News at a glance

16th December 2011 at 00:00

'Unprofessional' to accept pupils as online friends

Schools should outlaw contact between teachers and pupils on Facebook and other social networking sites, an independent schools leader has warned. Too many teachers are leaving themselves open to accusations by corresponding with students online, according to Neil Roskilly, chief executive officer of the Independent Schools Association, which supports both prep and secondary schools.

"It's vitally important that heads and teachers are fully aware of the dangers," he said. "By accepting a pupil as an online friend, teachers are crossing a professional line."

Winners of new teacher scholarships announced

The first successful recipients of a new #163;2 million teacher scholarship scheme have been announced by the Government. A total of 2,000 people applied for the funding, worth up to #163;3,500 each, with 671 receiving awards. Almost 400 scholarships were given to special educational needs teachers, with the rest going to teachers of "priority" subjects including English, maths and science. Teachers will use the money to fund postgraduate qualifications and training.

Physics and maths join forces for PGCE

More than 300 positions have been created on teacher training courses designed to get more engineering and physics graduates into the classroom. Thirty-two universities will offer the physics with maths PGCE, which is backed by the Institute of Physics and the Royal Academy of Engineering, from September 2012. They include Oxford University, King's College London and London University's Institute of Education. "The combination of physics with maths is a natural combination that appeals to many physics and engineering graduates," said professor Peter Main, director of education and science at IOP.

Qualification for aspiring heads faces overhaul

Aspiring headteachers will in future no longer be required to complete the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), following a Government announcement that the course is to be overhauled. A revised qualification, which will be optional, will accept its first recruits from September next year. It will offer training on pupil behaviour, leadership skills and managing teacher performance. The amount of time spent on placement at another school will increase from a minimum of five days to nine.

Welsh schools get boost to building projects

Crumbling schools in Wales will see cancelled building and repair projects relaunched thanks to a #163;1.4 billion cash injection from the Welsh Government. Ministers announced that the cash would be invested over seven years from 2014 as part of the 21st Century Schools programme, a joint venture between the Government and councils. In the summer, Wales' 22 local authorities were told they would have to scale back their projects and contribute half of the overall cost instead of the original 30 per cent because of cuts to the Government's capital budget from Westminster. Although most projects should now go ahead, they will take longer to complete.

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