News at a glance

24th February 2012 at 00:00

Gove: exams will get tougher and jobs will be lost

Decades of ever-improving exam results are about to end, the education secretary warned this week, as he claimed ministers were "marching towards the sound of gunfire" to improve education. "There are going to be some uncomfortable moments in education reform in the years ahead," the education secretary told a Westminster lunch. "There will be years, because we are going to make exams tougher, when the number of people passing will fall." He added: "There are going to be people associated with failure, including Conservative politicians in local government who are going to be in the firing line. There are headteachers who have been peddling the wrong sort of approach to teaching for too long, who are going to lose their jobs."

John Lewis-style cooperatives may be in store

Schools run as "John Lewis-style" cooperatives, with profits going to shareholding teachers, are being suggested by a thinktank as a "halfway house" for politicians reluctant to introduce for-profit schools. But the report, from Policy Exchange, makes clear it sees privately owned schools run for a profit as the best solution to the "shortage of good school places". The thinktank argues that profitmaking private providers have more of an incentive to "replicate their models" than charities and that "the capacity of the voluntary sector is finite".

Under-funded RE needs to 'explore faith, not sex'

Most state schools spend just #163;1 per pupil each year on religious education once staff costs are removed, a new study claims. The subject is under-funded and given insufficient time and resources, according to the research by James Conroy, professor of religious and philosophical education at the University of Glasgow. His report, based on a study of 24 UK schools, warns that RE lessons are becoming less about exploring issues of faith and now cover everything from citizenship to sex and relationships.

MPs fear pupils with SEN 'fall through the gaps'

Too many young people with special educational needs are "falling through the gaps" when they leave school, MPs have said. Members of the Public Accounts Committee said it is "shocking" that a third of young people with an SEN statement at 16 are not in education, employment or training at all by the time they are 18. A report by the politicians, Oversight of special education for young people aged 16-25, published today, also says that the Department for Education does not have enough information about pupil performance.

There's money in getting teenagers to work

Charities and businesses will be paid to get 16- and 17-year-olds who are out of work and school into employment, training or education, the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced. Organisations with expertise in supporting young people are being invited to bid for contracts worth up to #163;2,200 for every young person they help. Payment will depend on results.

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