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Lincoln Study Shows Dyslexia Does Not Reduce Pass Rates For UK GP Licensing Exam


UK GPs with dyslexia are just as likely to pass the knowledge component of the licensing exam as their counterparts, a new study has found.

The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) is part of the qualification needed to become a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) and become licensed to practice independently. Researchers examined pass rates of doctors-in-training who had taken the AKT and found that, once other factors linked to exam success were taken into account, those who declare dyslexia prior to taking their exams do not have lower pass rates.

Candidates who declared dyslexia after initially failing the exam were more likely to be minority ethnic candidates with a primary medical qualification outside of the UK.

The research, led by researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, in collaboration with the MRCGP examination, compared data from 14,801 candidates who were tested between 2010 and 2015, of whom 379 declared dyslexia. Factors linked to exam success such as age, sex, ethnicity, country of primary medical qualification, stage of training, number of attempts, and the time spent completing tests were taken into account.

Significantly, findings highlight that those who did not declare their dyslexia initially and therefore were not given extra exam support, such as additional time, had higher failure rates. Data showed that overseas candidates were less likely to have initially declared their dyslexia.

Dyslexia affects around 6% of the UK population and around 2% of medical students. Features of dyslexia in adults can include problems with recall, reading, time management and task prioritisation which can make high stakes, multiple choice examinations like the mandatory AKT challenging.

The research has raised questions about dyslexia diagnosis during medical training, especially in those who use English as an additional language, who may not have been tested at an earlier stage in their education.  Currently, screening for dyslexia is not routinely provided by those responsible for training GPs. Lead researcher, Dr Zahid Asghar, Senior Lecturer in statistics at the University of Lincoln said: “Our research has found that, once the candidates’ age, gender, stage of training and other demographic traits are taken into account, dyslexia is not associated with lower pass rates in the AKT. However, the fact that doctors from overseas were more likely to declare dyslexia after initially failing the test is a significant finding.”

Niroshan Siriwardena, Professor of Primary & Pre-Hospital Health Care at the University of Lincoln, co-author of the study and research and development lead for assessment for the MRCGP said: “Our findings were reassuring for candidates declaring dyslexia in that they performed as well as other candidates taking the exam once other factors had been taken into account.

“The findings have highlighted that we need to look in more detail at screening and educational support for doctors with dyslexia, in particular those from minority ethnic groups, to remove potential barriers and create an inclusive training environment. We advocate more consistent and earlier screening to identify dyslexia as soon as possible during medical training. This is an approach that has proven successful in other clinical settings.”

The paper was published online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal. The full paper can be accessed here

Social and Political Sciences Professor Steve McKay Featured in The Express


Professor Steve McKay, from the School of Social and Political Sciences has contributed to a study that has recently been featured in an article about planned pregnancy and it’s impact on relationships. The research, jointly undertaken by the Marriage Foundation and the University of Lincoln, used data from 18,374 mothers in the Millennium Cohort Study and was published to mark the start of Marriage Week. The study explains that less than a fifth (18 per cent) of married parents who planned to start a family had broken up by the time their child reached 14 years old, but almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those whose baby was not a joint decision had split by the same point. Amongst cohabiting couples, the rate of breakdown was almost half (47 per cent) while fewer than two in five (38 per cent) separated if they had made a plan to have children. But the contrast over the first three years of a relationship was especially stark, according to the Marriage Foundation analysis. Only four per cent of married couples whose first pregnancy was planned split up within three years compared to more than 20 per cent of non-married parents who never made it to their third anniversary after not discussing a potential pregnancy.

Professor Steve McKay adds that “Even after controlling for mother’s age, education, ethnicity, marital status and relationship happiness nine months after their child was born, the odds of a couple splitting up before their child becomes a teenager were 28 per cent greater if they had not planned the birth.”

You can read the full article here

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UoL Graduation and Prize Giving Photographs, January 2018

Here are the photos we took at the University of Lincoln graduation ceremony and College of Social Science Prize Giving on 24th January 2018. We hope you enjoy looking back on what was a fantastic day. Please email if you would like us to send you any of the photographs.

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Upcoming Editalks at the Eleanor Glanville Centre

The Eleanor Glanville Centre is hosting a series of 20 minute Editalks starting on the 22nd February. This unique series will explore the links between industry and ongoing research around equality, diversity and inclusion taking place at the University of Lincoln. The seminar series will take place during lunchtimes and will adopt a TED talk style approach.

The first talk of the series, ‘Supporting Fathers Better: An Academic and Health Visitor in Conversation’ will bring together Dr Anna Tarrant from the School of Social and Political Sciences and Health Visitor Leanne Mchugh, who works for the NHS and will look at the shift in expectations regarding men’s increased involvement in care and family life, particularly in fatherhood.

The first talk is talking place on Thursday 22nd February, 12.15pm  to 12.35pm at University of Lincoln, David Chiddick Building, room DCB1102

Book your tickets here

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The Ethics of Environmental Lawyers: Wednesday 7th March 2018

Dr Steven Vaughan, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law, Faculty of Laws, University College London, is giving the first annual Weeramantry Environmental Law and Justice lecture on Wednesday 7th March 2018 entitled: “The Ethics of Environmental Lawyers”. It will take place in the moot court, Bridge House, 5pm.

The lecture is named after His Hon. Christopher Weeramantry, former judge of the International Court of Justice, who opened the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice in 2015, and sadly passed away in 2017.

This lecture is free to attend but space will be limited.

International Relations Model UN Assembly

Here are some photos we took of second year International Relations students at the annual Model UN Assembly, which was held at Lincolnshire County Council.

Marie Curie Funded Research Fellow Joins Lincoln Law School

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The Lincoln Law School has welcomed a new Marie Curie funded Research Fellow who will work under the supervision of Professor Duncan French, to conduct research into the current body of environmental law.

Professor Louis Kotzé joins the University of Lincoln from North-West University, South Africa where he is a Research Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law as well as teaching on the postgraduate programme in Environmental Law and Governance. His wider research focuses largely on the Anthropocene; a proposed geological epoch in which humans have made a significant impact on the Earth and its ecosystems meaning that the Earth’s systems are dislodged and in disarray. Specific examples of these impacts include an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, urbanisation, rising global temperatures and the depletion of ocean ecosystems.

Having been awarded the prestigious European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Fellowship, Professor Kotzé will lead a research project entitled ‘Global Ecological Custodianship: Innovative International Environmental Law for the Anthropocene’ (GLEC-LAW). The research aims to critique the body of international environmental law – more specifically, the multitude of environmental treaties that are designed to address global environmental degradation – through the lens of the Anthropocene.

The research, which will take place over the next two years, will address the implications of the Anthropocene for international environmental law with a focus on why and to what extent current environmental treaties are unable to respond to the global socio-ecological crisis and how these treaties can be reformed alongside a framework of global ecological custodianship so that they can better respond to current global environmental challenges.

As part of his fellowship, Louis will also spend six months at Utrecht University in The Netherlands working with Professor Frank Biermann and his team of Earth system scientists.

Professor Louis Kotzé said of his appointment: ‘I’m grateful for the support provided by the University of Lincoln, and specifically the Law School and its Centre for Environmental Law and Justice. The University has made massive strides in situating itself as an outstanding centre of higher education and research excellence in Europe and I am immensely excited and proud to be associated with this institution.”

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9 Things You Can’t Do In Parliament

Some of the House of Commons rules seem strange and many date back hundreds of years. Here are 9 things you can’t do in Parliament

Use anyone’s names


This rule sounds like part of a bad drinking game, but it’s true. MPs are not allowed to refer to each other by name and instead always refer to “the honourable member for…” the place they were elected to. If you can’t remember where someone is MP for you can refer to them as “the honourable gentleman” or “the honourable lady”. If you’re talking about someone from the same party they can be referred to as “my honourable friend”, while members of the privy council – usually ministers –are “the right honourable”. The exception to this is the Speaker, who can refer to anyone he likes by name.

Talk to anyone except the Speaker


MPs are only allowed to speak to one person in the House of Commons: the Speaker. Nobody else is ever directly addressed. This is why politicians talk in the way that they do, beginning their sentences with “Mr Speaker”, and referring to “he” or “she” instead of “you” when making points about their opponents or friends in a debate. In reality, MPs do chat and whisper to each other on the back-benches, though this isn’t part of the debate.

Take photos








No one is allowed to take photos or shoot videos in the chamber apart from the fixed TV cameras we’re used to seeing debates through. This is one of the reasons why the BBC’s recent documentary, Inside The Commons, was so striking – it brought the place to life with angles we don’t normally see. In that case, the film makers received special permission that had never before been granted. Photography is also banned in most of the Palace of Westminster for security reasons and restricted to the public areas of Westminster Hall, St Stephen’s Hall, New Palace Yard – as well as private rooms.

Call someone a liar


Parliament has strict rules on “unparliamentary language” isn’t allowed in. One banned word in particular stands out: ‘liar’. MPs who who accuse each other of lying are usually asked to withdraw the remarks by the Speaker, or face a suspension.

Call someone a hypocrite


You’re also not allowed to call a fellow MP a ‘hypocrite’ – another word which many voters would probably consider useful in a room full of politicians. This may be related to the conventions of Cabinet government. Under cabinet collective responsibility, ministers must publicly support every decision the government makes or face the sack. In reality, nobody really supports every decision every government makes and thus hypocrisy is practically built into the system.

Use any number of bizarre archaic insults








Many of Parliament’s banned words are incredibly archaic. On the banned list you will find “pipsqueak”, “swine”, “rat”, “blackguard” and “tart”. A “blackguard” originally referred to a lowly servant but came to mean ‘scoundrel’.

Wear a T-shirt


Parliament has a very strict dress code – men are expected to wear a shirt and tie, while women are expected to dress in business-like clothing. T-shirts wearing slogans are not allowed. MPs won’t be barred from entering the chamber, but tend not to ‘catch the eye’ of the Speaker to participate in debates. Both Green MP Caroline Lucas and Labour MP Harriet Harman have worn feminist slogan t-shirts in the Commons in recent years. Ms Lucas spoke in Westminster Hall wearing one and was admonished, while Ms Harman was apparently not noticed.

Wear armour in the chamber


It has been illegal to wear a suit of armour in the House of Commons for just over 700 years. This stems from a 1313 statute passed under King Edward II named Statutum de Defensione portandi Arma (Statute Forbidding the wearing of Weapons) Before this, armour was fine. The bill was apparently passed because “certain persons” had disrupted debates. Swords in the chamber are also banned by the same statute, and MPs are to this day given a loop next to their coat hook to hang their swords in the cloakroom.

 Speak in Welsh


The United Kingdom’s regions promote a number of languages: Most notably, Welsh has half a million speakers, Scots tens of thousands, and a similar number Irish. Unfortunately for speakers of these languages, speeches in the House of Commons can only be made in English. Quotations in other languages are allowed, however. Unlike in the European Parliament there are no live translation services available for members.

You can find the original article here in The Independent 

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Rob Goemans and Nigel Horner give talk on the history of Lincoln’s Asylum


Rob Goemans (Senior Lecturer) and Nigel Horner (Head of School) from the School of Health and Social Care were invited by Stokes to give a talk on the history of the building at The Lawns that Stokes have now moved their coffee business into. The University’s Lincoln Lunatic Asylum Project, led by Rob, is carrying out research analysing the original documents seeking to understand how identity and madness was constructed and understood in Lincoln’s asylum. The Lincoln Lunatic Asylum (LLA) opened in 1820 and, in 1837, became the first asylum in the country to achieve total abolition of mechanical restraint.

The talk, which focussed on the establishment of the asylum, and the factors which influenced the abolition of mechanical restraint, proved highly popular, with attendees filling the old asylum’s ballroom to capacity, around 120 people.

The university will be working with Stokes to develop information boards and leaflets to inform visitors of the history of the building. Anyone wishing for further information about the project may contact Rob via

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New Book by Lincoln Law School’s Professor Matthew Hall


Lincoln Law School’s Professor Matthew Hall has released a book titled ‘Victims of Crime: Construction, Governance and Policy (Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology), which is available in hardback and as a Kindle download

This book critically engages with the development of official policy and reform in relation to the support of victims of crime both within and beyond the criminal justice system of England and Wales. Since the election of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in May 2010 it is argued that victimization has increasingly taken on a greater cultural resonance both in England and Wales and in other industrialised countries. Images of terrorism, public debates around the handling of sexual victimisation by the courts, and the issue of child sexual exploitation have catapulted victim issues into the public consciousness like never before  – generating a new form of what Hall terms ‘victim capital’. As such, this book utilises a combination of cultural victimological analysis, governance theory and legal scholarship to address fundamental questions concerning the drivers and impact of victim policy in England and Wales in the 21st century. An engaging and original study, this book will be of particular interest to scholars of victimology and the criminal justice system, as well as activists and policy makers.

Congratulations Matthew!

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