Admissions reform at Catholic school after bias row
A leading Catholic state school in London has been ordered to revise its admissions policy after it was accused of discriminating against people from working-class and non-Catholic backgrounds. The London Oratory School has been heavily criticised by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator for categorising children based on whether they sing in a choir, arrange flowers in church, serve at the altar or assist in pastoral work such as visiting the needy. The adjudicator's report identifies 105 areas of the school's policy that break the school admissions code.
Cane pupils `properly', says Australian adviser
An education adviser to the Australian prime minister has sparked debate after he voiced support for corporal punishment in schools. Kevin Donnelly said he backed physical punishment such as caning as long as it was "done properly". He said: "If the school community is in favour of it then I have got no problem if it's done properly." Parents' organisations said they were "disturbed" by Dr Donnelly's comments, while unions condemned them as "extremist views".
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Ofsted praises effective use of pupil premium
English schools are starting to make better use of additional pupil premium funding for educating the poorest children, according to Ofsted. A new report from the inspectorate argues that schools are now spending the extra cash "more effectively" than at any time since the policy was introduced in 2011. The money is most commonly spent on hiring extra teachers, as well as interventions such as booster classes, reading support and learning mentors. However, the report says it is too early to conclude whether the pupil premium is closing the gap between the attainment of the most affluent and the poorest pupils.
Cognitive behavioural therapy could reduce symptoms of anxiety
Children as young as 9 should receive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in school to help them ward off anxiety, scientists say. New research from the Universities of Bath, Cardiff, Oxford and Exeter shows that such prevention programmes "significantly reduce" anxiety symptoms in Year 5 pupils. The study, of more than 1,300 children aged 9 and 10, also highlights the benefits of CBT lessons in the classroom for all children, regardless of their anxiety levels. Researchers say the issue is "very common" in students, with 10 per cent affected by an anxiety disorder by the age of 16. The research shows that CBT lessons are most effective when conducted by external practitioners.
Sacked gay teacher receives apology after 42 years
A social studies teacher in the US who was sacked from his job in 1972 after revealing that he was gay has received an apology from the authorities. Jim Gaylord was a successful and popular teacher at Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington, for 12 years. However, when he came out as gay he was fired on the grounds that he was "immoral", according to US media reports. "The 1972 decision was written within the guidelines at the time, but it does not reflect the values and morals of the district now," said Tacoma school board president Kurt Miller, who apologised to the former teacher at an event for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people.