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The tess archive - 18 april 2003

The month US forces seized control of Baghdad, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein, and the Human Genome Project was completed

The month US forces seized control of Baghdad, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein, and the Human Genome Project was completed

Class gap is widening at older universities

- Middle-class children have benefited far more than their working- class counterparts from the expansion of university education over the past 20 years, a study of British graduates shows. The findings from the London School of Economics will make comforting reading for the strongly middle-class University of Edinburgh, which has had to defend its move to open up access to more disadvantaged students by widening its entry criteria.

'Lawyers target inclusion classes'

- The educational equivalent of "ambulance-chasing lawyers" now see complaints against schools as a lucrative new source of income, Alana Ross, EIS president, told the STUC in Inverness. Headteachers were reluctant to exclude troublesome pupils because they were looking over their shoulders at their local authorities, which were looking over their shoulders at the Scottish Executive and "the legal eagles".

Mentoring evidence sparse

- Friendly, caring adults who become mentors to young people with difficulties are often convinced about the value of their relationship. But British studies are inconclusive in contrast to the upbeat message from the US, according to the Scottish Council for Research in Education at the University of Glasgow. Researcher John Hall notes that, if the mentor is seen as an authority figure, the relationship is "endangered and probably destroyed".

Big hopes for phonics

- Dundee eight-year-olds who were unable to read made a month's progress using a modified synthetic phonics approach. One improved by 22 months over a two-month period. Grethe Thomson, a city council psychologist, said that remarkable results had been achieved since 1999, when the project was tested with small groups of readers in four primaries.

Great spend, but no great results

- Increased spending and smaller classes in France have failed to improve standards in the past three years, a report suggests. A national audit shows spending on schools rose by 23 per cent in the decade after 1990. Primary classes are down from 24.1 to 23, lower secondary from 24.3 to 24.

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