Further education

Mary Renshaw obituary | Education

A generation of south Wales social history formed the background to the life of my wife, Mary Renshaw, who has died aged 83. Born in Newport, south Wales, to Irene (nee Byrne) and Isaac Davies, she grew up in the pit village of Cwm just south of Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent. Her father was a steel worker during a period when the second world war and the postwar economic boom brought prosperity to a region that had earlier felt…

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Young people more sceptical of need to go to university, poll finds | Education

Young people in Britain are increasingly sceptical of the need to go to university and are more aware of apprenticeships, according to polling, as a record proportion of school-leavers await their A-level results. More than 300,000 sixth formers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will find out the results of their summer exams on Thursday and in many cases use the grades to gain places on undergraduate courses. But only two-thirds of young people rate a university education as important,…

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Adults in training plunge to record low in a decade | Education

The number of adults who have improved their skills with some form of training has plunged by 4 million over the past decade to the lowest level on record, as government cuts threaten to drive up inequality and damage the economy. In a warning that a decade of decline would undermine the life chances of millions and pave the way for weaker economic growth in future, the Learning and Work Institute said the number of adults taking part in learning…

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T-level courses may not be ready by 2020, warns education union | Education

An education union has called for a delay in the introduction of the Conservatives’ new vocational qualifications amid concerns about student recruitment and the tight timescale. T-levels, which are intended to provide a vocational alternative to A-levels, are due to be taught for the first time in September 2020, but a report says the programme faces serious challenges because of the large-scale changes involved and a lack of awareness among pupils and their parents. There is also concern about progression…

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What’s the point of school uniform? | Education

A shirt, tie and blazer may not be the ingredients for my favourite outfit, but if I were given the choice, I wouldn’t throw away the idea of school uniform. Wearing a uniform is a badge of pride, creates an identity for a school and is an important part of being a school student. “Uniforms show that you are part of an organisation. Wearing it says we’re all in this together,” Jason Wing, head teacher at the Neale-Wade academy in…

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How I found my vocation: ‘I was told I wasn’t intelligent enough to study’ | Education

I always wanted to study law, but as a teenager I was told I wasn’t smart enough. That put me off for years. I grew up in west London in a working-class, single-parent family. My mother, who was a chauffeur, had my sister when I was 13; it was a difficult birth and she was in intensive care for a long time. She also suffered from postnatal depression, so I spent a lot of time caring for my baby sister…

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Populism has no place in education – so stop bashing Germans and private schools | Laura McInerney | Education

We live in complicated times. Prorogations. Constitutional crises. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government wants to talk to the public about simple things that “make sense”. Unfortunately, the education policies of the two main(ish) political parties may be feeding the anxious political climate. Take the battle cry of the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, who has set a target that vocational education in Britain will “overtake Germany” in the next decade. It is not clear what he means, but…

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Bournville provided a model for further education colleges | Letter | Education

In the 1940s and 50s the Cadbury family’s social experiments at Bournville (Letters, 23 and 28 September) contributed significantly to the later national development of further education for school leavers. The building of Bournville day continuation college was part of the basic plan for Bournville village green, alongside the church and the Carillon bell tower. Young workers, 14- to 18-year-olds, at the Cadbury family’s factory worked for only four days of their five-day week. The fifth day was spent at…

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Education secretary announces plans for vocational training | Education

Vocational and technical training could become more popular than going to university, according to education secretary Gavin Williamson as he prepares to announce £120m in extra funding for a new wave of specialist institutes. Williamson will tell the Conservative party conference on Monday of plans to launch a further eight institutes of technology – a collaboration between further education (FE) colleges, universities and employers to offer higher level technical training – joining the 12 opening this year to rival higher…

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DfE to unveil new category of higher technical qualifications | Education

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has said he wants to overcome the snobbery of middle-class parents towards studying advanced technical qualifications, as the government unveils a seal of approval designed to improve the status and visibility of such courses. The Department for Education is to announce a new category of higher technical qualifications (HTQs) as a quality assurance mark for courses such as digital engineering, to cut through the profusion of certificates, diplomas and foundation degrees on offer for school-leavers.…

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Public anger over private schools | Letters | Education

The headmaster of Colfe’s School says he would welcome a debate about the role of independent schools within our education system (Letters, 18 June). The debate is simple. As long as rightwing governments continue to close state school playing fields, cut the education budget to below first-world standards and generally make life difficult for state schools, they will flounder. By contrast, the well-funded private schools will provide even more state-of-the-art facilities and more middle-class parents will bankrupt themselves in order…

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Time to stop neglecting education for adults | Letters | Education

Gaby Hinsliff is right (My dad studied late in life. He wouldn’t get the chance now, 1 June). She knows from family experience that mature learning is rich in rewards both professional and personal. The Augar report acknowledges this, making positive recommendations as to how to extend its reach: the reintroduction of maintenance grants is particularly helpful. Welcome as it is, this development merely foreshadows what should be a policy direction for the future. As president of Birkbeck I know…

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Universities hit back after report proposing funding cuts | Education

University leaders said their sector could be pushed into “survival mode” if the funding cuts proposed by a new report into student financing become government policy. The Augar report on post-18 education in England, commissioned by Theresa May, recommended a shift in funding away from universities towards further education (FE) and vocational training, with the report sharply criticising universities for offering too many “low value” courses. The report seeks to make degrees less attractive by increasing student loan repayments by…

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Give worse-off students £3,000 to stay in education, says report | Education

Disadvantaged students in England could receive grants worth £3,000 a year to encourage them to remain in education after leaving school, according to proposals from a government-commissioned report backed by Theresa May. The report into post-age 16 education and funding would, if accepted by a future government, see a shift in funding from universities to further education (FE) and vocational training. Universities would lose income for “low value” courses while their graduates would be making higher student loan repayments until…

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