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Police guard Chicago children on walk to school

Students returning to school in Chicago, US, made the journey under the supervision of patrolling police officers, private security guards and even helicopters to ensure their safety. The decision to close 47 elementary schools last spring in a bid to save money has meant that children have to walk through notorious gangland areas in order to reach their new schools. Security were present across 90 different school routes. The measure has been condemned by parents and teachers.

Science reforms could `derail' world-class aim

The government's plans to reform the science curriculum in England could "derail" the country's ambitions to deliver world-class science education, leading researchers have warned. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has pointed to data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study that shows the UK is a world leader when it comes to science. NFER researcher Dr Newman Burdett said that government proposals to make the subject more "challenging" risk turning it into a "slog that will deter both the brightest and those struggling".

Sex education banished from Israeli textbooks

A chapter on sex education is to be removed from textbooks used in Israeli state religious schools. Critics of the move said it amounted to the authorities giving in to pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jews. Filtering science for reasons of modesty would impede proper teaching of the subject, they added. The Israeli education ministry said the measure, which applies to junior high schools, is "not intended to change the goals of the educational programme".

Analysis predicts extent of school places crisis

A dramatic rise in the number of students in England will lead to some parts of the country having twice as many children as school places within the next two years, according to an analysis by the Local Government Association. As many as two in three councils could have more students than places by September 2016, it said. A rise in the birth rate means schools are being forced to convert music rooms and libraries into classrooms, while others have had to reduce playground space.

International sector booms in Malaysia

Malaysia is helping to fuel the continuing expansion in the international schools market after government restrictions were lifted, enabling students to attend schools run by foreign organisations. Data published by ISC Research, which tracks the entire international schools sector, shows that there are now 6,717 international schools in the world, employing 315,000 staff and teaching 3.4 million students. The change in policy in Malaysia is leading to significant expansion in the country, according to ISC.

Reforms dent teacher morale in Wales

Almost three-quarters of headteachers and teachers in Wales feel that recent changes to the education system have had a negative impact on their morale and enthusiasm, an exclusive TES poll reveals. Some 73.2 per cent of teachers and 75 per cent of headteachers surveyed felt that recent reforms - such as reading and mathematics tests and a banding system for secondary schools - have decreased morale and motivation. More than 60 per cent of teachers did not believe that the introduction of banding had helped to improve school standards.

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