We need student rent caps


As of June 2019, fees for tenants will become illegal, lifting a financial burden for future renters in the UK. Having just paid £500 in fees to an agent I didn’t choose (who is more expensive than other agents in the area), I couldn’t be happier that people in the future will be spared this pain.

Then, through Instagram, I came to learn of the person who made this new law happen.

It was a woman, named Vicky Spratt.

I don’t know what I had previously thought people who fight for laws look like (actually, I do. I expected them to look like white men in their 50s). But when I saw Vicky’s face, I suddenly felt empowered. Even women like me can do things to make laws and change lives.

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Vignettes On Listening

The Zookeeper

As I signed in at the school, there was some commotion. A tall teenage boy stomped into reception and plonked himself down on one of the sofa chairs.

The walkie talkie behind reception started asking where the boy was. His whereabouts were given, with a sympathetic look to the boy.

He should not be there.

I sat opposite him and as I unwrapped my scarf and took off my wool hat, invited him to speak.

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Why your kid won’t study

The Chrismtas holidays have magical transformational powers. What was once a carefree year 11 is now a stressed out worrier with a twitch. What was a slightly concerned parent is now someone with insomnia, unable to sleep through thoughts of their teenager on the streets because they didn’t get their level 4 in maths.

This week I have had not one but three requests from parents of year 11s to have a sit down and “talk some sense” into their teen. It seems there is a great need for help in this area, so I thought I’d write some tips to help. If you’re a parent/carer/guardian of a teen who’s a bit too chill for their upcoming exams, hold on to the end and I may be able to help some more.

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Make It Easy for Myself?

Over the Christmas holidays, the place I usually hold the Cambridge Japanese Circle, a weekly conversation club for Japanese and English speakers, with a 130-member strong group, was closed. Instead I held it at our family home, sitting beside a roaring fire and a real Christmas tree.

My Japanese friends had brought me gifts, which was unexpected. It’s been a while since I lived in Japan and I couldn’t remember what the etiquette was for receiving gifts…something about refusing three times?

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