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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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    Everything you need to know about entering the awards, and how each submission will be assessed

    We invite entries from UK universities and university professionals across 14 categories, which are shortlisted and evaluated by an expert panel. An ideas bank of all winning and shortlisted entries will be published on the Guardian website after the ceremony.

    Click here to enter now

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  • 11/21/18--02:02: University Awards 2019: FAQs
  • Find out all you need to know about entering and how the judging process is run

    Who can enter?
    Any representative of higher education institutions (those with degree-awarding powers) in the United Kingdom.

    How much does it cost to enter?
    It costs £250 for one entry and £150 for every entry after that. If you enter before 31 January you can save £50 on your first and multiple entries – the early bird rate is £200 for one entry and £100 for every entry after that. There are also a number of offers for higher entry numbers. Please see the Guardian University Awards entry page for more detail.

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    Our expert judges ensure that the Guardian Awards go to the very best entries submitted by UK universities

    Judging the 2019 awards will be specialists from within the Guardian and across the higher education sector in the UK. Guardian journalists on the panel will include Rachel Hall, Richard Adams, Anna Fazackerley, Harriet Swain and Alfie Packham.

    Wendy Berliner
    Wendy is an award-winning journalist who has specialised in education for most of her career. She has been education correspondent for the Guardian, education features editor for the Independent and has also edited the Times Educational Supplement. Most recently she was joint chief executive officer of the Education Media Centre. Her bestselling book Great Minds and How to Grow Them – a collaboration with leading specialist in advanced cognition, Prof Deborah Eyre – came out last year.

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    There are 14 categories to choose from, which gives a chance for each university department to showcase its achievement

    Here are the 14 categories for the 2019 awards – there’s lots of choice for every university to find an area in which it excels. Universities may enter as many categories as they wish.

    Entries will be judged by a representative panel from across the UK higher education sector, and winners will be announced at a prestigious ceremony in London, April 2019. Shortlisted entries will be profiled across the Guardian.

    1. Advancing staff equality
    Awarded to an outstanding initiative that has a significant and measurable impact on improving staff equality and/or diversity. This could range from a high-level institutional strategy to specific campaigns, but must have a lasting benefit for the careers and working lives of staff.

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    Highlight your success story with a Guardian University Award

    We’re celebrating the seventh year of the Guardian University Awards in 2019. The team are looking forward to reading about all the inspirational, groundbreaking projects that UK universities have worked on this year. We’re excited to share the very best of these projects with the sector and prospective students at our awards ceremony next spring.

    Click here to enter now

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    Research shows gradual closing of attainment gap – but it never disappears

    The attainment gap between summer-born babies and their older peers gradually narrows during their early education but remains significant even at the end of primary school, according to detailed new analysis.

    The disadvantage of being the youngest in an academic year at primary school has been well documented and remains a serious cause for concern for parents, many of whom choose to delay their child’s school start date.

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    Joint head of National Education Union joined by Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner for announcement

    The prospect of a nationwide teachers’ strike is looming larger after a leader of the country’s largest teaching union, backed by the Labour leadership, called on members to vote for a walkout in protest at the government’s funding plans.

    Flanked by Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, the joint head of the National Education Union (NEU) told campaigners the government would listen to nothing short of a strike and implored them to vote for one in the union’s indicative ballot.

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    With jams, live gigs and proper recording sessions, Britain’s prisons are rocking – thanks to InHouse Records, the label aiming to help convicts climb up the charts

    Aaron O’Mara is sitting in a studio with a guitar on his lap and keyboards and drum machines all around him. “Break,” he says, referring to the song he is about to play, “is all about my past, which featured a lot of substance misuse. Now everything is looking up, it feels like I’m finally catching my break.”

    The 25-year-old, who recently finished a 10-month stretch behind bars, strums his guitar and launches into the heartfelt ballad. It swings between regret, depression and hope. It’s an apt theme for his debut single, which will be released next year. O’Mara, a chef, is one of 15 ex-prisoners and 80 current inmates working with a label called InHouse Records. The first of its kind in the UK, InHouse is run for – and by – prisoners. The label currently operates in four men’s jails in the south-east – Elmley, Rochester, Lewes and Isis – but is planning to expand.

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    The 2018 awards saw some inspiring projects gain recognition – from support for asylum seekers, to a student lettings agency and a study revealing the devastation caused by microplastics

    Winning a Guardian University Award can be a transformative experience. We caught up with a few 2018 winners to find out how it felt to take home an award, and what it enabled them to do next.

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    With expensive optional school trips on the rise, we want to hear from parents around the UK

    Days out of the regular classroom on a school trip can be some of the best for many pupils, but in the background there can be stress for parents and teachers.

    Expensive school trips to exotic locations are on the rise – with some trips running into the thousands of pounds, which means there’s more pressure on parents to try and meet the costs.

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    An £850,000 payout to a former head shows huge private rewards can come from treating state schools as businesses

    As increasing numbers of schools become academies – there are now more than 8,000 academies across England – state education seems increasingly to resemble the business world, with empires of schools rising and falling under the stewardship of dynamic individuals, hostile takeovers not unknown, and the public often struggling to understand what are sometimes hugely complicated ownership structures, agreed in private.

    Related: Former academy head given £850,000 payoff

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    If you go to a concert by Trinity Laban Conservatoire this season, at least half the works you hear will be by female composers. By reclaiming the neglected sounds of the past, it hopes to encourage future women

    Creativity is a miracle and a blessing that needs to be nurtured and celebrated wherever it springs from. And a diversity of creators only enhances and deepens the creative landscape. So, as chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, I was delighted to hear about its Venus Blazing programme which, in the centenary year of women getting the vote, is setting itself the challenge of discovering and celebrating women composers of the past, and opening a path for women composers of the future.

    The programme, which began last month, is a year-long initiative with a twofold promise. Across the more than 60 concerts and opera performances given by the Conservatoire’s major performing groups this academic year, at least half of the programme will be music written by female composers. We will thus have the chance to hear renaissance madrigals, 1970s jazz, 19th-century symphonies and 20th-century string quartets and operas, all of which have been neglected largely because the person who created them was a woman.

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    Durham University student was detained while on way home from PhD research trip

    A British academic who was accused of spying for the UK government in the United Arab Emirates after travelling to Dubai to conduct research has been sentenced to life in jail.

    Matthew Hedges, 31, has been in a UAE prison for more than six months. The Durham University PhD candidate went to the country to research his thesis and was handed the sentence at an Abu Dhabi court on Wednesday in a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, with no lawyer present.

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    Trend for expensive Christmas gifts exposes financial inequality, says Scottish group

    Parents should think twice before buying Christmas gifts for their children’s teachers, according to a Scottish parents’ group, as retailers promote increasingly lavish presents for teaching staff, and families compete to buy the most expensive items.

    The Scottish parents’ organisation Connect is highlighting a growing online trade in bespoke gifts for teachers, with some items costing over £100, as it calls on local parent councils and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to discourage gift-giving this festive season.

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    Plea comes after Durham PhD student Matthew Hedges was given life sentence for ‘spying’

    Matthew Hedges: British academic accused of spying jailed for life in UAE

    It is no longer safe for British academics and students to work and study in the United Arab Emirates, experts and lecturers’ unions have warned, after a court in the Gulf state jailed for life a Durham PhD student accused of spying.

    They said UK universities should urgently review their ties with the UAE in light of Matthew Hedges’ life imprisonment, and halt any planned projects, such as the University of Birmingham’s proposed £100m Dubai campus.

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    Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is right to stand firm in defence of the British academic jailed for life in the UAE for spying

    This year, the United Arab Emirates launched the inaugural World Tolerance Summit– its latest initiative to brand itself a humane and progressive country celebrating openness and dialogue. That was last week. Today, it jailed the British academic Matthew Hedges for life for spying, stunning diplomats as well as friends and supporters. The sentence has sent a chill through academics and others who deal with the UAE. It is not only an injustice to Mr Hedges, but a slap in the face for the UK, coming days after Jeremy Hunt met de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and said he was hoping for a good outcome. Today the foreign secretary said he was shocked by a sentence contrary to assurances from a “friend and trusted partner”.

    Mr Hedges was held for five months in solitary confinement with no legal access; his family say he was fed a cocktail of drugs and made to sign a document in Arabic, which he could not read. The charges against him reportedly rested in part on this “confession”, though no information has been given on the basis of his conviction and sentencing. He had no lawyer at his hearing, which lasted less than five minutes.

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    Amanda Spielman says further education colleges risk giving false hope to students

    Further education colleges are giving false hope to students when they offer courses with slim or unrealistic job prospects in the arts and media, the head of Ofsted has said.

    Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, also called for the government to increase its funding to FE colleges, as Labour warned that a growing number faced financial difficulties.

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    Local authority awards compensation settlement to family for failing to protect girl at school

    The parents of a six-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by fellow pupils while at school have won a five-figure compensation settlement from a local authority.

    The ruling, which is understood to be the first time the high court has approved a settlement relating to sexual assault involving primary school children, did not include an admission of liability from the council.

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    Large proportion of students’ £9k fees used to fund libraries and support services – report

    University students receive teaching worth less than half of their £9,250 fee in England, according to an influential thinktank that says universities need to be more honest with students about how their fees are spent.

    A report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) said that teaching for undergraduates amounts to just 40%-45% of the current fee, with most of the remainder spent on valuable facilities such as libraries and services including information technology and student support.

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