Education’s knowledge wars – fought around what schools should teach children – began nearly half a century ago with three sociologists chatting in the bar of London’s Russell Hotel.
Social scientists, they agreed, concentrated too much on the “deficit model” of education: why working-class children “failed” at school and how they could be brought up to standard. But what if the fault lay not in the children, or their homes, but in what they were taught? What if the “deficit” was in the curriculum and what schools counted as “knowledge”? What if the “less able” had different but not inferior abilities that schools failed to recognise? What if their parents, despite not owning books, had “everyday” knowledge – of gardening or interior decoration, say – that was as valuable as what schools deemed to be knowledge?Continue reading...
When Meg Zeenat Wamithi left home to study at King’s College London, she discovered, like many freshers, that it was a much bigger transition than she was expecting. With a history of anxiety and depression she struggled to settle in.
“I had feelings of stress about going to lectures, and felt really depressed about continuing university,” she says. “If I had a bad day I might miss lectures and then afterwards I worried about falling behind. I felt isolated very quickly.”Continue reading...
It says much about the party conference season that the most arresting education news of last month was the headteacher march on Downing Street over school funding. The 2,000 or so heads were unfairly criticised for being “relentlessly reasonable”, a tactic that was probably wise from their point of view, especially as many acknowledged the personal conflict involved in taking protest action on a school day.
But their attempts to puncture the relentless myth that more money going into education means more money for schools at a time of soaring costs and increasing pupil numbers, at least made a clear point about current political realities.Continue reading...
Outcry over ‘sweeping generalisations’ in Hodder Education sociology book
A GCSE textbook containing stereotypes about Caribbean families has been removed from sale following criticism from MPs and campaign groups.
A passage in AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology said that Caribbean men were “largely absent” from family situations without providing any evidence or context to support the claim.Continue reading...
Thinktank research calculates £760 shortfall in funding for each student
An annual £760 shortfall in funding for every sixth form college student has been uncovered as a result of a government spending freeze combined with spiralling costs.
Research by the thinktank London Economics says funding for ages 16-19 education in sixth form colleges has declined by 22% in real terms over the past eight years, resulting in cuts to staff, curriculum and enrichment activities.Continue reading...
Weil die Mieten in den Großstädten nicht mehr zu bezahlen sind, suchen künftige Akademiker günstigere Uni-Standorte. Davon profitiert etwa das Ruhrgebiet
The solutions to today’s puzzles
In my puzzle column earlier today I set you the following two self-referential logic list problems
How many of us have contemplated the cost of speaking out against bad behaviour and thought, “no, it’s not worth it”? And how often as a result do perpetrators – great and small – get away with it?
A Guardian investigation revealed that nearly 300 academics had been accused of bullying in universities. This can be devastating for victims, particularly if there is a power imbalance. The fear of recrimination and victimisation (such as loss of authorship on papers or damning letters of reference) mean that often people feel it is preferable to keep their heads down, however painful it may be.Continue reading...
Watchdog demands meeting with education department over ‘potentially misleading’ claims about school funding
The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has been publicly reprimanded by the UK statistics watchdog over his department’s repeated misuse of data, in particular its “potentially misleading” claims over schools funding.Continue reading...
Statistics watchdog reprimands Damian Hinds' education department over misleading figures - Politics live
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen
In his letter to Damian Hinds, the education secretary, Sir David Norgrove, the UK Statistics Authority chairman, cites three recent examples of the education department putting out false or misleading figures. (See 1.55pm.)
Here is the first.
Last week, the minister of state for school standards [Nick Gibb] wrote that, in an international survey of reading abilities of nine-year-olds, England “leapfrogged up the rankings last year, after decades of falling standards, going from 19th out of 50 countries to 8th.”This is not correct. Figures published last year show the increase was from 10th place in 2011 to 8th place in 2016.
My attention has also been drawn to a recent tweet and blog issued by the department regarding education funding. As the authority’s director general for regulation has noted in a letter to the department today, figures were presented in such a way as to misrepresent changes in school funding. In the tweet, school spending figures were exaggerated by using a truncated axis, and by not adjusting for per pupil spend. In the blog about government funding of schools (which I note your department has now updated), an international comparison of spend which included a wide range of education expenditure unrelated to publicly funded schools was used, rather than a comparison of school spending alone. The result was to give a more favourable picture. Yet the context would clearly lead readers to expect that the figures referred to spending on schools.
The shadow secretary of state for education [Angela Rayner] has written to express concerns about your use of a figure that appears to show a substantial increase in the number of children in high performing schools, as judged by OFSTED. While accurate as far as it goes, this figure does not give a full picture. It should be set in the context of increasing pupil numbers, changes to the inspection framework and some inspections that are now long in the past, as an earlier letter to the department from the Office of Statistics Regulation pointed out.
Nicola Sturgeon has said she believes a second independence vote is “still possible” before the current Scottish parliamentary term ends in 2021, as she continued her round of TV interviews at Scottish National party conference in Glasgow.
She told ITV Borders:
I would like there to be a second independence referendum yesterday; failing yesterday, tomorrow but it’s not just down to what I want. It’s down to what’s in the best interests of the country as a whole. There’s a mandate for one in this parliament, by definition.
When I know the outcome of this phase of the negotiations, whether it’s no deal, whether it’s blind deal, whether it’s a bad deal, I will set out at that point my views on an independence referendum.Continue reading...
James Murray, whose son took his own life, wants universities to use patterns of data to identify struggling students
In May, when James Murray met his son Ben for lunch in Bristol, he had no idea the 19-year-old student had been kicked out of university. He didn’t realise that, within four days, Ben would have nowhere to stay. By that evening, Ben had become the 10th student to take their own life at the university in an 18-month period.
Murray says he now realises that Ben had been storing up angst and stress for seven months, “and it had come to a head”. He was unaware not only because Ben hadn’t told him, but because Bristol University hadn’t picked up on various clues as to Ben’s mental health problems.Continue reading...
Buckingham University in bid to become Britain’s first ‘drug-free’ campus
A university plans to take the unprecedented step of asking incoming students to sign a contract pledging that they will not take drugs on campus, a vice-chancellor has announced.
Buckingham University, which already allows police sniffer dogs on campus to deter drug use, wants to introduce the rule in an attempt to become Britain’s first “drug-free” campus.Continue reading...
Die im Bundestag vertretenen Parteien erklären aus ihrer Perspektive, worüber Schulen aufklären und was sie dabei beachten sollten.