News at a glance

Practicals may not count in new science GCSEs

Assessment of pupils' practical science skills will be removed from new GCSEs, under controversial plans unveiled by Ofqual this week. The exams watchdog said its reforms would reinvigorate the hands-on aspect of the subjects by stopping teaching to the test. Instead of practicals counting towards grades, at least 15 per cent of marks from written exam questions in each science GCSE would "draw on students' practical science experience". The Campaign for Science and Engineering said there was a "real danger" that the plans would lead to a "further erosion of practical science experience and skills".

Next stop for the Educating. series: Cardiff

The latest in a series of fly-on-the-wall documentaries filmed in Britain's secondary schools will be set in a Welsh comprehensive. The next Educating. series is being filmed at Willows High School in Cardiff and will be aired on Channel 4 next autumn. Previous documentaries, which featured schools in Essex, Yorkshire and East London, have made household names of teachers and students such as Mr Drew, Mrs Marsden and Musharaf "Mushy" Asghar.

Half of schools do not provide medicine candidates

About half of the UK's secondary schools did not provide a single applicant to study medicine over a three-year period, research suggests. The University of Nottingham study, commissioned by the Medical Schools Council (MSC), finds that 20 per cent of schools and colleges provide 80 per cent of applicants to medicine, with grammar and independent schools responsible for roughly half of all applications. The findings were published as the MSC released the final report of its Selecting for Excellence project, which explores how to widen access to medical degrees to people from less privileged backgrounds.

`Redefine physical activity', doctor tells teachers

Schools should give up trying to cram "heavy exercise" into their timetables and promote continued low-level physical activity, a leading sports medicine consultant has said. Dr Mike Loosemore from University College Hospital in London argued that getting children to simply stand up and move around more could have a significant impact on health. "It is time to redefine physical activity in terms that are accessible, achievable and available to all," he said. "We need to think of exercise as the effect of cumulative low-level effort, not performance-orientated, data-led disciplines."

Put your workload questions to schools minister

TES readers are being given the chance to ask schools minister David Laws about what the government is doing to tackle excessive workload. He will answer questions in a live webchat on the TES website on Tuesday 16 December at 8pm. Mr Laws wants to talk to teachers about the workload crisis after tens of thousands of staff responded to the Workload Challenge survey. To post a question or tune in live on the day, go to www.tesconnect.comdavidlaws

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