Education

UK councils face lawsuits over access to education in lockdown | Education

The UK government must ensure pupils from poor backgrounds have computers and internet connections during the coronavirus lockdown or face legal action for depriving children of their education, according to a group of legal activists. The Good Law Project argues that the widespread reliance on online learning during the lockdown is illegally disadvantaging state school pupils who lack access to tablets, laptops or adequate broadband. It says it will sue local authorities to try to push the government into action.…

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‘A weird time’: students tell of a future snatched away | Education

It might seem like a holiday for some, but the school closures, cancelled exams and university shutdowns are wreaking havoc with many students’ lives. Sixth formers have lost the chance to improve their grades through last-minute revision, and university students have been left hanging, unable to sit their final exams, say goodbye to friends, or invite their families to graduation ceremonies. Students from different stages in their education tell how their plans for the future are being shaped by the…

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Council leaders call for funding for free school meals over Easter | Education

City leaders have said some of England’s most vulnerable children could go hungry over the Easter holidays because the UK government is refusing to fund free meals. Councils have been told they can continue to provide free school meals during the break if they want to but will have to find the money themselves. The mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, and the leaders of Birmingham and Leeds city councils, Ian Ward and Judith Blake, have written to the education secretary,…

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The government must protect universities in this crisis or job cuts will follow | Jo Grady | Education

Colleges and universities deliver vital opportunities and drive economic growth. Yet the current coronavirus crisis is now creating huge financial uncertainty in post-16 education. As the general secretary of the University and College Union, I have today written to the government setting out a plan that will protect universities and colleges so they can play their full role in the recovery of our society and economy once the virus is defeated. Most importantly, the government must make a firm commitment…

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Exam regulator unveils GCSE and A-level plans for coronavirus crisis | Education

Pupils taking GCSEs and A-levels this summer will have their grades awarded by a combination of teacher assessment, class ranking and the past performance of their schools, the exam regulator for England has announced. Ofqual, which oversees schools’ public examinations, laid out the new system to award grades after the government cancelled this summer’s exams because of the coronavirus crisis and the resulting school closures, which are likely to remain for the rest of the academic year. The new system…

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Forget freshers’ week: universities prepare to teach new first years online | Education

Sixth formers, whose A-level exams were cancelled because of coronavirus, may miss out on freshers’ week too. Universities have confirmed they are making plans to start the next academic year online if social distancing continues. Vice-chancellors are braced for potential huge losses from the lucrative international student market from September, following disruption to end-of-school learning and exams, as well as to the English-language testing required to get into a UK university. And now experts are warning that if social distancing…

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Cambridge University assigns white academic to look at slavery links | Education

The equal rights campaigner and former Labour politician Trevor Phillips has criticised the University of Cambridge’s “bizarre” decision to appoint a white academic as head of a study into the institution’s historical links with slavery. Prof Martin Millett of Fitzwilliam College is to oversee the two-year research project, which will investigate ways in which the university “contributed to or benefited from the Atlantic slave trade and other forms of coerced labour during the colonial era” in an effort to “acknowledge…

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Lecturers went on strike over insecure jobs – now we fear coronavirus cuts | Charlotte Morris | Education

It’s no secret that around half of university teaching staff are on temporary contracts. While they feel anxious and insecure at the best of times, they are now doubly so due to the threat coronavirus poses to their future careers. This has been compounded by reports about academic job losses in Australia and hiring freezes in US universities. Now, with the news in the UK that the University of Sussex is reviewing temporary contracts across the institution and Bristol and…

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Roger Fieldhouse obituary | Education

My friend and former colleague Roger Fieldhouse, who has died aged 79 after a short illness, contributed significantly to two academic fields: local history; and the history and philosophy of modern British adult education. Roger was appointed tutor/organiser for the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) in North Yorkshire in the mid-1960s, and developed a lifelong love of the area. He worked with local people to explore the history of their own communities. His book A History of Swaledale and Richmond (1978)…

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Hundreds of university staff to be made redundant due to coronavirus | Education

Hundreds of university staff on precarious contracts have been dismissed by their employers in a drive to cut costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staff on fixed-term contracts, including visiting lecturers, researchers and student support workers, at Bristol, Newcastle and Sussex universities have been made redundant or told their employment will or may end prematurely, or not be renewed. The job losses come as universities face a black hole of hundreds of millions of pounds in tuition fees from the…

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The Power of Compassionate Action – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: The Kickstarter for my new book Empathy Every Day is closing down on March 31st. If you haven’t backed the project yet, I’d love for you to check it out here. It was my daughter’s 11th birthday a few days ago on March 28th. My wife and I were scrambling to make sure it was special, even though she wouldn’t be able to have a real birthday party, hang out with her friends, or see her extended family.…

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Krystyna Gaffney obituary | Education

My aunt, Krystyna Gaffney, who has died of a brain aneurysm aged 64, worked in the examinations department at Newcastle University for 25 years. She was born in Aberystwyth to Janina (nee Borowska) and Kazimierz Clapinski, Polish immigrants who had relocated to rural west Wales after the second world war. Krys and her siblings ran wild across the fields surrounding their father’s farm, catching minnows in jam jars, picking marsh marigolds and helping the corgis round up the cows. She…

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Bryan Down obituary | Education

My father, Bryan Down, who has died aged 84, was an electronics engineer who spent more than a quarter of a century at Ferranti, the company that invented the first European microprocessor. It also produced some of the first uncommitted logic arrays (ULAs), used in early home computers such as the Sinclair ZX81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro. As Ferranti’s sales and marketing director he travelled the world and was a frequent visitor to Silicon Valley in the early…

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Private schools in UK struggling as coronavirus costs bite | Education

Private schools in the UK are facing a battle for survival in the face of the coronavirus crisis as parents who have lost their income cancel direct debits and overseas pupils who have gone home decide whether to return. As the economic fallout from the pandemic begins to bite, there are fears that a number of smaller independent schools, which are already struggling, will be driven out of business. Many are offering fee discounts of anything from 10% right up…

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Interview: Gita Ramjee | Education

Months have passed, but Professor Gita Ramjee still recoils at the memory of events that came close to robbing South Africa of one of its top scientists. “There came a point when I thought: is it worth my while? I have dedicated my life to finding an HIV prevention option for the women of Africa, and these recent attempts to tarnish my efforts have been very demotivating.” It is fitting that we meet on a day when freak waves and…

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Covid-19 is our best chance to change universities for good I Steven Jones | Education

March is normally one of the busiest months in the academic calendar. Lecture theatres bulge, coffee queues lengthen and library shelves empty. The interactions are multilingual and non-stop. This year, silence. Buildings are in lockdown and staff barred from their offices. Those students who remain are mostly unable to go home. But learning goes on, displaced, not discontinued. In many respects, Covid-19 is drawing out the best from staff, their commitment to students’ education and wellbeing shining through the uncertainty.…

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