News at a glance

23rd January 2015 at 00:00

Use tax data to find subjects' `worth', Morgan says

Qualifications could be linked with tax data to highlight the "true worth" of studying different subjects, as part of government efforts to track students after they leave school, education secretary Nicky Morgan said this week. Speaking at the Bett educational technology show, Ms Morgan said that technology could transform accountability and assessment at schools. "Already we have begun to produce destination data on school-leavers to identify where they end up," she said. "In future we could try to link qualifications to tax data too, in order to demonstrate the true worth of certain subjects." Ms Morgan also announced a pound;3.6 million drive to improve the training of computing teachers in primary schools, with "masterclasses" taught by experts from technology companies such as Google and O2.

Teachers warn of decline in reading for pleasure

Children are increasingly less likely to read for pleasure, teachers have warned in a survey. More than half (57 per cent) of respondents believe their pupils read for pleasure less often than they themselves did when they were children. Two-fifths predict that children will read even less in 10 years' time than they do today. The survey, commissioned by the Booktrust charity and education firm Pearson, questioned more than 500 teachers and librarians about pupils' reading habits. The poll was commissioned to mark the launch of the Read For My School competition, which challenges seven- to 13-year-olds to read as many books as they can in two months.

`Inadequate' free school will be third to close

Durham Free School is to become the third free school to close after being rated inadequate and placed in special measures by Ofsted. Last year, the Discovery New School in West Sussex was shut because of poor standards and Al-Madinah, the country's first Muslim free school, was forced to close its secondary school. Durham Free School opened in 2013 with just 30 pupils, and a year later had managed to fill only 87 places out of a hoped-for 150.

Universal primary education is still only a dream

Progress on boosting primary school enrolment around the world has stalled after a period of rapid growth, according to a report (bit.lyPrimaryEdu). The study reveals that, as of 2012, 58 million primary-age children were still not in education, with two-fifths of them unlikely to ever set foot in a classroom. The report, by Unesco and Unicef, finds that there has been no change in the number of out-of-school children since 2007. Universal primary education by 2015 was one of the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals.

UK is lagging behind on Neets, MPs warn

The Department for Education has "little understanding" of the impact of its schemes to cut the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (Neet), according to a report. The paper from the Public Accounts Committee says that although the number of 16- to 18-year-olds who are Neet is improving, the UK is still behind other developed countries. New rules requiring young people to stay in education or training until the age of 18 have helped, it adds, but it is difficult to show that other interventions have been effective. The report also expresses concern over "patchy" careers advice and the "disappointing" fall in the number of 16- to 18-year-old apprentices.


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