RSI Corporate - Licensing

Could you pass a maths GCSE exam?

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“Do you remember anything your maths teacher taught you? Have a go at our quiz with questions from last year’s higher tier paper by the AQA exam board. Calculators may be used only from questions 1-6.”(more)

Is universal preschool the answer? Britain says ‘yes’

The Hechinger Report – Lillian Mongeau

“Any child in England who has turned 3 by Sept. 1 is guaranteed 15 hours a week of free child-care or preschool for 38 weeks a year, or 570 hours total, paid for by the national government. “We don’t think of it as socialism at all,” said Oxford University professor Edward Melhuish, who studies child development and was instrumental in conducting the research that largely led to England’s current policies. “We think of it as common sense.” Apparently, so do most parents, 94 percent of whom take the government up on its offer of free education starting at age 3, according to government data. At age 4, 99 percent of children have started “reception,” the English version of kindergarten. Most 4-year-olds attend reception at their local primary school, but parents can choose to send their 3-year-old to a private center, a publicly funded nursery, a state-funded primary school or a home-based day care provider.”(more)

Teenage girls: Mental well-being ‘worsening’

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“The mental well-being of teenage girls in England has worsened in recent years, says research for the Department for Education. Researchers highlighted the growing pressure of social media and the near-constant use of mobile phones. The study compared the experiences and attitudes of 14-year-olds in 2014 with those in 2005 and found an increase in “psychological distress”. “Young people felt less control over their own destinies,” says the study. The report, tracking the well-being of 30,000 people in 13,000 households, found that young people in 2014 were more “serious” than in 2005.”(more)

Gail Emms: Don’t just watch the Olympics, have a sporty summer of your own

The Telegraph – Boudicca Fox-Leonard

“Gail Emms always thought she had a normal childhood. One full of bike races with friends, family walks and badminton at her local sports centre. She has no doubt that growing up in a household packed full of activity set her on a course for sporting success – Emms won silver at the 2004 Olympics in the badminton mixed doubles. But after retiring in 2008, she became an ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust and was faced with an uncomfortable truth: most kids aren’t sporty at all. “I realised I’d been living in a bubble,” says the 39-year old. “Until I went into schools, I’d never met children who weren’t interested in sport and I couldn’t believe it.” A study by Essex University reported in June that child fitness levels are falling at an even faster rate than feared – a decline of eight per cent over the previous 10 years. It’s a situation Emms and her fellow Youth Sport Trust ambassadors have been seeking to change through visits to thousands of schools across England.”(more)

Why debating still matters

The Guardian – Alex Clark

“The current political scene might have been radically different if Remain had had Diodotus on its side: if you could persuade an assembly of Athenians bent on retribution to spare the lives of a group of rebels, then you could probably best Boris Johnson. The Mytilenian debate of 427BC is perhaps one of the ancient world’s best examples of an argument with something vital at stake: following an unsuccessful insurrection in the city of Mytilene, the Athenians had voted to put to death not only the uprising’s leaders, but all Mytilenian men, and to enslave its women and children. Fears that this judgment erred on the side of harshness led to a second debate, with Diodotus arguing for clemency, and Cleon, “the most violent man at Athens”, opposing him. Cleon’s point was that justice must prevail in the face of the deliberate malice of the Mytilenians, and that a show of weakness by the imperial government was potentially disastrous; better, he said, to enforce bad laws than to shilly-shally around with good ones. And what, he asked his audience to imagine, would the rebels do if they were in the Athenians’ shoes? None of this daunted Diodotus, whose counter-argument began with a paean to the power of debate: “The good citizen,” he insisted, “ought to triumph not by frightening his opponents, but by beating them fairly in argument.” And beat Cleon he did, in a series of detailed appeals to his audience, setting out his belief in how Athens’ long-term interests would best be served. The vote was close, but Diodotus won the day. The Mytileneans were spared.”(more)

Why being bilingual works wonders for your brain

The Guardian – Gaia Vince

“In a cafe in south London, two construction workers are engaged in cheerful banter, tossing words back and forth. Their cutlery dances during more emphatic gesticulations and they occasionally break off into loud guffaws. They are discussing a woman, that much is clear, but the details are lost on me. It’s a shame, because their conversation sounds fun and interesting, especially to a nosy person like me. But I don’t speak their language. Out of curiosity, I interrupt them to ask what language they are speaking. They both switch easily to English, explaining that they are South Africans and had been speaking Xhosa. In Johannesburg, where they are from, most people speak at least five languages, says one of them, Theo Morris. For example, Morris’s mother’s tongue is Sotho, his father’s is Zulu; he learned Xhosa and Ndebele from his friends and neighbours and English and Afrikaans at school. “I went to Germany before I came here, so I also speak German,” he adds. Was it easy to learn so many languages? “Yes, it’s normal,” he laughs.”(more)