Cable warns of 'appalling' record on skills

vince cable Image copyright PA
Image caption Vince Cable says the low status of vocational qualifications has deep roots

"Britain has done appallingly badly at vocational education for many years," says Sir Vince Cable, former business secretary, as Theresa May's industrial strategy promises to regenerate technical training and tackle the skills shortage.

But why has this always been such a struggle? You could build a paper mountain out of all the plans to give vocational education the same status as university degrees, A-levels and GCSEs.

"It's a deeply cultural thing," says Sir Vince, who held office during the Coalition government.

"It got built into the British mindset... if you're clever, you go to university, and if you're not so clever you go off and do a trade of some sort," he says.

"It's still the case that if you're academically inclined and you don't know what to do, you go to university.

Read full article Cable warns of 'appalling' record on skills

Could tuition fees really cost £54,000?

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Image caption The last time tuition fees were increased there were waves of student protests

How much will it cost to get a degree in England when tuition fees increase to £9,250 in the autumn?

How about £54,000?

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What does post-truth mean for a philosopher?

AC Grayling Image copyright NCH
Image caption AC Grayling says a post-truth world threatens the "fabric of democracy"

"Post-truth" has come to describe a type of campaigning that has turned the political world upside down.

Fuelled by emotive arguments rather than fact-checks, it was a phrase that tried to capture the gut-instinct, anti-establishment politics that swept Donald Trump and Brexit supporters to victory.

Read full article What does post-truth mean for a philosopher?

Oxford academics warning of Brexit 'disaster'

Oxford
Image caption MPs held the select committee hearing on Brexit at Oxford University

A "hard Brexit" would be the "biggest disaster" to have hit the UK's universities for many years, a university head told MPs.

Alistair Fitt, vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes, was giving evidence to the Education Select Committee, holding a special away-day session at the University of Oxford.

Read full article Oxford academics warning of Brexit 'disaster'

Sir Michael Wilshaw's 10 last questions

Wilshaw
Image caption Sir Michael Wilshaw has been a controversial head of the education watchdog

When Sir Michael Wilshaw steps down this week as head of Ofsted, it will see the departure of English education's most dominant figure.

Outspoken and influential, this former London head teacher, who will be succeeded by Amanda Spielman, often set the agenda more than education secretaries.

Read full article Sir Michael Wilshaw's 10 last questions

10 ways to be the cleverest country

  • 30 November 2016
  • From the section Business
Pokemon characters in Singapore Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Conformist cultures might have a head start in education rankings?

When it comes to global education rankings it always seems to be the same story. Asian educational superpowers take all the top places and everyone else goes in for bouts of doubt and recrimination.

For education ministers across most of the world this must be a gloomy time, trying to come up with an upbeat explanation for another round of mid-table mediocrity.

Read full article 10 ways to be the cleverest country

'I got to know death': Syrian youths start again in London

Syrian refugees leave the Calais Jungle camp Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Young people were moved from the Calais Jungle camp, but what happened next?

"I was introduced to the concept of death. My cousins died, my brother was mutilated, my parents died.

"I got to know death.

Read full article 'I got to know death': Syrian youths start again in London

Working hard and going backwards

Brian Morris
Image caption Brian Morris is a volunteer in a food bank, which now has to help people who are working

Travelling to work can be grim enough at the best of times - but imagine if you got there and were told there was no work and you had to go home again without getting paid.

That is the kind of experience described by workers trying to keep afloat in a job market of casual jobs, agency work and zero-hour contracts.

Read full article Working hard and going backwards

School rebels in 'head teachers' spring'

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Image caption Head teachers have been knocking on the door of Downing Street for emergency funding

There is something of a "head teachers' spring" going on at the moment.

It is the politest uprising, but it is giving ministers some very difficult homework over how schools in England are run and funded.

Read full article School rebels in 'head teachers' spring'

Why grammars refuse to be written off

grammar pupils
Image caption Facing the future with confidence: Pupils at Harold Hill in the early 1960s

When Norma Jennings talks about grammar schools, she does not talk about statistics or education policy, she talks about her memories of teachers and how her schooldays still make such a strong impression decades later.

The debate about creating new grammar schools in England has heard many attacks on the negative impact of selection.

Read full article Why grammars refuse to be written off