Education News Round-up

Rules Britannia

New professional standards for teachers are being considered, which could see teachers struck off for failing to uphold British values, or for exhibiting a lack of tolerance for pupils from different faiths and beliefs.

The move is designed to make it easier for heads to sack teachers who are members of the British National Party or those with extremist Islamic beliefs, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The new guidelines, announced by Education Secretary Michael Gove, will also stress that teachers are to take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour among children during lessons and around the school.

Bursaries for first-class grads

Top achieving graduates are being tempted to take up teaching in key shortage subjects such as science and maths, with the prospect of receiving a substantial bursary.

Those with first-class degrees will be eligible for the most generous bursaries of up to £20,000.

Applicants could also be subjected to new personality tests, and tougher English and maths exams, in an attempt to ‘to weed out the weakest applicants’, says the Daily Telegraph

A shocking statistic in Scotland

Statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information act have found 484 weapons were seized in Scottish schools in the last five years, reports the Daily Record.

Weapons, including meat cleavers, knuckledusters and snooker-ball-filled socks, are all reported to have been seized from pupils, some as young as six.

While two children aged 13 and 15 have been caught with cleavers and a 14 year-old was found with a knuckleduster, one child aged six has been apprehended with a knife at a primary school, all in Strathclyde.

McFootpath hard to digest

Pupils may soon have safer passage to the nearby McDonalds, if a suggested footpath gets the go ahead. A new £100,000 walkway has been suggested to ease road safety fears in Bridgend, where pupils from Brynteg Comprehensive School currently walk along a busy bypass to reach the nearby fast food restaurant.

Figures suggest some 200 pupils may navigate the busy road every lunchtime, reports BBC News

Councillors have been quick to reject suggestions that the footpath would be specifically aimed at helping pupils, saying parents and the elderly would also make use of it.

Game on for pupil’s idea

A creative pupil from Peterborough has created a new game to help his revision and understanding of English and grammar. But the card game has provided so popular with other pupils that it’s now being used in schools across the city.

The Creative Writing Magic Money Cards explain concepts like the use of paragraphs and terms such as onomatopoeia. The cards are designed for pupils aged nine to 15 and fit with Key Stages two and three of the National Curriculum, reports BBC News.

School uniform – check. School bag – check. Ipad – ?

Pupils at Longfield Academy in Kent are to be the first in the country to be provided with an iPad.

More than 1000 pupils will receive the high tech gadget in September, with parents paying £16 a month during three years, or buying it outright for £576. The money will be classed as a donation, attracting gift aid, and pupils will be allowed to take the devices home.

The school’s management team reportedly assured parents that the iPad would not be replacing paper, pens, whiteboards and presentations, but will become another tool in the box.

The school has already given iPads to some of its pupils, and will be the first to offer them to all students in the new term, says the Dartford Messenger.

New powers to tackle violence in schools

Ministers are to lift a ‘no touching’ ban, allowing teachers to use reasonable force on unruly pupils. The move comes as figures show violent behaviour in classrooms has doubled in just a year.

The Daily Mail reports that almost 1,000 pupils, some as young as five, are being excluded for abuse or assault every school day, compared to 452 last year.

A recent series of attacks, which reportedly included stabbings and rape, support the report’s findings that violent behaviour is soaring in the classroom.

Campaigners claim there is a failure in teaching children about discipline and having respect for authority.

Pupils shun school dinners

More than half of primary pupils and around two-thirds of secondary school youngsters are rejecting healthy school dinners, warns the Daily Mail

In 2006, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched a campaign to make school meals healthier. He highlighted the poor state of many school lunches and set new standards for meals – to contain 14 nutrients, a vegetable and a piece of fruit.

A cut in red tape

Government guidance on health and safety is to be cut from 150 pages to just eight, as ministers try to encourage school trips.


The Government has told schools and councils, to cut red tape to ensure that more pupils go on trips, telling them to scrap “unnecessary paperwork”.

Education Secretary Michael Gove hopes the changes will result in a more common sense attitude, and that schools may adopt the use of a one-off consent form, to be signed when a new pupil first joins a school, says the Daily Telegraph

And finally….

Pupils face up to the Dragons!

There was no time for nerves when a group of budding young businesspeople from Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland recently got the chance to enter the ‘den’ and face Dragons Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden.

The popular BBC programme opened its doors to schools for a special screening, as it embarked on a Dragons’ Den Goes Back to School project. Pupils were invited to pitch their ideas, before being quizzed on everything from profit margins to their publicity strategies.

The pupils were then taken on a tour of the studio facilities and given an exclusive preview of footage from the new series of Dragons’ Den, reported the Sunderland Echo.

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