Schemes to spot brightest state pupils 'highly dubious'
Top universities are wasting precious time and money on inefficient and ineffective schemes to spot the brightest pupils in state schools, according to the country's foremost champion of special education for talented children. Deborah Eyre, director of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, told a seminar in London yesterday that a co-ordinated, national scheme was needed to replace "well-meaning, expensive and misplaced" initiatives run by individual institutions. Arguing that university-run schemes were usually limited to small groups from particular schools, often in the local area, Professor Eyre said the selection process for choosing these groups was "sometimes highly dubious".
Royal Society attacked for 'negative' open access stance
A group of 46 distinguished scientists, including Nobel laureate James Watson, yesterday strongly criticised the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, for its "negative" attitude to new online methods of publishing research. The row has erupted over so-called "open access" agreements, under which scientists agree to make their findings freely available on the internet as well as, or instead of, publishing them in academic journals.
The Guardian, The Times Higher (December 9)
LSE director at event that led to £30,000 rampage
Little did Howard Davies know that when he turned up as the star guest of “the most debauched, primal, shocking event” on the London School of Economics calendar that it would fulfil its billing literally, causing £30,000 in damage. Twenty-four hours after the LSE director expressed regret for “the damage and disturbance caused by a number of our students”, photographs have revealed that Mr Davies, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, also attended the event.
More Scots choose to go on to university
The proportion of Scottish school leavers going to university or college rose slightly from 50 per cent to 52 per cent this year. The rise was entirely in the higher education sector, which was the destination for 31 per cent of the 55,952 young Scots who left state schools. The percentage going to further education remained steady at 21 per cent. The proportion of girls entering university or college increased from 56 per cent to 59 per cent, while the figure for boys crept up from 44 per cent to 45 per cent.
Oxford Brookes dean killed by train
A university dean died when he was hit by a train, it has been confirmed. Simon Williams, 53, was the dean of Oxford Brookes University's business school. He was killed when a train struck him on the track at around 6.30am on the busy commuter line between Radley and Oxford on Tuesday. Thames Valley police say the incident is not being treated as suspicious and an inquest into the death is expected to be opened by Oxford coroner Nicholas Gardiner later this week following a postmortem examination.
Dog's DNA secrets
Tasha the boxer is about to help reveal why dogs have been man's trusted companions and hunting partners throughout recorded history. Researchers have compiled the 12-year-old's DNA recipe, bringing scientists a step closer to finding the genetic causes of diseases common to all mammals and identifying the differences between dog breeds.
Daily Telegraph , The Guardian , The Times
Why four legs are better than two on the bend
Human sprinters cannot sustain their top-end speed while running a curve but greyhounds can, scientists have found. A study undertaken at the Royal Veterinary College, in North Mymms, Hertfordshire, has demonstrated that the dogs barely change their stride while negotiating a corner. Humans running a bend must increase the amount of time that their feet stay in contact with the ground.
The Times , The Guardian