Published: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:54:00 GMT2016-10-26T10:54:00ZCopyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:19:58 GMT2016-10-25T11:19:58Z
A panel of student judges has criticised university accommodation providers for pricing out poorer students
The publication Property Week has been forced to withdraw a category from their student accommodation awards, after a handpicked panel of students refused to choose a winner in protest over increasing rent prices.
The 10 students were invited by Property Week to judge a shortlist of providers for the “student experience” category of their inaugural Student Accommodation Awards. The judges instead criticised the entrants for pricing out poorer students and “driving the social cleansing of education”.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:30:16 GMT2016-10-25T06:30:16ZElite universities fear a low ‘silver or bronze’ ranking and restrictions on recruiting students from abroad
Some of Britain’s world-renowned universities could lose their right to recruit as many international students as they want under new Home Office plans, vice-chancellors fear. Among those at risk are the London School of Economics, King’s College London and Bristol University.Continue reading...
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 06:00:04 GMT2016-10-26T06:00:04Z
If you were asked to build a system judging teaching in universities, wouldn’t you start by looking at the research on what works?
There has been much debate about the Teaching Excellence Framework since it was initially proposed. Some have called for an outright rejection, while others have come up with ideas about the principles it should follow. But I am interested in how to design an effective system to measure and improve the quality of learning and teaching across the higher education system. What would that actually look like?Continue reading...
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:17:13 GMT2016-10-26T07:17:13Z
Around a quarter of UK pupils have had private tuition and the prospect of new grammar schools is set to pique further interest
When primary school teacher Sian Goodspeed had her daughter in 2008, she attempted to go part-time but found it didn’t give her the flexibility she needed, so she turned to tutoring. She began tutoring at her home, advertising locally and gaining customers through word-of-mouth. Based in Buckinghamshire, a grammar school area, Goodspeed found tuition for the 11-plus (the grammar school entrance exam) was in demand.
A year later, Goodspeed tendered for, and won, a tutoring contract with the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust. This involved running 11-plus classes for children who lived in houses it owned, which the trust would pay for. She set up the project, called Tuition Plus, which provides core maths and English skills tuition for 48 children, as well as help with the 11-plus.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:32:12 GMT2016-10-25T15:32:12Z
The government’s threats against international students are putting the UK’s higher education sector at a huge disadvantage
The students at my lecture were particularly attentive this week. Across the audience of some 70 students, not one – that I noticed – checked a smartphone. They scribbled notes. After the lecture, I asked them to spend a few moments talking to their neighbours about what I’d said about the role of universities in meeting the challenges of the 21st century, about the changing dynamics of knowledge creation and the implications for university missions.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:15:15 GMT2016-10-25T06:15:15Z
With usual funding sources squeezed, and Brexit round the corner, researchers are asking the public to fund their studies – from bees to LSD
When Professor Dave Goulson decided to study the impact of pesticides on bees, he didn’t rate his chances of getting funding from one of the big research councils. The University of Sussex biologist turned to the public, raising almost £8,000 through crowdfunding for the screening for pesticides of random plant samples from garden centres and supermarkets.
Archaeologist Dr David Petts, from Durham University, has also used crowdfunding, raising almost £25,000 to fund a project on Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast. The dig, in June, led to some significant finds, including fragments of human bone and Anglo-Saxon headstones.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:20 GMT2016-10-25T10:00:20Z
Do you have a plan to transform our gridlocked world and make travel a joyous, seamless delight? Then enter our competition
How we get around our UK cities was largely determined by the planners of the Victorian era. And let’s face it, it’s hardly ideal. Winter brings long waits in the cold and wet, buses grind to a halt in our congested city centres, trains get steamed up over the wrong kind of snow.
So we’re running a competition for students to come up with a plan for their region of the country that would transform everyone’s daily commute from a polluted, overcrowded grind to a seamless joy. The competition is sponsored by the engineering company Atkins.Continue reading...
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:36:37 GMT2016-10-24T15:36:37ZOf course universities are racist – they’re part of a regressive system. We have to recognise the role they play in our society if we are to challenge it
“Universities like ‘slave plantations’” was the headline the Sunday Times gave to its article covering a talk I gave recently at Goldsmiths University in London. It is a strange sensation to see your words in print, particularly so when those words are out of order and context therefore altering the meaning. The headline suggests I was somehow comparing the experiences of the enslaved to those of staff and students on campus. That would have been not only absurd but also offensive, considering the history of unspeakable horror of the transatlantic slave trade. The metaphor of the plantation was not used to explore the experiences in the university but the regressive role it plays in society.
As places of critical thought, universities have the allure of being incubators for progressive ideals. Student movements and academic developments such as feminism and black studies play into this mythical notion. The reality is, however, that until the 1960s, less than 5% of the population went to university and they were bastions of white, male privilege. In the 18th century, the botanist Carl Linnaeus, in his System Naturae, outlined the hierarchy of being, with Europaeus Albus (white) at the top and Afer Niger (black), firmly at the bottom. It is no coincidence that he has a university in Sweden named after him. My colleague Nathaniel
Coleman highlighted the role of Francis Galton at UCL promoting the eugenics movement; and racial “science” was a key Nazi justification for the Holocaust. Deepa Naik perfectly summed up the universities’ role in society when she argued at last year’s NUS black students’ conference that “the university is not racist, it is racism”.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:03:12 GMT2016-10-24T09:03:12Z
Musical training can have a dramatic impact on your brain’s structure, enhancing your memory, spatial reasoning and language skills
The multimillion dollar brain training industry is under attack. In October 2014, a group of over 100 eminent neuroscientists and psychologists wrote an open letter warning that “claims promoting brain games are frequently exaggerated and at times misleading”. Earlier this year, industry giant Lumosity was fined $2m, and ordered to refund thousands of customers who were duped by false claims that the company’s products improve general mental abilities and slow the progression of age-related decline in mental abilities. And a recent review examining studies purporting to show the benefits of such products found “little evidence ... that training improves improves everyday cognitive performance”.
While brain training games and apps may not live up to their hype, it is well established that certain other activities and lifestyle choices can have neurological benefits that promote overall brain health and may help to keep the mind sharp as we get older. One of these is musical training. Research shows that learning to play a musical instrument is beneficial for children and adults alike, and may even be helpful to patients recovering from brain injuries.Continue reading...
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 06:00:05 GMT2016-10-26T06:00:05Z
Students increasingly relying on parents, working extra hours or taking out payday loans to cover accommodation costs
The cost of student housing in Great Britain has increased by almost a quarter in the past seven years, outpacing inflation and price rises in the private rental market.
Students are increasingly relying on their parents, working extra hours during term time and – in some cases – taking out payday loans to cover the cost of accommodation.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 22:01:34 GMT2016-10-25T22:01:34Z
Global economic disparity between men and women found to be rising, with levels now similar to during 2008 financial crisis
The authors of a new report forecasting that it could take 170 years to eradicate the disparity in pay and employment opportunities for men and women have called for urgent action to close the gender equality gap.
The report by the World Economic Forum – best known for its high-profile gathering each year in Davos, Switzerland – found that economic disparity between women and men around the world was rising even though the gap was closing on other measures, such as education.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:15:12 GMT2016-10-25T19:15:12Z
Laura Marriner, from Hampshire, will boost Scottish island’s permanent population of about 40 by bringing her family with her
A primary school with eight pupils on a remote Scottish island has found a new teacher after a social media appeal attracted interest from across the globe.
Laura Marriner is moving more than 700 miles to take the job on Muck in the Inner Hebrides, which was one of the last places in the UK to get a 24-hour electricity supply.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:48:28 GMT2016-10-25T18:48:28Z
I was concerned to read Maev Kennedy (We need a lobster phone, but two?, 17 October) on the upcoming sale of surrealist art works by West Dean college. As an MA curating student from Sussex University, I worked at West Dean this spring when the prospect of a permanent gallery space was being discussed. I never imagined the trustees would consider funding it by selling off the art that would go in it.
During the 1930s, Edward James, whose foundation set up West Dean in 1971, collaborated closely with three surrealist artists: Salvador Dali, René Magritte and Pavel Tchelitchew. Almost all of his collection of Dalis and Magrittes was auctioned by West Dean in the 70s and 80s, so the Tchelitchews have particular significance. For a “large group of paintings” by Tchelitchew to be included in the auction is deeply worrying.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:48:05 GMT2016-10-25T18:48:05Z
The national child abuse inquiry was set up in response to a massive survivors’ movement to examine how and why local authorities and others failed to protect children.
Even before it started, the government wanted to exempt these institutions from public scrutiny. The children and social work bill would enable local authorities to remove statutory protections from the most vulnerable – children in custody and in care (Social workers row over children’s bill, 19 October). Given the history, this amounts to a rapists’ charter.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:56:37 GMT2016-10-25T14:56:37Z
Justine Greening’s announcement a week before Commons debate removes concern over training for 16- to 18-year-olds
The government has backed down over plans to cut funding for training young apprentices a week before a House of Commons debate on the matter.
In a statement released shortly before the long-awaited announcement of a third runway at Heathrow, the government said it would change the proposals.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:55:40 GMT2016-10-25T14:55:40Z
My friend Paul Fordham, who has died aged 90, was a strong believer in university adult education, and worked in this arena throughout his life.
He was born at Great Ellingham, Norfolk, the son of Gertrude (nee Ellis) and Robert Fordham, both schoolteachers and Quakers. Paul was educated at the Friends’ school, Saffron Walden, and Leeds University, where he gained a BA in geography.Continue reading...
Mon, 23 May 2016 10:00:11 GMT2016-05-23T10:00:11Z
Find a course at a UK universityContinue reading...
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:21:29 GMT2016-10-24T18:21:29Z
Of 21,400 who began career in English state schools in 2010, 30% had left by 2015, government figures reveal
Almost a third of teachers who began their career in 2010 quit the classroom within five years of qualifying, according to government figures.
Of the 21,400 who began teaching in English state schools in 2010, 30% had quit by 2015, the schools minister, Nick Gibb, confirmed in a written parliamentary answer.Continue reading...
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:55:45 GMT2016-10-23T19:55:45Z
Dr Kehinde Andrews says ‘universities produce racism’, as just 60 of all UK professors are black and teaching often focuses on ‘dead white men’
Institutional racism in Britain’s universities is harming the performance of minority ethnic students, the UK’s first professor of black studies has said.
Kehinde Andrews, an associate professor at Birmingham City University (BCU), told a conference last week marking Black History Month that universities are “no less institutionally racist than the police”, and criticised the curriculum for being overly “white”.Continue reading...
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 05:30:37 GMT2016-10-23T05:30:37ZMore than 4,000 teachers are now qualified in meditation exercises to combat pupil stress
It’s Wednesday morning and the children from year 5 at St John the Baptist primary school in Brighton are chatting noisily at their desks. A bell chimes and the chatter stops. Thirty children close their eyes and place a hand across their chest, breathing in and out slowly. It’s as if they’ve been hypnotised.
“If your mind wanders away, let’s notice where it goes,” says Kerstin Andlaw, in a soothing voice. “Then bring your attention back to your breathing.”Continue reading...
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 05:00:37 GMT2016-10-23T05:00:37Z
Disadvantaged children paying the price as ministers struggle to fund election promise of extra childcare hours for the better-off
Theresa May has been accused of “raiding the budgets” set aside by local authorities to help disadvantaged children in order to fund the government’s manifesto pledge to double the amount of free childcare for working families.
Local authorities currently receive government funds for 15 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds. This will increase to 30 hours from next September.Continue reading...
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 23:03:29 GMT2016-10-22T23:03:29Z
Huge academic study into reading habits shows that young males choose easy books and fail to read thoroughly or correctly
Boys might claim it’s a simple matter of preferring to read magazines or the latest musings of their friends on social media rather than the classics. But two of the largest studies ever conducted into the reading habits of children in the UK have put those excuses to bed.
Boys, of every age, no matter the nature of the literature before them, typically read less thoroughly than girls.Continue reading...
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 05:00:21 GMT2016-10-21T05:00:21Z
Tighter budgets and dwindling numbers has led to a range of subjects being cut from the curriculum
Squeezed school budgets, a growing emphasis on the Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and English baccalaureate subjects (English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language), and government reforms of qualifications are reshaping what our teenagers study. This is what their teachers think.Continue reading...
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:00:14 GMT2016-10-20T23:00:14Z
Experiment involving 10,600 students finds up to 10% improvement in exam grades and pass rates for worst performing pupils
Offering cash payments and rewards to the worst performing pupils produces a substantial boost to their GCSE exam results, according to the findings of the first large-scale experiment of its type in English schools.
Researchers from three British and American universities found that offering incentives worth about £80 per half-term to pupils for improved school work, attendance and behaviour produced an outsized impact by cutting the gap in results between pupils receiving free school meals (FSM) and their better-off peers.Continue reading...
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:01:14 GMT2016-10-20T23:01:14Z
Recommendations include action to prevent violence against women, harassment and hate crime
A long-awaited report investigating sexual violence and harassment in UK universities has been criticised for failing fully to address the problem.
An inquiry was begun last year due to growing alarm about harassment, sexual violence and hate crime on university campuses, and concerns about the way in which some institutions deal with the problem.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 17:01:58 GMT2016-10-20T17:01:58Z
Downing Street says it is not looking at removing students from official figures after chancellor suggests definition of immigrant may be reviewed
Theresa May has dismissed the suggestion that foreign students should not be counted as immigrants, after the chancellor, Philip Hammond, suggested that such a move could be in line with public opinion.
Downing Street said it was not looking at whether to remove foreign students from official migration figures, despite earlier appearing to say this would be part of an overall review of the system.Continue reading...
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:55:12 GMT2016-10-19T09:55:12Z
Overpriced accommodation is changing student life for the worse – so I’ve gone on strike
London is home to some of the UK’s highest-ranking universities, and yet it is inaccessible to so many students. Last academic year, university rent averaged £226 per week in the capital, compared to £134 across the rest of the UK. And this accommodation isn’t always the sanitised paradise advertised in glossy prospectuses.
For me and many others, it couldn’t have been any more different. Rather than feeling at home, I felt alienated from those around me. On top of the extortionate rent prices – which even my university, UCL, has admitted are bound to be unaffordable – students at the uni have found that rat infestations and loud building work made it impossible for them to study.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 05:45:15 GMT2016-10-25T05:45:15ZIn our diary: Michaela community school pupil punished over parents’ dinner payments; plus academy chain reluctant to put reputation on line
‘Why be normal … when you could be Michaela?” asks deputy head Barry Smith in his blog about the idiosyncratic institution where he works, Michaela community school in Wembley, north London. And boy, does he have a point.
Michaela, blazing a trail for supporters of a traditionalist ethos in state education and shortly to be the subject of a book edited by its head, Katharine Birbalsingh, may be many things. But “normal” it ain’t.Continue reading...
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 06:45:31 GMT2016-10-18T06:45:31Z
For centuries Oxford has ‘rusticated’ students – expelled them to their family home in the country – and those who are ill receive the same treatment
I had made it to the final year of my English degree at Oxford University, but I almost didn’t make it any further. I’d applied knowing the workload would be heavy but was still unprepared for the intensity of the course, which would often require two essays a week. For a single essay, we could be expected to read three novels as well as vast amounts of other reading. My peers and I would think nothing of doing a couple of all-nighters a week to stay on top of it. The next morning at breakfast, we would exchange tales of our martyrdom – someone had stayed up for three days straight reading Crime and Punishment, another had moved into the library, toothbrush and all.
This life shuddered to a halt when I suddenly became ill in the first term of my final year. I had glandular fever which, unbeknown to me then, had triggered ME – a chronic, extremely debilitating disease. As there was no way I could continue with my coursework, with the support of my GP I applied for a week’s extension. It was denied by the university.Continue reading...
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:26:24 GMT2016-10-17T17:26:24Z
It sparked Cornelia Parker’s career, shaped Yinka Shonibare’s politics and opened Stuart Maconie’s mind to all things unorthodox. Leading cultural voices on why children deserve to study art history
Who thought it would be a good idea to undermine art in the school curriculum? Who thought studying the history of our visual culture was a waste of time? Who thought that only private schools should have that privilege? Was it someone who said we don’t need experts? If it is good enough for Prince William and Kate, why is studying art history not good enough for the masses? What happened to Cool Britannia, aspiration, social mobility?Continue reading...
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 12:53:07 GMT2016-10-17T12:53:07Z
A school photography firm now offers to Photoshop images – but erase the imperfections and you erase signs of how far you’ve come
I would Photoshop this school photo to death given the chance. I know exactly where I’d start. That spot on my chin, the one I scratched and squeezed until it bled for a week. That would go. Same goes for that other spot next to it. And the one above my lip.
Next, I would make it so that my ears looked symmetrical, my tie looked straighter and my hair looked as if it knew what it wanted to be. Finally, I don’t know if Photoshop has a setting to make people look a little less Princess Diana-ish, but someone should probably see to that, too.Continue reading...
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 11:10:59 GMT2016-10-14T11:10:59Z
Understanding Britain’s colonial history is essential, but dealing with racist sources can be a huge challenge. World history graduate Pooja Kawa shares her views
Getting the balance right between old and new values can be an academic minefield. Discussions about cultural appropriation and apologism have become frequent and charged, with little agreement over how best to represent certain parts of history. But colonialism is intrinsically political and personal – its roots are buried deep in communities – so getting our approach to studying it right really matters.
How should we use source material from Britain’s colonial past? The language we use, and how we choose to represent things, can help us break away from a narrow-minded view of empire. Colonial history provides the basis for much of today’s inequalities, so it’s only right that we avoid the same assumptions as contemporary imperialists. Too often, empire is presented as some sort of faultless railway-producing machine. We should demand better, more inclusive, more nuanced history.Continue reading...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:12:51 GMT2016-10-13T09:12:51Z
They may have qualified for Rio, but essays won’t write themselves. And that’s just one of the obstacles facing student Paralympians
This year’s British Paralympians are a fresh-faced bunch. Between them, they average an age of 22.5 years – meaning many have to balance essays and revision with their intensive training regimes. And while most students heading back to university last month enjoyed a hedonistic freshers’ week, the squad were busy competing at the Games – a world apart from the lecture theatre. So, what does it take to be a student Paralympian?
Harriet Lee, 25, won a silver medal in the women’s SB9 100m breaststroke. She is in the final year of her part-time degree in leadership and management at the University of Northumbria, which she balances with her training.Continue reading...
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:18:21 GMT2016-10-21T10:18:21Z
A campaign of harassment was ruining my life, yet I was belittled by police and abandoned by my colleagues
It began with an incident on campus. A man whose advances I had turned down showed up at a university event I was hosting and verbally assaulted me. I reported him to the police.Continue reading...
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 15:22:51 GMT2016-10-19T15:22:51Z
Students are spending as little as £20 for essays online, but the cost to academia is immeasurable. We need fight back against this damaging industry
If you know where to look online, you can buy a 2,000-word, original, written-to-order essay directly from an individual for £20. Go to one of the bigger companies advertising on Google or Facebook and you might pay £50.
Contract cheating – where students pay for others to complete their coursework – is a huge problem. All sorts of assignment requests can be fulfilled, by a growing number of online sites. I’ve seen examples across all levels and subjects, from aviation to zoology, with some students even choosing to outsource their undergraduate dissertations.
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:07:14 GMT2016-10-17T09:07:14Z
The Ref star system encourages novelty but offers no incentive to replicate studies – and that’s exactly what scientists need to be more sure of our claims
The study of psychology is facing a crisis. A lot of research doesn’t show the same results when the experiment is repeated, and it is critical we address this problem. But the Research Excellence Framework has led to a research culture which is suffocating attempts to stabilise psychology in particular, and science in general.
The Ref encourages universities to push for groundbreaking, novel, and exciting research in the form of 4* papers, but it does not reward the efforts of those who replicate studies. As universities gear up for the next Ref submission in 2021, many researchers will not even consider attempts to replicate results.Continue reading...
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 06:15:28 GMT2016-10-14T06:15:28Z
Although I have a UK PhD and married a Brit, I no longer plan to stay here – but moving back home isn’t so simple either
Shortly after the referendum result in June, I both graduated with my UK doctorate and married my British partner. I also started putting together my first applications for post-docs back in Finland, my home country.
Ironically it may be difficult for me to get a job there too now – I’m finding that because I have done my entire higher education in Britain, and the model is different, I may not be a competitive candidate. Because of Brexit, I’m stuck. Like many researchers from the European Union in Britain, I’m faced with tough decisions about my future.Continue reading...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 06:30:34 GMT2016-10-13T06:30:34Z
We need to protect the benefits universities bring to their communities and the wider world - and the new bill puts that at risk
Bill Rammell, author of a new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute, warns that the social role of universities is being overlooked as the government pushes ahead with its marketisation of the sector.
Universities make an enormous contribution to civil society, not only through providing education opportunities and extending knowledge through research, but in their engagement with communities, their international networks, and the fostering of open public debate.Continue reading...
Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:10:14 GMT2016-10-10T09:10:14Z
You’ll find communities thirsty for your findings – and a space to demonstrate measurable ‘impact’ to your heart’s content
It was sometime in August 2014 when I got my first taste of Reddit. It was one of those hot, slow Fridays when the torrent of emails slows to a trickle and the office is populated by empty chairs. I can’t now remember how I found myself on Reddit, but what started as an idle hour quickly became a full-blown addiction.
This was at the height of the Ebola epidemic and apocalyptic media reporting was turning a humanitarian crisis in West Africa into an existential threat for the Joneses. As I was working with the then honorary general secretary of the Society for Applied Microbiology, an expert on infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance, I pitched to him the idea of doing an online Q&A (more specifically, an AMA) on Reddit.Continue reading...
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 06:30:06 GMT2016-10-07T06:30:06Z
My supervisor is trying to convince me to revisit my doctorate even though I have no interest in academia. Is that fair?
I finished my PhD two years ago, have a full-time job outside academia, and have even moved to a new country – but my PhD supervisor is still contacting me and pressurising me to publish my results. I fulfilled the requirements for my PhD and have moved on to new interests and new challenges. Despite the many ways my life has changed since I graduated, I am left wondering when my doctorate will really end.
Pressure on PhD graduates to publish their results once they have finished can put challenging demands on their time, when they might no longer be tied to their research or the institution in the way they were while enrolled in the PhD programme.
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 06:15:56 GMT2016-10-05T06:15:56Z
A new study programme aims to builds bridges between the US and China. But history shows us that using higher education to promote diplomacy seldom works
Most Americans are focusing on the short-term due to the upcoming presidential election, but one has his gaze fixed firmly on the future. Stephen Schwarzman is hoping to help foster good long-term relations with China via the Schwarzman scholarship, which launched officially last month.Continue reading...
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 06:00:09 GMT2016-10-22T06:00:09Z
I love my girlfriend, but we’re both teachers and we’re being pushed to our limits. One of us has got to get out of this profession
It was teaching, at the beginning, that brought us together. I was a young aspiring teacher, and I sent a Facebook message to an old acquaintance who happened to be in same profession. A flurry of messages followed, as we shared anecdotes about our classes, before I got down to the real reason I’d messaged her: a date.Continue reading...
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:11:54 GMT2016-10-21T14:11:54Z
The role of teaching assistants can vary hugely from school to school, but working in close collaboration is vital to get the best results
In any classroom, the teacher’s role is clear: deliver lessons according to curriculum requirements and help children learn to the best of their ability. But the remit of the teaching assistant (TA) can be wide and extremely varied – from one-to-one pastoral support through to working with groups.
Because of this, the relationship between the TA and the teacher is a unique alchemical mix of personalities, skills and interests. But what are the most effective ways to work together? And where does it sometimes go wrong?Continue reading...
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:51:09 GMT2016-10-20T10:51:09Z
Some students have have a genuine diagnosis, but schools should teach that feeling down sometimes is just part of growing up
There is a statistic often quoted by children’s mental health campaigners: 10% of children and young people (aged five to 16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. It comes from a 2004 report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (pdf), but its methodology is questionable – the diagnoses were made using transcripts of ONS interviews, by clinicians who never met the children in question. But what’s really revealing is the researchers’ broad definition of a mental health problem.Continue reading...
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 09:22:11 GMT2016-10-18T09:22:11Z
Governors will feel the heat from Ofsted if money for disadvantaged pupils doesn’t yield results. They must ensure every penny has an impact
Pupil premium funding is a precious resource for headteachers in these cash-strapped times. It can be spent at the discretion of the school, but this freedom comes with a crucial condition attached: the attainment of children who attract pupil premium must improve. If not, the governing body will face the ire of Ofsted at the next inspection.Continue reading...
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 06:00:07 GMT2016-10-15T06:00:07Z
Theorems, vectors and quadratic equations – what use is all that to most people? Let’s instead have fewer, more focused classes
As a maths teacher, I’m often asked by students: “when will I ever need to use this in real life?”. I always try my best to answer. I tell them that, yes, actually, when you’re cooking, understanding ratios is very useful. Or, if you want to work as a plumber, you will find yourself calculating the area, volume and capacity of shapes. But recently, I find myself avoiding their questions. The honest answer is: you will almost certainly never use this again.Continue reading...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 06:00:34 GMT2016-10-13T06:00:34Z
Schools used to ask parents for donations or rent out space when they needed money for extras. Now they do it to survive
Latymer grammar school in north London hit the headlines recently with plans to ask parents to donate money to help with its “very significant financial shortfall”. There is an “urgency”, according to headteacher Maureen Cobbett, because of the cuts affecting the school.
But Latymer isn’t alone in taking this route. Schools – facing a funding crisis created by real term government cuts and rising costs – are increasingly trying out new ways to plug holes in budgets. Stephen Morales, chief executive of the National Association of School Business Management, says, “You can reduce the size of departments or not build the climbing frame – or you can see what else you can do.”Continue reading...
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 10:11:36 GMT2016-10-12T10:11:36Z
Striving for perfection doesn’t only make young people unhappy – it also affects their development. Here are some ways to get your pupils to think differently
We’ve all felt it: the desire to be perfect. Teenagers seem to experience this more keenly than most, seeking an imagined ideal in their looks, social status, friendship group or achievements.
High standards are good – but perfectionism is a problem. I run workshops in schools, where many teachers say students have high levels of stress, anxiety and perfectionist traits, especially high-achieving females. Evidence suggests perfectionism is indeed more common in females, although both males and females are affected. A recent survey by the Department for Education also found that a third of teenage girls report issues around anxiety and depression.Continue reading...
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 15:43:52 GMT2016-10-11T15:43:52Z
Peter Sellen, author of a report on teacher workload, explores how the hours worked by teachers compare internationally – and why policy makers must act
For years teachers have warned that their workloads are unsustainable. Many say their mental health has suffered as a result of work pressures, while others cite workload as a reason for leaving the profession. So far, politicians have done little to tackle the issue. Our analysis, published this week, provides yet further evidence that policymakers must act.
Using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data, we found that full-time teachers in secondary schools in England now work an average of 48.2 hours per week. This is the third highest out of 36 education authorities surveyed. It is also 19% longer than the OECD average.Continue reading...
Sat, 08 Oct 2016 06:00:35 GMT2016-10-08T06:00:35Z
Too many teachers and parents want to be liked by young people – but this undermines both discipline and respect
It’s a scene I witness all too often. A child walks across the playground at the end of the school day to their parent. They’re met with a warm welcome … and then I hear the “M” word. It’s a word that sums up why so many schools struggle to manage bad behaviour: “mate”.
Too many parents, and teachers, have a misguided belief that they are friends with schoolchildren. It’s driven by a well-intentioned desire to be liked by young people, or because they feel sympathetic towards them. But it’s confusing for students. In the same five-minute interaction on the playground I have seen parents talking to their children as equals, calling them mate and trying to be cool, only to turn into harsh but strangely ineffective disciplinarians, shouting (often swearing – another issue, for another time) at the same child. How can we expect children to navigate through this minefield, wondering whether they are dealing with the Jekyll or Hyde of an adult’s approach?Continue reading...
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:37:33 GMT2016-10-07T09:37:33Z
Setting students a design ‘mission’ can bring learning to life and develop problem-solving skills
“When I grow up, I want to be an architect” isn’t something you often hear in the classroom. Shrinking school budgets – combined with exam pressures and a over-crowded curriculum – means there just isn’t enough time for young people to learn about the creative fields and their related careers. When the National Society for Education in Art and Design surveyed its members last year, it found that 38% of teachers working at key stage 2 believed their school was allocating less time for art and design. At secondary level, far fewer people are continuing their studies of creative subjects: entries to design and technology GCSE have fallen by almost a third (27%) in five years.
But in today’s world of technology overload, it’s important we connect children with their physical environment and help them to understand how the things around us are made. Doing so allows children to develop creative and problem-solving skills.Continue reading...
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 01:28:28 GMT2016-10-18T01:28:28Z
Argument breaks out after unorthodox request from Spanish school, which told parents it could not afford to provide children with the sanitary product
A row over a public’s school’s toilet paper supply has broken out in a Spanish town, prompting local officials to step in.Continue reading...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 18:38:09 GMT2016-10-13T18:38:09Z
So some professors at the University of Ghana have succeeded in their campaign to remove the statue of Gandhi from campus (Ghana plans to move statue of ‘racist’ Gandhi, 7 October). Gandhi inspired some of the greatest black leaders. Harris Majeke, a former South African ambassador to India, said: “While Nelson Mandela was the father of the South African nation, Gandhi is our grandparent.”
Mandela was greatly influenced by Gandhi, as was Desmond Tutu, who credits the success of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission to the influence of Gandhian thought. Gandhi made a huge impression, too, on Martin Luther King.Continue reading...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 14:22:51 GMT2016-10-13T14:22:51Z
High achieving students who have been in the UK since they were small children are being denied loans to attend university
Young people who have spent most of their lives in the UK but find themselves ineligible for a student loan due to their immigration status are calling on universities to create scholarships to allow them to continue their education.
Campaigners estimate that thousands of high-achieving students, who arrived as children in the UK and have been through primary, secondary and sixth form education in the country, discover at the last moment that they are unable to go to university.Continue reading...
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 04:59:03 GMT2016-10-12T04:59:03ZChinese children must endure years of stress and impossible expectations preparing for their final school exam. The students who do best can look forward to glittering careers and even good marriage prospects. But for the less successful, the system is brutal
For two days in early June every year, China comes to a standstill as high school students who are about to graduate take their college entrance exams. Literally the “higher examination”, the gaokao is a national event on a par with a public holiday, but much less fun. Construction work is halted near examination halls, so as not to disturb the students, and traffic is diverted. Ambulances are on call outside in case of nervous collapses, and police cars patrol to keep the streets quiet. Radio talkshow hosts discuss the format and questions in painstaking detail, and when the results come out, the top scorers are feted nationally. A high or low mark determines life opportunities and earning potential. That score is the most important number of any Chinese child’s life, the culmination of years of schooling, memorisation and constant stress.
On 8 June, the final afternoon of this year’s gaokao, parents of exam takers at one school in Beijing were packed tight around the school gate, jostling to get to the front of the crowd where a white metal barrier held them back. Special security guards handed out water bottles and cheap paper fans, while another manned a first aid stand under a large parasol. Cars were parked all the way around the bend of the road leading to the gate, simmering in the summer heat. “They’re all here to pick up their kids,” a city police officer patiently explained to a driver struggling to find a space. A red banner above the barrier declared the school a “National unified gaokao examination point”. At the first sign of movement inside, the parents pushed in closer, craning their necks to spot their children emerging.Continue reading...
Mon, 10 Oct 2016 11:46:05 GMT2016-10-10T11:46:05Z
Pair’s work is described as key to understanding contracts and institutions that hold today’s economies together
This year’s Nobel prize in economics has been awarded to UK-born Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström of Finland for their work on contract theory, which has covered a range of issues from public-private partnerships to executive pay.Continue reading...
Mon, 10 Oct 2016 11:31:15 GMT2016-10-10T11:31:15Z
Two arrested after protesters force their way into lecture halls at prestigious Wits University in Johannesburg
Student protesters at South Africa’s prestigious Wits University forced their way into lecture halls and caused many lessons to be abandoned on Monday, ratcheting up pressure in a dispute over tuition fees.Continue reading...
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 16:03:45 GMT2016-10-07T16:03:45Z
Universities say they cannot make further concessions as last year’s fee freeze has put their finances under great strain
Student leaders in South Africa have pledged to continue protests against tuition fees as the country braces for further campus violence.
Universities suspended classes this week after demonstrations turned violent, with police firing stun grenades, rubber bullets and teargas at stone-throwing students.
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:30:43 GMT2016-10-05T18:30:43Z
Alexander Stille’s article concerning the death of Giulio Regeni (Chronicle of a disappearance, 4 October) was informative and well judged. As one who provided Giulio with some guidance and contacts early in his research, can I confirm two points?
The first is that there was nothing unusual or subversive about his research. I have been involved with similar research on trade union organisation in many countries over 40 years, and Giulio’s method of interviews and observation was in an honourable tradition going back over a century to the Webbs.Continue reading...
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 06:15:01 GMT2016-10-04T06:15:01ZAs hate crime rises after the Brexit vote, primary schools are redoubling efforts to counter racist views – and research shows why it really matters
In a classroom at the Sacred Heart primary school in Hartlepool, tables have been moved aside and chairs arranged in a big circle. There’s a palpable air of excitement. Olivier Bernard, a former Newcastle United player, is in the building, and in a few hours’ time will take year 6 for a fitness class.
Justine King, who is leading this morning’s session, is patient – “Yes, I’m sure you can get his autograph” – but first there’s business to be done. King and Bernard are both education workers with the charity Show Racism the Red Card, and they’re leading a full-day anti-racism workshop with years 5 and 6.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:00:15 GMT2016-10-25T06:00:15Z
Porn images are everywhere but we need better ways to teach children about love, intimacy and yes, masturbation
At the start of this third millennium, sex seems to be all around us – within easy reach, on our screens, constantly talked about in the media. What used to be concealed, shameful and forbidden only a century ago is today regarded as evidence of progress in the freedom of thought. Artists use sex to push the limits of creativity: Paul McCarthy’s “butt plug” sculpture, for example, was installed at the Place Vendôme in Paris in 2014, even though it provoked outrage among residents.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 05:30:14 GMT2016-10-25T05:30:14Z
The government is distorting the debate to say grammars can help weak schools – but comprehensives are our best hope
Justine Greening, the education secretary, looks set to be defined by the debate on grammar schools: four months into her job and it’s difficult to point to any other significant announcement or new idea.
The debate is a shorthand for all the inequalities and divisions that have plagued our education system for ever. It was bound to release a torrent of protest – and rightly so. The opposition to a return to the selective education of the 50s and 60s comes from all sections of society and the political spectrum.Continue reading...
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:00:09 GMT2016-10-24T08:00:09Z
Our schools have become joyless, stressful places, run by principals who behave like football managers obsessed by tables. Why do we put up with it?
This week’s Newsnight investigation into greedy “superheads” of academies coupled with headline claims about other heads involved in money-grabbing and cronyism has thrown a spotlight on to the role of headteachers. Is it right that the pushy ones are paid a great deal more than the prime minister? Do they have too much power to hire their favourites and sack whistleblowers?Continue reading...
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 23:05:29 GMT2016-10-22T23:05:29ZThe closure of Edinburgh’s Inverleith House and the wider assault on our cultural fabric diminish us all
My first encounter with modern art was in the botanical gardens in Edinburgh. I was four and just learning to read. On the walls of Inverleith House, a gracious Georgian mansion among the tall trees, was an enormous painting of a man with his arms defiantly crossed and the letters OK scrawled beneath like some terse approval. It seemed important that the artist had painted himself so much larger than life (this was Oskar Kokoschka’s self-portrait, I learned) and that he had written across his picture too. All at once, I discovered that artists could make art as angrily as any child and that they signed their own homework.
I would never have seen Kokoschka’s Self-Portrait as a Degenerate Artist had we not visited the Royal Botanic Garden (RBGE) most Sundays. My brother and I would clamber around the rock garden, collect exotic maple leaves and gaze at the scarlet fish in the pond in front of Inverleith House before going in to look at paintings by Miró, Picasso and Matisse or to gawp at Duane Hanson’s hyper-real figures of tourists, who also seemed to be admiring the view. And what a view it was: the modern art inside and the green world outside, uniquely and exhilaratingly fused.Continue reading...
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 23:05:29 GMT2016-10-22T23:05:29ZAn experiment has shown that incentives paid by the state to underprivileged students yield results. And what’s so wrong with that?
In a study financed by the Education Endowment Foundation, the University of Bristol assessed the performance of 10,600 students approaching GCSEs in disadvantaged areas to see what effect financial incentives (worth up to £80 per half-term) or non-financial enticements (such as vouchers for gig tickets) would have on behaviour, schoolwork, homework and attendance.
While incentives had little effect on strong pupils, underperformers improved exam grades and pass marks by up to 10%. The intervention had particularly substantial effects on science and maths GCSE results for up to half of those involved, closing 50% of the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and other students.Continue reading...
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 06:00:09 GMT2016-10-22T06:00:09ZThe world is ever more cut-throat and those at the bottom know it. Offering cash for good GCSE grades is a tiny step towards levelling the field
Payment by results: three little words that strike dread into the hearts of public sector workers, heralding as they do the monetisation of social cooperation among humans in the guise of “market reforms”.Continue reading...
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:33:19 GMT2016-10-21T12:33:19Z
A new prize is launched today for thinkers and writers who want to ask big questions and solve social problems. Here’s what the judges are looking for
Should a songwriter have scooped the Nobel prize in literature? In the debate over this year’s surprise award to Bob Dylan, it is easy to lose sight of the long history of prizes being used to recognise great writing (in whatever form), great research and other outstanding achievements.
The use of prizes dates back furthest in the sciences. In 1714, the British government famously offered an award of £20,000 (about £2.5 million at today’s value) to the person who could find a way of determining a ship’s longitude. British clockmaker John Harrison won the Longitude Prize and, by doing so, improved the safety of long-distance sea travel.Continue reading...
Mon, 11 Jul 2016 17:02:36 GMT2016-07-11T17:02:36Z
Mother of Ben Twist, 11, reduced to tears by letter from Ruth Clarkson listing all the talents and abilities that ‘make you the special person you are’
The mother of a boy with autism has publicly shared a letter from a teacher praising her son for qualities that the teacher said school tests could not measure.
The inspirational letter from Ruth Clarkson to 11-year-old Ben Twist, who failed the Sats he took this year, listed all the talents and abilities that Clarkson told Ben “make you the special person you are”.Continue reading...
Mon, 25 May 2015 21:00:04 GMT2015-05-25T21:00:04Z
Find a course at a UK universityContinue reading...
Sat, 08 Oct 2016 06:30:35 GMT2016-10-08T06:30:35Z
The web gives us access to endless information. What impact does this have on our memory, and our attention spans?
Throughout history, people have always worried about new technologies. The fear that the human brain cannot cope with the onslaught of information made possible by the latest development was first voiced in response to the printing press, back in the sixteenth century. Swap “printing press” for “internet” and you have the exact same concerns today, regularly voiced in the mainstream media, and usually focused on children.
But is there any legitimacy to these claims? Or are they just needless scaremongering? There are several things to bear in mind when considering how our brains deal with the internet.Continue reading...
Mon, 14 Dec 2015 15:00:37 GMT2015-12-14T15:00:37Z
The US is making music a core subject in schools, while in Britain the system is in tatters. Instead of a divisive, stultifying curriculum, our government should encourage collaboration, creativity and responsibility with orchestras
It isn’t always clever to follow the example of Americans. They love guns, their steaks are too big, they fought against free healthcare, they’re more or less obliged to say their prayers, and a frightening number of them admire Donald Trump. But when it comes to music in schools, they are streets ahead of us. Because their Senate has just approved the Every Student Succeeds Act, which will reduce over-testing, return power to local districts, and make music a core subject. Yes, music!
No such luck here, with endless testing, teachers leaving in droves and the National Plan for Music Education in tatters. It promised that every child would learn a musical instrument. Fat chance. Try taking a child out of class for 15 minutes nowadays for an individual music lesson, as we used to in the 70s. They would miss some swotting for a test or wreck a target – and, anyway, what would the child play and how would they learn? What school could pay for instruments and one-to-one tuition? How could they ever build up an orchestra, for poor as well as rich?Continue reading...
Thu, 02 Jun 2016 19:44:03 GMT2016-06-02T19:44:03Z
Scotland’s General Teaching Council hears how Gillian Scott’s ‘lack of enthusiasm’ resulted in pupils becoming uninterested
A teacher who read novels to 11-year-olds for several lessons in a row, showed clips from Jurassic Park and then rebuked pupils for asking questions – provoking them to complain of boredom – has been judged unfit to teach by a disciplinary hearing in Scotland.
Gillian Scott, a secondary school English teacher at Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, was accused of failing to teach her pupils during lessons that involved them copying out the school rules or listening in silence, between 2010 and 2013.Continue reading...
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 06:10:07 GMT2015-07-14T06:10:07Z
They arrive self-harming, or unable to talk. Often they’ve been dismissed as hormonal. We visit the only state school dedicated to girls with autism
Within an hour of arriving at her new school, 14-year-old Beth Mitchell made her objections shockingly clear. The headteacher, Sarah Wild, recalls a member of staff calling frantically: “There’s a girl here covered in blood.”
Over the next month at Limpsfield Grange in Oxted, Surrey, Beth cut herself three times a day; she sabotaged lessons and shunned the other girls whom, she says, “seemed very weird”. Beth is autistic and has been diagnosed with pathological demand avoidance, meaning she would go to great lengths to avoid situations that filled her with anxiety – one of the prominent symptoms of girls on the autistic spectrum. Her small mainstream school had said they could no longer cope with her.Continue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:20 GMT2016-10-25T10:00:20Z
Here are are the full legal terms and conditions for our competitionContinue reading...
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:20 GMT2016-10-25T10:00:20Z
Here’s the lowdown on the entry requirements, judging and all-important prizes
The competition is open to all current students, aged 18 or over, enrolled on a full-time course at a UK university or further education college.Continue reading...