News at a glance
Teacher pay rises to be capped at 1 per cent
Funding for teachers' pay rises is to be limited to an annual 1 per cent for four years. Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget this week that public sector salary increases would be restricted to 1 per cent during 2016-20; a Treasury spokeswoman confirmed to TES that this will apply to funding for teacher pay. Some staff are set to receive a 2 per cent pay rise this September, and the spokeswoman said this would not be affected by Wednesday's announcement. Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL union, said: "The chancellor cannot continue to hold teachers' pay behind private sector pay and expect teaching to remain an attractive profession. It would be a recipe for disaster to have fewer teachers when it's expected that there will be thousands more pupils in schools."
Emphasis on grades `distorts' learning, AQA says
England's biggest schools exam board is warning that accountability places too much emphasis on exam grades and risks "distorting" learning. An AQA report says that the importance placed on exam results when assessing schools' performance has led in the worst cases to "unintended and undesirable consequences", such as "teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum and focusing on those students whose performance has the greatest impact on the headline accountability measures". In The Future of Assessment: 2025 and beyond, the board argues for much greater use of teacher assessment and says that in 10 years' time outcomes and standards should be determined by employers, teachers and assessment experts working together.
Subject Genius: a new addition to TES website
A new section of the TES website has been launched focusing on secondary subjects. Subject Genius pulls together some of the best subject-specialist writers in education. By teachers and for teachers, the section will explore the trickiest subjects to teach, the peskiest issues in the curriculum and the most enjoyable ways to approach difficult parts of your discipline. Find out more at www.tesconnect.comnewssubject-genius
Will every Micro:bit help to teach coding?
The BBC has unveiled a credit-card-sized computer that will be given away to up to a million children to help them learn to code. But Miles Berry, Computing at School board member and co-author of a quick-start guide for the Micro:bit, is concerned that some of the tiny devices may end up gathering dust. "I'm a bit worried that some schools might not pass these [devices] on to the pupils themselves, which is what's intended," he said. "There's the danger that schools won't recognise the potential and might simply put them in the back of a cupboard to get round to when they have the time." A Micro:bit will be given to every child in Year 7 this October. It is hoped that the device will enthuse students about computers in a similar way to the BBC Micro in the 1980s.
Peer tutoring has `no impact', studies find
Two new studies on peer tutoring conclude that the approach, which involves students helping each other to learn, has no impact on reading or maths scores. The results from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) contrast with previous research identifying peer tutoring as one of the most effective ways to improve learning. The EEF evaluations of Paired Reading and the Durham Shared Maths Project, published today, say that neither project has any impact on children's attainment. Previous EEF advice, based on nine studies, estimated that peer tutoring could help students to make an extra six months' progress over a year.