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Latest education news, comment and analysis on schools, colleges, universities, further and higher education and teaching from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 14 hours 25 min ago

Get kids telling stories to speak truth to power | Brief letters

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 19:49
Oral skills in schools | The Trial and The Law Machine | Alan Titchmarsh’s gravitas | Loose canon | Grannies

As a storyteller and speech and language therapist I was delighted to see Tim Lott’s article (Ditch the grammar and teach storytelling instead, 20 May). However, his emphasis turns out to be on story writing, not storytelling. Oracy has been fatally sidelined by government policies, yet we know that oral skills must be in place to ensure the development of literacy. So please, by all means teach the writing of stories, but get kids telling stories – not just myths, legends and fiction but the events and experiences of their own lives, which is the way we build empathy, resilience and the confidence to speak truth to power.
Nicola Grove
Horningsham, Wiltshire

• Channel 4’s The Trial (Last night’s TV, 22 May) is far from being the first television series to show a trial using real barristers, a real judge and a jury chosen by the same process as real ones. In 1983 I presented The Law Machine, a 10-part series transmitted by London Weekend Television, which did exactly the same. Moreover, it featured both a criminal trial and – with a different judge and barristers, and, of course, no jury – the civil proceedings for damages that arose as a result.
Marcel Berlins
London

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Grammar schools: back to the bad old days of inequality – podcast

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 17:56

Theresa May wants to bring back selective schools, but what about the kids who fail the 11-plus? A secondary modern pupil remembers the inept teachers, classroom riots and useless qualifications of the two-tier education system

• Read the text version here

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Jeremy Deller behind 'strong and stable my arse' posters in London

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 16:26

Turner prize-winning artist says he hopes posters are self-explanatory – especially after Theresa May’s social care U-turn

Posters bearing the words “strong and stable my arse” which were spotted across London over the weekend are the work of the artist Jeremy Deller.

Passersby began tweeting pictures of the posters from Peckham to Soho to Kentish Town on Friday, but the question was: who was behind them?

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When schools can’t afford toilet rolls let alone teachers, we must fight | Julie Ferry

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 15:56
With funding cuts hitting hard, I understand the begging letters from schools. But the answer for parents has to be: reach for our placards, not our wallets

On Saturday I attended my first protest march. The weather was grey and drizzly, my banner, saying “No more cuts” was hastily made the night before and I really wished I had brought a whistle. But along with many other march virgins, I joined a crowd of about 6,000 people walking through Bristol, shouting “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts” at the top of my voice, in protest at cuts to the education budget.

Related: Headteachers write to parents over school funding and job cuts

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When grades aren't enough: how to sell your academic brilliance

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 14:01

For postgraduates already looking ahead to an academic career, it’s worth learning how to hold your nose and sell yourself

Academia is nice work, if you can get it. It quickly became clear to me, as a PhD student, that completing the PhD was just the beginning. Unless you publish open access, most scholars won’t read your work – more than half of published papers are never cited – and that means you’ve got to be more creative about displaying your expertise. Master’s and PhD students eyeing up an academic career need to accept that self-promotion is a major part of academia: that’s obviously the case when grant writing, but is no less relevant when talking about job applications, conference papers and publishing proposals.

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Theresa May's social care wobble - Election Daily podcast

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 13:49

Jonathan Freedland and Owen Jones are joined by Zoe Williams in the first of our daily podcasts in the run-up to election day. As the Conservatives rethink their unpopular social care plans, the polls are narrowing.

Do you have a question about the election for our panel? Please fill out our form

In the first of our daily election podcasts, Jonathan Freedland and Owen Jones are joined by columnist Zoe Williams.

With the Conservatives on the defensive, polls are narrowing and their showcase policy on social care has been stuck with the label ‘dementia tax’. Today Theresa May ‘clarified’ that the policy would include an overall cap on costs. After a major wobble and a manifesto U-turn, could there yet be a twist in the tale of this election?

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Green party outlines plan for 'caring Britain' in manifesto launch

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 12:45

‘Green Guarantee’ centres on opposition to hard Brexit and aims to woo young voters with pledge to axe university tuition fees

The Green party has launched an election manifesto for what it calls a “confident and caring Britain”, centred on proposals including a universal basic income, opposition to a hard Brexit and an appeal to young voters.

Introducing the 23-page document, the party’s co-leader, Caroline Lucas, said young people had been betrayed by politicians.

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Kids working on Kabul's streets get a second chance at childhood | Sune Engel Rasmussen

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 12:45

Afghan parents in desperate poverty often rely on sending children to work, but a school run on donations offers young people an alternative to a life of toil

Omid used to spend his days in traffic jams around Kabul, washing cars with a ragged cloth. At the end of the day, the seven-year-old took home the money he had earned so his father wouldn’t sell another piece of furniture from the house to buy drugs.

Haroon began working in traffic at the age of six, as an espandi, warding off evil spirits by waving a tin of coals over car bonnets so smoke wafted through drivers’ windows. On his best day of business, a woman stopped in an armoured vehicle and handed him 1,000 afghanis (£11). On most days, he earned less than 100 afghanis.

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Labour’s scrapping of tuition fees isn’t the progressive measure it appears | Frances Ryan

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 12:24

The best way for Jeremy Corbyn to help disadvantaged children would be to boost early-years education. Inequality takes root young

With the threat of a hard Tory Brexit and crumbling public services, to be distracted by Labour’s internal divisions this election is to focus squarely on the wrong thing. But there’s one dispute that’s worth paying attention to – not as gossip but because it’s a snapshot of one of the biggest debates facing the left.

Related: Labour pledges to abolish tuition fees as early as autumn 2017

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Guardian Education Centre 15th anniversary: 15 things you may not know about us

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 09:45

The Guardian Foundation’s Education Centre is 15 years old. Since we opened in May 2002, over 120,000 visitors have participated in our workshops, events and activities. Here are 15 things you may not know about us

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Labour pledges to abolish tuition fees as early as autumn 2017

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 22:30

Jeremy Corbyn to say party will seek to provide free tuition for EU students in UK, with reciprocal arrangements in Europe

New university students will be freed from paying £9,000 in tuition fees as early as this autumn if Labour wins the election, Jeremy Corbyn will say on Monday.

The Labour leader and Angela Rayner, his shadow education secretary, will say tuition fees will be completely abolished through legislation from 2018 onwards.

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Malcolm Swan obituary

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 17:52

My friend and colleague Malcolm Swan, who has died aged 64 of a brain tumour, was a driving force in the international movement to improve the teaching of mathematics.

Malcolm’s exceptional skill lay in the design of materials that enable maths teachers to turn research insights into happy learning in their classrooms. He did this through a combination of deep understanding, creative ideas and a genius for design. His lessons contained surprise and delight, humanity and humour – qualities not always associated with lessons in mathematics. Teachers around the world enthuse about his work.

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Terry Doyle obituary

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 17:45

My friend and colleague Terry Doyle, who has died aged 73, was a dynamic television programme maker who made a fine contribution to language learning in Britain.

Terry made television series for the BBC introducing Russian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Japanese to British audiences. They all had linked learning materials and brought other cultures engagingly into millions of British sitting rooms. His work had a strong documentary element and was as much concerned with people as with language.

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There is hope for universities in the Tory manifesto

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 13:00

If universities can convince Theresa May they are the solution to problems set out in the manifesto, they could play a key role in delivering her agenda

It would have been easy for me to write a piece on why the Conservative manifesto spells doom and gloom for universities. Attacking the prime minister might even have gained me a headline or two (and some new friends in the sector). But this approach would have been a crude and unconstructive response. It would have underplayed the impressive ability of universities to adapt, innovate and have a lasting impact on individuals, local communities and the economy.

Related: How do we show international students they're still welcome in the UK?

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Campaigners try to rally young people to vote as deadline approaches

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 12:29

Voter registration closes on Monday at midnight, and youth groups and grassroots organisations are racing against the clock

Isis Middleton has little sympathy for young people who decide not to vote. “I find it really irritating when people say politics is boring,” says the 19-year-old medical chemistry student, taking a break in the square of the University of East Anglia in Norwich. “You can’t get pissed off about politicians for ignoring us if you don’t vote.”

But time is running out for unregistered young people, with the deadline for applications at 11.59pm on Monday.

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My son wants to be a pop star and hates school | Mariella Frostrup

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 05:59

The path to fame and fortune is no easy ride, says Mariella Frostrup. That’s the best lesson parents can pass on

The dilemma Our son has given up on study. He has never really enjoyed school. He complains that teachers don’t know how to control classes, feels he learns very little in a day and questions the ritual humiliation he experiences through PE.

He is intelligent, but also sensitive with a passion for music. He is talented and spends nearly all of his time playing guitar or rehearsing with a school band. He says various artists never needed exam success, and cites Liam Gallagher who apparently only got 4 GCSEs.

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‘Isolated’ poorer students more likely to drop out, study shows

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 00:03
Survey finds that students from poorer backgrounds feel less well integrated

Less affluent students in higher education are significantly more likely to experience problems with socialising and integrating than their peers from well-off families, says a major new study.

Only 33% of the students from D and E socioeconomic groups said they were well integrated with the students they lived with, compared with 50% of students from A and B socioeconomic groups. Only 34% of the group said they had friends at university whom they socialised with at least twice a week, compared with 48% of AB students.

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May school lunch cut ‘would hit 900,000 children of struggling families’

Sat, 20/05/2017 - 21:00

Move could undermine key Tory target of helping families ‘just about managing’, as concerns grow over social care pledge

About 900,000 children from struggling families will lose their right to free school lunches under a cut unveiled in the Conservative manifesto.

The total includes more than 600,000 young children recently defined as coming from “ordinary working families”, according to analysis for the Observer by the Education Policy Institute.

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Jamie Oliver: 'Theresa May will regret scrapping free school lunches' – video

Sat, 20/05/2017 - 11:09

Jamie Oliver speaks to Channel 4’s Matt Frei on Friday after the Conservative manifesto revealed the party will end universal free school lunches for primary school children in their first three years if it returns to power. Oliver says the move is awful and shortsighted

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Green party proposes scrapping all existing student debt

Sat, 20/05/2017 - 08:00

The Greens are set to unveil manifesto on Monday, when they say they will present the means by which they will pay for such plans

With Labour having promised to scrap university tuition fees if elected, the Greens are going one step further, with a pledge to write off all existing student loan debts, at a cost of more than £14bn over the next parliament.

The party, which is already committed to ending tuition fees, concedes that this cost would be significantly higher over time, given the long period during which the loans are repaid.

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