Shouting at your kids can damage their brains | Education

I thought I was impervious to those “research shows . . .” scare stories, but this one got to me. Shouting at children, according to a recent study by psychiatrists at a hospital affiliated to Harvard Medical School, can significantly and permanently alter the structure of their brains. It was only inordinate self-restraint – of the kind I never display towards my kids – that stopped me marching them straight off for a brain scan. Ours is a Sturm und…

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Readers say thank you to the people who saved and changed their lives | Life and style

‘I’m proud to be your daughter’Gill Fitzgerald on her mum Dear Mum, You constructed the foundations on which I built my life. Because of the war you missed so much of your education. When you were aged 10 to 14, a teacher came to your house once a week. A few other children joined you, so the council provided your family with extra coal to keep the teacher and her part-time pupils warm. You valued education so much that it…

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Famed impulse control ‘marshmallow test’ fails in new research | Education

The “marshmallow test” has intrigued a generation of parents and educationalists with its promise that a young child’s willpower and self-control holds a key to their success in later life. But there is some good news for parents of pre-schoolers whose impulse control is nonexistent: the latest research suggests the claims of the marshmallow test are close to being a fluffy confection. The results, according to the researchers who carried out the new study, mean that parents, schools and nurseries…

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A letter to… the school class I let down | Life and style

I was in my second year of teaching in a primary school when I met all 30 of you. I was jaded enough by my late 20s to not expect the simple, life-altering experience some of the other trainees were anticipating, but I didn’t expect to find it so overwhelmingly difficult. My first year had gone well, but as I moved away from my mentor into a higher year group, cracks began to appear. I loved you all more than…

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Is misused neuroscience defining early years and child protection policy? | Education

“Neuroscience can now explain why early conditions are so crucial,” wrote Graham Allen and Iain Duncan Smith in their 2010 collaboration, Early Intervention: Good Parents, Great Kids, Better Citizens. “The more positive stimuli a baby is given, the more brain cells and synapses it will be able to develop.”  Neuroscience is huge in early years policy. This week, in what’s been characterised as the largest shake-up of family law in a generation, the 26-week time limit for adoption proceedings has…

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Children should learn mainly through play until age of eight, says Lego | Education

Parents are squeezing the role of play out of their children’s lives in favour of the three ‘R’s as they try to prepare their offspring for a competitive world, according to the head of Lego’s education charity arm. A lack of understanding of the value of play is prompting parents and schools alike to reduce it as a priority, says Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation. If parents and governments push children towards numeracy and literacy earlier and earlier,…

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Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child | Education

When Maryam Mirzakhani died at the tragically early age of 40 this month, the news stories talked of her as a genius. The only woman to win the Fields Medal – the mathematical equivalent of a Nobel prize – and a Stanford professor since the age of 31, this Iranian-born academic had been on a roll since she started winning gold medals at maths Olympiads in her teens. It would be easy to assume that someone as special as Mirzakhani…

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Special needs children are being failed | Letters | Education

This is the most damning select committee report I’ve ever read (Children with special needs plunged into ‘nightmare of bureaucracy’, 23 October). Line after line, it shows that the education system for disabled children is completely broken. Parents are forced to become protesters, lawyers and bureaucrats to stand any sort of chance of getting the support their child is legally entitled to. The government now has a golden opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the system,…

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Home Office reverses visa decision for second Oxford academic | Education

The Home Office has made a sudden U-turn on its decision to ban the young children of an Oxford University professor, Amber Murrey, from living with her in the UK – the second time in a week it has reversed a visa refusal for the child of an Oxford academic following reports in the Guardian. Now the university and the elite Russell Group of universities, of which Oxford is a member, are calling on the Home Office to change its…

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‘School is very oppressive’: why home-schooling is on the rise | Education

Every morning Ben Mumford starts his school day with maths. At the age of 10 he is already working at GCSE level, but he doesn’t always bother to get out of his pyjamas in time for the class. He reads more books than most of his friends, studies science on the beach, and recently built a go-kart in a technology lesson. Ben is happy and fulfilled. All, his mother Claire Mumford believes, thanks to home-schooling. “It’s not that I’m anti-establishment,”…

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Oxford professor’s children refused visas to join her in UK | Education

Amber Murrey, an American academic, was “ecstatic” about being appointed associate professor in geography at Oxford University last year. But the dream turned sour two weeks ago when the Home Office refused to grant visas for her two daughters, aged four and nine, to live with her in the UK. Dr Murrey used an immigration lawyer to make sure the visa applications for her daughters, who have US passports, went smoothly, and was not anticipating a problem. Her husband has…

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I was fined for taking my child to Jamaica, but I’m one of the lucky ones | Kehinde Andrews | Opinion

When it came to power in 1997, Labour picked up and ran with the Tories’ individualistic reforms to the school system. Along with school choice, league tables and academies, in came parental responsibility for absences. So I was disappointed, but not surprised, to be given a fixed penalty notice of £60 per parent as a result of taking our six-year-old out of school for two weeks during term time to visit Jamaica. The fact that my son will have the…

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What’s it like to live with a chef? | Food

James Petrie and Úna Palliser James “Jocky” Petrie, group executive development chef for the Gordon Ramsay Group, lives with his wife, musician Úna Palliser, near St Albans. They have two daughters: one four-year-old and one a few months old. Petrie has appeared on MasterChef, Heston’s Fantastical Food and Hell’s Kitchen. Úna has worked with Shakira, the Killers, Moby and Gnarls Barkley. How did you meet?James: It was a classic blind date. Úna: You’d recently had your heart broken. I’d come…

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“To give your kids everything in life.” – The Principal of Change – Education Article

As a basketball fan, and also a fan of human beings, I loved this read, “My Dad’s Friendship With Charles Barkley.” It is an excellent story of what seems to be an unlikely friendship, but as you read it, you realize how much the relationship makes sense because of the shared bonds between two people.  The part in the story where the daughter asks Charles Barkley, one of the most famous basketball players ever, why he hung out with her…

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Chromebook and Home Computer Advice for Parents (Dec 2018) – Education Article

As a school director of technology as well as a known “tech geek” at other places we frequent like our church, I’m often asked for advice about purchasing computers for kids at holiday time. I’m also frequently asked about Internet filtering, Internet safety, and topics falling under the general topic of “digital citizenship.” (Last spring I shared a few presentations about these topics at both school and church.) Whether we’re talking about technology purchases, parenting, or just about anything else,…

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