News at a glance

2nd March 2012 at 00:00

New DfE permanent secretary is civil service insider

The Department for Education has announced Chris Wormald as its new permanent secretary. Mr Wormald is currently director general for the deputy prime minister's office and will replace Sir David Bell, who stepped down from the role to take up the vice-chancellorship of the University of Reading. Mr Wormald, whose brother is a teacher, was private secretary to education secretaries Estelle Morris and Charles Clarke, and was involved with the foundation of the academies programme.

Government review calls for arts education to 16

Students should continue studying the arts until 16, a government-commissioned review of cultural education has recommended. Chair Darren Henley, Classic FM managing director, said that there is a dearth of arts education in some schools and called for the next revision of the English Baccalaureate to include a sixth grouping of arts subjects to counteract this. In response, the government has said it will set up a film academy, a national youth dance company, and art and design Saturday clubs. A national plan for cultural education will be developed.

Chuckle Brother-backed free school falls down

A controversial free school backed by one of the Chuckle Brothers has been shelved by the government, just seven months before it was due to open. The school was proposed by Charlotte Blencowe, a teacher, Conservative Party member and partner of the son of Barry "Chuckle" Elliott, who she enlisted to endorse the project. It emerged in January that the school had no teachers, students or buildings in place, after Ms Blencowe got a job as interim head of Academy 360 in Sunderland. Education secretary Michael Gove confirmed in a letter this week to Rotherham MP Denis MacShane that he had "withdrawn approval for the project to proceed any further".

Charity offers a chance to teach in Chembakolli

Charity ActionAid is appealing for a volunteer teacher to work in Chembakolli, an Indian village that is studied by hundreds of thousands of primary pupils as part of the national curriculum. The nine-month position is open to anyone who has taught in the UK or has taught English abroad. The teacher will be expected to teach a range of subjects to pupils aged 5 to 14. The deadline for applications is 14 March. For more information, see

Watchdog warns of unregistered teachers loophole

The General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) is appealing to the Welsh government to close a legal loophole that allows unregistered teachers to teach in private schools. While some independent schools in Wales insist on all staff being registered, some do not, and the teaching watchdog said that the situation must change. In theory, a teacher struck off the teaching register for misconduct or incompetence could still teach in a private school.

911 competition finalists will win a trip to New York

Film producer Lord Puttnam has joined forces with historian Simon Schama and BBC broadcaster John Simpson to help teach pupils about the 911 attacks. The trio will be part of the judging panel for the 911 National Schools Competition, launched by the 911 London Project, which is calling for UK school students between 14 and 16 to submit an essay or original video tackling the question, "How did 911 change the world?" The judges will pick six finalists who will be flown to the memorial site in New York. For more information, visit

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