Ofsted brands three colleges as costly failures

April 7, 2004

Scholars thwart spies, says academic
Academic hostility to the UK's intelligence services is blighting efforts to defend western liberal democracy against the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism, a leading scholar has claimed. Speaking yesterday at the Political Studies Association conference, Anthony Glees, professor of politics and director of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University, said that part of the blame for the failure of security agencies had to be shouldered by academics. He said the same attitudes had prompted dozens of British academics to help the East German Stasi during the 1980s before the collapse of communism.
( Times Higher, Financial Times )

Ruling leaves Oxford blue
The coveted Oxford Blue award was always thought to be for those who competed in sports against Cambridge. Now anyone can have one. Yesterday a judge ruled that use of the term by a Birmingham clothing manufacturer was permissible. The university asked William Trott, a trademarks registrar, to rule that a trademark secured by HS Tank & Sons Ltd was invalid. He ruled that while Oxford owned a reputation in the term, it enjoyed no goodwill to prevent HS Tank exploiting it - because the university had never traded in the name.
( Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times )

Multiple choice is killing maths
Southampton University lecturer Matthew Wright says that too many maths students arrive at university without knowing enough fundamentals because they can pick and choose their A-level exam answers.
( Daily Telegraph )

Try the test that students may take
With mounting government pressure on universities to take account of applicants' potential, it may not be long before sixthformers are required to take a US-style aptitude test. Readers are invited to attempt a selection of 16 questions.
( Daily Telegraph )

Scientists clash over badger cull trial
Scientists fell out yesterday over government trials to see if tuberculosis in cattle can be controlled by killing badgers, suspected of carrying the disease. The review group, led by Charles Godfray, director of the Centre for Population Biology at Imperial College, London, criticises the time taken to deliver the results, and the possibility that they will be inconclusive. The scientists running the trials, led by John Bourne, former director of the Institute for Animal Health, said the criticisms were based on "fundamental misunderstandings".
( Independent )

Chocoholics have happier babies
Women who eat chocolate while they are pregnant give birth to happier and more active babies. Chocolate also seems to benefit the babies of women who are stressed during pregnancy, making the infants less fearful, scientists from Finland said in New Scientist magazine yesterday.
( Guardian, Daily Telegraph )

Cumbrian red squirrels face extinction
Researchers at Newcastle University have found that the red squirrels in the Lake District are a distinct subspecies and warned yesterday that they may become extinct within 20 years. The study, which compared the genetic make up of more than 200 squirrel hides in museums in Britain, Holland, Italy, Spain and Sweden, is published in the journal Conservation Genetics.
(Dail y Telegraph, Times, Financial Times )

Comments and letters
- The inquiry in to university admissions led by Steven Schwartz. ( Guardian )
- Sir Graham Hills talks writes on the positive prospects from top-up fees. ( Times )
- UK MBA courses enrich the world. ( Financial Times )

- Larry Trask, professor of linguistics at Sussex University, died on March 2004, aged 59. ( Independent )
- Sara García-Peralta, modern language teacher and manager, died of cancer on February 21 2004, aged 56. ( Guardian )

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