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In brief

Hold on GTC fee hike

A proposed increase in the fee that teachers must pay to register with the General Teaching Council for England has been put on hold. The GTC had wanted to increase its annual fee from Pounds 33 to Pounds 37 from April. But this has been postponed while the Government carries out a review of the remit of organisations supporting the children's workforce. Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, will consider the GTC's request to increase the fee after the review has finished.

No-notice inspections

Ofsted published research this week showing two-thirds of parents back the no-notice inspections or "dawn raids" it wants to introduce. Christine Gilbert, the chief inspector, has been keen to press on with the idea, despite huge opposition from heads and teachers and serious concern from inspectors. She has already justified her case for reducing notice below two days by saying parents were in favour of the change. Previously, this was based on a consultation in which parents and carers only amounted to 5 per cent of respondents. Now the watchdog has commissioned Ipsos Mori to ask a sample of 541 parents: "Do you think an even shorter notice period is a good idea or not?" The poll found that 65 per cent said yes, and 29 per cent said no.

Switch to IGCSEs

Manchester Grammar announced this week that it would be the latest independent school to adopt IGCSEs, citing concerns about the new modular nature of GCSEs. The news came as Tony Little, head of Eton, said that introducing coursework at GCSE had had a "stultifying" effect. He called for the whole "straitjacket of examination" to be pared back, with schools given more responsibility for the curriculum.

Training for Sencos

Details of courses that will ensure new special needs co-ordinators get accredited training are being finalised as universities prepare bids to run them. The training requirement, to come into force this September, will standardise Sencos' qualifications in England for the first time, ensure all are qualified teachers and that they have the right specialist knowledge. The Training and Development Agency for Schools has been asked to produce the courses, which will earn credits at masters degree level. New Sencos have until September 2011 to complete the training.

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