Observer Ethical Awards 2015 winners: Andover Trees United

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 22:00

Some of the students who have helped Andover Trees United become this year’s Young Green Champions, sponsored by Ecover

“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” is a phrase nobody understands better than Andover Trees United. Established in 2011 by teacher Wendy Davis, the project’s aim was to ensure that every young person in the Hampshire town and surrounding area planted a tree in their school nursery bed, later moving it to a dedicated woodland space. “We wanted it to be something that would bring together the community,” says Oonagh Pope, 63, a retired teacher who helped Davis plant the very first batch of saplings at Portway Junior School. Since then 4,000 trees have been planted in Andover’s seven-acre Harmony Wood, and things show no sign of slowing down.

More than 25 Andover schools are currently involved in the scheme, with children ranging from primary to sixth-form level. Although nothing would have been possible without a strong team of school support gardeners, the children have been an essential part of the process, mucking in on everything from logo design to seeking out the newest planting spots. Sebastian Duff, 11, regularly gives presentations and attends meetings to engage more children in the project. “I know how much impact it has on the climate,” he says. “This is a project for kids, and we’re very motivated by it.”

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How to get poor pupils into the best state schools? Smash the glass floor | Gaby Hinsliff

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 20:19
Heads of selective schools, like Adams’ Grammar in Shropshire, know that professional parents often raise their kids higher than their talents deserve – so keeping other kids out

Every year, at the beginning of July, hundreds of boys converge on Gary Hickey’s school to sit an exam that only about one in six will pass. And every year the headmaster gets a somewhat disturbing insight into the things some parents will do to ensure their child gets the golden ticket.

It’s not at all unusual, apparently, when the bigger cars roll up to the gate, to spot personal tutors in the back, pushing their 10-year-old charges through one last 11-plus test paper. Parents whose children fail to get into this popular state grammar despite such cramming will often ring Hickey in tears; once a mother demanded that he write a formal letter berating her child for having failed, and expressing his disappointment that the child had not worked harder. (Thankfully, she got short shrift).

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Over one in five secondary school maths lessons taught by teacher without degree in the subject

The Independent - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 18:56

More than one in five secondary school maths lessons is now taught by a teacher without a degree in the subject, official figures have revealed.

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Russian university fires US academic accused of harming national interests

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 18:35

Lobachevsky University’s former vice-rector Kendrick White leaves country after state TV accuses him of being part of western fifth column

A United States citizen has been fired as vice-rector of a Russian university and has left the country after state television suggested he was harming national interests, joining a growing number of foreign specialists to face pressure amid anti-western rhetoric.

Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod said in a statement that its vice-rector for innovation, Kendrick White, had been relieved of his duties as part of a “restructuring of the management system”. Colleagues quoted by the Kommersant newspaper said White, who is also the chief executive of the Russia-focused investment consultancy Marchmont Capital Partners, had flown to Florida.

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Categories: Education news feeds

Prince Andrew Huddersfield chancellor

BBC - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 17:12
The Duke of York is going to get a new title, chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.
Categories: Education news feeds

Universities leader rejects Jo Johnson criticism of standards

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 16:47

Russel Group chair Sir David Eastwood says minister’s claims are not borne out by student surveys, and predicts tuition fees will have to rise

Today’s students work hard and demand top-quality teaching rather than “coasting” through soft degree courses as suggested by ministers, according to the UK’s most senior university leader.

Sir David Eastwood, the vice-chancellor of Birmingham University and chair of the Russell Group of leading research institutions, rejected criticism from the higher education minister, Jo Johnson, who said British universities were guilty of grade inflation and failed to offer value for money.

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'Wealth of parents is more important than university degree,' says academic

Telegraph - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 15:55
The wealth of parents is becoming more important than a university education, a leading academic has said.

Categories: Education news feeds

Rise in teacher vacancies in England

BBC - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 15:05
Nearly one in 100 full-time teaching posts was either vacant or filled temporarily in 2014, Department for Education figures show.
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Student migration rules 'ludicrous'

BBC - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 14:50
The head of Cambridge University says it is "ludicrous" to include overseas students in UK migration targets.
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Ofsted head says 'feckless' parents should be fined if they don't support schools

The Independent - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 14:44

The head of Osted has said that "feckless" parents should be shamed if they fail to turn up to parents' evenings.

Categories: Education news feeds

Girls' education will only make the grade when intuition gives way to information | Julia Bunting

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 14:26

With education increasingly in the global spotlight, research must be undertaken to pinpoint the factors that cause girls to struggle or drop out

Schools have the potential to transform girls’ lives, unlocking the door to future opportunities, better health and greater autonomy. But in many places, schooling falls short of that aspiration.

In May, global educators gathered at the World Education Forum in Korea to agree on a post-2015 global education agenda. In June, the US first lady Michelle Obama visited the UK to help launch a UK/US partnership that will invest nearly $200m (£128m) in supporting girls’ education in countries affected by conflict, starting with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Universities call on UK Government to push tuition fees up - students threaten to become 'ungovernable'

The Independent - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 13:04

The Government needs to lift the £9,000 tuition fee cap in England in line with inflation, says an advocacy organisation for higher education institutions.

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Jo Johnson: 2:1 classifications at university are too common and allow students to 'coast' through

The Independent - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 11:22

2:1 classifications at university are becoming too common and are allowing students to “coast” through, the universities minister, Jo Johnson, has said.

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Higher Education in Africa: Our continent needs science, not aid

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 10:47

The founder of Africa’s first drug discovery and development centre explains why scientific research is key to unlocking the continent’s potential

The continent of Africa suffers a crippling disease burden, which continues to choke economic growth in addition to causing high morbidity and mortality. It is therefore vital for Africans to contribute to finding solutions to their health problems. The discovery and development of new medicines in Africa led by Africans is essential to that.

Long-term sustainable provision of new affordable medicines in Africa can only be ensured through committed investments in research and development (R&D) through African-led local and international public-private partnerships so that risks, and not just benefits, are shared. Africa needs science, not aid.

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Get a job or get out: the tough reality for international students

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 10:21

Visa controls make life difficult for international students who want to stay in the UK after graduation

International students account for almost a fifth (18%) of those in higher education, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa). However, unlike their British and EU-national peers, non-EU students have only four months after the end of their course to find a job, or they face deportation.

Most non-EU graduates go home after their studies, but of those who want to work in the UK, many apply for a Tier 2 visa. To be eligible for a Tier 2 visa:

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The humble photo that shows education should never be taken for granted

The Independent - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 10:10

A simple picture really can say many words and this one says: ‘Never take education for granted’.

Categories: Education news feeds

Microsoft launches site for teachers taking Minecraft into the classroom

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 09:31

Minecraft in Education portal aims to get educators sharing tips on how Mojang’s popular game can be used to teach children

Millions of children are already playing Minecraft at home, whether on computers, consoles or mobile devices. Now the game’s parent company Microsoft wants to encourage more teachers to use it in the classroom.

Microsoft, which bought the game’s developer Mojang for $2.5bn in 2014, has launched a new site aimed at teachers, aiming to foster a community of educators swapping lesson plans and other tips based on Minecraft.

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VIDEO: Who cares for child migrants to UK?

BBC - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 08:16
Some UK local authorities say they are struggling to cope with the large increase in the number of children seeking asylum.
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Apprenticeships: it's quality, not numbers that matter

The Guardian Unlimited - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 07:35

Limited funding and an arbitrary target to recruit 3,000,000 apprentices could undermine attempts to raise the reputation of professional education

Apprenticeships have been thrust centre stage by the new government. In May, it was revealed in the Queen’s speech that – much like the title “university” – the word apprenticeship will become a protected term. The aim is to prevent low-quality schemes being described as apprenticeships when they are really just short-term training rebadged.

Many people still struggle to understand the difference between training and education

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VIDEO: Sickness benefit 'set for overhaul'

BBC - Thu, 02/07/2015 - 07:21
The government is considering significantly reducing the amount of sickness benefits that some people receive, the BBC understands.
Categories: Education news feeds