Educational greats recognised in Honours list
High-performing British teachers and school leaders have been rewarded for their services to education in the Queen's New Year Honours. Michael Griffiths, headmaster of Northampton School for Boys, and Craig Tunstall, executive headteacher of the Gipsy Hill Federation in London, were both knighted. Alison Peacock, headteacher of The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire, Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust chain of academies and free schools, and Kathy August, former principal of Manchester Academy, were appointed dames. Asha Khemka, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College, was also appointed dame for services to further education. Speaking to TES, Sir Michael said: "I'm absolutely delighted. It's a combination of being honoured and the nagging feeling that you're a bit of a fraud. There are a lot of other people behind you doing a great job."
Teach First trainees under the spotlight
A new television series following Teach First trainees during their first year in the classroom will begin on 9 January. BBC Three's Tough Young Teachers was granted unprecedented access to Teach First, a UK charity that recruits top graduates and places them in challenging schools. The documentary series will look at the organisation's work in London, and focus on themes such as discipline and poverty, and how the trainee teachers cope with their new jobs.
Former principal tipped for top schools job in NYC
The Mayor-elect of New York, Bill de Blasio, is expected to name a former teacher and principal as the city's next schools chancellor, with responsibility for the largest school district in the US. Carmen Farina, who previously held the position of deputy chancellor in New York City's education department, has been tipped to get the top job. If she takes up the role, she will have to implement Mr de Blasio's election pledges on education, which include controversial plans to charge rent to the city's charter schools.
Few free schools take on unqualified teachers
Free schools in England have largely ignored reforms allowing them to hire unqualified teachers, figures have revealed. Only about one in 40 teachers in mainstream free schools was unqualified, although numbers varied widely from school to school. Responses from 80 of the country's 174 free schools showed that just 26 of the 1,029 teachers employed did not hold qualified teacher status (QTS). Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT teaching union, said: "Being an enthusiastic amateur does not substitute in any way for the skills and knowledge of child development gained with qualified teacher status." A Department for Education spokesman said: "These figures show that the notion that free schools are flooded with non-QTS teachers is simply wrong."
Up standards by videoing teachers, reformer says
All teachers in Australia should be filmed in the classroom to help them review and improve their performance, a school reformer has advised. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Kathryn Greiner - a member of the Gonski panel, which carried out a major review of school funding - told an education forum: "It is about time teachers understood that they must be assessed. and I would like to see every single teacher in every single classroom in Australia videotaped."