From today's UK papers

March 8, 2002

Plea for Blair's help over education cash
Education secretary Estelle Morris is expected to appeal to prime minister Tony Blair to help her secure extra cash from chancellor Gordon Brown for education in the next spending round. There is concern within the Department for Education and Skills that Ms Morris lacks the strength to stand up to the Treasury, which has signalled that it does not see education as the highest priority in July's spending review. (Financial Times)

£10m 'bribe' for colleges that take poorer students
Universities are to be "bribed" to accept more working-class students as part of a new drive to widen access to higher education. The amount of additional money paid to English universities for taking students from neighbourhoods where few go on to higher education is being increased by about a quarter, to £47 million a year. (Times)

Deep cuts raise fears of two-tier university system
Severe cuts in funding for many former polytechnics announced yesterday by the Higher Education Funding Council for England are opening up the prospect of a two-tier university system. Traditional universities, which are heavily oversubscribed, were told they could recruit up to five per cent more students, most of whom would otherwise go to a "new" university. (Daily Telegraph)

Badly performing institutions to shut
Further education colleges face a shake-up in which poor performers are closed and others are encouraged to specialise, the government announced yesterday. Guidelines to be published next week will introduce sanctions on colleges that have been heavily criticised by inspectors. (Times)

Work longer, live longer, says research
People who go on working longer live longer, according to research by an insurance industry body. The finding, from the Continuous Mortality Investigation, a research group set up to monitor trends in longevity, contradicts a popular assumption that retiring late imposes strains that can trigger earlier death. (Financial Times)

Oxford team pinpoints anthrax treatments
Graham Richards, head of chemistry at Oxford University, will today hand over a computer disc containing details of 300,000 molecules to the US Defense Department. The chemicals are candidates for development as treatments for anthrax identified during a four-week period in which 3.5 billion drug-like molecules were screened through a distributed computer project, using idle "screensaver time" on 1.4 million personal computers worldwide. (Financial Times)

Chief scientist advocates more nuclear power
Nuclear power requires a renaissance in the next decade to allow Britain to combat global warming, the government's chief scientist argued yesterday. "The key new driver is climate change," said David King. "It seems clear to me that our dependence on fossil fuels would be unchanged unless there is a new nuclear build, at least to replace existing nuclear power stations." (Independent)

Poll win for Dutch academic maverick
Dutch voters yesterday propelled the maverick Pim Fortuyn into power in the city of Rotterdam, making it increasingly possible that the polemic academic could play a critical role in shaping the next Dutch government. (Financial Times)

Property ladder too steep for first-timers
Young people are having to wait an extra five years to buy their first home, as they are squeezed out of the market by booming property prices and the proliferation of landlords buying to let, according to a report released yesterday. New research from Halifax, Britain's biggest mortgage lender, showed that the average age of the first-time buyer in 2001 was 34, up from 29 in 1974. Only 11 per cent of homebuyers were younger than 25, against 32 per cent during the late 1980s housing bubble, when first-time buyers piled into property at a rate of almost 1 million a year. (Guardian)

Woodhead's blueprint to rescue schools
Under the banner of "Trust parents, empower the consumer", Chris Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools, today proposes a radical prescription for the future of what he sees as a failing education system. His new book, Class War, he says we are living in an education cloud-cuckoo-land of easier exams delivering inflated results, when the reality is that standards are not good enough. (Daily Telegraph)


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