News at a glance

24th April 2015 at 01:00

Three-quarters of heads dissatisfied with coalition

More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of school leaders are dissatisfied with the coalition government's performance on education, according to a survey published today. The report, based on responses from more than 1,100 leaders, also finds that 85 per cent believe morale among teachers has worsened over the past five years. The data, collected for school management support service The Key and weighted according to type of school and region, shows that 58 per cent of school leaders remain undecided on which political party is best equipped to improve the education system.

For more on teacher morale, click here

Lib Dems pledge `light at end of tunnel' on pay cuts

Millions of teachers and other public sector workers would be spared further pay cuts under Liberal Democrat plans set out by Nick Clegg, who has promised that there is "light at the end of the tunnel" after years of austerity. The Lib Dem leader vowed that, if his party came to power after the general election, wages for public sector staff would rise at least in line with inflation next year and the year after, ending the coalition's pay restraint policy. But the low rate of inflation means that workers could receive a pay rise of just 0.2 per cent in 2016-17. Mr Clegg's promise met with a sceptical reaction from unions, which called for a substantial hike in the salaries of their members.

Fitness targets out of reach for two-thirds of pupils

Two-thirds of primary schoolchildren are not reaching basic levels of fitness for their age group, research reveals. In a study of 10,000 five- to 11-year-olds, 67 per cent were unable to reach targets in jumping, running and throwing, and 24 per cent fell "significantly" below recommended levels. The results support concerns raised last year by Youth Sport Trust chair Baroness Campbell about a "crisis of inactivity" among young people. Fit For Sport, which conducted the study, said the results showed that parents and schools must do more to increase children's activity levels.

Magna Carta celebrated with free copies for schools

Every primary school in Britain will be sent a copy of Magna Carta so that pupils can learn about the legacy of the historic document during its 800th anniversary year. Magna Carta, described as a cornerstone of the British constitution, sets out the principle that nobody, even the monarch, is above the law. The school resource pack will include a souvenir copy of the charter, a fold-out timeline and the Magna Carta Chronicle, a collection of more than 45 newspaper stories that will allow pupils to read about the events of 800 years ago as if they happened yesterday. The initiative, led by the Magna Carta Trust, is part of ongoing commemorations.

Do more to tackle rugby injuries, researchers urge

Not enough is being done to protect children from injury in a "worrying" government initiative to promote rugby in schools, public health experts have claimed. Under a youth sport strategy announced after the London 2012 Olympics, the government included rugby union and rugby league among five sports that would receive additional funding and support. But academics at Queen Mary University of London write in medical journal The BMJ that the monitoring of injuries is "inadequate" (bit.lyRugbyStudy). They argue: "The government's plan to increase funding of and participation in rugby in schools in the absence of a comprehensive system for injury surveillance and worrying."


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