UK news

Should a teacher report a pupil for Extinction Rebellion activism? | Education

Counter-terror police issued guidance requiring teachers to report members of Extinction Rebellion to the authorities under the Prevent powers. The guide was recalled after the Guardian revealed its existence, but later another list emerged citing the group, as well as Greenpeace and Stop the Badger Cull. Ed Finch Teacher, Larkrise primary school, Oxford No. While I would report a pupil for extremism if I believed they had motive, intent and ability to endanger property or life, I know numerous people…

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Welsh parents lose opt-out for sex, relationship and religious education | Politics

Parents in Wales will soon lose the right to withdraw their children from lessons on sex and relationships or religion, provoking concern among both church groups and secular campaigners. Kirsty Williams, the Welsh education minister, confirmed the plans – part of the government’s overhaul of relationships and sexuality education (RSE) and religious education – but said they would require “careful and sensitive” implementation after the government’s public consultation revealed strong feelings. Williams said the decision “ensures that all pupils will…

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Ofsted boss hits out at schools for continuing to ‘game’ league tables | Education

The head of Ofsted has issued a sharp rebuke to schools in England that continue to “off-roll” vulnerable pupils and force others to take “sham qualifications” in order to maximise results and improve league table positions. The schools watchdog introduced a new inspection framework last year aimed at encouraging schools to move away from a purely results-driven culture and focus instead on a broad, rich curriculum. However, according to the chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, a minority of schools…

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Thousands of UK academics ‘treated as second-class citizens’ | Education

Thousands of academic staff at British universities are being treated as second-class citizens on precarious contracts, says a report highlighting the “alarming rise of mass casualised labour” in higher education. The report by the University and College Union claims institutions have created a pool of low-paid staff to teach undergraduates, conduct research and work in libraries, despite having advanced postgraduate or other academic qualifications. It calls on the Office for Students, the higher education regulator in England, to require each…

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Outstanding schools to lose exemption from Ofsted inspections | Education

Outstanding schools in England will no longer be exempt from routine Ofsted inspections, education secretary Gavin Williamson has announced. The move is one of several government measures intended to bolster education standards. The new, expanded inspection programme aims to ensure that parents get up-to-date information and can be confident that schools rated outstanding continue to provide the highest standards, said Williamson. “Every parent wants to know their child is getting a great education and I will leave no stone unturned…

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Schools ‘converting toilet blocks into isolation booths’ | Education

Schools are converting toilet blocks and classrooms to build isolation booths to accommodate “disruptive” children, the children’s commissioner has said, as campaigners warn that excessive use of the practice could be putting young people’s mental health at risk. Anne Longfield said she had heard “horror stories” about children’s experiences in isolation booths – spaces in which pupils sit in silence for hours as punishment for breaking school rules and disruptive behaviour. Some pupils told her they had been put in…

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Slip-up leaves priests rolling in the aisles | Brief letters | Education

We applaud the rise in state-sector intake across Oxford University and are glad to see individual colleges praised (Report, 16 January). Perhaps Mansfield College deserves a mention. In a quietly radical fashion, we have led the way in Oxford access for 20 years. Our state intake has been over 80% for 10 years and over 90% since 2016. And more than 90% of our state-sector intake this year is from non-selective schools – a meaningful statistic for Oxford University.Lucinda RumseySenior…

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Free period products to be available in schools and colleges in England | Education

Tampons, sanitary pads and other period products will be made freely available to all state schools and colleges in England starting next week, with the launch of a scheme funded by the Department for Education. The scheme follows the government’s commitment last year to pay for sanitary products for primary and secondary schools, in an effort to tackle “period poverty”, which can cause girls from low-income families to missschool. “We know that it is not easy for everyone to access…

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When school is an isolation cubicle with three toilet breaks a day | Education

Six days a week Brendan, 17, leaves at six in the morning for his job on a building site and doesn’t get home until tea time. It’s his first job and he is loving it. “I am very, very proud of him,” says his mother. But it could have turned out very differently. Brendan left his academy trust school in Normanton, West Yorkshire, without any GCSEs, having spent much of his time in an isolation cubicle, banned from talking to…

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Knocked up due to lack of a rubber | Brief letters | Education

Re your article on the dating of the Church of the Nativity (Church of the Nativity Jeopardy answer sparks Israel-Palestine storm, 13 January), the full and correct answer to the Jeopardy question is “the Roman province of Syria-Palestina”. As currently conceived, neither “Palestine” nor “Israel” existed at that time, and even Syria-Palestina ceased to exist by AD 390.Dr James AndersonHastings, New Zealand • I read that Oakham has a betting shop but there is opposition to McDonald’s there (Report, 15…

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Third of non-EU university students in UK come from China | Education

The number of students from China at British universities increased again last year, with the latest figures showing that recruitment of Chinese students outstripped those from other countries. The Higher Education Statistics Agency’s breakdown of students in UK higher education last year showed that the number of students from China rose above 120,000 for the first time, accounting for more than one in every three non-EU students. While the number of new students coming from EU countries rose by 2%…

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Record numbers of state school pupils offered Oxford places | Education

State school pupils have won nearly 70% of Oxford University’s undergraduate places next year, a record level that represents a remarkable turnaround in the university’s intake over the last five years. Oxford announced that 69% of the offers it made this week were to British students from state schools or colleges for courses starting in October 2020, of a total of 3,909 sent to British and international applicants. Five years ago, state school applicants to Oxford received just 56% of…

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Sussex University offers students up to £100 for strike distress | Education

The University of Sussex is offering students up to £100 if they suffered “distress and inconvenience” during recent strikes, becoming the first British university to give compensation to students in the middle of industrial action. The move is a sign of the increasing efforts by universities to resolve student complaints swiftly and head off action through the courts or regulators that could lead to more damaging penalties. Sussex launched its “industrial action ex gratia scheme” this week, with an email…

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King’s College London moves students from hall of residence over fire fears | Education

A leading university is facing questions after hundreds of students were told they were being relocated to alternative accommodation as a result of unspecified “fire safety concerns”. Authorities at King’s College London sent out emails and letters on Monday to students living in halls of residence in the centre of the city, informing them that potential fire safety concerns had been identified which required further investigation. No detail was given about the nature of the concerns, which relate to the…

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Sacked or silenced: academics say they are blocked from exploring trans issues | Education

On the December morning that Jo Phoenix, professor of criminology at the Open University, was to give a lecture at Essex University on trans rights in prisons, Twitter roared into action, with several Essex staff and students tweeting allegations that a “transphobe” would be on campus. By 10am Phoenix was warned by a member of university staff that some students were threatening to shut down her lecture, as they said LGBT+ staff and students wouldn’t feel safe if Phoenix gave…

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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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