The Observer view on the teaching shortage | Observer editorial

The Guardian Unlimited - 4 hours 22 min ago
The government urgently needs to do more to address this growing problem

Summer is almost over: parents will be spending the bank holiday weekend sorting through school uniforms as children enjoy their last days of freedom and teachers revisit lesson plans. But figures reported last week suggest that the nation’s teaching shortage is getting worse: growing numbers of children will be returning to the classroom to be taught by non-specialists and supply teachers.

Teaching unions have long warned of a brewing crisis, with several factors coinciding to create a perfect storm. The number of school places needed is forecast to rise by more than a million over the next decade. But teacher recruitment has been falling since 2010 – around 10% of teacher training places will remain unfilled this year – and one in 10 teachers left the profession last year, the highest rate for a decade.

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Alarm as teacher shortages and rising pupil numbers puts schools on edge of crisis

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 21:30
Recent figures paint a startling picture of teacher shortages in Britain – with subjects such as English, geography and maths most affected

During the last Christmas holidays, Dr Robin Bevan, headteacher of Southend high school for boys, advertised for two maths teachers. Days, then weeks, went by. Not a single application came through the post or pinged into the school’s email account. Worry turned to panic, then to resignation.

“From February to May we operated without a maths teacher to fill those posts,” Bevan said. “There was just nobody, so we doubled up classes. Maths is my subject and I do some teaching, so I was teaching a class of 60 students with additional adult help in the room, which is important.

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Shortage of teachers set to spark new schools crisis

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 21:30

Government adviser warns children will be taught fewer subjects in larger classes by less qualified staff, with a 10% shortfall in numbers of trainee teachers

A critical shortage of teachers means children will be taught fewer subjects in larger classes by less qualified people, a government adviser has warned, as new figures reveal that ministers are dismally failing to meet their recruitment targets just days ahead of the new academic year.

Across a range of key subjects, the number of trainee teachers recruited for 2015 is significantly below the target figures, with some disciplines attracting barely half the numbers that were being sought.

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Without drastic action, heads will have to employ unqualified staff – or drop subjects

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 21:30
A former chief adviser to the government explains how years of shortsighted education policies have created the current teacher shortage

In February 2011, when I addressed a conference on teacher training in London, I warned that the next teacher supply crisis would appear by 2014. The reasons I gave that day, to a frankly disbelieving audience, were based around three premises.

First, the government expected the private sector to lead the country into economic growth, and would hold down public-sector wages, making jobs in teaching look less financially attractive than working in the private sector. Both trends have come about.

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Double drive: Two children, two schools, half an hour away from each other

Telegraph - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 20:29
Minister promises to end transport 'nightmare' faced by many parents with children at different schools









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St Paul's trial leaves school community in disarray over 'toxic' sexual culture

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 18:55

Victim’s family blames New Hampshire prep school administration for being complicit in sexual traditions, as alumni react in light of Owen Labrie’s verdict

The tall, soccer-playing senior first invited the pretty blonde freshman girl to up to their New Hampshire prep school’s chapel tower so she could see graffiti declaring: “Believe in Angels”.

Related: Former prep school student faces prison after being found guilty of sexual assault

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University of Tennessee switches gender-specific pronouns 'he' and 'she' for 'xe' and 'ze' to promote inclusivity

The Independent - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 13:15

Gender-neutral pronouns for transgender and queer-identifying people - such as "xe" and "ze" - are being encouraged at a second university in the US.











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GCSE results 2015: Independent schools table

Telegraph - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 07:35
The Telegraph's searchable independent school GCSE results table 2015 shows the percentage of students obtaining A*/A at independent schools across the country









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Secret Teacher: I've no option but to resign after disappointing GCSE results

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 07:00

My department missed its target after the exam board altered grade boundaries. I know what this means for my work-life balance next year so I am leaving

The first day of September : a new academic year, a fresh start. Eager year 7s, focused year 10s and 11s, committed sixth formers and a whole heap of fresh optimism and enthusiasm from the staff. That’s how I’ve started every school year since I graduated as a teacher aged 22. This year will be different, though; this year I will be resigning as head of department with every intention of leaving teaching altogether.

You see, I was given a target 12 months ago – a departmental GCSE A*-C pass rate of 75%. We had a weaker than average cohort, but I was confident our target could be met, if not exceeded. We were an experienced and cohesive teaching team, we had put in a lot of hard work over the year and our all-too-frequent data analysis indicated positive residuals for students on the C/D border. We had lunch, after-school, Easter and May half-term “booster” sessions (heaven forbid we mention the word revision) and exam board assessors came in-house to provide us with regular training. All this combined meant morale in the department was high. I even received a pat on the back from the headteacher for a “job well done” at the end of the summer term. High and rare praise, indeed.

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Sir Michael Wilshaw: 'Any head worth their salt should stand up and ban mobiles'

Telegraph - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 00:01
As the new academic year begins, the head of Ofsted calls for more comprehensives to instil order and a 'grammar school ethos'









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New Jersey teacher who was late for work 111 times blames it on breakfast

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 19:40
  • ‘I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning and I lost track of time’
  • Arbitrator rules Arnold Anderson can keep his $90,000-a-year job

An elementary school teacher who was allowed to keep his job despite being late for work 111 times in two years said on Friday that breakfast is to blame for his tardiness.

“I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning and I lost track of time,” 15-year veteran teacher Arnold Anderson told the Associated Press.

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Books have the power to transform African lives | Letter from Patrick Plonski of Books For Africa

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 18:29

In David Shariatmadari’s review of William MacAskill’s book Doing Good Better (Review, 22 August), he quotes the author as saying that books do not advance education in Africa. That is a paradox to say the least. There is plenty of data to indicate that books do indeed advance student achievement. In fact, a World Bank report in May 2015 emphasises the urgent need to get textbooks into the hands of every student in sub-Saharan Africa: “No other input is likely to be more cost-effective than making high-quality learning materials available to all students…”.

In addition, the World Bank undertook two large-scale studies (1987, 2002) involving over 89 education projects across Africa. The findings confirmed the cost-effectiveness and importance of books, with the 2002 report indicating that in Africa, next to a good teacher, “a good textbook is the most effective medium of instruction”.

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Sewage treatment in theory and practice | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 18:28

My brothers went to Oxbridge (Letters, 28 August). I went to Woolwich Poly. I designed sewage treatment works. They could only write about them. The point is we need both, and both should be valued.
Brian Keegan
Peterborough

• Insightful comments from Simon Jenkins (Labour has outstanding leaders…, 27 August). Shame on him for omitting Joe Anderson, the formidable elected mayor for Liverpool.
Françoise Murray
Liverpool

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Letter: How Owen Chadwick inspired a new author

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 18:15

I was the cleaner for Prof Owen Chadwick and his wife, Ruth, at the master’s lodge of Selwyn College, Cambridge, in 1977-78. It was a short but happy time, and I have much to thank them for.

Both Owen and Ruth were unerringly kind, with a great generosity of spirit. They included me in anything going on in the house such as visits by well-known guests, and gave me books for my children. I remember conversations during coffee breaks, when Ruth worried that appointments at the college were being made without candidates even being aware they were in a selection process, and that Igor the family’s dog was unwell.

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Educating viewers: TV teachers embrace chance to share joy and pain of schools

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 15:38

Educating Cardiff is the latest in a flurry of shows set in the classroom, and some of their stars hope to challenge the audience’s ideas about teenagers

Leah and Courtney, two disaffected pupils at Willows high school in Cardiff, are late for period one science. The cameras capture them as they sidle into school and slip into class, surly and disruptive, as the teacher battles on.

Later Courtney tries to explain. “When I wake up, I have to sit there for like 10 minutes to actually wake up.” She giggles. “Well, I just don’t wake up,” says Leah. “You have to jump on her to wake her,” says Courtney, with mock gravity. The surly girls turn out to be sweet and funny; they have complicated lives and feelings, and the viewer is hooked.

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Women’s Equality party founders: ‘It needed doing. So we said, “Let’s do it”’

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 15:30

After six months cheerleading, Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer have handed their party over to a new leader, Sophie Walker. So can they capture the imagination of women – even the ones who are nothing like them?

They arrive in a bustle with a crackle of paper bags and soon the meeting room table is festooned with salad boxes and plastic cutlery. Sandi Toksvig is mum, unpacking, handing everything out. “Crayfish!” she calls. That’s for the party leader, Sophie Walker. There is mezze with pomegranate for Catherine Mayer, Toksvig’s co-founder of the party. Off come the jackets. Drinks are passed around. They have even, kindly, bought cake. It is all incredibly convivial. Definitely a party, if not immediately obviously a political one.

This sort of conviviality has played a big part in the foundation of the Women’s Equality party, or WE. They chose the acronym because it suggests collaboration. “We are WE,” says Mayer. “But a lot of people insist on WEPping us.” It sprung out of a small group that soon became a larger group of like-minded women, gathering in each other’s homes and in bars, and as Mayer, Toksvig and Walker run through the tale of how it came into being, their story skirts many laden tables.

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My laboratory would fall apart if Britain left the EU

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 14:45

My team is drawn from all over Europe and beyond – the researchers bring in talent, income and dedication

While the latest immigration figures are grabbing the headlines, researchers like me are trying to not think about their potential political repercussions – particularly as we edge towards the planned referendum on the European Union. The consequences of a British exit for our programmes simply don’t bear thinking about.

At the moment, in my laboratory at University College London, I have technicians from Greece and South Africa, an Italian PhD student, a Greek master’s student, post-doctoral researchers from Germany and France, and three UK staff. In the past year, alumni from Greece, the Far East and India have all moved on to new positions.

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Ghana universities 'targeted by IS'

BBC - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 13:37
Ghana's authorities are investigating several universities over links to suspected recruitment for the so-called Islamic State (IS), officials say.
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