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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: Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:22:18 GMT2018-03-23T00:22:18Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018

Toby Young clings on to taxpayer-funded free schools role

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 20:03:23 GMT2018-03-22T20:03:23Z

DfE reluctantly reappoints New Schools Network due to absence of other applicants

Toby Young has held on to his taxpayer-funded post running a free schools advisory service, despite his controversial views on women and genetics, but only after there were no other applicants.

Sources within the Department for Education (DfE) say ministers have reluctantly decided to reappoint the New Schools Network (NSN) – the organisation headed by Young in his £90,000-a-year role as its chief executive – to a contract to support applicants wanting to open free schools.

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Higher education’s most inspiring leader 2018 - the shortlist

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:13:08 GMT2018-03-22T14:13:08Z

Cast your vote for one of five leaders nominated by our expert judging panel and shortlisted by The Guardian

The Guardian Higher Education Network is delighted to reveal the shortlist for the Inspiring Leader 2018 award.

This award recognises a leader who has brought out the best in the people they work with to achieve exceptional results. They champion innovation and collaboration, deliver real change for their institution and the sector, and inspire the higher education community.

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The judges’ decision: finalists for the Guardian University Awards 2018

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:13:05 GMT2018-03-22T14:13:05Z

Here are the universities that impressed our judges most and made it onto 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 Tuesday 24 April.

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Rise in unauthorised pupil absences blamed on term-time holidays

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:30:47 GMT2018-03-22T13:30:47Z

Increase coincides with father’s high-profile legal battle over fine for child’s unauthorised holiday

Unauthorised pupil absence rates in England are at their highest since records began as a result of more families taking children for holidays during term time without the agreement of their school, according to government figures.

Data published by the Department for Education (DfE) on Thursday revealed that about one in six students (16.9%) missed at least half a day of lessons in 2016-17 for a family holiday – up from 14.7% the previous year.

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Hull schools at 'breaking point' over special educational needs

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 10:28:04 GMT2018-03-22T10:28:04Z

Heads blame ‘perfect storm’ of tighter budgets, higher demand and cuts to children’s services

Schools in Hull have reached “breaking point” with insufficient funding to match rising demand from the most vulnerable pupils, headteachers have said.

In a letter to the education secretary, Damian Hinds, the city’s primary school heads said they no longer had the resources to properly look after children with special educational needs (SEN).

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The great learning curve: how to improve your study habits

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:01:19 GMT2018-03-22T00:01:19Z

Experts now say a flexible approach, rather than sticking to a ‘learning style’ may be the key to successful study

It was once commonly believed if students were made aware of the learning strategies that worked for them, they’d become more efficient and effective learners. As a result, from the 1980s onwards tailored learning styles became popular and theorists such as Honey and Mumford created questionnaires to help pinpoint the four types of adult learners.

Related: Snackable study: how to break up your master's degree

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Snackable study: how to break up your master's degree

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:01:19 GMT2018-03-22T00:01:19Z

Postgrad certificates and diplomas enable you to build your master’s in blocks – or bank what you have

Not got the time, the inclination or the funds to do a full master’s degree? Then why not consider the shorter options? Postgraduate certificates (PGCerts) and postgraduate diplomas (PGDips) don’t require you to do a dissertation, but they also contain challenging, master’s-level content. They’re recognised qualifications in their own right but can also count as part of a full master’s degree.

Related: The great learning curve: how to improve your study habits

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Open University plans major cuts to number of staff and courses

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:09:55 GMT2018-03-21T17:09:55Z

Lecturers express concern over future quality of degrees and £2.5m fees spent on consultants

Open University chiefs are planning significant reductions in the number of courses the institution offers and the number of lecturers it employs, the Guardian has learned.

Last June the OU, established in 1969 and the largest university in the UK, announced it needed to cut £100m from its £420m -a-year annual budget, but specific detail of where the cuts would fall was not made public.

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Teaching union calls for 5% pay rise with possible strike backing

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:58:54 GMT2018-03-21T12:58:54Z

National Union of Teachers asks for staff pay increase after NHS announces 6.5% settlement

Britain’s largest teaching union is calling for a 5% pay increase for school staff – buoyed by the announcement of a 6.5% settlement for nurses and NHS staff – backed by a campaign to include possible strike action.

The annual conference of the National Union of Teachers, shortly to merge and become the National Education Union, will consider a motion for a pay claim of 5% alongside other school unions, and ask that the increase be funded by the government rather than from existing school budgets.

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Cambridge University reveals 15% gender pay gap

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:37:12 GMT2018-03-22T16:37:12Z

Top universities report big disparity between male and female employees’ earnings

Oxbridge colleges and universities across England are displaying huge variations in the way they reward female members of staff, according to data released to the government as part of the gender pay gap audit.

The University of Cambridge is the latest university to submit its records, revealing a 15% gap in median hourly pay between men and women on the university’s staff – including non-academic employees.

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School bomb threats: more than 400 schools in England receive hoax warnings

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 15:41:45 GMT2018-03-19T15:41:45Z

Police say threats contained in emails are not credible and evacuations are unnecessary

More than 400 schools across England have received hoax bomb threats believed to be coming from the US.

Humberside police said that schools and colleges across the country, including 19 in its region, had received emails “claiming a device has been planted and demanding cash”.

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A third of UK Muslims report abuse or crime while studying

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:47:03 GMT2018-03-19T10:47:03Z

Most victims believe acts were motivated by Islamophobia, NUS survey finds

A third of Muslim students have experienced abuse or crime at their place of study in the UK, with most victims believing it was motivated by Islamophobia, a National Union of Students (NUS) survey has found.

The Muslim Students Survey was launched in 2017 to try to gain a better understanding of the experiences of Muslim students in further and higher education and received 578 responses among UK-based students.

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$1m prize for London educator named 'world's best teacher'

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:30:33 GMT2018-03-18T16:30:33Z

Arts and textiles teacher Andria Zafirakou from Alperton school says her pupils are ‘phenomenal’

A woman from north London has been announced as the first British winner of a prize worth $1m (£720,000) for the world’s best teacher.

Andria Zafirakou, an arts and textiles teacher from Alperton community school in Brent, north-west London, was presented with the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher prize in Dubai on Sunday.

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Proportion of English secondary schools in deficit almost trebles

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:01:03 GMT2018-03-16T00:01:03Z

Study shows 26.1% of local authority secondaries in the red, up from 8.8% three years earlier

The proportion of local government-run secondary schools in England with a deficit has nearly trebled in three years, according to a study.

The analysis by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) suggests more than one-quarter of secondaries are in the red, with schools in the south-west the most likely to be in deficit.

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Fantastic beasts: everything you need to know about conservation studies

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:01:14 GMT2018-03-21T00:01:14Z

The conservation sector requires postgrads with passion, curiosity and a commitment to science

Giving a new tamarin monkey a health check or investigating why a gemsbok died are some of the more hands-on activities on the MSc in wild animal health at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Wild animal care and conservation are fiercely competitive areas and a postgraduate course combined with volunteering in the field will boost your career chances no end, say course leaders.

As awareness of the fragility of ecosystems grows, universities around the country are seeing a rise in interest in conservation-focused postgraduate degrees.

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My postgrad experience: ‘I worked on essays as giraffes walked by’

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:01:14 GMT2018-03-21T00:01:14Z

Carolyn Thompson has travelled widely, from Borneo to Cameroon, as a primate conservation researcher – a career she carved out with the right postgrad qualification

After a false start with a geography degree, Carolyn Thompson went on to study a BSc in life sciences with the Open University (OU). Now 32, she completed a master’s in research in primate biology at the University of Roehampton, and since then has been investigating patterns and drivers of gibbon decline with University College London.

“I’ve wanted to work with primates since I was seven,” says Thompson. “My grandfather, who lived in the Philippines, rescued a macaque monkey. He taught me about the pet trade and about animal behaviour. I was hooked. I grew up for some time in Indonesia and my mother used to take us to the forests to see monkeys – there were so many myths and legends, it was fascinating.

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Bag end: why we’re calling time on plastic waste

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:01:14 GMT2018-03-21T00:01:14Z

As the public turns against plastic, the race is on to find sustainable alternatives

After pulling plastic straws out of turtles’ nostrils while working at a Brazil nature reserve, shocked British student Chan’nel Thomas realised something had to change. “It was only then that I started to grasp the damage we do as humans.”

Unprecedented attention is now focused on the mountains of waste plastics accumulating in our oceans and the environmental damage they wreak. It’s forcing business and research institutions to speed up their search for viable material alternatives – biodegradable plastics or plastics made from waste or sustainable bioproducts.

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What are your experiences of racism at university?

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:24:51 GMT2018-03-20T13:24:51Z

There has been a series of reports recently about racist incidents at universities. We want to hear from you about this

The University of Exeter is investigating claims of racism among its law society members, after messages shared online show “vile” racist comments made in a private students’ WhatsApp group.

The university tweeted to say, “we unreservedly condemn any act of racism”, but said they would not comment further until their investigation concludes.

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‘It was heartbreaking’: Family wins tribunal after special needs pupil excluded

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 07:41:09 GMT2018-03-20T07:41:09Z

Mother tells of academy that seemed to care more about its behaviour policy than her son’s education

One of Natasha Damiral’s proudest moments was when her son Hayden appeared in the lead role of Oliver in his final year play at primary school.

Things had not always been easy for Hayden. He suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy and autism traits, and had spells in hospital after severe fits. But at Downs primary school in Harlow, Essex, he was well supported by his teachers, with specialist help from speech and language therapists and an educational psychologist, and by the time he left he exceeded everyone’s expectations, achieving benchmark level 4s in his Sats exams.

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University regulator is ‘Office for State Control’, say critics

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 06:45:32 GMT2018-03-20T06:45:32Z

Toby Young email sparks fears university leaders are already kowtowing to new Office for Students

University leaders this week described the government’s new regulator, the Office for Students, as the “Office for State Control”, warning it would prove disastrous for higher education and was “dangerous for democracy”.

The OfS is already mired in controversy thanks to the short-lived appointment of Toby Young to its board, which sparked a storm of public protest. But Education Guardian has learned that Universities UK, the umbrella group for vice-chancellors, didn’t challenge Young’s suitability for the role because it feared annoying the government.

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Why the MBA is still a gamechanging qualification

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 17:58:14 GMT2018-03-19T17:58:14Z

Is the MBA really all it’s cracked up to be? With enrolments surging, the answer seems to be yes

What could an MBA do for you? Make you richer? Propel your career? Help you change direction entirely? It’s a broad business degree for professionals with several years’ experience, but it is, as business schools tell you, more than the sum of its parts.

And the range of backgrounds MBAs attract is testimony to the course’s broad appeal – elite athletes, creatives, military officers, engineers, coders and charity managers, as well as the bread and butter intake from the worlds of finance and consulting.

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What do students want most? To be treated with respect | Anonymous academic

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:31:34 GMT2018-03-16T10:31:34Z

I was surprised to see students at my university ask for their lecturers to talk to them ‘as though I’m a person’

I recently led a survey of students across my university at all levels of study. We wanted to discover what students felt we did well so we could encourage more of the same and celebrate our successes, hoping to improve our scores in the National Student Survey and the teaching excellence framework. But the findings took us all by surprise.

The feedback from the 1,000 responses was pleasingly positive in some areas. We felt smug that our students largely appreciated our efforts. But there was an unsettling, underlying narrative in the responses which felt shocking. Students were essentially asking: why don’t academics have more humanity?

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I’m a black academic – that doesn't mean I want to be an expert on race | Jennifer Chisholm

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 07:30:01 GMT2018-03-14T07:30:01Z

BAME researchers are often expected to focus on race and ethnicity, but we shouldn’t be afraid of branching out

After months of trying to find the perfect project proposal for my sociology PhD applications, I thought I had it: I would research myself.

Well, not exactly myself, but I would propose to research racial discrimination in Brazil. Being black and an aspiring academic, I knew that my proposal to study race in Brazil would be advantageous for two reasons: I’d likely be one of a very small number of students studying race in the department (which ended up being the case) and I also knew I’d be seen as somewhat of an authority on the subject.

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I let sexual harassment slide because of my university's financial struggles

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:30:32 GMT2018-03-09T07:30:32Z

When cuts are threatening every department, it’s hard to put your job on the line to stand up against discrimination

I tried to pack the memory away like the cream polo neck I had worn under a tweed blazer, an outfit I had carefully selected because I imagined it projected authority. A tenured senior staff member had cut me off at the department meeting, laughing: “I wasn’t listening because I was so distracted by your breasts.”

I shrank down in my chair and pulled my blazer tighter around me. It was the lack of reaction from other staff around the table, men and women, that chilled me most. Instead of getting an apology, I was told that this professor would be writing in support of my tenure application.

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My students support our strike – they don't want to be passive consumers | Academics anonymous

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 07:30:01 GMT2018-03-02T07:30:01Z

My university assumed students just want ping pong tables, but they’re as angry with marketisation as their lecturers

Students are turning up on picket lines, writing to their vice-chancellors, posting on social media and telling their lecturers that they support the pension strike. Their encouraging, surprising reaction should make universities reconsider their wider view of students as passive consumers.

In my view, the stubborn position of Universities UK on pensions is based on the assumption that students don’t care about their lecturers’ pensions as the issue does not directly affect them. They are counting on students seeing themselves solely as customers and their lecturers solely as service providers. But what UUK didn’t plan for was solidarity. And solidarity is what we are witnessing as students understand that the people who teach them need decent conditions, and that the same forces that charge them fees cut our pensions.

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QS world university rankings 2018: economics and econometrics

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 13:30:15 GMT2018-02-28T13:30:15Z

The top 50 universities for education in the world as ranked by higher education data specialist QS

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QS world university rankings 2018: sociology

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 13:30:15 GMT2018-02-28T13:30:15Z

The top 50 universities for sociology in the world as ranked by higher education data specialist QS

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QS world university rankings 2018: biological sciences

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 13:30:15 GMT2018-02-28T13:30:15Z

The top 50 universities for biological sciences in the world as ranked by higher education data specialist QS

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QS world university rankings 2018: chemistry

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 13:30:15 GMT2018-02-28T13:30:15Z

The top 50 universities for chemistry in the world as ranked by higher education data specialist QS

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Join us: sign up for the Guardian Teacher Network newsletter

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:52:46 GMT2018-03-21T16:52:46Z

Catch up on the week’s teaching news and highlights from our network, plus the pick of Guardian Jobs listings for educators

The Guardian Teacher Network is the place for news, features and opinion about education and teaching. With articles tapping into ideas and debates about learning, insights on best practice, and accounts from teachers lifting the lid on life in the classroom, we get to the heart of the daily issues faced by those working in schools. We also bring you the Guardian’s teaching resources website, a free platform for sharing lesson plans.

Join our lively and engaged community of readers – and get involved in the conversations that matter for teachers right now. Sign up to our newsletter below for highlights from the website each week, as well as the latest jobs in the sector.

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BAME teachers are still marginalised in a system that refuses to change | Allana Gay

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:47:52 GMT2018-03-20T10:47:52Z

In 1985, a major report found that ethnic minorities were under-represented in teaching. Little has changed since

Five years ago, I was a successful schoolteacher and had been head of department for many years. I wanted to move into a senior leadership role but there was no support for me to do so. Before I had become head of department, I was tapped on the shoulder, told I was ready and given advice and training about how to move forward. None of that happened this time.

Related: Secret Teacher: I'm tired of my colleagues' ignorance about race

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Secret Teacher: I was undermined for a decade. Now I can call it bullying

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:30:28 GMT2018-03-17T07:30:28Z

My inspirational headteacher soon became intimidating. It ripped my life apart – but I know I’m not the only teacher who has suffered

I stared at the screen, feeling physically sick, as I read the long list of signs of bullying on a teaching union website. Excessive fear, loss of self worth, a reluctance to go to school, physical ill health including weight loss, disrupted sleep, headaches, depression, panic attacks. Suddenly it all made sense. The realisation left me reeling.

Related: Secret Teacher: the focus on exams is failing GCSE students

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How handwriting is helping EAL pupils to leap the language barrier

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 11:11:45 GMT2018-03-15T11:11:45Z

To develop fluency, teachers are encouraging students with English as an additional language to put pen to paper

Handwriting may be out of fashion in the digital age, but for pupils whose mother tongue is not English, it is proving helpful when it comes to learning the language.

With more than one million children aged between five and 15 in UK schools for whom English is an additional language (EAL), teachers have to work hard to help pupils overcome language barriers and achieve fluency in the written and spoken word. The latest Department for Education figures found one in five (20.6%) of primary school pupils speak a language other than English at home, and 16.2% of secondary school students.

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Drowned in sound: how listening to music hinders learning

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:00:02 GMT2018-03-14T08:00:02Z

In his series of articles on how psychology research can inform teaching, Bradley Busch picks an academic study and makes sense of it for the classroom. This time: listening to music while studying

There is a wealth of psychology research that can help teachers to improve how they work with students, but academic studies of this kind aren’t always easy to access or translate into the realities of classroom practice. This series seeks to redress that by taking a selection of studies and making sense of the important information for teachers, as we all seek to answer the question: how can we help our students do better at school? This time, we consider growth mindset.

Many students do their homework and revision while listening to music. Many of them will swear that listening to their favourite songs makes them study better. But does music help or hinder learning? And does it matter what type of music you listen to while revising?

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How are you getting students excited about writing? Send us your pictures

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 12:43:32 GMT2018-03-12T12:43:32Z

We want to know what creative methods teachers are using to get children excited about learning to write. Send us your photos

Some children are struggling to hold pencils because of the overuse of touchscreens, according to recent news. But learning to write by hand is vital for a child’s development. We’d love to see how teachers are getting their students excited about writing – from the first understanding of letters and how to form them, to developing and improving students’ handwriting abilities.

Related: Does writing by hand still matter in the digital age?

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Secret Teacher: the focus on exams is failing GCSE students

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 07:30:11 GMT2018-03-10T07:30:11Z

Pupils are being left without basic research and essay-writing skills and ill-equipped for the rigours of further study and working life

After three years of all-exam GCSE qualifications, their impact is becoming clear. The leap from GCSE to A-level has always been challenging but it is now even more so as many sixth-formers find themselves ill-equipped to deal with the depth and breadth of learning required to do coursework at A-level.

I have seen sixth-formers cry when they have to come up with their own topic and text choices, conduct their own research and write up a final response. They have reached the age of 16 without developing the skills required to tackle the task. Their critical analysis, time-management and research capabilities simply aren’t there. And while internally assessed coursework is no longer part of GCSEs, it is worth up to 20% of an A-level qualification for some subjects.

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World Book Day 2018: teachers dress up – in pictures

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:29:17 GMT2018-03-07T12:29:17Z

How did you celebrate World Book Day at school? We went in search of the best-dressed teachers – here’s our round-up

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Noël Estcourt obituary

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:48:59 GMT2018-03-15T14:48:59Z

My father-in-law, Noël Estcourt, who has died aged 89, was an inspirational educationist, an international rugby union full-back and a first-class cricketer.

In the 1950s he left his native Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to study for a master’s in English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He was awarded a blue in cricket and joined Blackheath rugby club. Via Kent, London Counties and the Barbarians, he established himself as a leading full-back, trialling for England in 1954. In March 1955 he gained his first cap, only the second Rhodesian to do so, playing in the Calcutta Cup against Scotland – a match that England won 9-6.

Continue reading...Noël Estcourt taught and ran an adult education centre in his native Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)Noël Estcourt taught and ran an adult education centre in his native Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

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Classroom pay: ‘My male colleague was paid £7,000 more than me’

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 07:15:04 GMT2018-03-06T07:15:04Z

A primary school teacher left her job after discovering a gender pay disparity. Her story is the tip of an iceberg

It was July 2017 and, with more than four years’ experience as a qualified primary teacher behind her, Megan Taylor was doing well. She had been promoted to a leadership post at her school, in the south-east of England. She was doing so well, in fact, that she was approached by another school about a new job. And that conversation led to a question: what was she paid?

“To my shame, I didn’t know what pay scale I was on,” she says. A discussion with the school business manager revealed she was on just £28,700 a year – and that wasn’t all.

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Tokyo pupils harassed in streets over Armani uniforms

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 13:41:49 GMT2018-03-02T13:41:49Z

Security guards hired by school which faced global criticism over introduction of £550 uniforms

A school in Tokyo that hit international headlines for introducing an Armani-branded uniform has been forced to hire security guards after several students were harassed over the expensive kit.

Taimei primary school, in the wealthy Ginza district, brought in professional guards this week after at least three of its pupils encountered abusive strangers who pulled their uniforms or asked if they attended the school, a local district spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse.

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Blackshirts, Beakers and boiling shellfish | Brief letters

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:31:37 GMT2018-02-23T16:31:37Z

CasaPound and Steve Pound MP | Lobsters and mussels | Beaker people and Cheddar Man | School mnemonics | The new LGBTQI+?

I really am very grateful indeed for the long read on the Italian blackshirt movement (22 February) that slithers around the CasaPound in Rome as it will enable me to refute those who, when I am visiting the Vatican, suggest that I may have some sympathy with the foul creed of fascism, when this Pound is actually an obscure politician from London whose sympathies arc far more towards Gramsci than to Mussolini. I cannot speak for my far distant relative Ezra, but then no one could.
Steve Pound MP
Labour, Ealing North

• Is the suffering of a lobster any more important than that of a mussel, and if not, do I have to electrocute every single one prior to making my moules marinière (Letters, 22 February)?
Ian Dowding
Herstmonceux, East Sussex

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'Teaching faces a recruitment challenge, but it will come back around. It has to'

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:18:14 GMT2018-03-20T10:18:14Z

Young people will return to the profession once teachers are given greater autonomy and fairer rewards, says UCL’s Caroline Conlon

The significant difference between a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and some school-based routes is you’re not thrown in at the deep end; this is not a sink or swim model. It’s a course that provides the opportunity to read and reflect while also joining a large network of professionals who think about what they are doing and why.

There’s this myth that if you go to university to do a PGCE that it is all about theory and not practice, but two thirds of the year is spent in two different schools, so there is very much a practical element. Student teachers are supported by a university tutor and school-based mentors. With the PGCE there’s a contract between the school and university with the student teacher, which makes it clear they are auxillary members of staff and they work alongside experienced teachers who gradually let go to give them a sense of being responsible for the class.

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Blame the ‘macho leader’ cult for education’s shocking gender pay gap | Danny Dorling

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 07:00:32 GMT2018-03-20T07:00:32Z

For years schools have been sending pupils the message that women are worth less than men. It’s our moral duty to fix that

The cult of the macho “strong leader”, which dominates education, has been damaging in so many ways. I always seem to be reading fatuous accounts of the apparently super-human workloads of our academy trust principals and university presidents. They rise at 5am to lead their institutions forward with an hour of emails, followed by breakfast meetings, and fall late into bed having worked tirelessly all day for their underlings. It is narcissist guff and to most of us is unimpressive, but given how much educational leaders pay themselves, it is perhaps not surprising that they try to justify their worth in this way.

But perhaps the worst effect of the “strong leader” has been the resulting failure to address the gender pay gap. It is through pay that we demonstrate exactly how much we respect each other. Pay is always about respect.

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Allowing shorts at a Catholic girls' school is sensible and without hidden intent | Rebecca Dargie

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 03:47:11 GMT2018-03-20T03:47:11Z

Teaching girls they are not defined by gender may seem radical for ultra-conservative parents and commentators, but it’s the only way forward

Demands for the resignation of a school principal by a conservative section of its parent community have been gleefully reported by the defenders of education in the rightwing press.

The spat at Santa Sabina, a Catholic girls’ school in the Sydney suburb of Strathfield, came to light after the launch of a new uniform which included the option of knee-length shorts or trousers, along with the usual school dress or skirt. The school’s principal, Dr Maree Herrett, while praising the uniform’s comfort and practicality, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the broader scope offered students a variety of ways to “express femininity or masculinity” (the school’s junior campus includes boys until year four). Herrett also suggested that girls who are thinking about gender might appreciate the choice.

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Schools are on a funding tightrope. They will inevitably fall | Lola Okolosie

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 12:09:53 GMT2018-03-19T12:09:53Z

Seven years of draconian Tory cuts mean a quarter of secondary schools in England are now in the red

As the “beast from the east” makes its second appearance this spring, I am reminded of a conversation with a colleague when it first struck. In order to quieten our staff room moans about the weather, they pointed out that students in a Liverpool school they once worked at had to sit in coats and hats for their mock exams because the school couldn’t afford its heating bill. This is England in 2018.

For too long this Conservative government (and the coalition before it) happily yammered that public spending was a rapacious beast that needed urgent taming. We had the patronising metaphor of maxing out our credit card, which suggested that all of us, the public sector in particular, were reckless spendthrifts. In the manner of a kindly android devoid of malice and humanity, they told us that our collective irresponsibility would be curbed by fair yet disciplined hands.

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Andrew Finch obituary

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 17:38:39 GMT2018-03-22T17:38:39Z

My father, Andrew Finch, who has died aged 97, was a lifelong pacifist whose position as a conscientious objector during the second world war almost put paid to his career in education before it had begun.

However, after being appointed head of Longslade college in Birstall, Leicestershire, in 1960, which then became one of the country’s first comprehensives in 1968, he was briefly in the spotlight as a pioneer of a new education experiment that swept aside the grammar and secondary modern system.

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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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Parents: not happy about something at school? Here’s how to complain

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:30:02 GMT2015-02-24T07:30:02Z

Your daughter’s homework isn’t being marked. Your son’s been put in detention for no real reason. What’s the best course of action? A teacher writes …

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was from a friend in the restaurant business. If I were planning to complain about any part of my meal or service, he said, I should wait until I had eaten all I was going to eat that night. He illustrated this warning with examples of what can happen to food prepared for awkward customers, and so I’ve followed this advice ever since. It’s a good principle: don’t complain to people on whom you’re relying – unless there’s no way they can wipe your steak on their bum or drop a bogey in your soup.

As with restaurants, so with schools. The difference with schools is that you’re likely to be stuck with them for a lot longer than one meal. So think carefully before putting on your Mr Angry face and marching into the school for a spot of ranting.

Continue reading...Don’t lose sight of your objective. You’re trying to get something to change. That requires a little more reason and a little less shouting. Photograph: DNY59/Getty ImagesDon’t lose sight of your objective. You’re trying to get something to change. That requires a little more reason and a little less shouting. Photograph: DNY59/Getty Images

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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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How to improve the school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 06:00:19 GMT2017-10-03T06:00:19Z

A Bradford primary school wants the world to know its newfound Sats success is down to giving all children up to six hours of music a week

Abiha Nasir, aged nine, walks quietly into the small classroom, takes a seat, adjusts her hijab and picks up the drumsticks. A shy smile spreads across her face as she begins to play.

She was just five when she turned up at Feversham primary academy’s after-school clubs, leaving teachers astounded by her musical ability and how her confidence grew with an instrument in hand. Last year, Abiha successfully auditioned for Bradford’s gifted and talented music programme for primary school children, the first Muslim girl to do so. The assessor recorded only one word in her notes: “Wow!”

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How exercise prescriptions could change the NHS

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 17:58:21 GMT2018-03-19T17:58:21Z

Sports medicine graduates will be in high demand to combat inactivity epidemic

We know exercise is good for us, yet human beings may now be on the verge of dangerous levels of inactivity. Historically we’ve always been active, from our hunter gatherer past to manual labour in the industrial age - until cars, computers and labour-saving devices took much of the physicality out of work. Now, according to analysis of national health statistics by the British Heart Foundation, 39% of adults in the UK fail to achieve recommended levels of physical activity or exercise. But recent research shows how crucial activity is to our health. To spread the word about the health benefits of exercise, a new master’s course is due to start this year at Loughborough University – to complement an existing range of sports and exercise medicine master’s degrees around the country.

Related: Why the MBA is still a gamechanging qualification

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

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

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

• 10 things parents want to say to teachers

1 Your kids are not your mates

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

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

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Does music really help you concentrate?

Sat, 20 Aug 2016 06:30:06 GMT2016-08-20T06:30:06Z

‘I won’t be able to focus if you turn that off,’ a gazillion teenagers have whined at their parents. Is it possible that they’re right?

Many people listen to music while they’re carrying out a task, whether they’re studying for an exam, driving a vehicle or even reading a book. Many of these people argue that background music helps them focus.

Why, though? When you think about it, that doesn’t make much sense. Why would having two things to concentrate on make you more focused, not less? Some people even go so far as to say that not having music on is more distracting. So what’s going on there?

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‘We batter them with kindness’: schools that reject super-strict values

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 07:15:01 GMT2018-02-27T07:15:01Z

‘Unconditional positive regard’ towards even badly behaved pupils is growing in popularity

It is a bitterly cold Yorkshire morning and outside a school in Barnsley staff are involved in the most important part of the school day.

“All right, Kyle?” asks Dave Whitaker, the executive principal of Springwell special academy. “Morning, Kenzie. I saw some lovely writing of yours last night.”

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