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GCSE students face memory tests for new exams

Half a million students will sit tougher, reformed GCSEs in English and Maths this year. Exams for 16-year-olds start next week and are supposed to reflect a much more rigorous and demanding curriculum. Some say they will reflect rising standards. But many headteachers say the new exams have been introduced too quickly and involve too much rote learning or memorisation. So is it change for the better or worse? Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports.

Interviewees: Joe Were, English teacher; Simon Graham, Headteacher; Chris McGovern, Campaign for Real Education; Stuart Ramsey, Assistant Headteacher; Helen Jones, Deputy Headteacher.

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School support staff vote ends ten-month dispute

UNISON Credit: PA

Derby school support staff have voted overwhelmingly (nine to one) to accept the council’s latest offer, ending a ten-month dispute over pay and working time, says UNISON.

Derby City Council had imposed changes last June that meant staff lost up to £6,000 a year, as their contracts were reduced from 52 to 44.5 weeks. UNISON said their weekly hours were also increased from 32.5 to 37 with no extra pay.

Since the beginning of the dispute, school support staff staged a series of protests culminating in all out industrial action last month.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

School support staff can go into work with their heads held high, knowing that the value of the work they do for children and schools has been recognised.

– Dave Prentis, UNISON
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