News at a glance
`Inequality' of extra tuition revealed by study
The richest UK parents are four times more likely than the poorest to pay for extra classes for their children outside school, a new study by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust reveals. The analysis of Office for National Statistics data shows that 35 per cent of households in the top fifth of incomes (those earning more than pound;52,000 a year) have paid fees for extra-curricular activities for their children in the past three months. This compares with only 9 per cent of households in the bottom fifth of incomes (below pound;14,000 a year). Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust, said: "Inequalities in education don't stop after the school bell has sounded. They extend to the range of private tuition and extra-curricular activities available to children whose parents can afford to pay for them."
French primaries defy timetable reform by shutting doors on Wednesdays
Dozens of schools in France remained closed on Wednesday, defying controversial government reforms to extend the primary school timetable to a five-day week. Approximately 15 towns refused to open their schools, although the rebellion was not as widespread as the government had feared. Most primaries across the country opened their doors on a Wednesday for the first time in decades. Parents opposing the changes had said that it was unfair not to give young pupils a midweek break.
Teachers `completely at sea' with new curriculum
Many teachers are not prepared for the rigours of England's new national curriculum, a leading independent school headteacher has said. Alice Phillips, president of the Girls' Schools Association, said that a number of bright, enthusiastic teachers were "completely at sea" with many aspects of English grammar and were not well prepared to teach the subject. The headteacher of St Catherine's School in Bramley, Surrey, also pointed out that some English teachers lacked knowledge of pre-20th-century literature. She recommended the introduction of subject-focused degrees, which included modules in education, and called for teachers to have their student debt waived if they stayed in the profession.
Nato summit leads to school closures in Wales
The arrival of US president Barack Obama and other world leaders for the Nato summit in South Wales this week caused disruption in about 160 schools. In the host city of Newport, in Cardiff and 25 miles away in the Vale of Glamorgan, schools were closed or partially closed for the first few days of the new term to minimise traffic disruption. The summit has led to a vast security operation; warships have even been stationed in Cardiff Bay. Parents have complained about the decision to disrupt children's education for the event at the Celtic Manor hotel.
Free school breathes life into former prep
A free school has been established in a former prep school, which closed because of financial problems caused by falling numbers. Evendons Primary School in Wokingham, Berkshire, is opening this term in a building formerly occupied by White House Preparatory School, which was forced to close in 2012 after more than 100 years in operation. Patrick Pritchett, headteacher of Evendons, said there was already a waiting list for the school, which will eventually have 350 pupils on roll. Evendons was set up by a group of parents who were concerned about the lack of a local primary for their children.