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Drop in top grades for English language IGCSE

The proportion of UK students gaining top grades in English language IGCSE fell this year at the same time as entries shot up by two-thirds, according to Cambridge International Examinations. Figures from the exam board show that just 3.4 per cent of students gained an A* grade this year, down from 5.7 per cent in 2014. The percentage of pupils gaining a grade C or above fell from 64.1 per cent to 63 per cent. Those gaining at least a grade G fell from 98.6 per cent to 98.2 per cent. This comes alongside a significant rise in the number of pupils taking the Cambridge IGCSE, from 121,530 in 2014 to 201,858 - almost a third of the students in England who took an English GCSE-level qualification this year.

Former TES editor Walter James dies aged 103

Walter James, editor of TES between 1952 and 1969, died last week aged 103. Under his leadership the paper's arts coverage expanded, resulting in the first newspaper article about poet Philip Larkin in 1956. Mr James, who was also deputy editor of TES in 1947-51, has been described as "an unashamed elitist" on education. He was opposed to comprehensives and against the expansion of universities. A former Liberal politician who stood as a parliamentary candidate in Bury in the 1945 general election, Mr James was educated at Uckfield Grammar School and Oxford University's Keble College, where he received a first-class degree in modern history.

`What you need to know about academic selection', pages 14-15

Fears for future of sixth-form colleges amid cuts

Sixth-form colleges have dropped courses in sciences and languages amid fears that the system is "under serious threat" from funding cuts, according to a new survey. The online poll, carried out by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), also reveals that a third of college leaders believe their institutions will not be able to operate after 2020 without more investment (bit.lySFCAFunding). The findings have prompted the group to call for an urgent review of funding. The accompanying report warns: "The government's decision not to protect the 16-19 education budget from spending cuts means that further funding reductions are highly likely."

Bradford teacher `forgives' pupil who stabbed him

A teacher who was stabbed by a student earlier this year in a racially motivated incident in Bradford says he has forgiven his 14-year-old attacker. In the wake of the assault on Vincent Uzomah, pictured, at Dixons Kings Academy, the boy bragged on Facebook: "I stick the blade straight in his tummy." After a judge ordered that the boy to be incarcerated for up to six years and spend another five years on licence, Mr Uzomah, speaking outside court, said: "As a Christian, I have forgiven this boy who has inflicted this trauma and pain on me and my family." The boy used an offensive racist term before stabbing Mr Uzomah in the stomach, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Ofqual chief regulator to leave role in February

Glenys Stacey, chief regulator at Ofqual, has announced that she will step down from the role in February at the end of her five-year term. During Ms Stacey's tenure, the government announced major changes to the exam system. The former solicitor said it was time for a "fresh face" to take over the agency, and added: "I took this job in order to establish Ofqual as a credible, effective regulator. I have achieved that and believe the time is right now for a change in leadership. I am not retiring, and will look to use the skills I have acquired over my long career in public service."

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