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Final call for TES Schools Awards entries

TES is issuing a final call for entries for this year's Schools Awards, which recognise and celebrate schools that are making an exceptional difference to their students and communities. The 18 categories reward excellence across the whole school, from headteacher of the year to inspirational teacher of the year. Among this year's new categories are awards for literacy and English, maths and numeracy, science, and humanities. The deadline for entries is Monday 22 April. For more information, visit www.tesawards.co.uk.

Tuition fees hike widens the gender gap

Working-class boys are put off studying at university by the rise in tuition fees, according to new research. Will Hutton, chair of the Independent Commission on Fees, which conducted the study, said there had been a "worrying" widening of the gender gap between working-class boys and girls attending university in the first year of the hike in tuition fees, which trebled to #163;9,000. In the neighbourhoods where teenagers were the least likely to go to university, around 1,700 fewer boys aged 19 and under were accepted on to degree courses in 2012 than in 2011, representing a 5.4 per cent drop.

Parents scramble for places at Toby Young school

The West London Free School, set up by author and journalist Toby Young, is attracting nearly 10 applications for every one of its places, new figures have shown. According to free school admissions data released by the Department for Education, 1,196 applications were put forward by parents for just 120 places at the secondary in Hammersmith, West London. The DfE said 55 out of 63 free schools surveyed had more applicants than places available, attracting on average nearly three students per place. Almost one in eight schools was either only just filling their places or failing to attract enough students.

Teach First scheme expands into early years

Teach First, the education charity that places high-performing graduates into schools, is to be extended into early years. The development means that from September 2013 children aged 3 and 4 will be taught by an initial cohort of 20 Teach First recruits. Children's minister Elizabeth Truss said: "The extension of the Teach First Leadership Development Programme into the early years will mean talented individuals will be even more attracted to this important profession that makes all the difference to young lives." The charity started its work exclusively in challenging secondary schools but expanded into the primary sector in 2011.

Space Agency among backers of new studio schools

More than a dozen new "studio" schools specialising in industries including environmental studies, engineering and hospitality are to open from next year. The Department for Education said it had approved 13 new schools to open from September 2014, backed by employers such as Barclays and the UK Space Agency. Studio schools cater to 14- to 19-year-olds, with students taking key GCSEs such as English and maths and vocational qualifications as well as taking part in work experience.

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