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Latest education news, comment and analysis on schools, colleges, universities, further and higher education and teaching from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

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    When I was sub-dean of Barts medical college I was also public orator of London University. Because of the proposed closure of Barts in the mid-1980s I went to see Stewart Sutherland, later Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, to resign as orator. He couldn’t have been nicer or more understanding. “I was expecting you,” he said. What an exceptional man.

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    New figures show self-harm is soaring in England among the very young but referrals to mental health professionals are routinely rejected

    Some have used a rubber on their arms - rubbing their skin gives them a temporary feeling of relief. Others have banged their heads against walls or pulled out their hair. Suzanne Skeete, a mental health worker, is listing the ways the young primary school children she works with have self-harmed. “They may also bite, scratch, punch or slap themselves.”

    Some are as young as three. “These same children, as they get older, will often use razors from pencil sharpeners, or glass. They do it to get rid of pent-up feelings. Physical pain lets them temporarily escape their mental pain.”

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  • 04/30/18--10:19: Tony Ward obituary
  • My friend and colleague, Tony Ward, who has died of cancer aged 75, grew up on a Watford council estate, with a home life both difficult and unsympathetic to academic learning. He left school at 16 with no formal qualifications.

    But he returned to education in his 20s, first as a student and then as a teacher, and went on to influence the lives of many students over the course of his long career in the classroom both for the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) and for many years at Queen Mary’s, a sixth-form college in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

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    Lady Margaret Hall to offer foundation course to people from under-represented backgrounds which could lead to degree

    An Oxford University college is piloting a scheme to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds – and discover potential graduates who would not otherwise win admission.

    The scheme launched by Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) – headed by the former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger – is based on a programme used by Trinity College Dublin to broaden its undergraduate admissions, and will initially offer 12 students a year of intensive study on a foundation course.

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    ‘Unconditional positive regard’ towards even badly behaved pupils is growing in popularity

    It is a bitterly cold Yorkshire morning and outside a school in Barnsley staff are involved in the most important part of the school day.

    “All right, Kyle?” asks Dave Whitaker, the executive principal of Springwell special academy. “Morning, Kenzie. I saw some lovely writing of yours last night.”

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    With nurseries closing and big cuts in spending, the early years sector is a ‘ticking timebomb’, says the shadow minister

    When the former TV soap star and screenwriter-turned-MP Tracy Brabin took up the office of shadow minister for early years last July, she knew she wasn’t an obvious choice for the role. “I’m not an educationist. I haven’t come from a political background. But I was a free-school-dinners kid and I’ve got a lot of common sense.”

    Earlier this year, the MP revealed she endured homelessness as a young child, after her family lost their home and were waiting to be rehoused by the council. Her father was a factory worker. Education, she says, made a big difference to her life.

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    The same policies that mistreated the Windrush generation turned universities into state ‘enforcers’

    The scandal about the mistreatment of the sons and daughters of the Windrush generation brought back to me an incident a couple of years ago that had vaguely troubled me at the time but I had put to the back of my mind.

    I had been asked to be the external examiner for a PhD by a university I had better not name. The supervisor was a former colleague and friend. The thesis was excellent and on an important topic. It all seemed very straightforward.

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    Teachers describe how child poverty has become the norm in many schools

    In 2014 Gemma Morton, the headteacher of a large secondary school, told Education Guardian her school had helped to pay for the funeral of a student whose family couldn’t afford it, even after they had sold their car. Three years on, she has helped to pay for two more funerals. “When a child dies, nobody’s saved for it,” says Morton. “There is literally nowhere for families to go apart from the people they already know, and most of them are poverty-struck too.”

    Over the past few years, as austerity has deepened, more schools and individual teachers are bailing out disadvantaged families because they simply can’t say no. The latest government figures show 100,000 more children propelled into poverty in just 12 months. There are 4.1 million children – nearly a third of the entire child population – living in households on less than 60% of the average income.

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    The government has hinted it will reintroduce maintenance grants, but that there will be no extra money to pay for it

    Back when student maintenance grants were abolished in 2015, universities seemed relatively relaxed. Ignoring the student protests over how they would cope with high costs of living, universities were quietly satisfied that at least the changes came in tandem with an inflationary rise in tuition fees, linked to their performance in the teaching excellence framework. How times have changed.

    Three years on, and the inflationary increase for tuition fees is gone. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has now hinted strongly in the review of post-18 education and funding that maintenance grants will return, to remedy the high levels of debt among graduates from the lowest-income households.

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    Justine Greening’s policy is not discriminatory. It’s common sense that employers should look more favourably on state school educated candidates

    Who could have guessed that sharing a cabinet with Boris Johnson and David Cameron would leave a woman with a less than starry-eyed view of old Etonians?

    But in fairness to Justine Greening, maybe she was referring strictly to the research evidence when she advised employers to look more sceptically on the CVs of public school boys. The former education secretary reportedly told a meeting in New York that faced with a choice between an old Etonian with three Bs at A-levels and someone from a struggling comprehensive with exactly the same grades, employers should realise that the former was “probably not as impressive”. Kids who do well against all the odds, in other words, are likely to be brighter than those who do well when offered every possible opportunity. The thinking behind such so-called “contextual recruitment” is that the context in which children achieve tells you almost as much as their raw results.

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    Tuition fees and the stress of securing a job mean that students are fixated on exam results, rather than intellectual development

    A Guardian investigation published last week into academic misconduct revealed that the number of students caught cheating at Russell Group universities has risen by 40% from 2,640 to 3,721 between the academic years 2014-15 and 2016-17. This phenomenon though is not unique to Russell Group universities, with The Times reporting on more than 50,000 cases of cheating at British universities in a three-year period between 2013 and 2016.

    Based on the current state of higher education in this country though, this should come as no surprise. For students, the pressure to succeed has never been greater due to the increased cost attached to learning as well as the seeming necessity for students to get jobs as soon as they graduate. Both of these factors have led to an environment where results and grades are more important than scholarship and intellectual development and ultimately undermine the entire purpose of universities, turning them into nothing more than exam factories with degrees seen as little more than a route into a profitable job.

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    We want to showcase your portfolio highlights from the last year

    As the academic year draws to a close, art students are putting the finishing touches to their projects. We want you to share the results of your endeavours with the rest of the Guardian Students community.

    Every year, we compile our favourite student artwork and put it in an online gallery. You can submit your work through GuardianWitness, or via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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    From 'apples and pears' to 'weep and wail', an A to Z of Cockney rhyming slang and the meanings behind the east end's most famous linguistic export

    Many of us know that "brown bread" is Cockney rhyming slang for dead, "china plate" for mate, and "bubble bath" for laugh. But how many know the meaning of the phrases? The historic native wit of this east end community (and its followers from around the world) often has an interesting logic to its phrases. Rather than simply a rhyming association, the slang reflects meaning in the expressions themselves. Here's a guide to the most commonly-used Cockney rhyming slang:

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    League tables of all 54 subject areas taught at UK universities, with listings of the courses available in each of those subjects

    Accounting and finance
    The league table
    What the subject is about

    Agriculture, forestry and food
    The league table
    What the subject is about

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    A headteacher says pupil behaviour is better and bullying is down since he barred mobiles in his school. So should others follow suit? Teachers argue for and against

    "You'll have someone's eye out with that" used to be the refrain of teachers in my day. In malevolent hands, a pencil, a rubber, even a piece of paper could become a lethal weapon in class, and that's before we got on to compasses and Bunsen burners.

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    Up to 4,000 foreign students falsely accused of cheating in visa tests, barred from courses and ordered to leave, says lawyer

    Sajid Javid, the home secretary, is being urged to review the treatment of thousands of foreign students who were ordered to leave the UK after being accused of cheating in English language tests set for visa purposes.

    According to one immigration lawyer as many as 4,000 students may have been falsely accused by the Home Office of faking their tests in what has been described as another example of the government’s “hostile environment” immigration policy.

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    University launched investigation after allegations of racism, sexism and homophobia

    Several students at the University of Exeter have been expelled following allegations of racism, sexism and homophobia, amid growing anger over discrimination on higher education campuses.

    The students were sanctioned over a series of comments made on a WhatsApp group, including racial epithets and messages such as: “If you ain’t English, go home,” “bomb the mosques” and “we need a race war”, according to screengrabs posted online by a fellow student, Arsalan Motavali.

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    The photographer Kholood Eid asks the next generation about the issues that matter to them most

    Kids have a lot on their minds these days. As a photography teacher at an after-school program that is part of the Bronx Documentary Center, I hear kids talk about how bad it is that people are getting deported … and I hear them whisper the president’s name like he’s a villain.

    Even before the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school turned their tragedy into a national movement, giving young people a platform like they’ve never had before, I’d been wondering what sorts of issues young people really care about today, and what sorts of experiences contributed to their political awakenings.

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    If you haven’t started a new language by the age of 10, you have no chance of achieving fluency, according to new research. But one writer is not easily discouraged ...

    Learning a foreign language in adulthood can feel like an exercise in futility. At best, you will struggle to find time to practise, lack a support network and never really be able to experience the total immersion required to become fluent.

    Your woes may be compounded by a paper published in the journal Cognition, which suggests that those who start learning a language after the age of 10 are doomed to never achieve fluency – and that even basic learning abilities fade by 17 or 18.

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    Teachers vow to return to the classroom if budget deal passes that would raise salaries and provide millions in extra funding

    “The teachers united will never be divided!” shouted the crowd as they marched in Tucson’s annual May Day parade.

    Even as Arizona’s teachers’ union leaders signal that they are prepared to return to the classroom if the state legislature passes a plan to raise salaries and increase funding, teachers in the streets of Tuscon say they feel a new sense of power.

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