A Week in Education

25th April 2008 at 01:00
The week was dominated by preparations for the national teachers' strike, expected to take place yesterday
The week was dominated by preparations for the national teachers' strike, expected to take place yesterday. Staggered Easter holidays meant some schools in England and Wales did not know until Tuesday whether they would be closing because of the industrial action, organised by the National Union of Teachers. Ministers urged the union to abandon the strikes, saying it would not succeed in raising teachers' pay. Tony Blair's son Nicky, now working as a Teach First teacher in the West Midlands, was among those expected to join the walk-out. Pages 1 and 6

Soaring food prices may jeopardise the drive to make school meals healthier, the local authorities' caterers association warned. The move, highlighted by Jamie Oliver's TV campaign, has left councils with little room to trim costs, despite staples such as bread, eggs and cooking oil rising by more than 10 per cent.

The association said most school catering was already running at a loss. Managers fear passing on the costs to parents will prompt a reduction in take-up and that the purchasing power of councils will fall, raising costs further. Page 4

Gordon Brown sought advice on international education policy from the pop star Shakira. The Prime Minister joined the Colombian diva and Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, for a phone discussion about the Global Campaign for Education, which aims to have every child in the world in school by 2015.

Shakira has spent the past 10 years raising money for her own charity, which funds schools for disadvantaged pupils. She described the PM as "a man with wonderful intentions and who is also very proactive, and who has been working very hard for this issue of education".

More than 930,000 pupils have failed to gain even five G grades at GCSE in the past 10 years, a report by the Bow Group highlighted. The right-of-centre think-tank said the statistics showed an "entire generation of school children being let down" by the Labour government. But Professor Ewart Keep, of Cardiff University, said the findings should be treated with caution. He told The TES that pupils' results may be more of a reflection of their "chaotic" lives outside school. Page 11

A teacher who starred in a raunchy promotional video was allowed to return to work. English teacher Sarah Green, 25, was suspended from her post at Stockport Grammar School in January after a video was posted on YouTube that showed her playing a secretary who simulates sex with a builder.

The clip, shot two years before Miss Green joined the school, which charges fees of pound;7,000 a year, was a video for a construction-wear firm but was never shown on TV.

Steph Humphrey became the first teenager to take part of a GCSE in ballroom dancing. Steph, 16, from Dereham Northgate High School in Norfolk, twirled her way through the practical part of her PE exam after studying styles such as the rumba, waltz and foxtrot. She took up ballroom dancing in November, inspired by the BBC1 programme Strictly Come Dancing.

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