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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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Chris King, head of Leicester grammar school, has coined a new phrase to describe criticism of hopelessly misunderstood private institutions, such as Harrow and Eton
Age: Brand new.Continue reading...
‘It’s learning-by-living rather than chalk-and-talk’ – Matthew Jenkin explores the schools at the cutting edge of sustainability
Nestled among the swaying palms and lush jungle of Bali is an international school where children learn in bamboo pavilions and read from whiteboards made out of recycled car windows. The classrooms, which have no walls, are designed to help pupils feel more connected to their natural surroundings while studying a curriculum with an environmental twist. It has been hailed as the greenest school on Earth, but it is actually one of many adapting to the changing climate.
Green school Bali is the brainchild of John and Cynthia Hardy, who moved from North America to the Indonesian paradise in the 1970s. They sold their successful jewellery business in 2007 and used the profits to start a school that would pioneer sustainability in education. The couple had the idea after searching for a school for their children but being put off by the unimaginatively designed spaces and curriculums on offer.
More than 1,000 join silent protest after university council blocks appointment of professor with ties to umbrella movement
More than 1,000 students and faculty members have marched through one of Hong Kong’s leading universities in silence to protest against what they describe as an intensifying Beijing-backed assault on academic freedoms.
The demonstration at the University of Hong Kong came after its governing council took the controversial step of blocking a liberal law professor, Johannes Chan, from becoming its pro-vice-chancellor on 29 September. The council voted down the appointment of Chan, who is the former dean of the university’s law school, by 12 votes to eight.Continue reading...
Dementia is now a government priority but 70% of researchers leave four years after their PhD. We need to improve the career path before its too late
Dementia is in the public and political spotlight like never before, as society wakes up to the fact that it poses one of the greatest threats to the health and wealth of our country.
The numbers are stark: 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, at an estimated cost of more than £26bn a year. By 2021, one million people will have the condition.Continue reading...
The US computer giants are investigating reports that students are forced to labour making their servers, but what about the rest?
Xu Min (name changed), 19, is a second-year accounting student from Huanggang Normal University in the landlocked Hubei province of central China. Although she wanted to use her summer break to complete an internship relevant to her major, her school had different plans for her.
According to an investigation released this week by DanWatch, a Danish human rights research group, Xu Min is among thousands of Chinese students sent by their schools to the assembly lines of some of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers in China to make servers that will most likely end up at European universities.Continue reading...
The parents of persistent school truants will have their child benefit cut, says David Cameron. Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain from the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Tuesday, the prime minister parents who refuse to pay truancy fines will be targeted
If private schools are to have charitable status for tax reasons they should extend their facilities to their state counterparts more often
No British government is going to ban its citizens from paying for a private school. No more would it ban private houses, doctors, cars or old-age care. Life is unfair, even when unfairness starts at birth. When communists tried to eradicate parental advantage they found party officials starting their own schools.Continue reading...
If the apps are to be believed, you can learn to find love or brush up your golf skills while sleeping. Neuroscientist Jordan Gaines Lewis explains the facts behind the fiction
In Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World, a Polish boy, Reuben Rabinovitch, falls asleep next to a radio receiver. When he wakes up, he is able to recite the entire broadcast. He has no idea what any of it means, though – it’s all in English.
Countless articles today claim that you can actually learn music, hone your foreign language skills, or cram for tomorrow’s maths exam during sleep. And there is a whole industry trading on this idea. Subliminal message tapes, popularised by the self-help guru Tony Robbins, promise to help you stop smoking, lose weight, and even brush up your golf skills and find love – all the while catching some shut eye.Continue reading...
After a trip to Israel and the West Bank, teacher Michael Davies is planning to change the way students learn about the history of the conflict
Last year, I took a group of my history students to Israel and the West Bank. It was a terrific success. We spent three days in Israel visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, meeting a documentary maker and a senior civil servant in prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office, before crossing to the West Bank, where we walked through the disputed areas of Hebron, visited Bethlehem and played football with the boys in a Nablus refugee camp.
Shortly after our return home, a few of the students decided to attend an event at our local university as part of an “Israeli apartheid week”. Here they ran into the parent of a Jewish student who was upset to find them there. She argued that it was wrong to call Israel an apartheid state and unfair to single it out for criticism. They told her that their previously positive view of Israel had been changed by seeing the occupation in action.Continue reading...
David Cameron to announce measures at Tory conference alongside greater rights for parents to request wraparound care at schools
Parents of children who play truant will have their child benefit docked if they fail to pay fines, under measures announced by David Cameron.
At present, non-payment of the £60 civil penalty in England leads to it being doubled to £120 after 21 days and subject to prosecution after 28, but 40% still fail to pay and many do not end up in court because councils do not pursue legal action.Continue reading...
Ownership of tablet computers among under-fives in the UK is widespread, with a quarter of under-threes having one of their own
A third of pre-school children in the UK have their own iPad or a similar tablet that they use for an average of one hour and 19 minutes every weekday, often on their own without a parent or guardian, according to research.
The study found that in households that have tablets, 31% of children aged five and under have their own tablet; among even the youngest children ownership is widespread with a quarter of those under three having a tablet of their own.Continue reading...
The Headteachers’ Roundtable met on Twitter in 2012 and is now sounding alarm bells about school funding, staff and lack of support for pupils
Whatever you think about the social media bubble – and the jury is out on the extent to which digital campaigning can influence policy – there is no doubt an explosion of teacher bloggers and use of Twitter and other online platforms have livened up the debate about schools. In the vanguard of this sits the Headteachers’ Roundtable (HTRT), a group of school leaders who came together via Twitter at the Guardian’s offices three years ago this month.
Originally fired up by Michael Gove’s ill-fated English baccalaureate certificates and disappointment with Labour, the group became a lightning rod for frustrations felt by scores more heads. They went on to produce their own manifesto and host conferences, and have been courted by ministers and their shadows. They have gathered many more members and thousands of followers on Twitter.Continue reading...
Universities offer more and more customer services. Who is to blame when students feel entitled to succeed?
Thanks to Michael Ashcroft’s biography of David Cameron, we know more than we want to about the goings on in the Piers Gaveston Society at Oxford in the 80s. At the other end of the political spectrum there would, of course, have been activist student clubs. Students have always made their own experiences. These days, though, things are different. While students once went to university to get a higher education, now they go to be given an “experience” by that university.
The student experience is made for the student. Universities, jittery about how they will score in the national student survey, have invested in iconic new student centres, all airy atria containing banks of Macs (ideally). They offer more and more “customer services”. They do “feedback” to death.Continue reading...
Chris King, chair of organisation representing UK’s most prestigious independent schools, says ‘politically charged’ criticism is distraction tactic
Critics who blame private schools for the failings of the UK’s education system are “indulging in toffism”, according to the new head of the organisation representing the country’s most prestigious independent schools.
Chris King, taking over as chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), whose members include Eton and Westminster, defends private schools as “the only truly independent schools” in contrast to state-run schools.Continue reading...
McGraw-Hill Education apologises and promises to fix a passage that implies African slaves came to the US as economic migrants
It started with a text from a Houston-area ninth-grader to his mother.
On reading a caption in his geography textbook that described slaves as “workers”, Coby Burren sent a photo and an annoyed message to his mother. “We was real hard workers wasn’t we,” he wrote.Continue reading...
In his plea for the return of student grants (From children’s centres to student grants: a few items for the policy wish list, Education, 29 September), Bill Rammell repeats the canard that significant increases in tuition fees have not deterred access to higher education. This may be true in the case of younger full-time entrants to universities in England, but it is emphatically not the case for part-time learners. Recent Higher Education Funding Council for England data shows that there are 143,000 fewer entrants to part-time undergraduate study in England in 2014-15 than in 2010-11 (a 55% decrease), including a 10% decrease between 2013-14 and 2014-15.
This is an alarming loss of opportunity for individuals to broaden their knowledge and enhance their skills. It is bad news also for employers and the wider economy and society at a time when there are fewer 18- to 21-year-olds entering higher education or the workforce, and when technological innovation and labour market shifts make career change and upskilling a simple fact of life. In their differing ways, the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have sought, within tough financial constraints, to protect part-time higher education. In those nations, there has not been a decline like that in England. A case, perhaps, of policymakers in England needing to look north and west for inspiration and policy solutions.Continue reading...
Association of School and College Leaders warns of ‘real danger’ children’s education will reach breaking point in next five years
Schools face a “perfect storm” in the next five years, with a growing crisis in teacher recruitment and a surge in pupil numbers threatening to undermine children’s education, head teachers have warned.
Many schools across the country have reported difficulties finding teachers, particularly in core subjects such as maths, English and science, a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference in Manchester was told.Continue reading...
A limerick heads for troubled waters …Continue reading...
Here’s a collection of ideas and resources to encourage the next generation of women into Stem, just in time for Ada Lovelace Day
In a week’s time, Tuesday 13 October, it’s Ada Lovelace Day.
But how much do your students know about this pioneering female? Lovelace – widely considered to be the world’s first computer programmer – is an inspirational woman of science. The annual celebration of her achievements – and those of other women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) – is a great chance to get girls excited about a traditionally male-dominated field. So this week we bring you a selection of whizz-bang lesson ideas to help inspire the next generation of female scientists.Continue reading...
Sotheby’s offers a tour around Integral House, designed by maths megastar James Stewart. Stewart made a fortune with a calculus text book but was also an architect. ‘Integral’ refers to a concept within calculus, the maths of flowing change. The properly is on the market with Trilogy Agents for £11.4mContinue reading...