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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: 21 min 59 sec ago

Teacher targeted over LGBT work shortlisted for $1m global award

4 hours 8 min ago

Birmingham primary school assistant head Andrew Moffat has been the focus of protests

A primary school teacher who has been the target of protests by parents concerned about teachings on LGBT rights and equalities has been chosen as a finalist in a prestigious $1m global education award.

Andrew Moffat, who is assistant head at Parkfield Community school in Alum Rock, Birmingham, is one of 10 teachers from around the world who have made it to the shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019.

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Florida schoolboy arrested after refusing to recite pledge of allegiance

Wed, 20/02/2019 - 18:04

Student, 11, was arrested on 4 February for creating a disruption in the classroom, the Lakeland police department said

An 11-year-old Florida boy was arrested this month after a dispute with a substitute teacher over his refusal to participate in the pledge of allegiance at his school, it has emerged.

The student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, was arrested on 4 February for creating a disruption in the classroom, police said in a statement.

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Universities should be punished for giving black students lower grades | Steven Spier

Wed, 20/02/2019 - 09:00

The government should judge university teaching on the basis of how it promotes equality and diversity

The government has recently announced that it plans to improve how black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students perform at university, putting the spotlight back on an issue that has blighted the higher education sector for far too long.

The stark fact is that, according to the latest figures, just 66% of BAME students achieved a first or 2:1 degree in 2016-17, compared to 79.6% of white students. This is an issue affecting all universities, and requires a deep understanding of the factors involved and a genuine commitment to addressing the gap. There is no quick fix.

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Poorer families to get text messages in trial to support early learning

Wed, 20/02/2019 - 02:01

Separate trials will test impact of home visits by experts as well as access to learning apps

Parents are to be sent three text messages a week offering tips on how to support their child’s early learning at home as part of a government drive to improve school readiness among children from poorer families.

The texts will be sent to disadvantaged families with four- and five-year-olds, encouraging activities to improve literacy and numeracy, “such as counting the number of plates on the table”, according to the Department for Education.

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Ofsted investigates pupils being 'pinched and slapped' at primary school

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 21:50

Safeguarding investigation launched by schools watchdog at Jewish school Talmud Torah Yetev Lev, in London

A safeguarding investigation is under way at a private Jewish primary school in north London after pupils reported being pinched and slapped by staff as punishment.

Ofsted inspectors who visited Talmud Torah Yetev Lev school, in north London, last month were told by pupils that “inappropriate physical contact” was used to manage pupil behaviour at the boys-only school.

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'I'm not spending money on that': the rise of the teetotal student

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 17:11

Universities are seeing an increase in teetotal clubs and alcohol-free accommodation. Why are students drinking less?

Like most students heading off to university, Emily Proctor, 19, felt apprehensive. But it wasn’t just the thought of leaving her family and making new friends that caused her to be anxious; Proctor was concerned about how she’d fit in as a teetotal student.

“I was worried as I knew that much of university life involves going out drinking, especially in the first year,” explains Proctor, who is studying law at Swansea University. To help alleviate her concerns, she signed up for the university’s alcohol-free accommodation. “I didn’t want to be around people who were partying constantly and coming home drunk,” she says. “I wanted to be around similar people who I could chill with instead of going out every night.” Proctor, who doesn’t drink alcohol as it’s never appealed to her, says that decision has proven to be a wise choice. “It worked out well in the end as I have friends that I stay in with and we might play cards, or go to the cinema or out for meals.”

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Malcolm X at Oxford: 'They're going to kill me soon'

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 14:19

Just before his assassination, the radical black activist took part in a debate at Oxford. Tariq Ali recalls their meeting, which left him in a state of shock – and is now the subject of a TV show

Malcolm X became internationally famous the day after President John F Kennedy was assassinated. Asked to comment, Malcolm calmly informed US TV reporters that he was not at all surprised that “the chickens were coming home to roost”. It was November 1963 and he was by then a leading member of the Nation of Islam, a black separatist organisation. Its leader, Elijah Muhammad, publicly disavowed him and banned him from public speaking.

I had arrived at Oxford a month previously and witnessed the Kennedy assassination on the BBC and read Malcolm’s comments in the press. A year later, Eric Abrahams – the radical Jamaican president of the Oxford Union (and a friend) – decided to invite Malcolm to participate in his farewell debate. The subject was a quote from Barry Goldwater, the alt-right Republican candidate for the presidency: “Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

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New behaviour code for Sir and Miss caught in schools moral maze

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 09:15

A guide for headteachers in England aims to help them deal ethically with thorny issues like exclusions - and to confront colleagues who do not

One of the most enduring images of recent decades has been that of the superhead: the heroic, league-table topping, entrepreneurial lone-ranger figure, once compared by the former chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to a Clint Eastwood figure “fighting for righteousness”.

But might the model of the next few decades be different – a less combative leader, driven as much by a vision of a good society as by competitive advantage?

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Female teachers are ‘breaking the glass ceiling to find a conservatory outside’

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 09:00

Academies have made things worse for women, says the co-editor of a new book

When the former headteacher Vivienne Porritt sat down for afternoon tea with four other teachers at a hotel near Bracknell, Berkshire, in 2015, she had no idea they were about to start a global grassroots women’s education movement. “Our aim was to connect women on Twitter, because we felt our voices weren’t being heard. Women felt shut down when talking about leadership and the kind of issues that were important to women. After a rant on Twitter on International Women’s Day, we came together to organise a conference. It never occurred to us it would grow beyond that.”

Over scones and sandwiches, the women – who met for the first time that day – agreed on a phrase to be used in tweets about the challenges women in education face and want to discuss. #WomenEd was born.

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A child in a bedsit has more ‘character’ than a braying public schoolboy, Mr Hinds | Laura McInerney

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 08:45

The education secretary should come up with policies to help children – and fund them – instead of making platitudes about yoga

Years ago I taught a young girl who had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. At the age of 15, she knew that in her adult life she would be a wheelchair user. Yet, she continued working towards her dream of becoming a scriptwriter, a dream tough enough to achieve when growing up in one of the poorest parts of the country, even harder when faced with such physical limitations. Joyfully, that student, Matilda Ibini, has gone from strength to strength and I now follow on social media her career as an award-winning playwright.

Contrast such grit and determination with the latest vision of “character” to come from the education secretary, Damian Hinds.

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MPs call for 1p clothing tax and darning classes in schools to cut waste

Τρίτη, 19/02/2019 - 08:30

UK fashion industry bigger source of carbon emissions than aviation and shipping

A penny on every shirt, skirt and stocking could fund better recycling and repairing in the fashion industry, according to a parliamentary report that recommends new taxes to end the throwaway consumer culture.

The cross-party environmental audit committee also proposes tax incentives for companies that offer repair services for clothes, and urges schools to introduce darning and mending classes.

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Royal Academy Schools receives £10m from Tetra Pak heir

Δευτέρα, 18/02/2019 - 19:27

Hans Rausing gives Britain’s oldest art school its biggest ever donation

Britain’s oldest art school, a 250-year-old institution which offers postgraduate students a three-year art course free of charge, has received its biggest ever donation.

The Royal Academy of Arts said on Monday that the £10m gift from the Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing would go to restoring and renewing a historic central London campus which many people do not even realise exists.

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England lacks white working-class graduates. Quick fixes won’t change that | Phil McDuff

Δευτέρα, 18/02/2019 - 11:00
Half of universities have fewer than 5% of students from poorer white backgrounds. Just trying to boost numbers isn’t enough

At half of England’s universities, fewer than 5% of students are classified as being from disadvantaged white backgrounds, according to a new report from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon). This fact is bluntly stated as being a problem in the introduction of the report rather than the conclusion, but it is worth looking beyond these headline figures. What do reports like this really tell us?

Who attends university, and which university they attend, is a question that captures commentators and policymakers, for reasons that are related to but not fundamentally about education. Universities are both pathways and gateways. They can help train you to get somewhere new, but they also work to make sure that only the right sort of people get into positions of power. These functions overlap, but aren’t the same.

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Drones and big data: the next frontier in the fight against wildlife extinction

Δευτέρα, 18/02/2019 - 09:00

Emerging technologies are a boon for the work of conservation researchers, but not all universities are equipped for them

Technology is playing an increasingly vital role in conservation and ecology research. Drones in particular hold huge potential in the fight to save the world’s remaining wildlife from extinction. With their help, researchers can now track wild animals through dense forests and monitor whales in vast oceans. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature estimates that up to five living species on earth become extinct every day, making it vital that universities develop new technologies to capture the data that can persuade those in power to act.

The British International Education Association and the Born Free Foundation hosted a conference in January to highlight the importance of technological solutions in protecting vulnerable species and ecosystems. Speakers underlined how technology can help conservation efforts: fixed-wing drones can land on water and circle high above the Indian Ocean to spot whales, rays and illegal fishing, while artificial intelligence-enabled infrared cameras are able to identify members of an individual species or human poachers, even through thick environmental cover.

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What a European education project can tell us about Brexit – podcast

Δευτέρα, 18/02/2019 - 05:00

When the writer Peter Pomerantsev was a teenager, he was sent to a school that was part of the European Schools network, which counts Boris Johnson among its alumni. He discusses what the project can tell us about the EU. Plus: the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, on AI advancements

The writer Peter Pomerantsev was 15 when his parents moved to Germany and enrolled him at the European School in Munich. The schools were set up in 1956 with the aim of educating the students to be “in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe”. One of the architects of Brexit, Boris Johnson, attended one of the schools, in Brussels.

Pomerantsev discusses with Anuskha Asthana his experiences at the school and what the project tells us about the EU. He wonders whether the school successfully promoted integration, or actually had the opposite effect.

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May I have a word about… the not-so insightful language of academe | Jonathan Bouquet

Sun, 17/02/2019 - 08:00
When it comes to the mangling of English, political psychologists reign supreme

My beleaguered and battered Brexit brethren, I would like to bring you relief, but monumental language mangling offers little comfort on this vexatious subject.

Consider the following from the International Society of Political Psychology: “Studies have been largely silent on whether EU attitudes are also shaped by people’s attitudes towards the principles and practices of supranational governance. This research provides a first test of the nature and role of supranational attitudes.

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Labour would end free market in higher education, says Rayner

Sat, 16/02/2019 - 08:00

Shadow education secretary to outline measures including crackdown on top-tier pay

A Labour government would end the “failed free-market experiment in higher education”, taking a tougher line on vice-chancellors’ pay and improving academic diversity, the shadow education secretary is set to announce.

Angela Rayner will outline a series of major policy steps that would allow regulators to intervene in how universities in England are run, including how they recruit and reward staff.

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We failed the young on climate change – now we must listen to them | Jonathan Freedland

Fri, 15/02/2019 - 20:01
Greta Thunberg led the way. Children skipping school to protest against global warming is an indictment of adult complacency

Such is the upside-down, topsy-turvy state of our world, that the children are now the adults and the adults are the children. In Westminster, our supposed leaders – men and women of mature vintage – keep stamping their feet and demanding what no one can give them.

They insist they should be allowed to gobble up all the birthday cake and still have cake left to eat, threatening to storm out of the European Union and slam the door behind them. As Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, rightly puts it: “Threatening to leave is the behaviour of a three-year-old who says that they are going to hold their breath if they do not get the toy that they want.”

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Bedford: nicer than you might think – and with hidden depths

Fri, 15/02/2019 - 18:30

So perfect that the ‘daughter of God’ bought a home in one of the redbrick terraces

What’s going for it? You might have thought of Bedford, if you’d thought of Bedford at all, as a perfectly respectable place. Good schools. Lovely parks. Smashing Victorian redbrick houses. Great train links. Surprisingly cosmopolitan (one of the most ethnically diverse towns in the country). Ooh, the Cecil Higgins Gallery, with its Edward Bawdens. That lovely waterfront. Great place to bring up kids. But Mabel Barltrop had other ideas. In 1919 she declared herself “daughter of God”, as you do, and with her pals in the Community of the Holy Ghost bought one of those redbrick terraces as a home for Christ when he materialised, perhaps outside Marks & Spencer. Mabel waited, and she waited. And waited. You can visit the museum of Mabel’s Panacea Society, in the terraces cupped round what they thought was the true location of the Garden of Eden. Bedford’s like that. Hidden depths. I haven’t even mentioned John Bunyan and all his visions.

The case against The town centre is suffering rather from high-street fatigue. It could do with a shot of energy.

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My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back | George Monbiot

Fri, 15/02/2019 - 17:28
Across the country today, children left their classes to protest against climate change. This is my message to them

The Youth Strike 4 Climate gives me more hope than I have felt in 30 years of campaigning. Before this week, I believed it was all over. I thought, given the indifference and hostility of those who govern us, and the passivity of most of my generation, that climate breakdown and ecological collapse were inevitable. Now, for the first time in years, I think we can turn them around.

Related: Schoolchildren take to streets in UK-wide climate strike - live

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