Category: Education

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May elections special

Clean, green and European: a breath of fresh air

Yvonne Wancke

James Sheerin is keen to bring some fresh air to politics in more ways than one. He wants a real change for the better for his local area and he wants to see this through a pro-European, pro-environmental agenda which will benefit all of us and especially our young people.

Opinion

Why the time has now arrived to make people vote

Stephen Lambert

VOTING is the most basic form of political participation in a representative democracy like the UK. Yet, voter-turn out has declined sharply since the 1950s – about 80% in the 1951 general election, but fell to 66% in the last election. In the Newcastle Central constituency only 56% of those registered to vote did so. […]

Jobs promise guarantee needed to tackle youth unemployment

Stephen Lambert

For individual young people, there are significant multiple ‘scaring’ effects associated with spending very long periods of time outside education and work. These include a loss of confidence and self-esteem; greater vulnerability to various limiting illnesses, including mental health problems; increased propensity to crime, and excessive use of drugs.

North East People

Shared goal to strengthen sporting links

Jane Neville

MWFC partnership Middlesbrough Women Football Club has teamed up with Teesside University to help support players from grassroots towards future footballing careers. The University currently runs a Football Association Girl’s Regional Talent Club (RTC), which helps to identify talented young players, while the University’s women’s football team currently competes in the second tier of the British […]

The ‘big conversation’ for young people on Teesside

Daisy Windsor

Youth have been hit hard by the pandemic with hospitality and retail suffering more than any other sector in the lockdown, their traditional first steps into employment. And Jessie is eager to help them make up lost ground once the economy starts to reopen.

North East People

Universities and vacations

Jim Walker

Jim Walker in Red Square 1957 My brother John was at Trinity College, Cambridge so it was assumed that, after my national service, I would follow him there or go to Oxford. My mother, who was the parent who decided such matters, of course thought that she knew about Cambridge but wanted to find out […]

Opinion

Abolish private education

Jim Walker

Only 7% of the age cohort attend private schools. But 65% of Johnson’s cabinet, 65% of senior judges, 59% of civil service permanent secretaries, 57% of peers, 52% of diplomats and 51% of journalists were privately educated.

North East People

My teenage years

Jim Walker

From 1945 until 1957 we spent our summer holidays in Wales. At first, my parents hired a cottage called Gaerwen a few miles south of Cardigan and later another cottage, called Gwtws, just south of Fishguard.

A new look at skills training

Stephen Lambert

Both the CBI and TUC have long argued that the North of England has fallen behind other parts of the UK and other countries in the level of ‘intermediate’ skills held by the labour force. The Durham university educationalist Frank Coffield and others continue to see the German system of technical education and apprenticeships as the way forward.

Educating the future electorate

Stephen Lambert

Let’s provide space in the national curriculum in the form of citizenship lessons for learning about democracy, democratic processes, rights, responsibilities and justice, and developing all students’ skills sets. This alterative is based on education and intellectual enquiry, not just surveillance – important as this is. For liberal and representative democracy to be real, people need skills, knowledge, confidence and contacts. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, called politics the ”master science” – its purposes being the common good of humanity.

Save the student!

James Robinson

“The lack of social interaction is really difficult. The practical elements of my research were limited by the laboratory being closed, and I lost out on valuable research time. To adjust my work schedule was really challenging, and I have found the entire process stressful.”

Digital poverty

Peter Benson

The Good Law Project has also identified links between Computacenter, the company which has won contracts of at least £198m for the supply of these laptops and the Conservative Party. The founder of the company Sir Philip Hume and his wife have both made donations to the Conservative party with the latest being £100,000 for the 2019 General Election. Questions have also been raised on the price being paid for these basic laptops.

No jobs for the boys: the Northern Ireland experience

John Woods

The divided communities followed different paths after the Good Friday Agreement. The IRA opted for politics and disarmed, bar a rump of dissidents in remoter areas. Their communities always valued education and new opportunities were readily seized on. Loyalists were less fortunate as competition for ‘their’ state jobs increased and the automatic right to follow fathers into the shipyards vanished.

The lost boys of the North East: why are the region’s young men trailing behind young women at school?

Stephen Lambert

Educationalists are divided as to the reason why young white working- class men are doing less well at every stage in the school system while young women are doing better than ever. The children’s Commissioner in Growing Up North puts it down to poverty and poor material circumstances in the home. There’ some evidence that teachers are not strict with boys. They are more likely to extend deadlines for written work, to have lower expectations of boys, and tend to be more tolerant of low level anti-social behaviour in the classroom.

The glass ceiling hasn’t been smashed but it is fracturing

Stephen Lambert

As the psychologist Jussin (2017) notes girls’ low-take up of STEM-based and IT subjects has less to do with ability or discrimination than the fact that girls who excel at maths/science are as likely to be good at humanities based subjects. Young women she concludes are ”better all – rounders, but too few of those who are good at science choose it as their specialism post-16.”

Are English grammar schools the engines of social mobility?

Stephen Lambert

Grammar schools were designed for that quarter of the population deemed ‘academic’, and secondary moderns for the rest. Selection was based on an IQ exam, the 11-plus, the brainchild of Cyril Burt, the psychologist. Passing the 11-plus was the visa to the local Grammar school. The system lasted till the 1960s when a number of left-wing intellectuals, including Tony Crosland and Michael Young, called time. The system wasn’t working. The time was right for the ‘comprehensive revolution’. In 2020, most young people in the region go to their local high school.

Going out with a zoom

Bryan Vernon

As always at a retirement event, the people whom you have upset don’t come and you are offered an inflated sense of your own worth but basking in this illusion is pleasant. The more formal atmosphere enabled a much larger number of people to remind me in brief unscripted speeches of some episodes I had forgotten. I missed the opportunity for conversations with individuals. Asking people about their parent’s dementia, their child’s troubles, their bereavement, cancer, depression or divorce in front of an audience starved of entertainment by Covid-19 would probably be inappropriate, although I did not test this hypothesis.

International day for disabled people: the need for an inclusive approach

Julie Ward

In 1984 I found myself running an arts and disability agency for the north of England, and encountered the tail-end of the mass segregation programme that had resulted in millions of people with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities being locked away in large institutions, forced to do menial work for pocket money and with little say about any aspect of their lives. The arts activities that my organisation ran often opened up deep emotional scars from years of abandonment, disregard and abuse. Paintings, poems and performances were littered with powerful symbols of imprisonment and freedom.

Private schools lie at the root of the UK’s inequality

Stephen Lambert

70,000 youngsters are now educated in private boarding schools. Till recently in decline, they’re going through a revival partly due to the popularity of Harry Potter films. As the author Alex Renton points out in ‘Stiff Upper Lip’, wealthy families from the Far East, Russia, Germany and Saudi are sending their boys and girls in huge numbers to these establishments to boost family status and to enable them to make the right connections and ”meet the right people”.

The pandemic of violence and what to do about it

Julie Ward

So what can we do to stem the tide of gender-based violence apart from the usual petitions and letters to MPs? We need a system change across society starting with sex and relationship education so teachers and school governors should work together to implement age appropriate lessons. We need to increase women’s visibility across all sectors at the highest level, which means empowering girls to study STEM subjects and encouraging women to stand for election at every opportunity; it is heartening that we already have women police and crime commissioners in the region with more women standing in the forthcoming elections.

To have and have not: the north’s growing education class divide

Stephen Lambert

The stark reality is to many disadvantaged youngsters living in inner-city wards and the outer-council estates are trapped in over-crowded housing conditions where there’s little space to do homework. Many lack personal computers or laptops – termed ‘digital exclusion’ – a situation compounded by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Finished at 55?

Stephen Lambert

Despite the publication of the Augar Review, the last decade has seen adult and community education being starved of resources with the virtual disappearance of ‘night-classes’. Day-time opportunities for older adults to update their skills to become plumbers or electricians have been cut to the bone. Yet, these are things that could help the older unemployed worker get back onto the jobs ladder.

Education and the thought police

Julie Ward

To prohibit learning about anti-capitalism is like trying to teach the history of the Civil War without mentioning Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads.

Stop scapegoating students

Carlos Conde Solares

Over the past few years, the average British millennial has been stripped of their European citizenship, and all the exciting life opportunities it entails, largely against their will. Young people remain well and truly locked out of an inhuman housing market. They are forced to work long hours on top of full-time studies yet will still graduate dozens of thousands of pounds in debt and into yet another catastrophic recession that is not of their own making.