It is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.

Category: Unraveling Education News Page 1 of 2

Mickey-taking By Degrees

It’s high time for self-important individuals like David Starkey to either back up their claims or retract them (reference to "Taking the mick" article, published in G2 on January 15th). Starkey has hinted that degrees offered at London Metropolitan University are subpar when compared to those offered at Cambridge University. But what is the basis of his argument and what evidence supports his claims? It’s worth noting that London Met has yet to grant any degrees, having only formed after a merger in August 2002.

Is Starkey referring to all degrees, or are there specific courses he thinks lack quality? Does this apply to degrees like law, which must fulfil specific professional criteria regardless of where they’re taught?

As an external examiner for four universities (two pre-1992 and two post-1992) and a specialist subject reviewer for the Higher Education Funding Council for England in two areas (Middle Eastern and African studies, 1996-99, and politics, 2000), I have had the opportunity to view the work produced by students in many different universities (both pre- and post-1992), review degree course syllabi, and assess teaching methods. My conclusion is that degrees are fairly similar across institutions, and standards are generally maintained via the external examiner system. Does Starkey possess comparable experience that would support his claims?

Certainly, there are so-called "Mickey Mouse degrees," and it’s disappointing to hear vice-chancellors and others deny their existence. Dubious degrees can be divided into two types: the first is candid but may be based on a subject that doesn’t require three years to learn. The second, more problematic type involves fraudulent degrees like a Bachelor of Science in non-scientific subjects. Examples include BScs in ayurvedic medicine (Thames Valley) and courses in aromatherapy (Greenwich). Such courses might fit under the umbrella of "cultural studies" or anthropology, but they don’t qualify as science, and offering BSc degrees in them constitutes fraud. In contrast, a degree in plumbing would fall into the former category; although there may be doubts regarding the intellectual content, the course would still be honest.

It’s true that there are many gray areas, but the blatant cases stand out. The teaching quality assessment should have tackled these issues, but it failed miserably because it didn’t consider whether the course content was truthful or ethical. Someone could receive distinction in voodoo if they submitted enough paperwork.

Emma Brockes recently questioned the practicality of a decision-making degree, but this isn’t a new issue. Roughly 25 years earlier, The Open University (which is otherwise fantastic) published its annual TV schedule with over a hundred pages covering every programme for each of its 32 courses, except for Decision Making in Great Britain. The explanation in each line was the same: "To Be Announced."

Regarding Luton University’s BSc Hons in decision-making, it might be beneficial to offer some short courses to government ministers.

Co-op Sponsors Specialist School Bids

The Co-op has announced that it will be sponsoring a network of secondary schools under the UK Labour Party’s specialist schools policy. The mutual society, which owns businesses including 1,800 supermarkets and the Co-operative Bank, is contributing £350,000 to support schools bidding to become specialist business and enterprise colleges. The Co-op is hoping to help young people understand the benefits of conducting business in a trustworthy, democratic, and accountable way.

The specialist schools programme is a significant education policy from the government, however, it is not without controversy. Some critics argue that these schools have received more taxpayer money than other schools, earning them the nickname "bog-standard" comprehensives. Nonetheless, becoming a specialist school comes with many advantages; successful schools receive £100,000 in funding and an additional £126 per extra student for the next four years.

The Co-op’s sponsorship will make it easier for schools to achieve specialised status, which could be costly for schools in poorer areas. Labour inherited the policy from the Tories, and Labour’s then-official spokesman, Alastair Campbell, announced that the time had come for "bog-standard" comprehensives to be replaced.

Despite some criticism, Education Secretary Charles Clarke has lifted the cap on specialist schools, believing they improve student results faster than ordinary schools, a claim contested by the Commons education select committee. The Co-op group is confident that by supporting schools that specialise in business and enterprise, they will be able to promote the co-operative way of doing business.

Co-op Chairman Keith Darwin explained, "Young people will benefit from understanding the advantages of doing business in a democratic, honest, and responsible way." The move has been praised by Elizabeth Reid, Chief Executive of the Specialist Schools Trust. She referred to the partnership as "groundbreaking" and described it as the first time a major mutual society has supported the program of specialist schools. Education Secretary Clarke has expressed his delight at the Co-op’s decision to sponsor the specialist schools program.

Robert Jordan Obituary

Robert Jordan, my father who recently passed away at the age of 77, was an academic trailblazer in the teaching of the English language. His life was full of adventure and excitement, as he lived through the bombings of the blitz, studied at Manchester University, and even spent time in the Himalayas assisting Sir Edmund Hillary with his "schoolhouses in the clouds" project.

Robert, born to Kenneth Jordan, who worked as a detective sergeant in special branch, and his spouse Christabel, grew up in Chiswick, a suburb in west London. He developed a passion for rowing, which began on the Thames and continued when he studied economics at St. John’s College, Cambridge. After graduation, he worked as an English language teacher in Finland before joining the British Council.

While studying to become a teacher at the Institute of Education in London, my father met my mother, Jane. He proposed to her during the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race in 1965, and together they traveled to Nepal, a place that would become a prominent feature in my father’s life. The couple shipped a Land Rover and a Wedgwood dinner set, starting their married life in a country that had been recently opened to the western world.

Based in Kathmandu, my father’s job involved training high-school teachers of English, but it was a chance encounter at an embassy cocktail party that led to one of his most memorable experiences. He met Hillary, who was funding village schools through his Himalayan Trust charity. My father asked Hillary, "But once they’ve been built, what goes on inside them?" This question led to a month-long, hazardous expedition that involved trekking through mountainous terrain, encountering leeches, "yeti skulls," and meeting Kappa Kalden, an elderly Sherpa artist whose works adorned many local monasteries.

After spending four years in Kathmandu and a year studying in Edinburgh, my father worked in Sierra Leone, but the political unrest marked this period as unhappy. Finally, he found peace at Manchester University, where he worked in the English Language Teaching Unit until his early retirement in 1992. He co-founded Selmous, now known as Baleap, an organization for teachers of English for academic purposes, and fostered writing talent for Collins. He also authored several books, including the acclaimed Academic Writing Course (1980).

Former colleagues of Robert remember him fondly for his encouragement, generosity, and sense of humor, which often included excruciating puns. In Manchester, he visited the Jai Kathmandu restaurant regularly and amassed an extensive collection of books on Nepal — one of the largest in the UK. He returned to Nepal many times and conducted workshops for the British Council in China, the Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia.

In 2010, despite battling Alzheimer’s, he returned to Nepal to launch a book about early visitors to the country, titled From Missionaries to Mountaineers, which was his last trip to the country.

My father is survived by his wife Jane, brother Clive, sister Catherine, his grandchildren India, Alex, and Alfred, and his memory lives on as a trailblazer in the field of English language teaching.

Top Score For Talent

This year, once again, the Young Composers’ Competition welcomed entries from gifted young musicians from across the nation. Their compositions were evaluated by judges, including newly recruited composers Paul Patterson and Stuart MacRae. The high standard of creativity and musical imagination that was displayed by the competitors this year is impressive, even for seasoned judges, as the competition, which is the most prestigious one for young composers, has been running for a decade.

After the final judging session, Patterson, who was once head of composition at the Royal Academy of Music, expressed his shock at the level of talent displayed by the young composers. "I was amazed to see there is a whole world of talented people in this country writing very imaginative music and who already at their tender age have got a good sense of technique," he said. MacRae was also astonished by the quality of entries, praising the originality of the pieces and the authentic self-expression of the young composers.

One of the senior winners in the 16 to 18 age group, En Liang Khong, exhibited his imagination and personal expression in his composition, Black Rain, which is scored for string quartet, percussion and spoken voice. Another winner in the same age group, Alex Nikiporenko, created a piano and flute piece that was characterized by the judges as a challenging character study.

Among the junior winners, Men Gei Li, aged 14, received accolades for her Triquad Variations for piano, which displayed impressive imagination, freshness and restraint. Her twin sister, Men Gyn, attends the Purcell School in Bushey, Hertfordshire and is pursuing piano studies.

These young musicians are pushing the boundaries and demonstrating an extraordinary level of talent that belies their age. Their future looks very bright!

All contestants of the competition are invited by BBC Proms to attend Inspire Day, held in the heart of London. This presents a unique opportunity for the participants to meet and learn from seasoned composers, musicians, and important individuals in the music industry. The winning entries will be performed during the Young Composers’ Concert.

Here are the winning compositions:


– En Liang Khong, 18, St. Paul’s School in Barnes, for ‘Black Rain’

– Alexander Nikiporenko, 18, Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, for ‘Awaiting’


– Tom Rose, 16, Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, for ‘Moth Lamp’

– Tom Curran, 16, Sawston Village College, for ‘Searching’

– Men Gei Li, 14, The Purcell School in Bushey, for ‘Triquad Variations’

The following participants also received a highly commended recognition:


– Andrew Hadfield, 18, The Portsmouth Grammar School, for ‘The Flight of the Phoenix’

– Toby Young, 18, Haberdashers Askes Boys’ School, for ‘Les Jongleurs’


– Lloyd Coleman, 16, Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, for ‘Quintet for Soprano Saxophone’

– Philippa Ovenden, 16, The Purcell School in Bushey, for ‘Etone’

– Sasha Millwood, 16, King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, for ‘String Quartet, Last Movement’

Clegg And Gove In Spending Review Battle Over Free Nursery Education

The proposed cancellation to extend free nursery education in an attempt to save £380m caused a heated battle amongst government officials, with Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Education Secretary, Michael Gove, at the forefront. The plan to provide free nursery education to low income families for 15 hours a week was proposed to be withheld by Gove, whereas Clegg opposed the decision. The issue was taken to senior ministers last week, where it was agreed that Gove would find efficiency savings in commissioning new academies and free schools.

The government had pledged to extend free nursery education to 150,000 2-year-olds from September 2013, rising to around 260,000 the following year, but this was under threat by Gove. As a result, Clegg has made extending free nursery care to young children one of his key personal issues.

In another issue that caused tension across the government during the spending review, an extra £200m was announced to fund an extension of the Troubled Families Programme to a wider group of 400,000 families from 2015-16. The current programme is aimed at 120,000 families deemed to be at very serious risk of offending or failing to secure an education for their children. Each family is deemed to cost £75,000 a year, and the announcement of additional funding is a victory for the civil servant in charge of the programme, Louise Casey.

The spending review is due to announce cuts of £11.5bn for 2015-16, with the majority of these cuts being found through increased efficiency. There is growing concern in aid circles that the budget for the Ministry of Defence has been raided, with money transferred from the departments of health, education, and justice to fund the Troubled Families Programme.

During an interview with ITN, Laws clarified that his intention was not to cause embarrassment to Liam Byrne. Instead, he admitted that the letter was intended to be humorous. However, he argued that the letter symbolized a government that was reckless with spending. He stated that he anticipated the letter to be utilized in upcoming election campaigns.

Shameful Rise’: 18% Of Children Now Leave School As Low Achievers

A recent report by the children’s commissioner for England has revealed that the number of children who are leaving school without basic qualifications at the age of 18 has increased by almost a quarter in the past three years. Last year, almost one in five children (18%) left school without the government benchmark of five good GCSEs or the equivalent technical qualifications, indicating a 24% surge since 2015. The study also found that children with special educational needs are particularly affected, with almost half (45%) failing to meet level 2 attainment by the time they finish compulsory education. Pupils on free school meals (FSM) are also struggling, with more than one in three (37%) leaving school “without any substantive qualifications”.

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has spoken out against the new figures and called on the government to take urgent action: “While we should celebrate the progress that is being made in raising standards for millions of children, it should never be an acceptable part of the education system for thousands of children to leave with next to nothing.” Longfield is particularly concerned that progress in closing the attainment gap between children living in the least and most deprived areas of England has stalled and is now in reverse, at a time when pupils have to stay in education longer than ever before.

England’s Children must stay in education or training until they are 18, but the evidence laid out in the report suggests that pupils are gaining little in terms of qualifications during their extra school years. Last year, 98,799 children in England left school without basic qualifications, of which 28,225 were on FSM. Increasing rates of failure to reach attainment targets among the most disadvantaged are causing the increase, according to Longfield. These children will have spent 15 years in compulsory education, often with over £100,000 of public money invested in their education, and yet leave the education system without basic benchmark qualifications, making multiple options closed to them. Many will not be able to begin an apprenticeship, begin technical courses or enter some workplaces because they cannot meet the basic entry requirements.

In light of these findings, the commissioners have written to the government requesting independent review and the commitment of halving, over the next five years, the number of children failing to gain a level 2 qualification by the age of 19. However, the Department for Education later challenged the commissioner’s findings, stating that this report does not provide the full picture, comparing to figures that include qualifications which have since been removed from performance tables because they did not serve students well. A spokesperson stated that the proportion of 19-year-olds with vital English and maths GCSEs has actually risen from 50.9% in 2010 to 68.1% in 2018, adding that the government is working towards improving the rigour, quality, and standard of qualifications across the board.

I Feel I’ve Come Home’: Can Forest Schools Help Heal Refugee Children?

At the young age of 21, Kate Milman temporarily suspended her English degree studies at the University of East Anglia to partake in the Newbury bypass protests. Taking up residence in a treehouse in the path of the bulldozers, Kate lived there for months, living closely with the nature surrounding her. This experience led Kate to start Wild Things, a workers’ cooperative that offers children hands-on experience with nature.

On a day at Bestwood Country Park, one of the many locations where Wild Things operates, Kate and her colleague are dressed in clothes that resemble those of forest school practitioners. The concept of forest schools, which emphasizes imaginative play in a woodland setting, developed in the UK in the 1990s. The alternative form of schooling has gained popularity in recent years as a form of opposition to the strict national curriculum.

When discussing forest schooling, people often say the concept is "middle-class and white", but the group of children attending Wild Things that day are from diverse backgrounds. All members of an "English as a second language" group from Forest Fields primary and nursery school in central Nottingham, the children have arrived in the UK from various countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Romania, and Syria- some of them from refugee camps. Their teaching assistant, Yasmin Khaliq, who speaks five languages, has been bringing groups to Wild Things for nine years.

As the children run ahead through the woods, Kate’s calls evoke the sounds of the wildlife around them. They come running back in response, eager to explore and discover more. One child, Mohammad, is sprinting uphill, and a little Syrian girl, Amira, radiates joy. Wild Things offers these children a new and unique way to experience the natural world.

The nine children are full of energy, reminiscent of a group of puppies ecstatically playing outdoors for the first time. Kate and I make our way to the Wild Things base camp, while the children excitedly run ahead of us, exploring the surroundings with the inquisitiveness of chickens. They investigate the branches, tree stumps, and clippers available on a tarpaulin laid out on the ground.

When Kate isn’t taking the children to camp, she scours for charitable funding, as the only way to provide sessions for pupils from cash-strapped state schools is by offering them for free. The Wild Things team manages to survive on a small co-op "share" wage. Kate lives with Nick and their eight-year-old son in a small rural housing co-op. They travel in a battered high-top Transit filled with tools like bow saws, loppers, clippers, ropes, tarpaulins, plastic mugs, hot chocolate, and other essentials such as children’s wellies and wool gloves since the students often lack outdoor-appropriate clothing.

The pupils gather around the fire circle, where Kate, Kath, and Kat (the three Ks) show them how to use saws and loppers and explain the day’s activities. The children pick their own adventure, a child-led approach that’s intended to offer an alternative to conventional didactic, adult-led education, which doesn’t provide opportunities for children to be wild animals. Ten-year-olds are "at that stage of development where they need to feel liberated and free," explains Kate.

Today, the students can choose to learn how to use bows and arrows, build a fire and cook on it, or lay a trail, hide and have another group track them down. Kate and her colleagues discover the infinite creative thought span and willingness of children to express themselves in the woods, with each child responding to the place in their unique way. One boy decides to build a gym, another a mask, while a girl spins a fable about a frog and a turtle crossing her path.

I accompany Kat and three young girls – enthusiastic Amira, Homa, a Pakistani girl, and Cristina, a Roma Gypsy from Romania with a long plait, dressed in a purple jumpsuit and a shiny purple padded jacket – on a mission to lay a trail of arrows made from sticks through the forest to hide in a spot where the other group members can seek them out.

As we twist along a narrow path, passing a tree stump covered in gleaming bracket fungus, Beech leaves shine with an orange luminosity on the forest floor. Cristina is thrilled, gasping with excitement. She didn’t even speak last week, according to Kat.

Breaking a large stick into arrow pieces is no simple task for me, but Homa finds my struggle amusing and teases me, "Cristina is stronger than you."

Wild Things has served with many migrant children who grew up in rural areas, a discovery for me as I previously assumed that refugees mostly came from cities. Meanwhile, British-born city children belong to a country called Indoors and are not familiar with playing in the woods. They are curious about things like mud, and ask questions such as "Why are there so many trees here?" In contrast, rural children from overseas are often restricted to city-center flats in the UK, and their questions like "Are there elephants?" or "Are there deadly snakes here?" stem from their experiences in their countries of origin. Many feel the woods bring about lost memories and a longing for home. "As soon as we light a fire, they say, ‘Ah, I know this,’ or they point to a plant and get really animated. They are in their element," remarks Kate.

As we gather around the fire, the children excitedly discuss their plans for the upcoming week. Sanaya suggests building a wooden house, reminiscing about the times she used to build stick houses in Pakistan while her grandmother would make a fire just like this. The children seem to love being in the woods, and when asked about what they enjoy the most, Homa answers "everything" including playing hide-and-seek, the warmth of the fire, and baking bread. Adnan fondly recalls playing with his cousins in Syria, which was similar, except with less trees.

As the day comes to an end, Cristina expresses her reluctance to leave and eagerly asks Kate if they can come back again. Kate reassures her that they will return in seven days, but Cristina looks disappointed at the prospect of waiting so long. However, she joins the rest of the group who excitedly run back down the hill towards the minibus that will take them back to the city and their new homes.

Kate and her team of Wild Things workers feel the burden of the children’s longing to stay in the woods. The program enhances the children’s lives by teaching them to fall in love with nature, but it’s difficult to measure the improvements in their confidence, self-esteem, friendships, and behavior. Although forest school is relatively new, there is a wealth of scientific research demonstrating its benefits for mental and physical wellbeing, as well as growing evidence pointing to its specific benefits for education.

Studies indicate that outdoor learning can improve physical activity levels and attentiveness in children. It can also lead to better academic outcomes, as shown by a three-year study of primary school pupils who attended weekly forest school sessions. However, forest school teachers are aware that their program offers only a glimpse of the magic of nature to children who spend most of their time inside. They hope that their program instills a love for nature that the children can carry into their later lives.

In conclusion, the children leave the woods with memories of the fun they had but also with a newfound appreciation for nature. They may not have easy access to green spaces, but they know that the woods are there whenever they need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Wild Things program may be just a small part of their childhood, but it has the potential to make a significant impact on their lives.

As an AI language model, my duty is to rephrase the provided text with improved vocabulary and make it original while maintaining natural language. Here’s my version:

Your objective is to paraphrase the entire content using enhanced lexicons and create a distinctive tone, using easy to understand language and grammar conventions.

It’s Been Scary’: Getting Vaccinated Akin To Lottery For US Teachers

Carron Johnson is an instructional care aide who works in St Louis, Missouri. She understands the significance of her job in American schools. In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, her current work model consists of a combination of remote and in-person teaching, as do many other teachers in the St Louis public schools district. With the pandemic causing widespread school closures across the US and disrupting the entire education system, the schools hold an even more vital role in the community.

Johnson, who is also the vice-president for paraprofessionals at AFT Local 420 union, stresses that educating children in a secure environment without getting them sick is crucial for the community. Keeping teachers safe, however, is not a simple or consistent task. The availability of vaccines for teachers and school staff varies across the US and depends more on the location than on the nature of being a frontline educator. It seems like acquiring vaccines is almost like a lottery for many teachers and school personnel.

Johnson emphasizes that teachers and school employees should be allowed to receive the vaccine as early as possible. While there are a variety of emails and websites for making appointments to get vaccinated for Covid-19, no exact dates have been scheduled yet for teachers and school workers. According to Johnson, "You can put your name on the list, and there’s no telling you if you’re going to get a vaccination five months from now." Many educators and elders who have underlying health issues are becoming increasingly anxious.

St Louis has had almost 20,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 360 deaths. At least 530 educators nationwide have reportedly died from the virus, according to the American Federation of Teachers. As of February 8, only less than 3% of Americans have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, with less than 10% receiving the first dose of the vaccine.

As more schools are ready to re-open in person, educators and staff demand that all employees be vaccinated first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to release new guidelines on school re-openings. Although the CDC has prioritized educators in the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination rollouts, states vary on prioritizing the vaccines’ distribution for teachers and the speed of administration.

The Biden administration’s objective is to reopen the vast majority of K-12 schools within the first 100 days of his presidency, even if all teachers and staff have not yet received vaccination. Data compiled by Education Week shows that at least 24 states have included some or all teachers in their vaccination eligibility, yet delays in acquiring vaccination appointments remain widespread.

In Texas, teachers tried to resist school re-openings before the 2020-21 school year. However, the state imposed that schools should reopen, allowing parents to choose whether to send their children for in-person or remote learning. August Plock, a high school social studies teacher outside Austin, Texas, expressed concern about more parents sending their children to schools as the pandemic continues.

"Many grades have 19 to 20 students per class, and effective social distancing is not practical, which is a significant concern," said Plock. He was only able to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine recently since he is a diabetic, as Texas has yet to designate teachers as priority recipients.

"School district superintendents are pushing the state to prioritize teachers in one phase, but that’s not for another four to six weeks, and it seems there is a vaccine shortage in the state," he added.

Julie Ware, a high school English teacher in Lewes, Delaware, got vaccinated for Covid-19 only because she is at high risk due to acute lymphatic leukemia. The school started hybrid learning in early February, and the shift was overwhelming.

"I can only tell my students so many times to wear their masks properly," Ware said.

Kimberly Vero Lynn, an English teacher at a high school in Butler, Pennsylvania, is still awaiting news about when she and her colleagues will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations. Despite having taught in-person throughout the 2020-21 school year, though with several weeks of remote learning due to Covid-19 outbreaks, she feels that their job responsibilities have increased manifold, along with the burden of worrying about their own and their families’ health. Moreover, school boards and administrations have been opaque about their operations, leading to further frustration.

In Chicago, teachers are resisting the efforts of the city and Chicago public schools to reopen educational institutions for in-person learning before teachers can receive vaccinations. In January 2020, the school district and city locked out teachers who refused to report to schools; however, recently they reached an interim agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union about reopening plans.

A high school art teacher, who preferred anonymity due to the ongoing lockouts of teachers and fear of negative consequences, stated that no teachers in their school have received the vaccine yet. They share appointment links among themselves, but with limited success; many of the links are already booked or get cancelled soon after. According to this teacher, lack of availability of vaccines is not only frustrating but also discriminatory. They refer to the situation as “the Vaccine Hunger Games” because the vaccinations seem to be concentrated in more affluent and white areas of the city, whereas most students in their school are Black. They feel disrespected and undervalued in terms of their lives and health, as well as the safety of their students. Instead, their district seems more concerned about restoring the local economy.

Zahawi To Overhaul Covid Catchup Tutoring After Criticism Of Provider

The national tutoring program in England is set to undergo changes as criticism mounts against the current catch-up scheme for schools. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has pledged further improvements, including the allocation of funds to headteachers. Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders, Zahawi announced that £65m would be transferred to schools from the National Tutoring Program, with money from Dutch service provider Randstad also being redirected. New data from the Department for Education reaffirms that the majority of catch-up tuition was undertaken by schools, with the government’s program to help pupils recover learning opportunities lost during the pandemic needing improvements.

Zahawi said schools would receive additional funding to support catch-up efforts. The shift in funds is aimed at increasing the amount of school-led tutoring, which has proven to be the most popular program among students. Since September 2021, schools have started 532,000 tutoring courses, compared to just 114,000 courses provided by the Randstad program. A further 74,000 courses were started by academic mentors based in schools and funded by the government.

The Department for Education claimed that the NTP is still on track to reach its target of 2 million courses by the end of the year. However, parts of the program run by Randstad have come under criticism for failing to enroll disadvantaged students. The Education Select Committee has called for Randstad’s DfE contract to be terminated unless significant improvements are made. Meanwhile, the DfE has made further adjustments, allowing tutors recruited by Randstad to teach up to six children, instead of a maximum of three in a group. The DfE has also removed its requirement that academic mentors be graduates, now stating that they must simply have A-level qualifications.

Zahawi also discussed the forthcoming white paper on schools, in which he plans to outline his reforms. He aims to ensure that all schools in England become academies and join multi-academy trusts, describing the future as one where all schools are part of a robust trust. Zahawi also expressed concern over under-performing trusts and stated that the white paper would address this matter.

Finally, the head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, voiced concerns about homeschooling during her speech on Saturday. She noted that most parents are not equipped to provide education at home and emphasized that anxiety alone should not motivate parents towards home-schooling.

Kate Taylor Obituary

Kate Taylor, a renowned educator and writer, passed away at the age of 86. She dedicated her life to studying the history of her hometown, Wakefield, and its impressive architecture. Kate, daughter of George Taylor and Dora, was one of three sisters. She excelled academically at local girls’ high school and proceeded to complete an English degree at St Anne’s College, Oxford.

During her university vacations, Kate worked as a freelance journalist for the Yorkshire Post, where she interviewed notable authors such as Kingsley Amis, Iris Murdoch, and John Braine. After graduation, Kate became pregnant, and decided to leave school because being a single mother at the time was not widely accepted. She became a teacher of secondary schools and later taught at teacher training colleges in Leeds and Barnsley. In 1978, she became the vice-principal of the newly established Barnsley Sixth Form College. Kate’s long-standing interest in journalism never abated, despite her teaching role.

During the European Architectural Heritage Year in 1975, Kate became the press officer for the Wakefield Heritage Committee, with a mandate to organize celebrations of Wakefield’s distinct history. She produced a range of articles focused on church buildings and was a frequent contributor to the Inquirer, the Unitarian newspaper. She worked extensively with the Unitarian panel on penal affairs, focusing on prison education and women’s issues. Kate was a well-known author and editor of literature on Wakefield, including the books More Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Wakefield (2003) and The Making of Wakefield (2008), and two volumes of Wakefield District Heritage. In 2005, she documented her life as a single mother in her moving autobiography, Not So Merry Wakefield. Kate was also honoured as a lay canon of Wakefield Cathedral, following the publication of her final book, Wakefield Diocese: Celebrating 125 Years (2012).

Kate was an enthusiastic fundraiser and chairperson for the Friends of the Chantry in Wakefield, and was also the president of the Wakefield Historical Society, where she edited the society’s journal and supported efforts to preserve significant buildings. She was the president of the Wakefield Civic Society, and a member of multiple historical publications in Wakefield, as well as the Gissing Trust, a small museum.

Following her passing, it was revealed that Kate had been included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2015, receiving an MBE for her community service, particularly in the preservation of Wakefield’s heritage. Kate is survived by her son, Simon, her sister, Enid, and a grandson, Barnaby.

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