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Sean Coughlan

Sean Coughlan Education correspondent

Here are my ideas and insights on what’s making the news in education

How many attacks on schools around the world?

Aftermath of attack on school in Peshawar
School attack in Peshawar: There have been almost 10,000 attacks on education in recent years

The murderous attack on a school in Peshawar has appalled people around the world, but perhaps even more dreadful is that this is far from an isolated incident.

The deliberate targeting of places of education has become a global blight.

An international study published earlier this year showed that between 2009 and 2013 there were 9,600 attacks in 70 countries.

The report, researched by a coalition of United Nations agencies, human rights groups and aid organisations, showed that these attacks on pupils, teachers and buildings were not accidental or random incidents.

"They are bombed, burned, shot, threatened and abducted precisely because of their connection to education," said Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

Read full article How many attacks on schools around the world?

The persistent appeal of grammar schools

Top of the Form, 1962
Top of the Form, 1962: There are calls to open more grammar schools

What's behind the undying fascination with grammar schools? Four decades after almost all of them disappeared in England, there are still appeals for their return.

Many other types of school have disappeared, largely unmourned. Most secondary schools in England had gained "specialist" status, but that was washed away with a change of nameplate and a coat of paint.

Read full article The persistent appeal of grammar schools

How many good schools are there really?

Upward graph on a blackboard

How many good and outstanding schools are there in England? Record levels, never been so many before. That's the official verdict of the education watchdog Ofsted.

"The proportion of schools judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection reached 81%.

Read full article How many good schools are there really?

Sean added analysis to:

Private school business rate relief warning from Labour

This demand for the private school sector to work more closely with their state school neighbours will probably be seen as a symbolic gesture.

It allows the tone of Labour's education policy to sound different from the government's, when otherwise they have much in common.

Read full article Private school business rate relief warning from Labour

Tuition fees: Should they go higher or lower?

Freie Universitat Berlin
Freie Universitat Berlin: Germany has abolished tution fees for university students

Tuition fees in England's universities are approaching a crossroads. Should they go up or should they go down?

Students are still campaigning to scrap them - saying that putting students into debt isn't the way to fund a higher education system.

Read full article Tuition fees: Should they go higher or lower?

Information gap for university applications

Students
What grades did students actually get to be admitted to courses?

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their families will have begun thinking about university for next year.

It's a big, anxiety-inducing decision, but there's a really key piece of information that never seems to be available.

Read full article Information gap for university applications

Competing for the university vote

Piggy bank with a mortar board

Like a monster re-awakening from a deep freeze, the debate about tuition fees in England and the future of universities seems to be coming back to life.

If there was a top 10 of education stories in the life of this Parliament, it would be hard to think of anything bigger than the ferocious dispute over raising tuition fees.

Read full article Competing for the university vote

Michael Gove: Radical, controversial, divisive

Michael Gove, July 15th
Michael Gove, in Downing Street on Tuesday, has been education's great divider

Last week Michael Gove was the headline act at an international education conference - where a former senior Labour adviser, Sir Michael Barber, hailed him as one of the four most influential education secretaries since the Second World War.

Looking at the reaction from teachers on Twitter, staffrooms across England might hear some other less flattering accolades.

Read full article Michael Gove: Radical, controversial, divisive

How did London become an education superpower?

London skyline
Graduate economy: 60% of London's working-age population has a degree

Inner city schools, high levels of deprivation, not speaking English as a first language, a large majority of pupils from ethnic minorities...

And what do you get? The most successful school system in the country.

Read full article How did London become an education superpower?

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About Sean

Sean Coughlan is an award-winning education correspondent for the BBC News website.

As well as covering news about schools and universities in the UK, he is editor of the BBC's international education online series, The Knowledge Economy, which looks at the impact of education from a global perspective and how it is shaping the economies of the future.

He is author of several books, including a cultural history of sleep.

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