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Stalled social skills, ruptured learning

Faculty of Education News
Monday 28 November
School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have “severely ruptured” the social and emotional development of some of the world’s poorest children, as well as their academic progress, new evidence shows.

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Most young people’s well-being falls sharply in first years of secondary school

Faculty of Education News
Wednesday 23 November
Research based on data from 11,000 students charted an across-the-board fall in well-being, regardless of circumstances, between ages 11 and 14.

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World’s poorest children missing out on ‘crucial’ early childhood education

Faculty of Education News
Monday 14 November
Chronic underfunding of care and education in the first few years of life is holding back children’s healthy development in the world’s poorest countries, a new report shows.

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Faculty-supported work on ‘hologram patients’ named as one of the best inventions of 2022

Medics with a hologram patient
Friday 11 November
A new approach to medical training which involves expert contributions from members of the Faculty of Education has been included in Time Magazine’s 200 Best Inventions of 2022.

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Plug and play: Music education’s not-so-quiet revolution

Student on Ableton push device
Monday 7 November
Digital technology has yet to redefine music education, but there is growing awareness that it could. Jennie Francis, who leads the Secondary PGCE Music course at the Cambridge, and James Tuck - a musician, educator and Cambridge graduate - explain how music technology could make the subject more exciting and accessible than ever before.

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Not just about headteachers: getting to grips with leadership and learning

Teacher in classroom
Tuesday 25 October
Leading and learning are often mentioned in the same breath – but when we talk about ‘leadership’ in education, what (and who) do we mean? In January, the University of Cambridge will be running a course for current professionals on  ‘Leadership for Learning with Dialogue’. Drawing on decades of international research on the subject, its aim is to equip teachers and other practitioners with a working knowledge of what it means to ‘lead’ for learning – and how this can enable meaningful and positive changes in schools, universities and beyond.

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Poor professional development may explain failure of push to promote physical health in primary schools

Children in a PE lesson
Monday 24 October
The government’s £320 million drive to help primary schools promote children’s physical health is in danger of failing because most of the teacher development it funds is ineffective, new research on similar initiatives suggests.

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Could a Latin American-style community takeover inspire new solutions in Britain's least equal city?

Faculty of Education News
Wednesday 19 October
A group of Cambridge students are organising a Latin American-inspired ‘community takeover’ of part of their university, to explore how the approach might help to address inequalities within the city.

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"Tink" outside the box: Lessons learned from trials with Tinkering in lifelong scientific learning

Faculty of Education News
Friday 14 October
The outcomes of a pan-European project which trialled the hands-on learning approach known as ‘Tinkering’ show that it could be used to develop the STEM skills of adults who are underserved and underrepresented in those subjects.

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Assessments of thinking skills may misrepresent poor, inner-city children in the US

Faculty of Education News
Wednesday 12 October
Some assessment tools which measure children’s thinking skills may have provided inaccurate information about poor, urban students because they are modelled on wealthier – mostly white – populations.

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Students in Rwanda confound pandemic predictions and head back to school

Students going to school in Rwanda
Friday 7 October
Data from Rwanda, including some of the first published information on school enrolment rates in the Global South since the COVID-19 outbreak, suggest a widely-predicted spike in drop-outs has ‘not materialised’. Researchers warn, however, that a slower-than-expected decline in numbers may now be underway.

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Kids should talk about Bruno

Encanto logo c. Disney
Saturday 17 September
Disney’s Encanto could be ‘cinematherapy’ for children coping with the psychological effects of trauma, a new professional analysis suggests.

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Research project to examine how children’s literature can fuel stigmatisation of single mums

Mother and child
Wednesday 14 September
The often-unconscious role that children’s literature plays in kick-starting the “casual marginalisation” of single mothers is to be systematically analysed for the first time in a new research project.

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Not like the books? How Netflix’s Sandman takes on gatekeeper fandom and hits a “home run”

Sandman from the Netflix show
Wednesday 31 August
Faculty researcher and comics expert Joe Sutliff Sanders discusses his early passion for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and how Netflix’s new adaptation challenges ideas about who ‘owns’ comics and culture.

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Free resources for early years professionals identify ‘common elements’ that cultivate essential cognitive and social-emotional skills

Kids playing
Monday 15 August
A free library of resources to help early childhood education practitioners support the development of young children’s language and literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills has been released online.

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Faculty student’s widening participation work wins award for socially impactful research

Nomisha Kurian
Wednesday 27 July
PhD candidate Nomisha Kurian has become the first student from the Faculty of Education to receive the Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) award for “outstanding research with clear application”.

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Update of leading Latin course expands roles of women, enslaved people and minorities in depictions of Roman world

Caecilius and family
Sunday 10 July
The Cambridge Latin Course, a mainstay of Latin learning in British schools since the 1970s, has just had one of the most significant rewrites in its 50-year history. Alongside other aims, it addresses concerns raised by teachers, academics and students about the representation of women, enslaved people, and minorities in the Roman world.

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Graphic equalisers: Cambridge conference aims to widen the reach of comics from the Global South

Faculty of Education News
Tuesday 5 July
With its distinctive, homemade and often counter-cultural feel and common focus on social justice issues, there is much that connects the under-exposed art of brilliant comics artists and graphic novelists across the Global South. An event at the University of Cambridge this week aims to show why this work deserves more attention, and to build connections between diverse artists and the scholars who study their work.

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Clashes of inference and perspective explain why children sometimes lose the plot in conversation

Child on phone
Thursday 30 June
Children who suddenly appear to lose the thread of an otherwise obvious conversation may be struggling to reconcile two essential communicative skills: understanding inference and taking another person’s viewpoint, research shows.

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Faculty contributes analysis to world first in hologram patients

Holopatient
Monday 27 June
Professor Riikka Hofmann at the Faculty of Education is leading analysis of a new way of teaching medical students at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, using the latest in mixed reality holographic patients.

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KPMG and the University of Cambridge announce partnership to reimagine the world of work – starting with mental wellbeing

Women laughing
Tuesday 21 June
A new, five-year partnership on the ‘Future of Work’ will examine the big issues affecting the modern workforce and offer practical, research-backed solutions to support and enhance workforce and workplace experiences in the future. The initial programme, focusing on mental wellbeing, will be led by Professor Gordon Harold, at the Faculty of Education.

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“Reductive” models of wellbeing education risk failing children unless improved, researchers warn

Teacher in classroom
Tuesday 21 June
An improved vision for wellbeing education should replace the over-simplistic approaches currently employed in many schools, such as happiness lessons, which risk creating an “atmosphere of toxic positivity” for pupils, experts say.

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Maha Shuayb appointed to British Academy Bilateral Chair

Maha Shuayb
Tuesday 21 June
Programme will focus on unpacking the policy, practice and research of education of refugee children in the global north and south.

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Pre-school play with friends lowers risk of mental health problems later

Kids dancing
Tuesday 14 June
Children who learn to play well with others at pre-school age tend to enjoy better mental health as they get older, new research shows.

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“Write fewer papers, take more risks”: Researchers call for ‘rebellion’ against academic convention

Student at Stockholm Department of Circus
Saturday 4 June
A group of education specialists are urging researchers to challenge the “structures and regulations” which define academic scholarship, arguing that different approaches are needed in an age of climate change, COVID-19 and rising populism.


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Young people need “education for communication” to negotiate fake news

Child on wall with phone
Monday 30 May
Fake news and misinformation are now commonplace across social platforms, and arguably the staple of some conventional media outlets as well. Should we therefore be trying to do more to prepare young people to critique the information they receive? Following an event on fake news and education at the Faculty last week, this article explores some questions on that theme.


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More frontline staff to be trained to reduce parental conflict in national, evidence-based programme

Parents walking in a field
Friday 20 May
The Reducing Parental Conflict Programme, which draws on the work of Professor Gordon Harold at the Faculty of Education, is being expanded with £33 million of Government funding.

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Official measures of research ‘impact’ are failing to keep pace with socially-networked academics

Faculty of Education News
Thursday 19 May
A survey of how academics use social media to encourage people to interact with their research argues that much of the public value of their work is probably being overlooked in official ‘impact’ assessments.

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Faculty of Education: Results of REF 2021

Faculty of Education News
Thursday 12 May
The Faculty of Education has been confirmed as one of the country’s leading departments for research in education in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF).


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PGCE virtual open event – 5pm, 24 May

Trainee in school
Wednesday 11 May
Are you thinking about training as a teacher in academic year 2022/23 – or maybe just interested in what teacher education at Cambridge is all about? 

Join us on 24 May at 5pm for a virtual open event which will introduce the Cambridge PGCE. The University provides outstanding courses in both the Primary and Secondary age ranges and is renowned for its personalised, innovative and high-quality approach to teacher education. Our trainees come from a wide mix of backgrounds, places and previous educational settings – but they all share our commitment to providing excellence to the UK state maintained school sector. They are also always in high demand and many quickly go on to leadership roles as their careers develop.

Come and discover for yourself what makes the Cambridge course different by signing up for the virtual event here: 

https://cam-ac-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0tcO2opzwoH9P_TC4xcovgJ8DnraXYnkU2

We look forward to meeting you!

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Academics and activists explore the role of education in the age of fake news

Week of fake news logo
Monday 9 May
Two exiled Brazilian academics and the director of a powerful new documentary about media corruption will join scholars in Cambridge this month for a special event examining fake news, misinformation, and education.

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Want more students to learn languages? Win over the parents, research suggests

Child with headphones.
Tuesday 3 May
Parents influence children’s attitudes to languages far more than their teachers or friends, research finds. This implies that efforts to reverse the national decline in language-learning need to target families as well as schools.

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Susan Robertson announced as President Elect of CIES

Faculty of Education News
Thursday 21 April
Professor Susan Robertson, who is Head of the Faculty of Education, has been announced as President Elect of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). She is one of just a handful of academics from outside the United States to have been appointed to the Society’s Board in its 66-year history.

CIES is the largest and oldest of almost 50 comparative and international education societies around the world. It promotes teaching and research in comparative and international education around the world, and currently has more than 3,000 registered members from over 110 countries. 

Through its work, the Society seeks to deepen understanding of a panoply of issues affecting schools, students, teachers and education administration at all levels. Its work encompasses both formal and informal education; covering primary and secondary schools, higher and further education, and lifelong learning in the process. In doing so, it addresses vital questions relating to inequalities, culture, democracy, globalisation, social and economic development and politics – among others.

Professor Robertson will hold the post of President Elect before taking up the Presidency in 2024. Her election was announced at the CIES 2022 conference, which is currently taking place in Minneapolis. The appointment means that she will join a group of elected officers who constitute the CIES Executive Committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Society’s Board and acts as an advisory group to the same.

Professor Robertson said: “CIES makes a vital contribution to research, scholarship and public knowledge in education and beyond. By bringing together researchers, analysts, students and practitioners from around the world, it develops rigorous, inter-disciplinary perspectives on education with truly global impact. It is a tremendous honour to be elected to a leadership position with such an important body and I am looking forward immensely to working with my fellow-Board members to further promote and develop its work.”

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Project aims to close the postgraduate ‘offer gap’ for under-represented students

Faculty of Education News
Thursday 14 April
A new collaboration involving researchers, careers specialists and inclusive recruitment organisations aims to address the ‘offer gap’ in postgraduate admissions. The term refers to a gulf in application success rates which means too few people from historically marginalised, ethnic minority backgrounds are undertaking advanced study at British universities.

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Trainee teachers made sharper assessments about learning difficulties after receiving feedback from AI

Child working
Monday 11 April
A trial in which German trainee teachers who were being taught to identify pupils with potential learning difficulties had their work ‘marked’ by artificial intelligence has found the approach significantly improved their reasoning.

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Lessons from modern languages can reboot Latin learning

Image in this story: âRomans go homeâ. Mocked-up Roman graffiti, referencing Monty Pythonâs Life of Brian, at the Hull and East Riding Museum. By Chemical Engineer, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Thursday 7 April
A new guide calls for a rethink of how Latin is taught in universities and schools, linking outdated practices to falling student numbers. The book advocates a broader approach which draws on modern languages education, involving speaking, music, storytelling and immersive Latin teaching.

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Poorly conceived payment-on-results funding threatens to undermine education aid

Kids leaving school in Ale Ethiopia
Wednesday 30 March
A payment on results approach to delivering education aid, which is championed by international institutions including the World Bank, is in danger of backfiring in some of the countries it aims to help, researchers believe.

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Students taking GCSE Ancient History worry about being seen as ‘elitist’ by family and friends

Sappho
Friday 4 March
The tiny minority of state-educated students who take Ancient History at GCSE worry that the subject’s exclusive reputation will brand them ‘elitist’ in the eyes of friends and relatives, research suggests.

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The Cambridge student aiming to start a ‘play and health revolution’

Paulina Mendiola
Friday 25 February
A Cambridge student has started a play and health initiative that she hopes will eventually grow into a ‘revolution’ in paediatric care and encourage more child-friendly, playful approaches in the field.

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Pre-primary education played ‘protective’ role against COVID learning losses in sub-Saharan Africa

Child in Ethiopia
Wednesday 16 February
Researchers have urged aid organisations and governments in sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen their plans for emergency pre-primary education, which evidence suggests prevented ‘alarming’ learning losses in the region during COVID school closures.

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Virgil may have the edge on English poets in helping students to love literature (even when studied in bits)

Aeneas and Turnus
Saturday 12 February
Students who study Virgil’s Aeneid at school find it significantly more engaging than other ‘high-prestige’ literature, even though they only learn tiny fragments of the text, research suggests.


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Four priorities in inclusive education for the Global Disability Summit 2022

Deaf school Sri Lanka
Friday 11 February
Ahead of the 2022 Global Disability Summit and its focus on inclusive education, this article summarises some of the evidence and findings produced by the Cambridge Network for Disability and Education Research (CaNDER) since the inaugural summit in 2018.

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Profile: Rosemarie Frost

Faculty of Education News
Thursday 10 February

Rosemarie Frost has been teaching secondary school maths for more than 35 years and, as a self-confessed ‘compulsive learner’, has continually supplemented that professional experience with a variety of academic and professional development courses. In 2020/21, she completed a part-time Masters course in Maths Education with the Faculty. Here, she explains why she chose the course, what the experience was like, and how it helped her to challenge and refine some of her ideas about what works in mathematics education.

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Teachers leading global drive to improve girls’ education became frontline workers during COVID-19 closures

Girls in Afghanistan
Friday 4 February
Interviews with teachers at the forefront of international efforts to improve girls’ education reveal that many have taken on humanitarian roles, as well as working as educators, during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Poor fidelity may mean effective education strategies never see light of day

Kids in school
Friday 21 January
Promising new education interventions are potentially being ‘unnecessarily scrapped’ because trials to test their effectiveness may be insufficiently faithful to the original research, a study has warned.

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Advice squad

Faculty of Education News
Thursday 20 January
When COVID-19 first forced the country into lockdown, Gav Topley, a research student at the Faculty whose work examines the challenges facing young men from lower-income settings, became concerned about the impact on mental health. He decided to found Lads’ Advice: an online peer support group where men can share problems in a safe, encouraging space. Two years on, it has transformed life for many of its 5,000 members.

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Evaluations of simulation-based training to develop soft skills in healthcare feature ‘significant gaps’

Faculty of Education News
Wednesday 12 January
Newly-published evidence suggests that the simulation-based learning interventions on which trainee healthcare professionals often rely to develop important, non-technical skills are being inadequately evaluated before they are potentially put to use.

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Learning through ‘guided’ play can be as effective as direct instruction up to at least age eight

PEDAL Festival of Ideas event
Wednesday 12 January

Teaching younger children through ‘guided’ play can support key aspects of their learning and development at least as well, and sometimes better, than traditional, direct instruction, according to a new analysis.

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Together we can do it

Faculty of Education News
Tuesday 11 January
After receiving an OBE in the New Year's Honours List for services to international girls' education, Professor Pauline Rose discusses recent progress in research on global education for women and girls - and why now, more than ever, this is a field that deserves wider attention and recognition.

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Hologram patients to help train future doctors and nurses

Students doing holographic training
Monday 10 January
Health professionals of the future could soon be training on holograms of patients, as a result of a new partnership involving the Faculty of Education.

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Professor Pauline Rose receives OBE for Services to International Girls’ Education

Pauline Rose
Saturday 1 January
Professor Pauline Rose, Professor of International Education and Director of the  Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre in the Faculty of Education, has received the OBE in the 2022 New Year's Honours List for Services to International Girls’ Education.

Professor Rose said: “I’m truly honoured and genuinely surprised to receive an OBE for services to international girls’ education. Thanks to all who’ve worked with me, supported and challenged me over the years. I look forward to continued collaboration on evidence to improve quality education for all.”

Further information about New Year's Honours awarded to staff associated with the University of Cambridge is available on the university news pages.

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Citizens in the making

Pupils at Mahatma Gandhi International School
Friday 17 December
A new ethnographic analysis of some of India’s most successful schools shows how their focus on cultivating ‘active harmony’, rather than traditional academic goals, may provide a template for the elusive challenge of teaching ‘citizenship’.


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New centre to foster global conversations about ethical issues raised by science

Team
Thursday 9 December
The University of Cambridge is announcing the launch of a new research centre, the Kavli Centre for Ethics, Science, and the Public, based at the Faculty of Education, to engage publics and scientists with the ethical implications of scientific discovery and its impact on society.

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Universities under attack?

Protest in Turkey
Thursday 9 December
Researchers have launched a three-year, international study which aims to examine political and economic pressures that are changing the fundamental role and character of universities globally, particularly in relation to their mission to serve a wider ‘public good’ and to reduce societal conflict.

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Sculpture of Paulo Freire installed as symbol of resistance to attacks on education

Paulo Freire sculpture
Friday 26 November
The University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education has become the first institution outside Brazil to install one of a series of iconic sculptures of Paulo Freire: a giant of educational thought whose ideas are under attack from the country’s Government.

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Private education in lower-income countries is having limited impact on learning

Children in rural India
Monday 22 November
A rapid increase in the number of private schools in lower-income parts of the world is having surprisingly little effect – and in certain cases perhaps no real impact at all – on learning, researchers have found.

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Students who self-identify as multilingual perform better at GCSE

Books
Thursday 11 November
Young people who consider themselves ‘multilingual’ tend to perform better across a wide range of subjects at school, regardless of whether they are actually fluent in another language, new research shows.

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“It’s almost as if they don’t exist”: Education policy failing to account for learners with PMLD

PMLD learner and teacher
Tuesday 9 November
The policy framework that supposedly guides education for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) is setting expectations and goals which are often completely at odds with their capabilities and lives, a study says.

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Social media is reshaping universities’ value systems in a scramble for likes and shares

People on phones
Thursday 4 November
Universities’ value judgements about research are becoming ‘coupled’ to social media platforms as they compete for funding by demonstrating their influence beyond academia, an analysis suggests.


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Jewish autistic pupils thrive as bilingual learners, after communities reject advice “not to teach Hebrew”

Child's hand on Hebrew text
Thursday 28 October
Parents and teachers of Jewish autistic children say they frequently have to disregard outdated professional advice not to teach them Hebrew – a recommendation they describe as “stealing” their cultural identity.

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Paulo Freire 100: Fortnight of free events celebrating founding figure in critical pedagogy

Freire
Friday 22 October
The legacy of Paulo Freire – a pivotal, transformative figure in global education whose centenary falls this year – is being celebrated in a series of free events at the University of Cambridge starting on 1 November.

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New research initiative to influence global policy and funding priorities to support girls’ education in sub-Saharan Africa

Sophia (right), a CAMFED Learner Guide, with secondary student Hanipha, who she supports at school.
Wednesday 13 October
CAMFED (the Campaign for Female Education) and the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, have announced a new partnership to examine how community-led interventions that target the needs of the most marginalised children can be scaled through education systems in Tanzania and in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

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