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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, 23 Mar 2017 00:53:21 GMT2017-03-23T00:53:21Z

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



Quarter of English state primary schools are 'ethnically segregated'

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:53:05 GMT2017-03-22T18:53:05Z

‘Significant fails’ in percentage of white British children attending local schools in some areas, according to study

The government is being urged to tackle segregation in schools after research claimed that more than a quarter of all state primary schools across England and four in 10 state secondaries were ethnically segregated.

The study, which uses a new measure of segregation, also claims that 30% of primary schools and 28% of secondaries are split by socio-economic background.

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Zootopia: Total Recall screenwriter alleges Disney stole idea for film

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:26:54 GMT2017-03-22T15:26:54Z

Gary L Goldman says he twice pitched treatment to studio, but Disney says his claims on hit film are ‘unprincipled’

Disney are being sued by a Hollywood screenwriter, who claims the studio stole his idea for Zootopia.

Gary L Goldman, whose script credits include Total Recall, Minority Report and Big Trouble in Little China has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses Disney of taking the animated film’s title, treatment, character designs and lines of dialogue from a project he began developing in 2000 and twice pitched to the studio.

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Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash over education – video

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:31:10 GMT2017-03-22T13:31:10Z

Jeremy Corbyn challenges the government’s plan to cut school budgets during PMQs on Wednesday. He points out that the government has found £320m for its grammar schools project, but no funding for comprehensive schools. May rebuts Corbyn, accusing him of having a grammar education but ‘taking the advantage and pulling the ladder up behind him’. She closes on an attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s recent message to Labour supporters, arguing that her party put the country first

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NUT and ATL vote to merge into National Education Union

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:27:31 GMT2017-03-22T13:27:31Z

Members of National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers vote in favour of ‘game-changing’ merger

Two teachers unions have voted to merge to become a single “super union” to create a stronger voice to speak up for those working in education and challenge government policy.

Related: Ministers can no longer ignore protests over the school funding crisis | Geoff Barton

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Corbyn accuses May of breaking Tory pledge on education funding

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:11:11 GMT2017-03-22T13:11:11Z

PM criticises shadow frontbenchers for sending their children to private schools as Labour leader says cuts betray a generation

Theresa May has been accused by Jeremy Corbyn of breaching a Conservative manifesto pledge not to cut education funding, prompting her to launch a personal attack on the Labour frontbench for sending their children to private and grammar schools.

The prime minister made the personal criticisms after Corbyn said her plans to shake up school funding would be “betraying a generation” by leaving about 9,000 schools facing steep cuts.

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Digs you deserve: how to find a student house in Britain

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:33:18 GMT2017-03-22T12:33:18Z

Choose your flatmates well, chat with current tenants and don’t let landlords pressure you into signing anything too soon

It’s one of the few things I don’t miss about being a student: the hassle of finding a habitable house. You’ll probably see several dodgy hovels before you find anything half-decent. Here’s what I learned – including what to avoid – on the hunt for a student home.

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About 1,000 schools in England 'at risk of cuts well in to next decade'

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:01:20 GMT2017-03-22T00:01:20Z

Institute for Fiscal Studies finds national funding formula proposed by government could leave some with extra cuts of 7%

The government’s plans for school funding could leave many institutions in England facing deep cuts well into the next decade, a thinktank has warned.

According to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the proposed national funding formula could leave 1,000 schools across England facing additional cuts of 7% beyond 2019–20 in order to bring them in line with the new funding levels.

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Should schools serve local food?

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:03:30 GMT2017-03-21T15:03:30Z

Seasonal menus, bake-offs and an army of ‘Jamie Olivers’ are helping more UK schools offer locally sourced lunches. But what’s the secret to making the switch?

At a state school in Harrogate, Steve Ashburn is busy serving 950 lunches to hungry children – using ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The menu is impressive. Options include Easingwold pork escalopes, stuffed with leek and Wensleydale cheese, followed by Wakefield rhubarb possett for dessert.

As a foodie and proud Yorkshire man, Ashburn is a strong advocate for creating seasonal menus using quality ingredients, and putting as much business through local producers as he can.

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Good social workers are invaluable. So let’s give them proper support | David Brindle

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:29:02 GMT2017-03-21T09:29:02Z

Research reveals that some think social workers are there to pop to the shops for you. It’s time to restore some prestige

About three in every 10 people in Britain think social workers help with household chores like cooking and cleaning, with personal care like washing and dressing, and with childcare. Two in 10 reckon they will nip to the shops for you. Asked to choose from a given list of professionals they consider important providers of mental health support, 69% of people identify psychiatrists and 65% GPs – but only 41% pick social workers.

Related: The secret life of a social worker: you just have to get used to letting people down | Anonymous

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Where did all the GCSE pupils go – and why has no one noticed?

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:15:07 GMT2017-03-21T07:15:07Z

Some secondary schools have ‘lost’ up to 46% of their pupils without causing any alarm to Ofsted inspectors

When Ofsted inspectors published a report on Hewens College in Hillingdon, west London, in January 2016, they gave it a clean bill of health. Leadership and management were impressive, teachers had high expectations of their charges and the education provided overall was adjudged “good”. Any school would be proud of such a report.

However, one striking fact was not mentioned. The year group that had taken GCSEs the previous summer, and on whom much of the school’s latest achievement data was based, was only just over half the size it had been when these pupils joined the school in 2010.

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Universities condemn outbreak of violence at student rugby match

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:15:28 GMT2017-03-20T20:15:28Z

The varsity fixture between the universities of Sussex and Brighton was cancelled, with several students taken to hospital and one man arrested

Police are investigating after a brawl broke out at a rugby match between two universities. Bottles were thrown among the crowds in scenes condemned as “shocking and disgraceful” by the two institutions.

Numerous people were injured during the disturbances at the annual fixture between the universities of Sussex and Brighton in Falmer, East Sussex, on Sunday, which led to the match being cancelled.

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Chinese maths textbooks to be translated for UK schools

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:39:58 GMT2017-03-20T15:39:58Z

HarperCollins signs ‘historic’ deal with Shanghai publishers amid hopes it will boost British students’ performance

British students may soon study mathematics with Chinese textbooks after a “historic” deal between HarperCollins and a Shanghai publishing house in which books will be translated for use in UK schools.

China’s wealthy cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, produce some of the world’s top-performing maths pupils, while British students rank far behind their counterparts in Asia.

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Canadian wins $1m Global Teacher Prize for work with Inuit students

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 19:50:57 GMT2017-03-19T19:50:57Z

Maggie MacDonnell praised for ‘transforming her community’ in village of Salluit, which has a high rate of suicide

A Canadian who teaches at a school in a fly-in-only village in the Arctic has won a $1m (£800,000) Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai.

Maggie MacDonnell, praised for “changing the lives of her students and transforming her community”, was among 10 finalists chosen from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries.

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Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 16:00:12 GMT2017-03-19T16:00:12Z

A district will drop the Mercator projection, which physically diminished Africa and South America, for the Peters, which cut the developed world down to size

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska?

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Cross-party alliance takes on Theresa May over grammar schools

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 22:00:00 GMT2017-03-18T22:00:00Z

Critics say selection won’t help social mobility crisis, as former Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan adds voice

Theresa May’s personal crusade to expand the number of grammar schools is in serious jeopardy today as senior Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs unite in an unprecedented cross-party campaign to kill off the prime minister’s flagship education reform.

In a highly unusual move, the Tory former education secretary Nicky Morgan joins forces with her previous Labour shadow Lucy Powell and the Liberal Democrat former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to condemn the plans as damaging to social mobility, ideologically driven and divisive.

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Government under fire for 'cash for cabs' school transport plan

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 06:00:31 GMT2017-03-18T06:00:31Z

Chancellor’s plan to provide transport to selective schools for children on free school meals could cost up to £5,000 per pupil

New grammar school pupils could be ferried up to 15 miles by taxi to their schools, at a cost of up to £5,000 per pupil every year, despite cuts to last year’s general school transport budget for disabled and disadvantaged pupils.

The government has said it would invest £5m a year to fund transport for the poorest pupils to reach grammar schools so costs were not a barrier to a selective education for pupils who received free school meals or whose parents claimed maximum working tax credits.

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Is studying law boring? And other student FAQs

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:05:41 GMT2017-03-20T16:05:41Z

From the workload to work prospects, current students and tutors answer the questions law applicants really care about

Law is statistically the hardest subject to get a first-class degree in, so if your reasons for applying are limited to TV crime dramas and pressure from well-meaning relatives, it’s probably time to do more homework.

“I came into the law thinking I wanted to be a barrister, fight for underdogs and fight injustice,” says Abigail Minor, a second-year student at the University of Warwick. “But that’s a very niche area and your chance of getting into that as a career is very slim. I soon realised that it’s very competitive. I don’t want to make rich people richer and I want to stay true to myself.”

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'I think my flatmate's got a gun' – tales of weapons at a UK university

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:06:51 GMT2017-03-17T14:06:51Z

It’s not just slingshots and stink bombs. Some students bring a hefty amount of firepower on to university grounds

“I think my flatmate’s got a gun,” said the student on the phone at 1am. What made him think that? “I can hear hissing through the wall, like gas, and then clicking. I think it’s an air-powered bolt gun. Have you seen No Country for Old Men? You can buy them online. They can kill people.”

A quick YouTube search of the film revealed a spooky bloke with bad hair blowing people’s locks out. We tiptoed to the room, and sure enough there was a hissing, then the sound of metal on metal. It definitely wasn’t deodorant. We followed protocol and knocked on the door, which opened to reveal a kid with a balloon between his fingers, and 21 empty tubes of nitrous oxide on his carpet. He must have bought them all before the Psychoactive Substances Act kicked in.

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Student digs in Britain giving first-class returns

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:40:59 GMT2017-03-16T15:40:59Z

Institutions invested £4.3bn last year in upmarket halls of residence, where room rentals cost up to £650 a week

Forget multimillion-pound luxury flats on the Thames or gleaming towers overlooking Hyde Park, some of the most sought-after property investments are now student halls of residence.

While sipping champagne on superyachts at the world’s largest property conference in Cannes this week, investors have been competing with one another to snap up a particularly popular type of investment: posh student digs that cost up to £650 a week for a room.

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What are your experiences of mental health at university?

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 14:09:50 GMT2017-03-16T14:09:50Z

There’s been an increase in the number of students seeking counselling. We want to hear your stories on this and whether you got the help you needed

Last year studies found that there has been a huge increase in the number of students seeking counselling at university. Heads of university counselling services reported lots of students arriving with existing mental health conditions.

But, universities do not always have the best resources to help. Some counselling services are under-resourced, and getting help – while also trying to finish your degree – can be very challenging. Students face a great deal of pressure in order to secure a good job to pay off their debts from student loans.

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NME Tour review – indie new kids carry the flame

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:28:08 GMT2017-03-15T11:28:08Z

Trent University, Nottingham
Clean Cut Kid, Peace and Will Joseph Cook are on the bill as a night of robust tunes and bellowed choruses revives glimmers of the guitar glory days

Before the BBC Sound of … poll and Brits critics’ choice award, the regular NME tours were reliable barometers of pop’s next big things. Kings of Leon and the Killers trotted through the cider-encrusted doors before the bottom fell out of indie and the NME went free. The revived version bills the sponsors higher than the bands under the heart-sinking slogan “Topman on tour with NME”, but again brings fresh live music to a student audience.

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2VCs: How do we win back anxious international students?

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 09:00:26 GMT2017-03-15T09:00:26Z

Tough UK visa rules and harsh rhetoric have seen numbers plummet. Two vice-chancellors tell Anna Fazackerley why they think the tide may be turning

Last October Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, pledged a major crackdown on international student numbers at UK universities, linking the right to recruit foreign students to the quality of courses. The public consultation has yet to materialise, and how the government will evaluate courses remains unclear.

In the first of a new monthly series in which two vice chancellors discuss the big issues facing their institutions, Professor Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, and Professor Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University (DMU), reflect on what the future holds for the all-important overseas student market.

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Why is there so little social diversity in medicine? | Zara Aziz

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:59:21 GMT2017-03-13T10:59:21Z

Only 7% of students across the UK are privately educated, but 26% of medical students went to fee-paying schools

Medicine in the UK has traditionally been deemed an elite profession that excludes those from low socioeconomic groups. A mere 7% of students are privately educated, but 26% of medical students went to fee-paying schools.

However, when you look closely at the figures, many students leave school at 16, and 18% of 16- to 18-year-olds are in fact privately educated; the proportion is even higher for those studying science subjects. Suddenly, the figure of 26% of privately educated medical students seems to reflect numbers studying sciences at school. It is not surprising that the majority of doctors come from more affluent backgrounds.

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College student: the budget puts business before our education

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 17:00:05 GMT2017-03-08T17:00:05Z

More funding for colleges may sound like good news to students like me, but it won’t plug the cuts to services we relied on

Today, chancellor Philip Hammond announced that a further £500m will be invested into further education (FE). As a college student who has witnessed sustained cuts and closures of the services we rely on, surely I should be pleased? Well, in a word, no.

I am not pleased, because this funding is not to plug the 24% cut to adult learning made earlier this year. This funding is not to fill the £360m gap in maintenance support since education maintenance allowance (EMA) was cut. This funding is not to reimburse the 17% real-terms pay cut the staff who teach us have endured.

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Future schools: core subjects only, parents pay for the rest | Laura McInerney

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:00:07 GMT2017-03-21T07:00:07Z

It would perfectly suit Tory ideology for parents to pay for sport, music, extra reading … and for state schooling to be pared to the basics

Imagine a world where school as we know it – free to all, with a wide variety of subjects – has been stripped back to a basic entitlement. Each child gets only a few hours per day of teaching in the core subjects. If parents want extras, say sports or music lessons or more reading activities, those must be additionally purchased from the school, or from private companies.

It may sound like a dystopian future but many parents already supplement their child’s education and, with grammar schools about to return, there is the opportunity for a boom in private tutoring. An austerity government with weak opposition could see paring back education as a neat way to solve some of its woes.

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May v Sturgeon: Scottish education swept up in political war of words

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 06:45:06 GMT2017-03-21T06:45:06Z

Pupils in Scotland have fallen behind in science. Now the PM has attacked the country for its ‘neglect’ of schools. Is she right?

From James Watt’s steam engine to Dolly the sheep, Scotland is proud of its strong science tradition, so a recent fall in the international rankings of Scottish pupils in science is causing a degree of national soul-searching.

And as the political temperature rises, Scotland’s education performance is being used as ammunition against the SNP government. Theresa May accused Nicola Sturgeon of “neglect and mismanagement” of education when responding to the call for an independence referendum. The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, said at her party conference earlier this month that the SNP’s record on education was “an absolute disgrace” and “a mark of shame” and promised a “back to basics review” of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). Questioned at Holyrood last week about May’s attack, Sturgeon said merely: “The education secretary and I work to raise standards and close the attainment gap in our schools every single day.”

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'Girls relied on me for sanitary towels': teachers on child poverty in schools

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 15:13:34 GMT2017-03-18T15:13:34Z

After news of low-income families struggling to afford sanitary protection, we asked teachers about other indicators of child poverty they encountered

Girls from low-income families across England are struggling to afford sanitary protection, the Guardian has been told.

In many cases teachers themselves are stepping in to help, buying supplies for students. We asked teachers whether there were other items they had to buy for children whose families could not afford essentials. Here is what they told us.

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'Our school has cut to the bone. Our teachers are on their knees'

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:39:58 GMT2017-03-16T15:39:58Z

Ministers want to distribute funding more fairly around England, but schools say there just isn’t enough cash overall

When Justine Greening outlined plans for a new national funding formula for schools last December, she chose to illustrate the unfairness of the current system by comparing schools in the south Yorkshire town of Barnsley with those in Hackney in east London.

Under this “unfair, untransparent and out of date system”, the education secretary said a school in Barnsley, one of the poorest-funded boroughs in the country, would receive 50% more money if it was simply transplanted wholesale from south Yorkshire to Hackney.

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School admissions: is a lottery a fairer system?

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:30:16 GMT2017-03-14T07:30:16Z

Brighton pioneered ‘random allocation’ of school places to increase fairness and social mobility. Ten years on, what has been the effect on families … and house prices?

The annual secondary school offer day is behind us now. Thousands of parents and pupils across the country will be breathing a huge sigh of relief to have got a place at their first or second choice school for September.

Or they may be like Anoushka Visvalingam, in one of a significant minority of families who failed to get any of their preferred options and are waiting anxiously to see if that will change in the next few months.

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Ministers can no longer ignore protests over the school funding crisis | Geoff Barton

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:14:15 GMT2017-03-14T07:14:15Z

Philip Hammond’s budget offered little help for schools, and voices of protest are growing louder

Schools are where society invests in its future. They are where our collective knowledge, skills, culture and values are reinforced, realigned and passed on to the next generation. The hallmark of a civilised society – one that believes that the key to its success lies in the optimism and ideals of its young people – is surely in its commitment to schools and colleges.

Related: It’s simple: a huge injection of cash is needed before school funding can be fair | Fiona Millar

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British scientists face a ‘huge hit’ if the US cuts climate change research

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:00:15 GMT2017-03-14T07:00:15Z

Academics fear Donald Trump’s environmental policy may put an end to key data from US agencies

UK scientists are warning they may be unable to carry out crucial research on climate change if Donald Trump cuts climate science funding in the US.

Trump tweeted in 2014 that research on global warming is “very expensive bullshit” that “has to stop”. Scientists are braced to find out whether his administration will put these words into practice. The early signs are not good. Last month Scott Pruitt, one of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s fiercest critics, was named as its new head. There are rumours that the budget of its office for research could be cut by more than 40% as part of extensive overall cuts.

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'Parents have been asked to help clean': how budget cuts are affecting schools

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 22:00:09 GMT2017-03-07T22:00:09Z

Schools in England face a squeeze in funding. We asked how it was impacting on your school – here are the responses we got

Schools in England face budget cuts. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that spending per pupil is to fall 6.5% by 2019-20 – the first-real term cuts since the mid-1990s.

It’s a situation that has led headteachers to use Twitter to highlight the stark choices they may have to make. Schools have also written to parents expressing their concern, and urging them to lobby MPs for an increase in funding.

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How can we tackle the thorny problem of fraudulent research? | Mike Marinetto

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:12:12 GMT2017-03-13T12:12:12Z

Misconduct in academia isn’t rampant but should be taken more seriously: let’s consider independent anti-corruption units

Watching the BBC’s detective drama Line of Duty, I thought: could the academic research community benefit from an internal affairs style anti-corruption unit? Not to police illegal behaviour in an underworld of dons and deans – but to tackle the very real problem of fraudulent research.

Related: How big data has transformed research

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QS world university rankings 2017: hospitality and leisure management

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:30:09 GMT2017-03-08T14:30:09Z

The top 50 universities in the world for hospitality and leisure management as ranked by higher education data specialists QS

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Why universities can't see women as leaders

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:00:04 GMT2017-03-08T10:00:04Z

The roles women take in universities aren’t recognised as routes to the top. But they demand as much drive as the posts traditionally scooped up by men

On International Women’s Day 2017, it is sobering to acknowledge that still, just a fifth of UK higher education institutions are headed by a female vice-chancellor. And nothing’s changing very fast.

Though the percentage of women appointed to lead universities is creeping up - between 2013 and 2016, 29% of new VC recruits were female – the net gain has been negligible.

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The judges’ decision: finalists for the Guardian University Awards 2017

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 17:44:11 GMT2017-03-07T17:44:11Z

Here are the universities that impressed our judges most and made it on to the final shortlist in each category

The finalists for this year’s Guardian University Awards have been selected in each category. The decisions were made by expert judges with a wide range of experience in the higher education sector.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Wednesday 29 March.

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I wish we could talk more openly about mental health in academia

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 07:00:39 GMT2017-03-03T07:00:39Z

Refusing to discuss why colleagues go off sick exacerbates the stigma and stops people opening up

It’s a surreal experience when a colleague takes time off due to mental illness. It’s like some clichéd sci-fi episode where one by one those around you start to vanish and only you can remember them. The key difference being that in those shows, the issue seems to end up resolved. In reality, any attempt to even discuss the problem is met with, in my experience and seemingly that of others too, a wall of silence akin to people sticking their fingers in their ears and humming loudly.

In the past, the first time I’ve become aware that a colleague is unwell is when management gives myself and other colleagues part of their former role – with no explanation as to why. This is when the peculiar and vague language kicks in. My attempts to discuss such situations have been met with phrases like “I think they were feeling a little overwhelmed” and “struggling to cope”, alongside an almost-smile of feigned compassion.

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Higher education’s most inspiring leader shortlist 2017

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:04:33 GMT2017-03-01T16:04:33Z

Read the shortlist for higher education’s most inspiring leader, selected by our expert judging panel

The judges

The Guardian Higher Education Network is delighted to reveal the shortlist for the Inspiring Leader 2017 award.

This award honours a leader who has brought out the best in their team and achieved exceptional results. They champion innovation and collaboration, deliver real change, and inspire the higher education community.

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Should students build their own degrees by studying at several universities?

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:20:28 GMT2017-02-28T17:20:28Z

The government says students should get transferable credits for modules and feel free to move between higher education providers. It sounds nice, but there are big risks

Here’s the big idea: students should be able to move seamlessly between higher education providers, picking up academic credits along the way, to create their own degree package. This beguiling picture of a fully flexible higher education system prompted amendments to the higher education and research bill (pdf) announced by universities minister Jo Johnson.

The government wants the new Office for Students to be given responsibility for monitoring, reporting on, and actively encouraging arrangements for credit accumulation and transfer across the sector. The potential benefits of this for students are championed as greater flexibility in terms of what they study, where and when.

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I’m a British academic, but no longer feel welcome in the UK

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 07:00:25 GMT2017-02-24T07:00:25Z

My partner and I have been separated for years by the government’s net migration policy – and Brexit is the last straw. I’m leaving for Europe

Much has been written about the possible brain drain among European nationals following the Brexit vote. A huge 76% of European academics are thinking about leaving the UK. But they aren’t the only ones who feel unwelcome here. I’m a British academic, and I’m leaving to take up a post in Europe.

Thanks to now-mainstream racist and anti-immigration discourses and policies, I no longer feel at home here. For me, Brexit is the last straw, building on foundations laid by the government’s net migration policy (upheld by the supreme court last week). Introduced in 2012 to reduce immigration to “sustainable levels” by limiting family reunification, it has directly undermined my right to family life.

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Secret Teacher: My school sees pupils as a funding formula – we're failing them

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:30:32 GMT2017-03-18T07:30:32Z

We help students to cheat and ignore threatening behaviour, because keeping them in class brings in more money

A student in my class attempted to assault me recently, and would have succeeded if others hadn’t restrained them and thrown them out into the hall. We locked the classroom door and the student stood outside, screaming threats.

I made a formal complaint to my manager, as did those who had helped calm the situation. But it was decided they wouldn’t be expelled, because that would mean we were unable to receive full funding for them.

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'Are you a real teacher?': Five things not to ask special needs educators

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:30:16 GMT2017-03-14T07:30:16Z

I’ve taught pupils with special educational needs and disabilities for 16 years but I’m always surprised by the questions I get

For parents of a child with special educational needs, it is often their greatest wish to do activities enjoyed by other families: going shopping without their child having a meltdown because they want all the toys in the shop, having a meal in a restaurant without their child screaming if the food takes too long to arrive or they can’t cope with the choice.

Related: Why are so many SEN pupils excluded from school? Because we are failing them

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Secret Teacher: buying supplies my school can't afford costs me a fortune

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 08:42:50 GMT2017-03-11T08:42:50Z

There was a time I could have claimed expenses, but with high expectations and continued funding cuts I have to pay

I have been a teacher for 15 years and have always known that the state schools I have worked in are not wealthy. When I was a young and enthusiastic student I spent a cool amount on stationery and ink in order to make worksheets in many colours, and I provided Post-it notes and highlighters to make my lessons engaging and interesting. Naively, I thought that when I became employed as a real member of staff, I would stop spending so much of my own money on my job – I was wrong.

I landed in a culture of personal investment, with colleagues urging me to buy my own supplies and lead the way. With equipment unreliable or failing in our school, one even brought in her own overhead projector.

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Murder mystery to DNA: researchers bring science to life in schools

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:17:27 GMT2017-03-10T10:17:27Z

University departments are partnering with teachers to open young people’s eyes to research as a potential career choice

There’s been a murder in the medical school, a year eight class is told. A respected professor at the University of Southampton has been shot dead in the lab and the students of Hounsdown School must work out who did it. They can interrogate researchers, take fingerprints, collect DNA samples, and study bullets shot from a gun to catch the culprit.

Related: Stepping into history: how I moved my class to a museum for a term

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Secret Teacher: Social media is hurting pupils – we need more support

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 07:30:09 GMT2017-03-04T07:30:09Z

I’ve seen the harm online platforms can do to children, but the government is slow to respond. Its latest plans don’t go far enough

This week, the government announced plans to target “sexting and cyberbullying” as part of an initiative to make the internet safer for young people. It is to meet with technology companies, charities, academies and mental health professionals to develop a strategy. All this sounds wonderful, but the speed of reaction to what has been a very real situation for years has been painfully slow.

My previous efforts in trying to make a difference on this issue have not resulted in any meaningful government response, and I fear that more discussion will lead to a slow solution, or one with no impact. I also notice that a key stakeholder has been missed from the government’s list – the social media giants themselves.

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Creating a buzz: how UK schools are embracing beekeeping

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 15:20:56 GMT2017-03-03T15:20:56Z

Teachers are discovering that beehives can provide exciting opportunities to learn outside the classroom

We know that things are bad with bees right now. In the past decade, they have been disappearing at an alarming rate – a combination of pests, pesticides and the destruction of habitats has seen the UK population decrease by about a third over that period. In September, the US added seven types of bees to its list of endangered species for the first time. The consequences of losing them would be huge: Albert Einstein once said that humans “would not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years”.

Help is taking all kinds of forms: from fundraising gigs to experimental robotic pollinators and Tesco donating waste sugar to keep Cornish hives going through the winter.

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World Book Day 2017: teachers dress up – in pictures

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 18:04:59 GMT2017-03-02T18:04:59Z

How did you celebrate World Book Day? We went on the hunt for the best-dressed teachers and here’s our round-up

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Teaching computing? Try switching off your screens

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:11:16 GMT2017-03-01T15:11:16Z

From robot hamsters to beatboxing, there are plenty of activities to help students develop thinking skills associated with programming. No computers needed

Computing is now a required part of the curriculum from early years to key stage 3 and beyond. But the subject is much more than just using a computer and learning about programming: it’s a way of thinking, of understanding the world so that people can change it.

Those thinking skills can also be developed away from the computer; in fact, moving away from the screen can often help students understand the ideas without being distracted by the technology. They are more likely, as well, to be able to transfer them to new contexts.

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World Book Day 2017: teachers, send us pictures of your costumes

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 15:38:30 GMT2017-02-28T15:38:30Z

Which literary character are you dressing up as this year? Share your pictures and be part of a worldwide celebration of books and reading

World Book Day is nearly upon us again. In its 20th year, the day, which is designated by Unesco as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, is marked in more than 100 countries.

It has become one of the highlights of the school calendar and one of the main reasons, aside from that book token children receive to buy a new book of their own, is that everyone gets to dress up as their favourite fictional character.

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Malala Yousafzai receives offer to study at UK university

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:06:52 GMT2017-03-11T19:06:52Z

The 19-year-old Nobel prize winner did not reveal which institution had offered her a conditional place during a Birmingham talk


Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai has told an education conference that she has received an offer to study at a UK university.

The 19-year-old is currently preparing for her A-Levels at a girls’ school in Birmingham.

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'Russia's soul is monarchic': tsarist school wants to reverse 100 years of history

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 13:58:56 GMT2017-03-06T13:58:56Z

Patriotic financier known as the ‘Orthodox oligarch’ funds school that seeks to prepare students for the ‘inevitable’ return of monarchy

“We are raising a new elite here,” said Zurab Chavchavadze, the dapper 74-year-old headteacher of St Basil the Great School, sitting beneath a large portrait of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II. “The students will be morally sound, religious, intellectual and patriotic, and will have every chance of getting into power.”

A collection of grand buildings set around a new cathedral in an upmarket suburb of Moscow, the school harks back to Russia’s tsarist traditions to inculcate a sense of patriotism in its 400 students.

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We’ve cleared Isis from our campus, says Sudan university after Britons are killed

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 22:35:27 GMT2017-03-04T22:35:27Z

Parents are withdrawing students from Khartoum’s University of Medical Sciences and Technology

The head of the Sudanese university where more than 20 young Britons were recruited by Islamic State has claimed that the group’s recruitment machine has been eradicated from the campus.

Attempting to reassure British parents that it is safe to send their children to Khartoum’s University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST), Dr Ahmed Babiker said that counter-radicalisation efforts alongside the dissolution of a controversial faith group had successfully extinguished Isis from the site.

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Devastating impact of meth in the womb exposed in South African schools

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 09:46:18 GMT2017-02-02T09:46:18Z

Extent of crisis becomes clear as children of women caught up in tik epidemic struggle with hyperactivity and aggression

Justin Summers has a mop of curly brown hair and enjoys playing marbles. Aged seven, he is on the cusp of starting his 12-year journey through South Africa’s education system.

But before he’s even started, the outlook for his education is dire. His ability to learn has been severely compromised because his mother, Agnes, used methamphetamine while pregnant with him. She is now expecting her fifth child, and is still using the narcotic.

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Zhou Youguang obituary

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 13:31:21 GMT2017-02-01T13:31:21Z

Chinese scholar whose western alphabet system advanced literacy and comprehension between speakers of different languages

A fortune teller once warned Zhou Youguang he would not live past 35. The prediction was plausible, as Zhou himself later noted. Average life expectancy in China was then around 30. He had experienced tuberculosis and depression and within a few years would narrowly escape death in a Japanese bombing raid that killed the man beside him. Yet his eventual death came the day after his 111th birthday.

By then he had fewer than 50 peers worldwide. The rest are known primarily for their survival, and Zhou had a variety of explanations for his own longevity: modern medicine, eating when hungry and sleeping when tired, and simply the fact that “God has forgotten me”, a remark reflecting both his humility and his humour. But he had staked his claim to a place in the history books more than half a century before, as “the father of pinyin”, having established what became the international standard for romanisation of Chinese.

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Theresa May knows her Machiavelli | Letters

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 18:11:52 GMT2017-01-26T18:11:52Z

Thank you for Tom McCarthy’s superb piece (Does Theresa May really know what citizenship means?, Review, 21 January). I do hope it has been read by the prime minister and fellow politicians of all parties.

Since Mrs May attended a grammar school, as I did in Scotland (where they are called academies), around the same time, she surely had opportunities for some classical education. I was lucky to be taught Latin, French and German at school and could have requested Greek as well as Russian. This while specialising in music, which I continued to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and later in Florence.

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Chinese school allows students to borrow marks from 'grade bank' to pass tests

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 05:15:39 GMT2017-01-13T05:15:39Z

Students must repay their borrowed marks with even higher scores on a future exams or earn credits with extra work

Many of us have been there: hopelessly unprepared for an exam, wishing we had studied more and certain of a failing mark. Now for students at one school in China, success is guaranteed, but it comes at a price.

A high school in eastern China has set up a “grade bank”, where students who would normally fail a test can borrow points to push them over the line into a passing mark.

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Jagdish Gundara obituary

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 18:25:56 GMT2016-12-16T18:25:56Z

My friend Jagdish Gundara, who has died aged 78, was a shrewd and nuanced commentator on the theory and practice of education for diversity. He was Unesco professor of intercultural studies and teacher education, and emeritus professor of the Institute of Education, University College London. He was, from its inception in 1979, director of the centre for intercultural education at the Institute of Education.

Jagdish shared his ideas about interculturalism at conferences throughout the world, and was founder and president of the International Association of Intercultural Education. Convivial and mischievous, he was never happier than when fulminating against reactionary idiocy with friends over lunch in Bloomsbury.

Continue reading...Jagdish Gundara was an authority on education for diversity.Jagdish Gundara was an authority on education for diversity.


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We must help poorer pupils, but not through selection | Nicky Morgan, Lucy Powell and Nick Clegg

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 00:05:00 GMT2017-03-19T00:05:00Z

More grammar schools are not the answer to improving social mobility and preparing Britain for the future

Politics is often defined by what people disagree on. However, some issues are above party politics and it’s time that tackling social mobility became one of them. As politicians from three different parties, we sparred across the despatch box but now we’re coming together to build a cross-party consensus, focused on looking at the evidence of what works, to tackle inequality in education and boost social mobility.

Successive governments have made progress in boosting attainment and tackling poor performance across the schools system, but with the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers stubbornly persistent it is clear more needs to be done.

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Fighting ‘unfairness’ is no justification for this school funding disgrace | Deborah Orr

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:00:32 GMT2017-03-18T07:00:32Z

The Conservatives’ ill-considered plans for changing the school funding formula gloss over the fact that all schools face a funding crisis

When the full glory of “the London effect” became majestically obvious, back in 2013, people fell over themselves to explain how it had been achieved. London schools, which in the 80s and 90s had declined to a point where it seemed impossible for them to decline any more, had become the best in the country – even the world – on any measure one cared to apply.

Related: Ministers can no longer ignore protests over the school funding crisis | Geoff Barton

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A moment that changed me: refusing a place at private school | Maurice McLeod

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 08:00:04 GMT2017-03-17T08:00:04Z

A posh old school where I knew no one or the rough comprehensive next door where all my mates went – sorry, Mum, but there was no contest

In the headmaster’s office of Emanuel school, Battersea, in 1980, I felt like my life was already spiralling away from me. I was only 10 but I knew instinctively that what happened in the next 30 minutes would be life-defining.

A few weeks earlier, my mum had forced me to take the entrance exam for this ancient private school in the hope I’d earn a scholarship. I’d protested that I didn’t want to go to Emanuel, with its rugby fields and properly resourced classrooms, but Mum was having none of it.

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Never mind free tampons – what schoolgirls need is education about periods | Chella Quint

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:29:20 GMT2017-03-16T16:29:20Z

No other area of school life relies on free samples or branded teaching resources. So why, when it comes to menstruation, have we ceded control to companies?

I woke up this week to the news that we were being urged to buy tampons for a worthy cause again. According to the charity Freedom4Girls, a school in Leeds has reported that girls are missing school because they can’t afford to buy menstrual products. In response, individuals and charities are donating disposable menstrual products, and calling for them to be provided free in all schools.

Donating free tampons for ever is a nice idea, but it’s a short-term solution that benefits multinational corporations as much as it helps kids, if not more so. Austerity and food poverty (including household toiletries poverty, which includes disposable menstrual products) have highlighted a bigger problem that was masked by the relative financial comfort in the UK a decade or so ago. The menstrual taboos were always there, though. It’s time to acknowledge that we need to start working on medium- and long-term solutions, such as improving menstruation education, removing branding from school resources and eradicating the period taboo for ever.

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What do men really think about sex? This is why we need better education | Michele Hanson and Clare Moynihan

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 07:00:23 GMT2017-03-15T07:00:23Z

We asked men how they learned about sex, and found that puerility and pornography have always trumped the facts. Mandatory sex education is most welcome

It was announced this month that sex and relationship education is to become mandatory in schools for children aged four to 15. About time too. It’s never been easy for children who have wanted to learn credible information about sex.

Related: Sex education: what do today’s children really need to know?

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Teachers must ditch 'neuromyth' of learning styles, say scientists

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:01:17 GMT2017-03-13T00:01:17Z

Eminent academics from worlds of neuroscience, education and psychology voice concerns over popularity of method

Teaching children according to their individual “learning style” does not achieve better results and should be ditched by schools in favour of evidence-based practice, according to leading scientists.

Thirty eminent academics from the worlds of neuroscience, education and psychology have signed a letter to the Guardian voicing their concern about the popularity of the learning style approach among some teachers.

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Labour MP to table 30 changes to education bill to benefit students

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 06:00:51 GMT2016-09-06T06:00:51Z

Former NUS president Wes Streeting pledges amendments such as bill of rights in order to improve student experience

A Labour MP has promised to table more than 30 amendments to a higher education bill in an attempt to ensure that students get a better experience from their degrees as tuition fees continue to rise.

Wes Streeting, the MP for Ilford North and former president of the National Union of Students, said he wanted the higher education and research bill to include a “students’ bill of rights”.

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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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No evidence to back idea of learning styles | Letter

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 23:59:17 GMT2017-03-12T23:59:17Z

There is widespread interest among teachers in the use of neuroscientific research findings in educational practice. However, there are also misconceptions and myths that are supposedly based on sound neuroscience that are prevalent in our schools. We wish to draw attention to this problem by focusing on an educational practice supposedly based on neuroscience that lacks sufficient evidence and so we believe should not be promoted or supported.

Generally known as “learning styles”, it is the belief that individuals can benefit from receiving information in their preferred format, based on a self-report questionnaire. This belief has much intuitive appeal because individuals are better at some things than others and ultimately there may be a brain basis for these differences. Learning styles promises to optimise education by tailoring materials to match the individual’s preferred mode of sensory information processing.

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How to write better essays: 'nobody does introductions properly'

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 12:45:32 GMT2017-03-07T12:45:32Z

Is Wikipedia really a no-go? Should you bother with the whole reading list? And how do you make a convincing argument? We ask the experts

As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.

Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.

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PPE: the Oxford degree that runs Britain

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 06:00:06 GMT2017-02-23T06:00:06Z

Oxford University graduates in philosophy, politics and economics make up an astonishing proportion of Britain’s elite. But has it produced an out-of-touch ruling class?

Monday, 13 April 2015 was a typical day in modern British politics. An Oxford University graduate in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), Ed Miliband, launched the Labour party’s general election manifesto. It was examined by the BBC’s political editor, Oxford PPE graduate Nick Robinson, by the BBC’s economics editor, Oxford PPE graduate Robert Peston, and by the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Oxford PPE graduate Paul Johnson. It was criticised by the prime minister, Oxford PPE graduate David Cameron. It was defended by the Labour shadow chancellor, Oxford PPE graduate Ed Balls.

Elsewhere in the country, with the election three weeks away, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, Oxford PPE graduate Danny Alexander, was preparing to visit Kingston and Surbiton, a vulnerable London seat held by a fellow Lib Dem minister, Oxford PPE graduate Ed Davey. In Kent, one of Ukip’s two MPs, Oxford PPE graduate Mark Reckless, was campaigning in his constituency, Rochester and Strood. Comments on the day’s developments were being posted online by Michael Crick, Oxford PPE graduate and political correspondent of Channel 4 News.

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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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Diana Wallace obituary

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:29:52 GMT2017-03-22T18:29:52Z

My mother Diana Wallace, who has died aged 92, was a social worker dedicated to her chosen field in both a professional and voluntary capacity throughout her life.

She was born in Exeter, Devon, to John Sidey, an architect, and his wife, Florence (nee Brinsmead). The youngest of six, she forged enduring friendships at St Margaret’s school, Exeter. As a teenager, she developed her Christian faith, which sustained her through good times and tough times.

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