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`Resit test' planned for Year 7s with low levels

Children who fail to reach the expected standards in maths and English by the end of primary school will have to take a "resit test" in Year 7 under plans unveiled by the Conservative Party. Prime minister David Cameron and education secretary Nicky Morgan set out proposals this week to introduce the new assessments, which they claim will give pupils the chance to catch up with their peers by the age of 12. Schools will be able to choose whether they enter pupils for the test in the spring or summer term, and the exams will be marked by teachers rather than external assessors.

US teachers may serve 20 years for cheating

Eleven former teachers in the US are facing prison sentences of up to 20 years after they were convicted of widespread cheating in state tests. The group, from Atlanta, Georgia, were convicted last week after a six-year investigation, which initially led to 35 teachers being charged. The staff were found to have changed students' test scores, with some even holding "cheating parties" where they came together to alter exam papers. Some received bonuses linked to pupils' performance. The convicted teachers were found guilty of racketeering.

Reading prowess in primary can mean higher pay

Strong reading skills in primary school can lead to a pay boost later in life, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The research, carried out for the Read On, Get On campaign, finds that a child from a low-income background who is a strong reader at the age of 10 will, on average, earn 21 per cent more per hour at the age of 38 than someone from a similar background with poor reading skills. For children from richer families, the difference in hourly wages is less pronounced, at 10 per cent more. The Read On, Get On campaign says that greater investment in high-quality nursery staff would help to close the gap in reading ability between poor children and their better-off peers. Only 13 per cent of staff in the sector currently have a relevant degree.

Malala fights on for missing Nigerian schoolgirls

Three of the world's leading education campaigners have written an open letter demanding the release of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped one year ago next week. Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children's rights campaigner, have joined up with UN special envoy for global education Gordon Brown to keep up the fight to free the girls. They are also calling on world leaders to invest in strategies and systems to make schools safer in countries experiencing the threat of terrorism. On 14 April 2014, gunmen from terrorist group Boko Haram swarmed the town of Chibok in north-east Nigeria, abducting more than 270 girls.

Heads fear `erosion of freedoms' under Labour

Headteachers from some of the country's leading schools have raised concerns that Labour and Liberal Democrat policies could threaten the coalition's education reforms. Some 80 current and former headteachers of good or outstanding schools that enjoy academy-style freedoms have signed a letter to the Daily Mail warning that further regulation could undermine standards in the classroom. The letter was organised by the Freedom and Autonomy for Schools National Association, which represents self-governing schools and academies. "Any erosion of school freedoms.will reduce the capacity of schools to perform well in the future," the letter says.

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