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At a Glance

Baker contradicts official line on climate change

Lord Baker, the former Conservative education secretary who introduced the national curriculum, has contradicted the Government by saying that climate change should be a compulsory part of science lessons. Environmentalists were angered this summer when Tim Oates, head of the ongoing national curriculum review, said teachers should decide whether to teach the issue in science. This week the Department for Education backed his argument that climate change is not one of science's "essential" basic concepts. A spokesperson said the "main purpose" of the national curriculum was to include only "essential knowledge" - giving teachers more time to teach other "important matters, like climate change". But when asked by TES whether global warming should be included in the national curriculum, Lord Baker said: "The effect of climate change is a very important aspect of the learning process today." The DfE spokesperson said: "We fully expect schools will want to cover climate change."

See curriculum cover story, pages 30-35.

26 teachers at risk as firm looks to cut #163;700k

Up to 26 teachers face the axe in Islington, north London, due to problems at a firm which provides support services. Cambridge Education @ Islington is looking to slash #163;700,000 from its budget. Most of the posts will be shed from its team tackling underachievement among ethnic-minority students. The firm blamed the move on reduced council funding and the end of both a ringfenced grant for the service and its contract for the London Challenge project to drive up attainment in the capital.

Parents can apply to run children's centres

Parents will be handed the power to run their local children's centres under plans unveiled by the Coalition this week. The Government is to consult over the autumn on changes that will give parents and community groups the opportunity to apply to their local authority to be in charge of children's centres in their area. Announcing the plans, children's minister Sarah Teather said: "Proposals to enable parents and communities to help run children's centres will give local people more control and influence over the services they use on a daily basis."

See Teather news story, page 27.

Swansea leads the way in cutting Neets numbers

Policy-makers from across Wales have heard how a council has succeeded in cutting the young people not in employment, education or training (Neet) at a special conference in Cardiff yesterday. In five years, Swansea has slashed the number of 16-18-year-old Neets from 350 to 110 by introducing early-intervention strategies in its schools.

RC school bursar arrested on fraud suspicion

The bursar at a Catholic secondary school has been arrested on suspicion of fraud. Paul Gorman, estate manager at St Boniface's Catholic College in Plymouth, was questioned by Devon and Cornwall police's assets recovery team. The school confirmed that the investigation related to "past handling of the school's finances". Mr Gorman, 64, was released on bail until 12 December.

Time limit on supply teaching for NQTs is scrapped

Newly qualified teachers who cannot find a job will now be able to work as a supply teacher for five years. Regulations which put a limit of 16 months on the time NQTs can spend doing short-term work before starting their induction year will be scrapped, the Department for Education has announced. The DfE is consulting on the changes, which come into force in April 2012. They also allow teachers to serve their induction period in pupil referral units and independent nurseries for the first time.

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