Live news stream

Schools 'using unqualified staff to teach students'

Schools are using unqualified staff to teach pupils and prepare lessons, according to a survey of teachers. It also suggests that many teachers believe that the use of unqualified staff is worsening because schools cannot, or will not, pay for qualified individuals.

The poll, conducted by the NASUWT union, asked around 7,000 members for their views on schools using staff that do not hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Schools 'using unqualified staff' Credit: Max Nash/PA Wire.

It found that just over half of those questioned (53%) reported that there were unqualified staff working as teachers in their school.

The results also show that nearly two thirds (65%) of teachers say that the use of unqualified staff is "getting worse because schools can't or won't pay for qualified teachers."

Duchess of Cambridge plants tree at airforce base

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge planted a tree of remembrance in honour of airforce members who gave their life at the Royal Australian Airforce Base at Amberley in Brisbane, Australia.

Duchess of Cambridge plants a tree at the RAAF Amberley airbase near Brisban Credit: Reuters
Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she watches a military plane fly past while standing beside her husband Prince William Credit: Reuters
Duchess of Cambridge, receives a bunch of flowers during a visit to the RAAF Amberley airbase near Brisbane Credit: Reuters


Cable calls to 'tighten-up regime of rogue directors'

Business Secretary Vince Cable has called to "tighten-up the regime" of "rogue" directors, under new proposal to disqualify those convicted with overseas offences.

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Cable said: "There are some nasty scams out there, we've had them around wine shops and land banks... a lot of people have been cheated out of a lot of money".

Justin Welby speaks of gay marriage struggle

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested that blessing gay marriages would divide the Anglican Church because some worshippers in Africa would never support homosexuality.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby says that the Church had probably caused “great harm” to homosexuals in the past — but there was not always a “huge amount” that could be done now to rectify the situation.

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby Credit: PA

“We are struggling with the reality that there are different groups around the place that the Church can do - or has done - great harm to,” the Archbishop says.

“How do you hold those two things [in balance] and do what is right and just by all? And not only by one group that you prefer and that is easier to deal with? That’s not acceptable."

One-fifth of gardeners admit throwing snails over fence

A fifth of gardeners admit to throwing snails over the fence into their neighbour's garden to get rid of them, a survey has revealed.

The poll for the Royal Horticultural Society found 80% of people will be heading into their gardens this Easter to tackle spring jobs such as weeding and mowing the lawn.

Neighbours admit to throwing snails into each other's gardens. Credit: Waltraud Grubitzsch/DPA/Press Association Images

The survey of more than 1,500 people to mark National Gardening Week this week also found that good gardeners make good neighbours, with just 3% admitting to growing plants to block out their neighbours' gardens.

But while almost four fifths (78%) said they had never thrown a snail into their neighbour's garden, 22% admitted to the horticultural crime.

Bomb squad called to tower block in Edinburgh

A tower block has been evacuated as bomb disposal crews investigate the discovery of "suspicious items".

Fidra Court, in the Muirhouse area of Edinburgh, was evacuated last night.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police responding to a fire at Fidra Court this evening discovered a number of suspicious items. "Properties in the area are being evacuated."

Bomb disposal experts are at the scene, the spokesman confirmed.


British Gas denies staff bonus claims

British Gas has denied claims it paid its staff bonuses to inflate customers' bills.

According to the Daily Mail, a former employee said the policy encouraged staff to target charities and small businesses, with workers told they could triple their salary through commission if they sold enough of the most expensive deals as possible.

A general view of British Gas in Staines. Credit: PA

A British Gas spokeswoman said: "British Gas strongly refutes any suggestion that employees are paid commission on any prices charged to residential customers. This is a highly regulated and competitive market, every part of the sales negotiation process for business customers is closely monitored.

"We take very seriously any concerns raised by employees or customers, and our processes, as well as sales agents' terms, are regularly reviewed to ensure they are fair and appropriate."

White House 'won't be commenting' on Bieber petition

The White House has responded to a petition calling to deport pop singer Justin Bieber from the US, saying: "Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be commenting on this one."

Almost 275,000 citizens have added their names to a petition on the White House website calling on President Barack Obama to revoke the Canadian-born singer's green card.

Justin Bieber poses for a booking photo at the Miami-Dade Police Department on January 23, 2014 Credit: Miami-Dade Police Department / ABACAUSA.COM

The White House said in a statement: "To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments [...] in its response to a petition.

"So we'll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber’s case, but we’re glad you care about immigration issues. Because our current system is broken."

It ended saying: "You better believe it," an apparent reference to the "Belieber" term used to describe Bieber's legions of adoring, mostly pre-teen fans.

Read: Justin Bieber 'spotted in Panama' after court appearance

New Russia sanctions threats over Ukraine stalemate

The White House has renewed President Obama's demands that the Kremlin use what Washington believes is its influence over the separatists in Ukraine to get them to vacate government buildings.

It warned of heavier economic sanctions than those already imposed over Crimea if Moscow failed to uphold the Geneva deal - or if it moved to send troops massed on the border into Ukraine.

A flag in the colours of the Ribbon of Saint George, which has become a symbol of Pro-Russian sentiment Credit: Reuters

"We believe that Russia has considerable influence over the actions of those who have been engaged in destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine," national security adviser Susan Rice said.

"If we don't see action commensurate with the commitments that Russia has made yesterday in Geneva ... then obviously we've been very clear that we and our European partners remain ready to impose additional costs on Russia.

"Those costs and sanctions could include targeting very significant sectors of the Russian economy."

Strike action 'will damage reputation of teaching'

Strike action will damage the reputation of teaching, a Department for Education spokeswoman has said, as the National Union of Teachers are today expected to back fresh walkouts in the summer if progress is not made in resolving a bitter dispute over pay, pensions and conditions.

Ministers have met frequently with the NUT and other unions and will continue to do so. Further strike action will only disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.

We know that the vast majority of our teachers and school leaders are hard-working and dedicated professionals. That is why we are giving teachers more freedoms than ever and cutting unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy.

– Spokeswoman, Department for Education
Load more updates