Life and style

Working mothers interrupted more often than fathers in lockdown – study | Gender pay gap

Working mothers have been able to do only one hour of uninterrupted paid work for every three hours done by men during lockdown, according to a study that exposes the work imbalance between men and women.  A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the UCL institute of education also says mothers in England are more likely than fathers to have lost their jobs during lockdown, increasing fears that the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated inequality and could lead to…

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Lockdown from a teenager’s perspective | Letter | Education

When I heard schools were going to close, I was like every other 15-year-old: excited. Thinking home schooling would be great. What could be better than not having to get up at the crack of dawn or rushing to get out of the house? For the first few weeks it was brilliant, until the novelty started to wear off. The pandemic has made me realise how much students take teachers for granted. Now, if I’m stuck on a piece of…

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The Observer view on how the debate on schools has been dangerously mishandled | Observer editorial | Opinion

Decisions about how to mitigate and control this pandemic are some of the most thorny and complex that governments have ever had to make. Every day, choices must be made that trade off different risks and harms on the basis of highly uncertain evidence. Be sceptical of anyone who pretends these decisions are easy. Perhaps none is more high-stakes than how to keep children as safe as possible from the effects of the pandemic. So it is unsurprising that the…

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Office life is not over – but the way we work must surely change | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

“Don’t bother coming back to the office.” It’s the kind of message everyone dreads receiving, but for Twitter’s employees it was benign. The tech company announced this week that home-working arrangements made for the pandemic would stay for good: nobody need ever commute in again, unless they particularly wanted to. In Britain, the telecoms giant BT also declared that staff could choose whether to come back to call centres or just carry on from home. The idea that office life…

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It’s time to junk the junk food | Education

School meals are a scandal. Discuss. Actually, let’s not, because nearly everyone now agrees that they are, even the private catering contractors who provide so many of them. Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners series on Channel 4 has touched a national nerve in the past two weeks because when he says we are feeding our children “scrotum-burger shite” and making them ill, we know it’s true. Every viewer seems to have their own worst moment from Oliver’s series. For some it…

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‘It’s OK for teachers to cry’: how to handle bereavement in school | Education

It was a Friday afternoon. With lessons over for another week, Jill Evans, a deputy headteacher in Herefordshire, set off for a weekend away, telling the school’s head, Julie Rees, her friend and colleague, that she would see her on Monday. She didn’t. Over the weekend Evans, 58, was killed in a car accident. By Monday morning, Rees was not only having to process her own grief but also putting structures in place to help Ledbury primary’s 440 pupils, plus…

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Women’s research plummets during lockdown – but articles from men increase | Education

In April Dr Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, noticed that the number of article submissions she was receiving from women had dropped dramatically. Not so from men. “Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month,” she posted on Twitter. “Never seen anything like it.” The response was an outpouring of recognition from frustrated female academics, saying they were barely coping with childcare and work during the coronavirus…

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‘I feel I’ve come home’: can forest schools help heal refugee children? | Education

When Kate Milman was 21, she paused her English degree at the University of East Anglia to join protests against the Newbury bypass. It was 1996, and the road was being carved out through idyllic wooded countryside in Berkshire. She took up residence in a treehouse, in the path of the bulldozers, and lived there for months. It was a revelation. She lived intimately with the catkins, the calling birds, the slow-slow-fast change in the seasons. Despite being in a…

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Coronavirus is giving us a glimpse of the future of work – and it’s a nightmare | Suzanne Moore | Opinion

Wasn’t it charming when, in 2017, Prof Robert Kelly was giving an interview to the BBC on the shifting relationship between North and South Korea, and his marvellous daughter stomped in followed by his baby in a walker, and then his stressed-out wife dragged the kids out of the way? We loved the way he tried to keep his composure in the storm of domestic chaos. That glimpse of home life: the serious man with his geopolitical analysis and the…

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‘My desk isn’t usually as messy as this’: Guardian readers share their work-from-home setups | Life and style

We asked you to share photographs of the “two yous” that exist while you’re working from home – the person that appears on a video chat screen, and the oftentimes messier space space that surrounds you. Nat O’Keefe working from home A psychologist and forensic clinician, Nat O’Keefe shares her work-from-home space with her brother and sister. “So had to mock up – swiftly – a confidential client space.” Though she says her room isn’t particularly tidy at the best…

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Don’t turn your home into school … the Lego professor of play on lockdown learning | Education

Learning at home does not have to look like school and probably shouldn’t, says Britain’s first play professor. With coronavirus closures offering opportunities for home learning, and many parents more on hand during the lockdown, play can come into its own, says Paul Ramchandani, Lego professor of play at the University of Cambridge. A parent’s ability to notice, interpret and respond well to a young child’s attempt to communicate can positively affect development, he says. And fathers can also play…

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As the lockdown bites, it’s women who are taking the strain | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

Flicking through our slowly emptying family calendar, a relic of a more innocent age jumps out. “Back to school”, it says in thick black pen, across the beginning of next week. Well, dream on. Across Europe schools are now tentatively beginning to reopen, at least in countries such as Denmark which locked down earlier than we did; German schools too are likely to start returning from early May. But in Britain, it might be half term before that can be…

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No spare time in lockdown? That’s not such a bad thing | Life and style

From the minute we went into lockdown, there’s been a lively discussion, online and elsewhere, about how to fill all our extra spare time. We parents of small children permitted ourselves a hollow laugh at that (before immediately worrying that the hollow laugh was turning into a dry cough). Because for us, there was suddenly no time at all. Every waking second was accounted for, so the advice that we might seize this opportunity to reread the novels of Jane…

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After just half a day of home-schooling, I am officially in awe of all teachers | Emma Brockes | Opinion

We are doing a writing exercise at the kitchen table, about 90 minutes into home-schooling. So far, it’s gone quite well. I’ve drawn a grid with alphabetised headers and I’m dictating words for my five-year-old to write down. There was a brief dispute about which pen to use – she picked up a permanent marker, then wouldn’t accept, in spite of my reasoning, that it was 100% the wrong pen – but now we’re on track. I’ve totally got this,…

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Oxford University says sorry for International Women’s Day gaffe | Education

Oxford University has said it is “deeply sorry” after a female cleaner was pictured removing chalk graffiti saying “Happy International Women’s Day”. Sophie Smith, the associate professor of political theory at University College, shared a picture of the scene on Twitter, writing: “What an image for #IWD.” The university replied to the professor in a tweet saying the incident should not have happened. “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women’s Day is hugely important to…

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National secondary school offer day: everything you need to know | Education

What is offer day? It’s been a long time coming but on Tuesday more than half a million children who are in their final year of primary school find out whether they got into their first choice of secondary school. After hours spent reading prospectuses, attending open evenings and filling in forms, parents submitted their applications for a secondary school place in England at the end of October. After months of waiting they will begin to receive email notifications on…

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