meal in a safe space.

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Long, boring school holidays were the making of me | Nikesh Shukla

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:28:41 GMT2017-07-21T17:28:41Z

While my friends enjoyed exciting summers, I worked in my father’s warehouse. As well as cementing family bonds, it cultivated my imagination

• Nikesh Shukla is a novelist

I approached the summer holidays with dread. Every year, six weeks off school meant six weeks free to pitch in and help at my dad’s warehouse. I helped to pack orders, counting out reams of paper, preparing them and ticking them off on the order sheet; talked cricket and Hindi movies with my uncles; and counted the days until school started again. The warehouse was filled with boxes. There was no adherence to any health and safety. The fire exit was blocked by a stack of flattened boxes we kept in case we ever needed them. Piles of boxes ran up high, nearly touching the ceiling. Boxes spilled into the office till they became a permanent fixture and Dad and Kaka, my father’s younger brother, stopped taking meetings on site because the office ended up being more storage space.

Related: Why working parents like me dread the summer holidays | Andy Dawson

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TV journalists set out to make me look stupid – and missed the real news | Diane Abbott

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:27:41 GMT2017-07-21T14:27:41Z

This week I was caught up in a ‘gotcha’ storm. The headlines should have been about the alarming rise in crime, not about an interview stumble

• Diane Abbott is shadow home secretary and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

I found myself in the middle of a “gotcha” journalism storm this week. The government released new crime statistics on Thursday, revealing the highest annual rise in crime in a decade. This, together with the fact that we are seeing the lowest police numbers in 30 years, is a story. It shows that Tory austerity is actually making all of us less safe. So I sent out a press release which included the fact that Labour in government would recruit 10,000 more police officers. And I did a series of media interviews.

Related: Rising crime spells deep trouble for Theresa May

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Why are students getting more firsts at university? | Guardian readers and Sarah Marsh

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:58:12 GMT2017-07-21T13:58:12Z

The number of UK degree students receiving first-class degreess has soared. Here academics and students give their explanations for why this is

More UK universities and colleges are awarding the top grade to students, figures show. One-third of UK universities and colleges awarded a first for 25% of degrees granted in 2015-16 – four times as many as in 2010-11. We asked students and academics about why they think this is. Here are a selection of your responses.

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My reverse culture shock: returning from a year abroad is tough

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:05:20 GMT2017-07-20T12:05:20Z

After a life-changing year studying in Canada, coming back home felt like a backward step

Language barriers. Culture shock. Homesickness. These are the things you might worry about before departing to study abroad. But for me, returning home proved the hardest of all.

After the whirlwind experience of a year abroad – constantly meeting new people, having new experiences and gaining independence – coming home can feel like an anti-climax. Like many other exchange students I found myself living with my parents again after a year in Canada. It felt like I’d taken several steps backwards.

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Why we should learn German | John le Carré

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 23:05:12 GMT2017-07-01T23:05:12Z

To help make the European debate decent and civilised, it is now more important than ever to value the skills of the linguist

I began learning German at the age of 13, and I’m still trying to explain to myself why it was love at first sound. The answer must surely be: the excellence of my teacher. At an English public school not famed for its cultural generosity, Mr King was that rare thing: a kindly and intelligent man who, in the thick of the second world war, determinedly loved the Germany that he knew was still there somewhere.

Rather than join the chorus of anti-German propaganda, he preferred, doggedly, to inspire his little class with the beauty of the language, and of its literature and culture. One day, he used to say, the real Germany will come back. And he was right. Because now it has.

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10 things teachers want to say to parents, but can't

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 06:20:00 GMT2014-06-10T06:20:00Z

The long school year is coming to an end and one primary teacher has a few things to share

• 10 things parents want to say to teachers

1 Your kids are not your mates

Something I'm starting to hear with worrying frequency within the primary school setting is "my daughter's my best friend". Often, this rings alarm bells. Your kids aren't your mates. You're their parent, and your responsibility is to provide them with guidance and boundaries, not to drag them into your own disputes. Your nine-year-old doesn't need to know about your bitter feud with his friend's mother, or which dad you've got the  hots for at the school gate. In the years to come he or she may realise that some of  their own problems (social alienation, in its various forms, being a prime example) might have something to do with exposure to that sort of talk at an early age. Continue at your own risk.

Continue reading...Clockwise, from top left: let them get their own breakfast, John Terry's not such a good role model, be careful with video game age ratings and PE is compulsory.Clockwise, from top left: let them get their own breakfast, John Terry's not such a good role model, be careful with video game age ratings and PE is compulsory.

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Rogeting: why 'sinister buttocks' are creeping into students' essays

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:42:56 GMT2014-08-08T11:42:56Z

In an attempt to get away with plagiarising their work, unscrupulous students are using a thesaurus app to ring the changes on essays copy-and-pasted from the internet. The results are often hilariously inept

Name: Rogeting.

Age: A modern twist on an age-old practice.

Continue reading...Students who 'Roget' their essays may find themselves 'left behind' when it comes to graduation. Photograph: Dan Chung/Dan Chung for the GuardianyouStudents who 'Roget' their essays may find themselves 'left behind' when it comes to graduation. Photograph: Dan Chung/Dan Chung for the Guardianyou

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Dear Sir, I'm sorry: letters of apology to former teachers

Tue, 23 Oct 2012 19:00:00 GMT2012-10-23T19:00:00Z

Education secretary Michael Gove has written a letter to an old teacher, expressing regret for his behaviour at school. We asked some writers who they would apologise to and why

Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk, Connecticut

Continue reading...Education secretary, Michael Gove has apologised to a former teacher. What would you say? Photograph: Gideon MendelEducation secretary, Michael Gove has apologised to a former teacher. What would you say? Photograph: Gideon Mendel

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When grades aren't enough: how to sell your academic brilliance

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:01:05 GMT2017-05-22T13:01:05Z

For postgraduates already looking ahead to an academic career, it’s worth learning how to hold your nose and sell yourself

Academia is nice work, if you can get it. It quickly became clear to me, as a PhD student, that completing the PhD was just the beginning. Unless you publish open access, most scholars won’t read your work – more than half of published papers are never cited – and that means you’ve got to be more creative about displaying your expertise. Master’s and PhD students eyeing up an academic career need to accept that self-promotion is a major part of academia: that’s obviously the case when grant writing, but is no less relevant when talking about job applications, conference papers and publishing proposals.

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What's the point of school uniform?

Thu, 03 Oct 2013 08:50:00 GMT2013-10-03T08:50:00Z

You might hate your school uniform, but I think it's there for good reason, says 15-year-old Chloe Spencer

A shirt, tie and blazer may not be the ingredients for my favourite outfit, but if I were given the choice, I wouldn't throw away the idea of school uniform. Wearing a uniform is a badge of pride, creates an identity for a school and is an important part of being a school student.

"Uniforms show that you are part of an organisation. Wearing it says we're all in this together," Jason Wing, head teacher at the Neale-Wade academy in Cambridgeshire, says.

Continue reading...Why wear a school uniform? Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the GuardianWhy wear a school uniform? Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

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Children should learn mainly through play until age of eight, says Lego

Tue, 15 Mar 2016 07:00:07 GMT2016-03-15T07:00:07Z

Toy company funds research suggesting educational development can be hindered by early formal schooling. So are UK schools getting it wrong?

Parents are squeezing the role of play out of their children’s lives in favour of the three ‘R’s as they try to prepare their offspring for a competitive world, according to the head of Lego’s education charity arm.

A lack of understanding of the value of play is prompting parents and schools alike to reduce it as a priority, says Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation. If parents and governments push children towards numeracy and literacy earlier and earlier, it means they miss out on the early play-based learning that helps to develop creativity, problem-solving and empathy, she says.

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Discipline in schools speech

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 16:47:40 GMT2002-12-12T16:47:40Z

Full text of Charles Clarke's Discipline in Schools speech

Why discipline matters
Every day around 50,000 pupils miss school without permission. Bad behaviour disrupts education at one in twelve secondary schools, according to Ofsted. And four out of five secondary pupils say some of their classmates regularly try to disrupt lessons.

The mission of this government is to raise educational standards. But you can't raise standards if pupils miss school and behave badly when they are there. Attendance and good behaviour are preconditions for effective learning. Tackling poor behaviour is as much part of improving pupil performance as good teaching. There are two other reasons why we must tackle the behaviour problem.

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Kathleen Mitchell obituary

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:19:57 GMT2017-07-25T17:19:57Z

Comprehensive education pioneer who was head of Pimlico school in the 1970s

Kathleen Mitchell, who has died aged 100, was a pioneering figure in the early years of comprehensive education in England. A radical thinker, as head of Pimlico school, central London, in the 1970s she created in effect the first state specialist music school. She had been equally innovative in developing pastoral care and social education at Starcross school in north London.

Kathleen came from a generation of strong, articulate women who dominated state education in London in the 60s and 70s. She believed in the power of education to change lives – and saw access to the arts as crucial to achieving her goal.

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