News at a glance

19th July 2013 at 01:00

National rankings proposed for 11-year-olds

Children leaving primary schools in England could be ranked against their peers under new plans being considered by ministers. The proposals, put forward by the UK government, could mean that 11-year-old students are placed into deciles (bands of 10 per cent) based on their test scores. Parents would be told their child's position and where they rank nationally. The plans, announced by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, include the idea of national tests for all children entering Reception classes at the age of 4 or 5. Mr Clegg also announced that the pupil premium (extra funding for students who have received free school meals in the past six years) would rise to pound;1,300 per child next year.

US teachers call for justice for Trayvon Martin

The two largest teaching unions in the US, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have called on the Department of Justice to investigate the man acquitted of the second- degree murder of a black teenager in Florida. The two unions, which together represent 4.5 million teachers, have called for further investigation into George Zimmerman, who walked free after being put on trial for shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, leading to race- related tensions across the US.

Young Australians' scientific literacy declines

Young people's knowledge of science is in decline in Australia, with more than one in three unaware that a year is the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. A survey by the Australian Academy of Science found that the scientific understanding of 18- to 24-year-olds has fallen since the last poll in 2010, when three-quarters knew about the length of the Earth's orbit. In the recent poll, more than a quarter of respondents said that dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans, and only 39 per cent knew that the Earth's surface is 70 per cent water. But 79 per cent said that science education is important for the economy. "It's a worrying wake-up call to see scientific literacy declining among young adults, and to a lesser degree among the broader Australian adult population," said Professor Les Field, the academy's secretary for science policy.

Controversial boarding school plans scaled back

Plans for a rural boarding school for students from inner-city London are being scaled back after opposition from local residents. The Durand Academy had planned to bus 575 students from the English capital to the South Downs National Park, 50 miles away, every Monday and then bring them home for the weekend. The project, the first of its kind, has come in for intense criticism from residents living near the proposed school. Sir Greg Martin, Durand's executive headteacher, this week told TES that it has scrapped plans for 200 post-16 places, but hopes to introduce them at a later stage.

Vote now in Create! Art for Autism competition

The Create! Art for Autism 2013 competition has announced the finalists for its People's Choice Award. The art contest, for young people aged 11- 25 with an autistic spectrum disorder or Asperger's syndrome, aims to dispel the myth that autism sufferers cannot be creative. You can view and vote for the People's Choice Award finalists from today at www.createartforautism.compeoples-choice-award-2013.


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