A childhood brush with beekeeping, a foray into falconry or a fossil-hunting trip could inspire a new generation of much-needed engineers, scientists and mathematicians, new research suggests.
Schools are being urged to consider introducing children to a hobby related to science, technology, engineering and maths – the so-called Stem subjects – after a major study found that it could leave them with a lifelong interest and shape their career path.Continue reading...
Each afternoon the men of Thennamadevi leave their village and head for the surrounding fields, many carrying bottles of high-strength home-brewed alcohol. Hours later they stagger back home through the paddy fields of the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.
Thennamadevi is racked by alcoholism. Most of its 150 male inhabitants participate in ruinous daily drinking sessions. Around 90 women with families in the village have been widowed. The youngest husband to die was 21.Continue reading...
David Lammy is right to attack the lack of diversity at elite bodies, but the problems are far more deep seated
The numbers are clearly unacceptable. Several colleges in both Oxford and Cambridge frequently admit cohorts with no black students in them at all. Roughly 1.5% of total offers are made to black British applicants and more than 80% of offers are made to the children of the top two social classes. With offers made overwhelmingly to those in London and a handful of the home counties, both universities are consistently excluding entire ethnic and regional demographics. They also continue to admit a grotesquely disproportionate number of privately schooled students. In effect, the two ancients are running a generous quota scheme for white students, independent schools and the offspring of affluent south-eastern English parents.
There is undoubtedly a great deal that both institutions can and must do to remedy this. Our admissions processes at Cambridge are not sufficiently responsive to the gravity of the situation. Despite periodic panics in response to such media “revelations” or staged political scolding, and notwithstanding the good intentions of many involved in admissions, questions of diversity and inclusion are not taken seriously enough in their own right.Continue reading...
Furious parents demand answers after transfer of funds by Wakefield City Academies Trust leaves pupils forced to recycle old exercise books
“I want my children to have the education I didn’t get,” says Josie Farrar, 46, who has two children at Freeston Academy in Normanton, West Yorkshire.
Her children had been back at school for two days at the start of term in September when parents had a letter saying the academy trust that managed Freeston and 20 other schools across Yorkshire was disbanding. “That was a real worry for me. One of my sons is in year 11 and the other in year nine. Year 11 is an important year, as it’s his GCSE year.”Continue reading...
With so many traditional industries under threat, from DVD rentals and black cabs to British wool – how does it feel to know your job might not exist in five years’ time?
It’s been a long time since a job for life was on the horizon for many; now even a job for five years can seem like a stretch. It’s not just because more of us are choosing portfolio careers, or retraining in our 40s; whole sections of industry are disappearing. Empty shopfronts where camera stores or video rentals might have stood 20 years ago are evidence of our changing consumer appetites. Advances in technology mean that even the most dependable trades now look shaky. Ten years ago, driverless cars were the stuff of science fiction. Now, how long has your average cabbie got?
“Is there a wave of change coming? Absolutely,” says Raj Mody, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “And changes are likely to get faster and more disruptive in the next 10 years.” According to PwC’s recently published Workforce Of The Future report, 37% of us are worried about losing our jobs to automation. But this concern may be a little misplaced. “We’re already in a situation where humans and robots are intertwined,” Mody says. “What I think we’ll see more of is deconstructing jobs into component skills – those tasks that can be automated and those that are uniquely human: adaptability, creativity, leadership, even the ability to delight a customer.” So the jobs, or job titles, we recognise may evolve into something quite different.Continue reading...
As #MeToo shines a light on sexual harassment – and with reports of sexual assaults by under-18s on the rise – tell us what your school is doing about it
Are you a teacher who has witnessed sexual harassment taking place between students at your school? Did you know how to handle the situation? Do you feel your school is doing enough to educate and inform pupils about the issue?
Sexual harassment continues to be a widespread problem in society. The issue has been highlighted most recently by the #MeToo campaign, which asked people to share the words “me too” on social media if they had ever been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, in the wake of the allegations of sexual assault and rape against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.Continue reading...
My experience marking papers this year has convinced me we must do more to guard against inaccuracies. These are children’s futures we’re talking about
Like most schools across the country, my school requests that many of the exam papers sat by GCSE students are re-marked by a senior examiner if they are just a few marks off a grade boundary. This is common practice and especially true of English and humanities subjects where the mark scheme is applied much more subjectively than, say, something like maths where there is a clear right and wrong.
This year, we’ve seen a significant number of students’ marks going up by a whole grade boundary. As head of English, I should find this pleasing – after all, it’s a win for those specific students and it helps me reach my own performance management targets by raising the Progress 8 level for the department. But having also been a GCSE exams marker over the summer, for the new English GCSE specification, these re-marks are ringing alarm bells.Continue reading...
MP says universities put pressure on journalists to change stories about lack of black students getting places rather than addressing concerns
Oxford and Cambridge have been accused of failing to engage in serious debate over their lack of diversity by the former education minister, David Lammy, who first highlighted the issue with data obtained by freedom of information requests.
The Labour MP said that the universities had been “trying to make journalists change their stories” rather than address how little progress they were making in recruiting talented students by race, social class and location in England and Wales.Continue reading...
Earlier this month Oxford University put up a plaque to celebrate its first black graduate. Christian Cole read classics and went on to become the first African-origin barrister in the English courts in the 1880s. Where Mr Cole once blazed a trail, few unfortunately have followed. Data extracted by Labour MP David Lammy shows that 10 out of 32 Oxford colleges did not award a place to a black British pupil in 2015. Oxford’s great rival Cambridge University fared little better: six colleges failed to admit any black British A-level students in the same year. Britain’s most elitist universities could put a plaque up for every black person they admitted and still have room for Cecil Rhodes statues.Continue reading...
The post-GCSE Oxbridge open evening at my child’s northern comprehensive was attended by about 250 parents, a perfect reflection of its wide ethnic diversity. The speaker was an overseas Oxbridge master’s student, whose only experience of British education and Oxbridge was the 12 months’ studying she was partway through. According to her script we “shouldn’t be worried or confused about colleges, they are just like houses”. It took me, a Russell Group professor, a moment to realise she was alluding to houses in the public school sense. Had she added, “like in Harry Potter” it might have connected better; but for the audience, the world she described was equally one of fantasy. Two years later, and it is only the children of white middle-class parents (like me) who are applying for Oxbridge, wearing, without exception, the Toynbee clothes peg.
Their visits have demonstrated the self-evident truth that Oxbridge is largely whites-only (Oxbridge still failing black pupils, 20 October; Going backwards: richer students from the south-east still dominate Oxbridge intake, 20 October). Social media sharing tells them to expect, in interview and beyond, ad hominem attacks on gender and accent, masquerading as being “challenging”. They know their role will be to raise the game of public school dunces, and teach them better to interact with their perceived social inferiors. They know generally that the default culture will be that of the British public school. Their hope, nonetheless, is that they will get the intensive teaching from the world-class faculty that their love of learning has led them to crave; some, too, are cynical about the social advantage they will gain. Even then, a better education in many subjects can be had at other British universities; and our problem is not just what happens to exclude black and working-class students before they get to Oxbridge; but afterwards how Oxbridge graduates then extend that exclusion to the workplace.
Name and address supplied
Reflecting on patriarchy, the excellent Suzanne Moore (G2, 19 October) identifies the problem as power imbalance – where one set of people have the power over others to dictate if they will eat or not. Answer: a universal basic income for everyone removes one part of the vulnerability that gives the Weinsteins and Sampsons their power.
Dr Anne Brockbank
Brockbank McGill Associates
• I’m a proud cockney (Leave it out! £55 East End themed dinners spark row, 20 October). I don’t smoke or wear a tracksuit, have been a director of public health and CEO of a local authority. I’ve occasionally been disrespected due to my accent, which is uncommon in high public office in the south. But living in the north for 30 years, it’s not been an issue as it’s recognised as a working-class accent.
Students who have made it to Oxford and Cambridge say more can be done to help others follow in their footsteps
Oxford and Cambridge must engage with students at a much younger age, and state schools should better prepare their students for elite colleges, black British Oxbridge students say.
Hope Oloye, 20, from Newham, east London, is the only black biomedical student in her year at Oxford. She only considered applying after being encouraged to do so by a tutor at her comprehensive.Continue reading...
Goody bags, glossy brochures – these events are more about making a corporate sales pitch than addressing the gritty realities of education
It is that time of year when parents and children of a certain age shop around for schools. My 15-year-old is looking for a sixth form to attend, and my 11-year old is trying to find a secondary school. So we have been going through the strange theatre of school open days. This is an odd moment when the ideals of education collide with the principles of commerce.
Secular school or not, there is always a god to be worshipped – choice. At one school I visited, which most resembled a slick, modernist factory, the sizeable mob waiting outside the school gates were handed goody bags containing a glossy brochure as well as an apple and a chocolate bar. The food, apparently, was meant to represent the idea of “choice” ( in case we didn’t get it).Continue reading...
Ministry of Health declines to endorse proposals to tackle teen pregnancy rates, with distribution of contraceptives to 15-year-olds branded an ‘erosion of morals’
A row has broken out in Uganda over proposals to extend sex education to 10-year-olds and give some 15-year-olds access to family planning services.
The Ministry of Health has refused to endorse the guidelines, which were designed to tackle the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate, objecting that they are morally wrong and would encourage promiscuity and abortions.Continue reading...