OECD Chief Criticizes UK Grammar School Plan

Andreas Schleicher, the OECDs education expert thinks that the UK government is overplaying the capacity for grammar schools to increase academic standards and improve social mobility in the United Kingdom. According to his words,  such notions are being “dramatically overplayed”.

The head of education assessment of the OECD made his comments less than a week following the U.K.’s Prime Minister Theresa May’s unveiling of plans to open more grammar schools using £50 million of new money.

As the PM argued how grammar schools would be boosting opportunities for many, in particular those who could not afford to live in areas of better schools, Mr Schleicher warned that more academic selection isn’t the answer. He is urging for more investment in high-quality teaching instead.

Talking to the press he was quoted as saying “I can see the case for introducing more meritocracy in the UK school system. I think the brightest students don’t always get the opportunities they deserve. But if I wanted to address it, I would look at what happens inside [existing] schools. The fact that too many students fall through the cracks in too many schools is a far bigger problem than not having enough schools which are selective. The issue lies within schools, not between schools.”

Mr Schleicher pointed out how academic selection ultimately become social selection in many other European countries, despite the Prime Minister’s insistence that grammar schools would the chances for many, in particular  less well off students.

“Schools are very, very good at selecting students by their social background but they are not very good in selecting students by their academic potential,” he said.

Likewise, he said that evidence from highly stratified education systems, citing examples from Germany and Switzerland who introduce academic selection at a very early age is evidence that widespread entry testing isn’t benefiting students in terms of getting the best results.

The above news from the U.K.’s education sector are brought to you by Kingshottschool, the independent school Hertfordshire for better education of your children.

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Tips If You Want To Visit Costa Rica

Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica

If you are thinking about visiting Costa Rica I have some helpful tips for you. The Guardian compiled a pretty helpful list of the top 10 ECO lodges in Costa Rica which I can recommend you.

Why ECO lodging if you’re planning to go to Costa Rica? Easy: Costa Rica is one of the most popular “ECO tourism” destinations, so obviously this list of recommended lodging in the county will sure come in handy!

Just take takea look at the amazing Finca Luna Nueva which was founded in 1994 by Steven Farrell, a guy which describes himself as health-conscious hippy.  The Finca has now grown into a 207-acre biodynamic farm with an amazing eco lodge built in.

But the list covers many more places where you can stay such as the Rara Avis Rainforest Lodge and Reserve or the Rancho Margot.

So check out the list The Top 10 ECO Lodges in Costa Rica if you are looking for a cool ECO lodge for you to stay in Costa Rica.

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Pilates for Beginners

If you’re looking for an introduction to pilates, you can fortunately find many videos and guides on the Internet. Not all of them are equally great though. Here in this post you can find a very good beginner’s guide to pilates that is a full 30 minutes long  which I found on YouTube . This one I consider quite good.

If you’re looking for a place for pilates classes in London, in particular if you are from East London, you may want to check out pilates Hackney. I don’t know about you, but I always prefer classes since it is immensely helpful if you have a qualified trainer nearby. This is so much better than trying to do your routines based on videos or books, especially if you’re stuck at some point. Besides, it is so much more fun in a class when you are with a bunch of like-minded folks!!

 

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Grand National Horse Race Will Be Moved Back By One Hour

The upcoming 2016 Grand National at Aintree will start an hour later as compared to the previous races. The race will start at 17:15 instead.

The organisers of the Grand National tools this earlier starting time to give people a better opportunity to watch the race.

Ed Havard, the head of Channel 4’s TV events said to the press that they choose the 17.15 time slot as a result of their earlier roundup on BBC radio five.

He added that the move “will place the National as the fitting climax of the three-day festival”

BBC Radio’s  had of Sports, Richard Burgess: “We look forward to providing extensive build-up and uninterrupted commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live of the Grand National in its new time slot. We’ll also have plenty of time for reaction after the race, with our correspondent Cornelius Lysaght leading the BBC team at Aintree.”

The 2016 Grand National at Aintree is on Saturday, April 9

If you love horse racing in the United Kingdom, with solid horse racing tips and strategies you can increase your odds at the races.

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The Best Way To Travel, My Personal Experience

Everyone has different expectations when it comes to how to spend their holiday time. I personally don’t care how lavish luxuries and fanciness when I want to see the world.

For me, what counts is that I have the freedom to go anywhere I want at any time I want. This is the main reason why I think that camping is amongst the best ways to spend the holidays  as opposed to being constrained inside a hotel room.

But camping has a lot more advantages then the immense freedom it can give you for your travels. At first, however, I want to clarify that I’m not talking about camping in a dinky tent. I’m talking about traveling in a decent campervan, that is it has a cozy bed, a kitchen and many more fun things to make your travels more enjoyable.

In addition to the freedom that I can go wherever I want on a whim I love my campervan because I am also not reliant on having to spend considerable amount of time and money on restaurants and bars. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like getting up in the morning and then having to travel a mile or two just gets my breakfast coffee. The minute I wake up in my campervan my hot steaming morning brew is already waiting for me since I set the timer the night before. This is just one of the many conveniences which I cannot be without.

Understandably, a lot of people may be turned off when they hear the word camping but this is because they are still thinking that camping means sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent. What I can recommend to those people is that they should simply try it out for themselves and then form an opinion. This is  fortunately rather easy to do since you can hire a VW campervan, you don’t need to buy one.

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London’s Singing Waiters

It doesn’t matter whether you visit London in the UK in the summer time or in winter. If one thing is for sure it’s that there’s always something going on if you happen to visit the British capital.

singing-waiters-7On one hand, visiting London in the warmer season can be a fantastic experience with its many parks and festivals.

But make no mistake, even if the weather isn’t great you will have plenty of opportunities to visit any of London’s countless clubs, museums, cinemas or art exhibitions.

If you happen to have some friends in the UK it can also well happen that you might get invited to events like outdoor barbecues, birthday parties or wedding receptions. What’s more, a lot of folks these days might have a party going on without any particular reason. And it’s these occasions you might be fortunate enough to meet The Singing Waiters. You never heard about The Singing Waiters? Let me introduce you to them quick.

The Singing Waiters are the U.K.’s most popular surprise entertainers. They are called surprise entertainers because the might appear unannounced at parties or such type of events. Who knows, they could be dressed up as waiters and all of a sudden they start with the show, surprising all the attending guests.

But there is also a good chance to see one of the singing waiters in public places, in particular in the larger British cities. The singing waiters are also known for their flash mobs and those could happen any time at any random shopping centre or similar location.

I like The Singing Waiters because they can really make any type of event truly unforgettable. They are not like  some average wedding singers that you can book for a few bucks. The Singing Waiters are professionally trained which means that their performances are really outstanding.

So if you happen to be in London anytime soon you should look out for The Singing Waiters!

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Fire Safety Training Yesterday

fire-safetyThis one is not about travel…but, on the other hand it may well be. Yesterday we had fire safety training in one of our camps. It was actually quite interesting and for many of us definitely a welcome change of routine!

They had some guys from Exeter coming over which explained a lot about fire safety such as how to make a “proper” campfire outdoors, how to use fire extinguishers or why you really would want smoke alarms in your house.

Talking about smoke alarms, they can actually be great to take with you on travels if you happen to visit such places where fire safety is not exactly a big priority.

If you take a smoke alarm with you you can simply place it in your hotel room (with a little help of double sided tape), put it at the door or maybe at the ceiling. Of course it cannot be a substitute if a hotel is lacking fire alarms and smoke suppression systems but it’s still better than nothing!

As for the fire extinguishers, I was actually surprised that I did not know how to use them properly. From our team, only one really knew how to use them, the others were as clueless as I! Point being: the best fire extinguishers around won’t be of much use if you don’t know how to use them!

I want to thank your Argos Fire for the interesting training, you should contact those guys if you want to know more about fire alarms in Exeter or wherever you may be in the UK.

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