News at a glance

5th December 2014 at 00:00

Best schools should still be inspected, heads say

Outstanding schools should not be exempt from Ofsted inspections, according to headteachers' leaders. At present, schools with the watchdog's top rating are not routinely visited by inspectors unless there is a particular cause for concern. But the NAHT headteachers' union said that outstanding and good schools should have shorter monitoring inspections every three years. In its response to Ofsted's consultation on inspection reform, the union also called for schools to be inspected by someone with relevant experience in their sector and said that a separate grade should be given for the "breadth and balance of the curriculum" on offer. The consultation closes today.

Adopted pupils need more support, charity finds

Adopted children are falling behind their classmates at school because their needs are not fully understood by teachers, a charity claims. Among adoptive parents, 80 per cent believe their children need more - or different - support at school, according to a survey of Adoption UK's 10,000 members. The findings were released to coincide with the launch of an appeal to provide training and resources for schools to ensure that adopted children's needs are met. The educational attainment of adopted children is significantly lower than average, with only 49 per cent reaching expected levels at key stage 2 last year.

Billion-dollar iPad programme collapses in LA

An ambitious $1.3 billion scheme to buy an iPad for every student in Los Angeles has been officially shelved after many problems. Apple agreed a contract in 2013 with the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide 644,000 iPads. But the contract has been cancelled, along with an order for 550,000 of the tablets, owing to concerns about how the deal was brokered and issues with students circumventing the devices' security systems.

Scholarly scheme aims to boost social mobility

Hundreds of highly able 11- to 14-year-olds from tough comprehensives will have the chance to take part in two- and three-year programmes to boost their chances of academic success. The Sutton Scholars scheme, which will benefit 400 children, was launched this week by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust. Students from low- and middle-income backgrounds who attend schools in challenging circumstances will be selected to take part in regular academic seminars, skills sessions and university visits run by University College London and the universities of Cambridge, Warwick and Nottingham. The trust said one key aim of the project was to offer support in the difficult early years of secondary school when the progress of promising students can slow down.

`Overlapping' qualifications scrapped by Ofqual

From next year, students will no longer be able to take A- and AS-levels in human biology because exams regulator Ofqual has decided the courses are too similar to their biology equivalents. They are among "overlapping" qualifications being scrapped as reformed GCSEs and A-levels begin to be phased in for teaching from 2015. Other subjects disappearing next September include a GCSE in digital communication and A- and AS-levels in applied art and design; applied business; and economics and business. But Ofqual has spared at-risk A- and AS-levels in science in society; applied science; environmental studies; humanities; home economics (food, nutrition and health); engineering; performing arts; and performance studies.

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