Cecil Rhodes statue row: College governors meet amid mounting calls for Provost to quit

Telegraph - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 19:19
Members of Oriel College's governing body are expected to deny allegations that Moira Wallace mishandled calls for statue's removal

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Ebacc and A-level measures are elbowing music out of the school curriculum | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 18:54

Professor Roger Marsh (Letters, 19 January) is correct in noting that the universal adoption of the Ebacc attainment measure in England will reduce the availability of creative and artistic subjects in schools. The adoption of a similar performance measure in sixth-form league tables (the percentage of students with top grades in two or more “facilitating subjects”) has led to an 18% reduction in the number of students taking A-level music. Since creative arts subjects like music tend to be more expensive to deliver in schools, they are all the more susceptible to being axed when times are hard and budgets tight. This slump has made A-level music unviable in many schools and colleges, further perpetuating the decline and resulting in regional deserts where the subject is completely unavailable. If, as we fear, the forced adoption of the Ebacc results in a similar decline for GCSE music, the subject will be decimated in English schools. If the government is not alarmed by the prospect of fostering a generation for whom art, creativity and culture are meaningless, it may like to consider the future effects on the creative industries’ contribution to the UK economy (£84.1bn a year).
Dr Chris Collins
Professor Rachel Cowgill
National Association for Music in Higher Education

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Cosmic classroom: Tim Peake gives science lesson from space

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 17:25

Thousands of children in UK learn about zero gravity as astronaut undertakes experiments via satellite link from the International Space Station

British astronaut Tim Peake has held a science lesson in space for thousands of schoolchildren, spinning head over heels and playing ping pong with a fizzy vitamin tablet to demonstrate the effects of zero gravity.

Around 300,000 children in the UK had their usual lessons turned into a cosmic classroom as Peake undertook experiments via satellite link while travelling at 17,000mph on board the International Space Station (ISS).

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BBC's Kendall for Cambridge college

BBC - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 17:20
The BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Bridget Kendall, is leaving the corporation to become the first female master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
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Tim Peake plays 'water ping pong' in space – video

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 17:10

British astronaut Tim Peake shows children back on earth, how you can have lots fun with water droplets in space. Peake, who was taking questions via video link during the ‘cosmic classroom’ event at the World Museum in Liverpool on Tuesday, shows how water reacts in zero gravity to hydrophobic pads. He also experiments with the effects of a fizzy tablet inside a larger water droplet

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Term-time holiday father fined again

BBC - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 15:41
A father at the centre of a High Court legal battle for taking his children on school term-time holidays, is fined for a second such trip.
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Men aged 45-59 'most fed up with life'

BBC - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 15:27
Sixty-five to 79 is the happiest age group for adults, while middle-aged people have the lowest levels of well-being, a UK study suggests.
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Children seeking asylum in UK denied access to education

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 13:09

Children who are placed in temporary accommodation or arrive without families are missing out on a school place, refugee organisations say

Thousands of children seeking asylum in the UK are being denied access to education, according to organisations who work with refugees.

The children include newly arrived asylum seekers who are placed in Home Office initial accommodation with their families, unaccompanied minors who arrive here without their families, and children with their families who are dispersed to various parts of the UK by the Home Office.

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Cambridge University brings back entrance exams amid struggle to identify brightest students

Telegraph - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:55
Tests brought in to help institution choose between candidates when the AS-level is scrapped next September under government reforms

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Oxbridge academics call for 'morally sound' university investments

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:39

Demand by hundreds of academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities for evidence-based investment policies could include divestment from fossil fuels

Hundreds of academics from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford are demanding their institutions adopt an “evidence-based, morally sound investment policy that serves the needs of the future”, which could include divestment from fossil fuels.

The call is supported by Lord Deben, chair of the government’s official climate change advisory committee; Prof David Mackay, former chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; the incoming president of the Royal Society, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, as well as 300 other academics.

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Cambridge applicants to face new test

BBC - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 11:50
Would-be students at Cambridge University will have to sit written tests as part of the application process, the university's admissions director announces.
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Inspiring letter for NI school children

BBC - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 11:48
A County Antrim primary school sent a moving letter to children who received their transfer test results on Saturday.
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'It’s all about democracy': inside gender neutral schools in Sweden

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 11:01

At five preschools in Stockholm, the idea that ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘girls will be girls’ is being challenged – with interesting results

At five preschools in Stockholm you won’t find the usual designated areas for dressing up, building blocks, toy cars and dolls houses. All the toys are purposefully jumbled up together as part of a gender-neutral policy.

The concept began in 1998 when an amendment to Sweden’s Education Act stipulated that all schools must work against gender stereotyping. As a result, Lotta Rajalin, the head of five state preschools for children aged one to six, introduced gender-neutral policies in her preschools. In 2011 she opened Egalia (equality in Latin), a school that specialises in gender equal teaching – an approach that does not assume that different genders have different characteristics, wants and needs. “It’s all about democracy,” says Rajalin. “We want to give all children the same opportunities the same rights.”

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The 10 most affordable cities for students

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 10:58

As the cost of going to university rises in the UK, many British students are considering studying abroad to gain a degree and dodge a mountain of debt. Higher education data experts QS have compiled a list of the world’s most affordable cities for students, based on tuition fees and general living expenses. All cities listed are home to at least two universities.

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Cambridge University entrance tests 'potential barrier to disadvantaged'

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 10:48

Alan Milburn says introduction of written tests will result in wealthier pupils using private tutors to gain admission

Cambridge University has been accused of making its application process potentially even more of a barrier to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds after announcing it is to introduce written tests for all candidates.

The university argues it has had to introduce the new tests after the government’s A-level reforms mean many students will not sit AS-levels which have traditionally helped universities to decide whether or not to offer a place.

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Faith school bus 'discriminatory'

BBC - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 10:02
A head teacher calls for a school bus policy to be scrapped after parents complained it divided pupils on whether or not they were Catholic.
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Joan Bakewell: no-platforming is a step towards book burning

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 09:17

Banning speakers from university campuses is the wrong way to achieve change, says the broadcaster and peer

Joan Bakewell, former broadcaster and Labour peer, has said that attempts to ban controversial speakers at universities are an assault on free speech and a dangerous step towards “taking out the books and burning them”.

Her comments came after a spate of student bodies decided to “no-platform” speakers. Late last year an online petition was launched seeking to prevent Germaine Greer from giving a lecture at Cardiff University on the grounds that she has expressed transphobic views, and Brunel University students turned their backs and walked out on controversial Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins.

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‘Criminalised’ as a failing school – in the midst of Oxford’s wealthy spires

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 07:20
Rose Hill was once the most improved school in the country. But high property prices mean it has struggled to recruit staff and now Ofsted has judged it inadequate. Its headteacher talks to Sally Weale

There can be no easy way to receive the news that your school is being put into special measures. Last week Sue Vermes, headteacher at Rose Hill primary school in the south-east corner of Oxford, found herself in exactly that position.

The Oxford Mail described the report by the schools watchdog, Ofsted, as “scathing”. It detailed a string of failures: that staff training on how to prevent radicalism and extremism was not completed; there were issues around safeguarding, declining academic standards, uninspiring teaching, low expectations and low attendance. A school that a few years ago had been named the most improved in the country had slipped from “good”, to “requires improvement” and finally to the lowest category of “inadequate”.

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I went back to my old school to say: I’m gay

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 07:10
Tim Ramsey never dared come out at his all-boys grammar while a pupil. Now he’s looking for volunteers to reassure other LGBT teenagers they are not alone

I pretty much knew I was gay by the time I started secondary school - perhaps knowing all of S Club 7’s lyrics aged 11 was a giveaway, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. When I eventually did, I decided it was better not to tell anyone. At my all-boys northern grammar, being gay felt like something negative, a bit rubbish and best to hide. I was terrified my friends wouldn’t want to be my friends any more. I was convinced they might think that I fancied them all.

I knew how I was meant to be. I should play rugby, like football, hang around town after school with girls from the other local school, smuggle in a copy of FHM and talk about sex. But I didn’t. I was useless at sport and played a “gay instrument”, the flute.

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Dear Nicky Morgan: It’s too easy to say grammar schools were good | Michael Rosen

The Guardian Unlimited - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 07:00
Some schools seem to be sneakily selecting their pupils. We don’t want a return to the era when life patterns for many were laid down at age 10 … do we?

For several years, we parents in England have been regaled with the news that the secondary school system is being rejigged for our children’s benefit. With a comprehensive secondary system, overseen by local authorities, your predecessors told us we had no “choice”. Now we have an exciting array of local authority schools, academies, and free schools on offer. We can shop around finding the school that will suit our child or our outlook. And that’s fair.

When I was at school, we were told that fairness came through the 11-plus exam – a combination of a verbal-reasoning test, and tests in English and arithmetic. Before our last year at primary school, we were streamed. All the children in the B stream were told they wouldn’t pass and half the children in the A stream were told that they wouldn’t either. Every week we did tests, which were averaged, and at the end of the week we moved places in the classroom to sit ranked in order of our test scores. Our teacher stood in the middle of the A-stream class and reminded us: “All of you this side of the room will pass, all of you on this side will fail.”

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