Does Catherine Pepinster really see no difference between teaching ethical debate for GCSE and teaching children that abortion is wrong (Ofsted is wrong to criticise faith schools, 14 December)? “Fundamental British values” may be hard to define: such is the nature of values. We may criticise the law of the land, and particular laws, and criticise the national curriculum or particular exams. In doing so we help to realise and hope to establish what is valuable. Even if the influential Ms Pepinster believes there is no difference between her two examples of teaching ethics, this is not an argument against faith schools. It does though suggest the schools find friends in the media who think more clearly about these important matters.
• Catherine Pepinster appeals to “freedom to choose”, yet she ignores precisely that value in asserting the “wrongness of abortion” halfway through the same article. That’s what people really object to about faith schools: the hypocrisy, the bias, the meddlesome mixing of religious doctrine (not faith, which is universal) with what should be open-ended education for its own sake.
(Fr) Alec Mitchell
Data in England shows bright children on free meals lose out as gap grows for high attainment in literacy, writing and maths
Bright primary school children receiving free school meals (FSM) are being left behind by their peers, with the gap in high attainment in literacy, writing and maths widening between the two groups, according to official data.
The results of key stage two national tests in England – known as Sats – of 11-year-olds showed children not on FSM surging ahead of their disadvantaged peers, with more doing better than expected compared with previous years.Continue reading...
Watchdog says some boards awarding better results despite not finding errors in the original marking
Exam boards caused a “massive muddle” this summer over students appealing their GCSE results, according to an official report by Ofqual.
The exams watchdog’s investigation showed that some boards were awarding extra marks despite not finding errors in the original marking and that re-marking rules imposed by England’s exam regulator were ignored.Continue reading...
In Hamburger Schulen werden an Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit erkrankte Kinder mit Sandwesten beruhigt.
For bibliophiles, it is tempting to buy books as presents to ‘fix’ people who don’t read – but this is snobbery of the worst kind
You’re making a list, you’re checking it twice, and your fall-back position will be a nice book or two for friends and family to unwrap on Christmas Day. Everybody loves a good book, right?
But wait. What about those who don’t read? (Take it from me, these people exist. I’ve seen them. I’m even friends with a few.) Now you and me, we know that books are great. Books enrich, educate and entertain. People who read books are smarter, nicer, more attractive. People who don’t read books live grey, humdrum, fiction-free lives, bereft of that essential spark that infuses the lives of us readers, allows us to walk on clouds, hear choirs of angels and piss rainbows.Continue reading...
After a difficult year in higher education, the festive break is a time to reset and rethink. Here are four inspiring reads for your stocking
It’s a truth more or less universally acknowledged that universities have had it tough in 2017. Their leaders have been under fire for high pay, students have questioned whether their degrees represent value for money, and some institutions have been reprimanded for failing to diversify their student body, while others have been accused of complacency over sexual misconduct.
But 2018 is a whole new year. There are glimmers of hope on the horizon, with a Brexit deal looking likely, the promise of a review of university funding, and a new regulator which claims to have widening access at its heart. It remains to be seen how those developments will pan out, but in the meantime, four higher education thinkers have recommended books to inspire even the most hardened university pessimists during their Christmas break.
The ice mountain is cracking. The glaciers are loosening. The greatest cultural confidence trick since the medieval monastery is dissolving. This week the universities minister, Jo Johnson, said the unsayable: the British three-year university course, virtually unchanged in 100 years, is absurd and should end. That many foreign universities are equally conservative is neither here nor there.
To Johnson, the overwhelming majority of courses can be done in two years. The internet has transformed – or should have transformed – both teaching methods and student research. The astronomical cost of a course – averaging some £60,000 – is no more defensible than the outrageous vice-chancellors’ salaries, the inflexibility of teaching time, and curbs on free speech.Continue reading...
Ucas admission data shows that entry rate for pupils on free school meals was 17% while rate for others was 34%
The gap between students on free school meals able to study at university widened this year compared with their better-off peers – making the poorer group only half as likely to attend university in England.
The figures from Ucas, the university admissions clearing house, showed that school-leavers in England from the most deprived backgrounds were the least likely to attend university, with the gap widening for the second year in a row.Continue reading...
Education secretary attacks Labour’s ‘money and slogans’ as she launches plan including £50m for school nursery places
The education secretary, Justine Greening, has accused Labour of offering nothing but “money and slogans” to tackle schools standards, as she announces a national strategy aimed at closing the attainment gap between rich and poor children.
Greening will use a speech on Thursday to set out measures including £50m for schools to open new nursery places.Continue reading...
Jo Johnson says pay policies should be published more openly and VCs should not sit on committees that set their salaries
Universities in England must introduce specific reforms to rein in rises in vice-chancellors’ pay, the higher education minister has said at a meeting with leaders from the sector.
In unusually blunt terms, Jo Johnson told the delegation he expected pay policies for senior staff to be published more openly, and that vice-chancellors should be barred from sitting on the committees that set their pay.Continue reading...