The Week

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Did you know teachers will be offered a Pounds 10,000 bonus to work in challenging schools? Oh. You heard about it when it was first announced six months ago. Well, it was announced again. Sadly, the schools themselves will still have to stump up half the cash. And if you're planning to work in a tough school, check if it's on the approved list: the most challenging schools - those with inadequate leadership on top of poor results - will not get the bonuses.

After all the confident predictions that Ed Balls would be moved on from being Schools Secretary in the reshuffle (including in, erm, this column), he and Baroness Delyth Morgan ended up being the only education ministers to stay. So goodbye to Jim Knight, and his candid Facebook updates on life as a schools minister. And hello to Vernon Coaker. His first act as schools minister was to attend the TES Schools Awards, where he was applauded for saying that he was a former deputy head and that both his wife and daughter were teachers. However, as the awards' host Rory Bremner pointed out, Mr Coaker's tenure will almost certainly be short. "Six months?" Rory asked the audience, Bruce Forsyth style. "Higher? Lower?"

An independent report into 14-19 education attacked the lack of respect for teachers, and policies that had reduced choice for pupils. Even better, the Nuffield review criticised the "Orwellian language" foisted on to schools - particularly talk of "customers", "performance indicators" and the "bottom line".

The News of the World claimed in a shock exclusive that "white boys are losers at school" because they "do worse in their GCSEs than children from almost every other group in the country". It insisted they were outperformed by Pakistani, Bangladeshi, black Caribbean and African pupils. But this is baloney. The most recent GCSE statistics show only Chinese and Indian boys outperforming their white counterparts. Presumably, someone cut out the crucial words "after you've factored out social background".

Primary pupils looking for new songs should have bought the Daily Mail, which featured a box of "streetwise" playground lyrics. These included: "I hate PoPo hates meLet's all get together and kill DipsyWith a dagger in the backAnd a bullet in his headSorry La La, Dipsy's dead." Which is still less creepy than the possible plague metaphors in "Ring a Ring o' Roses".

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today