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Sector news, 19 - 23 September 2011

One in four young people get no careers advice, survey shows The Guardian, 20 September 2011

A quarter of teenagers say they have never received any careers advice, a poll of 1,620 15-19 year-olds found. The survey was carried out on behalf of City & Guilds, and found that those on vocational courses were least likely to have been given any guidance, and 22% of those studying for A levels and university courses said they had not had careers advice. For those taking apprenticeships, BTECs and GNVQs this rose to 28%. Nick Grist, head of the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development, said the survey showed deprived teenagers would be further disadvantaged in future, when schools will be given a legal duty to offer careers advice to their pupils. A Department for education spokesman said much careers advice “is poor quality and patchy” and schools were best placed to decide what provision is right.

The government is not treating teachers as professionals The Guardian, 20 September 2011

In this article Mike Baker asks why teachers let the government dictate what is best for pupils, when there would be an outcry if the government suggested to doctors which treatment they should prescribe to their patients. As an example, he says when the government recommended the Ebacc 52% of schools changed their curriculum in response to the announcement, but 45% of schools ended up withdrawing one or more courses or failed to recruit enough students to run it.

Salary premium from post-92s can trump that of bigger names Times Higher Education, 22 September 2011

A study has found that some ‘new’ universities are better than a number of research-intensive institutions at "adding value" for students by consistently helping them to get well-paid jobs. The research by international consultants The Parthenon Group suggests that subject mix and location have more influence on starting salaries than prestige for institutions outside the elite's upper echelons. Among the post-1992 institutions doing well are Middlesex University and London Metropolitan University, which both come in the top half of a league table of the 30 "highest-value universities" compiled by Parthenon. The results are likely to start a debate about the relative quality of institutions in light of the tuition fees they are charging.

Libya university asks LSE to return Gaddafi cash The Guardian, 21 September 2011

Tripoli University is to ask the London School of Economics to return the £1.5m which was pledged by Colonel Gadaffi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who obtained his PhD there. The university has said the money was stolen from the Libyan people and should be reimbursed or used to fund scholarships for Libyans studying in the UK. The LSE was criticised for its links to the regime, which led to the resignation of one of its directors, Sir Howard Davies. The LSE has said it has earmarked the £300,000 it had already been paid for bursaries for north African students.

HMRC clamps down on tax-dodging private tutors The Guardian, 21 September 2011

Private tutors are the latest group of professionals to be targeted in a crackdown on tax dodging by HM Revenue & Customs. The HMRC said it is winning the battle as the “tax gap” between what should have been paid by individuals and businesses and what was collected had fallen by £4bn to £35bn. The private tutors affected could include music and language teachers, horse riding instructors and fitness coaches. A number of schoolteachers work as private tutors to supplement their incomes.