News at a glance

14th October 2011 at 01:00

School: the last place to learn about sex

Campaigners have warned that sex education is not up to scratch, with young people receiving most of their information outside the classroom. More than a third of 14 to 18-year-olds said they learned about sex from friends, compared with just 13 per cent who said they found out most about the topic at school, according to a poll by Brook sexual health charity. Almost half of the 2,000 teenagers who responded to the poll said their schools did not cover sex education well, and 26 per cent said the subject was "non-existent".

Teachers call for axing of coursework reforms

A major overhaul of GCSE coursework has been difficult to introduce, with some teachers warning of "deep-seated" concerns about the reforms, a study suggests. Replacing coursework with controlled assessment has led to a narrowing of teaching, a report by the exams regulator Ofqual found. Two-fifths of teachers said controlled assessment had been difficult to implement in their school, with French, geography and history teachers most likely to report problems. One in eight teachers believes the system should be axed, and coursework brought back.

Twigg goes back to school in shadow reshuffle

Former schools minister Stephen Twigg was named as shadow education secretary last week following Labour leader Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet reshuffle. Mr Twigg, MP for Liverpool West Derby, was promoted to the front bench, replacing Andy Burnham, who was moved to shadow health secretary on the same day. "Education is my passion," said Mr Twigg. "Improving education for all children is crucial for the future of the country."

Classics benefits felt through the decades

More than four-fifths of those who studied classics at school feel the benefits to their quality of life as long as 40 years later, a poll has found. The Friends of Classics charity commissioned YouGov to ask 2,000 people who had studied Latin, Greek, ancient history, classical civilisation or classics at secondary school how it had helped them in later life. Two thirds said learning classics had helped them in their working life, mostly with verbal and writing skills. The poll also found that 83 per cent of those who had learnt classics would support a classics subject being taught in state schools.

Private tutor tax evaders to face comeuppance

Half a million private tutors and coaches are to be targeted for undeclared tax under a crackdown by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The initiative is part of moves to attempt to recover some #163;42 billion lost from all sources due to tax evasion each year. HMRC believes that the majority of tutors use private lessons as a second source of income to supplement their day job and may not declare their earnings, inspectors said. It is giving tutors until the end of next March to declare their outstanding tax for the year to April 2010.

Fines mooted for exam boards who get it wrong

Exam boards are to be fined over future mistakes in GCSE and A-level papers after a series of blunders in this summer's exams that affected tens of thousands of teenagers. Under the move, England's exams watchdog Ofqual will be given new powers to impose financial penalties on boards that make mistakes. Schools minister Nick Gibb said that following the "significant" errors seen this summer, the Government had concluded that Ofqual did not have sufficient powers. "Financial penalties would provide an effective and flexible sanction for the regulation of the qualifications system," Mr Gibb said.

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