Today's news

June 11, 2002

Fine universities that ignore AS levels, teachers’ leader says
Universities should face financial penalties if they do not recognise students’ AS-level grades when offering places, David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said yesterday. (The Independent)

‘Big four’ pull away as research income rises
Total research income for UK universities increased steadily last year, but the “big four” – Oxford University, University College London, Imperial College, London and Cambridge University – are pulling away from the rest of the Russell Group pack. (The Guardian)

Cuts harm NHS plans, BMA says
Plans to bolster the National Health Service by increasing sharply the number of doctors are being jeopardised by cuts in medical school funding, the British Medical Association warned yesterday. Changes in their funding formula mean that between a third and a half of medical schools face cuts just as the number of medical students is being boosted by 56 per cent. (The Financial Times, The Times) 

Brown promises cash for reforms
Cash will be pumped into education, science and transport, chancellor Gordon Brown said yesterday. He stressed that reforms would be needed in return for the extra investment, which is to be confirmed in July. (The Daily Mirror)

What’s the best way to get a job?
Which courses and universities make the most employable graduates? (The Guardian)

Heading off conflicts of interest
After a rash of high-profile ethical controversies, Rory Daly and John Wakeford suggest a code of practice for academics working with industrial sponsors. (The Guardian)

Taking over the university
Steven Schwartz, the head of Brunel University, plans to slice through red tape and and empower the institution. (The Guardian)

Fiction makes for lucid dreams
People who regularly read novels and short stories have stranger dreams than those who prefer non-fiction. A study of 10,000 people, led by Mark Blagrove of the University of Wales, Swansea, found that fans of fantasy novels were more likely to experience lucid dreams, in which they were aware that they were dreaming, and children who read horror books and thrillers were three times more likely to suffer nightmares. Children’s dreams are influenced more than those of adults by television viewing. (The Daily Telegraph, The Independent)

Ketchup a cancer killer?
Tomato ketchup may help cut the risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis. A study by Joseph Levy of Ben-Gurion University in Israel has found that lycopene and two other tomato nutrients, phytophene and phytofluene, helped stop the growth of cancerous cells. Another study, by Leticia Rao of the University of Toronto, found that a diet rich in tomatoes could also help prevent osteoporosis. She found that lycopene, which may protect against prostate cancer in men, prevents the activity of oestoclasts, cells that destroy bone. (The Daily Mail)

Exam stress causes pupil to flee
A headteacher has told the National Association of Head Teachers that the stress caused by having to take five AS-level exams in one day had led one of his star pupils to flee an exam hall in tears. (The Daily Mail)

Scholar of Victorian literature dies
Arthur Pollard, a literary scholar who deplored the decline of A levels and defended tradition in education and the church, has died, aged 79. He taught Victorian literature at Hull University. (The Daily Telegraph)

Time for state schools to change
Private schools have transformed themselves to meet demand. So must the state sector, argues Francis Green, an associate of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economic and professor of economics at the University of Kent. (The Financial Times)

Tests narrow scope of teaching
Libby Purves argues that the exams regime means we are teaching testing, not thinking. (The Times)       

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