A week in education

1st August 2008 at 01:00

A Sikh girl suspended for refusing to take off her religious bracelet has won a discrimination case in the High Court. Aberdare Girls' School in South Wales had isolated Sarika Watkins-Singh, 14, from classmates for two months after she insisted on wearing the kara. The Star inferred that "Kids can now defy heads to wear burkha".

The Voice teachers' union's annual conference sparked various headlines on subjects ranging from the new 14-19 diploma to the dangers of wi-fi. The Guardian reported concerns from the union's chairman that diplomas were in chaos and the Government had been "disingenous at worst" to suggest diplomas would be recognised by universities. The Daily Mail noted warnings by the union's general secretary that wi-fi made pupils "guinea pigs in a large-scale experiment".

The firm at the centre of the national test marking mess was stripped of its responsibility for checking disputed results. The National Assessment Agency stepped in to take over re-marking from the US firm ETS Europe. The Sun criticised the "Sats prats" with its headline "Sats yer lot".

A government adviser revealed some London schools were telling pupils to change out of their uniform to avoid being attacked on their way home. Sir Mike Tomlinson, former chief schools inspector, told the Evening Standard the precaution was to curb rivalry between pupils at some secondaries. He added that most knife incidents occur outside, not inside schools.

A report by the right-leaning think-tank Policy Exchange warned that the teaching profession was attracting second-rate candidates because of the job's lack of status. It suggested students accepted on teacher training courses had lower A-level results, on average, than any other course apart from art.

Cambridge University's head of admissions called for A-levels to be taken at Easter so pupils could apply for places after getting their grades. Geoff Parks told The Independent the move would restore the exams' credibility and help universities judge pupils on their true grades rather than those predicted.

The Sun reported that a pupil aged 3 had been "expelled" in South Wales after a vicious attack on her classmate. The girl was temporarily excluded from her reception class in Caerphilly for an "assault on a pupil, disruptive behaviour and breaching school rules". The girl, whose suspension was recorded by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, is said to have been the youngest child ever excluded in Britain.

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