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Guardian Unlimited: Education
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
Actualizado: fai 21 horas 35 min
Few dispute the importance of better vocational education pathways. But the current system is failing and should be revisited
England’s beleaguered vocational education system has been subjected to wave after wave of reform. Yet improving the quality of technical education has eluded governments of all colours. University technical colleges (UTCs) are only the latest example of a shiny innovation that ran on to the rocks. Seven UTCs have now announced they are closing their doors, and Michael Gove, the former education secretary who introduced them, says the idea has “all gone a bit Pete Tong”.
UTCs were intended to provide quality vocational education, combining technical and academic learning, for young people from the age of 14. Despite the millions the government has invested in them, they have on the whole been plagued by poor GCSE results and an inability to attract sufficient numbers of young people.Continue reading...
Private school St Paul’s Girls’ new protocol allows students to use boys’ names and wear boys’ clothes
Campaigners have welcomed a decision by a private girls’ school to allow students to use boys’ names and wear boys’ clothes should they wish under a new “gender identity protocol”.
St Paul’s girls’ school in west London, whose former pupils include the MP Harriet Harman and the actor Rachel Weisz, will now consider requests from students from the age of 16 to go through a formal process to be known within the school either as boys or as gender-neutral.Continue reading...
Outraged headlines erupted when students launched a campaign to challenge the great western philosophers. We went to the source of dissent – London’s School of Oriental and African Studies – to investigate
“They Kant be serious!”, spluttered the Daily Mail headline in its most McEnroe-ish tone. “PC students demand white philosophers including Plato and Descartes be dropped from university syllabus”. “Great thinkers too male and pale, students declare”, trumpeted the Times. The Telegraph, too, was outraged: “They are said to be the founding fathers of western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilised society. But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that figures such as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant should be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.”
Whiteness is not a useful category when talking of philosophy. When people speak, they speak ideas, not identity.Continue reading...
Academics and student representatives voice concern at widespread incidents that are fuelling anxiety among Jewish students
Universities are being urged to act swiftly to tackle antisemitism on campuses after a series of incidents in recent weeks – including Holocaust denial leaflets, fascist stickers and swastikas etched on and around campuses – which have fuelled anxiety among Jewish students.
Leading academics, student representatives and experts on antisemitism expressed concern at the widespread nature of the incidents, which have affected a number of higher education institutions across the country.Continue reading...
Visitors are impressed by our high standards. But they don’t know what goes on behind the scenes
Staff collectively roll their eyes as a member of the senior leadership team says: “Diaries open, we are expecting a lot of visitors next week.” More visitors.
As teachers who often play host to training days for external schools, we’re no strangers to strangers being in our classrooms. However, the anticipation of visitors and the pressure to prepare has altered the atmosphere of the school, affecting teachers and students alike.Continue reading...
High court judge overturns indefinite ban for Duncan McTier, who sexually assaulted three female students aged 17 to 23
A world-renowned musician who admitted molesting three students has won an appeal against an indefinite teaching ban, after a top judge ruled the ban was “flawed”.
Duncan McTier, a double bassist who has taught at a number of musical institutions in the UK and abroad, sexually assaulted three of his young, female students in the 1980s and 1990s.
My friend Joyce Sluszny, who has died aged 76, grew up in very humble circumstances, and this inspired her commitment to making a difference for others in her later professional choices, predominantly in education.
Daughter of Ernie Harrison, a postman, and Ethel (nee Priest), who worked in a factory, she was born in Hounslow, west London, in Frampton Road – about which she subsequently wrote a social history, Hounslow’s Forgotten Street. Her earliest experience of her local school was being automatically put in the “bottom” class along with all the other poorest pupils. She was moved after her mother’s robust protests.Continue reading...
While studying medicine, I suffered from mental health problems that required treatment. My doctor told me they needn’t stop me pursuing my dream
During my years of medical training I was tense and wound up almost all of the time. Then, just before my finals, things got very much worse. I began to draw up a complex revision timetable, which I obsessed over. I was as fearful of failing as I had been with my A-levels, but there was also a terrible sense of unease about what was happening to me, to which I couldn’t put a name.
I convinced myself that the best way to stay in control of my world was to design a kind of map for my mind and contain everything within it by the time the exams arrived. I ruled out lines on sheets of paper to create a chart to govern every waking hour for the next few months. I did not want to acknowledge the obvious parallels with my brother, whose strange behaviour would later be diagnosed as obsessive compulsive disorder.Continue reading...
As the end of my probation period looms, the weight of expectations from my university leaves no space for meaningful research
To the outside world, my career progression from PhD to lectureship read like a stellar rise. Having made it through a couple of precarious years on temporary and part-time contracts, I arrived at an office with my name on the door and a lectureship at a Russell Group university. I’m now nearly three years into the role, with six months still to go on my probation period.Continue reading...
Companies with paid parental leave retain employees and save on recruitment, but proposed government changes could discourage employer-funded schemes
Before the advent of paid parental leave, the majority of new mothers in Australia quit their jobs so they could cash out holiday pay to help fund those first few months at home.
At Westpac Bank, only 32% of mothers were returning to work after having a baby in 1995. Two years later, the figure had shot up to 53% – undoubtedly because the bank launched a paid maternity leave scheme.Continue reading...
Under new proposals, journalists and whistleblowers could face 14 years in jail for handling government data. It’s part of a trend towards the silencing of dissent
Last year, suspicionless surveillance of the lawful activities of ordinary citizens was authorised on a scale unprecedented in any other western democracy. Those of us who warned that the Investigatory Powers Act’s provisions in respect of the indiscriminate collection and retention of electronic communications were of dubious legality have already been vindicated by the court of justice of the European Union. The precise impact of the decision will now be confirmed by the court of appeal, which referred the matter to the court of justice.Continue reading...
Chemical TATP, which was used in Paris attacks, was unintentionally formed in routine procedure by a PhD student
A university building was evacuated after a student accidentally made the same explosive that was used in the Paris terror attacks.
The University of Bristol said triacetone triperoxide (TATP) was “unintentionally formed” in its chemistry laboratory on 3 February.Continue reading...
Schools are reporting an increase in stressed-out pupils. But teachers can give young people the tools to cope
Educators like me will not be surprised at the results of a survey conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders, in which 55% of schools reported an increase in stress and anxiety among their pupils.Continue reading...
The argument about whether robots will take our jobs is irrelevant: workforce science and data aggregation have already changed how we find work
The rise of ever more intelligent machines is prompting much speculation about the future of work and a clear separation of views is becoming apparent. Some claim that automation is likely to lead to job losses and that we should prepare for that. Others argue that the new technologies will create as many jobs as they destroy: after all, that is what has happened in the past.
Those – like Donald Trump – who argue they can “bring back the jobs” presume a return, or reinvention, of an almost mythical past where manufacturing dominated the economy and the big firms were also big employers who benefited from a large, full-time workforce.Continue reading...
As UK councils warn of a “ticking sexual health time bomb”, we want to hear your experiences of sex education – and how it could be improved
The Local Government Association has urged the government to make sex education compulsory in all secondary schools.Continue reading...
Head teacher at St Mary’s in Preston says ‘complex themes’ of new novel Margot & Me necessitated caution but gender was never a consideration
A Catholic comprehensive school has rebutted claims that it cancelled a visit by a bestselling children’s author at the last minute because she is transgender, saying that teachers had been misinformed about the suitability of her latest book for pre-teens.
Last week, Juno Dawson said St Mary’s Catholic high school in Preston had pulled its invitation 48 hours before she was due to speak as part of a promotional tour for her new novel, Margot & Me. The book tells the story of Fliss, who discovers the wartime journal of her grandmother Margot while staying with her in south Wales.Continue reading...
Traditional universities and the House of Lords are, for a start. Do they have a point, or are they simply clinging to an outdated system that desperately needs reform?
The government’s determination to turn higher education into a marketplace and allow private universities to proliferate has come up against furious opposition in recent weeks. Traditional universities are concerned about how the newcomers will be regulated, and the House of Lords is doing its best to scupper the government’s plans.
Fiery language has been used on both sides. The universities minister, Jo Johnson, has accused the traditional university sector of stifling competition. He says his reforms, contained in the Higher Education and Research Bill currently making its way through parliament, would stop universities “acting like bouncers deciding who should and should not be let into the club”.Continue reading...
A regime of cramming and testing is crushing young people’s instinct to learn and destroying their future
In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible: creative, critical and socially skilled. So why are children being taught to behave like machines?
Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity. So why are they dragooned into rows and made to sit still while they are stuffed with facts?Continue reading...
Working with younger children, we know how important it is to address wellbeing in primary schools and alleviate pressure on struggling NHS services
Public and political understanding of young people’s mental health is growing; the prime minister herself emphasised recently that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that, “when left untreated, can blight lives”.
Theresa May’s plans to offer every secondary school in the country mental health training, as well as strengthening links between schools and NHS specialist staff, are important steps in the right direction.Continue reading...
‘Shockingly high’ numbers of STI diagnoses prompt councils to call for compulsory sex education in UK secondary schools
Inadequate sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools is creating “a ticking sexual health time bomb”, councils are warning, amid concern over high numbers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young people.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, has joined the growing clamour urging the government to make sex education compulsory in all secondary schools. Currently it is mandatory in local authority-maintained schools, but not in academies and free schools which make up 65% of secondaries.Continue reading...