Nicky Morgan vows to `reduce burden' on teachers
Education secretary Nicky Morgan promised this week to do everything she could to "reduce the burden" on teachers. Hours after an NUT survey revealed that 90 per cent of those polled had considered leaving the profession in the past two years over their workloads, the minister told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that she was determined to tackle the issue. "I have set two priorities," she said. "First, to do everything I can to reduce the overall burden on teachers. And second, to ensure that teachers spend more time in the classroom teaching." Ms Morgan also signalled her intention to "stamp out" homophobic bullying in schools. In a move away from the combative approach of her predecessor Michael Gove, she described the current crop of teachers as "world-class".
State schools' ICT provision in need of upgrade
More than half of all UK state schools have poor access to ICT and computers, new research suggests. Poor wi-fi provision was seen as a major problem by 65 per cent of primaries and 54 per cent of secondaries surveyed by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA). The poll of ICT coordinators in 1,225 schools also found that broadband internet connections were not up to scratch in 42 per cent of primaries and 31 per cent of secondaries.
Move to ban curriculum prompts protests in US
US teachers and students have held protests against a proposed ban of a controversial curriculum that offers a negative interpretation of US history. In response to a new programme of study, described by Republican critics as "radically revisionist", the Jefferson County school board in Colorado proposed scrapping parts of the course that might "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law". Teachers this week retaliated by calling in sick in protest, forcing two schools to close. Hundreds of students across the state have also campaigned against the move.
Unqualified teachers used by a third of free schools
Almost a third of free schools have employed non-qualified teachers, according to government research, which claims that the newly created schools are using their freedoms to be more innovative. The figures show that 32 per cent of the free schools surveyed had employed teachers with no formal qualifications. Researchers contacted headteachers at the 174 free schools that were open during the 2013-14 academic year, 74 of which responded. Both Labour and the major teaching unions have called for schools to employ only staff who have qualified teacher status or are working towards gaining the qualification.
Helpline offers therapy to anxious teachers
One-on-one therapy sessions are to be offered to stressed or anxious teachers by the Teacher Support Network. The scheme, devised with mental health charity Anxiety UK, offers teachers, lecturers and support staff six sessions with a therapist, either in person, via Skype or over the phone. An initial pilot, running until the end of the year, will be available for up to 40 people at a charge of between pound;15 and pound;50.