A Week in Education

10th October 2008 at 01:00

A booklet was published by the Government offering guidance on deterring pupils from joining extremist groups. The Daily Mail reported that teachers would "carry out surveillance operations on 'suspicious' pupils". But the guidance does not suggest teachers should turn into Spooks-style agents and spy on pupils. Instead where a teacher has concerns, they are urged to use "normal school pupil support approaches". As they do already. Page 11

Lord Adonis was shifted from education to transport in the ministerial reshuffle, causing some to worry about the future of academies, his pet project. David Laws, the Liberal Democrats education spokesman, warned that the semi-independent schools would now exist in "form but not substance". However, Labour's pledge to create 400 of them, and Tory promises to expand them even further, made fears about the project's future look slightly premature. Page 16

The leader of one of Britain's biggest teachers' unions said that teacher-pupil affairs "should be allowed". At least, that was the headline in the Sunday Telegraph. Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, actually called for disciplinary action against teachers who had relationships with pupils. She made the sensible point in a television debate that it was unfair to put a teacher on the sex offenders register if they kissed a 17-year-old, when someone in another profession could sleep with a 16-year-old without any sanction. Pages 8-9

Two schools discovered it was cheaper to fly their staff to Spain for away days. Unfortunately, parents and the press were not impressed by the money-saving decisions of Whitegate End Primary in Oldham and Edensor Technical College in Stoke-on-Trent, which booked flights to Barcelona and Marbella. The furious response of Fiona McIntosh in the Sunday Mirror was typical: "If a head of a school can't see what's wrong with sipping pina coladas while Rome burns, what kind of role model is he to his pupils?"

The Times reported that Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, Berkshire, had a plan that he believed would be "the most profound change in secondary school teaching in 25 years". And this futuristic innovation? To ... erm ... teach pupils around a big table rather than in rows. An approach many A-level teachers have been practising for decades.

A 15-year-old was expelled from a Leeds secondary school after it emerged that she had baked cakes laced with drugs and given them to two teaching assistants. Doctors were unable to say which drugs but that cannabis was likely. The Sun could not resist the headline: "Hash Street Kids".

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