Society

Take our Sats maths quiz to see if you’re smarter than an 11-year-old | Education

On Wednesday and Thursday year 6 children in England’s primary schools will take their Sats maths test. If you haven’t had children in the English education system for a while, or even at all, you might be curious about what 11-year-olds are expected to know about maths. So below is a sample of the types of questions they will face. Pupils will take 110 minutes of tests, divided into three papers over two days and containing a total of 83…

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Half of universities in England have fewer than 5% poor white students | Education

More than half of universities in England have fewer than 5% of white working-class students in their intakes, according to researchers. A report from the National Education Opportunity Network (Neon) found that white youngsters in receipt of free school meals were the least likely of any group to study at university after those from Traveller backgrounds. White students make up the majority of people living in areas where university attendance is lowest and those who do attend are more likely…

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Universities and the NHS must join forces to improve student mental health | Gianmarco Raddi | Education

In universities, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety afflict one in four students, while student suicides have reached a record level in recent years and dropouts have trebled. The burden of mental health illnesses is only likely to increase as stigma recedes and more people come forward with their sufferings. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, five times as many students as 10 years ago have disclosed a mental health issue to their university. It’s well…

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Secret Teacher: I hated teaching – until I realised my school was the problem | Teacher Network

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher. Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school…

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Free money wouldn’t make people lazy – but it could revolutionise work | Anna Dent | Opinion

The danger of so-called “free money” not only underpins critiques of universal basic income (UBI), but also the incredibly strong narratives that underlie the attitudes to work in the UK (and elsewhere) – and our unemployment benefit system. Paid employment is held up as one of the ultimate markers of being a valuable member of society, with those not in paid work (always described in these narratives as a voluntary position, rather than as the result of issues outside their…

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Mental health: the students who helped themselves when help was too slow coming | Education

Last year, Molly Robinson, 15, was struggling to cope with the symptoms caused by an undiagnosed health condition. The unexplained pain, plus the worry about what was wrong, caused her to feel increasingly anxious and distressed. She plucked up the courage to seek help. And what happened? “I was put on a waiting list.” Over the next three months things just got worse until she began to feel “completely overwhelmed”. “Everything snowballed,” says Molly. At crisis point, she couldn’t cope…

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The meaning of a good, well-rounded education | Letters | Education

Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison (Why it pays to be privileged, 2 February) illustrate some of the subtle ways in which talent can be showcased by privilege. For individuals without this supporting structure, the result can be a ceiling on progress and lower financial reward, even after their entry to an elite profession. The ceiling must be dismantled if the UK is ever to become a more equal society. This will require not only decisive action by government, but pro-social…

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A 4.30am start and three-minute toilet breaks: are you ready for microscheduling? | Life and style

Work is one of the biggest sources of stress in our lives, second only to health problems, according to a survey for the Mental Health Foundation last year. What work and productivity coaches call “overwhelm” is widespread, as notifications, conversations, distractions and interruptions all get in the way of actually getting stuff done. And not getting stuff done because you are overwhelmed is sure only to make matters worse. One response favoured by productivity gurus is microscheduling – creating a…

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Sleep-deprived pupils need extra hour in bed, schools warned | Education

Sleep experts are warning of an epidemic of sleep deprivation among school-aged children, with some urging educational authorities to alter school hours to allow adolescents to stay in bed longer. Adequate sleep is the strongest factor in the wellbeing and mental health of teenagers, and a shortage is linked to poor educational results, anxiety and obesity, they say. The French education minister approved a proposal to push back by an hour the start of the school day to 9am for…

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Pupils’ climate change strike threat poses dilemma for heads | Education

Headteachers across the country will this week be faced with a tricky dilemma: should they allow their pupils to go on strike? Thousands of schoolchildren are expected to absent themselves from school on Friday to take part in a series of coordinated protests drawing attention to climate change. At a time when politicians fret that young people are failing to engage with the political process, a headteacher’s decision to take a hard line against the strikers could be counter-productive. But…

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Rising trend of state school pupils going to university reverses | Education

The proportion of British state school pupils going to university has fallen for the first time in eight years, according to official figures, with the lowest-performing 15 UK institutions taking less than 70% of their first-year undergraduates from state schools. The data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency for the 2017-18 academic year showed that state-educated British students accounted for 89.8% of young entrants overall, below the previous year’s figure of 90%. For universities it marked the first reversal in…

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We need to talk about…Education | Membership

Guardian supporters share their questions and experiences with a panel of journalists and industry experts. This episode focuses on education and what education systems around the world can learn from each other? How can we take the politics out of our education systems? What is the future for assessment and curriculum? How can we grow and retain our teachers, giving them greater ownership of their profession? And with the sidelining of creative arts in the curriculum, how we can better…

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The NHS 10-year plan doesn’t do enough for children | Al Aynsley-Green | Education

The government’s NHS 10-year plan, which launched last month, has been broadly praised by children’s organisations. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, for one, celebrates that “it lays the foundations for an NHS with infants, children and young people at its core”. But does it? The plan, which aims to transform an overloaded health service, comes at an important time for children. The need is stark. We have some of the worst outcomes for children’s health, education, social…

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Denying loans to students with weaker A-levels will ‘penalise poor families’ | Education

Plans to deny student loans to those with lower A-level grades would hit poor families in regions where social mobility is already stalling, data obtained by Education Guardian shows. In the north-east a third of students who would be denied a university education come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Four months ago, the education secretary, Damian Hinds, launched Opportunity North East, a £24m campaign to raise aspirations and stop children in the region feeling they’ve been “left behind”. But the…

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Who’s going to care about the women being forced out of work? | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

What would drive thousands of people a year out of jobs they love, or need, with no certainty about whether they will ever be able to come back? If you have parents of a certain age, you might already have guessed the answer. About 600 people a day are giving up their jobs to look after elderly or sick relatives, the charity Carers UK estimates, a hidden exodus from working life that we don’t discuss nearly enough. Young women are…

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Critics take aim at subsidies given to private schools | Education

It is hard to imagine a more exclusive chain of prep schools than the one that has been entrusted with the education of the third-in-line to the throne. That privilege has been bestowed on Thomas’s, a group of four London public-school feeders, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen to send Prince George. With annual fees of about £18,000, Thomas’s, Battersea, is reassuringly expensive and boasts fittingly palatial facilities, including the Grade II-listed Great Hall Theatre, a gymnasium,…

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No other European country tests children at 16: let’s scrap pointless GCSEs | Sandra Leaton Gray | Education

We all could and should be having a relaxed summer but instead, 16-year-olds are grimly anticipating their GCSE results this Thursday. It doesn’t have to be this way. The UK is the only European country to have high-stakes testing at 16, with others adopting a more enlightened approach. This I discovered while leading a research project in 2016 that involved watching polyglot pupils in the European schools mill around their airy buildings in jeans and T-shirts. The European schools are…

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Call for more regulation of home-schooled children in England | Education

The children’s commissioner for England is calling for greater supervision for children being home-educated after their numbers have doubled in the past five years, driven by pupils being “off-rolled” or informally excluded by schools. Anne Longfield wants the estimated 60,000 home-schooled children in England to be registered with local authorities as well as stronger measures to stop schools illegally pushing pupils off their books, often by persuading parents to home-school them. In a report to be published on Monday, Longfield…

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‘Thank you is enough’: parents discourage festive gifts to teachers | Education

Parents should think twice before buying Christmas gifts for their children’s teachers, according to a Scottish parents’ group, as retailers promote increasingly lavish presents for teaching staff, and families compete to buy the most expensive items. The Scottish parents’ organisation Connect is highlighting a growing online trade in bespoke gifts for teachers, with some items costing over £100, as it calls on local parent councils and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to discourage gift-giving this festive season. Connect’s executive director, Eileen…

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Minister rejects call for blanket ban on mobile phones in schools | Education

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has said the government should not introduce a ban on mobile phones in schools, saying the decision should be left to headteachers. Hinds’ remarks contrast with those of the schools minister, Nick Gibb, , who has told the BBC: “My own view is that schools should ban their pupils from bringing smartphones into school or the classroom.” But in a recent interview with the Guardian, Hinds said mobile phone use by pupils was a complex…

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Universities could lose league table positions for diversity failures | Education

Universities’ prized league table positions may be under threat if they fail to tackle ethnic disparities among students, and in staff recruitment and research, as part of an initiative announced by the government. The effort to “explain or change” ethnic disparities is the latest official attempt to help underrepresented groups enter and succeed in higher education in England, backed by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Education. The announcement by David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, calls for league…

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Star of the Week … do some primary school rewards do more harm than good? | Education

On a frosty winter’s morning in Oxford, pupils at St Aloysius’ Catholic primary school file into the hall for their end-of-week assembly. Today the headteacher will be handing out certificates to those who have displayed the school’s “virtues”. The head, Tom Walker, calls on one or two children from each class to receive awards highlighting how they have supported friends, or taken a risk, or perhaps played with a child who was on their own. Each announcement is followed by…

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Secret Teacher: teaching children without play was soul-destroying | Teacher Network

One year, during Sats preparation, I watched as a number of my year 2 students cried because the paper was too difficult. I told them not to worry and to just try their best, but inside I felt dreadful. I knew that no matter how hard they cried, I would force them to continue. I’ve been a teacher for five years and I love working with children. But I’ve realised I don’t want to teach them any more. After spending…

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Britain’s private school problem: it’s time to talk | Education

The existence in Britain of a flourishing private-school sector not only limits the life chances of those who attend state schools but also damages society at large, and it should be possible to have a sustained and fully inclusive national conversation about the subject. Whether one has been privately educated, or has sent or is sending one’s children to private schools, or even if one teaches at a private school, there should be no barriers to taking part in that…

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Tougher GCSEs widen gap between poorer and better-off pupils | Education

The introduction of new, tougher GCSE exams in England has led to a widening of the gap between the results achieved by disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers, according to official figures. The Department for Education (DfE) analysis of last summer’s GCSE exams found the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others at secondary school grew by 0.6 percentage points, after two years in which it had narrowed. While disadvantaged pupils showed an improvement in the proportion gaining a grade 5…

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I couldn’t have gone to university without support for my disability | Caroline Butterwick | Education

Just two in five disabled students at university know that there is targeted funding available for them before starting their course, according to a recent government survey. This is worrying news: Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide vital support for many disabled students, by contributing to costs such as computer equipment or non-medical helpers support. As a visually impaired person with a mental health condition, I know how important they are first-hand. If I had faced studying without my DSAs, I…

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A student’s death: did her university do enough to help Natasha Abrahart? | Education

It began with a knock on the door. A police officer, sombre faced, saying she had tried earlier but the bell seemed to be out of order. Natasha Abrahart, 20, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend, talented Bristol University second-year physics student, a keen musician who enjoyed indoor climbing and baking cakes, was dead. Worse – if it can be worse – she appeared to have taken her life, alone in her student room. That was eight months ago. Since…

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Steiner schools aren’t cranky – we develop heart, head and soul | Letters | Education

Zoe Williams (These Steiner ‘failures’ are really a failure of the free school agenda, theguardian.com, 18 January) is wrong to imply that Steiner schools endorse the sometimes odious views of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner himself argued against this. This misconception is as ridiculous as saying that Britain’s most esteemed schools still promote the views of founders who may have traded slaves or opposed votes for women. Steiner schools attract a diverse group of parents who are highly committed to their children’s…

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Teaching In Unsettled Times – The Teacher And The Admin – Education Article

The older I get, the more I am grateful for my childhood. It was idyllic in every single way. It was formed with a base of hard working, loving parents who not only loved us, but loved each other and genuinely liked hanging out with us. It was built with the security of two younger siblings who, despite having an older brother who could, at times, be a little mean by lining up cereal boxes across the table so he…

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‘This is not a fluke’: how one state school got 41 Oxbridge offers | Education

“Cambridge was always my dream,” says 17-year-old Hridita Rahman Khan, one of 41 students at Brampton Manor academy in east London to have won offers from Oxbridge this week. Khan’s parents are from Bangladesh, she grew up in Italy and arrived in London at the age of 14 with little English. Three years later she has been offered a place to study engineering at the University of Cambridge. Her story is one of extraordinary achievement, but there are many at…

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