A Week in Education

2nd May 2008 at 01:00
The national Union of Teachers (NUT) warned of further rolling strikes after last week's strike forced 9,500 schools in England and Wales to close or partially shut
The national Union of Teachers (NUT) warned of further rolling strikes after last week's strike forced 9,500 schools in England and Wales to close or partially shut. The union's leaders are due to meet next week to discuss whether they will plan future industrial action, a possibility discussed at its annual conference at Easter. Kevin Courtney, the union's executive member for inner London, told strikers: "We can't let the grass grow under our feet."The NUT is pressing for above-inflation pay rises over the next three years. Pages 4, 16-17

Two of England's most famous public schools are to boycott league tables this summer, claiming that they mislead parents and turn pupils into "exam junkies". Eton College and St Paul's School for boys will not submit their results to the Independent Schools Council for publication in unofficial tables in August. Dr Martin Stephen, head of St Paul's, said the rankings were a "tyranny".

This should come as no surprise to TES readers: we revealed last November that St Paul's was threatening to pull out of the tables and lead others in its rebellion.

Boys do better in English tests at primary school if they are taught in classes with fewer girls, researchers from Bristol University found. Steven Proud thought the result could be down to boys "hiding in the background", while girls were more confident. But he also found the opposite result in maths and science, where the presence of more girls in class had a significantly positive effect on both boys and girls in primary schools.

Fees in private schools went up by 6.2 per cent this year, according to figures released by the Independent Schools Council (ISC). But the above-inflation increase did not damage pupil numbers, which rose by 0.8 per cent, the highest growth rate since 2003. More than 511,000 children are now educated in ISC schools, with particular rises in boarding and girl pupils. The figures on fees followed a story in The Sunday Telegraph that said inflation-busting increases would continue, with some schools putting up prices by more than 9 per cent from this September.

Harry Potter is to feature on an A-level syllabus for the first time, it emerged. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first book in JK Rowling's bestselling series, is one of 12 set texts for a paper on themes in language and literature in AQA's English language and literature exam. Claims of dumbing down - or Dumbledoring down, as The Sun put it - were rejected by AQA, which said: "Harry Potter is a genuine example of literature of our time."

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