News at a glance

22nd May 2015 at 01:00

Morgan to tackle school places `black hole' in Leeds

Education secretary Nicky Morgan is to meet Leeds City Council to discuss concerns over the shortage of primary school places in the city. Parents staged a rally this week, saying that they were in a "black hole" where pupils could not get into local primaries. Some 85 per cent of children in the city gained a place at their first choice of primary this year and 95 per cent were accepted to one of their top five. However, 550 children did not get into any of their top five schools. The council has said that it is working to ensure sufficient places. The government may now commission a review of how the council has spent money allocated for providing extra places.

`Business as usual' won't bring universal education

Far more funding is needed if the world is to meet its commitment to educate all children by 2030, according to former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard. "Business as usual is nowhere near enough," Ms Gillard, who chairs the Global Partnership for Education, told the World Education Forum in South Korea this week. "We need to not only aim higher but we must be bolder on financing and embracing better ways of working to achieve our shared goals." The goal of universal pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education by 2030 is now being discussed, but would need the global community to commit to an additional $22 billion (pound;14 billion) each year.

Education's movers and shakers move and shake

An influential MP who played a significant role in holding the coalition government's education policies to account has announced plans to stand for a new role. Conservative MP Graham Stuart will not seek to continue in his role as chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee. He told TES that after eight "tremendously fulfilling" years of examining education policy, with five as chairman, it was time for a new challenge. He will instead stand to become chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Meanwhile, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt pulled out of the race to become the next leader of the Labour Party. In a speech at the Demos thinktank earlier this week, he said that "grown-up conversations" and "tough decisions" were needed to drive up educational attainment.

Campaign for classical music highlights gems

Secondary music teachers will be encouraged to focus on 10 pieces of classical music, including Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and the mambo from West Side Story, as part of a new campaign. The Ten Pieces initiative, run by BBC Music and supported by TES, has already introduced more than 10,000 primary schools to classical music. The secondary repertoire, launched this week, also includes the Toreador Song from the opera Carmen, Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No 10 and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending. An accompanying film will feature the BBC Philharmonic orchestra, and resources will help pupils respond to the pieces. Visit

Teachers may act against strike legislation

Teachers could be asked to take industrial action over proposals to make it harder for unions to strike. The legislation, which will be included in the Queen's Speech on 27 May, would force any public-sector union to secure the backing of at least 40 per cent of members for industrial action. Currently, unions only need secure a majority of votes. Martin Powell-Davies, a member of the NUT teaching union's executive, said it was a cynical move by the government to prevent unions from protesting against cuts to public services.


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