Today's news

October 7, 2002

Universities try US-style test after A-level fiasco
Universities are considering the introduction of US-style aptitude tests to help them select students after the A-level grading fiasco. Trials of the Scholastic Aptitude Test have started at several universities as admissions tutors seek a more accurate way to identify talented students. (Times)

A-level pupil sues exam board
A former pupil of Marlborough College has become the first student to sue an exam board over the A-level fiasco. Tom Hill is taking legal action against the Oxford Cambridge and RSA board. His case could open the way to thousands of similar claims. (Telegraph, Guardian)

Delay in university funding costs jobs
Universities are being forced to make staff redundant because they still do not know how much money they will get from the government, vice-chancellors have said. Tony Blair’s decision to postpone publication of a review of student fees and loans has also left universities in the dark about their share of nearly £13 billion allotted to education in the Comprehensive Spending Review. (Times)

Tories reveal new ideas for education
Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the Conservative Party, has revealed his plans for education at the party’s conference in Bournemouth. State scholarships will be introduced to break the monopoly link between state funding of education and state provision of schools. Starting with inner cities, parents and other groups will be able to establish new schools for which pupils would receive state scholarships. (Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Independent)

Prince condemns disinheritance of pupils
The Prince of Wales has attacked teaching in schools as so shallow-rooted that an entire generation is in danger of becoming culturally disinherited. During a weekend conference convened by the prince, a succession of eminent speakers said creativity and great literature were being squeezed out of the classroom and history teaching was ignoring the big picture. (Telegraph)

Headmaster attacks geek culture that destroys teachers
The headmaster of Downside, one of Britain’s leading Roman Catholic public schools, has condemned the government’s policy on education, saying that it has been taken over by a "geek culture" of box-ticking bureaucrats. As a result, pupils and parents were neurotic with worry and teachers themselves were being destroyed by paperwork, said Dom Anthony Sutch, who is a Benedictine monk. (Telegraph)

University finds 500 unseen Beatles photos
Hundreds of previously unseen photographs of the Beatles have been found in an archive at Dundee University. The photographs, showing the band on the brink of stardom in the 1960s, were taken by Michael Peto, a Hungarian photojournalist, whose archive of 130,000 negatives was given to the university more than 30 years ago. (Telegraph, Times, Guardian)

Parents pay for children's degrees
Parents are increasingly using their retirement savings and taking second jobs to help to pay for their children’s university education, according to a new study commissioned by the investment company AXA. (Times)

Harvard puts pressure on cash-strapped alumni
Harvard Business School is trying to raise $500 million from its alumni by the end of 2005 to improve its facilities and programmes and stay ahead of the competition. (Financial Times)

Medical school doctors threaten resignation
Doctors are threatening mass resignation from King’s College London, one of the country’s top medical schools, if it goes ahead with a plan to sell one of the most desirable sites in London to the Aga Khan. Medical staff will march on Downing Street today to ask the prime minister to intervene. The site is opposite the Houses of Parliament. (Times)

Eartha gives up throne to Pitt and Hurd
The film star Brad Pitt has replaced Eartha Kitt as a way of speaking furtively of one of our two commonest bodily functions. Douglas Hurd has also deposed Richard III in the new Oxford Dictionary of Rhyming Slang. (Guardian)

Lost episode angers St Hilda's
The principal of the only all-women Oxford College is demanding an apology from Channel 4 after it chopped an episode from the documentary series, College Girls . The missing episode shows a vote by the student body against admitting men, and girls talking frankly about their sexuality. Tim Gardam, head of programmes at Channel 4, is reported to have disowned the series. (Telegraph)

Universities setting targets for pupils from state schools
Universities have set targets to dramatically increase their intake from state schools at the expense of bright pupils from fee-paying schools. (Daily Mail)

A third of students are cheats
Up to one in three students may receive a degree on the basis of work they copied from friends or the internet, research has shown. The surge in cheating has prompted the government to spend £500,000 on an American sleuthing service which traps copycats by checking their essays against a massive database. (Daily Mail)

Historian dies
John Fage, a historian of west Africa who established a new academic field, has died aged 81. He was the founding director of the Centre of West African Studies at Birmingham University, which remains one of Britain's leading research centres in the field. (Guardian)

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