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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
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Your excellent summary (What this year could hold for public services, 4 January) had much useful analysis on how the NHS and other state services may be “brought to the brink”. Your readers may also wish to know that the House of Commons is currently considering a bill that will remove the duty to have local safeguarding children boards, the well-established multi-agency groups across the country that coordinate safeguarding and assure its effectiveness. Our government says the children and social work bill “creates new, more flexible partnership arrangements to protect children locally” but there are serious concerns that such “freedoms” will place children in danger – like the one that the Lords recently rejected regarding local authorities being “offered freedom” through this bill not to comply with the Children Act. The “flexible” arrangements offered by this bill also reduce the statutory requirement for the currently large range of agencies to work together in safeguarding to only three – and schools, our most important safeguarders of children, will not be included.
The parliament website recently gave short notice that the public, and any interested bodies, may send in their views by 17 January.
As political discourse continues to become more polarised, educators must be mindful of how they engage pupils in discussions
Teaching and politics have an uneasy relationship. The ways that educators work – from the curricula they follow to the budgets they are set – are heavily influenced by the decisions of politicians, yet expressing our views about politics in the classroom remains controversial.Continue reading...
Students in São Paulo are examining remains of man known for medical experiments on Jews at Auschwitz to uncover mysteries of his life on the run
For more than 30 years, the bones of Josef Mengele, the German doctor who conducted horrific experiments on thousands of Jews at Auschwitz, lay unclaimed inside a blue plastic bag in São Paulo’s Legal Medical Institute.
Dr Daniel Romero Muñoz, who led the team that identified Mengele’s remains in 1985, saw an opportunity to put them to use. Several months ago, the head of the department of legal medicine at the University of São Paulo’s Medical School obtained permission to use them in his forensic medical courses. Today, his students are now learning their trade studying Mengele’s bones and connecting them to the life story of the man called the “angel of death”.Continue reading...
Our friend Hilary Taylor, who has died after a stroke aged 62, was an artist, teacher, healer and animal lover who always saw the best in others.
She was very generous, sharing techniques and giving away and swapping her artwork, which went through many changes: detailed pen drawings, wooden toys, quirky decorations, Christmas cherubs sporting Doc Martens and dungarees, papier-mache furniture, bowls and figures, pastel painting, collages, comic strips and a seemingly never-ending range of self-made greeting cards. She was a founder member, 23 years ago, of the Backyard Artists, a group that exhibits annually in Rowhedge, Essex, and further afield in the county.Continue reading...
MPs told of risk to decades of progress and cooperation, with German universities ‘snapping at heels’ to attract staff from UK
A hard Brexit could be the “biggest disaster” for British universities, costing decades of progress and leaving the UK’s international status diminished, vice-chancellors and senior academics have told MPs.
An education select committee hearing on the impact of the vote to leave the EU on British universities was told that German and Irish institutions were “snapping at the heels” in poaching UK-based staff, while Oxford University’s head of Brexit strategy said the benefits of centuries of cooperation were being put at risk.Continue reading...
HarperCollins has cancelled sales of What the (Bleep) Just Happened by the incoming senior White House staffer, following accusations of extensive copying
A book by a close ally of incoming US president Donald Trump has been withdrawn by publisher HarperCollins after accusations of plagiarism.
Digital editions of Monica Crowley’s What the (Bleep) Just Happened were pulled from sale overnight amid accusations that Trump’s choice for a high-profile national security role had plagiarised large parts of her 2012 text.Continue reading...
11 January 1917: The task of the Roman Empire was not at all unlike our own to-day. Just as we in our present struggle stood, as we believed, for freedom and for civilisation, so stood the Roman Empire
Professor F. Haverfield; Camden Professor of Ancient History at Oxford, had prepared a paper on “The Roman Wall,” from Newcastle to Carlisle, to be read before the Chester and North Wales Archaeological Society, but was unable to make the journey north, and in his absence the paper was read on Tuesday by Miss M. V. Taylor, who assisted the Professor in the preparation of his work. The Rev. Canon Hylton Stewart presided.
Britain and Rome
The Professor’s paper stated that the ruins of the Roman wall, the northern frontier defence of Roman Britain; still stretch from Wallsend–on–Tyne, three miles east of Newcastle, to Bowness–on–Solway, twelve miles west of Carlisle. One of the best tests of an Empire’s vigour was certainly the amount of strength which it could exert, without overstrain, on its really remote frontiers. When it failed to maintain these, to defeat its distant enemies and control its distant officers, it was probably nearer to its decline and fall than when it had ceased to conquer more and more territory. Britain offered many strong proofs that the Roman Empire could guard its furthest borders till a very late date.
Barnado’s survey shows three-quarters of 11- to 15-year-olds would feel safer if they had sex and relationship education
Three-quarters of children between the ages of 11 and 15 believe they would be safer if they had age-appropriate sex and relationship education (SRE) in school, according to a survey by a leading children’s charity.
Seven in 10 of the children who took part in the poll, which was commissioned by Barnardo’s and carried out by YouGov, said the government should ensure that all pupils have SRE lessons, and 14% said they had not received any SRE lessons in school at all.Continue reading...
I am, of course, pleased that Theresa May recognises that increasing numbers of adults and children are suffering from mental health difficulties (May pledges to try to reduce stigma, 9 January). The huge emotional burden this puts on families only increases the risks. These difficulties have escalated in the six years since massive cuts to public services and most preventive mental health services, alongside the increased culture of competition that leads to more anxiety and less security.
Having been part of primary prevention and secondary child and adolescent mental health services in my 30-year career in the NHS, it was soul-destroying to see services closed and specialist skills built up over decades being lost. It is galling to hear the plans presented as if they are new and concerning that one of the plans is for teachers to be trained to identify mental health issues and provide interventions. Often teachers, also struggling with cuts to services and increased pressures, can already recognise mental health issues but lack the time and expertise to offer interventions that could make a significant difference. Identification alone is not helpful unless combined with resources to deal with the issues.Continue reading...
We are glad to add our own statue to those you mention (Tributes to ‘Red’ Ellen and Pankhurst show male domination is no longer set in stone, 9 January). We have been planning and raising funds for two years to create a lasting memorial to Mary Barbour, who led the Glasgow rent strike in 1915 against the greedy landlords pushing rents up in the rundown tenement flats while many men were away fighting in France. That year men in the shipyards and engineering works downed tools in support when 20,000 marched to the sheriff court. By Christmas Day Lloyd George, then munitions minister, pushed a new law through parliament to bring rents back to prewar levels for the duration of the war and six months after.
This new law benefited tenants throughout Britain. Yet Mary Barbour’s name is not mentioned in the histories of red Clydeside. That is why we are having a statue unveiled in a few months’ time, not only to honour Mary Barbour, but to remind people of what so-called ordinary people can achieve. This happened years before the first Labour government came to power. Mary became one of the first female Labour councillors in 1920, then went on to battle for numerous reforms: clean milk free to schoolchildren, provision of public baths and washhouses, play parks, and the first ever family planning clinic.
Chair, Remember Mary Barbour Association
Female students are prepared to change their lifestyles – as long as there’s no pressure. And universities are finding that non-athletes make the best ambassadors
“I’m one of the laziest people I know!” The declaration is followed by laughter, but Lauren Barkas is serious. The 21-year-old chemistry student had no interest in sport, and it took her a long time to decide to go along to one of the University of Hull’s women-only fitness sessions.
“I heard about it and thought it sounded OK, but I didn’t really want to go,” she says. “Then I thought, ‘Come on, give it a try, it’s your first year of uni,’ and I went and loved it straight away.”Continue reading...
The story of the students preferring African or Asian to European philosophy isn’t what it seems. These so-called PC snowflakes just care about learning
We all know what students are like nowadays, don’t we? Special snowflakes who can’t cope with the real world, who refuse to venture out of their safe spaces to learn anything, who are so achingly PC they won’t even let their institutions serve sushi in the cafeteria. When they’re not wasting their lives on social media or fighting for a fairer world for all, these mewling, overprivileged babies like to spend their time policing their academic superiors on their curriculum choices.
The latest scandal? Step forward Soas students’ union, which has outraged basically every outlet in the rightwing press by calling, astonishingly enough, for such great philosophers as Kant, Plato and Descartes to be banned from the curriculum, just because they are white.Continue reading...
While I encourage everyone to be alarmed by Trump, education isn’t the top of my list of worries: for my family, it’s been a problem no matter who’s in charge
About a decade ago, when we were sending our son to a mostly-white public charter school in Los Angeles’ East Side hipness zone, I got a pure sense of what “school choice” is all about. The school had been bouncing around like a dodgeball from location to location. First, it was located at a church on Fairfax, but soon outgrew that facility. Then, it occupied the edge of a rough Hollywood elementary school, where the mostly Mexican public-school population was kept at arm’s length from the Stellas and Elijahs and Dexters of the “charter” that longed for a permanent home.
One night, we had a public meeting at an auditorium in Lincoln Heights, a neighborhood that’s been plagued by gang violence since the era of LA Confidential. Our school’s bourgeois brain trust had come up with the idea of merging its resources with another charter school, which mostly served Central American immigrant families. Proposed as the location for this new merged school: a former sanitarium for unwed mothers, which had gone unoccupied since 1979 and was now certainly occupied by ghosts.Continue reading...
The Association of School and College Leaders has never had an election, but with a funding and teacher recruitment crisis the grassroots is rebelling
The election for a new general secretary of the ASCL, one of the two main headteacher organisations, is fascinating for those of us who like reading the education runes.
With almost 18,000 members – heads and other senior secondary leaders across the UK – the Association of School and College Leaders has enormous potential clout. It is now in the throes of a contest between two candidates whose personal and professional backgrounds seem to illustrate the fault lines in current policy debate.Continue reading...
In our diary: the staggering cost of one secondary school. Plus: CEO’s careless conversation on train
In an age of austerity it will strike many as staggering largesse. A soon-to-close university technical college sponsored by a Premier League football club and educating only a few classes of students, is costing the taxpayer £500,000 a year in premises overheads alone, Education Guardian can reveal.
Latest accounts for Tottenham Hotspur-sponsored Tottenham UTC, in north London, show £567,612 was allocated for its “rent and rates” for 2014-15. The rent seems to go to a property company that is part of the group of firms running Spurs. The UTC rents space from TH Property Limited in a building that also houses Spurs’ offices.Continue reading...
Lib Dem spokeswoman says bill ‘not fit for purpose’ and Lords vote will help ensure independence of universities
Peers have defeated controversial government reforms of higher education that would have made it easier for new profit-making colleges to award degrees and become universities.
Labour, Liberal Democrat and crossbench peers in the House of Lords passed an amendment to scupper reforms to the higher education and research bill by 248 votes to 221, voicing fears that they would unacceptably commercialise the sector by allowing private colleges to profit from awarding degrees.Continue reading...
With the University of Wisconsin facing the latest in a series of political attacks, educational advocates fear ‘a chilling effect on academic freedom’
Educational watchdogs are warning that newly emboldened Republican leaderships at the state level are ramping up pressure on universities to curb programs they claim “advance the politically correct agenda of liberal administrators and staff”.
The latest row over academic freedom erupted at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in December when a Republican state senator, Steve Nass, launched an attack on the chancellor and regents over an undergraduate program on masculinity that Nass claims “declares war on men”.Continue reading...
Collaboration with Central Saint Martins aims to highlight ‘systematic assault’ on arts education in Britain
Anyone who has ever wondered what art students get up to all day can find out this week as Tate Modern hosts to a temporary school to which anyone can enrol.
The This Is An Art School project has been created by students, staff and alumni of Central Saint Martins on the fifth floor of Tate Modern’s new extension.Continue reading...
Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, chief schools inspector Amanda Spielman says the next few years will not be easy
The new chief inspector of schools in England has said in her first interview since taking over at Ofsted that education risks slipping down the political agenda as a result of the national preoccupation with Brexit.
Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, Amanda Spielman said the next few years were not going to be easy and that the political focus was likely to shift away from education as the government’s time and attention were consumed by the process of Britain leaving the EU.Continue reading...
In her first interview as chief inspector of England’s schools, Amanda Spielman says she will start by examining the very purpose of Ofsted
When Amanda Spielman’s appointment as chief Ofsted inspector in England was announced, there was a general shaking of heads: unlike her predecessors, she hadn’t spent a minute as a teacher.
However, unlike the half dozen previous holders of the title, Spielman can argue that her experience as a founder of the successful Ark academy chain better fits what she calls “the increasing sophistication of the education landscape”.Continue reading...