News at a glance
TES awards #163;80,000 building prize
Chamberlayne College for the Arts in Southampton has won a competition run by TES in association with Clearspace Buildings for a new learning space worth #163;80,000. The school plans to use it as a centre for pupils who are unable to access mainstream education. Chamberlayne beat five other shortlisted schools to the prize after a vote on the TES website. "For Chamberlayne to win this competition is outstanding," head Ewan Scott said. "A massive thank you to all who supported us. It is going to make such a difference to some of the most vulnerable people we serve."
Tech giants back coding classes
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates are lending their support to a campaign to introduce computer coding classes into schools. The pair, along with Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, are among the technology figureheads to appear in a short film backing the scheme, which will be broadcast in US cinemas, via Facebook and on YouTube. The campaign, coordinated by US non-profit organisation Code.org, has been launched as technology companies try to address a shortfall in workers able to program computers. Code.org is urging people to sign a petition calling for every pupil to have the chance to learn code.
OECD gives 'mixed' verdict on performance pay
Evidence on the impact of performance pay in schools is "mixed" and such payments "can be contentious and potentially divisive", according to a document from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development prepared for ministers attending the third International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Amsterdam next week. Politicians from the world's 25 leading school systems have been invited to the event, with ministers from countries including the US, China, Hong Kong, Germany and Canada due to participate. Ministers from England are not attending.
Chapter and verse on World Book Day
Millions of books were given away on 7 March as part of World Book Day, an event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to celebrate books and reading and marked by more than 100 countries. In the UK and Ireland, Unesco sent 14 million book vouchers to schools, which could either be exchanged for one of the eight special #163;1 books produced for the day or used to get a #163;1 discount on other books.
Clocking on at South African schools
South Africa is planning to introduce a biometric "login" system for teachers in order to combat high rates of absenteeism among school staff. Teachers would be expected to use the electronic system to clock in on arrival at school, providing the country's education department with real-time data on where they are going missing. A recent survey showed that South Africa had a higher rate of teacher absenteeism than its neighbours in the Southern African Development Community, with about 10 per cent of staff absent for an average of 19 days each year. Angie Motshekga, minister of basic education, said that there has been a "serious neglect of responsibilities" by some South African teachers.