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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: 1 hour 46 sec ago

Landmarks in law: the case that shone a spotlight on domestic violence

2 hours 51 min ago

Kiranjit Ahluwalia’s case led to an improved judicial awareness of abused women and the concept of provocation

Forty years ago, a jury found Kiranjit Ahluwalia guilty of murdering her husband. Her subsequent appeal changed the way that the concept of “provocation” was applied, and helped shift the attitude of English courts and the public on the impact of domestic violence on women who kill.

It led to the later freeing of two other women – Emma Humphreys and Sara Thornton – and was also relied on in the recent case of Sally Challen, who this year successfully appealed against her conviction for murdering her coercive and controlling husband.

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Top engineering university to open jobs exclusively to women

4 hours 15 min ago

Eindhoven University of Technology aims to address ‘implicit gender bias’

Job vacancies at one of Europe’s leading engineering universities will be open exclusively to female candidates for at least the next 18 months in order to overcome the institution’s “implicit gender bias”.

The rector of the Eindhoven University of Technology, Frank Baaijens, said progress towards a better balance of men and women in academic roles had been stubbornly slow.

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Philip Hammond 'considered quitting over Theresa May spending plans'

6 hours 16 min ago

Chancellor unhappy with PM binding successor’s hands with big spending commitments

Philip Hammond is so frustrated by Theresa May’s plans to spend billions of pounds on projects to shore up her legacy that he considered resigning, according to government sources.

The chancellor is unhappy with the prime minister’s decision to set out plans to spend up to £27bn on education over three years, including building new schools and paying teachers higher wages.

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School Diversity Week founder: ‘I don’t recall a single teacher using the word gay’

6 hours 55 min ago

Tim Ramsey wants all LGBT children to feel free to be themselves – but says Birmingham shows we have a long way to go

The first mention Tim Ramsey ever heard at school of homosexuality was negative, he remembers. “I was in a year 5 lesson and we were looking at the life of a composer. And one of the boys on my table said, this guy is gay. He’s a faggot.”

Ramsey already knew that he was gay, and that rejection set a tone that continued through his school and university years: it wasn’t until he was 25 that he felt able to come out. And it’s the hope of changing the climate around LGBT issues in schools, so today’s pupils have a more positive experience than his own, that has led Ramsey to found School Diversity Week.

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You’ve set up a successful school. What next? Start a university, of course

7 hours 9 min ago

Ed Fidoe, co-founder of School 21, is launching the London Interdisciplinary School, mixing arts, science and business skills

Ed Fidoe, co-founder of School 21, an “outstanding” free school in east London, has spotted a problem. To solve it, he’s opening a university.

It all began in 2012 when he, together with Tony Blair’s former aide Peter Hyman, opened School 21 to give pupils “superpower” communication skills, prompting a glowing Ofsted report two years later. Fidoe wanted pupils to create “works of value” for their communities, rather than wait until they had jobs.

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Schools ‘need support of government to help grieving children’

7 hours 9 min ago

Report calls for national bereavement policy as 41,000 children a year lose a parent

There is no government-led national bereavement policy for schools despite the equivalent of every classroom in the UK containing at least one child who has lost a parent or sibling, according to a report into the consequences of childhood bereavement in the British school system.

The report, by the Cambridge University faculty of education for the Winston’s Wish charity, found that more than 41,000 children under 18 in the UK lose a parent every year. When deaths of siblings are included, that number increases to at least 45,000 every year.

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We’ve constructed a ruthless exam system where bereavement barely matters | Laura McInerney

7 hours 25 min ago

Even if A-level or GCSE students have lost a parent, their future depends on being poised to perform on a random day

I met a woman on a train last week who told me about her two sons currently sitting their GCSEs and A-levels. Stressed teens are difficult to live with, so I commiserated with her. But these teens have it worse than most, she explained: their father died last November. Astonishingly, she told me: “The exam boards can take it into account and give you up to 5% extra marks. But the bereavement has to be within the past six months.” She looked painfully sad for a moment. “Apparently he died two weeks too early.”

Related: A century of adult education has been tossed aside – is it too late to rescue it? | Laura McInerney

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Did you solve it? Are you in the smartest 1 per cent (of 13-year-olds)?

Δευτέρα, 17/06/2019 - 19:00

The solutions to today’s problems

Earlier today I set you the following puzzles:

1. In this word-sum, each letter stands for one of the digits 0–9, and stands for the same digit each time it appears. Different letters stand for different digits. No number starts with 0.

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Nicholas Sparks defends diversity record at school after emails leak

Δευτέρα, 17/06/2019 - 18:03

Author of The Notebook and school’s co-founder says emails to former headmaster are ‘not news’ ahead of trial in August

Bestselling romantic novelist Nicholas Sparks has rejected claims that he fostered an anti-LGBT environment at a school that he co-founded, after emails between him and a former headmaster were leaked to the Daily Beast.

The author of The Notebook and A Walk to Remember co-founded the Epiphany School of Global Studies in North Carolina in 2006. In 2014, former headmaster Saul Benjamin launched a lawsuit in which he alleged that Sparks and other members of the school board had “unapologetically marginalised, bullied, and harassed” people at the school, including Benjamin, “whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions”. The lawsuit also alleged that influential families at the school bullied and “sought to enact a ‘homo-caust’” against LGBT students, and claimed that Sparks “derisively” referred to them as “the gay club”.

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Damian Hinds: home shapes a child's future more than school

Δευτέρα, 17/06/2019 - 16:47

Education secretary says arguments and disengaged parents cost nine GCSE grades

Children’s home environments have a bigger effect on social mobility than being born into low-income backgrounds or attending underperforming schools, the education secretary has said.

Damian Hinds described the issue as “the last taboo in public policy”, and added that “what parents do is actually more important than who your parents are” in an unscripted speech addressed to people involved in education on Monday.

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Can you solve it? Are you in the smartest 1 per cent (of 13-year-olds)?

Δευτέρα, 17/06/2019 - 09:10

The test given to the UK’s maths prodigies

Today you are pitting yourselves against the best 13-year-old mathematicians in the UK.

The questions below are taken from last week’s Junior Mathematical Olympiad, a competition aimed at children up to Year 8 (in England) who score in roughly the top half per cent of mathematical ability.

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David Lammy says England is failing those who don't go to university

Δευτέρα, 17/06/2019 - 09:00

Former universities minister warns that the lack of vocational alternatives is entrenching inequality

England’s education system is failing young people who don’t go to university because there are too few quality routes for vocational education, says David Lammy, a Labour MP.

“If you are academic, [England] is still one of the best countries in which to be born, particularly if you’re born into a middle-class family and your parents have some means,” said Lammy, MP for Tottenham. “But if you’re not academic I think there are quite a lot of countries we would choose above our own.”

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Teachers to be trained to spot mental health issues early

Δευτέρα, 17/06/2019 - 00:30

PM to pledge new materials and guidance for schools as part of prevention initiative

Theresa May is to announce that all teachers in England and Wales will be trained to spot the early signs of mental health issues in children as part of a package of measures aimed at prioritising prevention.

With her premiership entering its final weeks, May is keen to salvage a domestic legacy from her three Brexit-dominated years in power.

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The Guardian view on impoverished schools: charity is not the answer | Editorial

Sun, 16/06/2019 - 20:30
Headteachers are being forced to beg for donations. It makes a mockery of ministers’ talk of fair funding

The contraction of school budgets over the past three years is one of many grave errors of judgment by this government, and has compounded the mistakes of the previous one. That departing prime minister Theresa May now appears to recognise this, and is reportedly seeking a three-year, £27bn funding package before she stands down, does not alter her record. Since 2009, funding per pupil in English schools has fallen by 8%. The predictable result has been worsening conditions all round, but particularly for vulnerable pupils and those with special educational needs who ought to receive additional attention.

Rightly prioritising lessons and teachers over all the other things that schools do, headteachers have instead cut wraparound services such as breakfast and after-school clubs; teaching assistants and support staff; non-core subjects in secondary schools; and budgets for stationery, heating and other items. Given this background, it was not surprising to learn last week that an east London primary has become the latest school to apply for charity funds.

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May I have a word about… the intriguing profession of cryptozoology | Jonathan Bouquet

Sun, 16/06/2019 - 08:00

Why didn’t my careers adviser suggest that I take up the study of Nessie, the chupacabra or the Mokele-mbembe?

I well remember my school careers adviser shaking his head and saying that I was fit only for the armed forces or the police, which rather demeans these noble professions. Shame he didn’t show more imagination and suggest that I become a cryptozoologist, a calling I only came across last week. Dr Darren Naish, a cryptozoology expert, made the bold claim that smartphones have killed off the Loch Ness monster.

Such is the ubiquity of these camera-enabled gizmos that the creature would have been photographed by now if it existed. “You would think that there would be better photos by now, but the ones we have are low-resolution blobs.”

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What Cambridge University taught us about racism

Sat, 15/06/2019 - 15:00

Cambridge graduates Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi have written a guide to help students – and it’s the second title published by Stormzy’s #Merky Books

CChelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi are the co-authors of Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change, the second title from #Merky Books, a partnership between Penguin and grime star Stormzy, who has also announced he is funding two Cambridge scholarships for black students in the UK. The book explores the lack of diversity in education, tackling topics including access, curriculums, mental health, relationships and activism. The two women, both 22, graduated from Cambridge University last year, Kwakye with a degree in history and Ogunbiyi in human, social and political sciences. Kwakye was born and raised in Chingford and is studying at the University of Law in preparation for a training contract with a City law firm. Ogunbiyi was born in Croydon, moved to Nigeria aged seven, then back to England aged 13, when she attended a boarding school. She has just completed a master’s in journalism at Columbia University in New York.

How did the book come about?
Chelsea Kwakye In December 2017, Ore wrote an article titled “A letter to my fresher self: surviving Cambridge as a black girl” [for the student newspaper Varsity], which detailed everything from impostor syndrome and relationships at university to stagnant curriculums. Previously, we were both heavily involved in black access to Cambridge initiatives, setting up Cambridge University African Caribbean Society’s first access conference and mentoring scheme. Earlier that year we shot the #BlackMenofCambridge campaign, which thrust us and our society into the spotlight. We gained a lot of media attention and conversation was buzzing around what it means and looks like to be black within predominately white universities and institutions.

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A-level maths paper leaked online before exam

Sat, 15/06/2019 - 11:15

Exam board Edexcel launches investigation after Twitter post offers full paper for £70

An investigation has been launched after an A-level maths paper was circulated online before the exam.

Images of the test paper by the exam board Edexcel appeared on social media on Thursday afternoon.

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Nations must protect spending on the vulnerable, says IMF chief

Fri, 14/06/2019 - 16:30

Shift in stance comes as more countries raise concerns about inequality – Christine Lagarde

The International Monetary Fund is urging countries to protect spending on health, education and vulnerable groups amid growing concern among its members about excessive levels of inequality, its managing director has said.

Announcing the change of approach in an interview with the Guardian, Christine Lagarde said it was now politically incorrect to argue against the impact of social spending on growth and stability.

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The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education | Ross Barkan

Fri, 14/06/2019 - 09:00

The Trump/DeVos vision of American education? Unshackle the rich and let them turn a profit at the expense of working-class students

Perhaps nothing illustrates the perverse nature of Donald Trump’s administration better than his approach to the regulatory state. In Trump’s America, those most zealously dedicated to unraveling federal oversight are in charge of the government, racing to shred laws as quickly as they can.

Although it rarely draws the outrage of his latest unhinged tweet or foible abroad, it is in the president’s Department of Education that this spirit of cruel nihilism is best on display. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and her underlings are dedicated to seeing their radical conservative vision of government achieved, and they’re taking aim at the very heart of public education.

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Another Etonian leader? Time for Labour to challenge the might of private schools | Robert Verkaik

Fri, 14/06/2019 - 08:00
As the Tories edge towards anointing Boris Johnson as prime minister, Corbyn should commit to checking this elitist system

Not since Harold Wilson’s government set up a commission to deal with the “public school problem” has the Palace of Westminster hosted an event that could bring about the dismantling of Britain’s educational apartheid. But MPs this week held a debate on a programme for radical reform of a two-tier system that provides an elite education for a tiny minority of the population, and divides Britain into winners and losers.

It could not come at a more propitious moment. Britain is on the brink of falling out of Europe; our mainstream political parties are tearing themselves apart; and populism is on the rise as people seek alternatives to the Westminster model of government. And yet, at this most critical moment in our nation’s history, we are reduced to spectators, watching in helpless horror as the Tory party goes through the motions of (in all likelihood) anointing Boris Johnson as yet another Etonian prime minister – the 20th in Britain’s history.

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