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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: 48 min 48 sec ago

Vegan college menus on the rise as students return to university

1 hour 1 min ago
Record numbers of college canteens are going meat-free

University campuses across the country are cutting meat from their canteen and cafe menus under pressure from growing numbers of vegan students and staff.

This year, more university cafeterias than ever are being replaced by exclusively vegan and vegetarian canteens, according to the university caterers’ organisation Tuco, while vegan organisations are reporting big increases in the numbers of activists pushing for meat-free food on campus.

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Categories: Διεθνή Media

Angela Rayner: ‘I’m not OK with a school system that allows you to fail or be chucked out’

Sat, 21/09/2019 - 23:30
Labour MP tells shares her radical plans for education and explains how New Labour helped turn her life around

“My school, we affectionately nicknamed it Avonjail, but it was called Avondale, Avondale high school in Stockport. I left with no GCSEs above a D,” says Angela Rayner, with a school rebel kind of a grin, as we start our interview. Brought up on a Stockport housing estate by her mother, who could neither read nor write, Rayner was pregnant when she quit full-time education. “I kind of left at 15.”

Related: ‘We will scrap Ofsted’: Labour makes radical election pledge

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‘We will scrap Ofsted’: Labour makes radical election pledge

Sat, 21/09/2019 - 23:27
Party also considering free care services for the over-65s as it prepares to fight possible snap poll

Labour is pledging to abolish Ofsted and end “high stakes” school inspections as part of radical plans drawn up before a possible snap election.

Related: Angela Rayner: ‘I’m not OK with a school system that allows you to fail or be chucked out’

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Birmingham school row: ‘This is made out to be just Muslims v gays. It’s not’

Sat, 21/09/2019 - 20:29
As the new term starts, and a court case looms, teachers, parents and demonstrators at Birmingham’s Anderton Park primary tell their side of the story

“People of quality respect equality,” says Aisha, shyly sticking rainbow feathers on to the peace posters she’s just made. The teenager is one of half a dozen Muslim pupils from South and City College Birmingham attending a creative workshop promoting LGBTQ rights in the city.

They are joined by Muslim girls and women, mothers, students and refugees, who have crammed into the Ort gallery to meet and collaborate with members of the local Muslim LGBTQ community. A two-year-old careers between the tables, which are scattered with paint pens, rainbow paper and pots of glue. One mother in a niqab who homeschools her three children tells me she’s here to make sure they understand “how to respect other people who might be different”. Another, a migrant from Iraq, listens carefully to the experience of Mayzar Shirali, who runs a Persian LGBT asylum and refugee support network, and is hoping today is “an icebreaker”.

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Student who killed herself was ‘failed’ by mental health services

Fri, 20/09/2019 - 21:46

Family of 19-year-old Ceara Thacker were not told she had previously taken overdose

The parents of a University of Liverpool student found dead at her halls of residence have claimed she was “failed” by mental health services.

Ceara Thacker, 19, was found in her room in the university’s Brownlow Hill accommodation on 11 May last year.

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Charity regulator warns Ucas about marketing loans to students

Fri, 20/09/2019 - 20:00

Commission intervenes as Martin Lewis calls on service to stop ‘promoting debt’

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has been rebuked by the Charity Commission over its role in the marketing of private loans to students and school-leavers, with the regulator warning that Ucas needs to rein in its commercial arm.

The commission’s intervention followed direct mail and email marketing sent to students last month by Ucas Media – Ucas’s commercial subsidiary – advertising Future Finance, a company offering private loans targeted at students.

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Ministers accused of 'radio silence' over LGBT school protests

Fri, 20/09/2019 - 11:50

Louise Casey says Birmingham demonstrations have been put in ‘all-too-difficult box’

The former integration tsar, Dame Louise Casey, has accused ministers of “radio silence” over protests against the teaching of LGBT equality at a Birmingham school.

Casey said the government had failed to act on what she described as homophobic demonstrations because it was in the “all-too-difficult box”.

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Pre-first world war battleship granted special protection

Fri, 20/09/2019 - 08:00

HMS Montagu awarded heritage status after war veterans surveyed wreck site

The wreck of a battleship that ran aground more than a century ago has been granted special protection after wounded military veterans carried out the first full archaeological survey of the remains.

HMS Montagu, a pre-first world war Duncan-class British battleship was wrecked in 1906 on Lundy island, off the Devon coast, while taking part in secret radio communication trials when a navigator miscalculated its position in heavy fog.

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'Shameful rise': 18% of children now leave school as low achievers

Fri, 20/09/2019 - 02:01

Commissioner calls for review into decline in percentage of pupils with five good GCSEs

The number of children leaving school without basic qualifications by the age of 18 has risen by nearly a quarter in the past three years, according to a report by the children’s commissioner for England.

Almost one in five children (18%) left school last year without the government benchmark of five good GCSEs, or the equivalent technical qualifications, a 24% increase since 2015, the study found.

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The Guardian view on the school climate strike: protests that matter | Editorial

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 20:57

The youth climate movement has created a new sense of urgency. Adults, including politicians, must now focus on plotting a safer course

This Friday’s school strike, which adults around the world have been asked to join, is the largest mobilisation yet attempted by the youth climate movement launched last year by the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. As such, it is an event of international significance. History shows not only that social change is possible, even when the interests ranged against it are formidable, but that peaceful protest is among the most effective ways to bring it about. The campaigns against slavery, for female suffrage and for workers’ and civil rights, as well as the independence movements of former colonies including India, all harnessed new forms of civic participation and activism to the cause of progress.

Movements on behalf of people who lack voting rights, of course, have little choice but to try to exercise influence outside the ballot box. As adults in democracies, we have become used to making our political choices in elections, with only a small minority in most countries actively involved in parties or campaigning. That does not mean political action should end there. And except for 16- and 17-year-olds in a handful of countries, children cannot vote. If they want their voices to be heard they must seek other means – such as a school strike.

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MIT's female staff members express outrage over Epstein donations in letter

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 20:11

More than 60 faculty members called the donations ‘profoundly disturbing’ in a signed letter to the university’s president

A letter signed by more than 60 of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) leading female faculty members outraged over donations from Jeffrey Epstein, and the wider professional culture at the elite institution, was handed to the university’s president, L Rafael Reif, on Wednesday.

The letter described the decision by MIT to court, accept and then disguise donations from Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender, as “profoundly disturbing” ahead of a heated two-hour faculty meeting.

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Girls should be taught at school how to ask for pay rise, says female CEO

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 18:38

Females ‘lack confidence’ to demand wage parity, says one of UK’s best-paid charity bosses

Girls should be equipped at school with the skills to ask for a pay rise in the workplace and accept nothing less than salary equality, according to one of the UK’s highest paid charity bosses.

Cheryl Giovannoni, who is paid more than £270,000 for her role as the chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), told a conference of headteachers that girls and young women must learn to be “financially independent and clear about their own worth”.

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There’s a side to Eton that you won’t read about in David Cameron’s memoirs | Musa Okwonga

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 15:30
The world-famous college keeps producing leaders who value power more than compassion. I’ve seen how that happens

David Cameron publishes his memoirs today, in which he looks back on his time at Eton college; and back on the drug use that, had he been from a different background, might have landed him in jail. Eton is proud of its political leaders. This can be seen from the fact that, in one of its most famous rooms, you can find the bust of every student who has gone on to become prime minister. Eton must ask itself, though, whether it is proud of the kind of leader that it is producing. It must also ponder why, if it truly sees itself as a school of leadership, there are more and more people who regard it and similar institutions as utterly unfit for purpose.

A few weeks ago, like thousands of other people, I shared a photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg on social media. The photo, an image of him reclining in the House of Commons as he listened to his furious opponent in a debate about Brexit, seemed to be the very image of entitlement. At a time when the country’s economy and social fabric were under unusual strain, there was Rees-Mogg, apparently revelling in the bedlam.

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‘What’s taking so long?’: children’s books still neglect BAME readers, finds study

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 14:15

Although picture has improved since 2017, research shows that last year only 4% of books for the youngest readers featured a minority ethnic hero

In most children’s books, according to one London primary school pupil, “people are peach”. Another feels there are “no black people” in the stories they read, meaning that the characters they imagine always seem white.

The children, from Surrey Square primary school, were being interviewed for a new report into representation of people of colour, which reveals that in 2018 only 4% of children’s books published in the UK in 2019 had a minority ethnic hero. The survey included all new books for children aged between three and 11. The proportion is an increase on 2017, when just 1% of main characters were BAME.

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The California city where students with disabilities are 'segregated'

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 14:00

In the Sacramento city school district, nearly half of students with disabilities are separated from peers. A lawsuit claims the district is violating federal law

Stephen’s teachers started sending him to the separate room when he was in first grade.

Now 10, Stephen has been diagnosed with autism and anxiety. His mom said that when he got frustrated and behaved in ways teachers found disruptive – breaking pencils, blurting out or crumpling paper – educators swiftly removed him from the classroom, sending him to a room where he would sit the rest of the day without access to school work.

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Record number of disadvantaged pupils get university places

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 12:36

More than a fifth of 18-year-olds from disadvantaged areas of UK are offered places this year

Record numbers of young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK have won places to go to university this year, according to the admissions agency Ucas.

More than a fifth of 18-year-olds (20.4%) from areas of the country with the lowest rate of participation in higher education have confirmed places at universities across the country, up from 19.4% last year.

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There is no longer any justification for private schools in Britain | Frances Ryan

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 10:00

Labour is right to debate the future of these unjust institutions, which at last are no longer seen as untouchable

A few years back, I finished a PhD on how to tackle Britain’s unequal life chances – which, among other measures, included abolishing private schools. Dusty academia seemed the home for this sort of proposal, one that has long filled endless papers but never quite makes it off the page and into reality.

That is no longer the case. In a few days, the Labour party will debate the future of private schools. The grassroots group Labour Against Private Schools (Laps) will bring a motion to the annual party conference in Brighton calling for the full integration of state and private schools, including nationalising the endowments of the hugely wealthy public schools. It has support from six constituency parties so far and the backing of senior party figures, with the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, putting his weight behind the motion this week. A leaked memo to the Telegraph last week noted that the party is already considering making a manifesto pledge to remove tax breaks from the sector – while leaving the door open to getting rid of the schools altogether.

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'The youth generation is united': the uni students striking for the climate

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 09:00

As environmental activism grows in schools, anger with government inaction is mounting across university campuses

In a cold, dingy room at the back of a Loughborough pub, maths student Steff Farley would meet with friends to discuss an issue they felt no one was talking about on campus.

These conversations over a few pints were the start of a campaign that would eventually push the university to divest from fossil fuels. The students ran peaceful, relatively small demonstrations; they’d hand out leaflets about Loughborough’s fossil fuel investments during open days, or write fossil-free slogans in chalk on the campus grounds.

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Education spending fall from 2010 to now was worst since 1970s – IFS

Thu, 19/09/2019 - 02:01

Promised increases will barely repair the squeeze felt since austerity began, report says

Schools and colleges in England have suffered the worst fall in spending since the depths of the 1970s, according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The IFS research into education spending says the government’s promised increases in funding will barely repair the squeeze endured since 2010.

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The Guardian view on teacher workloads: big lessons to learn | Editorial

Wed, 18/09/2019 - 20:57

England’s teachers are now working as long hours as bankers, but without the banker pay

The new secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson, knows a lot about the heavy workloads piled on teachers. His wife used to teach in a primary school. Then she left the profession to become a teaching assistant partly because, he said this month, “there was always a big challenge in terms of workload, and this is one of the things we need to address”.

Indeed. More than personal experience, hard figures back up the cabinet minister’s worry. A new report from the UCL Institute of Education finds that one in four teachers in England work over 60 hours a week. It is standard for teachers to work into the evening and around one in 10 does weekends, too. These are approaching investment banker hours – without, needless to say, anything like investment banker pay: a newly qualified teacher outside the M25 can expect to start on £23,720. No other school system in the industrial world gouges so many hours out of its staff. Finland boasts what is commonly called the best education system on the planet, yet its average teacher clocks up 34 hours a week, while their counterpart in England does 49 hours. The consequences of all this pressure, say the trade unions, are stark and devastating. The National Education Union reports that one in three newly qualified teachers in English classrooms quit within five years, leading to fewer older teachers sticking around and thus to students being deprived of knowhow.

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