News at a glance

26th June 2015 at 01:00

Primary teachers not confident in delivering PE

More than a quarter of primary teachers do not feel qualified to teach PE and many more would welcome additional training in the subject, new research revealed this week. It found that although 88 per cent of the 400 primary teachers surveyed thought that PE was important, 28 per cent said they did not feel adequately qualified to teach it. The study by Virgin Active also revealed that more than one in three children leaves primary school with a dislike of physical activity, which could have lifelong health implications.

Teacher training upheaval to address shortages

A major upheaval of the way postgraduate teacher training places are allocated was announced this week, with individual university and school-based providers told to take on as many trainees as they want for 2016. The relaxation of rules comes in the wake of concerns about growing teacher shortages. But universities are warning that the National College for Teaching and Leadership's decision to remove limits on trainee numbers for individual providers could make the problem worse. They fear it could lead to some courses closing down, with a detrimental effect on overall recruitment. National allocations for the number of trainees in each subject will remain, but universities and School Direct institutions have been told that they can take on as many trainees as they want until the national limit in each subject is met.

Reconsider role of teaching assistants, expert says

Schools should rethink their use of teaching assistants (TAs) because it does not make sense to place "students who need the most expertise" with "adults with the least expertise", according to one of education's most influential commentators. Professor John Hattie, director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, told TES that TAs should not be used to support pupils who were struggling with their work. They should work "in ways that can make a difference but not, as they typically do, with students who need the most help," he said. In a report published last week, Professor Hattie says that assistants risk becoming "an alternative rather than an addition to the teacher". bit.lyHattieDistraction

Pupils' progress will define `coasting schools'

A school will be considered as "coasting" if it fails to get the best out of its pupils over a three-year period, Nicky Morgan said this week. The education secretary told the House of Commons that pupil performance over a set period of time was likely to form part of any definition of a coasting school, which is expected to be outlined later this year. Students' attainment, she said, would be used as evidence rather than a single Ofsted judgement. Ms Morgan added that a "coasting" school would be forced to become an academy only if it had "no credible plan" or was failing to improve "sufficiently".

Arts applicants show most passion, Ucas reveals

Sixth-formers applying for university arts courses are more likely to express passion for their subject than aspiring economists and doctors, analysis by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) has found. English and fine art applicants expressed the most passion by including words such as "love" and "explore" in their personal statements. But those applying for accounting, medicine and marketing courses were more likely to include career-orientated terms such as "salary", "employable" and "job". Ucas analysed 300,000 students' statements from this year's applications. Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: "Students are most likely to benefit from higher education if they have both passion and purpose in choosing their courses."

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