Category: UK

How Scandinavian teaching at a primary school differs from British methods

“Parents receive a more holistic progress report about their child’s development, this may seem somewhat strange to UK parents”

Earlier this year, the Department for Education announced plans to change the way that children across England are tested by using a statutory reception baseline assessment.

The Government hopes to introduce this by autumn 2020, but as we have seen, the decision to test children on communication, language, literacy, and maths when entering primary school, has been controversial debate around how early children should be academically tested.

Many parents and teachers argue that children should not be academically tested at four years old, as it puts too much pressure on them at such an early age, whereas others believe that introducing testing at an early age is vital.

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The uncertain future of Britain’s education sector

“When overseas European teachers can no longer settle… the likelihood that they will opt to choose the UK as their base will be diminished”

It is no secret that Britain’s teaching workforce is struggling. Last year, every single secondary subject – aside from Biology and English – fell short of recruitment targets.

This January, Tes estimated this shortfall to be close to a thousand. In some subjects, such as Physics, hundreds of teaching spaces are going unfilled; despite initiatives and marketing campaigns being introduced by the Department of Education, domestic talent is not enough to fill teaching positions in UK schools.

Meanwhile, Britain has been hurtling towards an ever-likelier no-deal Brexit. Despite parliament managing to push through a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31st  last week, Boris Johnson is still hinting at the prospect of crashing out on this date without an agreement, in a move which would defy law, but is still very much a possibility.

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Future of UK academia hangs on UK immigration policy

“For academic visitors, applying for a UK visitor visa is now akin to rolling a dice”

Immigration reform is critical if the UK is to retain standards and reputation for academic excellence, explains immigration lawyer Anne Morris.

The UK immigration system is failing UK academia. Visa processing is protracted, expensive and unpredictable, undermining the efforts of educational institutions to attract and retain global academic talent.

The challenges are affecting both short-term academic visitors and longer-term recruitment programmes. The sector is missing out on staff and speakers and is in danger of losing its standing as a leading global hub of academic excellence.

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Developing Effective International Strategies

“Strategy is about more so much more than glittering generalities or the constraining rigidity of fixed plans”

With the sector facing unprecedented challenges – and with internationalisation at the heart of many of these challenges – now is a critical time to think deeply about what constitutes an effective internationalisation strategy.

A recent review of some 52 university strategies undertaken by Goal Atlas found that nearly two-thirds of these ended in 2021.  When I spoke at the annual conference of the British Universities’ International Liaison Association (BUILA) in July, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my session on developing effective international strategies in uncertain times was the largest attended session of the conference.

Clearly, there is both a need and an appetite for strategy. But what makes a strategy a good strategy?

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What should universities do now a no-deal Brexit seems likely?

“Few academics believe a no-deal Brexit will be good for the education system”

Regardless of how you feel about Britain leaving the European Union, there was a time when not securing a deal seemed farcical. Yet, with the new deadline of October 31st now imminent, this unfortunately now looks almost certain.

This would have dramatic implications for the UK, but one of the greatest could be in the education sector. From universities to student accommodation, there are measures which should be considered – and planned for – in the event of a no-deal.

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How video communications are leading the way at universities around the world

“Video-based communications can prepare students for a future built on collaboration, and flexibility, no matter what they are studying”

Educational institutions play a major role in generating a new skilled workforce that has the potential to open the doors to the innovations that will change the world.

To achieve this, school administrators and educators must be able to communicate with each other and their students in real-time. Helping to realise that ambition is video collaboration, which has many benefits.

It allows for face-to-face meetings with professors and lecturers across the world in different times zones; it provides access to online courses and meetings with faculties from different universities. Plus, students are using these tools to connect with other students and experts across continents, to collaborate and work on projects together.

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Universities, like Oxbridge, fail to represent Britain’s ethnic diversity

“Educational success by BAME individuals is fundamental in ensuring the future of a diverse British society”

If one were to envisage the Oxbridge stereotype, a white, wealthy student fed by Eton would most likely come to mind. Whilst the UK’s top two universities have claimed to be erasing this reputation by promoting ethnic diversity, it seems reality continues to tell a very different story. 

Statistics show that successful admissions for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals remains significantly lower than that of their white counterparts. According to UCAS, 2016 saw Oxford accepting 2180 white students in comparison to a mere 35 black individuals.  Similarly, the statistics for Cambridge revealed only 40 black students were granted a place compared to 2025 white students.

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Are students ready for the future of work?

“There is perhaps too much emphasis on exam grades and not enough on the students’ actual learning journey”

With a myriad of factors influencing the future of work such as automation, globalisation, mobility, and flexibility, the future of work holds endless possibilities for change and opportunities for growth.

As many admin centric and unskilled tasks are now being automated, it’s important to understand what self-management and unique human skills will be valued in the future. The role of education has traditionally been to prepare students for their future workplaces, but as the pace of change accelerates, are curriculums keeping up with the evolving requirements of the future of work?

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The UK can do better than “the land of fish and chips”

“Far from portraying the UK as a “lifestyle” destination, we should promote our world-leading graduate outcomes”

A radio advert carried by a number of leading Malaysian radio stations for the previous British Council Education Exhibition – promoted the UK as “the land of fish and chips” with universities that “provide scholarships & discounts.”

Is this really how we want to be portraying UK higher education, in any market especially what is a mature and established market, the third largest sender of full-time international students to the UK?

Far from portraying the UK as a “lifestyle” destination and cutting the cost of our world-leading degree programmes, we should change direction and promote our world-leading graduate outcomes.

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Why food really matters to international student well-being

“Importing ingredients that help make a ‘local’ dish truly authentic can make a huge difference to students”

Most of us happily take it for granted that we will be able to buy the food we like when we want to. For international students coming to study in the UK, access to the food they like to eat is not a given so schools and colleges that see the true importance of food as a way to; ease homesickness, increase social interaction and improve general well-being should be applauded.

Recent research puts the issue into perspective

Masters student, Erika Stewin undertook research on “food insecurity” issues among international students at two Canadian universities. Her research found that “many students described experiencing food insecurity, students related feelings of depression, homesickness and identity loss, hunger, difficulties with weight loss or weight gain, and stories of being forced to compromise religious beliefs in order to eat.”

So, how can institutions do their very best to ensure food is seen as a crucial aspect of pupil/student wellbeing?

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