Can you make schools integrate?

David Cameron
David Cameron delivered his message against extremism in a speech at a school in Birmingham

David Cameron last week warned against the pernicious isolation that comes with "segregation" in schools.

"It cannot be right," the prime minister said, "that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and faiths."

The context of the speech was tackling extremism - and his fear that "segregated schooling" would make it harder to stop the radicalising reach of a separatist Islamist ideology.

He warned of the risks of young people growing up in an inward-looking and disconnected environment.

But how do you really stop such segregation? Particularly when, as the prime minister's speech highlighted, schools can be more segregated than the neighbourhoods they serve.

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Schools put on front line against extremism

Head teachers are divided about their role in countering extremism

How do you stop extremism among young people? How do you challenge the ideology that encourages teenagers to ghost themselves away from Yorkshire or London into war zones in Syria and Iraq?

From the beginning of next month, head teachers will be expected to play a much bigger part in providing answers.

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Last Oxford vote on admitting female students

Oxford University
This will be the last stage in ending single-sex institutions at Oxford University

On Thursday afternoon a vote in Oxford University will mark the symbolic last step in a journey that began in 1879.

St Benet's Hall is set to become the last academic institution in Oxford University to change from single-sex to co-educational, when it is expected to formally decide to admit female undergraduate students.

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One school, four catchment areas

University of Birmingham
The Birmingham school has four separate locations for measuring distance for admissions

One school, four catchment areas? Would that be a fairer way of running admissions or a recipe for an even more Byzantine way of prioritising applications?

The rising school population is putting more pressure on places at popular schools - and raising the thorny question of school admissions.

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Nicky Morgan: Olive branches or burning bridges?

Nicky Morgan can now stamp her own identity as education secretary

When Nicky Morgan became education secretary last year her biggest strength and biggest problem were the same thing - not being Michael Gove.

Her predecessor had cast a long shadow, having dominated the education landscape and in many ways re-made it in his own likeness.

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Why can’t the world keep its promises?

open air classroom
Open-air classroom in Guinea in 2001: Even such basic education is still unavailable to millions

In April 2000, in a wave of new millennium optimism, world leaders promised to deliver something at the beginning of the 21st Century that in many developed countries had been taken for granted by the end of the 19th Century:

Primary education for all children.

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Why is teaching the most unionised job?

Teachers' strike
Teachers are more likely to be in unions than transport staff or mine workers

Why is education the most unionised jobs sector in the UK?

More than transport, energy, health or mining, education has the highest level of union membership, according to the most recent government figures.

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Free schools: Successful experiment?

Cameron in a free school
David Cameron wants to carry on with the formula of free schools and academies. But what's the difference?

When people argue about free schools, they're often not really arguing about free schools.

What they're arguing about is what they think free schools will become.

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Clever girls, stupid boys?

Gender keyboard

Clever girls, stupid boys. That's become something of a modern educational orthodoxy, as girls across the developed world are more likely to get top exam grades and university places.

The gap is so great that the UK's university admissions authority has warned that being male could soon be seen as a new form of social disadvantage.

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Parents lose their car paying price of university

Student loans

When you hear about someone getting their car repossessed, you wonder what kind of financial calamity must have hit them.

You might think about redundancy or illness. But not that their child has done really well and got into university.

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