News at a glance

World Cup song released in memory of teacher

Two teachers who have recorded an England World Cup anthem are releasing it as a single to raise money in memory of a teacher who was stabbed to death at school. Robin Parmiter and Ian Wilson of Huntington School in York will donate proceeds from Bring It Home to the Ann Maguire Educational Fund, set up after the teacher was stabbed to death in Leeds in April. Money will also go to the Bobby Moore Fund, which raises money for bowel cancer research. The duo, who go by the name Disco Mister, wrote their song to challenge the negativity surrounding England's chances at the forthcoming World Cup in Rio, Brazil. The video has been viewed nearly 70,000 times on YouTube in less than a month and the pair hope the song will make the top 40 of the charts when it is released on 9 June.

`Overlapping' GCSEs and A-levels under threat

Dozens of GCSEs, AS-levels and A-levels are set to be abolished in the latest stage of major exam reform. Courses in subjects such as home economics, performing arts, environmental science, catering and human biology are in line to be dropped because exam watchdog Ofqual argues there is too much crossover with other subjects. But some at-risk courses, such as ancient history, film studies, law and media studies, could be reformed to become new, tougher qualifications. "In England we have a large range of subjects and a variety of qualifications with different titles, and some overlap," a consultation document from Ofqual says. "This can be confusing, and it makes standards difficult to maintain."

US study highlights `chronically absent' teachers

One in six teachers in the biggest school districts in the US are "chronically absent", missing 18 days or more every year, according to a study released this week. Research by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a thinktank in Washington DC, shows that 16 per cent of teachers nationwide miss more than three weeks of school annually. The study looks at 234,000 teachers in 40 of the country's largest school districts, revealing that teachers miss 11 days a year on average. It examines short-term absences and does not count long-term illnesses or maternity and paternity leave.

Homework makes children fat, author claims

Homework can actually make children fat and parents should ban it, according to an Australian fitness expert. Author Sharny Kieser said that parents should encourage their children to take part in more outdoor activities. "Instead of slaving over a computer or books in the few hours of daylight after school, our kids need to be out getting some exercise. Banning homework will produce healthier kids," she said. The warning is included in her new book Fit, Healthy, Happy Kids.

Prince's award aims to boost practical skills

Prince William has this week launched an award for underprivileged primary children designed to develop team-building and problem-solving skills. Similar to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award undertaken by thousands of teenagers each year, the Junior Prince's Award will teach nine- and 10-year-olds practical skills such as first aid, navigation and camping. It was set up by SkillForce, of which Prince William is a royal patron. The charity uses ex-military personnel to engage hard-to-reach young people with school.

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