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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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    Pupil numbers in nurseries and primaries to peak in 2019, with secondaries rising until 2025

    The pressure on school places in England is likely to ease slightly sooner than expected thanks to a lower birth rate than forecasters had anticipated.

    Although pupil numbers will continue to rise in the next few years, the rate of increase is slowing, according to government statistics published on Thursday.

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    Number of people starting an apprenticeship fell by 34% in first three terms of 2017-18

    The government has come under pressure to revamp its apprenticeship scheme after figures showed the number of training places slumped by a third over the last nine months.

    In the first three terms of the 2017-18 academic year, the number of people starting an apprenticeship fell to 290,500, a 34% reduction on the 440,300 during the same nine-month period in the previous year. It is also nearly 25% down on the 384,500 apprenticeships started in the equivalent period in 2015-16.

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    Many students are preparing for January exams right now. But what will they do if their results aren't what they'd hoped for?

    What do you do if you fail a university exam, or worse still, get thrown off your course completely? Usually you accept the verdict and admit that the work you produced wasn't up to scratch. But what if you are convinced you have a really good reason why you shouldn't have failed?

    Here are my top tips, gleaned from first-hand experience as a barrister, for students who want to appeal without getting professional assistance.

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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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  • 07/13/18--09:50: Stephanie Saville obituary
  • My friend Stephanie Saville, who has died aged 91, was an anaesthetist who witnessed and participated in huge changes in medical practice throughout her career.

    At a time when women were only beginning to forge careers in the competitive world of medicine, Stephanie was a role model for many female junior hospital doctors.

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    Letters from Michael O’Sullivan of Cambridge Assessment International Education, Ursula Hutchinson and Dr Peter Glanvill

    As creators of the Cambridge Pre-U, we’d like to correct a point made by Bernie Evans (Letters, 12 July) that “Cambridge Pre-U qualifications are not regulated like other exams by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)”. That is incorrect, on two counts. Ofqual, not JCQ, regulates qualifications, and Cambridge Pre-U is indeed regulated by Ofqual. Thus state schools can and do offer Cambridge Pre-U, and make up 38% of all schools taking it.

    It is also obviously incorrect to conclude that differences in pass rates between A-level and Cambridge Pre-U mean one exam is easier than the other. The differences in results simply reflect the different levels of attainment of the candidates.
    Michael O’Sullivan
    Chief executive, Cambridge Assessment International Education

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    Recognising higher education as a major export is essential if the sector is to compete in the global marketplace

    A recent event of real importance to UK higher education has gone relatively unnoticed. When the Home Office expanded the list of countries that will benefit from a streamlined Tier 4 application process, it made it far easier for students from 11 countries, including China, to get visas to study in the UK.

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    We asked you to share your summer term paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures. Here are some of our favourites

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    How can you prepare for a medical degree? Try reading some books that will open your mind

    How to write for Blogging Students
    Top tips for surviving medical school

    I will be starting medical school in September. With a few weeks of holiday ahead, I am cramming in some reading before I start the course.

    But I'm not just reading textbooks: I think there are certain types of books that help strengthen motivation, and crucially, develop a better understanding of the people we'll be caring for – because doctors deal with people, not just anatomy.

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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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    When a child heads off to university the sense of loss can feel unbearable, but planning ahead can help you cope with this new stage of parenthood

    Read more advice for parents

    "I have had worse partings, but none that so / Gnaws at my mind still."

    So writes Cecil Day-Lewis in his poem "Walking Away", written while watching his eldest son head off to school. If a child's first day at school is significant, when they leave home for university can feel like an irrevocable life change for you. Knowing how to say goodbye, and dealing with the sense of loss that can follow, is part of being a parent.

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    Shouting at your kids can damage their brains, as well as hurting their ears, according to US child psychiatrists. Ouch, says Anne Karpf

    I thought I was impervious to those "research shows . . ." scare stories, but this one got to me. Shouting at children, according to a recent study by psychiatrists at a hospital affiliated to Harvard Medical School, can significantly and permanently alter the structure of their brains. It was only inordinate self-restraint - of the kind I never display towards my kids - that stopped me marching them straight off for a brain scan.

    Ours is a Sturm und Drang household, with shouting matches, screaming fits, and temper tantrums - and that's just the parents. The neighbours have been warned, even the kids have been warned. At two, my first-born could do a passable imitation of me yelling (and she did, to all-comers). And one of her sibling's early sentences was: "You're a lovely Mummy, but a shouty one."

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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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    From videos in Japanese to news in German, language blogger Lindsay Dow recommends her favourite podcasts to keep you motivated and inspired while improving your skills

    I became a language addict way back in the early noughties thanks to Shakira. Since then I’ve gone on to pursue a degree in French and Spanish with the Open University, and I’ve also studied Mandarin, Italian, German and various other languages along the way. With formal studying never quite being enough, I’m always looking for other methods to engage my language learning brain, podcasts being one of them. Here’s a few of my favourites:

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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 and into Saturday. 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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    Children’s services support officer Claire Mynott on her finances – and why it is a scandal how little women are paid

    I live on the brink. I work 35 hours for 39 weeks plus five weeks’ paid leave and, as a result of recent changes, three of us are doing the job of five, which means we are always playing catch-up.

    I’m now on £14,512 a year. It’s a knife-edge lifestyle. I just scrape by, but if anything unexpected happens it tips me over the edge and I have to borrow. At Christmas my boiler broke down and needed £300 worth of repairs and I had to borrow from my mother and pay her back in instalments. I still owe her £50.

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    Metal hidden in underwear will be detected by airport scanners – and stop children being flown abroad

    Most children in Britain are looking forward to the summer holidays – but for some it will be a time of dread. This is a peak time for hundreds of girls, and some boys, to be spirited away and forced into a marriage abroad.

    One Yorkshire school has come up with an innovative approach to protect its pupils. Students at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds have been encouraged to alert authorities by putting a spoon in their underwear to trigger metal airport detectors. Children at the inner-city secondary in Harehills – an area with one of the city’s largest south Asian populations – have been given a metal spoon as part of a scheme designed to raise awareness about “honour”-based abuse and forced marriage.

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    Department for Education update to focus on exploitation, grooming, harassment and abuse - both online and offline

    Schoolchildren will be taught about consent and peer pressure in both the real world and the virtual one in the first major revamp of sex education lessons since they began.

    Understanding what consent means, how to both give it and recognise it in others, as well as the laws around sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, harassment and domestic abuse will be taught.

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    Some of the biggest names in industry have set up graduate programmes to boost the shrinking number of women in technology roles

    Hannah Ellis, 26, joined KPMG’s technology consulting graduate scheme in 2015 after completing a degree in history. She found herself drawn to the accountancy firm’s approach to new graduates: “They were very accepting of people from different backgrounds as long as you were bright and willing to learn, and that was what really appealed to me.”

    Along with other graduates, Ellis received intensive training in consulting and in technical subjects, such as data analytics. Since then, her skills have been put to a wide range of uses at the company, including managing a project for a government client and working on data visualisation and reporting for a pharmaceutical company. She has also recently completed a secondment to explore ways in which KPMG could transform its digital strategy.

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    Just as Seamus Heaney's Beowulf translation is finding modern readers, Oxford may drop compulsory Old English. Ros Taylor asks why

    To Kingsley Amis, it was "that featureless heap of elephant's sputum". To Alison Powell, researching her PhD at Cambridge, it is a language she "fell in love with". To Luke Wiespeser, a second-year at Leicester University, it proved so compelling that his housemates repeatedly told him to shut up about it during Man Utd v Sturm Graz. To most English students, it's Beowulf. It is, of course, Old English.

    Oxford is again discussing whether to drop Old English as a compulsory part of the English syllabus from 2002. Last year's attempt to oust it was headed by Corpus Christi professor Valentine Cunningham, but failed after a faculty majority voted to keep it as a compulsory first-year course.

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