Employers are slashing graduate jobs. But students mustn’t lose hope | Stephen Isherwood | Education

Will there be 50 or 50,000 fewer graduate jobs this year? There is little about the immediate future that is certain, but what we do know already is that employers are already planning to cut graduate vacancies by 12%. And the internships and placements that lead to next year’s job offers? Down by 40%. If they haven’t been cancelled, they have been delayed or switched to virtual experiences. One other thing is certain: this year is going to be a…

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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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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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Covid-19 shows up UK universities’ shameful employment practices | Stefan Collini | Education

One byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic has been to focus attention on the precariousness of so many people’s economic circumstances: working long hours, yet one step away from destitution. This should, in truth, not be news to any of us, but there is so much from which we avert our gaze. And in universities, that gaze has in recent years been averted, above all, from the plight of temporary and part-time academic staff. According to recent figures, 54% of university…

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Stop this retro nonsense about lockdown being a return to domestic bliss for women | Eleanor Margolis | Opinion

Yesterday I cleaned the toilet, made myself an exquisite toast lunch, and wrote this article. Sure, I don’t have any kids. But I do have a demanding cat and – believe you me – on top of the career, housekeeping and culinary excellence, his needs were met. “What’s it like to be the woman who has it all?” I hear you ask. Spectacular. Eye-opening. Humbling. In reality, my life has changed relatively little since the lockdown. And that, specifically, is…

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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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The true value of higher education | Letter | Education

Hot on the heels of a report by the rightwing thinktank Policy Exchange arguing that “universities have lost the trust of the nation” comes research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that says “One in five students would be financially better off if they skipped higher education” (Report, 29 February). Putting aside the IFS’s focus – and that of your article – on the fact that one-fifth of students don’t benefit financially from earning a degree, rather than on the…

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Back-door cuts to university places could provoke ‘clash of the classes’ | Education

Government plans to cap student numbers just as the UK faces an explosion in the number of 18-year-olds would be the “death knell” for social mobility, academic experts warn. More than half of young people are now going into higher education, but senior academics believe that with the Treasury anxious to rein in spiralling student loan debt, universities will face a cap on numbers by the back door, with the government cutting support for what it calls “low-quality” courses. Lee…

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School uniform costs ‘break the bank’ for poorer families | Education

The rising cost of school uniforms risks “breaking the bank” for poorer families as more state schools demand costly branded items and local authorities cut clothing grants, a new report warns. With millions of children preparing to return to school, a study from charity Family Action, which supports disadvantaged families, says many poorer parents will have paid out 40% of their monthly income in August on “back-to-school costs” alone. It calculates that the bill for equipping a child for the…

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Where did the weekend go? How work stole our Saturdays and Sundays | Money

When they are under attack, or celebrating a big birthday, trade unions sometimes like to remind us about the historic fights they have won: holidays, sick pay and the big one, the weekend. The weekend was the best of the battles, because the victory was the most audacious. It makes me swell with pride – albeit of the most hypothetical kind (somehow I doubt the National Union of Journalists freelance chapel had much input). Sick pay, one feels, would have…

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Leavism: the troubling truth behind the trend to keep working while on holiday | Money

‘I can’t wait for my holiday,” a colleague told me. “I’m going to get so much work done!” At the time, I wasn’t shocked. Many professionals I know use their holidays as an opportunity to work. I have to admit that when I’m on holiday, I wake up early so I can do some sneaky work before the rest of the family appear and demand I “relax”. Now this trend of working on holidays has been given a name: leavism.…

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Alarm at Ofsted-style plan to rank universities by graduate earnings | Education

Government plans to introduce Ofsted-style rankings for universities, with courses that produce lower salaries labelled as failing, would punish institutions outside London and threaten arts and humanities courses, worried academics are warning. In November the Conservative manifesto set off alarm bells in universities by promising to tackle “low-quality courses”. Now senior academics close to Westminster say the government is pressing on with this in a plan that could replicate the four Ofsted categories used for schools, flagging up university courses…

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Humanities are not the right courses to cut | Letters | Education

Catherine Fletcher is completely correct to warn about the damage that current policies – not only in universities but also in schools – are doing to the humanities (We’re in a mess and we need the humanities more than ever, Journal, 5 February). But her warning comes much too late. As I and other scholars have shown, the rot started with the 1985 government green paper which declared that the fundamental purpose of higher education was to serve the economy.…

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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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Ucas to stop advertising private loans to students | Education

Ucas, the university admissions service, has agreed to stop advertising private loans to students following pressure from the consumer finance expert Martin Lewis and a rebuke from the Charity Commission. Lewis and his organisation Money Saving Expert criticised Ucas last year as “tainted” for marketing commercial loans to students as young as 18 through its mailing lists, after it carried advertising for a private provider that offered loans of up to £40,000. Ucas, a charity that processes admissions on behalf…

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