A Week in Education

18th April 2008 at 01:00
Striking teachers will be joined on next week's day of national industrial action by lecturers and civil servants. The National Union of Teachers has scheduled a one-day strike over pay for Thursday, with predictions that half the schools in England and Wales could close.

The Universities and Colleges Union, which covers further education, agreed this week to strike on the same day as the NUT, after balloting 27,500 members. It wants a 6 per cent pay rise.

The Public and Commercial Services union has also announced that more than 100,000 civil servants working in 10 government departments and agencies will strike that same day. Pages 4 and 8

Two British teachers were shot dead in Somalia at the school where they worked. Daud Hassan Ali, 64, and Rehana Ahmed, 33, who both lived in Birmingham, were killed with two Kenyan teachers in the town of Belet Weyne, near the Ethiopian border. They are believed to have been killed by an Islamist Al-Shabab militia.

Mr Ali had taught at primary and secondary schools in Merseyside before working as an educational psychologist for Birmingham. Page 4

A teacher sacked from a west London Islamic school he claimed used "race hate" textbooks won almost pound;70,000 for unfair dismissal.

Colin Cook, 58, alleged that the King Fahad Academy in Acton taught a Saudi curriculum that preached racial hatred and anti-Semitism. The tribunal ruled that Mr Cook had been unfairly dismissed after blowing the whistle on students cheating in GCSE English.

More than 300 primary school sites have been sold off in the past 10 years, government statistics revealed. The figures, obtained by Channel 4 under the Freedom of Information act, showed that the sales raised pound;236 million for local authorities. Councils say they must close schools with surplus places, and the money has gone back into education budgets. But teachers' unions said the policy was short-sighted as pupil numbers are due to rise again in 10 years' time.

Academy review secret, page 11

Research from the Conservatives revealed increasing numbers of teachers are being allowed to teach before they are officially qualified. There are now 16,710 working without qualified teacher status (QTS) in state schools, two-thirds of whom are from overseas. In 1997, the comparable figure was 2,940 (2,480 from overseas). The Department for Children, Schools and Families pointed out that the "vast majority" were qualified in their own countries and had to get QTS within four years.

The impact of Tesco's expansion on local high streets will be part of the syllabus in a make-over of GCSE geography. The OCR exam board said the new qualification, which can be taught from next year, will cover contemporary issues such as ethical shopping and the freak floods that hit many part of England last summer. Pages 16 and 17.

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