A week in
Nicky Morgan defended her record on school places as it emerged that 90 English primaries have been forced to reduce their catchment areas to just 300 metres from their gates. The education secretary said more than 400,000 places had been created since 2010, after the data was published by online service FindASchool. The smallest catchment area discovered was just 92 metres at Fox Primary School in Notting Hill, West London.
More than half a million primary children are being taught in “supersize” classes of more than 30 children – another symptom of the pressure on school places, according to a new analysis of official government figures by the Labour Party. More than 2,700 London pupils are taught in classes of more than 40, the highest number of any region in the country, the analysis finds. But the Department for Education said: “Despite an increase in pupil numbers, we have been able to keep the average infant class size the same, at 27.4, and the number of unlawfully large infant classes actually has fallen – down 137 compared with 2009.”
A primary headteacher has been banned from teaching after looking at completed Sats papers and failing to keep them in a locked drawer. Russell Hall, who was head of St Oswald’s CofE Academy, Doncaster, went through the grammar, punctuation and spelling papers after the test in 2014 and made a tally of pupils’ scores, the hearing found. The papers were kept in unsealed bags in a filing cabinet that did not lock, while the school waited for one child to take the test in the following week. There was no allegation that any of the completed test papers had been altered.
A Blackpool primary school has banned children from taking birthday cakes into class. Karen McCarter, head of Norbreck Primary Academy, hit the headlines after provoking some parents’ ire in an online newsletter by saying that she hates to be a “killjoy” but there is a risk of unknowingly giving a child a product they are allergic to. Any cake brought in will be sent home uneaten, the letter adds.