UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from The Great Debate UK:

Only paying teachers more will raise Britain to the top of the class

--Vikas Pota is chief executive of the Varkey GEMS Foundation. The opinions expressed are his own.--

It was results day yesterday for education ministers around the world, and where they’ve come in the class will affect their prospects just as surely as a sixth-former opening their brown envelope. Nowhere around the world will the wait have been more nail-biting than in Michael Gove’s Department for Education.

The PISA results - a comparison of the performance of 15-year olds across 32 countries in maths, science and reading – make dispiriting reading for the UK. We fail to make the top twenty in any subject for the first time - languishing at 26th place in maths, 23rd in reading and having slipped to 21st in science, which was previously a bright spot.

Three years ago, greeting the last PISA results, Gove said that “these are facts from which we cannot hide”. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD official who oversees the PISA scores, though less dramatic, acknowledged, “The UK has not improved in the way that we have seen other systems improving”.

from FaithWorld:

Excerpts from Pope Benedict’s speech to Catholic pupils in London

Photo

pope pupils (Photo: Pope Benedict meets school children in London September 17, 2010/Steve Parsons)

Pope Benedict urged Catholic schoolchildren in London on Friday to strive to become saints and to aim for more than just just money or fame.

Here are excerpts from his speech:

"...I hope that among those of you listening to me today there are some of the future saints of the twenty-first century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. … Let me explain what I mean. When we are young, we can usually think of people that we look up to, people we admire, people we want to be like. It could be someone we meet in our daily lives that we hold in great esteem. Or it could be someone famous. We live in a celebrity culture, and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: what are the qualities you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What kind of person would you really like to be?

from FaithWorld:

London protesters accuse pope of hypocrisy over sex abuse – report and photos

Photo

protest 2 (Photo: Protest as Pope Benedict XVI arrives by car at St Mary's University College in London September 17, 2010/Peter Macdiarmid)

Pope Benedict reminded his Church on Friday that its first priority was to provide a safe environment for children as the pontiff was met by the first substantial protest of his delicate visit to Britain.  Several hundred people whistled and shouted "Pope must resign" and "shame" as the papal motorcade entered a Catholic school complex in Twickenham, southwest London.

They held placards reading "Hypocrisy and lies" and "Catholic paedophile cover up."

from FaithWorld:

Excerpts from pope’s London speech to Catholic teachers

Photo

twickenham 2 (Photo: Nuns waiting for Pope Benedict at a Catholic school in London, 17 Sept 2010/Kevin Coombs)

Visiting a Catholic school in London on Friday, Pope Benedict said teachers should give their pupils not only marketable skills but also wisdom, which he said was inseparable from knowledge of God. Catholic schools and Catholic religious teachers play an important part in transmitting this wisdom, he said. He also stressed the need to protect pupils from sexual predators.

Following are excerpts from his address to the teachers:

"I am pleased to have this opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution made by religious men and women in this land to the noble task of education... As you know, the task of a teacher is not simply to impart information or to provide training in skills intended to deliver some economic benefit to society; education is not and must never be considered as purely utilitarian. It is about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full – in short it is about imparting wisdom. And true wisdom is inseparable from knowledge of the Creator, for "both we and our words are in his hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts".

Prosecuting school queue-jumpers

Photo

How big a crime is lying to try and get your child into a good school?

Plenty of parents have tried it by falsely claiming they live in the school’s catchment area or by suddenly getting religion but the worst that happens up till now is that they get found out and their child is turned away.

Now Harrow Council in London wants to go further and prosecute them. It had to withdraw a test case for fraud against the mother of a five-year-old it accused of  lying about her address on the school application form but it wants new powers to enable it to take such parents to court.

School Sports Day — and the mother of all challenges

Photo

sample.jpg“Come on!” the man yells through the megaphone. “Your children need to see you taking part. They need to see you running”.

That dreaded time has come. The School Sports Day season is upon us —  and with it comes the mother of all challanges — the Mums’ Race.

Recruiting for the army in schools?

Photo

army1.jpgA motion at the National Union of Teachers annual conference wants a campaign to stop all military “recruitment” in schools. It says the Ministry of Defence is luring youngsters, often from deprived areas, into the armed forces.

Last year, Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, also voted to call for such a ban, claiming the military was trying to boost its falling numbers — caused by the unpopularity of the Iraq and Afghan campaigns — by targeting impressionable teenagers

Are the kids too hung up on fame?

Once, kids had to work hard to become famous.

Whatever their chosen route, it would usually involve endless hours of practice — be it in the gym, on the pitch, at the keyboard or on the stage.

Now, with the advent of the reality TV star and the explosion of shows like the X Factor, America’s Next Top Model, Laguna Beach and the like, it seems anyone can do it and earn themselves millions in the process.

  •