News at a glance

17th August 2012 at 01:00

Critics cry foul over outdoor space regulations

The government has been subject to fresh criticism over school sports after it emerged that ministers have relaxed rules on the minimum outdoor space schools have to provide for team games. Under new regulations, schools will only have to provide "suitable outdoor space" for PE and outside play, rather than meet minimum requirements based on pupil numbers. Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said that the old regulations had been a "key tool" in preventing playing fields being sold. The Department for Education said that removing regulations would make it easier to make extra school places available and that it would publish guidance within the next year.

Play-led learning has positive results in Wales

More than 80 per cent of early years pupils in Wales reached the expected level in the foundation phase this year, according to new figures from the Welsh government. It is the first time the figures have been published as all pupils aged 3 to 7 are now taking part in the play-led curriculum. Figures also show that the number of pupils achieving at least the expected levels at key stages 2 and 3 increased from 2011 in all the core subjects.

Fifth of maths graduates turn to teaching

One in five maths graduates is choosing to become a teacher, official figures show. The Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that 18.5 per cent of 2007 maths graduates surveyed three-and-a-half years later had chosen to go into teaching. Teaching Agency statistics show that the proportion of maths graduates entering training with a 2:1 or better degree has risen from 44 per cent in 2009-10 to 51 per cent in 2011- 12.

Numeracy charity condemns `flawed' curriculum

Plans to revise the primary maths curriculum were criticised by the maths charity National Numeracy, which described them as "seriously flawed". In a letter to education secretary Michael Gove, Chris Humphries, chair of the charity, said that the proposals set out an overloaded curriculum that would not allow children to develop genuine understanding. The government's proposals include introducing Roman numerals, the binary system and multiplication tables up to 12 x 12. National Numeracy instead recommends that the emphasis on rote learning is reduced and that prominence is given to using maths in real-life contexts.

Private school bias in the medal table

More than a third of British medal winners in the 2012 Olympics were educated at independent schools, according to a study by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust. More than half (54 per cent) of the winning rowers were privately educated, compared with just under a third (32 per cent) who attended state comprehensives. The remainder went to grammars. The research also finds that 10 per cent of British Olympic winners who attended a British university went to Oxford or Cambridge.

London teacher to tackle Birmingham homophobia

London teacher Elly Barnes has been recruited by Birmingham City Council to help stamp out homophobia in the city's schools. Ms Barnes has already had success with her Educate and Celebrate campaign in London, which has trained hundreds of teachers in how to make their schools more LGBT- (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friendly. The council said that she "will make a sea change to the way we tackle homophobic bullying in our schools".

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