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Sector News, 14 July - 18 July 2008

They don’t have to f%*k you up.  Education Guardian, 15 July 2008.

The Guardian reports on research claiming to explain why some disadvantaged children do well.   The researchers argue that parenting is a major factor and bemoan the fact that parenting education does not get sufficient funds despite overwhelming evidence that it can be an overwhelming force for change.

I’m sorry, but workaholism just isn’t a great idea.  Education Guardian, 15 July 2008.

Phil Beadle comments that “teaching is, in fact, three-and-a-half full time jobs [..] and only one to do it”.

Council now learning to let go.  Education Guardian, 15 July 2008.

A recent report is damning in its condemnation of the Learning Skills Council.  It states that the LSC does not operate as a single organisation but as a series of separate organisations and that whilst competition can be healthy, failure to share and adopt good practice is foolhardy.

Threatening behaviour over award-winning course.  Education Guardian, 15 July 2008.

On the 16 July Saul Young would have travelled to London to claim an award for educators who are making a positive difference to their peers or communities.  Yet the award winning scheme he developed at Styal Prison for women (Cheshire) has been closed.

Universities shun A-levels for own admissions tests.  The Independent, 17 July 2008.

"At least 18 universities are setting their own admissions tests because they believe they can no longer rely on A-level results alone to gauge a candidate's ability [.]. Universities UK – the body representing vice-chancellors – estimates that one in seven of its 132 members has introduced such exams."

LSE puts £2m in teaching to grant parity with research.  THE, 17 July 2008

In order to reduce class sizes and extend student contact time with staff, the London School of Economics has injected £2 million a year into teaching.  This has come against a background of growing criticism that research has overridden their needs for teaching.

Massive shift leaves students adrift and tutors ‘swamped’. THE, 17 July 2008.

There is a troubling rise in undergraduates demands on advisers. Mass higher education has left many tutors feeling ‘swamped’ and students feeling alienated from academics. The (small) study conducted in Brighton,  found that many students felt that they had a lack of contact with tutors

Is it time to unleash the watchdog to safeguard our degree standards?  THE 17, July 2008.

Opinion by Roger Brown, professor of higher education policy, Liverpool Hope University.

Roger Brown comments on the weakening position of external examiners and considers whether QAA and the external examining system should change.

National power generators.  THE, 17 July 2008.

In a major article ( too long to precise here) the THE looks at developments in the Scottish higher education system.

Sixth forms’ cash crisis.  TES, 18 July 2008.

There are severe funding shortages being faced by schools’ sixth forms.  Schools are facing a predicted rise of 7 per cent of pupils straying on after GCSE, but the Learning Skills Council are only funding a 2 per cent rise.  This leaves schools with little choice but re-distribute funding allocated to lower years.

On your marks for exam for examiners.  TES, 18 July 2008.

“Cambridge Assessment which incorporates the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA exam boards, is to launch a course on organising, writing and marking an exam”. 

Apprentices need one face.  TES, FE Focus, 18 July 2008.

A Lords committee says that too many ministers have a hand in vocational training.  In a “too many cooks, spoil the broth” statement, the committee calls for a single minister to be in charge of apprenticeships to ensure that schemes have a clear focus.

Cut out training, brokers, say Lords.  TES, FE Focus, 18 July 2008.

A major obstacle to the Government’s plan to increase apprenticeships is the ‘red tape’ created by intermediaries between the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and Employers.  Train to Gain brokers hinder NAS’s ability to communicate directly with the industries providing training.

Women clean up at the awards. TES, FE Focus, 18 July 2008 

Three out of four of the top apprenticeships awards have this year gone to women, breaking what was once seen as a male preserve.