Don't drop AS-levels, Cambridge tells sixth forms
University of Cambridge officials have written to all schools and colleges that offer A-levels, urging them to continue to hold AS-level exams at the end of Year 12. Dr Mike Sewell, director of admissions at Cambridge, said tutors found that AS-level grades were a better predictor of success at university than GCSEs and were of "strong educational benefit". He spoke ahead of government reforms, due to be introduced next year, which mean AS-levels will no longer count towards full A-levels. "We strongly encourage potential applicants to take AS-level examinations in at least three and preferably four subjects," Dr Sewell said. He added that students in schools that did not offer AS-levels would not be at a disadvantage when applying to Cambridge, as long as this was made clear on their application forms.
Schools invited to take Pisa's contentious new tests
All UK schools are being asked to participate in biannual tests designed to show how they compare to the world's top-ranked school systems. The tests will cost pound;3,550 a time and will be administered by the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) in the spring and autumn, starting next year. The reading, maths and science tests are being advertised as a means of measuring how well 15-year-olds are prepared to "succeed in a global economy". But teaching unions have raised concerns that they will be used by schools in prosperous areas for ranking and marketing purposes.
Pitch in with a `Christmas Truce' football match
Schools across the UK are being asked to hold a football match this December to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War "Christmas Truce", when British and German troops played football on No Man's Land on Christmas Day. As part of the Football Remembers project, players from every level of football will mark the anniversary in a series of events during 6-14 December. Schools are being asked to hold special matches and tweet a photo of the teams using the hashtag #FootballRemembers. More than 30,000 schools across the UK have already received a Football Remembers education pack. Find teaching resources at www.tesconnect.comFootballRemembers
US teacher resigns over parents' Ebola fears
A teacher at a US Catholic school has resigned, rather than taking 21 days of paid leave, after parents raised concerns about the risk of Ebola when she returned from a trip to Kenya, where no cases of the disease have been reported. Susan Sherman, a religious education teacher and registered nurse in Kentucky, recently went on a medical mission to the East African country, which is thousands of miles from the main outbreak in West Africa. When she came back, St Margaret Mary Catholic School in Louisville requested that she take precautionary leave and produce a note from her doctor.
TES resources pass 1 million download milestone
The TES website reached a major landmark this week when the number of teaching resources downloaded in one day hit 1 million for the first time. The achievement, which represents downloads across all platforms (TES Connect, TES Australia, TES India and US sister site Share My Lesson), means 12 resources were downloaded every second. The most popular resource over the 24 hours was a topical one: a PowerPoint on the Gunpowder Plot. Shared by kittella83, the resource was downloaded more than 3,000 times on Tuesday alone.