London council launches free school meals pilot scheme | Education

A scheme to offer pupils free school breakfast and lunch irrespective of income has been launched in an attempt to tackle the growing food poverty crisis in parts of the UK. Hammersmith and Fulham council rolled out the scheme in west London on Wednesday. It said the national free school meals system was not working, leaving many children going to school hungry and remaining hungry throughout the day. Officials say the threshold for families to qualify for free school meals…

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Leaflets falsely claim pupils taught masturbation in relationship classes | Education

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said all schools will be given support to teach relationship education, after leaflets suggesting that lessons encourage primary school children to masturbate were handed out in London. Other material seen by the BBC said parents “will be questioned on the day of judgment” if they do not challenge the lessons on compulsory relationships education in primary schools in England and relationships and sex education (RSE) in secondary schools from September 2020. The leaflets were…

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John Penfold obituary | Education

My father, John Penfold, who has died aged 89, spent three decades training teachers in the disciplines of craft, design and technology, having first taught the subject in secondary schools. He was born in Edgware, north London, to Edwin, an accountant, and his wife, Alice (nee Rogers). After Orange Hill grammar school in Burnt Oak, he went straight to Shoreditch teacher training college, in the east of the capital, where he qualified as a design and woodwork teacher. Following two…

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‘Students have a bad name’: how cities are healing the town v gown divide | Education

Wild parties, chaotic flatshares and heavy drinking are viewed with affection as the youthful hijinks associated with university life – but not by everyone. With some universities rapidly expanding following the removal of the student numbers cap, these behaviours are fuelling a growing divide between students and their local communities. The past year has seen reports describe how residents are “fed up” with noisy student parties in Bristol, how student housing is “destroying the local community” in Brighton and Liverpool,…

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Areta Hautman obituary | Education

My mother, Areta Hautman, who has died aged 86, was known for her dedication to promoting progressive education. As a governor of the King Alfred school, north London, for 40 years she made a great contribution both to the institution and the book, King Alfred School and the Progressive Movement 1898-1998, by Ron Brooks. Published to mark its centenary in 1998, the book positioned the school within the context of a broader educational, social and political history. A proponent of…

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Excluded: former pupils in spotlight in play about school system | Education

In a Victorian Gothic church behind Harrods in west London, a group of young people from troubled backgrounds have gathered to rehearse a play about school. Excluded is a new production, set in a turbulent GCSE class in a London secondary school in 2019, that attempts to shine a light on the problems faced by vulnerable young people within the education system. The content of the play is close to home. At an early workshop exploring the issues, it emerged…

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Anti-racism activists end Goldsmiths occupation | Education

Anti-racism campaigners have ended a long-running occupation on a university campus in London, saying the institution has met their demands. The activists took control of Deptford town hall on the campus of Goldsmiths, University of London in March and demanded a series of measures be taken. Relations between the two sides became severely strained as the university sought and won a high court order against the occupation. In an open letter to students and staff on Monday, the acting warden,…

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John Mills obituary | Education

My friend and colleague John Mills, who has died aged 66 of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, was a teacher whose ability to put his educational beliefs into practice, combined with his altruism and humanity, lent him huge credibility and popularity. In 1980 John was appointed to the English department at Forest Gate community school in Newham, east London, where, over the next 17 years, he established himself as an innovative, inspirational classroom practitioner whose passion for his subject and commitment to…

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Mogg Hercules obituary | Education

My friend Mogg Hercules, who has died aged 80, set up and ran a remarkable school in Clerkenwell, central London. Its motto is: “Value your own worth and understand the differences in others.” Born Maureen Atkin in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, she was the daughter of Charlie Atkin, a bricklayer, and his wife, Connie (nee Smith), a machinist. The family moved to Melbourne, Australia, in 1949. Mogg, whose name came from her younger brother’s inability to say Maureen, won a scholarship to…

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‘It’s just ridiculous’: why a London school is seeking charity help | Education

Ian Bennett has been headteacher of Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, for 16 years. In that time he has seen council support and funding ebb away, as poverty and deprivation among the families his school serves has grown. The result is that the needs of his pupils have become greater, but he worries that as cuts bite he will be able to help them less. Downshall (motto Dream, Persevere, Succeed) is a large, popular primary school serving a…

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School asks BBC Children in Need to cover funding gap | Education

A cash-strapped school has turned to BBC Children in Need for funding to support disadvantaged pupils. Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, which has a large proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds – 89% of whom have English as a second language – has put in a bid to the charity for funding to pay for pastoral care for three years. The school has been forced to axe its team of two pastoral support workers because of budget constraints.…

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Standing in support of UCL’s provost Michael Arthur | Letter | Education

We are writing to express our deep disappointment at the unwarranted smearing of the work and achievements of UCL provost Michael Arthur in Peter Wilby’s recent profile (The UCL provost who ‘doesn’t shirk the need for change’, Education, 4 June). As the article highlights, UCL is thriving in size. But, much more than this, it is thriving in research excellence, public contribution and global significance. It has risen to be one of the very best universities in the world, featuring…

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University of London faces boycott over treatment of staff | Education

The University and College Union (UCU) congress has voted to boycott Senate House, the administrative centre of the University of London (UoL), because of its treatment of cleaning, catering and security staff and others not directly employed. It is hoped the move will pressure the university into bringing the predominantly BAME and female staff in-house into direct employment, strengthening their workplace rights and providing the benefits enjoyed by other employees at the institution, such as equal terms on sick pay.…

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King’s College London to probe allegations of lecturer verbally abusing remainer | Education

A senior mental health lecturer who allegedly called a remain campaigner a “fucking traitor” and brandished a union jack flag in his face is being investigated by King’s College London. In a video shared on Twitter, Niall McCrae also appears to tell Femi Oluwole to “fuck off” at the Brexit party rally in west London on Tuesday. McCrae is then seen waving a large union jack flagpole in the campaigner’s direction and later shakes the hand of a man who…

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‘This is not a fluke’: how one state school got 41 Oxbridge offers | Education

“Cambridge was always my dream,” says 17-year-old Hridita Rahman Khan, one of 41 students at Brampton Manor academy in east London to have won offers from Oxbridge this week. Khan’s parents are from Bangladesh, she grew up in Italy and arrived in London at the age of 14 with little English. Three years later she has been offered a place to study engineering at the University of Cambridge. Her story is one of extraordinary achievement, but there are many at…

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Wellcome Trust could become first big employer to launch four-day week | UK news

That Friday feeling could soon be switched to Thursday, at one major employer at least. The Wellcome Trust is considering moving all of its 800 head office staff to a four-day week in a bid to boost productivity and improve work-life balance. A trial of the new working week at the £26bn London-based science research foundation could start as soon as this autumn, giving workers Fridays off to do whatever they want with no reduction in pay. Some parts of…

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