Abolish Eton: Labour groups aim to strip elite schools of privileges | Education

Labour activists are aiming to capitalise on Boris Johnson’s likely election as Conservative leader with an aggressive campaign against his old school, Eton, and other elite private schools in England. The group, Labour Against Private Schools, is circulating a motion for the party’s conference in September that would commit a Labour government to stripping fee-paying schools of their privileges and integrating them into the state system. The campaign is to be publicly launched on Tuesday using the @AbolishEton Twitter handle,…

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Give people right to ignore work emails at home, says Long-Bailey | Politics

Rebecca Long-Bailey has called for workers to be given the right to ignore work emails and messages outside working hours to end the “24/7 work culture” and protect mental health. The Labour leadership candidate said she would bring new ideas to the party, having worked on her policy positions for four years. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Long-Bailey, the MP for Salford and Eccles, defended the manifesto Labour fought on in December’s election, saying it contained “some of the most transformative…

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Some MPs enjoyed a New Labour education. Do they know how lucky they were? | Fiona Millar | Education

The first stage of the Labour leadership election is drawing to a close and it is hard to dredge up enthusiasm for a contest marked by low energy, too many elephants in the room, and ambivalence – not least towards the last Labour government. The need to appeal to Corbynite members means the Blair-Brown era is at best framed as an equivalent success story to the Corbyn years, or at worst a continuation of Thatcherite policies, as the Labour MP…

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Skills must be central to budget if the country is to be ‘levelled up’ | Letters | Education

If the chancellor really wants to improve training for skills (Javid to back skills as key to ‘levelling up’ plan, 31 January), he inherits from a long line of politicians who tried to change Britain’s stubborn failure in this area. And it’s not just the disparities between regions in the UK; we are also persistently behind other advanced industrial nations. Even the 1964 Industrial Training Act, which was probably the most ambitious attempt, has been seen as a failure. The…

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Graduates in England face increasing debt burden, Labour warns | Education

Graduates of English universities will be exposed to an increasing debt burden within the next five years, with total interest on undergraduate student loans set to double. The government figures, highlighted by Labour as an example of the “eye-watering” debts being accrued, show that the interest charged on student loans is forecast to rise by £4.2bn to £8.6bn a year by 2024. Most of the increase will come from the interest on undergraduate student debt after 2012, when tuition fees…

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Which party is tackling the injustice of grammar schools? None has the guts | Fiona Millar | Education

Whatever the outcome of the general election, one group of heads will have every reason to be content. The leaders of England’s 163 grammar schools have made it through another campaign with barely a word uttered about the bastions of privilege over which they preside. How different from 2017, when Theresa May’s retro idea to create new grammar schools ensured that the arguments for selection (slim) and against (substantial) were rehearsed frequently and loudly. In the end, the hung parliament…

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Free breakfasts to form part of Labour plan to ‘poverty-proof’ schools | Politics

Labour is to promise free, healthy breakfasts for all primary-age children as part of a multibillion pound plan to “poverty-proof” England’s schools and boost educational standards. The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, will on Thursday pledge to recruit 20,000 more teachers, cap secondary class sizes at 30, and spend £7bn on repairs and upgrades to England’s crumbling school buildings. As well as expanding the provision of free breakfasts to all primary schools across England to help combat hunger, Labour would…

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Labour’s broadband plan could radically change young people’s life chances | Education

Researching the digital lives of teenagers brings with it great highs and lows. The highs are realising that new doors are opening for young people as they expand their horizons beyond their everyday worlds. The lows are different. Our research revealed young people in deprived areas are struggling to get online and stay connected. Some schools have poorly designed and funded IT systems and there are colleges that all but choke off digital engagement. Sandra Leaton Gray. Often, school is…

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‘It hasn’t been easy being a Tory in education’: meet the teachers standing for election | Education

Mark Lehain, 41 Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for Newcastle-upon-Tyne North (Labour majority 10,349) “It’s not been easy being a Tory in education over the last few years,” says Lehain, a former maths teacher, with a sigh. A torchbearer for the Conservatives’ academy and free school policy, he founded and led one of the first free secondary schools – the Bedford free school – then left to head up PTE, the Parents and Teachers for Excellence group, which campaigns for…

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Even last week Labour was still asking for education policy ideas. Well, here are a few | Fiona Millar | Education

This could be my last general election writing about education policy. If any party gets a big enough majority to last five years, I suspect I might be doing something else by the time it is over. It is not because I don’t find the subject endlessly fascinating but, after more than 15 years writing about schools, over 40 years actively involved in local and national politics and three decades as a school governor, I know most general elections don’t…

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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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Just imagine if your school had seen a 5% annual funding rise since 2010, like the Labour years | Fiona Millar | Education

Sick of the slogan, Get Brexit Done? The new Conservative party mantra will almost certainly infuriate or seduce, depending on your view about the EU referendum. It may also be time-limited, depending of the outcome of the next few weeks. The strapline, however, Invest in our hospitals, schools and police, is designed to live on into a fantasy post-Brexit world, where the Conservatives are reborn as the party of public spending and commitment to public services. So, let’s get real.…

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Abolishing private schools will make society fairer | Letters | Education

While Simon Henderson may argue correctly that abolishing independent schools would not directly improve the life chances of those left behind, it would take away the automatic life-privileging of those wealthy enough to attend them, thus creating a more level playing field (Eton College head says Labour plans for abolition make no financial sense, 24 September). Teachers’ jobs would not be lost as they would move from one paymaster to another when transferring to the state system, nor would this…

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Private schools chief attacks ‘truly toxic’ portrayal of sector | Education

The head of a group of 600 private schools has hit out at the “truly toxic portrayal”, in the wake of Labour endorsing a series of measures that would effectively abolish them. Christopher King, the chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), was due to tell his organisation’s annual conference on Thursday that private schools offered a “premium product” for pupils, without the rote learning and changes inflicted by the previous education secretary Michael Gove on state…

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John McDonnell pledges shorter working week and no loss of pay | Politics

Workers will enjoy longer holidays under a future Labour government as part of a 10-year plan to see the length of the average full-time working week drop by five hours, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has announced. Speaking at the party’s conference in Brighton, McDonnell said he wanted to see a marked cut in the average working week from 37 to 32 hours within a decade, with no loss of pay. The shadow chancellor said Labour would adopt a two-pronged…

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Head of Eton hits back at Labour plans to abolish private schools | Education

The headmaster of Eton College has hit back at Labour’s plans to abolish private schools, saying they make no financial sense and will not benefit children left behind by the education system. In an interview with the Guardian, Simon Henderson, who became head of the world-famous private school four years ago, acknowledged the public mood had shifted and a battle lay ahead for the future of private education. He said Eton, which was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI,…

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