University starts from scratch in exile

Times Higher Education - Mon, 26/12/2016 - 01:00

One of Ukraine’s most highly regarded institutions has decamped to a new home 100km away to escape fighting in the war-torn region close to Russian border

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Italian PM suggests UK students could have EU passports

BBC - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 19:02
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has suggested that UK students wanting to study in Europe could receive passports from other European Union countries.
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Reading should be about pleasure, not points or prizes

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 19:00

Children’s books site member Eligor was outraged on receiving a letter from school announcing a reading programme based on points, rewards and competition. Not only is it unnecessary, it may actually be turning children off reading for fun

I love reading for many reasons. It can be an escape from reality; a comfort for when you feel upset or fed up; nostalgic (I frequently reread my old picture books); just to relax; to think deeply about things (I’ve read a book called the Complete Philosophy Files and reviewed it on the Guardian Children’s book site!); to identify with characters; and also to savour the very words themselves.

The physical side of reading also plays a part. The feel of books, turning the pages, and the smell of books... (If you have ever smelled the pages of an old book, you will know what I mean.)

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Councils failing to protect at-risk children, says Ofsted

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 18:42

More than a quarter judged ‘inadequate’ by social care report, and child protection system has too much mediocre provision

Too many vulnerable children face “clear and present risk of harm” because of serious failings in council child protection departments, Ofsted has said.

More than a quarter of councils were judged “inadequate” by inspectors, with three-quarters in total rated as less than “good”, according to the latest annual Ofsted social care report.

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School population rises by 121,000

BBC - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:12
The number of pupils in England's school system has risen for the seventh successive year, according to an annual census.
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Herschel Prins obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 15:27

My colleague, Herschel Prins, who has died at the age of 87, had a long and distinguished career at the crossover between criminal justice and mental health.

He began work as a probation officer in the 1950s and spent much of his life in teaching; throughout he remained faithful to the ideals of public service and the belief that one person can influence another for the good. He knew that effective social work was a craft that required real commitment by the practitioner; noble intentions and theoretical knowledge were not enough.

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Work in progress

BBC - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 14:59
The OECD's latest survey of adult skills shows how quickly such as Singapore can be improved
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Three quarters of children's services weak, Ofsted says

BBC - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 14:27
Too many young people in care in England are not getting the service they deserve, with three quarters of children's services inadequate or requiring improvement Ofsted warns.
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When political leaders are selected via elitism not talent, you get chaos | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 13:53
The EU referendum vote is just the latest disaster caused by a political class woefully out of touch with the country. Some humility now please

There’s nothing quite like a constitutional crisis to expose what can only be described as the abject crapness of our political class.

The parliamentary Labour party has largely decided it has had enough of Jeremy Corbyn and wants a new ruler, but seems categorically unable to suggest anyone. Who would fit the bill? Dan Jarvis, who promises to be “tough on inequality, tough on the causes of inequality”? What does that even mean? Or how about Hilary Benn? He gave one well-delivered speech to parliament about Syria and people seemed to decide that made him the new Winston Churchill, before forgetting about him a week later.

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Numbered GCSE grades allowed in N. Ireland

BBC - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 12:32
Education Minister Peter Weir will allow pupils in Northern Ireland to receive GCSE grades from English exam boards who provide results using numbers from 9-1.
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Project Bloks: Google's latest effort to encourage kids to code

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 12:00

From scribbling robots to music-making devices, tech giant’s initiative hopes to spark a new wave of ‘tangible programming’ toys and kits for children

“How many robots can I control with this? In theory, up to 255 at one time. That really is a robot army.”

I’m in a room at Google’s London headquarters listening to creative technologist Zebedee Pedersen show off the company’s latest research project. Despite how it sounds, world domination isn’t on the agenda.

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Kneejerk restructures of children’s services are a recipe for disaster | Patrick Butler

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 11:00
Cornwall’s experience shows that you can turn round poorly performing services and deliver innovation without suspending children’s legal rights

The first step on the road to recovery is always the most painful, according to Andrew Wallis, the lead councillor for Cornwall’s children’s services. Six years ago those services were on the ropes, judged inadequate by Ofsted inspectors. Failure triggered a period of harsh corporate self-reflection. “You have to admit you are not very good, and that is difficult,” he says.

After the frank self-assessment came the improvement. This week Cornwall was rated “good” by Ofsted. Of the clutch of councils deemed to be failing in 2010, it has come the furthest. It is now among the top 25% of children’s services. Inspectors praised the quality of its work in key areas: children in care, adoption, care leavers and management. This is an authority, Ofsted noted, that “has enabled social work to flourish”.

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Sites for 500 free schools wanted – and it could be a field near you

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 07:15

The purchase of land for a would-be academy in south London has shone a light on the controversial work of the Education Funding Agency

When the letter arrived through Steve Barker’s door before Christmas last year, he was “flabbergasted”, the IT worker says. It was a document, from the chief executive of a proposed free school, telling him that the playing field barely eight metres from the front door of his quiet cul-de-sac home in Blackheath, south London, had been bought by the government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA).

This purchase had happened so that a “small” secondary school could be placed on the site, the letter said. Its building would probably loom over the houses of Barker and his neighbours. The proposed site for this 875-pupil school – the International Academy of Greenwich (IAG) – is next to a flood plain. Regular inundations from the Quaggy river are only held back by an eight-foot wall.

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How can universities prepare for a post-Brexit world?

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 07:00

No one knows how leaving the EU will affect higher education - but rather than panicking, we should be proactive and positive

The same questions are being asked in universities and colleges across the nation this week: what’s going to happen now? What does Brexit mean for us? The simple, but unhelpful, answer is that we don’t know.

Related: Four reasons a Brexit would be bad news for UK universities

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Seven ways governors can get to know their school

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 07:00

Board members can feel very removed from classroom life. Here’s how to get a strong insight into your school using everything from Twitter to learning walks

Governors provide a school’s backbone, keeping it in check and overseeing development. But being a board member can seem far removed from the reality of classroom life. Government plans to allow schools to replace parent governors with “professionals” could further erode governors’ understanding of what goes on at the chalkface. So how can governors and trustees ensure they get beyond the confines of a board meeting? Here are our top tips for getting to know your school:

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How do you help children when death casts its shadow across a school?

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 07:00
Explaining tragedies such as the death of Jo Cox is a challenge for teachers and parents in today’s 24/7 media world

Shock, anger, disbelief and tears. Children at Whitcliffe Mount school ran through a gamut of emotions as they digested the news that their MP, a frequent visitor and supporter, had been shot and stabbed to death.

Teachers grieving over the death of Jo Cox had to pick themselves up and find a way to comfort their students, some of whom had recently enjoyed a lively classroom debate with her. “The students looked for us for answers but at a time like this there is nothing to say … All we could do was support them and give them the opportunity to talk about it and support each other,” says Matthew McKirgan, business support manager at the 1,300-pupil comprehensive in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.

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All-academy future: the drive continues

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 06:40

In our diary: schools commissioners carry on converting; backlash as a ‘good’ school faces takeover. And Bright Tribe: accounting questions

Schools may not just be forced to become academies, they may have to become part of a multi-academy trust (Mat) too. That’s the message seemingly being given – before last week’s referendum verdict threw the whole of politics into uncertainty – to headteachers by England’s regional schools commissioners. These are the eight super-officials who, as we reported last time, seem to have been tasked with enforcing ministers’ vision of an all-academy future.

Reports reach us of this theme being conveyed by two more RSCs in recent days. At one meeting last week, we hear, a commissioner said: “It is no longer a question of why we should be moving towards a world of wholesale academisation, but how it will be best achieved.” The official then added that this will be “the world according to Mats”.

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Michelle Obama visits Liberia to push for children to stay in school

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 02:21

US first lady travels to Africa with her daughters, Malia and Sasha, to promote education

The US first lady, Michelle Obama, has visited a leadership camp for girls in Liberia where she urged teenagers in one of the world’s poorest countries to keep fighting to stay in school.

With her own teenage daughters joining her, Obama told the girls she was “just so thrilled to be here with you”.

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Exercise helps children learn, say experts

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 23:00

Brain development and long-term health benefit from vigorous activity at a young age, according to academics from eight countries

Pupils who do sport or physical activity during school hours do not see their learning or exam results suffer, experts say.

Even one session of an activity that raises children’s heart rate is good for both their brain and their education, according to a panel of 24 specialists in exercise from eight countries, including Britain.

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School pictures what its orchestra would look like minus EU students

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 17:52

Principal of Guildhall School of Music and Drama sends message to EU students that they remain welcome despite leave vote

Higher education faces the challenge of making it clear to overseas students that the UK is still a vibrant, tolerant and open country in spite of the vote to leave the EU, the principal of one of Europe’s leading conservatoires has said.

Before the vote, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama released striking photographs of its young symphony orchestra with and without EU students. In total, 49 of its 109 orchestra members come from other European Union countries.

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