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In brief

PM on accountability

Parent power could lead to the creation of school federations, the expansion of primary and secondaries and even the establishment of new schools, Gordon Brown has said. The Prime Minister wants teachers to be more accountable to parents, offering them more access to information, a more "personal approach" and stronger discipline. In a speech in Lewisham Mr Brown said local authorities will be required to act when there is dissatisfaction with local schools, and councils should improve their knowledge of "what parents want".

Doubly disadvantaged

Pupils educated in England's most deprived schools do worse in their GCSEs, a report by educational charity the Sutton Trust says. The study alleges the students face a "double penalty" because they achieve half a grade less for each GCSE they take, and are entered for fewer of the exams. The researchers examined the results of 550,000 pupils who took GCSEs in England in 2006. They found all pupils not eligible for free school meals attending the most deprived 10 per cent of schools on average achieve two-and-a-half grades less in their best eight GCSEs, compared to non-FSM pupils in the most advantaged, or richest, 10 per cent of schools.

Primary maths stalled

Primary school pupils' performance in maths has stalled despite billions of pounds of government investment, MPs have warned. A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee said it was "disgraceful" that more than a fifth of 11-year-olds were leaving primary school without a firm grasp of the subject. Around 5 per cent, or 30,000 children, went to secondary school last year with the maths skills of a seven-year-old at best, it said. In 200607, Pounds 2.3 billion was spent on teaching the subject, an average of Pounds 570 per pupil, and a quarter of the Pounds 10 billion total expenditure on primary teaching and teaching support staff.

Asthma 'bubble' burst

Teachers are placing pupils who suffer from asthma in a "protective bubble" because they do not understand the condition, a charity warned this week. A study by Asthma UK revealed that three-quarters of children with the condition have problems joining PE lessons and four out of 10 said it has stopped them having fun. Half said they had problems going on school trips.

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