Cambridge’s one-on-one teaching model is based on exploiting graduates | Education

Recently, I was having coffee with a final year PhD student about to submit his thesis. He was excited because he had just finished giving his first ever lecture. He had finally been able to prove himself and experience what his future job might entail. Yet when we met later, he seemed downcast about the experience. It had taken him five hours to write his first 45-minute lecture – and several more to prepare the handouts and PowerPoint – but…

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University admissions and messy exits | Letters | Education

Bernie Evans asks a critical question about pupils from underprivileged backgrounds and suggests a more generous route into university (Letters, 29 June). We have been in this situation before, decades ago, in the context of adult education. By focusing on women’s return to learning and then access to higher education, we discovered that their children followed them. The answer seemed to lie in the home as much as school. None of my parents or grandparents went to university. After leaving…

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Public anger over private schools | Letters | Education

The headmaster of Colfe’s School says he would welcome a debate about the role of independent schools within our education system (Letters, 18 June). The debate is simple. As long as rightwing governments continue to close state school playing fields, cut the education budget to below first-world standards and generally make life difficult for state schools, they will flounder. By contrast, the well-funded private schools will provide even more state-of-the-art facilities and more middle-class parents will bankrupt themselves in order…

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Danielle Steel is a prolific writer, but is that to be envied? | Oliver Burkeman | Money

The novelist Danielle Steel has written 179 books, releasing them at the rate of seven a year – and for all I know, she’ll have released a few more in the days between my writing this column and you reading it. But how? In an interview this month with Glamour magazine, Steel revealed the productivity trick that is central to her success: she works all the time. No, I mean, all the time: for at least 20 hours a day,…

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Analysing the purpose and value of universities | Letters | Education

Simon Jenkins asserts that: “A university course has barely changed its three-year structure of lectures, essays and exams in a hundred years” (What are our universities for?, Journal, 31 May). It’s true that the sector remains sceptical about two-year degrees, but teaching and assessment methods on most university courses today would be unrecognisable to anyone who was a student 30 years ago. Current politics students at Liverpool still attend lectures, submit essays and take exams. But they also analyse election…

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Cutting tuition fees misses the point. We need to overhaul the whole system | Matt Waddup | Education

There are lots of good proposals in today’s Augar review of post-18 education and funding in England, including the restoration of maintenance grants for the poorest students, new funding opportunities for adult learners, and the expansion of further education colleges. Yet its downfall is that it fundamentally fails to grapple with the contradictions at the core of our marketised education system. As such, it gets some big calls wrong. For starters, the review correctly notes the plight of further education…

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Is it possible to work 22-hour days? Danielle Steel says it is the secret of her success | Books

It says something about the author Danielle Steel’s work ethic that her desk, built to resemble a stack of her own books, is less remarkable than the hours she puts in at it. The 71-year-old romance novelist is notoriously prolific, having published 179 books at a rate of up to seven a year. But a passing reference in a recent profile by Glamour magazine to her 20- to 22-hour workdays – not to mention the 24-hour session “a few times…

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Number of public sector pensioners on £100k trebles in seven years | UK news

The number of people in the public sector’s largest pension schemes retiring on incomes of more than £100,000 has more than tripled in the past seven years, according to figures obtained by a charity promoting intergenerational fairness. Pensions schemes covering the NHS, the civil service and the teaching profession were paying six-figure incomes last year to 375 retirees, up from 117 in 2010. Those in receipt of pensions higher than the UK’s average annual salary of about £28,600 also increased…

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Red Bull wants us to leave work at 4pm. I couldn’t agree more | Opinion

I’m not squeamish, except for one small thing: I cannot repeat rhyming couplets. So I can’t tell you exactly what Red Bull’s latest London Underground advert says because it uses this mawkish lyrical form. I can tell you that it was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for promising health benefits that fizzy drinks aren’t allowed to do (nope, not even Shloer). I can even describe that promise, in a roundabout way: Red Bull will make you feel so energetic…

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