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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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    Your daughter’s homework isn’t being marked. Your son’s been put in detention for no real reason. What’s the best course of action? A teacher writes …

    One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was from a friend in the restaurant business. If I were planning to complain about any part of my meal or service, he said, I should wait until I had eaten all I was going to eat that night. He illustrated this warning with examples of what can happen to food prepared for awkward customers, and so I’ve followed this advice ever since. It’s a good principle: don’t complain to people on whom you’re relying – unless there’s no way they can wipe your steak on their bum or drop a bogey in your soup.

    As with restaurants, so with schools. The difference with schools is that you’re likely to be stuck with them for a lot longer than one meal. So think carefully before putting on your Mr Angry face and marching into the school for a spot of ranting.

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    Students share their experiences of mental health issues and reveal a common and worrying problem

    Read more: where to get help for your mental health

    When I asked students to share their experiences of mental health at university, I had no idea of the reaction it would receive. Over five days we received over 200 stories. Many entries we weren't able to include, for legal reasons or because the experiences described were too harrowing to publish.

    Originally planned to stay open for two weeks, we decided to close the project early because there wasn't the capacity to moderate the influx of entries. Each morning we were met with more stories – from students who opened up about their anxieties and struggles.

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    I never thought the class, which centered on shame-and-fear-based teachings, was going to be so awful, or that my tweets about it would be read by thousands of people

    When you’re a sex researcher with a sense of humor – which I am – and you have a history of writing about your kid’s rather lame public school sex education – which I do – and he asks you to come to his high school class to see the “abstinence-based” sex education he’s getting now – which he did – you should probably say you have a conflicting doctor’s appointment.

    Instead, I went to class.

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    You might hate your school uniform, but I think it's there for good reason, says 15-year-old Chloe Spencer

    A shirt, tie and blazer may not be the ingredients for my favourite outfit, but if I were given the choice, I wouldn’t throw away the idea of school uniform. Wearing a uniform is a badge of pride, creates an identity for a school and is an important part of being a school student.

    “Uniforms show that you are part of an organisation. Wearing it says we’re all in this together,” Jason Wing, head teacher at the Neale-Wade academy in Cambridgeshire, says.

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    Nigel Todd says the centenary of an epic report on adult education provides a good opportunity, while Jol Miskin says Oxford University should campaign for adult education for all

    Jonathan Michie (Letters, 6 June) and John Holford (Letters, 31 May), both distinguished in the field of adult education, demonstrate the continuing vibrancy of debate about the future of adult learning. In recent years, the commitment to maintaining a broad education provision for adults has been diminished, marginalised or restricted. Allowing for exceptions, this is generally true across the university and further education sectors, and among local authorities and voluntary organisations.

    But moves are under way to use next year as a chance to raise the profile of adult learning. The centenary of an epic report on adult education, produced by the wartime Ministry of Reconstruction and published in 1919 and which set the framework for educating adults for much of the last century, is a spark to set our ambitions alight.

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    Just one in four people can change the minds of others. So the modish will take over the world

    Some research published last week has put the fear of God into ordinary folk around the country, who have learned they will now have their ideas led by bearded hipsters. Science magazine reported that sociologists at the University of Pennsylvania had conducted an experiment in which 200 people were shown a face and asked to give the person a name – any name.

    To win, they had to come up with the same random name that an anonymous partner picked. After a while, the discarded names, which were later revealed to the players, grew in popularity (suggestion working its power) until the same names started to crop up again and again. Within 25 rounds of one game, everyone had called the face Simone.

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    Peers says system is geared too much towards universities and offers poor value for money

    Tertiary education in England is heavily skewed in favour of universities, but offers poor value for money for students and the economy, according to a critical report by the House of Lords.

    The report by the Lords’ economic affairs committee calls for immediate reform of the funding system and concludes that changes introduced in 2012 - when university fees were raised to £9,000 a year – have overbalanced funding for 18-year-olds towards universities while heaping debt on students.

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    Anti-fraud agency Hedd warns graduates not to post pictures of certificates on social media

    Freshly graduated students who take pictures with their new degrees are being urged not to share the images on social media, to avoid fuelling the multimillion-pound trade in fake degrees.

    Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd), the UK’s official service for verifying degrees, said that more than two-thirds of students plan to take “graduation selfies” this year.

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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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    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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    OCR apologises again after third mistake in exam paper, with pupils uncertain they will reach grades needed for university places

    One of England’s main examination boards has been forced to issue an apology for the third time in a little over a fortnight after students and teachers spotted yet another error on one of its papers.

    The mistake occurred on OCR’s A-level biology paper, which was sat by almost 19,000 students on Monday. A question asked students to calculate a standard deviation but failed to provide the formula needed for the calculation, as required by the syllabus.

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    Regulator warns schools of more variation than usual after reforms in many subjects

    The head of England’s exam regulator has warned schools to expect volatility in their pupils’ results this summer, as new figures showed the impact of government reforms in the subjects being studied.

    With hundreds of thousands of pupils in England sitting their A-level and GCSE exams, the regulator Ofqual signalled that results could be distorted by the new-style exams, especially at GCSE level, with grades now more dependent on exam marks than coursework.

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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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    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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    Rural areas also at disadvantage as schools in cities attract better-qualified teachers

    Schools with a higher proportion of disadvantaged students are less likely to have qualified teachers than schools with a more privileged intake, according to a report.

    The international study found that in more than a third of countries, including the UK, teachers in “the most disadvantaged schools” are less qualified or less experienced than those in the most advantaged schools.

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    Dozens of pupils at Isca academy in Exeter stage uniform protest after school insists they wear trousers despite heatwave

    Some had borrowed from girlfriends, others from sisters. A few had gone the extra mile and shaved their legs. When the Isca academy in Devon opened on Thursday morning, an estimated 30 boys arrived for lessons, heads held high, in fetching tartan-patterned skirts. The hottest June days since 1976 had led to a bare-legged revolution at the secondary school in Exeter.

    As the temperature soared past 30C earlier this week, the teenage boys had asked their teachers if they could swap their long trousers for shorts. They were told no – shorts weren’t permitted under the school’s uniform policy.

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    Whether called internships or placements, these schemes damage the economy as well as young people’s prospects

    Labour MP Chuka Umunna didn’t set out to cause controversy when he advertised a student placement role in his office. Until the advert was picked up by the Graduate Fog website, which campaigns for fair internships and better treatment of graduates by employers, nobody thought there would be an issue. After all, while it’s Labour party policy to ban unpaid internships, “placement schemes” are different. Aren’t they?

    The rationale seems to be that because such placements are part of a student’s education, they are different from internships and thus shouldn’t be subject to the same rules. Perhaps, in the best cases, placements can play the role that their advocates say they do. Making them unpaid, however, certainly puts temptation in an employer’s path.

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    Almost three-quarters of respondents claim to have not used drugs at university

    A survey of illegal drug use among students has suggested it may not be as prevalent as indicated by earlier research, with almost three-quarters of those who took part claiming not to have used drugs at university.

    The small-scale survey conducted on behalf of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), a thinktank, raised the possibility that students may be more disapproving of drugs than previously thought.

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    New technical exams will probably be out of date before they arrive

    I am thinking of starting a short series on the theme of “big education policy decisions that can’t be dodged (but probably will be)”. There are several jockeying for the top spot, but this month the honour should go to the future of vocational – now known by the government as technical – education.

    This perennial problem is back in the limelight after the recent squabble over T-levels and whether it is too soon to introduce the first three of these qualifications. But how many people know what a T-level is? I had to explain to my generally well-informed other half in advance of a TV appearance he was making with the also barely known minister for skills. As a governor of two secondary schools I can recall little discussion of the latest post-16 reforms. That may be because they will be rolled out primarily in further education colleges – another poorly understood Cinderella sector of our education system.

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    Guardian Foundation scheme makes schoolchildren reporters and editors to help them unpick fact from fiction

    Peace, aged 11, is perusing an email from a council whistleblower. “Look,” he says urgently. “He says he can give us more details but he’s afraid of losing his job.” At the next table, Emma, also in year 6, wants to hear from the council about why it is threatening to fine homeless people £2,500. “There might be a reason,” she says, giving the council the benefit of the doubt.

    But fellow pupil Raheema thinks it’s wrong to fine people when they have no money. “Shocked and surprised” is her assessment of how readers will feel when they find out how homeless people are being treated by Oxford city council .

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