Education news roundup – June 2011

What are the hot topics in the world of education at the moment? Here we take our regular flick through the papers, to see what’s got people talking. From one school where dancing is seen as the best start to the day, to teachers in trouble over the use of music videos and controversial calls for climate change to be taken out of the curriculum – join us and have your say.

Climate change off the curriculum

A top government adviser, charged with an overhaul of the school syllabus in England, has said climate change should not be included in the national curriculum.

In an interview with The Guardian, Tim Oates said there is a need to get back to teaching the ‘science in science’, and that it should be up to schools to decide how they engage pupils on issues of climate change – and whether to do so at all.

Climate change has featured in the national curriculum since 1995. Those opposing to its removal from the classroom have warned it may make science less interesting for pupils and allow sceptical teachers to abandon teaching the subject altogether.

Oates is also calling for algebra to be taught from a younger age. His full review of the curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds will be published later this year.

Best way to start the day…get dancing!

For one infant school in Hampshire, dancing is the only way to start the day, reports the BBC. Pupils at Liss Infant School are treated to a short song and dance session each morning, before they start their first lesson – and it’s working wonders for their learning, according to teachers.

Around 180 five to seven-year-olds brave all weathers to take part in the motivational dance routine, performed each morning in the school playground.

US teacher in trouble over playlist

Meanwhile across the pond, a teacher from the Amercian state of Massachusetts has landed in hot water after showing pupils risqué music videos, as part of a lesson on media analysis. Parents reacted strongly to Eminems’s ‘Superman’, and Jessy J’s ‘Do it like a dude’ videos being played to pupils.

One enraged parent went straight to the police, who confirmed the versions used were edited and not ‘obscene’. Yet many parents remain unhappy and an investigation is underway, reports the Metro West Daily News

Failing schools to become academies

Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that hundreds of failing primary schools could be removed from local authority control and converted into academies under new government plans, reports the Daily Telegraph.

While addressing head teachers in Birmingham, Mr Gove warned that Britain risks falling behind developing economies unless the pace of improvement in the education system is accelerated.

Plans to ‘clamp down’ on the worst performing schools in the country could see hundreds become academies and placed under the control of a third party sponsor, who will have more powers over management, including admissions and pay.

Secondary schools will also be ordered to ensure that at least half of pupils leave with five good GCSEs, including English and maths, by 2015.

From Radio 2 to the classroom

Radio 2 breakfast show host, Chris Evans, is waving goodbye to his long-time sidekick Jonny Saunders, as he quits the popular show to become a teacher.

Sports reporter Jonny, 36, has completed an Open University teaching degree and now plans to give lessons in English and games at a secondary school.

Speaking about his decision, Jonny explained that teaching is something he has always been passionate about. The married dad-of-two told the Daily Mirror that working on the radio show had been ‘an absolute joy… but there’s only so long one can cope with the 3.50am alarm calls.’

Seeing double at one school

A primary school in Stockport is facing an unusual challenge, as it welcomes a multitude of twins into its classrooms.

St John’s Primary in Heaton Mersey now has six sets of twins – three of which are identical, and all aged between four and 10, reports the BBC (link launches video and report).

And finally….

New comedy ‘doesn’t send good message about teachers’

Finding that Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake have joined the teaching staff at your school must be a dream for many pupils – and teaching staff alike! Sadly, it’s only a reality in the latest Hollywood film to delve into the teaching profession, ‘Bad Teacher’.

The film comedy centres on a teacher with her sights set on bagging a rich man. It sees some major misbehaving in the classroom and ‘doesn’t exactly send out a good message about teachers,’ concludes a review by Ok! Magazine.

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