‘Isolated’ poorer students more likely to drop out, study shows

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 21/05/2017 - 00:03
Survey finds that students from poorer backgrounds feel less well integrated

Less affluent students in higher education are significantly more likely to experience problems with socialising and integrating than their peers from well-off families, says a major new study.

Only 33% of the students from D and E socioeconomic groups said they were well integrated with the students they lived with, compared with 50% of students from A and B socioeconomic groups. Only 34% of the group said they had friends at university whom they socialised with at least twice a week, compared with 48% of AB students.

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May school lunch cut ‘would hit 900,000 children of struggling families’

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 20/05/2017 - 21:00

Move could undermine key Tory target of helping families ‘just about managing’, as concerns grow over social care pledge

About 900,000 children from struggling families will lose their right to free school lunches under a cut unveiled in the Conservative manifesto.

The total includes more than 600,000 young children recently defined as coming from “ordinary working families”, according to analysis for the Observer by the Education Policy Institute.

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Jamie Oliver: 'Theresa May will regret scrapping free school lunches' – video

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 20/05/2017 - 11:09

Jamie Oliver speaks to Channel 4’s Matt Frei on Friday after the Conservative manifesto revealed the party will end universal free school lunches for primary school children in their first three years if it returns to power. Oliver says the move is awful and shortsighted

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Green party proposes scrapping all existing student debt

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 20/05/2017 - 08:00

The Greens are set to unveil manifesto on Monday, when they say they will present the means by which they will pay for such plans

With Labour having promised to scrap university tuition fees if elected, the Greens are going one step further, with a pledge to write off all existing student loan debts, at a cost of more than £14bn over the next parliament.

The party, which is already committed to ending tuition fees, concedes that this cost would be significantly higher over time, given the long period during which the loans are repaid.

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Secret Teacher: we're not reading – so why do we assume children will?

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 20/05/2017 - 07:00

English teachers at my school don’t have time to read whole books, and are told to rely on extracts in class. This is no way to inspire a love of literature

On the rare occasion that the staff in our English department surface from their marking pile long enough to enjoy a cup of tea together, I’ll ask everybody what they’re reading. The answer is usually the same: nothing.

Teachers only read the bits of books they have to teach – and even then it’s often one chapter ahead of their students. If there’s a bit of a text they don’t understand or think is boring, they just remove it from the photocopied version before class. It means that teachers are effectively editing texts, and some are not familiar with reading entire books.

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Free lunch

BBC - Sat, 20/05/2017 - 00:23
Schools say abolition of free school meals for the youngest pupils will come at a cost.
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Alarm raised over modern language cuts at Manchester University

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 20/05/2017 - 00:21

Senior academics warn about impact of cuts to the numbers of linguists and cross-cultural experts employed at Britain’s largest university

Planned staffing cuts that will hit modern languages teaching and research at Britain’s largest university should be scrapped, a group of senior academics have warned in a letter to the Guardian.

The plan to shed as many as 35 jobs from the University of Manchester’s school of arts – a third of its strength – would do harm to the UK in the long run, they said. It is part of a move to cut more than 100 academic and professional support roles.

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Jamie Oliver condemns Theresa May for scrapping free lunches

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 21:57

Prime minister will regret move to slash number of primary school children eligible for free meals, says chef

The celebrity chef and healthy eating campaigner, Jamie Oliver, has attacked the Conservatives over their plans to end free lunches for some of the youngest primary school children.

Oliver said the “short-sighted” move would prove a mistake in the long run because it would harm children’s health and end up costing the country.

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Manchester University must think again about cuts to languages | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 19:08
A proposal to shed linguists and cross-cultural experts is clearly against the best interests of the UK, write 15 senior representatives for modern languages in the UK

As senior representatives for modern languages in the UK, we are surprised and disturbed to hear that the University of Manchester plans to cut 35 posts in its School of arts, languages and cultures, alongside further jobs in business and in biology, medicine and health. Staff in German, French, Italian, Hebrew and Spanish have been told that their jobs are “at risk” because these areas supposedly recruit fewer and lower quality students than the Russell Group tariff average. We have not seen hard evidence of this claim; we do know that modern languages at Manchester have a stellar reputation nationally and internationally, and that the areas targeted for radical reduction have excellent student ratings for teaching quality as well as very significant research power. Recent harsh marking in modern languages A-levels has led to a mistaken perception of applicants as being of “lower quality”; and at a time when there is a clear need to stimulate recruitment for modern languages across higher education, we urge the university to address the issue positively and proactively in the context of a proven and urgent need for graduates with languages in the UK (see, for example, the British Chambers of Commerce and British Council reports).

It is worth recalling that over £3m has been awarded to Manchester precisely to support and encourage research in modern languages 2016-2020. The university signed a letter of support for modern languages which was received by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in connection with Manchester’s Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) application in 2015.

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Student who stabbed ex-boyfriend deletes Facebook page after abuse

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 17:21

Lavinia Woodward is perceived to have been treated leniently by the judge because she is so bright, even though she has yet to be sentenced

The Oxford medical student at the centre of a public outcry over allegedly lenient sentencing after she wounded her ex-boyfriend with a knife has been forced to deactivate her Facebook account because she and her lawyer have received abusive threats.

Lavinia Woodward, 24, has been told that if she stays off drugs and does not reoffend, she may avoid a prison sentence – immediate or suspended – when she returns to court in September.

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‘I drove the car into the fountain’: causing mayhem at Essex University, 1969

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 16:29

Brian Caldwell on the sideshow he and his friends created during the university’s ‘revolutionary festival’

Essex University had quite an anarchic reputation during the student unrest of the 1960s. It’s partly what drew me to it. My English teacher at school suggested I might benefit from a less traditional university, and encouraged me to apply to one of the new ones. Essex had its first students in 1964 and was known for its innovative courses. I studied English and American literature – one of the few places that offered the course – joining in 1966.

In February 1969, it staged a “revolutionary festival”: students took over for three days, and held seminars and workshops on subjects including racism, capitalism, black power, imperialism and immigration. It doesn’t sound very radical, but these were subversive topics back then. It was described at the time as “an experiment in revolutionary thought”, its aim “to turn the bourgeois concept of a university on its head”.

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Students warned against using 'essay mill' sites to write dissertations

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 16:02

Sites offering written-to-order essays may deliver poor work or none at all, say experts – and students risk failing their degrees

Students are being warned that using quick-fix “essay mill” websites puts them at risk of being scammed out of hundreds of pounds, as well as failing their degree if they are caught cheating.

Experts have warned of a spike in websites taking students’ money in exchange for bespoke essays and then disappearing, not delivering work on time, or providing poor quality papers. The National Union of Students (NUS) said they prey on the vulnerabilities and anxieties of students to make money.

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Ditch the grammar and teach children storytelling instead

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 13:30
Writing stories is a craft that is crucial for life. And if the government insists, you can test it, measure it and use it in commerce, too

A report in the Times has quoted a secondary school teacher who complained that their year 7 intake no longer knew how to tell a story. “They knew what a fronted adverbial was, and how to spot an internal clause, and even what a preposition was – but when I set them a task to write a story, they broke down and cried,” reported the teacher.

Related: Pity our children – they’re being turned into grammar robots at school | Gaby Hinsliff

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Jamie Oliver: Axing free school meals a disgrace

BBC - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 12:41
Theresa May's plan to axe free school meals is a disgrace, says TV chef Jamie Oliver.
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The interview Prince William couldn't forget

BBC - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 10:21
Prince William reunites with the child interviewer who forgot his name - does he still remember her slip-up?
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Charities should give staff unlimited holidays | Molly Whyte

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 08:03

Allowing workers to take time off when they need it can help your team to thrive, rather than survive

In March 2016, I was exhausted and suffering from frequent panic attacks. I’d been in my first job for six months, working as a communications officer for Student Hubs, a charity that supports university students to take part in social action in their communities. After being diagnosed with coeliac disease and recovering from a debilitating eating disorder the previous summer, I was physically drained.

This didn’t stop me from dedicating most of my energy to work. I didn’t want my manager or colleagues to think I wasn’t committed or hardworking enough, so instead of working at a sustainable pace and taking regular breaks, I pressed on. I took two weeks off when the offices shut over Christmas, but I continued to sneakily tidy my inbox.

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Why are black children missing from the grammar school debate?

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 07:00

Expanding grammar schools will only deepen racial inequalities in our society – and leave more black students behind

Theresa May’s plans for a new generation of grammar schools have been met with staunch cross-party opposition. Criticism has even come from senior members of her own party. But there is one important point that has been largely ignored: how the plans will affect racial inequality in education, and indeed society.

The argument for the reintroduction of grammar schools hinges on the idea of meritocracy, but this denies the ways race and other social factors such as class impact education and grammar school admissions. Black students are already at a disadvantage in our education system, and May’s plans will worsen this.

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The trouble with the sisterhood in academia

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 07:00

Female academics can be just as aggressively competitive with other colleagues as men, but it slips under the radar

I’ve wanted to write this for some time, but never found the words. If I’m honest, I’m certain that some fellow women academics will not be pleased to hear what I have to say. Luckily, I’m currently on a flight, 12km above the ground, where I feel safe from the judgments that would confront me were I to exorcise this academic grievance at the coffee station. But we need to start talking about the way women hold back other women’s careers.

At my institute I’ve recently joined a lively discussion on equality in academia that was initiated by the Athena Swan programme. I’ve taken part in several earnest official conversations during lunches, and several unofficial conversations after work in the pub. Much of this has focused on gender inequality, and the problems that male – and predominantly white male – academics create for early career women in particular.

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Fidget spinners are not just a fad – ask any ballpoint-pen clicker | Katherine Isbister

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 05:06

Despite sometimes being an annoying distraction for others, such items can have practical uses for adults, and perhaps even children

The fidget spinner craze has been sweeping elementary and middle schools. As of May 17 every one of the top 10 best-selling toys on Amazon was a form of the hand-held toy people can spin and do tricks with. Kids and parents are even making them for themselves using 3D printers and other more homespun crafting techniques.

But some teachers are banning them from classrooms. And experts challenge the idea that spinners are good for conditions like ADHD and anxiety. Meanwhile, the Kickstarter online fundraising campaign for the Fidget Cube – another popular fidget toy in 2017 – raised an astounding US$6.4 million, and can be seen on the desks of hipsters and techies across the globe.

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Tackle candidates on school cuts, heads ask parents

BBC - Fri, 19/05/2017 - 01:07
Parents are receiving letters from school asking them to tackle prospective politicians over funding cuts.
Categories: Education news feeds