Don't be `defeatist' on workload, Morgan says
Schools should stop being "defeatist" about tackling teachers' heavy workloads, education secretary Nicky Morgan said this week as she announced three working groups to tackle excessive hours. Speaking at a Teach First conference in Leeds, she said the groups, with teacher members, would be launched in September and would concentrate on reducing the burden associated with marking, lesson planning and resources, and data management. Ms Morgan said schools were often too "accepting" of teachers working long hours. "Why be so defeatist about it? Why be so accepting?" she said. "There are some schools that do manage the process."
Teach teachers how to mark exams, OCR urges
All suitable teachers should learn to mark exam papers as a form of professional development, according to the head of one of England's biggest school exam boards. Mark Dawe, the chief executive of OCR, said that schools needed to consider assessment as a system of "give and take" in which they provided and supported examiners. "If every school worked that way, we'd have enough examiners," he said in a debate at the Royal Society of Arts in London. "I think all teachers should have a good understanding of assessment and examining," he told TES. "One of the ways of developing that is by becoming an examiner."
Walliams plots to top book charts again
Details of a highly anticipated new children's book have been revealed. Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams will be published on 24 September. It tells the story of Jack and his beloved grandfather, who was an RAF pilot during the Second World War. When Grandpa is sent to an old people's home, he becomes convinced that it is a prisoner-of-war camp and, together with Jack, he plots his escape. Walliams' most recent children's book, Awful Auntie, went straight to number one in the children's book charts and remained there for seven weeks. It was the bestselling children's book of 2014 and more than 657,000 copies have now been sold.
Online networks widen scope of university outreach
An online tool has been launched to help teachers and careers advisers find information about universities' outreach projects. The pound;22 million scheme, developed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and funded by the government, has created 35 networks of universities and further education colleges across England (www.hefce.ac.uksasnnco). A national network will also support applications to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Each group has appointed a single point of contact to advise schools about locally available outreach programmes. And network websites will provide resources for teachers and careers advisers who are supporting pupils' progression to higher education.
Initiative to share school expertise in Sheffield
Sheffield City Council has set up a company to help local schools and colleges share expertise. Learn Sheffield was officially established last week in response to tightening budgets and the fact that nearly all secondaries in the South Yorkshire city now have academy status. The company will offer teaching expertise to schools and colleges in Sheffield and will also be used to deliver local-authority intervention and improvement services. It will be jointly owned by Sheffield City Council, local schools and other educational institutions.