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News at a glance

Job losses imminent in DfE cutbacks

Around 1,000 members of staff at the Department for Education are facing redundancy in a cash-saving exercise. In addition to losing a quarter of its civil servants, there are also plans to shut six regional offices and move the central London headquarters to a cheaper site. The cutbacks come after management consultants said that decision-making at the department was "too slow and laborious". Under the proposals, remaining civil servants who do not perform to a high enough standard will be "speedily managed out", The Times reported.

Teachers don't like to be beside the seaside

Schools in seaside towns and some cities in the North of England are blighted by underachievement and find it more difficult to attract good teachers, the shadow education secretary has claimed. Stephen Twigg said that too many schools in these places had failed to match the improvements in results elsewhere in the country. He said that ministers should establish a series of regional "school challenges" in the areas affected, and offer incentives for teachers who commit to working there for at least two years.

Reading doesn't come naturally to trainees

More than half of new teachers do not start the job with good skills in teaching reading, a report from Ofsted says. The survey of 44 would-be primary teachers in 10 teacher training providers found that just 21 had good skills when they left initial teacher training. However, the report, From Training to Teaching Early Language and Literacy, did find that good training in school placements or their induction school could help weak trainees to become good teachers.

Ministers go on a school trip

The government will no longer "put up" with failing primary schools, David Cameron told a Cabinet meeting at a flagship academy this week, saying that the government would improve the UK's 400 weakest primary schools by turning them into academies. The prime minister made his comments as he held his sixth meeting of top ministers away from Westminster, at the John Cabot Academy in Bristol. Mr Cameron later told pupils: "It's been great to bring the whole Cabinet here, to get them out of Westminster, to get them out of that bubble that they sometimes live in."

Bragg argues against great leap forwards

Musician Billy Bragg has become the latest figure from the arts to criticise reforms to the curriculum that he claims will "stifle creativity". In a lecture at the annual Radio Festival in Salford, Mr Bragg argued that under-pressure schools would stick to core academic subjects after the introduction of the English Baccalaureate performance measure. "At a time of cuts to the education budget, the pressure on schools to dump subjects like music and drama in favour of those that offer high marks in performance tables will only grow," he said.

Free tickets to The Hunt

How does idle playground gossip affect the lives of teachers? Danish film The Hunt, on general release from 30 November, tackles this question by focusing on the drastic consequences of one small lie. We have 60 pairs of tickets to preview screenings to give away. The screenings are being held on Tuesday 20 November at Vue Cinema in Leicester Square, London, and at the Edinburgh Omni Vue from 6.30pm. To get your tickets, visit www.showfilmfirst.compin803162. First come, first served.

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