News at a glance

14th December 2012 at 00:00

Gove tells heads to deduct pay for industrial action

Education secretary Michael Gove has written to every headteacher in England asking them to "join me in condemning" the industrial action being taken by the NUT and NASUWT unions and suggesting they deduct teachers' pay. Mr Gove said the unions' instructions - which include refusing to cover for absent colleagues or be observed on more than three occasions a year - were placing "unnecessary pressure" on schools. Teachers, he added, were "very likely" to be in breach of their contracts and he said that "pay deductions represent a lawful and appropriate response". The move will infuriate union leaders who have insisted that their action over pay, pensions and working conditions is "pupil, parent and public friendly".

Give all pupils broad maths education, say experts

Gifted young mathematicians are being short-changed by an education system that offers broader learning opportunities only to the top 1 per cent of performers, experts have warned. The Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) said a more in-depth curriculum should be available for all, which would help teachers identify the top 30 per cent of learners who have the potential to go on to A level. The committee has also warned against the "acceleration" approach to maths, which does not allow time for in-depth work.

Teachers report children coming to school hungry

Nearly half of teachers have reported seeing children coming into school hungry, a new report has found. The survey of UK teachers from the Children's Society also found that nearly three-quarters of teachers saw children coming to school with no packed lunch or lunch money. Matthew Reed, chief executive, said: "This report sets out shocking evidence of just how much hardship teachers up and down the country are witnessing in classrooms day in, day out. Something is going badly wrong when teachers themselves are having to feed children."

Fears that non-specialists are damaging RE

Religious education classes taught by non-specialist teachers could damage the subject, a group of MPs and peers has warned. The panel was hearing evidence at a new inquiry organised by the all-party parliamentary group for RE on the supply and support of RE teachers. Experts explained how non-specialist teaching often correlated with poorer GCSE performance. The inquiry would like to hear from teachers with current experience of RE in primary and secondary schools at www.religiouseducationcouncil.org.

Ofqual warns government against reforms

The exams regulator has warned the government against pressing on with plans to reform GCSEs alongside wider changes to the exams system. Ofqual raised its concerns this week in response to proposals to introduce English Baccalaureate Certificates while simultaneously placing subjects under single exam boards. Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey said the changes posed "significant risks to the safe and continued delivery of all qualifications".

Gove adviser finds new home at Teach First

One of the masterminds behind some of the government's most radical education reforms is leaving his role in the new year. Sam Freedman became a key adviser to education secretary Michael Gove in 2010, after first serving as his policy adviser in the run-up to the general election. He is to take up a new role as director of research, evaluation and impact at Teach First, the increasingly influential charity that places high-flying graduates into schools in poor areas.

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