A Week in Education

21st March 2008 at 00:00
CCTV in classrooms and the focus on testing is creating an "Orwellian" education system, teachers warned this week.

Julia Neal, president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, told its annual conference in Torquay that cameras installed to monitor pupils' behaviour could also be used to monitor teaching.

She warned that this, coupled with a focus on test results and league tables, could lead to "a world with Orwellian overtones" within the next five years.

Union members also warned that test pressure was contributing to growing teen suicide rates. Page 3

Pupils applying to Cambridge University will no longer be required to have a foreign language GCSE because too few now take them.

The university attributed its decision to the fact that, since 2004, teenagers have no longer been required to study a modern foreign language after the age of 14.

In 2000, around 80 per cent of pupils gained a foreign language at GCSE, but that has since dropped to 50 per cent.

Cambridge is under pressure to increase the proportion of its state school intake, currently 57 per cent.

a teachers' union has produced a dossier featuring 32 of England's most unteachable pupils.

The NASUWT's file contains a rogues' gallery of offenders, including one pupil who attacked a pregnant teacher, another who stabbed classmates with a knife, and a six-year-old who squeezed chilli paste in another child's eye.

Chris Keates, the union's general secretary, said too many pupils were being temporarily excluded from school and allowed back in too soon, causing further disruption.

"What sort of message does this send to the youngster and other pupils?" she asked. The file will be submitted to ministers. Page 6

A project designed to tackle potential troublemakers early by signing them up to good behaviour contracts is going to be expanded.

Dubbed "baby Asbos", the contracts will be issued to about 1,000 of the country's worst-behaved under-10s. Failure to stick to the contract could result in prosecution of their parents.

Police could issue the contracts following a complaint from a teacher that a child was truanting or if a neighbour expressed concern about poor parental behaviour.

after the success of Jamie Oliver's school dinners campaign, ministers announced their latest TV-inspired education policy: an initiative titled Strictly Youth Dancing.

The pound;5.5 million scheme, which takes its title from the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing series (itself an allusion to the film Strictly Ballroom) aims to set up six centres for advanced dance training by 2011 and to place specialist dance co-ordinators in schools.

Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, said at the launch that he had been encouraged by his daughter, who finds it one of the most exciting subjects in school. Page 10.

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