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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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    129 experts in computer science, mathematics and machine learning call for the release of their colleague, the Imperial College London professor who was arrested in April in Tehran

    We are 129 members of the academic community in the United Kingdom and beyond, including Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the US, working at the forefront of computer science, mathematics and machine learning.

    We are deeply concerned about the arrest of our colleague, Professor Abbas Edalat, in Iran (Report, 3 May).

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    The Green party equality spokeswoman on Theresa May, fighting transphobia and why, aged 20, she’s aiming high

    Aimee Challenor has raised her sights since she became a Green party member three years ago. She didn’t think she was suited to politics then. “I’d stopped going out because I was worried about how the world saw me. But politics has been a kind of rehabilitation,” she says. “I was a 17-year-old trans girl in Coventry. I thought I’d deliver leaflets at the general election.”

    Related: Today’s anti-trans rhetoric looks a lot like old-school homophobia | Shon Faye

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    More people in 2017 applied to appear on the ITV reality show than to attend Oxford or Cambridge. Here is a cost-benefit analysis for potential applicants

    There is fierce debate doing the rounds online (when is there not?) about what it means that more people applied to appear on ITV2 reality show Love Island than to study at Oxbridge universities.

    The programme’s production team said that more than 85,000 people wanted to find love on an island this year (is Britain not good enough for these would-be Casanovas?), while 23,521 “domiciled” British citizens applied to Oxford or Cambridge in 2017.

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    Mentoring schemes offer young women artists the confidence to thrive in a male-dominated industry – and they’re starting to show results

    When Titilola Dawudu was 16, an older woman took her out to the theatre for the first time. Dawudu put on an appropriately big, puffy dress and stepped into an alien world. “I was fascinated. I fell in love with the theatre world then.”

    Related: How the art world airbrushed female artists from history

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    George Holmes paid £290,215 in 2016-17 despite Bolton having high student drop-out rate

    The University of Bolton’s vice-chancellor was awarded a £66,000 pay rise last year, the latest in a string of steep wage increases among universities’ senior leadership that has seen the government and regulators make public their concerns.

    George Holmes was paid £290,215 in 2016-17, up by nearly 30% from £224,300 the previous year, according to Bolton University’s annual accounts reported by Times Higher Education.

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    Of 76 UK universities in 2019 rankings 41 have improved in best ever performance

    British universities put in a sterling performance in the latest edition of a prestigious international league table, with Oxford overtaking its old rival Cambridge for the first time to be named the UK’s highest-rated university.

    Of the 76 UK universities included in the 2019 QS world university rankings, which rates 1,000 leading institutions, 41 improved their position compared with last year, while 14 remained in the same place – the best ever performance, thanks to higher rates of publications and increased citations of research by other academics.

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    From lack of analysis to regurgitating lecture material, don't let these 10 common mistakes scupper your chances of exam success

    Not many students would admit to enjoying taking exams or writing essays, but if you want to get a degree, they're an ordeal you have to survive.

    So we've worked out how to make the whole thing a little less stressful. We've persuaded four academics from a range of subject areas to tell us the top 10 things students get wrong in exams and coursework. This is what they've told us:

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    Overwork and lack of support are driving teachers across England out of the profession much faster than they can be replaced. But schools facing cuts and rising costs can see no way of improving matters for their staff

    It was a toxic routine: plan lessons until 1am, wake up at 5am in a sweat, vomit, go to work, teach. “I lost a stone and a half in two months,” Dan Lintell said. “I was having heart palpitations and panic attacks. My body was totally exhausted. I couldn’t go on.” He had barely completed his first half-term as a newly qualified teacher.

    The start of the school year in September had been filled with optimism. After a successful 20-year career as a design engineer, Lintell decided he wanted to become a teacher. This made him what the government called a “high-calibre career changer”, who would revitalise schools and bring experience from the “real world” into the classroom – in his case, teaching physics at a comprehensive in Leicestershire.

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    The GCSE is 30 – and it’s suddenly much tougher, causing extraordinary anxiety for teachers and pupils. So should it be scrapped?

    On Monday morning, what may be the most dreaded and feared set of public exams England’s teenagers have ever sat began in school assembly halls up and down the country.

    It is 30 years since GCSEs (General Certificate for Secondary Education) were first introduced under Margaret Thatcher, replacing O-levels and CSEs. The new exam was designed to cover a broad spectrum of ability rather than dividing pupils between high achievers, who sat O-levels, and lower-ability students, who took CSEs. Now, three decades later, following claims of grade inflation and dumbing down, GCSEs have been revised and re-formed and a brand new set of exams is being rolled out.

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    League tables of all 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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    If you were ever bored enough in a maths class to turn a number on your calculator into a word you may have only been scraping the surface. There is much more to this art than meets the eye

    I own a Casio fx-85gt plus. It can perform 260 functions in less than a second, it can tell me when I've got a recurring decimal and it has a slide-on protective cover so that the buttons don't get pressed when it's in my bag. And even if the buttons do get pressed, I've got two-way power – solar and battery – so I'm sorted.

    But as soon as I bought it I was disappointed. If I happened to be bored in a maths class, typed out 0.1134, turned my calculator upside down and slid it across to a friend I wouldn't get so much as a smile. The numbers look too much like normal typeface. 

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    Post-exam discussions about what answers you gave have been replaced by social media frenzies, writes a student blogger

    Do you want to write for Blogging Students? Find out how here

    A few weeks ago, I took my GCSE English literature exam. Everything seemed to go well – the questions were predictably similar to past papers and the unseen poem, (Long Distance II by Tony Harrison,) was easy to understand and empathise with – or so I thought. But logging onto my Twitter account I found a completely different story.

    Twitter unintentionally allowed everyone doing AQA English to link into one huge spider's web. A quick search revealed one very worrying tweet: "Wait, what. The dad in Long Distance II was dead too?" Wait, what? This was not something I had picked up on.

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    Theresa May’s resurrecting grammar schools so how would you fare in a test to get in one?

    Theresa May has proposed a shakeup of the education system that could lead to an expansion of grammar schools across England. Many people object to the categorisation of pupils at age 11 on the basis of an exam. But how would you fare in such a test? Here’s a selection of 11-plus questions from sample tests produced by the educational publisher CGP. (To complete all the questions please view on desktop or mobile browsers rather than the app.)

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    From sci-fi libraries to steampunk tearooms, his dazzling creations made Glasgow a design paradise – and even crop up in Blade Runner, Doctor Who and Madonna videos. We join in the 150th anniversary celebrations

    ‘Those who want to see art should bypass London and go straight to Glasgow,” wrote the German critic Hermann Muthesius in 1902. “Glasgow’s take on art is unique,” he added. “In architecture, it is a new, young city.”

    What most caught his eye was the work of a young couple, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, who were quietly making wildly original furniture, buildings and interiors. These struck him as utterly “divergent from everything that is familiar”. Fusing the sinuous forms of art nouveau with rugged Scots baronial motifs and exotic Japanese touches, their designs were a startling sight – too much for many British critics to stomach.

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    The latest QS world university rankings reveal that Oxford is top in the UK for the first time – although the US still leads overall

    After two years of slipping down the table, this year there is good news in the latest QS world rankings for UK universities. Of the 76 British institutions ranked this year, 41 have improved their position, with less than half as many falling as last year.

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    To celebrate Volunteers’ Week we’re profiling some of the people who give up their time to help and inspire others

    For Matthew Gardner tutoring A-level students is not just about passing exams: “I think one-on-one support serves them well as we get the chance to question them beyond exam boards to make sure they can really understand and solve the problems.”

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    Parents, literacy experts, trade unions, teachers and librarians have spoken out against initiative being trialled by the Scottish Borders council

    Experts have branded a cost-cutting pilot scheme in Scotland, in which pupil volunteers are replacing school library staff, as “folly” and a false economy.

    The Scottish Borders council is implementing a trial in three schools – in Galashiels, Hawick and Peebles – that will see secondary school pupils and other volunteers taking on roles in school libraries. The pilot initiative follows the loss of several librarian jobs last year, according to reports in the Scottish press, and has been attacked by local parents as well as by literacy experts, trade unions, teachers and librarians.

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    Salary uplift of some degrees in UK exceeds that gained from private education, says study

    Students studying economics and medicine at British universities are likely to gain the largest financial benefits from their degrees, outstripping even the considerable advantages enjoyed by private school students or people from the wealthiest backgrounds, a study has found.

    An Institute for Fiscal Studies report, using several years of evidence gathered from education and taxation data, showed the higher pay for graduates in a small group of subjects remained even after adjusting for student background and school type.

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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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