Today's news

July 8, 2003

Ofsted fails to make impression
Ofsted inspection has had no positive effect on examination achievement, according to new research that studied more than 3,000 schools over six years. A four-strong team of researchers from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, reporting in the British Educational Research Journal, examined the GCSE results of 1,933 mixed-sex comprehensive schools (among the 3,000-plus state schools of all types studied) over a period of six academic years between 1992 and 1997.

Bitter-sweet vindication for medical student
A medical student has won a 10-month fight with exam board OCR to have his A-level chemistry upgraded from a B to an A, but the victory came too late for him to secure a  place to study medicine at Cambridge.

Only 16 taboo words left
Everyday conversation is now so foul-mouthed that only a handful of words can be considered truly taboo, according to the authors of the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary. There are now, it appears, only 16 taboo words in use in English, including the f-word and c-word. According to Collins, the use of asterisks to soften the effects of industrial Anglo-Saxon may soon become a historical nicety as modern discourse sinks ever deeper into the mire.
(Daily Telegraph)

Renaissance of the wildflowers
Cornflower, pheasant's eye, weasel's snout, shepherd's needle and other rare arable weeds may be about to stage a return, English Nature said yesterday. Plants that were once widespread, but were killed off by sprays or better seed-cleaning techniques, are now among the rarest of Britain's wild flowers, representing a fifth of those targeted for conservation action. The government's conservation advisers say there is now the opportunity to bring some of them back under Europe's farm policy reforms.
(Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent)

Durham v-c addresses 'misunderstandings'
Letter from Durham vice-chancellor Kenneth Calman in response to reports on 4 and 5 July describing proposed changes.
(Daily Telegraph)

Madison avenue
Senior education figures are checking out the University of Wisconsin as a possible model for British universities in the future.

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