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News at a glance

New home for FE Focus

The FE Focus coverage in TES has been revamped for the new year and can now be found in the main news section in the magazine. Alongside the exclusive stories and analysis you have come to expect, a new online news service dedicated to FE has also been launched to provide breaking stories throughout the week. FE comment pieces can now be found in the main comment section. The website, which also brings together FE jobs and teaching resources, can be found at

Prosecutions leap for parents of truants

The number of parents taken to court over their child's truancy has leapt, with nearly 13,000 facing charges according to the most recent figures. Data released last week show that record numbers of parents and guardians faced prosecution in 2011 because they were unable to ensure their child's attendance at school. Many of those convicted received fines, but in 11 cases the parents were jailed and handed an average sentence of just over a month. Two-thirds of those prosecuted were women.

It's not just bricks and mortar, Gove told

The architect behind some of the world's most recognisable buildings has called on ministers to rethink their plans to simplify new school buildings. Labour peer Lord Richard Rogers (pictured right) urged education secretary Michael Gove to reconsider his proposals to introduce more austere design guidelines for #163;2.5 billion-worth of new schools and examine evidence that school environments can boost pupil performance. A study by academics at the University of Salford showed that well-designed buildings could boost test scores by as much as 25 per cent.

Churchill and Nelson star in leaked curriculum

The Norman conquest, the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses and the rise and fall of the British Empire are among the topics included in a draft of a new history national curriculum leaked to The Daily Telegraph. Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson and Oliver Cromwell are also in the document. Education secretary Michael Gove has spoken out about the omission of such figures from the current curriculum, although teachers have said that does not mean they are not taught.

Girls still told childcare is 'most important thing'

Girls are being brought up to believe that raising children is more important than their own ambitions, according to Hilary French, the new president of the Girls' Schools Association. The head of Central Newcastle High School said: "We are still creating a generation of girls who think that the whole idea of looking after children is really the most important thing." She added that it was "probably still the assumption" that women would deal with childcare. "I think there's a long way to go before there's total equality in that area," she said.

Lord Baker warns that EBCs are a 'huge mistake'

Government proposals for new English Baccalaureate Certificates to replace GCSEs in the core subjects of English, maths and science are a "huge mistake" that will squeeze out other subjects and vocational qualifications, a Conservative former education secretary has warned. Lord Baker told The Independent he did not think the reform would "survive a change of government" but feared it would be "difficult to persuade" MIchael Gove that his alternative - delaying the age of transfer to secondary from 11 to 14 - was a better idea.

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