News at a glance

10th August 2012 at 01:00

Campaign for foreign languages in primaries

The Conservative opposition in Wales has launched a campaign to introduce modern foreign languages in primary schools from the age of seven. Studying a language is currently only compulsory at key stage 3, with the numbers of pupils taking GCSE French and German plummeting since 1999. The Conservatives want Wales to become a trilingual nation and hope the move will improve standards in English and Welsh. The Labour-led government in Cardiff Bay shied away from making foreign languages compulsory in primary schools in 2008, despite the former Labour government in London pledging to do so in England by 2011. Those plans were dropped when the coalition government came to power.

Voice elects new general secretary

Deborah Lawson has been elected as the new general secretary of Voice, the smallest national teachers' union. Currently working in Gloucestershire County Council's early childhood services team as the commissioning manager for the childcare market, Ms Lawson replaces the recently retired Philip Parkin, who had led the union since 2006. Ms Lawson was already a member of Voice's national council and held the role of chairman in 2006-7. She defeated her only challenger, Ian Toone, after receiving 58 per cent of the votes and is expected to take up the position shortly.

Report reveals impact of #163;9K fees on disadvantaged

The number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds applying for university has so far not been disproportionately affected by the introduction of #163;9,000 tuition fees, a report says. Research for the independent fees commission, which is monitoring the impact of increased fees, said numbers had dropped overall compared to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where full fees have not been introduced. But the drop in England has been among all income groups. Will Hutton, chair of the commission, said: "We will continue to monitor a range of indicators as the fee increases work their way through the system."

Teenager cracks the coding competition

Pupil Michael Lawson from Ermysted's Grammar School, North Yorkshire, has won a maths competition designed to promote computer programming in schools. The teenager won the prize by creating a program that generates maps of dungeons for computer games. The idea of the competition, run by Wolfram Research, was to support a UK government initiative to bring programming into schools. "We were keen to put coding in context," said Conrad Wolfram, chief executive of Wolfram Europe.

Tell us about the state of your school buildings

TES is carrying out a survey in conjunction with ITV breakfast show Daybreak to find out more about the state of Britain's school buildings and facilities. The results are due to be released in September. Please help us to paint a picture of your classroom by filling in the questionnaire at All respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad.

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