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World Book Day 2017: teachers dress up – in pictures

Thu, 02/03/2017 - 19:04

How did you celebrate World Book Day? We went on the hunt for the best-dressed teachers and here’s our round-up

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Dr Borislav Dimitrov obituary

Thu, 02/03/2017 - 17:37

Our friend and colleague Borislav Dimitrov (“Bobo” to his close friends and family), who has died aged 50 after a stroke, was associate professor of medical statistics at the University of Southampton.

Borislav was passionate about clinical research and teaching, and had accomplished much in his academic career. Organised and reliable, he used his clinical knowledge in both applied and biomedical research, and established collaborations with leading clinicians in Southampton, Dublin, Bulgaria, Italy and the US.

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How to appeal if you fail your PhD

Thu, 02/03/2017 - 11:52

The results are in, but something’s wrong. What can you do if your classification is unfair, or there’s been a mistake?

I get four or five calls a week from panicked students who have failed their PhDs. After years of work, it can be a heartbreaking ordeal. But if you really feel your classification is unfair, or if there’s been a mistake, you could have grounds for appeal. It may seem like a gargantuan task at a difficult time, but it’s worth channelling your grievance into fighting back – rather than a regrettable email to university staff. Following these steps will help.

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Gustav Metzger, pioneer of auto-destructive art, dies aged 90

Thu, 02/03/2017 - 01:01

Artist, whose pieces included garbage bags, inspired artists such as the Who guitarist Pete Townshend

Gustav Metzger, the inventor of auto-destructive art who spent a lifetime baffling, infuriating and thrilling audiences, as well as influencing generations of younger artists, has died aged 90.

A spokeswoman for the artist said he died at his home in London.

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The poorest struggle most to get an SEN diagnosis | Letters

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 20:34

As a parent of a person with “special needs”, and now a voluntary worker supporting families with the same disability, I feel I have every right to comment (Parents too quick to seek special needs label, 24 February). The system must be at fault if “lobbying parents” are winning because pressure leads to a misdiagnosis and “genuine sufferers are losing out”. Parents like myself have to battle for a diagnosis against impenetrable barriers. Professionals cannot have the same understanding of a child’s needs and difficulties as a parent, yet feel able to ignore them.

Many of the parents we support are accused of poor parenting and do not receive a diagnosis until a crisis occurs. Most have to fight tooth and nail to “prove” their child’s disability. This can entail seeking second and third opinions, only to finally have their autism spectrum disorder confirmed. The heartache, time, effort and stress involved is exhausting. Few parents choose that path to “seek a label” in order to “blame” their child’s disability. They simply want recognition and appreciation of their child’s difference. They go in search of acceptance, inclusion, empathy and not criticism, blame and exclusion.

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Sex education to be made compulsory in secondary schools

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 20:07

MPs hail modernisation of guidance while secular campaigners express concern over potential opt-outs for faith schools

Children will be taught about healthy adult relationships from the age of four, with sex education made compulsory in all secondary schools, though faith schools will still be allowed to teach “in accordance with the tenets of their faith”, the government has announced.

Politicians and charities welcomed the radical overhaul of sex and relationship education but some secular campaigners expressed concern about the opt-outs that could be available for faith schools, saying the government needed to ensure some pupils were not left vulnerable.

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Penicillin mould created by Alexander Fleming sells for over $14,000

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 18:55

Auction house Bonham’s sells mould which was instrumental in the discovery of the world’s first antibiotic

The international auction house Bonham’s has sold a small, patchy disc of mould for $14,597 (£11,863).

The off-white, nearly 90-year-old swatch of mould was first created by Alexander Fleming to make penicillin, a revolutionary discovery that brought the world its first antibiotic.

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Tens of thousands of pupils fail to get into first choice secondary school

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 18:39

Around half a million families found out on Wednesday which secondary school their children will attend

Tens of thousands of families have been left disappointed after not getting a child into their first choice of secondary school.

Around a third of children in London – where there has been a 2% increase in applications – have missed out on their first choice of secondary school, while local authorities in larger cities have also had to deliver bad news to disappointed parents.

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Higher education’s most inspiring leader shortlist 2017

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 17:04

Read the shortlist for higher education’s most inspiring leader, selected by our expert judging panel

The judges

The Guardian Higher Education Network is delighted to reveal the shortlist for the Inspiring Leader 2017 award.

This award honours a leader who has brought out the best in their team and achieved exceptional results. They champion innovation and collaboration, deliver real change, and inspire the higher education community.

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Teaching computing? Try switching off your screens

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 16:11

From robot hamsters to beatboxing, there are plenty of activities to help students develop thinking skills associated with programming. No computers needed

Computing is now a required part of the curriculum from early years to key stage 3 and beyond. But the subject is much more than just using a computer and learning about programming: it’s a way of thinking, of understanding the world so that people can change it.

Those thinking skills can also be developed away from the computer; in fact, moving away from the screen can often help students understand the ideas without being distracted by the technology. They are more likely, as well, to be able to transfer them to new contexts.

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STIs and crisp-packet contraception: what I learned from talking about sex in schools

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 13:31

Our teens are woefully under-educated about sex and relationships, as I found out first-hand. Compulsory lessons in schools can’t come a moment too soon

Everyone has a story about crap sex education. My own consisted of a single afternoon in primary school, where a shame-faced stranger haltingly warned us about our impending wet dreams in such abstract terms that she may as well have been explaining quantum chromodynamics. That was all we got. It’s a wonder we are not all dead.

So the news that sex and relationship education will soon be compulsory in British secondary schools, with children from four years old upwards receiving lessons in relationships, should be widely celebrated. I left school two decades ago and, despite spending a solid month on the subject, I am yet to encounter a situation where I have needed to know what an oxbow lake is. Meanwhile, had my school put the same effort into sex and relationships, I guarantee that I would still be using those lessons to this day.

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Comps aren’t helping social mobility. So why not bring back selection? | Mary Dejevsky

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 13:22
Something has to change when poorer children from good catchment areas are still missing out on a decent education

As pupils across England and Wales learn where they will be going to secondary school, two separate studies have shown that the wealth divide in education is more entrenched than ever, with children from poorer households far less likely to attend the best-performing schools.

Teach First, the charity that places high-flying graduates in schools in deprived areas, found children from poorer families are half as likely to attend an outstanding school as their richer contemporaries, while the Sutton Trust, the education thinktank that focuses on social mobility, found poorer children are much less likely to attend any of the 500 top-performing comprehensive schools, as judged by GCSE grades. While 17% of pupils qualify for free school meals – the standard gauge of low family income – only 9% of those attending the top 500 do.

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UK National Offer Day: what are your experiences?

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:46

Parents are finding out whether their child has been accepted to their favoured secondary school. Share your stories and photos with us

Parents across the UK are finding out today whether their children have been accepted into their first-choice secondary school.

But National Offer Day, as it’s known, led to disappointment last year with reports of thousands missing out of their top choice. This was particularly the case in big cities such as London and Birmingham. It looks like it could be a similar story this year, with reports that 90,000 could be left disappointed.

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Why do we have such contradictory messages about school?

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:30

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts

Why do people say school is important, but also that you won’t need the stuff they teach you ever again? It’s so contradictory.

Lena Zellin

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