Category: Education

Future prospects blighted by the pandemic – a student writes

Bella Enoizi

The impact of Covid-19 on university students has been overlooked by both government and the media throughout the pandemic. Neither has support been received from the governing bodies of Higher Education institutions, in terms of either policy or financial relief. Where students have been mentioned by the media, it has only been to blame them […]

Gavin must go; but that’s only the start

Mick Fletcher

No part of this government comes out of the Covid-19 pandemic well, and the staggering death toll is the tragic summation of a whole raft of failures. Probably the most expensive of these failures in terms of financial cost and, more importantly, human life, is ‘Test and Trace’ on which the Department of Health has […]

Digital divisions and the Tower of Babel

Mick Fletcher

People often talk of the ‘digital divide’, a gulf that separates those with access to IT and social media from others who lack the means or the understanding to engage with it. Some go further and speak of ‘digital natives’, those who have grown up with new technology and assimilated its ways like a child […]

The Turing scheme – does it address the loss of Erasmus?

Professor Paul James Cardwell

Some details about the #turingscheme as a replacement for #Erasmus are now out. Here are my initial thoughts, from an institutional and education perspective more than costs. First, setting up a scheme to run in 2021 is difficult and especially for those already in degree programmes who were due to go on Erasmus placements (language […]

A ‘lifetime skills guarantee’ – great, until you read the small print

Mick Fletcher

The shameful gap between the soaring rhetoric of policy announcements and the sordid reality of what is implemented has become one of the defining features of this government. The headline examples are of course the ‘oven ready deal’ that took 12 months to get anywhere near the oven, and the ‘world beating’ track and trace […]

Hunger games

Oliver Patrick

Not content with fiercely resisting calls to provide our poorest children with free school meals twice this year, the conservative government is charging headlong into a Brexit that risks all our school children going hungry in Brexit Britain. On Tuesday 17 November 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) released guidance on how schools should prepare […]

Protected characteristics or political playthings?

Florence MacDonald

I am a teacher and over the past month I have become increasingly aware of shifts in what is deemed acceptable for people to say and do in certain rôles, through interference from the government and, now, from the BBC. Phase 1 It began in early October with news of new educational guidance ‘Legal threat […]

Extreme political stances

Mike Temple

The once autocratic King Lear, now stripped of power and exposed to the storm, ushers the poor Fool into the hovel, then kneels and prays:                                                                 Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,                                       That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,                                       How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,                                       Your looped and windowed […]

A ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ is fine – but what will students live on?

Mick Fletcher

Let’s give a little credit where it’s due. The ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’,set out by the prime minister on 29 September, is aimed at the right target. It seeks to tackle two linked issues that threaten future prosperity: rising unemployment fuelled by the Covid crisis and the long running UK problem of low productivity. But let’s […]

Questioning capitalism is not extreme

Mick Fletcher

There is something especially hypocritical about this, of all governments, telling schools that they should not use material that could ‘undermine the fundamental British values of democracy [and] the rule of law’ It was, after all, this government that firstly broke the law by seeking to prorogue parliament and then, having been judged guilty, announced […]

Charity focus: What About The Children?

Jane Reddish

When I read the article by Dr Pam Jarvis in Yorkshire Bylines, I wrote to the Editor of my local Bylines to say how impressed I was by Dr Jarvis’s insight into the needs of young children, particularly because of my trusteeship of the charity What About The Children? The Editor-in-Chief asked me to let […]

Is it really time for T levels?

Mick Fletcher

After the high-profile shambles that has accompanied the A level and BTEC grading this year, the Department for Education (DfE) must be relieved that the next debacle likely to affect the same age group will at least be low profile. Few people seem to have heard that the new T levels (T stands for technical) […]

School reopening: mixed messages and mixed feelings

Virginia Stephen

The last day I spent in school, in March, was unnerving. I had been watching the distressing scenes from Italy and Spain and everyone already knew that we should have closed the week before. I felt too anxious to stay in the staffroom at break and lunchtime. A child with symptoms who had been sent […]

Back to school: Johnson concerned with kids’ welfare? Take a guess…

Oliver Patrick

This week, all students across the United Kingdom should be safe at school. Or will they? When the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) modelled the wider opening of schools, it concluded that a full opening would lead to a rise in the R number. Consequently, SAGE advised against full opening of schools. The […]

Cut off by Covid – the impact of the pandemic on young minds

Kathryn Fox

It’s summer, normally a time for holidaying, socialising, enjoying the long sunny days and building resilience for the darker days ahead. Most of us remember summer holidays from school as one of the best times of our lives; meeting friends, going on trips, learning to flex our wings. This year is, of course, not like […]

The non-examination grade fiasco explained

Roger Porkess

The examinations results season is always an anxious time. However, when they open their envelopes, students can usually be confident that their grades reflect how much they have learnt on their courses. But not so this year. With the closure of schools in March and the consequent cancellation of examinations, the evidence on which grades […]

Where does this Vote Leave Government get its policies from?

Miles King

As I watched the A-level results fiasco unfold over the last week  – the latest in a long line of shambolic Government u-turns  – it got me thinking about how this Government actually decides on what policies it is going to apply. After all, what is a Government without policies? Policies – and specifically policy […]

Silence of the Mann

Tom Scott

Many young people in Cornwall have been bitterly disappointed to find their A-level results unfairly downgraded amid the ongoing exam shambles. Scott Mann MP, parliamentary secretary to education minister Gavin Williamson, has been strangely silent on their plight. Sarah Johnson, the mother of a boy studying at Truro College who had been hoping to go to […]