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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
Updated: 23 min 58 sec ago

Dear Damian Hinds, you didn’t need a ‘fresh look’ at special needs funding. You knew about the crisis | Michael Rosen

33 min 44 sec ago
Parents, teachers, carers and children have been telling you for years that there’s a crisis

I understand that by the time you read this you may well be on holiday, contemplating how to spend your time on the backbenches. Excuse the cynicism, but anyone involved in education has a struggle to understand why people with no knowledge of schools other than their own childhood experience, can come in, throw their weight about for a year or so and disappear. Sometimes it’s not so much about weight-throwing, more a case of can-kicking, even on the most urgent and important issues.

You’ll remember, in May you called for what newspapers described as a “fresh look” at educational funding for children with special needs in England. Apparently a “review” would enable you to “make sure we have the best understanding of how our system for funding is operating on the ground”. When you said this, I admit to having made more than one sneery snort: one for the “fresh look”, one for “best understanding”.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Testing four-year-olds to begin in September – but parents kept in dark

53 min 44 sec ago

Government says no obligation to tell families as 10,000 schools sign up to pilots

Sophia is four and shy, especially around strangers. In September she starts school and Hayley Phillips, her mother, already worried about how her daughter will settle in, has found out she will have to sit a test.

In the first six weeks of the new school year, four- and five-year-olds in nearly 10,000 schools, about half of the primary schools in England, will be taken out of class and asked questions for the new reception baseline assessment (RBA).

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Debbie Jones: ‘My team of experts got children’s services off the naughty step’ | David Brindle

1 hour 18 min ago
The head of children’s services at London’s Tower Hamlets on how she achieved a ‘remarkable’ turnaround

When Ofsted inspectors branded children’s services in Tower Hamlets “inadequate” two years ago, Debbie Jones seemed hoist by her own petard. She had become director responsible for services at the then troubled east London council after leaving Ofsted, where she had controversially made the inspection model much tougher.

Jones, 69, can now claim vindication: having stood her ground in the face of that damning verdict, and having been backed by the council’s leaders, her two-year turnaround of her department resulted this week in a “good” Ofsted rating and a glowing report describing the achievement as “remarkable”.

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Grenfell adult college saved with £32m government bailout

1 hour 18 min ago

Wornington college had been sold to be turned into luxury housing

An adult education college at the heart of the Grenfell Tower community has been saved by a £32m government bailout following a campaign against plans which could have turned it into luxury housing.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea bought Wornington college for a net sum of £25m in 2016 – almost a year before the Grenfell fire – and had plans to sell it on to a private housing developer for a potential £14m profit. Now RBKC faces a £15m loss after agreeing to sell it to the government for £10m.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Schools face cutbacks to fund pay rise for teachers in England

Δευτέρα, 22/07/2019 - 16:51

Government says it will fund only 0.75% increase, expecting schools to pay for remaining 2%

School budgets face cuts to fund a new teachers’ pay rise after the government announced it would only partially fund the award of 2.75%.

Teachers are among almost a million public-sector workers – including hospital doctors and soldiers – who are to receive above-inflation pay rises for a second year in succession.

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A Welsh ice-cream parlour helped me accept my childhood | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Δευτέρα, 22/07/2019 - 13:30

In the first of a series, our writers reflect on the lessons they learned from a summer encounter with work

It was the summer after my first year of university, and I was back in uniform for the first time since school. The blue baseball cap and polo shirt combination was not glamorous, and I hated wearing my hair up, but the ice-cream parlour in the Snowdonian village of my childhood was hiring, and I needed the work.

These sorts of summer jobs are on the decline among young people with technology at their disposal, but I didn’t have the option to become an influencer or an internet millionaire. Back home, everyone I knew worked a summer job, but my distinctly posher university friends were off on adventures: backpacking around South America, repairing to their families’ houses in the south of France, Interrailing. I had already wasted a substantial wodge of cash on a quixotic attempt at a law degree that had me begging fervently to transfer courses before the tedium of property law actually killed me. Back in the village I had worked so hard to leave, I was doubting whether I could afford university at all.

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Ofsted under fire in its own survey of teachers' wellbeing

Δευτέρα, 22/07/2019 - 02:01

Teachers spend bulk of hours spent on marking, planning and preparing for inspections

A survey of teachers’ wellbeing by the Ofsted schools inspectorate found that Ofsted itself is a major source of workload and stress for teachers in England.

The survey of more than 2,000 school and college staff revealed that teachers put in longer hours than many others in the UK workforce, reporting that they worked more than 50 hours a week on average, while headteachers said they worked 57 hours a week in term time.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Lights, camera, caption! Why subtitles are no longer just for the hard of hearing

Sun, 21/07/2019 - 17:00

An enormous number of people with unimpaired hearing are choosing to watch with words. Why? And is it time captions became the norm?

‘Subtitles aren’t just for deaf people,” read the tweet that started it all. “Lots of my hearing friends use them, too. If you’re hearing and using subtitles on Netflix and TV, and would quite like them at the cinema, please retweet to help normalise their presence!”

This recent post by @deafgirly (AKA Deafinitely Girly) swiftly garnered close to 75,000 likes and a deluge of replies. “I was confused at first when I saw it had gone viral,” says the 30-year-old blogger and campaigner from London, who prefers to go by her Twitter name. “I was out for lunch with my mum and my phone started going crazy. I was really pleased though, because there was overwhelming global support from people of all ages for subtitles. Even the people who said they didn’t really like them at the cinema said they’d tolerate them if it meant deaf people could attend more screenings.” One woman even told DG she used subtitles when she was too stoned to listen to her favourite shows.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

England’s pupils stuck in classroom as cuts put paid to end-of-term school trips

Sun, 21/07/2019 - 10:00
Figures show that the traditional group summer outing, aimed at widening horizons and building character, is now in steep decline

The end of summer term is traditionally a time for children to escape the classroom on a school trip. But increasing numbers of teachers say they have had to cut back on such outings because of rising costs and falling staff levels. Some of the country’s leading cultural venues have also reported a fall in the number of educational visits.

“Cutting back on school trips or abandoning them altogether is yet another example of the detrimental impact the crisis in school funding is having on the lives of children and young people who are being denied access to enriching experiences they might not otherwise get,” said Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Weeding, writing and arithmetic… why green fingers are good for our children

Sun, 21/07/2019 - 09:00
Schools should teach pupils gardening skills to instil a passion for the environment in future generations, says horticultural chief

From the water vole to the Scottish wildcat, the dwindling numbers of Britain’s most at-risk animals are well documented. But now the alarm bell is sounding over a rather more overlooked endangered species: green-fingered children.

Young people are so rarely spotted in gardens across Britain nowadays that the Royal Horticultural Society is warning that the country is facing a green skills crisis unless more learn to garden.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Condemning poor children to a life without culture is a form of cruelty | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 20/07/2019 - 18:30
From music to sport, too many kids are losing out on vital life-enhancing activities

Disadvantaged children in England are being priced out of a cultural hinterland. A Social Mobility Commission study, from the University of Bath, reports that children aged 10-15 from low-income families are three times less likely than wealthier peers to engage in out-of-school musical activities, such as learning an instrument or joining a choir or orchestra.

There were also differences according to race – 4% of British Pakistani children took part in music classes, compared with 28% of Indian children and 20% of white children – and regional divides: 9% of children in north-east England played a musical instrument, compared with 22% in the south-east.

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Damian Hinds signals extra funds for special needs education

Fri, 19/07/2019 - 19:05

Education secretary says the government recognises need to ease pressure on local councils

Spending on children with special educational needs and disabilities is expected to be increased after the education secretary said the government recognised the urgent need to relieve pressures on families, councils and schools.

Although Damian Hinds declined to put a figure on the announcement to be made as early as next week, he said discussions between the Department for Education and the Treasury recognised the “particular pressures” caused by the rapid increase in children and young people with Send.

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Unions criticise 'selective' public sector pay rises

Fri, 19/07/2019 - 16:37

Increase of £2bn unlikely to benefit essential workers from civil servants to refuse collectors

Unions have criticised Theresa May’s proposed public sector pay rises as “selective handouts” that are unlikely to benefit essential workers including teaching assistants, care workers and refuse collectors.

A £2bn public sector pay rise, the biggest in six years, is expected to be announced by the Treasury on Monday as one of May’s last acts as prime minister.

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Merseyside special needs school to close at short notice

Fri, 19/07/2019 - 15:28

Firm that runs Crossley Manor school says it has too few pupils to keep it open

Families of children at a special needs school were given just weeks to find new places for them after the company running it announced it would close at the end of the summer term.

Crossley Manor school near St Helens, in Merseyside, caters for children with complex social and mental health needs including autism and ADHD from across the north-west. It was set up two years ago by Elysium Healthcare, a company funded by a private equity firm, BC Partners, which runs more than 60 mental healthcare clinics and schools in the UK, many for the NHS.

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‘Anything but inclusive’: No school places for three disabled sisters

Fri, 19/07/2019 - 02:01

Couple find that in practice they have less support than when they were foster parents

Special educational needs breaking our budgets, warn councils

Jan Ansell has three disabled daughters whom she adopted with her husband Kevin because, as foster carers, they could not bear the pain of handing back children they had loved and cared for.

They cherish their daughters, but are struggling to cope. As well as dealing with the challenges of adoption, they are at the sharp end of a funding and provision crisis affecting thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (Send).

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Special needs education breaking our budgets, warn councils

Fri, 19/07/2019 - 02:01

Sharp rise in pupils requiring special support leads to £100m overspend in England

Anything but inclusive – no place for three sisters

County councils across England are warning that the cost of covering special needs education is breaking their budgets, with local authorities overspending by more than £100m last year to meet the sharp rise in demand.

Research by the County Councils Network found that some councils had recorded a 90% increase in young people being given care plans requiring special support, with 27 county councils overspending by a total of £123m in 2018-19 at a time when local authority purses are under severe pressure.

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How women created some of the world's biggest education tech companies

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 12:40

The tech industry is dominated by men, but some of the world’s biggest education tech brands have women at the helm. What do these women have in common? They’re all former teachers

Everything’s going digital, and that includes education. From homework management apps to virtual reality geometry lessons, there’s plenty on offer from companies competing for a slice of the sizeable global market for online learning.

Education technology (edtech) exports are worth £170m to the UK economy and the Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled plans to build “the best edtech ecosystem in the world”, with a new edtech strategy. It’s hoped powerful technologies will improve student learning and relieve teacher workload in the face of shrinking education budgets.

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Parents use savings and second jobs to support children at university

Thu, 18/07/2019 - 02:01

Survey finds more than four in five parents plan to contribute to living expenses

Parents say they are contributing £360 each month to support their children at university, with some forced to dip into their savings or take on second jobs to help with rent and food costs, according to a new report by Which?

Related: How much should parents pay for university?

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Russia denies visas to teachers at Anglo-American school

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 17:31

Staff say decision is ‘blowback’ as a result of worsening relations with US

Russia has denied visas to teachers of the Anglo-American school in Moscow, in a move described by one teacher as “blowback” over worsening US-Russian relations.

The US ambassador, Jon Huntsman, called the decision to deny visas to 30 teachers at the Anglo-American school “unfortunate” and said it would “affect over 1,100 students and their families, who represent over 60 countries, including Russia”. The day school is popular among the children of western diplomats and businessmen.

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Number of small schools in England halves since 1980

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 14:07

Rise of ‘superjumbo’ primaries leaves villages mourning loss of community asset

The number of small schools in England has halved in recent decades, with those in rural and village settings twice as likely to have shut their doors to pupils as those in urban areas, according to research.

The study says primary schools have undergone a dramatic transformation, with children increasingly being taught in “super-jumbo” institutions in towns and cities, many with more than 800 pupils, leaving villages to mourn the loss of a vital community asset.

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