Archive Monthly Archives: January 2019

Teacher training: A slow-burning fuse? – BBC News

Image copyright Daniel Hurst

It’s a simple question – whose job is it to make sure there are enough teachers in the classroom?

Your child’s headteacher, along with the governing body, is at the sharp end of filling empty jobs.

So no wonder that at many schools heads tell me it’s near the top of their worry list.

Despairing of the impact of traditional job ads, they are taking to social media and eyeing up talent they might poach from other schools.

Some are trying to grow their own, by recruiting likely candidates into teaching assistant posts and then coaxing them to train.

Others are sidling up to promising departing sixth formers to ask if they might want to come back to do some volunteering at the school while weighing up career options at university.

But ultimately the MPs on the influential Public Accounts Committee are in no doubt the buck stops with the government.

And yet their report, just published, describes a remarkable lack of reliable data to really tell officials what is going on.

Tracking training

Part of the problem has been the gulf between national statistics showing a very low vacancy level of 0.3% and what is happening on the ground in some parts of England.

When term starts there has to be someone in front of the class even if it is a temporary, or agency teacher.

So the vacancy statistic tells us nothing about who is teaching, how good they are or whether they’re just a short-term solution.

It took some time for the government to stop pointing to this statistic, and admit that schools in some areas were experiencing something rather different.

There are more ways than ever before to train as a teacher in England, with an increasing shift to more being based in schools rather than universities.

They vary from the extremely niche, such as Troops to Teachers, to the main Schools Direct programme where a school can act as a training hub for its area.

It can be confusing to navigate if you’re thinking of becoming a teacher and, for the last four years, not enough people have been recruited to meet the numbers needed.

The government is now planning to track trainees into the workforce, but for the moment there is little solid evidence of how the different training routes are working.

The same is true of the bursaries which are aimed at enticing graduates in shortage subjects into a teaching career.

As science graduates can go into well paid jobs, it’s not unreasonable to think financial incentives might make a difference.

After all, a 30,000 tax-free bursary while you train is quite a good offer.

What the MPs are asking for is better evidence the public money being spent is delivering a long-term payback.

It’s not that the government is doing nothing, rather that it’s doing many things without, the MPs suggest, being able to prove what works best.

The government has promised to make sure there are enough talented teachers recruited, wherever they’re needed.

With pupil numbers continuing to rise that’s a big promise.

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Honestly, You Shouldn’t Be Talking About Your Boyfriend All The Time

Unsplash / Dane Deaner

When you’re in a toxic relationship, you never shut up about your person. You text everyone for advice about him. You go out to dinner with friends and spend half the time complaining about him. You post depressing songs lyrics and poetry about him.

And during the good times, when you two are actually getting along for once, you use the opportunity to post pictures together on social media. To brag to your friends about how it’s all working out. To let everyone know that you’re together and that you’re.

Sometimes, couples in toxic relationships look like they’re doing better than everyone else, because they try hard to convince the world that things are okay. They are trying to prove something to themselves by making everyone else think their relationship is perfect.

But when you’re in a healthy relationship, after you’re out of the puppy love phase and have been together for a while, you forget to do those things. You don’t post regular pictures on Instagram, but they’re still there inside of your phone. You don’t tell too many stories to your friends about the cute thing he just did because he’s doing cute things and you don’t think you could keep up.

Sometimes, you’ll post a picture to your social media or let everyone know about the sweet text he just sent. But it isn’t for the likes or for the compliments you’re sure to get. It isn’t to make your ex jealous or prove to your friends that you’re doing better than they are.

You already know that you two are perfect for each other. You’re not trying to prove it to the world. You don’t care if anyone else knows how happy you are — because you two know, and you’re the only people who matter.

Since you don’t feel pressured to convince everyone you’re with a good guy, you mostly mention your person in passing. You tell a story about how you went to the zoo, and add that he was the one with you. You reach for your phone and mention he was the one who texted you.

You don’t go into detail about every single aspect of your relationship, because if you did that, your friends would get sick of you. They’d get tired of hearing about how great you have it.

Besides, you have a life of your own. You’re beyond thankful that you’ve found your forever person, but love isn’t the center of your world. That’s what makes your relationship so healthy.

When you go out with your friends, you have more to tell them about than your relationship. You’ll give them updates — but really, how much is there to say? You were happy. You’re still happy. You’re confident that you’re always going to be happy.

So you talk about other things. About your work. About your car. About your dog. About your family and other friends.

You don’t always brag about him.But that doesn’t mean you don’t love him. That doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate him.

It just means that you don’t need anyone else’s approval to realize that you have the best boyfriend in the world.

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Ballot selfie ban ruled in violation of the First Amendment

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters after speaking a voter registration rally at the University of South Florida September 6, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.
Image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Voting in New Hampshire this fall? Don’t worry, you can take a selfie and post it to Snapchat.

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a would-be ban on taking and sharing selfies and other images in voting booths.

Such actions were previously banned under New Hampshire state law, but the law was struck down in August 2015 by a federal judge, who ruled that it violated the right of free speech under the First Amendment. However, that case was on appeal.

Supporters of the ban argued that allowing cameras and the ability to take pictures inside and around voting booths could provide support for illegal voting practices, such as vote buying.

Indeed, how do you prove who you voted for if not by taking an image?

But times have changed. Those against the ban argued that vote buying was not common nor was it practical, especially in a presidential election. In fact, the Court of Appeals reported in its ruling that New Hampshire had not received complaints of vote buying or voter intimidation since “at least 1976.”

New Hampshire had not received complaints of vote buying or voter intimidation since “at least 1976.”

“Digital photography, the internet, and social media are not unknown quantities they have been ubiquitous for several election cycles, without being shown to have the effect of furthering vote buying or voter intimidation,” the ruling reads.

The case had prompted Snap Inc., the company formerly known as Snapchat, to file its first standalone amicus brief in April that supported the act of taking selfies as it is a core part of using Snapchat at voting booths.

Snapchat cited the ballot selfie as a “uniquely powerful form of political expression” and also positioned itself as a newsgatherer who has a “First Amendment interest in disseminating user-generated content.”

“Today’s ruling is a victory for free speech in the digital age.We’re thrilled the court recognized that ballot selfies are an important way for Americans especially youngerAmericans to participate in the political process,” Chris Handman, Snap’s general counsel, said in a statement to Mashable.

Snapchat has entrenched itself in the 2016 election, with daily coverage on the campaign trail and at debates. The company, in partnership with TurboVote, is currently running voter registration within the app.

Snap Head of News Peter Hamby, who hosts an election-focused show “Good Luck America” on Snapchat, shared news of the ruling on Twitter.

So, in part, we can thank Snapchat for our right to take a selfie at least in New Hampshire.

However, photography near a voting booth is still illegal in dozens of states, with specifics varying state by state.

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