The Guardian view on the special needs crisis: children don’t deserve this chaos | Editorial

By failing to adequately fund their own policy, ministers have created a destructive standoff between families, councils and schoolsA decade after David Cameron’s coalition government overhauled provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) in England, it has never been clearer that the system is in crisis. A raft of measures designed to appeal to parents, by promising them greater influence over their children’s education, has resulted in a destructive standoff between families, schools and councils – because ministers failed to adequately fund their own policy.Instead of the choices that were offered, parents of pupils who, for a range of reasons, are ..

The Guardian > Education The Guardian view on the special needs crisis: children don’t deserve this chaos | Editorial

The devastating impact of Covid and austerity on children in England

As children’s services leaders call for a national plan of action, we look at four key affected areas of policyChildren’s services leaders in England call for national ‘plan for childhood’A wide-ranging national plan for childhood is needed in England to address the profound impacts on young people of austerity, poverty and the legacy of the pandemic, says the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.Investment and reform across several overlapping services, from child mental health to early years support, is essential to transform lives, tackle widening social inequalities and secure the UK’s future prosperity, it says. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education The devastating impact of Covid and austerity on children in England

Did you solve it? The magical maths that keeps your data safe

The solutions to today’s problemsEarlier today I set these two puzzles, which were given to me by a computer scientist at Microsoft. They are an analogy for how companies protect data centres from the random failures of hard drives. Here they are again with solutions and workings.The disappearing boxes Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Did you solve it? The magical maths that keeps your data safe

Children’s services leaders in England call for national ‘plan for childhood’

Failure to tackle post-pandemic needs was ‘massive missed opportunity’, say council directorsExplained: the devestating impact of Covid and austerity on children in EnglandChildren’s services leaders have called for a national “plan for childhood” to transform the health, emotional wellbeing and life chances of a generation of youngsters scarred by austerity and the pandemic.In a withering assessment of the government’s record over the past few years, they said ministers had presided over deepening child poverty, crumbling schools and an exploding health and wellbeing crisis in young people, with low-income families worst affected. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Children’s services leaders in England call for national ‘plan for childhood’

Nifty shades of grey: the fashion college where students inject the colour

It is a love letter to the wonders of needlework, a multi-storey mill for the 21st century. Our writer enters an orange peel lobby and ascends some Harry Potter stairs at the new London College of FashionIt must be the ironing board with the best view in the capital. On the top floor of the new London College of Fashion, in a prime corner of the kind usually reserved for a boardroom, a student is busy pressing their garments in front of a rolling panorama of the Olympic Park and the towers of the City beyond. Behind the vertiginous ironing station, past serried ranks of sewing machines, a great void plummets down through the building, slicing past floors of pattern cutters and jewellers, sho..

The Guardian > Education Nifty shades of grey: the fashion college where students inject the colour

Banning phones in England’s schools will not address online safety, say campaigners

Call made for more ambitious legislation to protect children from harmful content on tech platformsBanning mobile phones in England’s schools will not address the harms caused by tech platforms to children, according to leading internet safety campaigners.Ian Russell, the father of Molly Russell, and Beeban Kidron, an influential figure in online regulation, said limiting phone use in schools would do nothing to make social media services safer. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Banning phones in England’s schools will not address online safety, say campaigners

Ministers confirm plan to ban use of mobile phones in schools in England

Teaching unions say guidance includes practices already adopted and most schools already have policies in placeMinisters have confirmed plans to ban the use of mobile phones in English schools, releasing guidance for headteachers that some unions said included practices that had already been widely adopted.However, one headteacher welcomed the Department for Education (DfE) plan, saying it would help give schools the confidence to make a change that would benefit pupils but could meet resistance from parents. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Ministers confirm plan to ban use of mobile phones in schools in England

Africa is the world’s youngest continent – education is key to unlocking its potential | Nana Akufo-Addo and Jakaya Kikwete

With 40% of all Africans aged under 15, smarter funding for schools can help young Africans fuel a colossal powerhouseThe African Union (AU) is marking 2024 as its first Year of Education. This could not have come at a better time. Commitment to education has marked the continent’s progress since the 1960s era of independence. Now more than ever, this resolve must transform Africa into the world’s powerhouse for the 21st century.In 60 years Africa has made considerable progress in education, with more children finishing school. Primary school completion rates across the region between 2000 and 2022 rose from 52% to 67%. High school dropout rates slowed too, with 50% of pupils completing ..

The Guardian > Education Africa is the world’s youngest continent – education is key to unlocking its potential | Nana Akufo-Addo and Jakaya Kikwete

Deported and disgraced: the students wrongly accused of cheating – podcast

In 2014, the Home Office revoked the visas of 35,000 students accused of cheating in an English language exam. The consequences for those wrongly accused was devastating. Amelia Gentleman reports“You tell me, are you finding it difficult to understand my English?” says Muhammad Ali.Muhammad was in the UK to study between the ages of 18 and 26 but had his visa cancelled in 2014 when the Home Office accused him of cheating on an English language exam. He was one of 35,000 students whose visas were cancelled. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Deported and disgraced: the students wrongly accused of cheating – podcast

How to get away with AI-generated essays | Letters

Prof Paul Kleinman on putting ChatGPT to the test on his work. Plus letters from Michael Bulley and Dr Paul FlewersNo wonder Robert Topinka found himself in a quandary (The software says my student cheated using AI. They say they’re innocent. Who do I believe?, 13 February). To test ChatGPT’s abilities and weaknesses, I asked it to write a short essay on a particular topic that I specialised in. Before looking at what it produced, I wrote my own 100% original short essay on the same topic. I then submitted both pieces to ChatGPT and asked it to identify whether they were written by AI or a human. It immediately identified the first piece as AI-generated. But then it also said that m..

The Guardian > Education How to get away with AI-generated essays | Letters

Special school places allocated on ‘very fine margins’, twins’ father says

Pete Hale’s identical twin sons are non-verbal and diagnosed as autistic, but only one of them was given a place at firstHundreds of children with special needs wait a year for supportAnalysis: responsibilities were heaped on councils as funding shrankCouncils are making life-changing decisions over which children receive places in special schools based on the narrowest of margins, according to the father of identical twins with special needs who were awarded just one school place between them.Twins Jasper and Reuben, five, were diagnosed as autistic from the age of three and were issued education, health and care plans (EHCPs). But when their parents applied for them to start at Hob Moor ..

The Guardian > Education Special school places allocated on ‘very fine margins’, twins’ father says

Special needs responsibilities were heaped on councils as funding shrank

The Guardian found huge variation in the delays children face, as demand has outstripped provisionHundreds of children with special needs wait a year for supportSpecial school places allocated on ‘very fine margins’, twins’ father saysThere was a familiar feel to last month’s Commons debate on special needs funding: MPs berating the government over its lack of support for local authorities in England, for the long delays in assessments and severe shortages of special school places.But many of the debate’s most damning complaints came from Conservative MPs, whose reports of frustration and anger from their constituents were indistinguishable from the opposition’s. Continue reading..

The Guardian > Education Special needs responsibilities were heaped on councils as funding shrank

Hundreds of children with special needs wait a year for support in England

In some areas young people have been waiting more than two years for plan detailing help they require, FoI revealsAnalysis: responsibilities were heaped on councils as funding shrankSpecial school places allocated on ‘very fine margins’, twins’ father saysHundreds of children with special educational needs have been waiting for a year or longer to access support, as local authorities across England buckle under the strain of the demands placed on them, the Guardian has learned.Freedom of information requests found that in some local authorities, children and young people have been waiting more than two years to be issued with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) that details the s..

The Guardian > Education Hundreds of children with special needs wait a year for support in England

Did God have anything to do with the Big Bang, my five-year-old would like to know… | Séamas O’Reilly

My son’s curiosity about the beginning of the universe and religion is prompting mind-stretching questions at homeLike most five-year-olds, my son is engaged in a constant battle to say ‘why’ until my brain explodes. The Big Bang is a recurring endpoint to these queries, as he pins me under so many whys that we work our way back to the universe’s foundational moment. ‘Why does the moon exist?’ Big Bang. ‘Why is the sky blue?’ Big Bang.How or why it happened is a question so impossible to answer that it gestures towards religious mystery. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when he turned to me this week and said, ‘So, is God friends with the Big Bang?’ Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Did God have anything to do with the Big Bang, my five-year-old would like to know… | Séamas O’Reilly

Taunts, bullying… then groping: how sexual assaults are increasing in schools

Billy (not real name) is now being home-schooled after bullying turned into physical violenceStarting secondary school had not been easy for Billy (not his real name). What started as verbal taunts from one boy soon saw him become the target of a group of four boys. Bullying became physical violence. Yet the abuse got even worse, escalating to sexual assault. The group would corner him in the toilets and grope and touch his genitals. Unsurprisingly, Billy’s mental health quickly deteriorated. He is now being home-schooled and he struggles to leave the house because of anxiety.Billy is receiving support from Embrace, a charity that works with children who have been the victims of crime. He ..

The Guardian > Education Taunts, bullying… then groping: how sexual assaults are increasing in schools

Antisemitic incidents in UK schools soared in 2023, charity reports

Community Security Trust records rise of 232%, almost three-quarters of which took place after Hamas’s 7 October attackThe anonymous letter that landed on the desk of a headteacher of a Jewish school in Hertfordshire in November did not pull its punches.“Beware,” it began. “Jihadi is being fought and you are going to have your throat slit by us.” Among the reasons it listed were “we see you like music which is unIslamic”; “you wear a tie and are western” and “you are a Jew lover”. It ended with the words: “From the river to the see [sic] we shall be free, you Zionist.” Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Antisemitic incidents in UK schools soared in 2023, charity reports

Five of the best campus novels

Donna Tartt’s cult tale of toxic friendship, John Williams’s anti-campus must-read and Zadie Smith’s superb third novel – here are the books that ace academiaThe beauty of the traditional campus novel is that it’s rarely reflective of most students’ actual experience – at least not in the UK. High stakes interpersonal drama, soft-serve Marxism and ivy-covered stone are less the modern student experience than terrible housing, dating-app ghosting and a staple diet of Super Noodles and own-brand vodka. It’s unsurprising, then, that tales of a more enlightened student experience are perennially popular.These five novels offer a glimpse into the gilded world of high-level academi..

The Guardian > Education Five of the best campus novels

Indiana teachers call attorney general’s ‘Eyes on Education’ portal dangerous

Site launched by Republican to report ‘indoctrination’ a nest of outdated and inaccurate information, educators sayTeachers in Indiana: share your views on the Eyes on Education siteA website launched by Indiana Republicans as a reporting tool for perceived indoctrination of public school students has instead become a nest of outdated and inaccurate information, educators say, driving a wedge between parents and teachers.State attorney general Todd Rokita’s “Eyes on Education” portal, which he launched earlier this month independent of Indiana’s education department, also exceeds his remit, and exists purely for his own political gain, they say. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Indiana teachers call attorney general’s ‘Eyes on Education’ portal dangerous

School uniforms may be barrier to physical activity among younger girls

Fewer pupils of primary-school age meet WHO minimum in countries where uniforms are the norm, Cambridge study findsRestrictive uniforms could be preventing primary school pupils, especially girls, from being physically active, research suggests.In countries where most schools require students to wear uniforms, fewer young people reach the World Health Organization’s minimum recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity a day across a whole week, according to a study by University of Cambridge. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education School uniforms may be barrier to physical activity among younger girls

‘By preserving the language, you reinforce communities’: a school saving one of Louisiana’s oldest dialects

Preserving Indian French, as community members call it, has taken on new urgency as climate-related hurricanes and coastal erosion threaten to displace the tribeOn a recent morning in the southern Louisiana town of Bourg, Cynthia Owens reviewed flashcards with her kindergarten class.She held up an image of a crocodile. “Caïman”, she said, using the word for crocodile spoken by Indigenous tribes in the region. Caïman, her nine students repeated. Then: “Crocodile”, she said, using the French term. Crocodile, responded the chorus of fidgety five- and six-year-olds. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education ‘By preserving the language, you reinforce communities’: a school saving one of Louisiana’s oldest dialects

Bristol University loses appeal over suicide of disabled student on exam day

Parents of Natasha Abrahart hope high court ruling will result in statutory duty of care for students The family of a disabled undergraduate who killed herself on the day of a “truly terrifying” oral exam have won the latest stage of a legal battle to compel universities to take more care of students struggling with their mental health.Natasha Abrahart’s parents and supporters say a ruling by a high court judge against the University of Bristol has implications for the whole higher education sector and hope it will prompt politicians to think again about bringing in a statutory duty of care for students.In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email j..

The Guardian > Education Bristol University loses appeal over suicide of disabled student on exam day

Elite universities and professions are still the preserve of the middle classes | Letters

In response to a piece by Gaby Hinsliff, Dr Siân Lawrence says we’re not sliding back to the days of class privilege – we never left them behindGaby Hinsliff asks if we are sliding back to the days when middle-class children mostly went to university and then into elite careers, while working-class ones mostly did not (It’s not about ‘woke’ or foreign students – the truth is that UK universities are starved of cash, 6 February). We’re not sliding back to those days – we never left them behind.Working-class students comprise around 20% of undergraduates at the 24 Russell Group universities and an even lower percentage of postgraduates, with those who were entitled t..

The Guardian > Education Elite universities and professions are still the preserve of the middle classes | Letters

Academics in US, UK and Australia collaborated on drone research with Iranian university close to regime

Exclusive: work by researchers from western universities and counterparts at Sharif University considered potentially ‘very dangerous’ by expertsAcademics in the UK, Australia and the US collaborated on research related to drone technology with an Iranian university that is under international financial sanctions and known for its close ties to the military, the Guardian can reveal.The collaborative research was described by one security expert as having direct military applications, while another called it potentially “very dangerous”. Iranian-made drones have been responsible for a number of deadly attacks in the Ukraine and Middle East conflicts, and their development is known to ..

The Guardian > Education Academics in US, UK and Australia collaborated on drone research with Iranian university close to regime

‘97% seemed absurd’: Labour’s Stephen Timms on the English test scandal that wrecked lives

The London MP has battled to get the Home Office to take responsibility for its mistaken allegations of cheating against many thousands of overseas studentsThere was one crucial statistic in the cheating allegations that the Home Office levelled against more than 35,000 overseas students that instantly alerted Labour MP Stephen Timms to the likely presence of a huge miscarriage of justice.A dossier of evidence revealed that 97% of all international students who took a Home Office-approved English language test between 2011 and 2014 were suspected of cheating. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education ‘97% seemed absurd’: Labour’s Stephen Timms on the English test scandal that wrecked lives

Judge criticises Home Office errors in Palestinian refugee’s visa case

Home secretary apologises to Chevening scholar Amena El Ashkar who was denied visa to study at LSEThe home secretary has given an “unreserved and unqualified apology” to a Palestinian refugee for “serious errors” made in relation to her student visa application.Amena El Ashkar, an alumna of the prestigious Chevening scholarship who describes herself as a stateless Palestinian, was denied a student visa by the Home Office after receiving a full scholarship to study for a PhD at the London School of Economics (LSE). Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Judge criticises Home Office errors in Palestinian refugee’s visa case

Author Khaled Hosseini on book bans in the US: ‘It betrays students’

Hosseini’s The Kite Runner has joined a growing list of titles ‘under review’ or challenged by school boards, with nearly 5,894 books banned from July 2021 to June 2023Khaled Hosseini, one of the world’s top authors, has slammed book bans in Florida and elsewhere in the US as a betrayal of students and their right to a good education.According to a PEN America report released late last year, US public schools had about 5,894 book bans from July 2021 to June 2023, with more than 40% in Florida. Often, the authors whose books are targeted are “frequently female, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+ individuals”, PEN said. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Author Khaled Hosseini on book bans in the US: ‘It betrays students’

English test scandal: reprieve plan was derailed by government reshuffle

Sajid Javid had wanted review process for international students who believed their visas had been wrongly cancelled‘It destroyed my life’: the students accused of cheating in English testsWhat is the Home Office English test scandal?Ministers were poised five years ago to offer a route to a reprieve for thousands of international students who may have been wrongly accused of cheating, but the plan was derailed by a government reshuffle, the Guardian has learned.The former home secretary Sajid Javid had asked officials to devise a system whereby students who believed their visas had been cancelled in error as a result of unfair cheating allegations could request a one-stop internal revie..

The Guardian > Education English test scandal: reprieve plan was derailed by government reshuffle

The software says my student cheated using AI. They say they’re innocent. Who do I believe? | Robert Topinka

In the desperate scramble to combat AI, there is a real danger of penalising students who have done nothing wrongRobert Topinka a senior lecturer in media and cultural studies at Birkbeck, University of LondonWhen I sat down to mark undergraduate student essays in the spring of 2023, the hype around ChatGPT was already at giddy heights. Like teachers everywhere, I was worried that students would succumb to the temptation to outsource their thinking to the machine. Many universities, including mine, responded by adopting AI detection software, and I soon had my fears confirmed when it provided the following judgment on one of the essays: “100% AI-generated”.Essays are marked anonymously, ..

The Guardian > Education The software says my student cheated using AI. They say they’re innocent. Who do I believe? | Robert Topinka

Canadian teacher accused of selling students’ art on personal website

Parents in disbelief after students at Montreal’s Westwood junior high found their art for purchase on mugs, phone cases and clothesA Canadian teacher is under fire for allegedly using his personal website to sell nearly 100 pieces of art created by students, prompting disbelief and anger from parents.Students at Montreal’s Westwood junior high school made the chance discovery last night after searching out their art teacher’s website. On it they found their own art, available for purchase on coffee mugs, mobile phone cases and clothing. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Canadian teacher accused of selling students’ art on personal website

Frank Bowling sells signed prints to buy art supplies for 100 schools

Abstract painter hopes to inspire young people with fine art after government cuts made it the ‘preserve of the elite’Sir Frank Bowling, one of Britain’s most celebrated abstract painters, is selling prints of his work to help fund art supplies for 100 primary schools in England as part of a project that he hopes will be a “gamechanger” in art education by making state school students realise art isn’t off limits.Proceeds from the sale of 100 hand-signed prints will fund “art packages”, including canvas, paint and a six-lesson curriculum that could give about 30,000 primary schoolchildren an “alternative” introduction to art. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Frank Bowling sells signed prints to buy art supplies for 100 schools