With jams, live gigs and proper recording sessions, Britain’s prisons are rocking – thanks to InHouse Records, the label aiming to help convicts climb up the charts
Aaron O’Mara is sitting in a studio with a guitar on his lap and keyboards and drum machines all around him. “Break,” he says, referring to the song he is about to play, “is all about my past, which featured a lot of substance misuse. Now everything is looking up, it feels like I’m finally catching my break.”
The 25-year-old, who recently finished a 10-month stretch behind bars, strums his guitar and launches into the heartfelt ballad. It swings between regret, depression and hope. It’s an apt theme for his debut single, which will be released next year. O’Mara, a chef, is one of 15 ex-prisoners and 80 current inmates working with a label called InHouse Records. The first of its kind in the UK, InHouse is run for – and by – prisoners. The label currently operates in four men’s jails in the south-east – Elmley, Rochester, Lewes and Isis – but is planning to expand.Continue reading...
Joint head of National Education Union joined by Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner for announcement
The prospect of a nationwide teachers’ strike is looming larger after a leader of the country’s largest teaching union, backed by the Labour leadership, called on members to vote for a walkout in protest at the government’s funding plans.
Flanked by Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, the joint head of the National Education Union (NEU) told campaigners the government would listen to nothing short of a strike and implored them to vote for one in the union’s indicative ballot.Continue reading...
Research shows gradual closing of attainment gap – but it never disappears
The attainment gap between summer-born babies and their older peers gradually narrows during their early education but remains significant even at the end of primary school, according to detailed new analysis.
The disadvantage of being the youngest in an academic year at primary school has been well documented and remains a serious cause for concern for parents, many of whom choose to delay their child’s school start date.Continue reading...
Shadow education secretary says students will be allowed to choose alternative qualifications under new policy
Currently, FE students are required to keep retaking GCSEs until they get at least a grade 4 (or a C under the old grading system) as a condition of college funding, even though many fail again and again.Continue reading...
The people who tell us “We are the editors of the Journal of Controversial Ideas” (Letters, 19 November) claim in the next paragraph that “At present there is no Journal of Controversial Ideas” – funny set of editors then. They also recoil at the idea that publishing in the Journal of Controversial Ideas might lead to anyone “deliberately branding ideas as controversial”. If the letter shows how they intend to interpret “the highest standards of academic rigour” for Vol 1 No 1, heaven knows what it will be like when standards slip a bit, say by Vol 1 No 2?
Leeds, West Yorkshire
• Re Judith Abbs’ comment on men having nipples too (Letters, 17 November), decades ago, my fellow American women business owners and I agreed (probably after wine), that there was no reason to use “he has cojones” as a metaphor for strength. Why not “she’s got nips”? Everyone’s got ’em. Some are bigger than others. Get over it.
Kathleen Dixon Donnelly
Izoduwa Adhedo accuses south London primary of trying to ‘indoctrinate’ her son against her beliefs
A London primary school is facing the prospect of legal action after a Christian parent formally complained about a “Proud to be Me” event she claims promoted LGBT lifestyles.
Heavers Farm school in South Norwood has strongly denied that it organised a “gay pride parade” earlier this year, but Izoduwa Adhedo claims her son was forced to take part “in an event that goes against our Christian beliefs”.Continue reading...
The star saxophonist recommends her top five classical pieces
Classical is an insanely broad term used to describe a whole lot of music. It can be unhelpful: some hear the word “classical” and are instantly deterred – young people especially. But I find it’s something you can’t easily put in a box.
Music is an integral part of our society and wellbeing, and has an extraordinary power. It can provide a sense of hope, joy and worth. I try to listen with open ears; the most important thing for me is to experience some sort of emotional reaction or curiosity. There is nothing as electrifying as live music, but we’re also lucky to have instant digital access to a library of musical minds. In this playlist, I have chosen pieces that have caused a strong emotional reaction within me. I really hope you enjoy listening.Continue reading...
It has become a commonplace of leftwing thought that the New Labour governments were “neoliberal”. The word is thrown around like confetti. But not only has the word itself now become so widely used as to have become almost meaningless, that analysis of Labour’s recent past doesn’t even make sense in its own terms.
A great deal of what Tony Blair did in power was not neoliberal at all, or had neoliberal elements but was aimed in a quite different direction, or was better thought of as social democratic or even socialist. Inexpert and ersatz commentators fill far too much of our airtime and news pages with simplistic nonsense that fails to understand just how complex governing and all governments are, and which has no grasp of scale and scope – only of unconvincing and overheated rhetoric.Continue reading...
Don’t make their GP appointments, don’t manage their money - universities’ advice to helicopter parents
As a father of five, Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of West of England, knows all about parental anxiety. Yet he says parents whose offspring have started university must learn to listen from afar without judging – even if those young adults are experimenting with drugs or drinking heavily.
University may be a door to adulthood, but the parents of today’s students have wedged their feet firmly inside. With parents keen to know that the £9,250-a-year tuition fees are being spent wisely, there is now an established culture of them attending open days. And new research shows that perfectionist parents, who have grown used to managing everything at school, are often not letting go of the reins at university. Some are even organising their offspring’s finances from their laptop at home and booking them doctors’ appointments.Continue reading...
Interview Sue Black has a mission: to recruit more women into IT and to fight for their rights
Sue Black is easy to spot in the crowded London pub, thanks to her bright red spiky hair. And as soon as we start talking, she is making me wonder why I chose to focus on the arts and humanities at school. Were my teachers influenced by gender stereotypes; or was I? Will more women consider going into technology in the future?
Black, recently appointed professor in computer science and “technology evangelist” at Durham University, speaks with passion about encouraging women to study and teach computer science.Continue reading...
We know the price of beer and a pint of milk. Why not the cost of educating a child? | Laura McInerney
The underlying problem with the schools funding crisis is no one has calculated precisely how much schools need
Margaret Thatcher famously knew the price of milk. David Cameron had crib sheets showing the cost of beer in Sheffield and London. But does any politician know the price of a primary or secondary education?
School budgets are squeezed, with some headteachers so cash-strapped they have taken to closing at Friday lunchtime to help balance the books. Others have protested on the streets of London.Continue reading...