Labour would end free market in higher education, says Rayner | Education

A Labour government would end the “failed free-market experiment in higher education”, taking a tougher line on vice-chancellors’ pay and improving academic diversity, the shadow education secretary is set to announce. Angela Rayner will outline a series of major policy steps that would allow regulators to intervene in how universities in England are run, including how they recruit and reward staff. Speaking to the University and College Union (UCU) conference on Saturday, Rayner will say: “The Tories’ obsession with free-market…

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Two state Steiner schools face possible closure or takeover | Education

Two Steiner state schools in the west of England face possible closure or takeover after the Department for Education said it intended to cut off their funding later this year. The trusts running the free schools in Bristol and Frome have been issued termination warning notices by the DfE after the schools were rated as inadequate and placed in special measures by Ofsted. The inspections published in January reported a long list of serious safeguarding and teaching problems at the…

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School pupils issue fake parking tickets to tackle pollution | Education

Primary school pupils in Greater Manchester have started patrolling the streets outside their schools as uniformed “junior” police officers, issuing fake parking tickets to parents parked on the pavement or sitting with their engines running. The junior PCSOs (police community safety officers) were the brainchild of Steve Marsland, the headteacher of Russell Scott primary in Denton in Tameside, after he noticed a huge increase in the number of children with asthma. Eighteen months ago, he started to use an inhaler…

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Vice-chancellors paid £500,000 or more at six universities in England | Education

Six universities in England paid their vice-chancellors £500,000 or more in salary, bonuses and benefits last year, while nearly half of all VCs received more than £300,000, according to the higher education regulator’s first survey of senior staff pay. The Open University, London Business School and the University of East London topped the table for leaders’ remuneration, with the OU paying out £718,000 in 2017-18, including compensation for loss of office, to its departed vice-chancellor Peter Horrocks. The figures from…

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‘It’s not about my school’: teacher’s TV drama depicts stress in class | Education

“ONOMATO PO E.I.A. BOOM!, ONOMATO PO E.I.A. BOOM!” bellows a teacher to a classroom of unimpressed teenagers. His enthusiasm for the written word is struggling to get much buy-in from the disengaged mass in front of him. This is the story of Shaun, a downtrodden English teacher who is eventually beaten by the system, as depicted in the TV drama Beaten, shown last week on BBC One (and now screening on BBC iPlayer) as part of a series compiled by…

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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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Cambridge doesn’t need a £100m gift but other universities do | Letters | Education

In choosing to contrast Birkbeck with the University of Cambridge, Marthe de Ferrer hits a nail squarely on the head (If you’ve got £100m to spare, don’t give it to Cambridge, 7 February). The decade I spent teaching at Birkbeck taught me more about the spirit and purpose of education than three spent in more conventional universities. Lacking almost all the perquisites now seemingly essential to attract full-timers, without exception Birkbeck’s mature part-timers made up for what they might have…

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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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Replace GCSEs with baccalaureate, says Conservative MP | Education

GCSE exams in England should be scrapped and replaced with a baccalaureate for school leavers that includes vocational skills and personal development, as part of a radical overhaul proposed by an influential Conservative MP. Robert Halfon, the MP for Harlow who chairs the House of Commons education select committee, is the first Conservative policymaker to break ranks over the future of GCSE exams, after the government’s efforts to improve their status by making them more difficult. Halfon, who has campaigned…

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All pupils have a right to LGBT education | Letters | Education

Shraga Stern accuses the National Secular Society of “see[ing] fit to dismiss basic religious freedoms” (Letters, 7 February). Secularism seeks to defend the absolute freedom of belief, and protect the right to manifest religious belief insofar as it does not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Parents’ rights to secure an education consistent with their religious beliefs are not absolute and must be balanced against society’s duty to safeguard children’s independent interests. All pupils should have the right…

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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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Low-cost, no-frills Durham private school attacked by teachers | Education

A new private school offering a no-frills education for just £52 a week will open its doors to pupils in Durham this week, despite vociferous opposition from teaching unions, which say it is impossible to provide a quality education on such a low budget. The launch of the Independent Grammar School: Durham has been greeted with scepticism by many in the sector who accuse the school’s founders of using children as guinea pigs in an educational experiment and trading on…

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English university given £900k emergency loan by regulator | Education

A university received a £900,000 emergency loan from the higher education regulator in England this year, it has been revealed, in a move that calls into question claims by the regulator that it would not bail out struggling institutions. The unnamed university, described only as a “small, modern institution”, was reported by the BBC to have received the emergency loan from the Office for Students (OfS), which this year took over responsibility for regulating England’s higher education sector. “Over the…

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Struggling UK universities warn staff of possible job cuts | Education

Universities are warning staff to prepare for redundancies in the new year as a result of deteriorating balance sheets and lowered forecasts for student recruitment, coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit and sudden shifts in government policy. In recent days more than half a dozen universities have told staff there could be job cuts in 2019, including members of the research-intensive Russell Group such as Cardiff University, while others are privately bracing for cuts later in the year. Universities are…

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Schools staff crisis looms as austerity hits teachers’ pay | Education

Ministers have conceded that teachers’ pay has fallen by thousands of pounds a year since the public spending austerity drive began, amid warnings of a “looming crisis” in attracting and retaining new staff. Classroom pay has fallen by more than £4,000 a year since 2010 in real terms, according to a government assessment. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, warned that only a 2% increase can be expected for the next academic year. The admission comes in the Department for Education’s…

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Reading University in crisis amid questions over £121m land sales | Education

A major British university is in a financial and governance crisis, having reported itself to regulators over a £121m loan. The University of Reading has confirmed to the Guardian that it is investigating whether it improperly benefited from the sale of land belonging to the National Institute for Research in Dairying trust, with the £121m from the sales having been spent by the university and replaced with the equivalent of IOUs in the trust’s accounts. The university said it had…

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State school pupils can race ahead | Letters | Education

I agree largely with Suzanne Moore (Teaching all pupils to act more like Etonians won’t help solve inequality, theguardian.com, 7 February) except for one thing. As a graduate recruitment manager for some years, state school kids, especially those from tough backgrounds, have far more resilience. What they don’t have is a level playing field. Give them that, and many perform outstandingly well. An accidental experiment when a teacher I know took a party of less well-off pupils skiing alongside privately…

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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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Private schooling at the public’s expense | Letters | Education

Robert Halfon, chairman of the House of Commons education select committee, is right to defend the principle of “continuity of education” for government staff serving overseas (which applies to the MoD, FCO, DfID and families from other departments). However, he is wrong to say that use of exclusive, eye-wateringly expensive “public” schools by government staff at taxpayers’ expense is due to the lack of availability of state boarding schools (Charitable status? Critics take aim at subsidies given to private schools,…

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Talk about Marxist historian under fire for breaching workers’ rights boycott | Education

Leading academics have been accused of undermining a protest about workers’ rights in London in order to give a talk about a historian famous for his support of workers’ rights. Sir Richard Evans was due to discuss his book on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm at the University of London on Thursday evening, breaking a boycott supported by hundreds advocating better employment conditions for cleaners and other outsourced staff at the university. Martin Jacques, the former editor of Marxism Today, and…

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Teaching all pupils to act more like Etonians won’t help solve inequality | Suzanne Moore | Opinion

It really does take a special kind of inattention to observe public life today and conclude that what we need is more public school swagger. Our politics is currently dominated by men who are so convinced of their own swag it’s dangerous. We know where politics as a debating society with no real-world consequences leads: Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson are exemplary only in their callous recklessness. Still, here we have the education secretary, Damian Hinds (I know no one…

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Record numbers from China and Hong Kong applying to study in UK | Education

Record numbers of students from China and Hong Kong are applying for places at British universities, overtaking the number of applicants from Wales, according to official figures. Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) shows a spike in demand for undergraduate places from mainland China and a small rise in applications from the EU, despite fears over Brexit. The figures taken from Ucas’s January deadline, when the bulk of undergraduate applications are made, show a 1% decline in…

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Cambridge University receives £100m gift from former student | Education

The University of Cambridge is celebrating the largest single donation from a British donor in recent history, after announcing a gift of £100m from the financier David Harding to support students. Harding, a physics graduate from Cambridge who became a billionaire and successful hedge fund manager, has pledged that some of the funds will go to promote access for students from disadvantaged and minority ethnic backgrounds. The donations from the David and Claudia Harding Foundation will include £79m in scholarships…

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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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Warwick University says rape threat pair won’t return | Education

Two men involved in a student message group that aimed rape threats at women at Warwick University will not be returning to the campus, its vice-chancellor has announced, heading off a backlash against an earlier decision to allow them to restart their studies. Stuart Croft said on Monday evening that the two men would not be returning to the university, in what appears to have been a voluntary decision on their part. The two male undergraduates had been banned from…

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Universities raise alarm over no-deal Brexit and EU student enrolment | Education

University leaders have said that a no-deal Brexit would constitute “one of the biggest threats” ever faced by the sector, as figures revealed a further decline in EU student enrolment, particularly in postgraduate research. According to the Russell Group of universities, there was a 9% decrease in the number of EU postgraduate research students enrolling at its institutions this academic year. The fall follows a 9% decline the previous year, and has potential consequences for Britain’s research capacity. Dr Hollie…

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Black female professors must deal with bullying to win promotion, report finds | Education

Black female professors have to overcome bullying, stereotyping and institutional neglect in order to win promotion, according to a damning new report of their experiences working at British universities. In interviews with 20 of the total 25 black female professors working in UK universities, Nicola Rollock, the report’s author, said that their experiences made for depressing reading. “What they are saying is that their entire careers have been characterised by abuse and exclusion, and that their race has been the…

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