A Week in Education

15th February 2008 at 00:00
Ministers announced that they wanted children to take part in five hours of cultural activity a week. They launched pilot projects, costing pound;25 million, to take place in 10 local authorities in England. The five-hour guarantee includes activities outside school such as theatre and museum visits, but unions warned that it would add to the pressures on timetables. Page 1.

More than 4,000 teenagers were caught cheating in exams last year, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority figures for A-levels and GCSEs showed. The government watchdog said the biggest problem was mobile phones, which candidates use to text friends or access the internet. Officials approved 150,000 requests for special exam arrangements, including having extra time, help with reading, or the use of computers - a 20 per cent rise on 2006. Page 8

Tony Little, headmaster of Eton College, said the number of GCSEs teenagers take should be cut to five or six. His remarks, reported in the Telegraph and the Mail, came after The TES revealed last week that the independent school had compiled a dossier of errors by exam markers. Mr Little said assessing all that young people do had become a habit and they saw 11 or 12 GCSEs as a virtue.

A former headteacher fronted a Channel 4 documentary pressing for smaller school sizes. James Wetz, now an educational researcher at Bristol University, used the Dispatches programme to question Britain's move towards larger secondaries. He suggested following the school-within-school model pioneered in the United States, where pupils are divided into teaching groups of around 300, already growing in popularity here.

Gordon Brown announced an expansion of Teach First, the scheme that gets graduates from leading universities to teach in tough schools. The Prime Minister said numbers taking part would rise from 274 to 400, with a new group of Teach First "advocates" to mentor pupils for university entry.

A Kent school has warned pupils it will punish them for their parents' bad parking. Students at Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester will be placed in detention if they are caught getting into cars parked in the nearby bus lane. The secondary also plans to pass registration numbers of offending cars to the police.

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