UK academics: opening of universities was illegal

Academic union seeks legal battle over government’s decision to ignore expert advice to move all non-essential teaching onlineThe government is facing a legal battle with academics over its “unlawful” decision to reopen universities for face-to-face teaching last month.The UK’s largest academic union is seeking a judicial review of the government’s decision to ignore advice from its own Sage committee of experts to move all non-essential university and college teaching online in September. In a pre-action letter, sent to the education secretary Gavin Williamson and shared with the Observer, the University and College Union (UCU) argues the government’s failure to direct universit..

The Guardian > Education UK academics: opening of universities was illegal

The government must support students stuck in Covid nightmare at universities

The pandemic exposes why a higher education model built on fees is precarious and shows the urgent need for reform We have now seen more than 27,000 cases of Covid at universities since the government told students it was safe to return to campus. We cannot let this disaster be repeated in January. That is why the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a legal challenge over Westminster’s decision to ignore advice from its own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and let students return to campus.Sage advised several weeks ago that as much university teaching as possible should shift online to help contain the pandemic. UCU has been saying the same for months, but our ..

The Guardian > Education The government must support students stuck in Covid nightmare at universities

'Disgusting': Charities and headteacher react to Mansfield MP's free school meals tweets

Organisers at food banks and child poverty groups dealing with surges in demand say MP is ‘misinformed’Demand at food banks and child poverty charities in Ben Bradley’s constituency has doubled despite falling donations, with organisers describing the MP’s comments on free school meals as “disgusting”.Bradley wrote a series of tweets on Friday explaining why he had voted against extending free school meals for deprived children during the holidays until Easter 2021. He wrote: “At one school in Mansfield 75% of kids have a social worker, 25% of parents are illiterate. Their estate is the centre of the area’s crime. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education 'Disgusting': Charities and headteacher react to Mansfield MP's free school meals tweets

After Marcus Rashford, cafes step in where Tories refuse to tread | Barbara Ellen

It has been heartening to see small businesses rush to offer help to poor childrenOh dear, Boris Johnson, not another massive public spanking from 22-year-old Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford? Last time, as part of his food poverty activism alongside the charity network FareShare, Rashford, the child of a single mother, forced the government into a climbdown over feeding vulnerable children during the summer holiday and he was made an MBE. This time, the Labour parliamentary motion that he inspired, which proposed feeding disadvantaged children in England during the half-term/Christmas breaks, was defeated by a shameful 322 to 261 votes.However, huge numbers of restaurants, cafes..

The Guardian > Education After Marcus Rashford, cafes step in where Tories refuse to tread | Barbara Ellen

Penguin launches project to boost diversity in GCSE reading lists

Lit in Colour, the publisher’s partnership with the Runnymede Trust, hopes to redress imbalances in English literature coursesThe book publisher Penguin Random House has teamed up with the thinktank the Runnymede Trust to boost diversity in reading lists in schools.The partnership – Lit in Colour – follows a recent report by Teach First which found that pupils could leave school in England without studying a novel or play by a black or minority ethnic author. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Penguin launches project to boost diversity in GCSE reading lists

Laptop allocation for England's schools slashed by 80%

Headteachers are told they will receive far fewer laptops for distance learning than they were first promisedCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageSchools in some of the most deprived areas of the country were told on Friday night they would not receive the laptops they were promised to help their poorest and most vulnerable pupils learn remotely.Headteachers across England received emails from the Department for Education on the eve of half-term informing them that their allocations of laptops for disadvantaged pupils had been slashed by around 80%. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Laptop allocation for England's schools slashed by 80%

Ben Bradley urged to apologise over free school meals tweets

Conservative MP linked vouchers given to low-income families to ‘crack dens’ and ‘brothels’Pressure is mounting on Ben Bradley to apologise for a Twitter tirade in which the Conservative MP was accused of linking free school meals with “crack dens” and “brothels”.Bradley, who this week voted against extending free school meals for deprived children during the holidays until Easter 2021, said the since-deleted post had been taken out of context. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Ben Bradley urged to apologise over free school meals tweets

Headteacher who healed a Birmingham 'Trojan horse' school: 'We did it with love'

Herminder Channa, recently awarded an OBE, has transformed an academy at the centre of the Islamic extremism scandalRunning a school on love is a challenge, especially one riven by hate and failed by Ofsted. Five years ago, when Herminder Channa took over Golden Hillock, it was one of the schools at the centre of the “Trojan horse” attempt by a group of Muslim governors and senior teachers to impose the dictates of a hardline and politicised strand of Sunni Islam.A government inquiry in July 2014 concluded that, though claims of a conspiracy were not proved, there was clear evidence that people in a position of influence in the school were espousing – or failing to challenge – extrem..

The Guardian > Education Headteacher who healed a Birmingham 'Trojan horse' school: 'We did it with love'

'It's had a lasting impact': students on being bullied over their accents

Past and present university students talk about their experiences of being made to feel out of place UK’s top universities urged to act on classism and accent prejudiceA Guardian investigation has found widespread evidence of students being ridiculed over their accents and backgrounds at some of the country’s leading universities. Here, students past and present reflect on their experiences: Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education 'It's had a lasting impact': students on being bullied over their accents

Councils back Rashford and pledge to provide school meals over holidays

Campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford gets support across England after government voted against itCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageScores of councils have pledged to feed disadvantaged children over the school holidays as they joined a wave of public support for a campaign led by the England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.Amid growing outrage over the government’s refusal to extend free school meals in England next week, Conservative-controlled Kensington and Chelsea council and Birmingham city council, the UK’s biggest local authority, were among those stepping into the breach. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Councils back Rashford and pledge to provide school meals over holidays

The Guardian view on hungry children: government meanness, public kindness | Editorial

It is true that long-term solutions are needed, but Conservatives can’t lecture others when child poverty has deepened on their watch What kind of party opposes feeding hungry children in the middle of a pandemic? And what kind of politicians take the opportunity for snide remarks about those seeking to help them? “You know what some people call us,” Theresa May told the Conservative conference 18 years ago: “The nasty party.”Child food poverty means both present misery and future disadvantage. Marcus Rashford’s non-partisan campaign was compelling enough to force the government to U-turn this summer, agreeing to pay for vouchers to feed those on free school meals over the holida..

The Guardian > Education The Guardian view on hungry children: government meanness, public kindness | Editorial

Free school meals campaign takes off in England – in pictures

Cafe, restaurants and businesses across England have pledged to provide free food to disadvantaged children during the school half-term after footballer Marcus Rashford’s attempt to get the government to extend free school meals was defeated in the Commons this week Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Free school meals campaign takes off in England – in pictures

Why is the UK government suddenly targeting 'critical race theory'? | Daniel Trilling

By importing Trump’s culture war, the Conservatives are trying to close down any discussion of structural inequalityUntil this month, according to the parliamentary record, Hansard, the term “critical race theory” had never once been uttered in the House of Commons chamber. By the end of the day on 20 October, however, it was of such importance that the government declared itself “unequivocally against” the concept. “We do not want to see teachers teaching their pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt,” warned the equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch, at the end of a six-hour debate to mark Black History Month. “Any school which teaches these elements of critica..

The Guardian > Education Why is the UK government suddenly targeting 'critical race theory'? | Daniel Trilling

Free school meals: 200 children's authors condemn government

Shirley Hughes and Philip Pullman among signatories of letter decrying lack of provisionMore than 200 children’s authors, including Shirley Hughes, Philip Pullman, Malorie Blackman and Matt Haig, have put their names to a letter decrying the government’s vote against providing free school meals for children in England during half-term.This week, Conservative MPs rejected a Labour motion, inspired by the footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign on child hunger, by 322 votes to 261. Rashford has urged MPs to unite and stop being influenced by “political affiliation”. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Free school meals: 200 children's authors condemn government

How out of touch are the Tories? The free school meals row tells you everything you need to know

The reaction from some Conservative MPs to Marcus Rashford’s campaign shows a very different mindset to the one your average parent displays at the school gateIt was the day after 322 Conservatives voted against feeding the nation’s poorest children over the holidays. Social media, indeed all media that way inclined, had been full for many hours of people wondering how these MPs could possibly live with themselves. (The children’s minister! How can a children’s minister vote this way?) Certain Tory MPs – for brevity, the dumb ones – had taken to Twitter themselves to meansplain to the campaigning Marcus Rashford that the responsible stewardship of a nation involves keeping childr..

The Guardian > Education How out of touch are the Tories? The free school meals row tells you everything you need to know

Marcus Rashford: public rallies behind campaign to end child food poverty

Covid-hit firms tweet offers of food donations after MPs reject free school meals planCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMarcus Rashford may have seen his attempt to get the government to provide meals for the poorest children defeated in the Commons this week, but the footballer has harnessed a far greater force than parliament in his battle to defeat food poverty – the kindness of strangers.As news spread that a Labour motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15 a week in food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021 was voted down by the government on Wednesday night, dozens of hard-hit restaurants, bars and cafes contacted Rash..

The Guardian > Education Marcus Rashford: public rallies behind campaign to end child food poverty

'He does not give up': how Marcus Rashford became a hero to school kids

The Manchester United striker has become an inspiration to children following his school meals campaignPublic rallies behind campaign to end child food povertyCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEach year, Anderton Park primary school asks its pupils to vote to name a classroom after someone whose values, humanity and achievements make them an enduring inspiration to children. It has rooms named after, among others, Michelle Obama, Muhammad Ali and JK Rowling.This year, the footballer, child poverty campaigner and man-of-the-moment Marcus Rashford, was chosen by pupils at the inner-city Birmingham school, coming joint first with the US civil rights activist Rosa Par..

The Guardian > Education 'He does not give up': how Marcus Rashford became a hero to school kids

Ofqual board minutes reveal tensions with DfE ahead of exam results fiasco

Regulator aware A-level and GCSE grade assessment unreliable before results dayCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEngland’s exam regulator Ofqual was riven by uncertainty and in-fighting with the Department for Education before this year’s A-level and GCSE results, with the government publishing new policies in the middle of an Ofqual board meeting that had been called to discuss them.Minutes of Ofqual’s board meetings reveal the regulator was aware that its process for assessing A-level and GCSE grades was unreliable before results were published, even as Ofqual was publicly portraying its methods as reliable and fair. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Ofqual board minutes reveal tensions with DfE ahead of exam results fiasco

Boris Johnson should backtrack on free school meals. But the damage is done | Gaby Hinsliff

Marcus Rashford’s campaign is popular. The Tories don’t realise that, in a pandemic, kindness is a strength not a weaknessWhen Marcus Rashford was a boy, he would sometimes hear his exhausted mother crying herself to sleep. She worked full time in minimum-wage jobs to support her five children, but still there wasn’t always enough to go round. As he once put it, “if there was food on the table, there was food on the table”, and if not he didn’t moan about feeling hungry.When his gift for football became obvious, she wangled him into Manchester United’s youth academy a year early, because it came with catered accommodation; finally, a guarantee that he’d be eating enough throu..

The Guardian > Education Boris Johnson should backtrack on free school meals. But the damage is done | Gaby Hinsliff

Support grows for Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign

Politicians and celebrities of all stripes come out in support of plan rejected by government Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCelebrities and politicians from across the spectrum have come out in support of Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child hunger in England, a day after the government voted against extending free school meals to disadvantaged children during the holidays.Representatives from the worlds of sport, entertainment and politics tweeted praise for the Manchester United striker. Gary Lineker ignored BBC impartiality guidelines to say: “Yesterday they voted against helping to feed our hungriest children during a pandemic. Never thought I’d t..

The Guardian > Education Support grows for Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign

Brexit: £3bn standoff over UK-EU scientific collaboration

Sector calls for compromise to ensure UK researchers stay in Horizon EuropeThe UK’s post-Brexit collaboration with European scientists hangs in the balance after it emerged that the EU offer of staying in the Horizon research programme could leave London with a £3bn deficit.“The financial negotiations are not in a good position and the offer that the [European] commission has made to the UK is not appealing,” Vivienne Stern, the director of Universities UK International, told a Lords Brexit committee on Thursday. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Brexit: £3bn standoff over UK-EU scientific collaboration

One in six children aged 5-16 in England 'likely to have a mental disorder'

Survey published by NHS Digital shows increase of almost half since 2017Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe probable rates of mental disorders among children and young people has increased by almost half since 2017, England’s official survey into child mental health has found, with Covid and lockdown identified as aggravating factors.One in six children aged five to 16 was identified as having a probable mental disorder – five children in a class of 30 students. This was an increase from one in nine children in 2017. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education One in six children aged 5-16 in England 'likely to have a mental disorder'

'My mental health had never been worse': loneliness of the UK's isolating students

Amid Covid restrictions and online teaching, some students are deferring, dropping out or thinking of doing soCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageWhen Maria arrived at university for her first year in September she knew the student experience would be unusual – but not that she would be mostly alone.After contracting coronavirus, probably on one of her few trips to the University of Nottingham campus, the 18-year-old spent 10 days quarantining in her room, with her mental health rapidly deteriorating. Shortly after, she went home and deferred her place until next year, hoping that would prevent her health from worsening. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education 'My mental health had never been worse': loneliness of the UK's isolating students

'It’s time to catch up’: how ideological sex education fails Texas students

Republican-controlled state board of education reinforces curriculum that flies in the face of a 21st-century reality and proves dangerous for kidsThe morning after Lauryn had hung out with friends, she awoke feeling physically dirty, like she needed a shower.Her guilt lingered for days, and at first, she chalked it up to some kind of side-effect from alcohol, since they had been drinking. But after discovering an article on the basics of consent, she suddenly understood why she felt so used. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education 'It’s time to catch up’: how ideological sex education fails Texas students

'I couldn't hold my baby': how Covid hit the families of very ill children

Parents and professionals have been devastated by the impact of the pandemic on some of the UK’s most vulnerable patientsKelly Stoor gave birth to her daughter, Kaia, 14 weeks early. On 12 March, the midwife held her up for Kelly to see before whisking Kaia off to the neonatal unit for critical care.Kaia became seriously ill and was transferred to a hospital in Southampton, 50 miles away from home, for specialist treatment just before lockdown was imposed on 23 March. While there, she teetered on the edge of life and death for weeks and underwent life-saving surgery twice. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education 'I couldn't hold my baby': how Covid hit the families of very ill children

Marcus Rashford in 'despair' as MPs reject free school meal plan

Footballer and campaigner expresses disappointment as plea for free meals to be extended is voted downMarcus Rashford, the England and Manchester United striker, vented his “despair” on Wednesday night as Labour’s plea for free school meals to be extended over the holidays to stop children going hungry fell on closed ears in government.In an impassioned Commons debate, many MPs paid tribute to Rashford’s burgeoning campaign to end child food poverty. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Marcus Rashford in 'despair' as MPs reject free school meal plan

Universities accused of pressuring staff to work on campus

One university says failure to offer ‘full campus experience’ could lead to students seeking tuition fee refunds Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageUniversities have come under fire for pressuring staff to work on campus to create a “vibrant” atmosphere, with one saying it was important students were deterred from seeking tuition fee refunds.Employees working in administrative roles at both Staffordshire and Birmingham universities told the Guardian that they had been threatened with disciplinary action if they did not come on to campus. Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Universities accused of pressuring staff to work on campus

Parents and teachers: share your experiences with free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic

We’d like to hear from parents and school staff in the UK about the surge in free school meals applications during the coronavirus pandemicAn estimated 1 million pupils have signed up for free school meals in the UK for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many families to cope with a significant drop in their income. Around 1.4 million children were already enrolled on the scheme.We want to understand more about how the scheme is working for families who receive free school meals, and speak to those who have signed up for the first time during the pandemic. We’d also like to speak to school staff who provide the meals about the rise in uptake as a result of c..

The Guardian > Education Parents and teachers: share your experiences with free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic

Figures lay bare toll of pandemic on UK children's mental health

Investigation finds rises in school safeguarding reports, eating disorder treatment and sleeping pill prescriptionsParents struggle to get help for mentally ill children during pandemicThe children’s commissioner for England and leading psychiatrists have raised the alarm about young people’s mental health during the pandemic, as figures suggest a sharp rise in reports of sleep problems, eating disorders and self-harm.A Guardian investigation into the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children reveals: Continue reading...

The Guardian > Education Figures lay bare toll of pandemic on UK children's mental health

Rallies and rent strikes: how students and staff are uniting against Covid chaos

Lecturers and undergrads are united in their anger – and they’re mobilising online to protest and hold universities to accountIn August, A-level students joined forces to voice their anger on social media at the algorithm that failed to give them fair grades, helping force a government U-turn in favour of teacher-estimated results. Now, some of those same students are stuck in lockdowns at halls of residences at universities across the country, studying online and restricted to socialising with their households – and they’re angry again.“Students were mobilised by the A-level U-turn. Now they’ve come on to campus, they’re thinking: ‘I’m sitting in my room watching a screen,..

The Guardian > Education Rallies and rent strikes: how students and staff are uniting against Covid chaos