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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Labour delegates vote for plan that would abolish private schools | Education

Labour delegates have endorsed radical plans that would abolish private schools by removing their charitable status and redistributing their endowments, investments and properties to the state sector. Conference delegates approved a motion that said such a commitment should be included in the party’s next general election manifesto. The motion added universities would be limited to admitting the same proportion of private school students as in the wider population, currently 7%. The vote in favour of the motion came after the…

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John McDonnell backs ‘Abolish Eton’ debate at Labour conference | Education

The shadow chancellor is to throw his weight behind an “Abolish Eton” debate at the Labour party conference this weekend, as he declares that “private schools don’t need to exist” in an equal society. John McDonnell said he supported a motion put forward by the campaign group Labour Against Private Schools calling for independent schools in England to be stripped of their charitable status, to have limits placed on their pupils’ entry to universities, and for their assets to be…

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Labour colleagues outraged after MP Roger Godsiff backs anti-LGBT protest | Education

The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said she had reported fellow Labour MP Roger Godsiff to the party’s chief whip over comments about LGBT teaching in schools, as other party colleagues criticised him for saying “you’re right” to protesters against such teaching at a Birmingham primary school. “This might be the personal views of Mr Roger Godsiff but they do not represent the Labour Party & are discriminatory & irresponsible,” Rayner wrote on Twitter. Godsiff, the MP for the Birmingham…

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Forget Sats – find a true measure of education | Letters | Education

Amanda Spielman may be warning the wrong people about exam anxiety, certainly as far as younger kids are concerned (Ofsted chief says teachers can cause ‘subliminal’ exam anxiety, May 14). My 10-year-old is not worried because I have told him Sats are irrelevant to his life. His secondary school will determine how best he will fit in, based on its own testing, when he gets there in September. I did ask him to do his best in sympathy with the…

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