News at a glance

25th January 2013 at 00:00

Top university joins free school revolution

A leading university is to help open a new free school specialising in maths, it has been announced. The University of Exeter will jointly run one of the government's flagship free schools with Exeter College, according to the Department for Education. The school is expected to open in September next year and will cater for about 120 students aged 16-19. The announcement came after it was revealed that philosopher Professor A.C. Grayling, the master of a controversial new private university, has applied to open a free school in London.

Gove may face strike action close to home

Civil servants in the Department for Education are preparing to ballot for industrial action over plans to cut 1,000 jobs across six UK offices, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said this week. The Department stated its intention in the autumn to go further than chancellor George Osborne's wished-for reduction in staffing levels in Whitehall by shedding more than a quarter of its workforce. PCS said it believed education secretary Michael Gove was "playing politics" with people's livelihoods by making the cuts.

Hit the books for national reading competition

A new national schools reading competition was launched this week, with 200,000 children in Years 5 and 6 already signed up. Read for My School challenges children to read as many books as they can between now and 22 March to win prizes for themselves and their school. Publishers are donating 100,000 books to children and schools who take part in the competition, with at least five schools due to win 1,000 books in a prize draw.

Expert criticises Wales' progress on behaviour

The author of a major report on tackling attendance and behaviour problems in Welsh schools has attacked the "painfully slow and disappointing" progress being made in training teachers. Professor Ken Reid told a cross-party group of Assembly members that most school staff are in the same position now as when the National Behaviour and Attendance Review report was published almost five years ago. In a written statement to the Children and Young People Committee, Professor Reid said training in Wales lags behind that in other countries.

Look out! Gove's about

Michael Gove made every headteacher's worst nightmare come true this week after he revealed that he would be shadowing Ofsted on a school inspection. As part of an evidence session to the Commons Education Select Committee on Wednesday, the education secretary told his fellow MPs that he would be following an inspector on Thursday to see the process for himself. Mr Gove was responding to a question from the panel asking whether he had shadowed a teacher, as he had previously promised to do. The minister said he had failed to meet that commitment but was instead planning on shadowing Ofsted on a routine inspection.

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