Should universities take control of schools? The government thinks so

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 17:22

Every university could be made to sponsor a school, in exchange for raising fees. But critics say it won’t work

It’s not surprising that students at King’s College London Mathematics School sometimes sit in class looking a bit baffled. “In how many ways can 105 be written as the sum of consecutive positive integers?” asks headteacher Dan Abramson. The question is taken from a list set by PhD students, which forms part of the school’s specially designed problem-solving curriculum.

“You could give that question to a GCSE student and they could make progress, because you don’t need to know lots of maths,” he says (*if you’re intrigued, the answer is below).

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Fred Pawsey obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 17:00

My father, Fred Pawsey, who has died aged 96, was one of the few pilots who flew both Hurricanes and Spitfires in combat in the second world war, and one of the first UK servicemen to be selected for training as a pilot in the US.

Born in Alpheton, Suffolk, Fred was the eldest of five children of Alfred, a farm worker, and his wife, Emily (nee Cook).

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Tim Moscovitch obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 16:54

My friend and colleague Tim Moscovitch, who has died suddenly aged 68 with suspected heart problems, was a leading figure in the design community of the north of England. He was head of design at Huddersfield University from 1994 until his retirement in 2007, when he was appointed honorary professor at the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts in Yekaterinburg, where his flair and charisma cut through the bureaucracy.

Tim was born in Leicester, son of Norah (nee Sullivan), a nurse, and Morris, a machine technologist. He was educated at Kibworth Beauchamp grammar school, then studied textile design at Loughborough University, where he met his future wife, Jan Reid. He graduated with a first in 1969 and was awarded a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London two years later. Jan and Tim married in 1971, and established a design consultancy together in Huddersfield.

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Nativity play-per-view: it’s a sure sign there’s a financial crisis in schools | Geoff Barton

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 15:59
Hit by cuts, schools are understandably desperate to boost their budgets. But as a headteacher, I fear ideology has now trumped all ideas of fairness

The annual season of goodwill already looks fragile at one Worcester primary school. Parents and carers at St Joseph’s Catholic primary are apparently dismayed at being asked to pay £1 a ticket to watch their child in this year’s nativity play. Offering an explanation for the decision, headteacher Louise Bury, said: “With ever-tightening budgets and growing numbers, we saw this as an opportunity to be able to invest in some valuable reading and learning resources for key stage 1 and early years.” It is a bleak but not unexpected sign of how desperate the financial landscape is looking for England’s schools and colleges.

In some ways there’s nothing new about parents being expected to stump up cash. Many of us have spent long hours hoping not to win dubious bottles of cheap wine at school raffles. We’ve shuffled unenthusiastically around windy playgrounds peering into car boots. We may even, in the sanctuary of flickering darkness, have strut our self-conscious stuff to dodgy soundtracks at school discos.

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Senior MPs call for compulsory sex education

BBC - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 14:14
Five Commons select committee chairmen and women call for sex education to be a statutory subject.
Categories: Education news feeds

Public schools may not survive Trump's billionaire wrecking crew | Nikhil Goyal

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 12:30

His education secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, is a fierce supporter of private schools and the voucher movement. She could end education as we know it

Related: My dad's Reagan protests inspire me to stand up to Donald Trump | Steven W Thrasher

Donald Trump, a self-described billionaire, wants billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos to take over the Department of Education. These two ultra-rich people have never attended public schools. Nor have they sent their kids to them. Yet they will likely accelerate the bipartisan dismantling of public education as we know it.

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Pressure mounts on ministers to make sex education compulsory in schools

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 12:22

Chairs of five parliamentary committees write to education secretary demanding change in policy

Pressure is mounting on the government to introduce compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools after five chairs of parliamentary select committees sent a strongly worded letter to the education secretary demanding a change in policy.

The letter criticises the government’s “lacklustre” response earlier this week to a new report by the women and equalities committee in parliament, which revealed that sexual abuse of girls had become “accepted as part of everyday life” in England’s schools.

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Government 'must take zero-tolerance approach' to school sexual harassment

The Guardian Unlimited - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 07:00

Teaching unions call for extra resources to teach pupils about personal relationships after MPs’ report says sexual harassment is commonplace

The government should demand a “zero-tolerance approach” to sexual harassment and violence in schools, and give extra resources to teach pupils about sex and personal relationships, according to England’s leading teaching unions. The calls from the teaching unions came in the wake of a new report by parliament’s women and equalities committee in which the MPs said sexual abuse of girls had become “accepted as part of everyday life” in England’s schools.

The MPs’ report called for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) to be made a mandatory part of the school curriculum, but the government’s response made it clear it would not make it compulsory, and declined to include specific topics on combating sexual harassment and sexual violence in training for new teachers.

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New nursing apprentice role announced

BBC - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 04:02
Aspiring nurses can soon enrol on a new on-the-job apprenticeship role, the government says.
Categories: Education news feeds

Young women 'shut out of jobs market' by lack of support

BBC - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 03:08
Too many young women are being shut out of the workplace by a lack of support, a charity says.
Categories: Education news feeds

Thousands of children 'missing' from education

BBC - Wed, 30/11/2016 - 02:09
More than 30,000 children were missing from schools for substantial periods of time in the 2014-15 academic year, figures suggest.
Categories: Education news feeds

The importance of Polish lessons in a post-Brexit world | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 19:48

Teaching Polish in Britain (Poland’s PM urges May to put Polish lessons on timetable, 29 November) is not new. I am a Briton of Polish descent. My parents were part of the Polish armed forces at the end of second world war (part of the British armed forces at the time), most of whom stayed here rather than return to possible internment or worse in the then newly Stalinist Poland. I sat O-level Polish in 1973. Though I was at times resentful of having to give up two hours on a Friday evening after school to study with a personal tutor (my school organised the exam), it allowed me to develop a knowledge of Polish language and grammar that has enabled me to keep in contact with my Polish cousins and friends.

I hope the children of the new Polish migration, those born here being British citizens, will have the same opportunity to study their parents’ language and culture, and to retain contact with their extended families. Studying Polish did not distance me from my British identity, or make me value it less. On the contrary, it allowed me to see my Britishness from another perspective, a product of complex cultural and historical forces, and to communicate with many more people on this planet.

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A blow to state schools and the solar industry | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 19:47

Many state schools struggling to help disadvantaged pupils (Report, 22 November) are facing a further demand on their shrinking budgets. Prudent schools that have invested in solar panels to reduce their electricity bills now face a retrospective six- to eight-fold hike in their tax rates, if the government gets its way. This would be socially divisive, as it will apply to state schools but not to the private schools that have charitable status. The higher rates will also apply to businesses and other organisations that use solar electricity internally. This is yet another blow to the solar industry, already reeling from four separate subsidy cuts since May 2015. UK solar had been expanding exponentially, creating many new jobs and reducing both the wholesale price of electricity and our carbon emissions.
Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham

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Nativity pay

BBC - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 18:47
A school's decision to charge for tickets for the nativity play has sparked fury among some parents. But are these charges a sign of the times or a step too far?
Categories: Education news feeds

Disputed Beethoven manuscript fails to sell at auction

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 17:50

Sotheby’s hits out at ‘irresponsible’ academic who publicly questioned legitimacy of work credited to Beethoven’s hand, despite not inspecting it in person. But Professor Barry Cooper says he is backed by other scholars

Sotheby’s has criticised an academic who questioned the authenticity of a Beethoven manuscript for sale, claiming that the ensuing row over its legitimacy meant it failed to sell at auction.

The auction house became embroiled in a dispute over the validity of the single-page manuscript with Manchester University academic Professor Barry Cooper, who was adamant that the document was the work of a copyist, and not an original manuscript penned by the German composer.

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It's official: your school's marking policy is probably wrong

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 17:24

Ofsted is once again trying to bust the myth that extensive marking is best for students. When will the message get through?

Ofsted’s latest update for inspectors stresses – again – that inspectors should not be passing judgement on marking in schools. In the update, Sean Harford, HMI National Director for Education, explains: “There is remarkably little high-quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning.”

Related: Is this the solution to the teacher workload crisis?

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Ben Carter's Tommee Tippee cup search 'incredible' success

BBC - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 16:45
A dad's desperate search to replace his autistic son's beloved "little blue cup" ends in "surprising" success.
Categories: Education news feeds

How the education gap is tearing politics apart – podcast

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 29/11/2016 - 16:34

In the year of Trump and Brexit, education has become the greatest divide of all – splitting voters into two increasingly hostile camps. But don’t assume this is simply a clash between the ignorant and the enlightened

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