Marginally higher salaries don't boost results
Increasing teachers' pay by up to pound;1,000 does not necessarily have an impact on student attainment, new research reveals. A study by the UK's highly influential Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) looks at schools where, because of the boundary between inner and outer London, teachers can receive different salaries despite working in the same area. The research finds that schools with the same catchments but with teachers earning different salaries tend to perform similarly in terms of outcomes. "It shows marginally better salaries are not the best way of attracting staff," said Luke Sibieta, senior research economist for the IFS.
Skills overhaul bursts bubble of `balloon artistry'
Courses in self-tanning and balloon artistry are among 5,000 "underused and low value" qualifications that will no longer be funded by the government in England, under plans to reform the adult skills system. Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said the move would ensure that the adult skills budget was "redirected towards the highest quality and most relevant qualifications", which would be "recognised as meaningful and valuable to employers". But adult learning body Niace urged caution, with chief executive David Hughes warning that the move could deprive many adults of an accessible "re-entry point" into education.
China orders evacuation drills to avoid tragedy
The Chinese government has ordered every school to carry out frequent evacuation drills to ensure that they are properly prepared to respond to a natural disaster. The country's Ministry of Education has released guidance calling on schools to undertake at least one drill a month, in order to increase the chances of avoiding tragic repercussions. In 2008, when the Sichuan region of China experienced a massive earthquake, more than 5,000 students died after a number of schools collapsed. "People generally have only two minutes to escape during earthquakes and fires," the guidance states.
New York mayor pulls plug on charter school plans
The newly elected mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has announced plans to block three charter schools from using facilities inside existing district schools. The proposals had been signed off by previous mayor Michael Bloomberg, but his successor pledged to reverse the decision in another show of dislike for the charter school programme. Mr de Blasio was a severe critic of the independent, publicly funded schools during his election campaign, but this is the first time that he has pulled the plug on approved charters. The schools had already hired principals and were in the process of attracting students for potential enrolment.
Western Australia braced for teacher strikes
Teachers and support staff in Western Australia are planning to stage a walkout over the state government's plans to cut education funding. A day of industrial action will take place on 1 April, organised by the State School Teachers' Union of Western Australia, United Voice and the Community and Public Sector Union. Last year, 15,000 teachers and parents attended a rally against the cuts, with the action leading to the closure of 60 schools.