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News at a glance

Sixth form strikes over pay begin

The first strikes in sixth-form colleges took place yesterday in the NUT's quest to secure better pay for its members. The Sixth Form Colleges' Forum argued that budgetary pressures meant its members would not be offering a pay rise this year, provoking anger from the teaching unions. Teachers in London colleges took part in this week's industrial action. The NUT is keen to coordinate further strikes in other parts of the country with the NASUWT, which has expressed an interest in taking part, and the ATL, which is balloting its members on strike action.

#163;126 million scheme to tackle Neets 'time bomb'

Companies and charities will be invited to bid to take part in a payment-by-results scheme to help Neet (not in employment, education or training) teenagers. The #163;126 million scheme was announced by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg (pictured) this week and will target 55,000 young people with poor qualifications in an effort to get them into work or training. Mr Clegg described the issue as a "ticking time bomb".

College swearing ban to prepare students for work

Hugh Baird College in Merseyside has introduced a swearing ban as part of its new principal's strategy to prepare students for the world of work. Yana Williams has asked security guards, canteen staff and lecturers at the Bootle college to take any foul-mouthed students to task. The new rule is part of a 22-point code of conduct being introduced to create a more professional environment. Other regulations include not putting up hoods indoors and being punctual in attending classes and submitting coursework. "The college's code of conduct for students promotes behaviour that employers would expect in their workplace," Ms Williams told the Liverpool Echo.

Minimum length for adult apprenticeships opposed

While 16-18 apprenticeships must, from this summer, last for at least 12 months, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers insists that it is opposed to a minimum duration for adult apprenticeships being introduced. The body argues that providers "would have extreme difficulty with such a policy were it to be announced". The minimum duration for 16-18 apprentices will come into effect for those learners starting courses from 1 August. Providers have been "encouraged" to introduce the 12-month minimum duration for young apprenticeships sooner, but this is not mandatory.

A royal blessing for a new campus

Prince Andrew joined students at Hartlepool College of Further Education last week to open its new #163;53 million campus. "I wish the staff every success - you are mentors to these young people. It's upon your work and leadership and inspiration that these young people are going to depend," said the prince, who unveiled a plaque at the college. "The duke was very well briefed and showed a great interest in further education," said college principal Michael Bretherick.


A report in the FErret column ("Twigging a basic error", 10 February) criticised shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg's decision to visit Appleton Academy in Bradford for National Apprenticeship Week, on the grounds that the school does not teach apprenticeships. TES is happy to make clear, however, that apprentices in construction are working on the academy's new buildings and that they met with Mr Twigg.

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