School-university partnerships: fragile and fragmented, but still worth fighting for

Toby Greany

It’s no great secret that partnerships between schools and universities are in a state of flux. Historical relationships are being reshaped by the push for a self-improving school-led system in England in particular, with the rapid expansion of School Direct giving schools a stronger role in Initial Teacher Education (ITE).

I have led two recent studies designed to track and make sense of these changes. The first was funded by RCUK and NCCPE and undertaken in partnership with Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities: it looked at school-university partnerships in the round across the UK, for example including Widening Participation and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiatives. The second was undertaken with Dr Chris Brown and funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund and the participating schools. It looked at how four current and emerging Teaching Schools in England are working with their partner Read more ›

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Posted in Leadership and management

Consenting or consuming? What kind of sexuality is 50 Shades of Grey selling to young women?

Emilie Lawrence and Jessica Ringrose

On 8th March we celebrated International Women’s Day – a day to reflect on just how far we have come in achieving equality. This presents a good opportunity to discuss how the intricacies of sexual and emotional relationships are navigated in two of the biggest blockbuster films and novels in recent times – 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight. These representations raise questions over how we engage in a meaningful dialogue with young people about sexuality in a world where stories like these reign supreme

From toilet rolls to sex toys, 50 Shades of Grey spin-offs show that the support for the trilogy has been huge and the backlash even bigger. The book has been criticised for romanticising domestic violence, mental health issues, and for its childish repertoire of words used to describe body parts, experiences and sex. But the pressing question about the enormous success of the book trilogy and now the first instalment of the movie is why now?

Why during a period of proclaimed postfeminist equality for women and girls in education, work, and the public sphere do Read more ›

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Posted in Social sciences and social policy, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Why are girls in the UK doing so much less well than boys in school science?

Michael Reiss

An education report from the OECD is nowadays nearly always big news, and today’s on Gender Equality in Education is no exception. Gender has always been important in education. What the report shows, which will surprise some, and should concern all of us, is that new gender gaps in education are opening up. These are particularly apparent in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Some indication of the magnitude of some of these gender differences is indicated by the finding that in OECD countries in 2012, only 14% of young women who entered university for the first time chose science-related fields of study, including engineering, manufacturing and construction. However, 39% of young men who entered university that year chose to Read more ›

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Posted in International comparisons, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Early school leaving still blights English education

Andy Green

Early school leaving has always been a blight on the English education system. Throughout the nineteenth century children  tended to leave school earlier than elsewhere in northern Europe. This continued well after the 1944 Education Act introduced free ‘secondary education for all’. By the early 1980s, barely more than 30% of 16-18 year olds were in full-time education and training, compared with well over 70% in Japan, Sweden and the USA. The proportion gaining a higher level qualification was also relatively low. UK-wide, only10% gained three A levels compared with over 20% gaining the Abitur in Germany and an even higher proportion achieving the Baccalauréat in France.

Wanting to understand this startling disparity, along with the exceptional underdevelopment of vocational education and training in Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education, Social sciences and social policy
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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