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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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    Amanda Spielman defends schools watchdog after critical report calls for improvement

    The chief inspector of schools has defended Ofsted’s work, saying it was “absolutely not” underperforming.

    Amanda Spielman’s comments came as the independent body that grades schools in England found itself on the receiving end of unfavourable scrutiny by government inspectors after MPs said it required improvement to avoid losing credibility.

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    As a new school year begins, teachers in California, Colorado and Illinois, among other states, are determined to continue the fight for better pay and school funding

    Last spring, a wave of teachers strikes across the United States helped spur mass support for educators – and wage raises – after decades of cuts and demonization by both Republicans and Democrats alike. As schools start again, teachers are determined to keep fighting.

    Related: What's your experience of teaching in America? Teachers, share your stories

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    A small group of women have succeeded in putting a state law promoted by Betsy DeVos and billionaire donors which they see as an attack on public education on the ballot in November

    Arizona has become the hotbed for an experiment rightwing activists hope will redefine America’s schools – an experiment that has the pitched conservative billionaires the Koch brothers and Donald Trump’s controversial education secretary, Betsy DeVos, against teachers’ unions, teachers and parents. Neither side is giving up without a fight.

    With groups funded by the Koch brothers and DeVos nudging things along, Arizona lawmakers enacted the nation’s broadest school vouchers law, state-funded vouchers that are supposed to give parents more school choice and can be spent on private or religiously affiliated schools. For opponents, the system is not about choice but about further weakening the public school system. A half-dozen women who had battled for months against the legislation were angry as hell.

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    Spending per student exceeds the OECD average but the likes of Finland and South Korea get better results. What are they doing right and what can the US learn from them?

    America’s schools are in trouble – but it’s not all about money. In 2014, the US spent an average of $16,268 a year to educate a pupil from primary through tertiary education, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) annual report of education indicators, well above the global average of $10,759.

    But spending is on the decline – down 4% between 2010 to 2014 even as education spending, on average, rose 5% per student across the 35 countries in the OECD.

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    'I've had hungry students who couldn't concentrate; I've filed tax returns for kids' parents. You're the only adult they trust – the only adult that talks to them like they're a person': a perspective of life as a teacher in two different US states

    Share your story: what's your experience of teaching in America?

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    The gap between state and private education is reinforcing privilege and harming the prospects of another generation. The only solution is integration

    Subscribe via Audioboom, iTunes, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Acast& Sticherand join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

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    There were 25 black women and 90 black men among 19,000 professors in 2016-17

    British universities have made little progress in promoting black and other minority ethnic staff to senior positions, according to analysis of equality data.

    Statistics collated by Advance HE, formerly known as the Equality Challenge Unit charity, show that last year only a small fraction of professors in UK universities were from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, with women especially poorly represented.

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    Education secretary says policy boosts social mobility and that nursery costs are kept under review

    The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has insisted nursery schools have enough funds to deliver 30 hours of free childcare even though many are struggling – and some have been forced to close – as a result of the flagship policy.

    The minister said his officials would keep the costs that nurseries faced under review but that for now the funding levels were fixed.

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    Report recommends sweeping changes with the emphasis on respect and empathy for different faiths and worldviews

    Religious education in schools needs a major overhaul to reflect an increasingly diverse world and should include the study of atheism, agnosticism and secularism, a two-year investigation has concluded.

    The subject should be renamed Religion and Worldviews to equip young people with respect and empathy for different faiths and viewpoints, says the Commission on Religious Education in a report published on Sunday.

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    Scandal-hit Northumbria University hands £600,000 to senior managers

    Senior managers at a university that recently hit the headlines after staff spent thousands of pounds at a lapdancing club have received more than £600,000 in bonuses over the past four years.

    Bonus payments to Northumbria University’s senior leadership averaged more than £9,000 each last year. These payments were made despite huge cuts in administration and teaching staff at the university in Newcastle.

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    Too many poorer students feel they don’t fit in at university. We need more academics proud to be from a similar background

    As the new university year approaches, it seems the adage “not for the likes of us” remains pertinent for working-class students. Figures on participation rates in higher education clearly show that although numbers are rising, universities are still attracting a lower proportion of working-class women and men, based on socio-economic classifications. This is despite a slew of thinktank proposals on how higher education institutions could encourage more working-class students.

    A major problem is cost. I know from talking to students from poorer backgrounds that the £9,000-plus fees, with accommodation and living expenses on top, strike fear into them and their parents alike. Yet it’s not just the exorbitant cost. It is the fear of not fitting in that can put prospective working-class students off from applying. And they are more likely to drop out even if they do get in, because they can feel they don’t fit in to the unfamiliar surroundings. This unwelcoming environment isn’t confined to common rooms, bars and sports fields, where no one may speak or behave like them. It also emanates from the lecture halls and classrooms, where there are few academics who sound or look like them.

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    Find your perfect match

    UPDATE: Click here for the solution

    Hi guzzlers,

    Today’s puzzle is about dating strategy.

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    The solution to today’s puzzle

    Earlier today I asked you the following puzzle:

    You’re single and looking for love. In front of you are three doors. Behind each door is a prospective partner. Your mission is to couple up with your best possible match.

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    Forget a printer – a bumbag, fancy dress and a brolly need to be on every new student’s packing list

    Students preparing to head off for university already know they need a laptop, bedding and a corkscrew … but what else might come in useful? We asked some seasoned undergraduates.

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    The inspectorate has come in for another battering. Now it must heed its own advice and change

    Of all the education news over the summer, I suspect the story to watch most closely concerns Ofsted’s consultation about its next inspection framework.

    Her Majesty’s Inspectorate took a bit of a battering from the Public Accounts Committee last week but I am probably more sympathetic to Ofsted than many. Being a parent (and governor) in one of the first schools to be inspected in the early 1990s was a formative experience that led me to writing and campaigning on education issues.

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    Major study of 1.8 million pupils also challenges ministers’ claims children do better in academies and grammars

    Claims that schools in the north of England are worse than those in the south are based on myth and bad data, according to a large-scale research project that calls into question the education policies of successive governments.

    The study also challenges the idea that selective grammar schools or academies are more likely to improve pupil progress overall than community comprehensives, tracing the progress of 1.8 million pupils, their social, family and economic backgrounds and the type of schools they attended.

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    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology claims the top spot for the first time

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has beaten Stanford University to the top spot for the first time since QS, a higher education think tank, began ranking universities according to graduate outcomes.

    There are seven British universities in the top 50 – one more than last year. The University of Cambridge has slipped one place to seventh, while the University of Oxford has fallen by two to 10th, in spite of the latter being the highest scoring UK university for producing alumni in world-leading jobs.

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    Global report reveals proportion of public money spent on education dropped significantly between 2005 and 2015

    The proportion of public money being spent on private schooling in Australia is higher than in any other advanced economy and has increased significantly over the last decade, a new report reveals.

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released on Tuesday night its annual education at a glance report, a major compendium of statistics measuring the state of education across the world.

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    Migration advisory committee says number of international students could be increased

    International students should be able to access skilled jobs in the UK more easily after they graduate, the government’s chief migration advisers have said.

    The independent migration advisory committee (MAC) recommended changes to immigration rules that would give certain types of students more time to stay in the UK to look for employment.

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    Among the many major issues with academisation is that it’s irreversible. Labour must offer a solution to this scandal

    Just days after I was selected as Labour parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green (current occupant: Iain Duncan Smith) I received an email saying that Longshaw primary, a local school, was under threat after being severely run down by a multi-academy trust – Silver Birch– one of the unaccountable corporates now running our schools. I knew there would be examples of Tory policies gone wrong in this London suburb, but didn’t anticipate how much anger academisation had caused. The parents of these schools are part of a growing wave of accidental activists.

    Even as a seasoned campaigner l found their experience shocking. Stories of children in tears after being told they had to rip up their work at the end of the year in an attempt to cover up the multiple changes in teachers: classes had up to seven different teachers over two years and staff were fired and then walked out of the school in front of the pupils. Parents told me there was a culture of fear among staff, depleted school funds, inflated salaries for managers.

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