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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
Updated: 57 min 5 sec ago

May I have a word about… the intriguing profession of cryptozoology | Jonathan Bouquet

8 hours 7 min ago

Why didn’t my careers adviser suggest that I take up the study of Nessie, the chupacabra or the Mokele-mbembe?

I well remember my school careers adviser shaking his head and saying that I was fit only for the armed forces or the police, which rather demeans these noble professions. Shame he didn’t show more imagination and suggest that I become a cryptozoologist, a calling I only came across last week. Dr Darren Naish, a cryptozoology expert, made the bold claim that smartphones have killed off the Loch Ness monster.

Such is the ubiquity of these camera-enabled gizmos that the creature would have been photographed by now if it existed. “You would think that there would be better photos by now, but the ones we have are low-resolution blobs.”

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

What Cambridge University taught us about racism

Sat, 15/06/2019 - 15:00

Cambridge graduates Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi have written a guide to help students – and it’s the second title published by Stormzy’s #Merky Books

CChelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi are the co-authors of Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change, the second title from #Merky Books, a partnership between Penguin and grime star Stormzy, who has also announced he is funding two Cambridge scholarships for black students in the UK. The book explores the lack of diversity in education, tackling topics including access, curriculums, mental health, relationships and activism. The two women, both 22, graduated from Cambridge University last year, Kwakye with a degree in history and Ogunbiyi in human, social and political sciences. Kwakye was born and raised in Chingford and is studying at the University of Law in preparation for a training contract with a City law firm. Ogunbiyi was born in Croydon, moved to Nigeria aged seven, then back to England aged 13, when she attended a boarding school. She has just completed a master’s in journalism at Columbia University in New York.

How did the book come about?
Chelsea Kwakye In December 2017, Ore wrote an article titled “A letter to my fresher self: surviving Cambridge as a black girl” [for the student newspaper Varsity], which detailed everything from impostor syndrome and relationships at university to stagnant curriculums. Previously, we were both heavily involved in black access to Cambridge initiatives, setting up Cambridge University African Caribbean Society’s first access conference and mentoring scheme. Earlier that year we shot the #BlackMenofCambridge campaign, which thrust us and our society into the spotlight. We gained a lot of media attention and conversation was buzzing around what it means and looks like to be black within predominately white universities and institutions.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

A-level maths paper leaked online before exam

Sat, 15/06/2019 - 11:15

Exam board Edexcel launches investigation after Twitter post offers full paper for £70

An investigation has been launched after an A-level maths paper was circulated online before the exam.

Images of the test paper by the exam board Edexcel appeared on social media on Thursday afternoon.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Nations must protect spending on the vulnerable, says IMF chief

Fri, 14/06/2019 - 16:30

Shift in stance comes as more countries raise concerns about inequality – Christine Lagarde

The International Monetary Fund is urging countries to protect spending on health, education and vulnerable groups amid growing concern among its members about excessive levels of inequality, its managing director has said.

Announcing the change of approach in an interview with the Guardian, Christine Lagarde said it was now politically incorrect to argue against the impact of social spending on growth and stability.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education | Ross Barkan

Fri, 14/06/2019 - 09:00

The Trump/DeVos vision of American education? Unshackle the rich and let them turn a profit at the expense of working-class students

Perhaps nothing illustrates the perverse nature of Donald Trump’s administration better than his approach to the regulatory state. In Trump’s America, those most zealously dedicated to unraveling federal oversight are in charge of the government, racing to shred laws as quickly as they can.

Although it rarely draws the outrage of his latest unhinged tweet or foible abroad, it is in the president’s Department of Education that this spirit of cruel nihilism is best on display. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and her underlings are dedicated to seeing their radical conservative vision of government achieved, and they’re taking aim at the very heart of public education.

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Another Etonian leader? Time for Labour to challenge the might of private schools | Robert Verkaik

Fri, 14/06/2019 - 08:00
As the Tories edge towards anointing Boris Johnson as prime minister, Corbyn should commit to checking this elitist system

Not since Harold Wilson’s government set up a commission to deal with the “public school problem” has the Palace of Westminster hosted an event that could bring about the dismantling of Britain’s educational apartheid. But MPs this week held a debate on a programme for radical reform of a two-tier system that provides an elite education for a tiny minority of the population, and divides Britain into winners and losers.

It could not come at a more propitious moment. Britain is on the brink of falling out of Europe; our mainstream political parties are tearing themselves apart; and populism is on the rise as people seek alternatives to the Westminster model of government. And yet, at this most critical moment in our nation’s history, we are reduced to spectators, watching in helpless horror as the Tory party goes through the motions of (in all likelihood) anointing Boris Johnson as yet another Etonian prime minister – the 20th in Britain’s history.

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Jessica Biel denies she is an anti-vaxxer after opposing California vaccination law

Thu, 13/06/2019 - 17:45

The actor said she was ‘not against vaccinations’ despite joining prominent anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr in opposition to a bill intended to reduce medical exemptions

Jessica Biel denied suggestions she was a supporter of the anti-vaccination movement after spending the day lobbying lawmakers in the US with advocate Robert F Kennedy Jr.

After news emerged of her opposition to a vaccine bill which seeks to limit medical exemptions in California and make it more difficult for parents to bypass the rules requiring children to be vaccinated before enrolling in school, Biel wrote on social media: “I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children.”

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Fifth of pupils in England miss out on first choice of secondary

Thu, 13/06/2019 - 16:34

Percentage of pupils getting an offer from any of their preferred schools drops

The proportion of students getting into their first choice secondary school has dropped to its lowest level for a decade as pupil numbers surge, official figures show.

The statistics show the pressure on primaries has started to shift to secondaries. Since 2013, when secondary applications were at their lowest, there has been a 20.9% increase in secondary school applications, according to figures from the Department for Education.

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My Catholic, trans child is living proof of how wrong the Vatican is on gender | Anonymous

Thu, 13/06/2019 - 16:00
No, my child’s transition has not led to the ‘destabilisation of the family institution’. Instead, we are stronger than ever

The recent document from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education talks of an “educational crisis”, and alleges that discussions in relation to gender have “helped to destabilise the family as an institution”. As the parent of a trans child, I find this hugely disappointing.

Related: Vatican launches guide to tackle 'educational crisis' on gender

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Students support disclosure of mental illness to parents

Thu, 13/06/2019 - 02:01

Two-thirds say problems should be revealed in extreme circumstances, research finds

Two-thirds of students think mental health problems should be disclosed to their parents or guardians in “extreme circumstances”, according to research.

The yearly Student Academic Experience Survey, conducted by Advance HE and the Higher Education Policy Institute, asked students about mental health problems for the first time this year.

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Teachers to strike at Essex school facing conversion to academy

Wed, 12/06/2019 - 18:25

Waltham Holy Cross at centre of parent-led campaign to keep primary under council control

Teachers at a school which has been at the centre of a parent-led campaign against plans to hand it to an academy trust are to hold four days of strikes beginning next week.

Industrial action at Waltham Holy Cross primary in Waltham Abbey, Essex, was announced as it emerged that the incoming trust, NET Academies, had been referred to the government’s Standards and Testing Agency (STA) over concerns about the administration of recent Sats testing of six- and seven-year-olds at the school.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Counting calories in a maths test? The exam board should be ashamed

Wed, 12/06/2019 - 15:18

Trying to recover from an eating disorder is torturous. Setting a GCSE question about calories shows a profound ignorance of a deadly illness

Pick any item of food and I will tell you how many calories there are in it. It is not a skill I’m proud of; it’s not even a good party trick. It is a product of mental illness, one that I have battled with since childhood, which eventually got me admitted to an eating disorders unit at the age of 31.

This week, students sitting a GCSE maths exam were asked the question: “There are 84 calories in 100g of banana. There are 87 calories in 100g of yogurt. Priti has 60g of banana and 150g of yogurt for breakfast. Work out the total number of calories in this breakfast.”

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

School asks BBC Children in Need to cover funding gap

Wed, 12/06/2019 - 08:00

East London primary seeks charity’s help with pastoral care after budget cuts

A cash-strapped school has turned to BBC Children in Need for funding to support disadvantaged pupils.

Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, which has a large proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds – 89% of whom have English as a second language – has put in a bid to the charity for funding to pay for pastoral care for three years.

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‘It’s just ridiculous’: why a London school is seeking charity help

Wed, 12/06/2019 - 08:00

Downshall primary is a success in a deprived community. But cuts to vital care services are taking a toll

Ian Bennett has been headteacher of Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, for 16 years. In that time he has seen council support and funding ebb away, as poverty and deprivation among the families his school serves has grown. The result is that the needs of his pupils have become greater, but he worries that as cuts bite he will be able to help them less.

Downshall (motto Dream, Persevere, Succeed) is a large, popular primary school serving a mixed, disadvantaged community. On Tuesday morning, the children are playing boisterously in the playground. The rain has held off, toys are scattered and sunflowers are growing apace in their pots.

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Universities urged to hire staff to investigate sexual harassment

Wed, 12/06/2019 - 02:05

Report commissioned by Office for Students also calls for hate crimes to receive greater focus

Universities should hire specialist staff to investigate hate crimes and sexual harassment against their students, according to a report commissioned by the higher education regulator for England.

The institutions were also urged to encourage greater levels of reporting of such incidents, and hold sessions on consent for undergraduates and postgraduates, along with “bystander training” for students and staff to encourage prevention.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Why Corbyn is right to ditch social mobility | Dawn Foster

Τρίτη, 11/06/2019 - 18:33
Focusing on raising up a fortunate few is the easy option. Far better to improve life for all

For decades now, social mobility has been feted as the answer to society’s ills. Conservatives have always embraced the idea of grammar schools – that giving a top tier education to bright children from working class backgrounds provides them with the opportunities their middle class counterparts take for granted. And from the mid-1990s, the Labour party shifted its emphasis from equality of outcome to equality of opportunity and raising aspiration.

Social mobility has proven seductive to all sides of politics for two reasons. It is difficult to argue against: shouldn’t smart but disadvantaged kids be offered the opportunity to fulfil their potential? And the beneficiaries of schemes that pluck individuals from impoverished backgrounds and help them climb the social ladder tend to place great stall in their own backstory, and defend the system vociferously.

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Birmingham anti-LGBT protesters banned from school by injunction

Τρίτη, 11/06/2019 - 13:25

Court order bars demonstrators from exclusion zone around Anderton Park primary

Protests against the teaching of LGBT equality at a Birmingham school have been temporarily halted following a high court injunction.

Birmingham city council secured the new injunction to protect Anderton Park primary school. The temporary order, which comes into force immediately, bans protesters from an exclusion zone in the streets surrounding the school in the Moseley area of Birmingham.

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Ending exclusion: specialist teachers trained to support most vulnerable

Τρίτη, 11/06/2019 - 09:15

As concern mounts about ‘zero-tolerance’ in schools, teachers are lining up to learn a different approach

I felt teachers often judged me because of the way I looked. I didn’t get support for my anger management issues. I wasn’t given chances and often left in an exclusion room.” So says 16-year-old Mehdi, describing his experience in mainstream schools.

Mehdi says that his approach to education has been transformed since he arrived at London East Alternative Provision (Leap), in Tower Hamlets. While acknowledging the reasons for his exclusion from his last school, he says he felt unsupported in mainstream schools and that teachers were more concerned with the majority of less needy pupils.

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Universities condemn ‘catastrophic’ plan to link fees to graduate pay

Τρίτη, 11/06/2019 - 09:00

Academics say Augar proposals could damage arts degrees and lose Britain its creative edge

Academics are warning it would be “despicable” if the government went ahead with recommendations to cut funding for some arts and humanities degrees on the basis that they don’t net big salaries for graduates.

Last week the prime minister’s commission on post-18 education funding called for a cut in university tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 a year. The review, chaired by former equities broker Philip Augar, said the government should make up the funding gap, which vice-chancellors say will amount to around £1.8bn. In addition, it called on the government to adjust support for different subjects to reflect the economic and social “value” of degrees, and how much they cost to teach.

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As academics, should we worry about our conference carbon footprint? | Sophia Kier-Byfield

Τρίτη, 11/06/2019 - 09:00

A recent international conference was an opportunity to network, but I feel guilty about the waste and emissions

The other day, as I boarded a budget airline plane to attend a conference in Spain, I was overcome with a feeling I’ve come to recognise: carbon-footprint guilt. As a PhD student, this would be my first international conference, an exciting chance to meet fellow researchers in my field – feminism and gender studies – and discuss topics we care about. But as I sat chatting casually with other academics headed the same way, I couldn’t help but worry about how my short trip would harm the environment.

My booking confirmation showed the figures: the outbound flight would release 178kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the return another 168kg. Short flights add up quickly, and airlines such as Ryanair are now ranked among Europe’s top polluters. Off-setting emissions is reasonable, but it’s really just a way of covering our backs.

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