Jails in England and Wales are to take over educating their inmates – but will that increase the chances of success?
As his two dogs wander in and out of the kitchen, David Breakspear expounds on the problems of British prisons: overcrowding, staff shortages, mental health issues. Breakspear has spent 15 years in jail. His final stint, he says, for holding up a newsagent at knife point, was deliberate – he hoped a few years behind bars could break a cycle of underachievement and homelessness.
Once convicted, he spent his time taking courses and working up to an access module through the Open University. After his release in 2017, this turned into a degree course and a career writing about and advocating for prison reform. Though Breakspear, 49, doesn’t encourage deliberate criminality, he attributes his position now to his time inside. He says: “Education has to be the foundation for any prison reform. It has to be the base, because it’s important.”Continue reading...
Education will never be fair and just unless we fund academic, technological and vocational courses well and equally
You must be grateful the majority of us either have defective memories or are too young to know that what you’re talking about has been discussed before. I see you’re consulting on plans to withdraw funding for BTecs.
Let me declare an interest: some years ago, I worked with a drama group attached to a theatre. The students, aged 16 to 18, were doing drama BTec – a two-year course that mixed practical and theoretical work. I think some, maybe most, would have struggled with A-levels, but they all had sufficient talent with words and performance to enable them to benefit from those two years. In fact, they did more: they did what it takes to get a production together and go on the road to the Edinburgh festival for a couple of weeks. It was challenging, involved a wide range of social and intellectual skills, and established a knowledge base in what it takes to put on a show.Continue reading...
Leading academics in climate policy and economics have also had enough of hostility – and funding goes with them
When the EU referendum result was announced Vera Troeger, professor of quantitative political economy at Warwick University, was at an academic conference in Brussels. She spent the whole day crying. Today she has had enough, and is leaving the country where she has built her career.
Troeger, an expert on the gender pay gap and the impact of parental leave policies on productivity, was associate editor of one of the most highly ranked academic journals in political science. She has been in the UK for 14 years and loves Warwick, but she has accepted a professorship at the University of Hanover. After more than two years of uncertainty, she says other European colleagues, too, are preparing to go.Continue reading...
Damian Hinds’ call for PayPal to block transactions with essay-writing firms is to be welcomed (University cheats should be reported by their peers, minister says, 20 March). However, this can be only one element in the campaign to reduce a problem highlighted by the growing presence of touts who, at the start of the academic year, stand outside university property and hand out cards advertising essay-writing services to passing students, notably targeting identifiable international students who are given flyers written in their home languages.
The impact of Hinds’ initiative, if accepted, will not be evident for a while, and more urgent action is needed. The primary responsibility for this has to lie with each individual university. Vice-chancellors need to see if they can have confidence that their own processes for dealing with the many and complex issues around academic misconduct are robust and, importantly, whether they are being implemented. From my long experience in the sector this is not the case, and there is certainly no consistency between universities, and indeed even between staff in a university and between different courses, in how the general matter of academic misconduct is managed, understood, recorded and analysed. The problem posed by essay-writing services, and academic misconduct generally, needs to be addressed at multiple levels. Damian Hinds’ call is eye-catching and achieved its first purpose of getting news coverage, coinciding with the well-received TV drama Cheat, but vice-chancellors should also look closely and critically at practices in their own institutions.
Emeritus professor of history, Sheffield
Deficit for past three years in England reflects ‘intolerable’ situation, say unions
There has been a £5.4bn shortfall in school funding in England over the past three years, according to an analysis of official figures by unions who say the deficit is worse than previously estimated.
The School Cuts coalition of unions representing teachers and school support staff claims the latest analysis represents the most comprehensive examination of school funding to date.Continue reading...
The solutions to today’s puzzles
Earlier today I set you the following two puzzles:
1) Why is every even digit palindrome divisible by 11? (An even digit palindrome is a palindromic number that contains an even number of digits, like 1221, or 678876.)Continue reading...
- Dre deletes Instagram picture after fans remind him of gift
- Mogul donated cash in 2013 to create academy of arts and tech
Dr Dre has never been afraid to rap his own praises. He claimed on 2015’s Medicine Man, for example, that his return to making solo material after a short hiatus was “a sign of the revelation”. So it’s no surprise that, like most proud parents, he enjoys boasting about his kids too.Continue reading...
« La liberté pédagogique des enseignants n’est pas incompatible avec la préconisation de bonnes pratiques »
Parents must understand UK is a society ‘with liberal views’, said Sir Michael Wilshaw
A Birmingham primary school that suspended lessons about LGBT rights following protests by parents should resume them, the former head of the schools watchdog has said.
Parents of pupils at Parkfield community school in Saltley have staged weekly protests over the lessons, which they claim promote gay and transgender lifestyles. Earlier this month, hundreds of mainly Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day.Continue reading...