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No 10 rejects idea that foreign students should not count as immigrants

Xov, 20/10/2016 - 18:01

Downing Street says it is not looking at removing students from official figures after chancellor suggests definition of immigrant may be reviewed

Theresa May has dismissed the suggestion that foreign students should not be counted as immigrants, after the chancellor, Philip Hammond, suggested that such a move could be in line with public opinion.

Downing Street said it was not looking at whether to remove foreign students from official migration figures, despite earlier appearing to say this would be part of an overall review of the system.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

School absence for unauthorised holidays at five-year high

Xov, 20/10/2016 - 17:13

More pupils in England defied government policy as figures for overall absence rates and those who persistently stay away declined

The number of pupils in England going on unauthorised family holidays in defiance of government policy rose last year to a five-year high, as overall absence rates declined and the proportion of persistently absent pupils fell sharply.

The statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE) showed a decline in the rate of pupils missing school in 2015-16, with a fall in the headline rate driven largely by a drop in the numbers of days off sick, with illness accounting for close to two-thirds of all classroom absences.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Aude Leonetti obituary

Xov, 20/10/2016 - 16:46

My wife, Aude Leonetti, who has died from breast cancer aged 58, was somewhat of a misfit. In career terms she peaked as executive director of learning for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) in 2010, despite having limited numeracy herself and a tendency to clock-watch with poorly disguised boredom if ever caught in a social gathering of accountants.

Aude was born in Montreuil-sous-Bois, Paris, the daughter of Gilles Leonetti, a sales and marketing executive, and his wife, Michelle (nee Pasques), an infant school teacher. The family later moved to Rouen, where Aude attended secondary school. Yet she found France arrogant, regimented and macho, and instead fell in love with Edinburgh. As part of her degree, she had been posted to the nearby slum-clearance new town of Livingston to teach French to teenagers with no knowledge of, interest in or desire ever to set foot in France.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Children need to know stress is normal, not necessarily a mental health problem

Xov, 20/10/2016 - 11:51

Some students have have a genuine diagnosis, but schools should teach that feeling down sometimes is just part of growing up

There is a statistic often quoted by children’s mental health campaigners: 10% of children and young people (aged five to 16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. It comes from a 2004 report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (pdf), but its methodology is questionable – the diagnoses were made using transcripts of ONS interviews, by clinicians who never met the children in question. But what’s really revealing is the researchers’ broad definition of a mental health problem.

Related: Four common myths about young people and mental health debunked

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Muslim Council of Britain to set up alternative counter-terror scheme

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 22:07

Mosque-centred strategy to start next year in challenge to Home Office’s unpopular Prevent programme

British Muslims are planning to set up their own programme to stop people becoming terrorists in a direct challenge to the government’s controversial Prevent scheme, the Guardian has learned.

The plans are being masterminded by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), representing 500 charities, schools and mosques, which plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

This bonfire of the A-levels is torching our culture and history | Letters

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 20:04

First they came for the art historians. And then got stuck into the archaeologists and the classicists before most of us had time to draw breath (Burying A-level archaeology is barbarism, says Tony Robinson, 18 October). And what for? Well, apparently because it’s difficult to set the examination grade boundaries on small-scale subjects. So those responsible for deciding what the brains of future Britons will contain definitively believe that carts come before horses.

Related: Ditching classics at A-level is little short of a tragedy | Natalie Haynes

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Sorry, Hairy Maclary, you’re no Scot. But Katie Morag definitely is | Brief letters

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 19:27
Campaign for State Education | Scotland’s baby boxes | Savoy opera | Air travel and the environment | Ukip

Giles Oakley (Letters, 19 October) complains about people like me “spending more time attacking friends and allies on the left than targeting opponents on the right”. First, the Campaign for State Education (Case) is not aligned to any political party. Nevertheless, of the last 30 letters published by members of Case in a wide range of publications, only three have been in any way critical of Labour. These three did not take more time to write than the other 27! Second, Case expects the Tories to uphold existing socioeconomic privilege; Labour is supposed to be different.
Michael Pyke
Campaign for State Education

• I too used to believe that Hairy Maclary was Scottish, and as a former bookseller sold him with enthusiasm to Americans wanting something for the grandkids. But his creator hails from New Zealand, so you will have to take him out of your unisex Scottish baby box (Shortcuts, G2, 18 October) and replace him with Katie Morag, which will doubtless drive all the boys to Buckfast in their later years.
Margaret Squires
St Andrews, Fife

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Government scraps plan to make year seven pupils resit exams

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 19:12

U-turn on election pledge comes as education secretary breaks with Gove era by offering two-year freeze on new tests

The government is to bow to parent pressure and ease the burden of testing on primary school pupils in England, by dropping an election pledge to make children resit exams and offering a two-year freeze on new assessments.

The announcements, made by the education secretary, Justine Greening in a statement to parliament, mark a break with the era of Michael Gove as education secretary, who ratcheted up the number and difficulty of assessments for primary school pupils, leading to boycotts by parents and threats of industrial action by teaching unions.

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Durham teaching assistants vote overwhelmingly to strike over pay cuts

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 17:25

A ballot of nearly 2,000 Unison members results in 93% vote for industrial action against Labour-led council’s plans

Teaching assistants in County Durham who have been locked in a long-running dispute over proposed pay cuts have voted overwhelmingly for strike action, according to union leaders.

A strike ballot of 1,755 Unison members closed on Wednesday, after which 93% of those who took part were found to have voted for strike action. A further strike ballot of teaching assistants who belong to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is due to close on Friday.

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'It's not a victimless crime' – the murky business of buying academic essays

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 16:22

Students are spending as little as £20 for essays online, but the cost to academia is immeasurable. We need fight back against this damaging industry

If you know where to look online, you can buy a 2,000-word, original, written-to-order essay directly from an individual for £20. Go to one of the bigger companies advertising on Google or Facebook and you might pay £50.

Contract cheating – where students pay for others to complete their coursework – is a huge problem. All sorts of assignment requests can be fulfilled, by a growing number of online sites. I’ve seen examples across all levels and subjects, from aviation to zoology, with some students even choosing to outsource their undergraduate dissertations.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

11 ways to stop periods from disrupting girls' education

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 12:50

Stigma, myths and inadequate facilities can limit girls’ access to education after puberty. A panel of experts explain how to challenge these barriers

The lack of accurate health education available to young girls perpetuates destructive myths about menstruation, such as being unclean and that they are unable to pray or cook food during their period. When girls understand how their bodies work, and why they menstruate, they can better understand how to keep themselves safe. Sabrina Rubli, executive director, Femme International, Moshi, Tanzania, @sabrinarubli @FemmeInt

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Ditching classics at A-level is little short of a tragedy | Natalie Haynes

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 11:54

Classics underpins much of the modern world; the AQA exam board’s decision to end A-levels in classical civilisation, archaeology and history of art is lamentable

I received a press release for a screening of Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq yesterday, an astonishing reworking of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata set among the modern-day gangs of Chicago (the death toll is so high that the residents name their city “Chi-Raq”, as though it were a warzone). It is certainly the best adaptation of Aristophanes I’ve ever seen, largely because of Lee’s obvious passion for the text, and his desire to make it accessible to a new audience.

The press release arrived in my inbox just before one announcing a Harry Potter Latin day in Oxford, where students in years 3 and 4 can study the Latin roots of Harry’s spells. And it arrived just after one about the exam board AQA, which has announced that it is abandoning classical civilisation, archaeology and history of art A-levels. Sir Tony Robinson has denounced AQA’s decision as “a barbaric act”.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Why I refuse to pay my university rent

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 10:55

Overpriced accommodation is changing student life for the worse – so I’ve gone on strike

London is home to some of the UK’s highest-ranking universities, and yet it is inaccessible to so many students. Last academic year, university rent averaged £226 per week in the capital, compared to £134 across the rest of the UK. And this accommodation isn’t always the sanitised paradise advertised in glossy prospectuses.

For me and many others, it couldn’t have been any more different. Rather than feeling at home, I felt alienated from those around me. On top of the extortionate rent prices – which even my university, UCL, has admitted are bound to be unaffordable – students at the uni have found that rat infestations and loud building work made it impossible for them to study.

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Instead of fighting terror, Prevent is creating a climate of fear | Amrit Singh

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 09:15

This unjust programme alienates law-abiding British Muslims, undermining the police’s ability to actually prevent terrorist attacks

The problem of “homegrown” terrorism inspired by Islamic State is front and centre of the counter-terrorism agenda in western Europe. In the UK, the government estimates the terrorist threat to be “severe”. It also estimates that about 850 individuals “of national security concern” have travelled from the UK to Iraq and Syria since the conflict there began, and about half of them have returned.

But what is the most effective way for governments to respond to this threat, without undermining the very values of democracy and freedom that they claim they want to defend?

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Nurseries' recruitment crisis could worsen after Brexit, says charity

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 07:01

Sector warns staff from EU may feel obliged to leave UK as it blames rising turnover on GCSE requirement for qualified staff

A “catastrophic” recruitment crisis in nurseries, which threatens to undermine the quality of early years education, is likely to be exacerbated by the impact of Brexit, a charity has warned.

A workforce survey by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) shows qualification levels dropping for the first time amid rising staff turnover, caused primarily by the requirement for qualified staff to have a GCSE grade C or above in maths and English.

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May defends grammars and plans for universities' role in state schools

Mér, 19/10/2016 - 07:00

At a Friends of Grammar Schools reception at the Commons, PM calls on supporters to take part in government consultation

Theresa May defended plans to allow the creation and expansion of grammar schools on Tuesday night as she called on supporters of selective education to submit evidence of their success to a government consultation.

In a defiant speech, the prime minister again indicated that universities and independent schools will also be asked to get involved in the state sector as she appeared at an event on the terrace of the House of Commons.

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Leftwing infighting on questions of education | Letters

Mar, 18/10/2016 - 20:09

What is it about politically progressive folk that they often spend more time attacking friends and allies on the left than targeting opponents on the right? There’s a typical example in the letter from Michael Pyke of the Campaign for State Education (Letters, 18 October), where he has withering words about three generations of Labour politicians in relation to the failure to abolish 11-plus school selection, naming and shaming Ellen Wilkinson, Harold Wilson and David Blunkett, with nary a word about any Tories.

No one would deny that Labour governments over decades have made many mistakes, but often in the face of massive hostility from Conservatives and their allies in the media, where around 80% of newspapers have habitually favoured the right.

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It’s sad but true that alcohol is fattening | Letters

Mar, 18/10/2016 - 20:08
Booze and biology | Troubled families | Spectators braving the rain | London finance | Defunct A-levels

Colin Purdom (Letters, 18 October) is mistaken in asserting that alcohol is not fattening. As any A-level biology student should be able to tell you, it is converted by the liver enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to acetaldehyde, then by aldehyde dehydrogenase to acetic acid. This then enters the breathtakingly complex Krebs cycle to be further broken down to water, carbon dioxide and ATP, which is the body’s source of chemical energy. Of course, a sugary alcoholic drink will still have more calories than the equivalent-strength non-sugary one, but sadly, dry champagne is not calorie-free.
Jo Gibson (BSc Hons biochemistry)

• So the £1bn spent on troubled families “has had little effect” (Report, 18 October). Time then for the director of the troubled families programme, Louise Casey, to return the CBE she was given in the 2016 birthday honours list for services to families and vulnerable people? Or do we not expect accountability from those who preach the same message to others in public service?
Vince Mercer
Low Lorton, Cumbria

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

The Guardian view on A-level changes: loss of civilisation | Editorial

Mar, 18/10/2016 - 19:56
Dropping archaeology, history of art and classical civilisation from the sixth form curriculum is cultural vandalism

First art history, then classical civilisation and now archaeology. One by one the A-level subjects that introduce British sixth formers to disciplines they may not come across at home are being axed from the curriculum to make way for what the Department for Education considers more rigorous studies. At least that appears to be the justification for removing these life-enhancing subjects, although the exam board AQA suggested it was more to do with the difficulty of standardising marking regimes across different papers. It is true that relatively few state schools offered the subjects, partly because there was a shortage of teachers in some parts of the country. It is also the case that, thanks to public service broadcasting and free museums, there are other ways of learning about the original inspiration for our contemporary sense of what is beautiful, or understanding how our ancestors lived and worshipped, or what principles guided classical life. But if such ideas are unfamiliar at home, or considered unimportant, there may be no guide to the museums and no incentive to watch Time Team or Britain’s Lost Masterpieces. In the name of a more demanding curriculum, the government is narrowing access to the culture that shapes our sense of ourselves and what it means to be human.

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Some police forces failing on child protection, warns Ofsted chief

Mar, 18/10/2016 - 11:52

Michael Wilshaw says issue must be given priority to avoid ‘repeat of catastrophic failings seen in Rotherham and Oxford’

The chief inspector of schools has warned that some police forces are failing to “take their child protection responsibilities seriously”.

In a letter to the chief inspector of police on Tuesday, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the outgoing head of the schools inspectorate, said more than half of Ofsted’s 42 inspections of local authority children’s services in the past year had identified serious weaknesses in the police’s contribution to safeguarding children.

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