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Govt: Savile institution abuse claims to be investigated

Claims Jimmy Savile abused children in 21 institutions will be investigated by local authorities in England, the government has said.

The Department for Education received information about Savile's alleged abuse in several children's homes and schools in England throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Govt: Taking children out of school 'a criminal offence'

The Department for Education has stressed taking children out of school during term time without permission "is a criminal offence".

A spokesperson said parents "should not discount a penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday" after a skiing holiday firm offered to refund any fines incurred.

A skiing holiday firm has offered to pay any fines parents are given for taking their children on holiday during term time. Credit: Patrick Seeger/DPA/Press Association Images

"Taking children out of school without permission for a holiday is a criminal offence," the department said.

"When doing so, parents are risking prosecution which could mean much higher financial penalties and a criminal record."

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Government 'acted as soon as it received allegations'

The Department for Education has defended its free schools initiative following the arrest of a man in connection with alleged fraud at Kings Science Academy in Bradford, one of its flagship free schools.

A spokesman said the "vast majority" of free schools are performing well and "all free schools are held to rigorous account", adding that the department acted as soon as it received allegations of wrongdoing at the academy.

The department acted as soon as it received allegations of wrongdoing at Kings Science Academy.

We formally investigated and referred the case to Action Fraud. This resulted in a police investigation which is ongoing. Separately we are recovering appropriate funds.

All free schools are held to rigorous account. The vast majority are performing well with three-quarters rated good or outstanding. But where there is failure we will not hesitate to intervene.

– Department for Education spokesman

Govt: Rochdale abuse report 'does not meet standards'

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

This Serious Case Review, which has been heavily redacted, does not meet the standards of transparency and sharp analysis which we now expect and which best allows lessons to be learnt.

We understand there are particular legal constraints which have resulted in the heavy redactions.

We have consequently agreed with Rochdale LSCB that we will commission, early in the New Year, an examination of the evidence assembled by the SCR to explore whether an un-redacted document can be put into the public domain with a sharp and coherent analysis of what happened in this complex case and why.

English primary schools 'failing in three Rs'

More than 700 primary schools in England fall below the Government's new tougher standards in reading, writing and arithmetic, Department for Education figures suggest.

Hundreds of English primary schools are failing to meet targets in reading, writing and arithmetic, official figures suggest. Credit: PA

For the first time, schools are judged on the number of children achieving at least a Level 4 - the standard expected of the age group - in reading, writing and maths.

They must ensure that at least 60% of pupils reach this level in all three subjects and meet national averages in pupil progress.

In previous years, they were rated on reading and writing combined to form an overall English result and maths, as well as progress.

The 767 schools that fail to meet the target are considered under-performing and face being taken over and turned into academies.

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Teens urged to study maths for 'everyday life'

Tens of thousands of teenagers are to be encouraged to study a new maths qualification, which covers topics relevant to every day life.

Teens are being encouraged to complete a new 'relevant' maths qualification. Credit: Press Association

Ministers have announced fresh details of new courses for 16 to 18-year-olds, which they say will give youngsters the numeracy skills they need for the workplace.

The courses are aimed at teenagers who score at least a C in GCSE maths but then usually drop the subject, the Government said.

They will include topics like statistics, probability and advanced calculation, the Department for Education said.

Tory MP: Teather 'a bad minister as she was childless'

A former Conservative education minister has allegedlysuggested that the Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather was a poor families minister because she has no children.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Tim Loughton said Miss Teather, who has no children, failed to support married couples in office because she “doesn’t really believe in family”.

MP Sarah Teather. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Loughton, who was speaking to activists at the Conservative Renewal conference in Windsor, said: "The person who was actually in charge of family policy amongst the ministerial team at the DfE [Department for Education] was Sarah Teather.

"Which was a bit difficult because she doesn't really believe in family. She certainly didn't produce one of her own. So it became a bit of a family-free zone. I think that is a huge disappointment."

Mr Loughton has since tweeted that his words had been "distorted" by journalists, and were "not a personal attack" on Miss Teather.

The MP said he was "sorry" and his criticism was "not intended or fair" and was meant to be of Lib Dem family policy rather than of Miss Teather.

Gove distances self from spat over 'narcissist' minister

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has denied any knowledge of who in his department described an outgoing minister as a"lazy, incompetent narcissist obsessed only with self-promotion".

Former children's minister Tim Loughton was described as "lazy" and "incompetent" by an anonymous source Credit: Katie Collins/PA

Tim Loughton, who was sacked as children's minister in the last reshuffle, was denounced in a briefing to the Spectator magazine by an anonymous source in Department for Education.

Mr Gove insisted he did not know who made the briefing and said Mr Loughton "far from being incompetent ... was a talented and effective minister who made a difference".

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