Month: July 2016

What should be our new Education Secretary’s top priorities?

What should be our new Education Secretary’s top priorities? Education professionals and readers respond to this question from The Guardian newspaper, but what would be yours?

Crossfields Institute shares the concern of Koen Lamberts, Richard Evans and many others in Higher Education about the impact of “Brexit” on collaborative research work and access to UK HE institutions by overseas students. Both of these bring diversity and depth to our universities and HE Institutes. We also hope that Justine Greening will take seriously the question “what will actually be best for children, teachers and parents?” and encourage her department to be open to creative, learner-centred approaches to education for all ages.

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The education secretary, Justine Greening. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

As a heatwave and end-of term-in England coincide…

As a heatwave and end-of term-in England coincide, our thoughts turn to the pleasure of being outdoors. Outdoor learning can improve student well-being at any time of the year, and this link provides tips for teachers to do just that:
https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2016/jul/17/tips-tricks-teachers-how-outdoor-learning-boosts-student-wellbeing

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Our outdoor education experts discuss how taking education outside can benefit students academically and emotionally. Photograph: Datacraft/Sozaijiten/Alamy

“Merchants of Knowledge”?

In this article, A J Angulo provides a view of the marketisation of higher education and a quick summary of its history. Socrates warned us against creating “Merchants of Knowledge”. On that point, we wonder: what have we learnt from the current situation? As an independent Awarding Organisation, a Higher and Research Education Institute, the question of widening access to high quality education is on our agenda every day. In the current financial and political climate, how do we provide for education in a format that allows access to as many people as possible? We have very good reasons to believe that what we offer makes a positive contribution to society and we want to offer what we have developed to all those who are ready to engage. We are not about to create a consumer-supplier relationship with those people. But intelligent, innovative solutions are urgently needed. We are working on it. Are you? Join us and tell us what you think.

https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/jul/06/dont-turn-students-into-consumers-the-us-proves-its-a-recipe-for-disaster

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Trump University has hit the headlines due to recent lawsuits. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

European Commission states: No immediate change for Erasmus+ programmes in the UK

There is no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ Programme following the EU referendum result and the UK National Agency will continue to manage and deliver the Programme across the UK. All participants and beneficiaries in the school education sector should continue with their Erasmus+ funded activities and preparation for the published application deadlines – in 2016 and 2017. This position is supported by the statement from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, published on 28 June 2016. His statement also outlines some initial information regarding the UK’s future access to the Erasmus+ programme and we will update all those involved in the programme when further information becomes available. The European Commission (EC) has also published an update on their Erasmus+ website here which links to an article on the UK’s status within the EU here.

Top Universities to offer full degrees online in 5 years

The BBC is reporting that top universities will be offering online undergraduate degrees within the next 5 years, something they have been reluctant to do until now. The rising costs of university education will make this an attractive offer to many young people particularly.  We believe that online Higher Education, or blended learning with a mix of online and face to face can work very well, as long as students are well supported, have ready access to tutors and an engaged peer group. An example of this is our HE programme: Researching Holistic Approaches to Agroecology which invites students from all over the world, is mainly online with an annual meeting and is for anyone interested in taking a research approach to the environment and agriculture.

Here is the BBC article:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36703778

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Is school education about preparing young people for coping with change?

In this article, Oltermann is bringing our attention to a school in Berlin that boldly states: “The mission of a progressive school should be to prepare young people to cope with change, or better still, to make them look forward to change. In the 21st century, schools should see it as their job to develop strong personalities.” This is an interesting case study for us as we go into the second phase of the development of a new Diploma for 14-19 year olds.

Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/no-grades-no-timetable-berlin-school-turns-teaching-upside-down

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A teacher with a pupil at the Evangelical School Berlin Centre. Photograph: Handout