What was the 1930s really like? We want to hear your family's stories

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 09/01/2017 - 11:02

From the Great Depression to world war, we are seeking memories, stories and photographs for a special Guardian edition

It seems that everyone from Prince Charles to Paul Krugman to Lord Ashdown is drawing parallels between today’s tumultuous political and social events and the 1930s – bookended, as they were, by the Great Depression and the second world war.

We’d like to know what Guardian readers recall of the 1930s – either directly or via stories that have been passed down from older family members. They could be tales of the hunger marches and protests such as Jarrow, as reported here by the Guardian in 1936, or stories about the impact of the Great Depression in the US and around the world.

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Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t – and Ireland knows it | Charlotte Blease

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 09/01/2017 - 08:00

With jobs being automated and knowledge being devalued, humans need to rediscover flexible thinking. That starts in schools

At the controls of driverless cars, on the end of the telephone when you call your bank or favourite retailer: we all know the robots are coming, and in many cases are already here. Back in 2013, economists at Oxford University’s Martin School estimated that in the next 20 years, more than half of all jobs would be substituted by intelligent technology. Like the prospect of robot-assisted living or hate it, it is foolish to deny that children in school today will enter a vastly different workplace tomorrow – and that’s if they’re lucky. Far from jobs being brought back from China, futurologists predict that white-collar jobs will be increasingly outsourced to digitisation as well as blue-collar ones.

Philosophy isn’t a cure-all for the world’s current or future woes. But it can build immunity against careless judgments, and unentitled certitude

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Fancy a career change? Look before you make your leap

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 09/01/2017 - 07:00
There are steps you can take to help maximise your chances of success. We talk to four people who flourished after stepping into the unknown

Today is the first working Monday in January, the most popular day of the year to make a job application, according to recruiters. Agency Reed says more than four million people are expected to kick off their job search this week, and many of them may have more than just a new post in mind. According to research by Standard Life, more than half of UK workers would like to completely change careers.

For many, however, switching careers is a huge financial gamble. “If you’re planning to change, expect to get a lower income in the short term,” says Reed’s chairman James Reed.

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Am I eligible to work in an internship as an international student?

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 09/01/2017 - 07:00

As well as potential visa restrictions, I’m struggling to discover intern opportunities

Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremy advice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights.

I am an international student planning to study in the UK with a view to a career in fashion. According to my visa (Tier 4), as I understand it, I am not allowed to work during the course – I am only eligible to do so in holidays and during seasonal breaks. I want to know if there are any summer internships I could apply for in fashion.

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Politics and jobs 'swell youth anxiety' - Prince's Trust

BBC - Mon, 09/01/2017 - 01:04
Political upheaval, job worries and low self-confidence have left young people anxious and daunted, a survey suggests.
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Economics must return to its founding principles | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 19:30

Wouldn’t today’s economists be better served by reading some economics history rather than relying on their models (Economics in crisis, admits Bank expert, 6 January)? JK Galbraith’s classic The Great Crash, 1929 details the things that contribute to a volatile, overheating economy, and in the foreword to the recent reprint, his son James, also an economist, notes the uncanny similarities in the build-up to 2007-08 to those before October 1929, particularly mentioning America, Britain and Iceland. But how far can economists be of help when the model is flawed and we have a government that is determined to sweep away all vestiges of Keynesianism and New Dealism and return our economy to the 19th century?
David Redshaw
Gravesend, Kent

• The reason economics is so poor at predicting is that it was never designed as a science in the first place. The origins of the discipline were as a political and ethical subject, and the founders were explicit about this. Indeed Alfred Marshall (who first fully developed supply and demand analysis) said a pure economic science was a waste of time. What contemporary orthodox economics has done is to patch together a variety of competing political economies, which is why it is contradictory and irrelevant, and is unable to explain why change occurs let alone predict it. It is presented as a science in order to justify largely laissez-faire policies.

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School funding cuts worse than predicted | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 19:30

There was an omission in your article on the public services in 2017 (Society, 4 January): there was no mention of education. Yet the government’s long-awaited announcement of its national funding formula for schools has left head teachers and politicians reeling. The NUT and ATL were accused by the Department for Education of scaremongering when we predicted losses in November through our School Cuts website. But far from scaremongering, the reality is worse than we predicted – 98% of schools will have their per-pupil funding cut, with an average loss per primary pupil of £339, and £477 per secondary pupil. Such is the scale of the problem that even Conservative MPs are now waking up to the fact that schools in their constituencies will suffer unmanageable cuts.

Balancing the books has become the worst aspect of many heads’ jobs. Begging letters to parents for equipment, repairs and resources are common. School staff posts are being left unfilled. Class sizes are increasing and the curriculum is being pared back to the basics, as arts and vocational subjects are being lost. No funding system for schools can be fair unless funding levels are sufficient. The education secretary, Justine Greening, has no option but to insist that our schools are funded to a level where they can operate effectively. Parents, children and young people deserve nothing less.
Kevin Courtney General secretary, National Union of Teachers, Mary Bousted General secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers

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EU rules already offer a solution on freedom of movement |Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 19:29

On Europe, the key issue is not article 50. Rather, the answer to the question (Editorial, 6 January) on how to combine a border regime that is fluid enough to preserve economic dynamism and rigorous enough to inspire public confidence lies in articles 48 and 49 of the original treaty of Rome. Article 48 states that “freedom of movement for workers shall entail the right (a) to accept offers of employment actually made; (b) to move freely within the territory of member states for this purpose.” Article 49 calls for “the achievement of a balance between supply and demand in the employment market in such a way as to avoid serious threats to the standard of living and level of employment in the various regions and industries”. 

In other words, the treaty is not a neoliberal free for all. Freedom of movement is specifically tied to agreed, contracted employment and recognises the need to balance labour supply and demand. Here is the basis for a serious negotiation between the UK and the rest of the EU. These articles offer the framework for Andrea Leadsom to argue for seasonal agricultural labour and for hospitals and care homes to be able to recruit staff as required. Returning to the original principles of the treaty of Rome would be in the interests of all parties. It would permit a migration policy managed according to the needs of the economy. Are there British and European politicians up to the task?
Jon Bloomfield
Birmingham

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Transforming Tottenham: a short film about change in London

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 12:16

A part of the capital best known for football and riots is undergoing a major metamorphosis, driven by its local authority. What are its aims and how do local people feel about it?

Tottenham has much to recommend it but also some stubborn problems, including a lingering reputation, vastly unfair on most of its people, for violent disorder and crime. What is the best way for its Labour-run local authority to change what is bad without losing what is good? How can it effect change when its powers and budgets are increasingly limited by central government? How do local people feel about its strategy? I spent some time in the area last week with student film maker Max Curwen-Bingley, gathering a range of insights and views. We hope you find them enlightening. The film is 11-and-a-half-minutes long.

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Grammar schools offer ‘pitifully few’ places to poorer children

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 18:00
Selection is no driver of social mobility, according to analysis of 2016 data

Claims by Theresa May that grammar schools have proved to be great engines of social mobility have been undermined by figures showing that the vast majority of grammars admit only a tiny proportion of children from the poorest families.

As pupils return after the Christmas break, official figures show that in many grammar schools, less than 1% of the total pupil intake receives free school meals (an indicator of the poorest families). Only one of the 163 selective schools in England takes in more than 10% from this least well-off group.

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Secret Teacher: cutting staff numbers to save money is a dangerous game

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 07:00

Management has decided that teachers won’t be replaced when they leave. We’re losing valuable skills and risking our most vulnerable pupils

Our latest inset was one we were dreading, and not just for the rubbish refreshments. We knew the news wouldn’t be good. The status quo – one of discontent and rock-bottom morale – was about to get even worse. And then came the announcement: as a means of saving money, the school would not be replacing staff who leave.

Instead, their duties are to be “absorbed” by other staff members, presenting several immediate problems. Firstly, these remaining staff members may not have the expertise and experience to perform these duties effectively. Secondly, they almost certainly don’t have time to give to these responsibilities.

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A letter to … My parents, who abandoned me to boarding school

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 06:30

The letter you always wanted to write

I can understand why you did it. In theory. I understand that you wanted to give me the best education money could buy. I don’t blame you for sending me away to an extremely strict boarding school when I was very young. I think you genuinely thought it was best for me – and for my younger brother, who you also sent away, to another boarding school in another part of the country, miles away from me.

What I find harder to forgive is that when there were clear signs that things weren’t working out – when I was constantly in trouble and deeply unhappy – when I attempted to kill myself as a teenager – you didn’t do anything about it. I can’t understand why you didn’t admit it wasn’t working out, pull me out of school and let me come home so we could figure it out together. I can’t understand how you let us come home at the holidays and didn’t once say: Stay here. How could you not pick up on the signs that my sibling was being bullied? Why didn’t you make any attempts to repair your family? You were meant to try to make things better. Isn’t that what parents do? After I ran away, after I tried to kill myself, you told me to pick myself up and go back to school – and that’s what I did. This taught me that, no matter how bad I feel, nothing will change and I just have to battle on – an unhelpful belief that has taken decades to work through.

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Andrew Ward obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 06/01/2017 - 18:34

My fiance, Andrew Ward, who has died aged 38, was born with cystic fibrosis. The life expectancy of someone born today with CF is 41, but for Andy it was a triumph to reach adulthood. Throughout his life he defied the odds.

Andy was born and brought up in Leeds, the son of Valerie Bond (nee Ward), a cleaner, and Steven Westerman, a builder. He attended Whitecote primary, Bramley St Peter’s C of E middle and Benjamin Gott High schools, then left home to become a bar supervisor in Harvey’s wine bar, Leeds. After being retired through ill health in his early 20s, he returned to education and completed an access to higher education course in 2009.

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Tory backlash grows over school funding plans

The Guardian Unlimited - Fri, 06/01/2017 - 17:54

Prominent Conservative MPs expect Justine Greening to review proposal which will see cuts for nearly a third of schools

Justine Greening is facing a growing revolt from fellow Conservative MPs over the government’s new funding formula for schools.

The education secretary announced proposals in December that will see cuts for nearly a third of schools which, between them, serve more than 2 million pupils. Almost 11,000 schools in England will gain extra money from 2018-19.

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Family matters

BBC - Fri, 06/01/2017 - 17:08
In case you missed these stories, here's a round-up of this week's parenting news from the BBC.
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