The Guardian view on schools: the cuts are hurting | Editorial

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 16/01/2017 - 18:39
Less money, fewer teachers, little transparency and almost no accountability. A child’s education is too important for this

The last few weeks have been all about the NHS crisis, but new figures published today reveal the stark cash situation facing schools in England. Forty nine out of every 50 schools, according to research by the Association of School and College Leaders and the Secondary Heads Association, will see a real-term per pupil funding fall between now and 2020; some schools lose up to 17% of their per pupil funding. That is the sharpest cut to schools’ budgets since the 1970s. The scale of today’s problem was illustrated last month by the National Audit Office, which showed the average secondary academy is in the red by more than £350,000.

Education lacks the immediate warning lights of health: hospitals being forced to divert ambulances, cancel cancer operations and treat patients on trolleys in corridors. But these funding pressures are no less damaging than those facing the health service. They jeopardise the significant progress made in recent decades: nine out of 10 schools are now rated as good or outstanding. Without a sensible settlement inequalities will widen. Most notably, there is huge geographic imbalance in school quality. Children living in London have a far better chance of attending a good school than in Liverpool, where almost half of schools are inadequate or “require improvement”. In the northern powerhouse of Manchester the figure is one in three. This is a fundamental issue for social mobility.

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Ban unpaid internships that penalise working-class young, say MPs

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 16/01/2017 - 17:48

Social mobility group says pressure to work for free is key barrier to creative career for people from disadvantaged backgrounds

MPs have called for a ban on unpaid internships, which they say unfairly penalise working-class young people who cannot spend long periods of time working for free to get into their chosen career.

More employers should also consider contextual recruitment, according to a report by members of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on social mobility. Under this system, firms are required to consider a candidate’s achievements in the context of their underprivileged background.

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Watching porn in public is not OK. It’s harassment | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 16/01/2017 - 16:44
Yes, there are men who watch porn on the bus. We must challenge this disrespectful and distressing behaviour – and the culture that underlies it

You’re on the train, or the bus, or the tube, or the tram. Perhaps you’re on the way to work, crammed in during the damp crush of winter rush hour. Or you’re on your way home, and it’s late, and dark, and half empty. Or maybe, even, because you are young, you are on your way to or from school. Whatever the purpose of your journey, you are sharing it with other people, and, as often happens in a public place, your eyes flicker to the screen of the device of the person next to you, and that man (because it does often seem to be a man) is watching porn, right in front of you.

After BBC Woman’s Hour producer Siobhann Tighe witnessed a man doing this on a London bus, the Radio 4 programme discussed the issue at the end of last week. The response the show received over the weekend has been – aside from the predictable sadness, disgust, and outrage – that yes, this happens. Discussing it with friends and on social media, many revealed that they had witnessed it too.

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School support staff 'tired and stressed'

BBC - Mon, 16/01/2017 - 09:53
Support staff in Scotland's schools are feeling exhausted, undervalued and stressed as a result of cuts, according to a trade union.
Categories: Education news feeds

Funding shake-up risks cuts in most schools, say unions

BBC - Mon, 16/01/2017 - 03:53
Government plans to reform school budgets risk cuts in most schools, say teachers' unions.
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Education secretary's constituency to lose out in funding changes

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 16/01/2017 - 00:01

The government’s ‘fair funding’ formula will see 98% of state schools’ funding cut, say unions, with cities worst affected

Schools in education secretary Justine Greening’s constituency will be among thousands across England suffering steep budget cuts despite the government’s new “fair funding” formula, according to analysis released by six unions.

Related: Tory backlash grows over school funding plans

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Oxford University rejection letter turned into art

BBC - Sun, 15/01/2017 - 18:52
A student who was rejected from Oxford University turns her letter into a piece of abstract art.
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Southwark free school in London to close after attracting only 60 pupils

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 15/01/2017 - 17:45

The school, supported by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, had struggled to find a permanent site and recruit staff since 2012

A free school supported by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson against local opposition will abruptly close next month after attracting only 60 pupils since it opened in 2012, and struggling to recruit staff and find a permanent site.

Parents of pupils at Southwark free school, housed in a community hall and temporary cabins near Old Kent Road in south London, have been told the school is expected to close by mid February, meaning the pupils will be sent to other schools.

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‘How to resign in a panic’ – and other courses for the Brexit studies syllabus

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 15/01/2017 - 16:00

Birmingham City University’s new Centre for Brexit Studies opens this month. Will its first modules look like this?

Are you a student? Based in the Midlands? In possession of such a crippling compulsion to be correct that you’re willing to devote several years of your life to it?

Great news, because Birmingham City University has just announced its new Centre for Brexit Studies. The centre promises to “further enhance understanding of the consequences of the UK withdrawing from the European Union”.

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Zygmunt Bauman obituary

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 15/01/2017 - 12:45
Professor of sociology at Leeds University who analysed the refugee issue and the rise of rightwing populism as a ‘crisis in humanity’

In a book published in 2000, the Polish-born sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who has died aged 91, deployed a metaphor since taken up by the anti-globalisation movement around the world. Liquid Modernity analysed the disappearance of the solid structures and institutions that once provided the stable foundations for well-ordered modern societies, and the consequences for individuals and communities.

Bauman, professor of sociology at Leeds University (1971-91, and then emeritus), argued that our “liquid modern” world was unable to stand still and keep its shape for long. Everything seems to change – the fashions we follow, the events that catch our attention, the things we dream of and the things we fear. An increasing polarisation between the elite and the rest, our growing tolerance of ever-expanding inequalities, and a separation between power and politics remained constant themes in his writings – in all he produced more than 60 books. As the state and the market vie for supremacy within the space of global capitalism, the fate of poor and vulnerable people assumes particular importance. As he put it: “When elephants fight, pity the grass.”

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Missed the Ucas application deadline? All is not lost

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 22:30

The 6pm deadline is Sunday 15 January for students to submit their application. But there are a few options left if you miss it ...

The deadline for Ucas applications is 6pm on Sunday 15 January. But if you miss it – be it due to indecision, delayed references or technological problems – don’t worry: there’s still time to land a place. Here are your other options:

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Oxford University accused of failing to deal with admissions racism

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 16:38

Former higher education minister David Lammy tells acrimonious Oxford debate unconscious bias remains a problem

A former higher education minister has accused the University of Oxford of failing to adequately tackle racism caused by an “unconscious bias” against black and disadvantaged applicants.

The Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy provoked an indignant response from the senior representatives of Oxford colleges, with one interrupting him to call his comments absolute nonsense during a debate at the university.

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Oxford University college sorry for rejection email errors

BBC - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 11:53
Hertford College apologises after sharing rejection letters with all candidates via email.
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What I’m really thinking: the professor’s wife

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 09:00

I want him to be respected for his achievements, just not at my expense

“Oh, so your husband’s a professor? Well, he must be really clever then.” Well, actually, no – I’m the clever one. He’s very, very, knowledgable in a moderately obscure area of human knowledge. I know loads about everything. I’ve been at academic functions where someone has asked what I do, and when I’ve replied, “Bringing up the next generation” or “Looking after small children”, they have looked blank and turned away. I’m a non-person; not an academic, valueless and probably stupid.

It’s not that I don’t value my partner’s achievements; I’ve been there every step of the way from the first temporary research assistant contract. I know what has gone into it: the all-nighters, the up-at-3am writing papers and lecture notes; the holidays when he never left the computer, producing the books that led to the promotions that led to the holy grail of the title.

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Secret Teacher: myths of the Ofsted monster keep schools in fear

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 07:00

Schools take extreme, often ridiculous, measures in the name of Ofsted approval. This obsession is bad for everyone

Schools, understandably, want to be “Ofsted-ready”. In the past three years as a supply teacher, however, I’ve seen how headteachers use the threat of an imminent Ofsted visit to create a climate of fear and control.

Related: Secret Teacher: I see Ofsted for what it is – a purposeless farce

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Dear Jeremy – your work problems solved

The Guardian Unlimited - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 06:59
Our careers expert – and you the readers – advise a worker on how to leave a failing company on good terms, and an international student seeking an internship

I work for a two-man consulting company – my boss is a friend from university and owns all the business. Over the past 12 months he seems to have lost all interest and has not been performing at all. He has had many problems in his personal life involving a bereavement, and hasn’t been interested in winning new business or seeing to it that our current client work is done properly.

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