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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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    Exhibition is culmination of six-month programme that provided studio space and expenses to students whose work was lost or damaged in blaze

    Just over a year after the fire that devastated Glasgow School of Art’s iconic Mackintosh building, robbing students of their degree show, 90 of the artists affected have unveiled an exhibition of new work.

    The Phoenix Bursary exhibition is the culmination of a six-month programme that provided studio space and living expenses to students whose work was lost or damaged in the blaze that raged through the category-A listed building in May, where students were preparing for their final-year degree show.

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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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    Forensic archaeologists finish three months of sifting though and removing artefacts from Mackintosh library, which was almost entirely destroyed in blaze

    Intact rare books, pieces of intricate lanterns and the mechanism of the studio clock are among artefacts rescued from the ashes of Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh library, which was ravaged by a fire last May.

    Forensic archaeologists have completed their painstaking task after 12 weeks of documenting, sifting and removing the remains, in what has proved the most complex and revealing part of the conservation process so far.

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    The blaze destroyed the category-A listed Mackintosh building in May, when a fire suppression system was not yet operational

    The fire at Glasgow School of Art’s historic Mackintosh building in May was started when flammable gases from a foam canister used in a student project were ignited, according to a report by the Scottish fire and rescue service.

    The category-A listed building was engulfed in flames as students were preparing for their final-year degree show. Much of their work was lost, along with the building’s famous library, one of the world’s finest examples of art nouveau design, which housed many rare and archival materials as well as original furniture and fittings.

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    With Glasgow’s School of Art – a working testament to the genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh – engulfed by flames again, anger is growing amid a demand for answers

    On Friday night, in a hard city never knowingly defeated, optimism had fled. The Glasgow School of Art, the working testament to the genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was engulfed in flames once more four years after a devastating fire had threatened the fabled Mac building. Its £35m re-birth following years of meticulous craftsmanship was only months away; the scaffolding which had been its temporary sarcophagus was being dismantled. Now fire service chiefs are preparing Glasgow for the worst.

    Four years ago the over-riding emotion was one of grief. Mackintosh’s building, sitting at the top of one of Glasgow’s many elevated boulevards, was a source of fierce pride that carried well beyond the artists and teachers who called it home. If any stonework could ever be described as delicate it was Mackintosh’s in this building. Perhaps an awareness of this fragility lay near the root of Glaswegians’ curious love for this building. Once you had seen it you felt you shared in a communal duty of care towards it. Even those who had never set foot in it – nor are ever likely to – knew about this place and knew it needed to be protected.

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    Student organisation NCAFC says it will join anti-Brexit demonstrations this summer

    A leftwing organisation that led demonstrations against student fees and Conservative higher education reforms has set itself at odds with Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit by pledging to increase its campaigns to keep the UK in the EU and maintain the free movement of workers.

    The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) said it would join anti-Brexit demonstrations the National Union of Students (NUS) is organising this summer and autumn, and establish a “radical, leftwing, pro-migrant bloc”. The move is another sign of young people increasingly mobilising against the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU in March next year.

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    The father of a student who killed himself is right to demand that universities keep in contact with parents

    Beyond legal definitions, at which point are your children truly adults? When they decide? When you do?

    James Murray, father of Ben, the 19-year-old Bristol University student who killed himself last month, is asking for the relaxation of data protection laws that prevent parents from being alerted about students with mental health issues.

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    Intern Amara Howe on how she manages her finances – and her hopes for the future

    I’ve always kept £1,000 in my current account. It never goes up, and it never goes down, and I’m constantly checking my balance to make sure I’m not eating into it. I find it incredibly hard to save. I’m currently earning £19,000 a year as a communications intern at London Metropolitan University, from where I graduated last June.

    Life was actually easier as a student because the loan covered most of the bills, and the £400 net a month that I earned from a weekend job in a shoe shop could be spent on going out. Looking back, I didn’t have a care in the world then, and could spend £300 a month on clothes if I wanted to and still put money by.

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    Petition backed by conservative activists targets tax hikes intended to cover teachers’ raise

    Striking Oklahoma teachers, the worst paid in the US, won a historic pay rise in the spring. Now, conservative groups have targeted the tax hikes earmarked to pay them, and by November the cash could be gone, leaving schools and educators in limbo.

    In March, teacher salaries in Oklahoma were raised by an average of $6,100 a year, a raise paid for by a bill that raised taxes for cigarettes, cigars, motor and diesel fuel and the gross production of energy, and initially a $5-a-night hotel tax.

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    School’s professor of architecture says Mackintosh building ‘looks totally destroyed’

    Fears were mounting last night that the Glasgow School of Art will be beyond repair after a devastating fire ripped through the Mackintosh building for a second time in four years.

    Initial inspections suggested that the grade A-listed art school, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and completed in 1909, has been gutted and its roof and upper floors almost entirely destroyed by the blaze that took hold on Friday night. Alan Dunlop, the school’s professor of architecture, said: “I can’t see any restoration possible for the building itself. It looks totally destroyed.”

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    Witnesses’ shock and disbelief as second fire devastates Mackintosh architectural masterpiece

    The hosepipes snaked all the way down to the river Clyde, thick with water, as firefighters smothered the last of the flames on Friday night. While they worked, students and artists, architects and sculptors gathered in the streets around the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building – Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s art nouveau masterpiece – to find out what had happened, and ask: four years after the Mack was devastated by fire, how could it happen again?

    “It should have been the safest building in Glasgow,” Margaret Archbold said. The 48-year-old artist graduated from the school in 1994 and was looking forward to the building’s reopening next year.

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  • 01/20/15--10:00: Colin Strang obituary
  • Philosopher with wide-ranging interests from ethics to science

    The philosopher Colin Strang, who has died aged 92, was a practical and effective professor at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was also fertile in ideas, though always needed urging to publish.

    Much anthologised is his paper What If Everyone Did That? (1960). It examines arguments that start from the premise that if everyone acted in a certain way there would be a disaster, and reach the conclusion that no one should so act.

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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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  • 03/30/02--04:29: The hymns were hers
  • How Victorian women gave the Anglican church its greatest hits. By Valentine Cunningham

    'There is a green hill far away,/ Without a city wall,/Where the dear Lord was crucified/Who died to save us all." Easter time in England, and in the English-speaking world, is now inseparable from the words of that hymn, so simply put, so memorably phrased. They are the words of one of Victorian Britain's huge army of hymn-writing women - Cecil Frances Alexander, wife of the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe in Ireland. She made Christmas hers too with Once in Royal David's City. An English Christmas wouldn't be the same without Mrs Alexander. Nor, for that matter, without Christina Rossetti and her In the Bleak Midwinter. And what would our harvest festivals sound like without Jane Montgomery Campbell's translation from German, We Plough the Fields and Scatter?

    The classic, canonical English hymn book is packed with the songs of women, especially Victorian ones. English congregations didn't always sing hymns. The practice was brought over from Germany in the 18th century by the Wesleys. Methodism, the religion of the heart, was, as they say, born in congregational song. Charles Wesley supplied thousands of verses for Methodism's great movement of evangelical religious emotionalism. But very quickly women took over the hymn-writing job - after all, the men knew they specialised in sensibility - and not just for Methodists and their low-church Anglican colleagues, but right across the Christian scene. The Victorian church was a field alive with the songs of women. It's a female inflection that continues to this day. Christian hymnology has come to belong greatly, in fact, to the poets who have hymens. (Hymn was first spelled "hymen" in English, and by a wobbly etymology was thought to come from the Greek word hymen. Jacques Derrida still believes it does.)

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    GMB union calls for zero tolerance of harassment of classroom assistants and other support staff

    More than one in 10 teaching support staff say they have experienced sexually inappropriate behaviour from pupils, according to a leading union. The finding has triggered calls for schools to adopt “zero tolerance” to a problem that, the GMB says, can leave its members mentally scarred.

    A survey by the union, which this week holds its 101st annual congress, said 11% of classroom-based staff had encountered such behaviour.

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    Scores are falling across the world, provoking headlines of ‘dumbing down’. But what does it measure anyway?

    IQ tests have a troubled history. Although their inventor, the intellectually cautious Frenchman Alfred Binet, understood and acknowledged their limitations, many of those who went on to deploy and develop his ideas did not. Within years of their emergence, IQ tests were being used by US eugenicists to weed out the “feebleminded”, and by politicians keen to cloak their calls for greater racial segregation and changes to American immigration laws with a degree of scientific legitimacy.

    From the start, Binet’s tests were also drawn into the debate over whether human intelligence is predominantly hereditary or better understood as a reflection of environmental factors such as education – one part of the sprawling nature v nurture debate.

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    A fine art photography graduate, a Turner prize-winner and a former lecturer offer their thoughts on the Mackintosh building, devastated by fire again

    An Observer photographer, graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a fine art photography degree in 2007.

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    Teens in Netherlands regularly top life satisfaction tables, with schooling playing a big role

    In a biology class at a secondary school near Rotterdam, Gerrit the skeleton is not the only one with a permanent grin.

    The Groen van Prinstererlyceum, which first trialled happiness lessons a decade ago, teaches some of the least troubled teens in the world.

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    We need to provide safe spaces where kids can learn positive online behaviours

    When I heard that Eton now requires its year 7s to hand in their mobile phones at bedtime, my immediate thought was I quite like the idea of a check-in, zone-out service that would confiscate my smartphone as the Love Island credits start to roll and return it in time for the 8am news bulletin. But if Eton expects its 13-year-old boarders to hand in their phones overnight, where are they the rest of the time? And why are older boys allowed to keep their phones overnight?

    On schools and smartphones, I’m an enthusiastic proponent of the nanny state. After Emmanuel Macron made it a key pledge in his presidential campaign, the French government is banning mobile phones in schools altogether after September. In the UK, the decision is left to headteachers: some ban them, others take a more permissive approach.

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