UK Education Guide Newsletter
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Welcome to our March 2019 Newsletter!  


Chinese education news our focus this month…


A beginner's guide to the Gaokao...

Sat by over 9 million students in China each year it is the exam needed for entrance into Chinese universities and also accepted for entry by many international universities, notably in Australia.

The Gaokao is sat over 2 days in June and takes over 9 hours to complete. There are 3 core elements-including a foreign language element (English, French, Japanese or Russian) and this tests knowledge of prepared phrases, and vocabulary rather than reading comprehension.

The Gaokao also has 3 different versions-National 1, 2 and 3. The exam is adapted to the average school standard in each region, with the most populous and coastal provinces offering the hardest version of the exam, National 1. The gravity of the exam cannot be exaggerated; in 2008 Beijing authorities rerouted the Olympic torch procession to avoid testing centres...

The main criticism of the Gaokao is that it is viewed as an exam that tests memory and knowledge rather than what a student can deduce or determine...

The University of Birmingham is the first UK Russell Group University to announce that it will accept the Gaokao exam for students wishing to join its undergraduate courses in 2019

For more information


Chinese teachers criticised for using social media to assign homework...
...and then asking parents to mark it.

As mobile internet booms in China, phones have become an extension of daily activities, including school practices. Instead of announcing homework in class or handing out notices to students in person, teachers are now dumping assignments into WeChat groups designed to interact with parents. Many teachers are keen to exercise their power through digital channels, asking parents to help students with problem sets and even grade their homework.

A set of national guidelines was released by the Ministry of Education recently, directing teachers and schools to take more responsibility rather than shift the load onto parents. “Teachers should be accountable for their job, treat teaching seriously, correct homework with prudence and help students with care.”


Make plagiarism a criminal offence say academics...

Essay mills should be made illegal and the punishments for students who use them must be harsher, according to academics surveyed by Times Higher Education, following publication of a new journal paper that finds “surprising” levels of support among university staff “for the criminalising of student use of these services”.

UK announces ambitious targets for international student growth

By 2030 the UK is looking to increase international student numbers by 30%-from 460,000 to 600,000.

The education sector currently generates approximately £20 billion per year through education exports and transnational activity, which includes income from international students, English language training, education providers setting up sites overseas, and education technology solutions being sold worldwide.


Round up of news from Schools across the country... 

Padworth College is launching a new Academic Summer School aimed at international students who will be joining British boarding schools in the Autumn or at those who wish to sample British education in the summer. Padworth’s programme will be run by the school itself. The Academic Summer School will offer British Council accredited English language and academic courses during the months of July and August for students aged 13 to 17 years, over 2, 4 and 6 weeks. There are a number of start dates: June 29, July 13 and July 27, 2019.

Kingsley school celebrated #techognition - a week-long event in March showcasing the work of school science technicians – recognising their vast knowledge and variety of tasks that their job entails. At Kingsley, Philippa Veillet is their fabulous science technician. From demonstrations in front of classes, preparing all experiments, repairing equipment, isolating genes to managing budgets, as well as anything and everything in between, no two days are the same for her in the science department!

King‘s Group is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the first King‘s school in 1969. To mark the celebration each of the 10 King’s College schools around the world has buried a time capsule in school grounds and the capsules will be opened in 2044 to celebrate the Group’s 75th anniversary. Pupils at each school have been involved in selecting what is contained in each capsule. King’s group now educates over 8,000 pupils worldwide.


The Cambridge City Guide


2nd part of our weekend Guide to Cambridge.

Thanks again to Cambridge Guardian Angels for providing this brilliant guide to their home city. They walk us through a weekend in Cambridge.

Cambridge Guardian Angels (CGA) is an established, AEGIS accredited, Cambridge-based guardianship serving the East of England and beyond. CGA was recently audited by AEGIS and recognised as a “First Class Organisation”.


Sunday morning

Get the day off to a delicious start with breakfast at The Copper Kettle, which you can enjoy while watching the morning bustle on King's Parade or the quieter Bills in Green Street is just behind Market Square.

For a compromise between the two, visit Benet's Cafe and savour it’s freshly made crepes and waffles. Or pick up a crepe and cake from the Market Square traders.

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After finishing breakfast, set out for the Fitzwilliam Museum, which houses a world-class collection of art and antiques as well as regular exhibitions and events, the ground floor café is brilliant value and the next door shop sells all things Cambridge.

Then drop in to the neighbouring Peterhouse College, the oldest of the Cambridge colleges, enjoy the medieval architecture and pay a visit to the deer park, surrounded by medieval walls and filled with flowers and fruit trees in the sleepy corner by the river.


Sunday evening

For lunch, walk back through the town centre to The Galleria, a restaurant located at the foot of Magdalene Bridge serving modern fusion cuisine. Ask for a table overlooking the river, or one on the balcony if the weather is pleasant. Time to take in some more classic Cambridge sights by touring the central colleges. These are set out in courts and all have chapels, dining halls and beautiful outdoor spaces.

The Bridge of Sighs

St John's College, home to the Bridge of Sighs and a stunning chapel, is closest to The Galleria. As you walk back through the main entrance of St John's you will walk under a statue of Henry VIII holding a chair leg (don't ask!)

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Head next door to Trinity College, arguably the most spectacular in Cambridge, Trinity's court was immortalised in many films including Chariots of Fire and recently the Theory of Everything.

Another highlight is the Christopher Wren library towards the rear of the college, on a first floor to protect it from the river flooding many famous first editions are kept safe, including Winnie the Pooh. Open a couple of times a year usually in late September before term starts, you might get lucky if you check the notice boards outside Senate House.

Also situated on the river Cam is a much smaller college, Trinity Hall. At the back of the college, sit on the wall and watch the river traffic go by.


Round off your weekend in Cambridge with dinner at Six Panoramic Brasserie, located in The Varsity hotel. As its name suggests, this restaurant offers diners a panoramic view of the city on the roof garden.  Choose from a range of 30 different gins, and try to go at sunset for the most atmospheric cityscape.

Or enjoy the newly refurbished University Arms hotel, which brings luxury to the other side of the city and a Michelin Stared chef in the Parkers Tavern Brasserie.


Some helpful tips

Be aware of college closures during exam periods, especially in May/June. Visiting during May Week-which celebrates the end of the academic year (this year beginning 16th June) has both perks and disadvantages. The pros include events such as; singing on the River, watching the Trinity and St John’s May Ball. Cons are the town centre being busier and some closure of colleges prior to events. Churches and museums stay open.

Out of term the Summer months are incredibly busy as visitors flock to the city and language students enjoy visiting, studying and can be found enjoying parks, the river and the many attractions.

Everything in Cambridge is within easy walking distance and there are no hills! There are sight seeing bus tours as well as countless bike rental shops including the distinctive yellow ‘Ofo’ bikes you’ll find dotted around the city for residents and tourists to use.

Whatever you do we are sure you will enjoy your stay!


Pat & the whole UKEducationGuide team

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