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Bid to raise spirits with standards

Ministers are examining ways of boosting morale among teachers as a result of the Government's consultation on its measures to raise standards, writes Geraldine Hackett.

Professor Michael Barber, head of the Department for Education and Employment's standards and effectiveness unit, said that responses indicated the need for initiatives promoting the role of teachers.

"There is not one simple solution," he said. "There are a set of things that need to be done." He added that fears of overprescription in the teaching of literacy and numeracy had also been heeded: ministers did not intend to instruct schools that are producing excellent results to use particular methods.

Professor Barber, speaking to inspectors and advisers from local authorities at a London conference said the Government intends to allow earlier intervention in failing schools, with local authorities issuing warning notices.

"We would expect local authorities to discuss with schools ways of dealing with the problem before an early warning notice is issued," said Professor Barber. If action was not taken, councils could then remove financial control and appoint additional governors.

He suggested closure might have to be considered where falling rolls and high levels of deprivation prevented progress, but said: "I don't think the vast majority of failing schools fit into this category."

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