A Week in Education

12th October 2007 at 01:00
THE GOVERNMENT has announced extra spending for primary school buildings, but pupils of all ages will also be expected to reach tougher targets.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, used his pre-budget report to announce that every local authority will be given money to rebuild or renovate one primary school, from a pot of pound;200 million. A further pound;250 million will be made available for more personalised teaching.

But the pressure will be on: by 2011 the Government wants to see significant improvements in the proportion of pupils hitting targets at the end of primary school and at GCSE.

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david cameron faced the wrath of school governors in Hull after they accused the Conservative leader of telling an untrue story about a "hungover" pupil who was rushing into a GCSE exam.

In his speech to his party's annual conference, Mr Cameron said a teacher had told him that the boy had wrecked a classroom and attacked another teacher, and didn't know why he was still in school.

Governors at Kingswood College of Arts have demanded an apology from Mr Cameron, insisting that the story was untrue and "an appalling allegation".

Meanwhile, uncertainty in the education world caused by speculation over a possible snap general election was put to rest when Gordon Brown announced that an election would not take place after all.

monkseaton community High School in North Tyneside made headlines because of its system of ultra-short lessons. Under the scheme reported in The TES at the start of the year pupils are taught in lessons lasting only eight minutes, with 10-minute breaks.

In the space of an hour, they are in lessons for just 24 minutes.

The system, called "space learning", was developed by American researchers who believe the brain stores information more easily if it is given time to absorb it properly.

primary education should be more fun, according to headteachers. The National Primary Headteachers' Association accused the Government of an "obscene rush" to get children doing formal work.

Nurseries and reception classes, it said, should concentrate on fun learning techniques, and formal work should be delayed.

The plea was made in submissions to the Primary Review, the largest study of primary education for 40 years, being carried out by researchers at Cambridge University.

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mike tomlinson, a former chief inspector, has called for more onsite accommodation for teachers, saying that it would halt the exodus of good teachers from London schools.

Sir Mike said the Building Schools for the Future programme provided the best opportunity to incorporate housing for staff.

"We've got to be willing to think outside the box," he said.

Irena Barker

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