Students' end-of-year artwork 2016 - your entries so far

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 12:41

As part of our Students Express series, we asked you to share your end-of-year artwork. Here is a small selection of the hundreds of contributions we’ve received so far

  • You can view all the entries or submit your own art here by 28 June
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Hold your tongues: why language learners fear a vote for Brexit

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 09:00

Leaving the EU could lead to an irreversible decline in foreign language learning, with Britain paying a high economic and cultural price

During the second world war, my late father-in-law was conscripted into the army and forced to fight for Nazi Germany. My mother was a young girl in London, running to air raid shelters and seeing local streets destroyed by the blitz.

A first meeting of the in-laws might have been awkward but Albert had been captured and taken as a prisoner of war to Scotland. Waiting to be repatriated, he had made friends with local people and acquired fluent English. When my mother came from Britain to meet him, he delighted in reminiscing and swapping stories from Scotland.

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Hidden homeless: the students ashamed to admit they’ve nowhere to sleep

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 07:29

A survey in London has shone a light on students who are couch-surfing or in emergency accommodation. Its authors fear it’s the tip of an iceberg

At 5am on the day of the eviction university student Mary Nadunga woke her three children, fed her baby and started packing their belongings into a hired van. At 10.45am the bailiffs arrived and handed her a paper declaring the family officially homeless.

“I was vacuuming because I wanted to leave the place clean and they told me to stop and give the keys to the landlord. It was at this moment it hit me that we were actually homeless. I cried but I told myself to stop and be strong,” she says.

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Teacher or not, Ofsted’s new chief inspector passes the test

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 07:15

Amanda Spielman has been lambasted for lacking classroom experience – but as her predecessor showed, time at the chalk face doesn’t guarantee empathy

Amanda Spielman, banker-turned-academy chain adviser, will be the next Ofsted chief inspector, it has been announced. A few formalities are necessary, a cross-party coalition of MPs will talk to her next Wednesday before giving her the final nod, but presuming no funny business occurs Spielman is in.

Overstating the importance of the inspectorate is difficult. Even though the current chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, is forever telling school leaders to be mavericks and take their own path, most heads diligently, even slavishly, follow Ofsted pronouncements.

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School’s results go from Bottom to top, thanks to Shakespeare

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 07:00

A school in Kent transformed its results in all subjects, from among the worst to one of the best, with help from Shakespeare

Under bright spotlights in the drama room, students are getting into character as magical beings. The cast members of A Midsummer Night’s Dream grin and grimace as they skip, climb, leap and crawl through the plastic chairs that double as their enchanted forest.

This is a rehearsal at King Ethelbert school, in Thanet, east Kent, for a performance that will be the culmination of two years’ work during which the school has transformed from one of the worst in the country to one of the best of its type. And, says the headteacher, it’s thanks to Shakespeare.

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Report: half of teaching assistants faced physical violence in past year

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 00:01

One respondent tells of being ‘kicked and punched’ and others fear being badly hurt in classroom, according to Unison study

More than half of teaching assistants say they have experienced physical violence in the classroom in the past year, according to a report published by trade union Unison.

One respondent claimed to have been “kicked, punched, slapped, headbutted and insulted verbally by children”. Another, a teaching assistant at a school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, feared going to work in case they suffered a serious injury.

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Cambridge University is fully committed to the inquiry into Giulio Regeni’s death | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 20:20

I write to correct the false and distressing claims made by Italy’s deputy minister of foreign affairs and reported in your article about the tragic death of Giulio Regeni, our PhD student who was brutally killed in Egypt (Cambridge ‘is failing to cooperate’ over student murder investigation, 18 June).

We understand the frustration of Italian prosecutors with the conclusions that have been put forward so far by the Egyptian authorities. The university has pressed the Egyptian authorities to explain Giulio’s death. We have also called on the British government to bring pressure to bear and have backed the Italian government’s efforts to find the truth.

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What is your idea of utopia? Share your pictures and thoughts

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 16:32

The term utopia was first coined by Sir Thomas More when he described a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. What does it mean 500 years on?

Utopia. The-magical sounding term comes from the Greek οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and is used to describe imagined communities or societies that appear to be perfect. It was first coined by Sir Thomas More from the Greek language in 1516, in a book that described a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. But what does it mean today?

In celebration of 500 years since the launch of More’s book, and to coincide with Somerset House’s utopia fair (24-26 June), we want to get our readers to share their ideas on this topic.

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Practice makes perfect: how to become a vocational lecturer

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 15:28

Real-world experience can be the perfect qualification for an academic job – but the change can be challenging. We asked the experts for advice

You find yourself facing a room of young people. You’re nervous enough about public speaking, let alone managing a classroom.

Related: Four reasons a Brexit would be bad news for UK universities

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How to teach ... body image

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 13:40

Students face a world full of unhealthy images and pressure about how they look. Here’s how you can help them cope

What do Sadiq Khan and Barbie have in common? They’re both waging war on unrealistic body image pressures. The London mayor recently announced that he will ban adverts on London transport that “demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies”. The move comes a year after the infamous “beach-body ready” campaign, which, in trying to sell protein powder, sparked a nationwide discussion about the stress and anxiety advertising can cause.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, one of the most famous bodies in the world has undergone a transformation, as Barbie’s 36in bust and 18in waist (which, according to scientists, would leave her with too little body fat to menstruate) has evolved into a variety of body shapes and skin colours. Both are steps in the right direction, but there’s no denying that your students will still have to navigate a world full of unhealthy images and pressure. So how can you help them manage it?

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In and out of trouble

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 08:00

Classroom politics

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Students, remember: your EU vote will affect your life chances for years to come

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 07:30
The universities minister says leave campaigners have failed to explain how funding gaps can be filled if Britain exits the EU

Dear Student

You may not listen to government ministers very often. You may not pay very much attention to any politician, in fact. But on this one issue – the EU referendum – I hope you can spare me a few minutes of your time.

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Can you solve it? Are you smarter than Andy Murray?

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 06:15

Three tennis puzzles

UPDATE: Click here for the answers.

Hello guzzlers,

To celebrate Andy Murray’s triumph at Queen’s yesterday, and in anticipation of Wimbledon, which starts next week, lets smash some neurons around the grass court of your brains.

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Cambridge University rejects calls to divest from fossil fuels

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 20/06/2016 - 00:01

Working group on investment responsibility argues it is better to keep investments in oil and gas companies, rather than divest £5.9bn endowment

The University of Cambridge has rejected calls to divest its £5.9bn endowment from fossil fuels, as students, academics and the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams have called for.

In a report on Friday, the university ruled out future investments in coal and tar sands, although it currently has no direct holdings in either, and only negligible holdings in coal by investments managed externally.

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Philip Wraight obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 19/06/2016 - 17:50

Our father, Philip Wraight, who has died aged 97, was a secondary school headmaster for 26 years. He began teaching in 1946 at Seaford college in West Sussex, but exchanged the South Downs for the Staffordshire Moorlands in 1958 when he became head of the new Warslow secondary school near Leek. Remaining in Staffordshire, he became head of the Forest of Needwood high school near Burton upon Trent in 1966, a position he held until his retirement in 1984.

Philip shared the progressive ideas of JHP Oxspring, Staffordshire’s former director of education, and, like him, was an advocate of rural-based, comprehensive secondary schools. During the 1970s, through the University of London, Philip visited Sweden, Russia, Hungary and Poland to discover how other countries organised their schools.

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Rosemary MacDonald obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 19/06/2016 - 17:35

My mother, Rosemary MacDonald, who has died aged 78, left school at 14 but went on to become a passionate advocate of education in all its forms. Just before her 50th birthday, she graduated from Edinburgh University, and became a university administrator.

Born and brought up in Romford, Essex, by her staunchly Conservative and working-class parents, Lilian (nee Andrews) and Alexander Adams, a policeman, Rosemary grew up accepting an unequal society and her position in it.

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A beginner's guide to planning and managing school budgets

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 19/06/2016 - 08:00

Whether you’re a qualified accountant or barely able to find the slot in a piggy bank, here’s our guide to budgeting, value for money and accountability

At some point, every teacher will be responsible for part of their school’s finances – from handling petty cash for a trip to explaining why you’ve overspent the departmental budget for a second term running.

But, if you aspire to join your school’s senior leadership team (SLT), you’re likely to be asked to take on an even greater role in monitoring school finances. We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to budgeting, getting value for money, and explaining financial accountability.

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How understanding the brain affects learning potential

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 19/06/2016 - 06:00

Does knowing whether the brain changes or is static have an impact on student success?

Parents of GCSE and A-level students taking their exams this month will know how important encouragement is. But they might be surprised to learn that how we understand the brain can affect academic success.

Psychology professor Carol Dweck gave two groups of schoolchildren a whole-day tutorial on the brain. She told the first group that parts of the brain are determined within days of conception, no new nerve cells are produced in adulthood, and the anatomy of the human brain is similar to a rat’s. With the other group she focused on how the brain is always changing and remodelling itself, and how every experience affects connections in the brain.

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In Morocco’s Atlas mountains, Berber girls find the way out of rural poverty: an education

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 19/06/2016 - 00:05

The remoteness of many villages meant that secondary school was not an option

Deep in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, in the hamlet of Tazalt, two girls are doing their laundry in stream water. Inside one of the small reddish-brown stone houses, Malika Boumessoud, 38, is serving sweet mint tea and looking at a photo of herself while shaking her head at how old she looks.

In the next room, where five of her six children all sleep on two single mattresses on the floor, Boumessoud’s daughter Zahra, 19, is preparing to leave this classic scene of rural Moroccan life. She is a participant in a bold new experiment that could transform the lives of the girls and young women in the region: unlike the vast majority of her peers, Zahra is being granted an education.

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On Earth, this was a grim week ... your mission offers hope, Tim Peake

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 19/06/2016 - 00:05
The British astronaut will have an enormous impact on science and technology in the UK, and his project could influence the future of humanity

Welcome home, Tim! It’s a sentiment that will be shared by most scientists and engineers – whether or not they are involved in space research. You will no doubt feel a bit rough for the next few days, but you’ll recover. Whether your life will be normal again after travelling 125 million kilometres and witnessing so many of Earth’s glories from space is a different matter. I am certainly jealous of the experiences you have had and have waved at you several times as the bright dot of the International Space Station moved across the night sky.

In the UK the impact of your mission – especially on schoolchildren – is likely to be enormous. A million pupils have been involved in carrying out experiments connected with your adventure and it will be important to see if this enthusiasm is translated into a long-term interest in science and technology in secondary schools and universities – something this country sorely needs. If such a surge takes place, you could certainly argue that the cost to the UK of this venture will be justified on these grounds alone.

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