News at a glance

6th January 2012 at 00:00

Gove vows to press on with academies reform

Critics of the government's academies programme are the "enemies of promise", Michael Gove said in a speech on Wednesday. The education secretary said he would press on with plans to transform 200 of the worst-performing primaries into academies and claimed local authority bosses who stand in his way are "happy with failure". Speaking at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in south-east London, Mr Gove said some councils were being "obstructive" to his reforms. Government figures released this week show there are now 1,529 academies, compared with 200 when the coalition took office.

Newcomers to teaching show staying power

Teachers are twice as likely to remain in their profession compared with graduates who start in other careers, according to government data. A survey of graduates shows that just 21 per cent of teachers switched jobs within three and a half years, compared with 44 per cent of those who began working in other popular fields. Stephen Hillier, chief executive of the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), said teachers were staying in post because of "autonomy, recognition and clear opportunities for further progression". "Teaching is a very different profession today than it was in years gone by. Bright graduates who go straight into the classroom are quickly climbing the ranks and gaining increasing levels of responsibility," he said. The information is from the Higher Education Statistics Agency's longitudinal Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

Tighter budgets force heads to drop services

More than 40 per cent of heads say they have had to pull services in their schools because of recent budget cuts, researchers have found. Forty-three per cent of heads who responded to a survey by The Key, an independent support service for school and college leaders in England, said they had had to prioritise budgets. A total of 89 per cent reported a reduction in school support services provided by their local authority. In all, 1,516 school leaders took part in the study.

Grammar schools move to introduce catchment areas

Two grammar schools in Essex are looking to introduce catchment areas after noticing that students with long commutes are left too tired for lessons. King Edward VI Grammar School and Chelmsford County High School for Girls are proposing to give priority to pupils living within 12.5 miles of the schools, with the aim of ensuring that at least 80 per cent of their students come from the local area. At present, both schools take the top-performing children in the 11-plus who have chosen them as their first choice. "Some girls wake up before 5.30am and travel one and a half hours to school each morning," said Nicole Chapman, head of Chelmsford County High. "It is an unreasonable expectation for an 11-year-old to spend so much of her day travelling." Some 40 per cent of students live outside the proposed catchment.

More sixth-formers take the boarding option

The Boarding Schools' Association has released figures showing a surge in the number of sixth-formers opting to board in the past decade. According to the figures, the number of sixth-form pupils in state boarding schools rose from 1,102 to 1,790 over the period, while the corresponding statistics in the independent sector saw a jump from 24,929 to 29,322, an increase of 19.5 per cent.

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