GCSE english pupils can be rewarded for writing obscenities in exam papers - as long as swear words are spelt correctly and convey meaning. Peter Buckroyd, chief examiner of English for the AQA exam board, said he gave a pupil two marks out of a possible 27 for writing "fuck off" in response to a question. He told The Times: "It does show some very basic skills we are looking for - like conveying some meaning and some spelling."
Ministers backed away from the expectation that five-year-olds write their names and form simple sentences. Beverley Hughes, children's minister, said Sir Jim Rose would review the two goals as part of his work on the primary curriculum. The Early Education Advisory Group had criticised the writing goal, but the targets will remain until at least next March. Page 7
Private firms should profit from running state schools and be allowed to sack poor teachers, said the head of the Local Government Association. Teaching unions condemned Sir Simon Milton's remarks, fearing he was signalling the direction of a Conservative government. Sir Simon said: "My view, and the LGA's view, is that councils are not meant to run schools any more."
Pupils are rote-learning sentences in French and other foreign languages and struggle in conversation, Ofsted said. They are unable to speak in "unrehearsed situations" and pronounce foreign words with English accents because poor pronunciation sometimes goes unchecked.
Leading private schools are shunning diplomas, despite government incentives, said The Guardian. A report from the Institute of Education in London warned that the diploma risked deepening the vocational-academic divide. The Nuffield Foundation, a public policy think-tank, said diplomas were qualifications for "refugees" from tougher academic examinations.
The Government has backed a "witch hunt" against faith schools, according to a right-of-centre think-tank. The report by journalist Christina Odone, for the Centre for Policy Studies, said ministers had exaggerated the extent of selection in Christian, Jewish and Muslim schools. But ministers said the future of faith schools was secure.