Meet the hunky headmaster who teaches kids to use a shotgun

Telegraph - Sun, 07/02/2016 - 06:00
Mike Fairclough is an unconventional headmaster; both in his dress and his views about education. Harry Wallop went to meet him









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When are the school holidays 2015/2016?

Telegraph - Sat, 06/02/2016 - 12:20
Half term holidays, Christmas holidays, Easter holidays and the much anticipated summer holidays - we list the key school dates for 2016









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State schools 'gaining on fee-paying'

BBC - Sat, 06/02/2016 - 11:13
The UK's state schools have improved so much that some private schools may be put out of business, the editor of the Good Schools Guide says.
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The murder of my friend Giulio Regeni in Egypt was an attack on academic freedom | Neil Pyper

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 06/02/2016 - 10:00
Students or anyone else conducting research in dangerous places should be better protected by their university – and their government

The body of Giulio Regeni was discovered in a ditch in Cairo on 2 February, showing evidence of torture and of a slow, horrific death. Giulio was studying for a PhD at the University of Cambridge, and was carrying out research on the formation of independent trade unions in post-Mubarak Egypt. There is little doubt that his work would have been extremely important in his field, and he had a career ahead of him as an important scholar of the region.

Giulio, originally from Fiumicello in north-east Italy, had a strong international background and outlook. As a teenager, he won a scholarship that allowed him to spend two formative years studying at the United World College in New Mexico. He was especially passionate about Egypt. Before beginning his doctoral research, he spent time in Cairo working for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido). At the age of 28, he stood out with his big hopes and dreams, and he was committed to pursuing a career that would allow him to make an impact on the world, which is a poorer place for his passing.

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Bridging the chasm between classroom and lecture room

Telegraph - Sat, 06/02/2016 - 07:00
Rachel Halliwell meets Dr Kristy Turner, who works both in schools and at university









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Campus security: 'We heard a scream and saw him running up the road naked'

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 06/02/2016 - 07:00

Universities face a constant battle to keep students safe – from bike thieves, burglars and heavy breathers

“At 5pm we get the switchboard,” said the man inducting me on to the night shift. If I’d heard right, his name was Trifle. “Anyone can phone up, so you’ve got to keep it polite. Lecturers, press, overseas placement students wanting to know their exam time…”

There was a light on the desk. “There you go,” said Trifle. “Your first call.”

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Secret teacher: we're not to blame for poor social mobility

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 06/02/2016 - 07:00

It’s easy for government to say teachers fail to inspire children raised in poverty – it’s cheaper than fixing the awful conditions they experience outside the school gates

It was Sunday evening and I felt a failure. I know what you’re thinking – “not another whinging teacher!” – but hear me out. It wasn’t the pile of unmarked books in the hallway, or the data left un-analysed because I had watched The Voice instead. It was because of “Cake Monday”.

Cake Monday is a well-meaning initiative that was established to give us some joy at the end of a day’s work. Each week we take it in turns to bake, and meet in the staffroom before our evening meetings to scoff a slice of Victoria sponge or Mr Mason’s (mum’s) cheesecake. It’s a lovely idea – until it is your turn.

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Oxford college won't rename Rhodes computer room

Telegraph - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 21:01
University College didn't want to be seen to be supporting the Rhodes Must Fall campaign









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'Massively' improved state schools threaten private sector

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 19:47

Better behaviour and results are attracting families who can afford private school fees, says Good Schools Guide editor

State schools have improved “massively”, according to the founder of the Good Schools Guide, who says their growing popularity with parents is threatening to drive weaker private schools out of business.

Ralph Lucas, editor-in-chief of the guide regarded as the bible for middle-class school choice, said that as results and behaviour improved even those families who could afford private school fees were increasingly choosing the state sector.

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Emma Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch join Oxford college

Telegraph - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 18:10
The actors are part of a cohort of non-academic visiting fellows at Lady Margaret Hall









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Cameron’s college and the right balance on admissions | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 17:59

Your singling out of Brasenose College shows the dangers of selectively manipulating college data (Prime minister’s Oxford college admits fewest state school applicants, 4 February). A different set of statistics, used in a recent Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission report, shows Brasenose accepts a high proportion of state school applicants. Your selective use of college data obscures the fact that across the university, a majority of successful offers go to state-educated applicants. More importantly Oxford’s system of reallocating pooled candidates means that an applicant’s chance of getting a place at any Oxford college is broadly consistent no matter which college they apply to.

You also cite the fact that 7% of school students are from the independent schools, ignoring the Sutton Trust’s point that 33% of students getting three A grades or better are from this sector. You are missing the point that while Oxford is committed to both effective outreach and fair selection, it must work against a background of disparities in attainment. You also talk of the “much-feared” Oxford interview. We have worked hard in recent years to break down the myths and stereotypes surrounding the interview. By reinforcing such stereotypes, your article is doing more to deter bright potential applicants than any aspect of the application process itself.
Professor Sally Mapstone
Pro-vice-chancellor, Education, Oxford University

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How the circumflex became France's bête noire

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 17:49

A major drama has broken out in France after the local language police decreed one of their cute little accents to be largely redundant

Nom: Circumflex, or in French, circonflexe.

Quel âge a-t-il? Oh, it goes back thousands of years, to ancient Greece.

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State schools success in fighting 'pot smoking' making it tough for private rivals, says Lord

Telegraph - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 15:49
There are concerns middle-class parents are being priced out of private education









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Oxford college appoints Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 15:34

Lady Margaret Hall announces star-studded list of visiting fellows, which also includes Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant

Benedict Cumberbatch’s newest role will see him treading the boards in front of university students, after he accepted an appointment as a visiting fellow at Oxford.

Cumberbatch – whose last stage role was as Hamlet at the Barbican in London – will be joined by fellow actor Emma Watson and the Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant among the 11 visiting fellows at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

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Private college loses border licence

BBC - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 14:44
Some 350 international students at a private London business college have been told they must leave the UK by the end of next month.
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Your stories of getting into university: the good, the bad and the ugly | Sarah Marsh

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 12:56

Oxbridge has been criticised for its complex and intimidating admissions process. Here our readers share their experiences of applying to university

Oxbridge has been in the news this week for its admissions process. First, Cambridge announced plans to bring back entrance exams (which some claim will be a barrier to the disadvantaged) and then The Sutton Trust criticised Oxbridge, saying getting in was a “complex and intimidating” endeavour.

While these institutions are very competitive – and arguably elitist – the university application process can be tough wherever you apply. We asked our readers for their admission stories – of nailing an interview or messing it up royally, and here’s what you told us: the good, the bad and the ugly.

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Quitting school and taking a family travel adventure: what Guardian readers say

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 12:33

The Meek family’s tale of swapping work and school for a year of UK adventures with their kids encouraged readers to share their own experiences – and opinions

We took a decision to sell up and move to Portugal in 1999 when our kids were three and five years old. We’d both been working hard and hadn’t spent as much time with our kids as we would have liked. Our first child had died at five months old. We chose to rent an apartment in Lisbon. Our kids were thrown in at the deep end in a Portuguese convent kindergarten. They were both speaking almost fluent Portuguese after about four-five months. It was a complete change in lifestyle, food, culture, language and climate that we experienced together – something that bonds us to this day. It was an adventure, exciting, enriching and something everyone should do if they have the guts and the wherewithal to do it.
tonyalex

Related: The rise of travelling families and world-schooling

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We can't lose public libraries – they're as crucial for students as ever

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 10:19

While public libraries may seem outdated to some in the age of Google search, they remain a vital place for poorer students to work in peace

The 6 February is National Libraries Day, instigated in 2012 by campaigners hoping to avoid further library closures, and to celebrate these temples of learning across the country.

Growing up, libraries played a huge part in helping me to establish myself as a poet. I discovered works by Anne Sexton and TS Eliot in a public library. I spent hours unpicking their lines and making my own interpretations. The library was a truly reflective space for me, away from school and away from home, where I began to form my own voice as a poet. There was the sense of excitement when finding something new on the same shelf a week later and taking it home at no expense. I absorbed a canon of books I could never have afforded to buy.

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Love letters to libraries: Robin Ince, Meg Rosoff and other famous names check in

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 10:00

In 1971, a librarian in Michigan asked public figures to write to local children explaining why their new library was a good thing. For National Libraries Day on 6 February in the UK, writers and public figures have written love letters to theirs

In 1971 Marguerite Hart, a children’s librarian in the city of Troy, Michigan, asked public figures to write to local children about why their new library was important. She wrote wide and dreamed big, sending requests all over the world to artists, writers, politicians – even pontiffs – and what came back was a veritable who’s-who in history: Dr Seuss, Pope Paul VI, Neil Armstrong, Kingsley Amis and Isaac Asimov responded, to name but a few of the 97.

Related: ‘A library is like a room full of friends’: stars' letters to young readers

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I'm not LMAO at ridiculous emails from my students

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 05/02/2016 - 07:00

Convoluted excuses and drunken declarations of love can be amusing, but I’m genuinely concerned about young people’s communication skills

Hiya *smiley face*! Sorry I’m not there!! I was in bed with my boyf and he got some hand cream in his eye so I took him to hospital but the car broke down and we had to wait for the green flag man and got chatting with him before we went to a‘n’e but were here now and boyf is fine lol!!!

This is an email from one of my students explaining why she wasn’t at a lecture. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for me to receive messages like this. It’s as if my students don’t understand the difference between formal communication and social media; as if chattiness and cheek will make up for the fact that they’re missing class for the sixth week in a row; as if they don’t realise that the more detailed the excuse, the more unbelievable it sounds.

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