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News in brief

Primary remodelling

Half of all primary schools will be rebuilt or refurbished within 15 years, the Government announced this week. Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, approved Pounds 3.55 billion of building plans, enabling more than 1,500 projects to go ahead. In addition, 15 local authorities will receive expert planning advice, to be followed by additional funding. All the work is expected to cost at least Pounds 7 billion. Since Labour came to power in 1997, 700 primaries have been refurbished.

Knives survey

More than three-quarters of London pupils believe that anyone found carrying a knife should be prosecuted. A survey of 1,000 pupils, carried out by students at Tower Hamlets Summer University, also found that half believe knife crime affects their lives, with 78 per cent claiming their peers carry knives for status. They concluded that stronger punishment and peer mentoring would help to reduce knife crime.

www.summeruni.org

Diploma wins fans

Pupils apparently love the Government's new 14-19 diploma qualification. Mary Curnock Cook, director of qualifications and skills at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, told a committee of MPs this week that teenagers were enthused by the more practical, coursework-focused nature of the diploma, which 12,000 students started studying in September. Teachers were also keen. Much publicity in recent months has focused on the diploma's low take-up, but Ms Curnock Cook said numbers would pick up from next year.

All on course

A leading independent provider of secondary teacher training has announced a new programme of courses for 2009, which includes training on the new GCSEs, A-levels and diplomas. Keynote Educational is running the events after a management buy-out in which its former directors and a new investor, Andy Jones, bought the company. Courses scheduled for this term are also going ahead as planned.

www.keynote.org.uk.

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