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Mayor puts weight behind selective admissions

Boris Johnson, who is being tipped as a potential leader of the Conservative Party and even a future prime minister, voiced his support for greater academic selection in schools this week. The Mayor of London is being widely touted as a legitimate contender for David Cameron's throne, and he delighted the party faithful at the annual conference in Birmingham by throwing his weight behind more selective intakes in the country's schools. "I personally have no objection to selective admissions at some stage in a child's development," Mr Johnson said. He acknowledged that people had objections to this being at 11 and said he could "see problems" with selection at that age, but "at some stage, I have no problem". The mayor also announced a new programme, New Schools for London, that will open up the Greater London Authority's property portfolio to help establish more free schools in the capital.

Gove and unions face off over work to rule

Teachers' leaders joined forces to condemn Michael Gove this week after he accused the unions of undermining the profession by carrying out a work-to-rule policy in schools. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, the education secretary blasted the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions, accusing them of subscribing to an ideology that "holds back our children". Mr Gove used his keynote speech to claim that the industrial action being carried out by the two unions is lowering the public's respect for the profession. Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "The teaching profession has never come under such sustained criticism and attack ... Our action taken alongside colleagues in the NASUWT is designed to protect teachers and defend education."

Ofqual set to mark the markers

Ofqual has begun a review of exam marking, it was revealed this week. The watchdog's inquiry comes after the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference group of independent schools raised concerns about the quality of marking at the end of last month. Chief regulator Glenys Stacey said she wants to bring greater transparency to the marking process and to consider options for how to improve it. She was speaking at a Cambridge Assessment conference on Wednesday, where it was suggested that some teachers were getting up at 5am to mark public exams and others marked papers in the pub.

Have your say on the pornography problem

Following the response to the TES cover story last week on the consequences of easy access to hardcore pornography in secondaries, we have launched a survey to discover whether teachers agree that it is a widespread problem and what schools can or should be doing about it. All respondents will be entered in a prize draw to win #163;50 of Amazon vouchers. To take part, visit surveymonkey.comspornandpupils

Establishment thwarts parents' ambition, says PM

David Cameron accused the "education establishment" of standing in the way of ambitious parents wanting to improve their children's life chances this week. The prime minister used his speech at the Conservative Party conference to criticise opponents of his government's school reform agenda. He asked why all schools could not be as good as the best academies. "It's not because parents aren't ambitious enough - most of these schools are massively oversubscribed," he said. "It's because the old educational establishment - the left-wing local authorities, the leaders of the teachers' unions, the Labour Party theorists - stood in the way."

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