No Deal Brexit a disaster for UK universities

​University leaders warn against No Deal as vital research comes under threat

University leaders have written to politicians and government to warn of the risks for research, staff and students if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

In an open letter to MPsUniversities UK, the Russell Group, Guild HE, MillionPlus and University Alliance – which collectively represent more than 150 higher education providers across the UK – say the impact of a no deal scenario could lead to “an academic, cultural and scientific setback from which it would take decades to recover.”

The letter states:

Our 50,000 EU staff and 130,000 EU students, not to mention the 15,000 UK students studying in Europe, are starting the new year facing significant uncertainty about their futures.

Vital research links will be compromised, from new cancer treatments to technologies combatting climate change. The valuable exchange of students, staff and knowledge would be seriously damaged. And we share the concerns of business about the impact of no deal on everything from supply chains to security and travel.

In their letter, the university leaders say the government needs to “demonstrate the required ambition, put the right measures and guarantees in place, and, crucially, avoid the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on 29 March.” As a matter of urgency, they call for a guarantee that research funding from which the UK may be excluded at the end of March will be replaced.

European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) schemes will be worth an estimated €1.3 billion to the UK over the next two years, and fund vital scientific discovery, including in developing new cancer treatments and to combat climate change. The UK is currently the most successful country in hosting ERC grantees, ahead of Germany, but would immediately become ineligible in the event of no deal.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “We are home to one of the best research systems in the world, attractive to stellar academics, top students and global partnerships, and we must not let this be compromised by a no deal Brexit. Time is running out to make decisions on issues which will ultimately affect the country and society as a whole.

“While we welcome the assurances that the government has already provided about the continuation of Horizon 2020 funding in a no deal scenario, it is critical that similar guarantees are extended, without delay, to cover ERC and MSCA funding.

“Without cast-iron assurances, world-leading academics and researchers may leave for countries where access to ERC funding is not at risk, and those currently considering relocating to the UK may think again.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: “University research is at the forefront of scientific and medical breakthroughs and many are only possible through EU research collaborations, on projects led by UK universities.

“At the University of Manchester, vital and transformative research programmes risk being disrupted, such as our work on proton-beam therapy for cancer patients, which allows more precise targeting of tumour sites and minimises damage to surrounding tissue, and our Nobel-prize winning work on graphene, the strongest, thinnest and most versatile material ever identified.

“Leaving the EU without a deal would be a serious setback for these fields of discovery and many more, from the arts and social sciences to engineering and nuclear research. Researchers who have already spent months or even years preparing funding bids would be left high and dry, including those whose application would be stuck in the middle of the evaluation process.”

Parents refusing RE classes for their kids due to Anti Muslim sentiments.

Mothers and Fathers in Essex are stopping their kids attending RE  lessons on Islam and also preventing them from visiting local  mosques as school trips, a report for the council has found.

This depressing trend has been discovered in the area of Thurrock, a stronghold for Ukip  fans, where a new report warns of “integration issues” within the local community.

The report, from the standing advisory council for RE  (SACRE), a group that advises on RE in schools, calls for a full investigation to understand the full extent of withdrawals.

It says:  “Parents have objected to the teaching of Islam and have taken children from lessons & visits to places of worship. Its so hard to believe “

“The result is that those children, who clearly are those that most need to be taught to understand Islam, are missing out.”

It added: “It is not clear how widespread  this issue is in Thurrock, but what is  clear is that this needs to be investigate.

“Schools have a statutory duty to promote community cohesion.”

Tackling hate crime has always been a priority in Thurrock – where the largest amount of attacks have been against the Muslim community – but still some schools have experienced “tensions”.

Thurrock was  a big supporter of Brexit , it actually was the 4th highest in the UK – with a whopping 72.3%  of the electorate voting to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum.

During the general election campaign of 2017, former Nigel Farage of UKIP  visited the constituency with the party’s then candidate Tim Aker, who is an  MEP.

But all is not rosy in the UKIP garden , in January 2017  all 17 Ukip councillors in Thurrock resigned from the party and formed a new group, Thurrock Independents. They now provides the main official opposition to the ruling  Tory majority.

The Census in 2011 revealed that only 2 per cent of the population in Thurrock is Muslim.

SACRE is due to address Thurrock Council as soon as possible  about its fears over Islamophobic parents pulling children out of RE lessons.

A representitive for the Muslim Council of Britain told the Thurrock Gazette: “In an ever increasingly diverse society, it seems obvious that is crucial  to learn about each other’s faith & cultures, to  help develop greater understanding between communities.

“In particular, as hostility towards Muslim communities remains widespread and more young people are brought up with inaccurate views about Muslims, we believe visits to mosques are an important way to help resolve misunderstandings.”

The report comes after teachers warned in April last year that parents were increasingly abusing the right to withdraw their children from religious education lessons due to their prejudices.

The while thing is just hugely depressing.

Student need to be Steadfast & Consistent in their Work.

The world is a highly competitive place for Students  and they  have been warned they need to be steadfast & consistent in their studies, so as to come  up  to the world standards. Decision making must be informed.

A legal practitioner, Mrs. Ariola Awokoya and Senior Manager, Sustainability and Climate, PWC , Mrs. Morries Atoki,  gave the speech during the tenth year anniversary of De Beautiful Beginning School (DBBS), which also featured the unveiling of the school logo.

Speed, diligence and consistency are essential in achieving results in this modern era according to Mrs. Ariola Awokoya , adding that being focused & consistent will  aid them to conquer the  challenges of life.

The story of the “Tortoise and the Hare,” is a good example of the correct approach Awokoya said: “The underlying message of the children story  is that being fast and consistent, slow and steady are good but strategy & team work is best. So, you have to maximise your strength and capacity by applying all you have been learned.”

Atoki, while inspiring parents to guide their kids in the act of steadfastness and consistency, said: “Studies have shown that the first stage of a child’s education is critical to what the child would be. Show me a person  diligent in his career, for he shall stand before kings. So, parents must guide their children well and encourage them even in their choice of career.

Schools budgets feeling the squeeze

Nearly 33% of local authority of schools in the UK cannot cover their daily running costs a study suggests.

This is a fourfold increase in the amount of schools in that position in the last four years according to The Education Policy Institute.

Nearly half a million pounds to the average debt of such schools but the Department of Education states that across all school types nearly 90% of schools are in surplus.

David Laws, chairman of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said the latest school budget figures, for the term of 2017 to 18, showed a “marked deterioration”.

‘Financial Squeeze’

Geoff Barton the Head teachers’ leader said the study showed funding levels were “not realistic” and many education institutions  were now facing a “financial cliff edge”.

Mr Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, warned that without much more funding for schools things will just get worse and worse.

Secondary schools present their own unique problems according to the EPI with about a tenth of  local authority secondary schools having budget deficits  of more than 10% of their income.

The government should first ensure they  support schools facing such “excessive” funding difficulties before allocating funds to schools in surplus.

The think tank says it is difficult to establish directly comparable figures for individual academies that are part of multi-academy trusts but 50% of secondary academies have in-year deficits.

The report also highlights the unevenness of funding levels.

All is not bad news, there is many schools running a surplus totaling a whopping 1.8 billion pounds that includes believe it or believe it not 250 million that has not been allocated for expenditure.

Sliding into debt

But the National Education Union says that funding is not keeping pace with rising cost pressures – and that since 2015 the school system has 326,000 more pupils.

They have complained of so called   voluntary contributions  from parents been used to fill the gaps.

They  charge the Department for Education and the Treasury of  sloganeering while schools were drowning in debt.

To add insult to injury schools deep in dept are been asked to provide more and more services in relation to  special needs etc in their schools.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner has tried to hold the Government to account in Parliament but Brexit has made progress on any of these issues impossible


Spending in schools on teacher training has dropped for 1st time in 10 years due to budget pressures

Schools’ expenditure on teacher training in the UK has fallen for the 1st time this decade despite  the profession having a major retention problem, research finds.

Budget constraints  are forcing schools to cut their staff training  budgets, a report says.

Analysis requested by the education charity Teacher Development Trust, established that budgets for teacher training have reduced by and eight or 12%  in secondary schools and 7 per cent in primary schools.

Across the UK  investment in continuing professional development  varies massively from county to county.

Lets look at a school in Bury. They allocate less than £165 per teacher but secondary schools in Barking and Dagenham allocate 5X that amount of money on teacher training.

Other  schools starved of funds  have cut spending on books, pens , paper , computers and other  L & D resources  in an effort to try and fund training  for teachers, the research found.

John Collier, director of teaching and learning for St. Bart’s Academy Trust in Stoke-on-Trent, has cut back on stationery and books to fund teacher development. He warned: “If funding continues to get tighter, we’ll struggle to fund professional development at the current levels.”

David Weston, CEO of the Teacher Development Trust said: “Schools are facing significant funding issues, which are forcing them to spend less on CPD for teachers. This is a great concern, particularly at a time when teacher retention and job satisfaction are big issues.

“We know that CPD is linked to improved results for pupils, plus better staff morale and retention.

“Funding pressures are clearly showing on schools – first they’ve been cutting glue sticks and computers and now headteachers are having to cut investment in staff.”

Teacher’s Unions are up in arms about this, they point out that there is more teachers leaving the profession than entering it and at the end of the day it is students who will suffer.

For more information on this check out his article on Teacher Training in The Independent newspaper

Travel while getting paid

Traveling broadens the mind but it can be hard to get time to travel when holding down a full time job. OK teaching allows you to have good holidays but even 2 months free every summer may not be enough to satisfy your travel bug. You can of course take a few years off and travel the world but that costs.

Lets be clear , when we talk about traveling we are not talking about 2 weeks in the Costa Del where ever !! When we talk about travel we are talking about spending enough time in a country to really soak up the culture, meet the locals and ok get a really good tan as well.

As I said it can be very hard to do this while only having a few month off a year.

What to do ?

Well one of the advantages of been a teacher is you can of course teach while traveling. Teaching English in a foreign country is a very popular option taken by many people who want to travel and earn money while doing it.

If for example spending a year in Vietnam appeals to you then you can go there for a year and teach English. Teaching in Vietnam allows you plenty of time off, the money you earn is more then enough to allow you to explore the country and live well.

Teach to Beach is a company who will organise work for you in Vietnam, you need the follow qualifications

  • You must be a native English speaker
  • Any bachelor’s degree.( Very few exceptions). Does not have to be teaching related.
  • Completion of TEFL/TESOL online course. We will advise on the best path here.
  • Some teaching experience is helpful but not a necessity.
  • Clean Criminal record.
  • Good health ( There will be an extensive health examination on arrival).

So what are you waiting for , there are many other teaching options available to you while working abroad.

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