Funding formula must meet all schools’ needs | Letters

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 19:23

The lack of interest shown by academy chains in small village schools is understandable (Report, 23 April). In its plan to introduce a national funding formula for schools, the government is removing the ability of local authorities to subsidise small rural schools through local funding formulas. In the past local authorities kept village schools open by manipulating distribution of the education grant to give these schools more money.

These variations reflected local community priorities. Not surprisingly, in rural areas village schools are popular. Under a national funding regime with no local variation, small schools are not financially viable, nor can they be. The money follows the pupils. With only a few pupils, there isn’t enough money. Business-savvy academy chain CEOs are unlikely to be attracted to such financial dead weights.

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Local authority schools outperform academies, research suggests

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 18:56

86% of council-run schools in England rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 82% for academies

The government’s plan to force all schools to become academies has come under further attack with research which suggests that council-maintained schools outperform academies at inspection.

Analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that 86% of local authority schools are rated good or outstanding by the schools watchdog, Ofsted, compared with 82% of academies and 79% of free schools.

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Tory MPs 'challenge academy compulsion'

BBC - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 18:41
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan defends plans to force all schools to become academies - but backbench Tories want her to drop the compulsion.
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Council-run academies 'could be easier'

BBC - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 16:44
In a bid to avert a backbench rebellion, ministers signal they could make it easier for councils to run academies
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How to teach ... dance

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 15:53

Get toes tapping in the classroom and celebrate International Dance Day with our lessons plans and ideas

Albert Einstein was better known for his groundbreaking moves in physics than on the dancefloor, but he had respect for cutting a rug, claiming that “dancers are the athletes of God”. Since 1982, 29 April has been designated International Dance Day, with events taking place across the globe to encourage greater attention and respect for the art form.

And there are plenty of reasons to shimmy. With childhood obesity on the rise, it could add some much-needed activity and, for the adults, research suggests that shaking your stuff has the same effect on happiness as a £1,600 pay rise (take that, performance-related pay). So why not take the opportunity to teach your students about the benefits of busting a groove?

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Researching Cuban independence has taught me what matters in life

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 15:13

I love my PhD, not because it will further my academic career, but because it has brought me close to extraordinary people and taught me about myself

My PhD combines some of the most fascinating things and places in the world: archaeology, Cuba and concentration camps. I see the amazing, terrible and exotic images flowing into people’s minds as I try to summarise my research.

Related: My PhD gives a voice to women abused by their husbands in the '80s

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Devolution will decide the future of the civil service

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 13:34

Bernard Jenkin’s new inquiry into the civil service doesn’t even mention devolution – yet it will determine the size and shape of Whitehall

Bernard Jenkin isn’t only the chair of a busy Commons committee, he is also a leading light of the out campaign to leave the EU – which isn’t going to pack up and go home, whatever the outcome on June 23. And now the public administration and constitutional affairs committee has just announced a mega inquiry into the civil service – structure, effectiveness and all – and is collecting evidence double quick, by early June.

Maybe Jenkin and fellow MPs will remedy this when they sit down to deliberate, but already they seem to have fallen prey to Whitehall’s chronic disease – myopic departmentalism. That’s odd because under Jenkin, the former public administration select committee singled out lack of strategic co-ordination as one of the centre’s besetting faults.

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Honorary degree for Dr Who star Tennant

BBC - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 13:05
Doctor Who star David Tennant to be awarded an honorary degree from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
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NUS 'right to have no platform policy'

BBC - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 11:13
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of university students believe the National Union of Students is right to have a "no platforming" policy, a Victoria Derbyshire programme survey suggests.
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Meet the students crowdfunding their tuition

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 10:35

Desperate to get through uni without amassing a mountain of debt, students are turning to online backers. Does this actually work?

Shameless e-begging, or a justified act of financial desperation? The idea of crowdfunding university fees will certainly divide opinion. But raising money on sites such as Hubbub, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo is becoming a go-to strategy for thousands of students.

Faced with unregulated and increasing tuition fees, postgraduate students are among the most desperate of these self-fundraisers. Some are ineligible for the government’s new postgraduate loan, while prospects can be just as bleak for those who are: the scheme’s repayment terms are steeper than those of undergraduate student loans, and it won’t always cover all costs.

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Princess of Denmark

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 08:00

This be madness, yet there is method in’t

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Wait … is that a rule? Ten everyday grammar mistakes you might be making

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 03:07

Before their workshop at the NGV Art Book Fair in Melbourne, writing studio the Good Copy shares some tips

Should you use italics for movie titles? Do you put full stops inside or outside quotation marks? Is the Oxford comma for all lists … or just some lists? Should that ellipsis have had a space on either side of it?

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Phonics method helps close attainment gap, study finds

The Guardian Unlimited - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 00:01

Approach has significant long-term benefits for disadvantaged pupils and those with English as an additional language, researchers say

Teaching children how to read using synthetic phonics results in significant long-term benefits for disadvantaged pupils from poorer backgrounds and those who do not have English as their first language, according to research.

The study by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics (LSE) is the first large-scale analysis of the effects of using the method, which teaches children to read by identifying and pronouncing sounds rather than individual letters.

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VIDEO: Councils in academies plan warning

BBC - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 22:51
A group of local authorities have warned that government plans to make all schools in England academies could fail to raise standards.
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I’m the new NUS president – and no, I’m not an antisemitic Isis sympathiser | Malia Bouattia

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 15:01
The accusations being directed at me this week are deeply troubling and false. I want to focus on liberating education and opportunity for all

This week I became the first black woman to be elected president of the National Union of Students, and the first Muslim who will hold this position too. But instead of celebrating and publicising this incredible landmark, the media coverage has been cluttered with stories calling me a racist, an antisemite, an Islamic State sympathiser and more.

The truth is, as those who know me well understand, I’ve always been a strong campaigner against racism and fascism in all its forms. And I’d like to set a few things straight.

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New NUS president accuses media of printing falsehoods

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 15:01

Malia Bouattia says newspaper reports that she is antisemitic and supports Islamic State are ‘simply not true’

The new National Union of Students president, Malia Bouattia, has accused the media of printing falsehoods about her being antisemitic and supporting Islamic State rather than celebrating her “incredible landmark” election.

Bouattia became the first black woman and first Muslim to be elected head of the NUS last week, but her overwhelming victory has been tainted by negative headlines and threats by some individual student unions to disaffiliate from the NUS.

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Workload is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low morale in teaching

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 08:00

After surveying 1,400 teachers about wellbeing in the profession, teacher and author Emma Kell discovered bullying and a lack of recognition are also huge problems

A few years ago, I recommended teaching to someone dear to me whom I felt would be a fantastic asset to the profession. This year, she moved to the UK to rise to the challenge. I have seen her tested to her limits. After her fifth week in the job, she wrote this:

On my way home from school yesterday apparently one of my colleagues saw me from their car. They were right in front of me, but I didn’t even notice. I was on another planet and in my own head worrying about progress, progress, progress, marking, marking, marking. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick in my life. Someone actually stopped me at the train station and asked me if I was okay.

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The week in radio: The Reunion; Scenes from Student Life; The Business of Music

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 07:00

From the heady days of Euro 96 to arcane traditions and the way the music industry used to work, the past was ever-present in the week’s best programmes

The Reunion: Euro 96 (Radio 4) | iPlayer
Scenes from Student Life (Radio 4) | iPlayer
The Business of Music With Matt Everitt (Radio 4) | iPlayer

The past. When you reach an age where you have more past than you have future, the past isn’t somewhere that you like to dwell. And yet it keeps popping up. The deaths of beloved icons send you spiralling back into memories, of course, but also, aren’t there a lot of programmes about the past? Programmes that unpick a particular era or event, a time in history. This would be fine, except you remember all this stuff anyway. You were there, and it was long ago, and you didn’t realise how long until you heard a programme about it.

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I feel I’m not doing enough for my son and worry that he’s failing | Mariella Frostrup

The Guardian Unlimited - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 06:00

An exhausted mother feels guilty about how she’s raising her son. Mariella Frostrup encourages her to have fun with him

The dilemma I have a four-year-old son who I love dearly but I don’t deserve. I’m not abusive or neglectful, but I feel like what I do for him is not good enough. I have a loving husband, but he works such long hours. I recently graduated from college while maintaining the household, taking care of my son and working full-time at night. I get three hours’ sleep in the early morning and another two before I go back out to work. I don’t know how long I can go on. I feel as if we live in a society where everyone is in competition with one another instead of trying to help each other. I constantly see on Facebook how so-and-so’s child can do this or that and I just think of all the things my son can’t do and feel he will be disadvantaged. Every time I begin the search for a preschool programme I get sick to my stomach that they will kick him out for being behind or for his attitude or because he won’t wipe his butt etc.

Mariella replies Let me reorder your list of worries. First and foremost you need a good night’s sleep. On what you’re averaging I’d be surprised if you could make out individual letters on this page, let alone what I have to say more generally. It might also be a good idea to log on to Mumsnet instead of Facebook for a more realistic and honest account of the challenges of parenting.

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Councils warn over academies plan

BBC - Sun, 24/04/2016 - 02:53
There is a danger the government's plans to force all state schools in England to become academies will not raise standards, warns a group representing 37 largely Conservative local authorities.
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