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Why longer school days can be a waste of time

A longer school day will lead to better outcomes for students only if it is well-designed and compulsory, according to new research from thinktank Policy Exchange. The report, Only a Matter of Time?, says that between a third and half of state schools in England already offer a longer day, but there is little correlation between increased hours and performance in international league tables. The report recommends that schools should be able to opt for a longer day, but that if a longer day is chosen it should be compulsory for all pupils. Extra time should be staffed by teachers rather than teaching assistants and should focus on education rather than childcare, the report says.

School leaders go their own way on league tables

Headteachers will publish their own school performance league tables from this autumn, which will be separate from the government's rankings. A coalition of the NAHT headteachers' union, the Association of School and College Leaders, academy chain United Learning and school leaders' organisation PiXL are to launch a new website that will give parents access to information beyond the government's league tables. It will publish all data from this year's GCSE results, allowing users to rank schools' performance according to criteria of their choice, such as performance in music or sport. The website will ignore the government's policy of not counting exam resits.

Students of financial literacy reap rewards

Financial literacy courses in US high schools are improving the money-management skills of students, a new paper suggests. Findings from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which tracks maths and finance schemes across the US, shows a marked reduction in the rates of insolvency among pupils who have taken such courses. The report also finds that students studying economics are more likely to have financial problems - this is attributed to a false sense of confidence leading to risk-taking.

Colombia aims to create peace through education

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has said he wants to make his country the best educated in all Latin America. As he was sworn into a second term as leader, Mr Santos named education as one of the "three pillars" upon which he hopes to create a more peaceful and equal society in the troubled South American country. Speaking at his inauguration last week, Mr Santos said: "I firmly believe that Colombia must set for itself a goal to which we can all commit: in 2025, being a country at complete peace, a country with equality and the most educated in Latin America."

Schools must tackle youth joblessness, says study

Every secondary school should appoint a full-time careers officer in a bid to tackle the UK's youth unemployment problem, researchers have said. Despite steady falls in joblessness, 868,000 16- to 24-year-olds are still out of work in the UK. According to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank, better links between schools and employers are needed to address the issue. It finds that around 700,000 young people have never had a job, and warns of an overall "mismatch" between courses and available jobs. For example, 94,000 people trained in hair and beauty last year, despite just 18,000 jobs being available.

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